Federal Register Vol. 81, No.234,

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 234 (December 6, 2016)

Page Range87801-88095
FR Document

81_FR_234
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
81 FR 87910 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
81 FR 87993 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
81 FR 87989 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
81 FR 87979 - Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
81 FR 87804 - Extension of Import Restrictions Imposed on Certain Archaeological and Ethnological Materials From the Plurinational State of BoliviaPDF
81 FR 87813 - Regulated Navigation Area; Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME and Portsmouth, NHPDF
81 FR 87927 - Proposed Determination on the Appropriateness of the Model Year 2022-2025 Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards Under the Midterm EvaluationPDF
81 FR 87934 - Receipt of Information Under the Toxic Substances Control ActPDF
81 FR 87857 - Approval of Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Nevada; Infrastructure Requirements To Address Interstate Transport for the 2008 Ozone NAAQSPDF
81 FR 87928 - General Permit for Ocean Disposal of Marine Mammal CarcassesPDF
81 FR 87909 - Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 87997 - Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad Company-Abandonment Exemption-in Fayette County, Pa.PDF
81 FR 87934 - Proposed Agreement and Order on Consent for Certain CERCLA Response Activities by Tenant as Bona Fide Prospective PurchaserPDF
81 FR 88000 - Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee; MeetingPDF
81 FR 87938 - Amendment to Initial Funded Priorities ListPDF
81 FR 88001 - Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 87980 - New Postal ProductsPDF
81 FR 87803 - Delay of Discharge Requirements for U.S. Coast Guard Activities in Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine SanctuariesPDF
81 FR 87909 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 87998 - Public Notice for Waiver of Aeronautical Land-Use AssurancePDF
81 FR 87933 - Release of the Final Integrated Review Plan for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate MatterPDF
81 FR 87906 - Honey From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Intent To Rescind New Shipper ReviewPDF
81 FR 87905 - Solicitation of Nominations for Members of the USDA Grain Inspection Advisory CommitteePDF
81 FR 87917 - Idaho Power Company; Notice of Petition for Declaratory OrderPDF
81 FR 87924 - Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Request Under Blanket AuthorizationPDF
81 FR 87922 - Brookfield White Pine Hydro, LLC; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
81 FR 87925 - BMB Enterprises, Inc.; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
81 FR 87919 - Independent Market Monitor for PJM v. American Electric Power Service Corp.; Notice of ComplaintPDF
81 FR 87918 - Independent Market Monitor for PJM v. PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.; Notice of ComplaintPDF
81 FR 87919 - Southwest Gas Storage Company; Notice of Request Under Blanket AuthorizationPDF
81 FR 87921 - Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP; Notice of ApplicationPDF
81 FR 87920 - UGI LNG, Inc.; Notice of ApplicationPDF
81 FR 87918 - NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC; Texas Eastern Transmission, LP; DTE Gas Company; Vector Pipeline L.P.; Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Nexus Gas Transmission Project and Texas Eastern Appalachian Lease ProjectPDF
81 FR 87922 - ANR Pipeline Company; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Wisconsin South Expansion Project, and Request for Comments on Environmental IssuesPDF
81 FR 87926 - Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC; Notice of Revised Schedule for Environmental Review of the Mountaineer Xpress Project and the Gulf Xpress ProjectPDF
81 FR 87926 - Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.; Notice of Public Scoping Session for the Proposed Lone Star Project and Request for Comments on Environmental IssuesPDF
81 FR 87949 - HUD Program Evaluation Policy-Policy StatementPDF
81 FR 87978 - Program-Specific Guidance About Medical Use LicensesPDF
81 FR 87812 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013: Implementation in HUD Housing Programs; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 87948 - Implementation of the Tribal HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program; Technical CorrectionPDF
81 FR 87939 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 87949 - Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016: Initial Guidance; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 87915 - Record of Decision and Floodplain Statement of Findings for the Magnolia LNG, LLC Application To Export Liquefied Natural Gas to Non-Free Trade Agreement CountriesPDF
81 FR 87910 - Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
81 FR 87912 - Record of Decision for the Recapitalization of Infrastructure Supporting Naval Spent Nuclear Fuel Handling at the Idaho National LaboratoryPDF
81 FR 87954 - Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Tri-State Fuel Breaks Project, Owyhee County, ID, and Malheur County, ORPDF
81 FR 88004 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 88002 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 87907 - Certain Steel Nails From Malaysia: Preliminary Results of the Changed Circumstances ReviewPDF
81 FR 87935 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
81 FR 87935 - Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding CompanyPDF
81 FR 87805 - Import Restrictions Imposed on Certain Archaeological Material From EgyptPDF
81 FR 87951 - Marine Mammal Protection Act; Stock Assessment Report for the Southern Sea Otter in CaliforniaPDF
81 FR 87862 - Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management PlanPDF
81 FR 87981 - Framework for a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil SciencePDF
81 FR 87903 - Notice of Request for Extension of a Currently Approved Information CollectionPDF
81 FR 87941 - Federal Financial Participation in State Assistance Expenditures; Federal Matching Shares for Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and Aid to Needy Aged, Blind, or Disabled Persons for October 1, 2017 Through September 30, 2018; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 87843 - Head Start ProgramPDF
81 FR 87940 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 87861 - Petition for Reconsideration of Action in Rulemaking ProceedingPDF
81 FR 88003 - Office of the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs; Survey of U.S. Ownership of Foreign Securities as of December 31, 2016PDF
81 FR 87956 - Notice of Proposed Information Collection; Request for Comments for 1029-0113PDF
81 FR 87812 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, New Orleans, LAPDF
81 FR 87938 - Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel (SEP): Initial ReviewPDF
81 FR 87939 - Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support (OSTLTS)PDF
81 FR 87991 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BOX Options Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rule 7260 by Extending the Penny Pilot Program Through June 30, 2017PDF
81 FR 87902 - National Organic Program: Notice of Draft Guidance for Calculating the Percentage of Organic Ingredients in Multi-Ingredient ProductsPDF
81 FR 87904 - Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Export Health Certificate for Animal ProductsPDF
81 FR 87997 - Secretary of State's Determination Under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998PDF
81 FR 87904 - Notice of Request for Reinstatement of an Information Collection; Standards for Privately Owned Quarantine Facilities for RuminantsPDF
81 FR 87911 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Targeted Teacher Shortage AreasPDF
81 FR 87957 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection Comments Requested; Extension of a Currently Approved Collection: 2016-2018 Survey of Sexual Victimization (SSV)PDF
81 FR 87910 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program ApplicationPDF
81 FR 87984 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Options Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of Amendment No. 1 and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1, Related to Compliance With Section 871(m) of the Internal Revenue CodePDF
81 FR 87995 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Chapter VI, Section 5 To Extend the Penny Pilot ProgramPDF
81 FR 87990 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Miami International Securities Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Exchange Rule 510 To Extend the Penny Pilot ProgramPDF
81 FR 87981 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC; Order Instituting Proceedings To Determine Whether To Approve or Disapprove a Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rules 7034 and 7051 To Establish the Third Party Connectivity ServicePDF
81 FR 87993 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Bats BYX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Make Non-Substantive Changes to the Fee SchedulePDF
81 FR 87935 - Federal Advisory Committee Act; Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability CouncilPDF
81 FR 87944 - Accreditation and Approval of AMSPEC SERVICES, LLC, as a Commercial Gauger and LaboratoryPDF
81 FR 87946 - Accreditation and Approval of Camin Cargo Control, Inc., as a Commercial Gauger and LaboratoryPDF
81 FR 87946 - Accreditation and Approval of Chem Gas International LLC as a Commercial Gauger and LaboratoryPDF
81 FR 87945 - Accreditation and Approval of SGS North America, Inc., as a Commercial Gauger and LaboratoryPDF
81 FR 87943 - Accreditation and Approval of Camin Cargo Control, Inc., as a Commercial Gauger and LaboratoryPDF
81 FR 87863 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for GroundfishPDF
81 FR 87942 - Government-Owned Invention; Availability for LicensingPDF
81 FR 87881 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for GroundfishPDF
81 FR 87936 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 87956 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Revision of a Currently Approved Collection: 2014-2016 Survey of State Criminal History Information SystemsPDF
81 FR 87947 - Intent To Request Approval From OMB of One New Public Collection of Information: Travel Request and Expense Report Form for TSA ContractorsPDF
81 FR 88000 - Noise Exposure Map Notice for Lehigh Valley International Airport, Allentown, PennsylvaniaPDF
81 FR 87802 - Amendment of VOR Federal Airways V-235 and V-293 in the Vicinity of Cedar City, UtahPDF
81 FR 87942 - National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
81 FR 87941 - Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
81 FR 87943 - Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 87941 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 87856 - Proposed Establishment of Class E Airspace, Weed, CAPDF
81 FR 87844 - Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for the State of New YorkPDF
81 FR 87999 - Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee; MeetingPDF
81 FR 87845 - Fisheries Off West Coast States; Modifications of the West Coast Commercial and Recreational Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Actions #6 Through #21PDF
81 FR 87810 - Medical Devices; Neurological Devices; Classification of the Computerized Cognitive Assessment Aid for ConcussionPDF
81 FR 87819 - Determination of Attainment by the Attainment Date for the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards; Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh-Beaver ValleyPDF
81 FR 87817 - Air Quality Plans; Kentucky; Infrastructure Requirements for the 2010 Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality StandardPDF
81 FR 87815 - Air Plan Approval; Kentucky; Revisions to Louisville Definitions and Ambient Air Quality StandardsPDF
81 FR 87849 - Changes to Reporting Requirements-Vegetable and Specialty Crop Import Regulations; and Other Clarifying Changes-Fruit, Vegetable, and Specialty Crop Import RegulationsPDF
81 FR 87964 - Biweekly Notice; Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving No Significant Hazards ConsiderationsPDF
81 FR 87958 - Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving Proposed No Significant Hazards Considerations and Containing Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information and Order Imposing Procedures for Access to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards InformationPDF
81 FR 88072 - Federal Acquisition Regulation: Set-Asides Under Multiple-Award ContractsPDF
81 FR 87801 - Dairy Tariff-Rate Quota Import Licensing ProgramPDF
81 FR 88006 - Passenger Equipment Safety Standards; Standards for Alternative Compliance and High-Speed TrainsetsPDF
81 FR 87820 - Ocean Disposal; Designation of a Dredged Material Disposal Site in Eastern Region of Long Island Sound; ConnecticutPDF

Issue

81 234 Tuesday, December 6, 2016 Contents Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service PROPOSED RULES Imports: Vegetable and Specialty Crop Import Regulations; and Other Clarifying Changes—Fruit, Vegetable, and Specialty Crop, 87849-87856 2016-29016 NOTICES National Organic Programs: Draft Guidance for Calculating the Percentage of Organic Ingredients in Multi-Ingredient Products, 87902-87903 2016-29173 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration

RULES Dairy Tariff-Rate Quota Import Licensing Program, 87801-87802 2016-28384 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 87903-87904 2016-29185
Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Export Health Certificate for Animal Products, 87904-87905 2016-29172 Standards for Privately Owned Quarantine Facilities for Ruminants, 87904 2016-29168 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Meetings: Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel, 87938-87939 2016-29176 Tribal Caucus, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Tribal Advisory Committee, 87939 2016-29175 Children Children and Families Administration RULES Head Start Program, 87843-87844 2016-29183 NOTICES ACF Program Instruction—Children's Justice Act, 87939-87940 2016-29210 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: State Abstinence Education Program, 87940 2016-29182 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, New Orleans, LA, 87812 2016-29177 Regulated Navigation Areas: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME and Portsmouth, NH, 87813-87815 2016-29260 Commerce Commerce Department See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 87910 2016-29372 Defense Department Defense Department PROPOSED RULES Federal Acquisition Regulations: Set-Asides under Multiple-Award Contracts, 88072-88095 2016-28432 NOTICES Meetings: Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel, 87910 2016-29204 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program Application, 87910-87911 2016-29164 Targeted Teacher Shortage Areas, 87911-87912 2016-29167 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

NOTICES Records of Decisions: Magnolia LNG, LLC; Application to Export Liquefied Natural Gas to Non-Free Trade Agreement Countries, 87915-87917 2016-29206 Recapitalization of Infrastructure Supporting Naval Spent Nuclear Fuel Handling at the Idaho National Laboratory, 87912-87915 2016-29203
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Kentucky; Infrastructure Requirements for the 2010 Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standard, 87817-87819 2016-29115 Kentucky; Revisions to Louisville Definitions and Ambient Air Quality Standards, 87815-87817 2016-29106 Pennsylvania; Determination of Attainment of 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards; Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley, 87819-87820 2016-29118 Ocean Disposals: Designation of a Dredged Material Disposal Site in Eastern Region of Long Island Sound; CT, 87820-87843 2016-27546 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Nevada; Infrastructure Requirements to Address Interstate Transport for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS, 87857-87861 2016-29252 NOTICES Determinations: Appropriateness of the Model Year 2022-2025 Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards under the Midterm Evaluation, 87927-87928 2016-29255 General Permits: Ocean Disposal of Marine Mammal Carcasses, 87928-87933 2016-29250 Proposed Agreements and Orders: Consent for Certain CERCLA Response Activities by Tenant as Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser, 87934-87935 2016-29240 Receipt of Information under the Toxic Substances Control Act, 87934 2016-29254 Release of the Final Integrated Review Plan for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter, 87933-87934 2016-29231 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES VOR Federal Airways V-235 and V-293 in the Vicinity of Cedar City, UT; Amendment, 87802-87803 2016-29143 PROPOSED RULES Class E Airspace; Establishments: Weed, CA, 87856-87857 2016-29138 NOTICES Aeronautical Land-Use Assurances; Waivers: Indianapolis International Airport, Indianapolis, IN, 87998-87999 2016-29232 Meetings: Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, 87999-88000 2016-29136 2016-29239 Noise Exposure Maps: Lehigh Valley International Airport, Allentown, PA, 88000-88001 2016-29145 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission PROPOSED RULES Petitions for Reconsideration of Action in Rulemaking Proceeding, 87861-87862 2016-29181 NOTICES Meetings: Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council, 87935 2016-29158 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Applications: Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP, 87921 2016-29221 UGI LNG, Inc., 87920-87921 2016-29220 Complaints: Independent Market Monitor for PJM v. American Electric Power Service Corp., 87919-87920 2016-29224 Independent Market Monitor for PJM v. PJM Interconnection, LLC, 87918 2016-29223 Declaratory Orders; Petitions: Idaho Power Co., 87917-87918 2016-29228 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: ANR Pipeline Co.; Wisconsin South Expansion Project, 87922-87924 2016-29218 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC, Texas Eastern Transmission, LP, et al., NEXUS Gas Transmission Project and Texas Eastern Appalachian Lease Project, 87918-87919 2016-29219 Environmental Reviews: Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC; Mountaineer XPress Project, Gulf XPress Project, 87926 2016-29217 Hydroelectric Applications: BMB Enterprises, Inc., 87925-87926 2016-29225 Brookfield White Pine Hydro, LLC, 87922 2016-29226 Meetings: Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., LLC, Lone Star Project, 87926-87927 2016-29216 Requests under Blanket Authorizations: Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, 87924-87925 2016-29227 Southwest Gas Storage Co., 87919 2016-29222 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration PROPOSED RULES Passenger Equipment Safety Standards: Alternative Compliance and High-Speed Trainsets, 88006-88069 2016-28280 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 88001-88002 2016-29237 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Changes in Bank Control: Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company, 87935-87936 2016-29193 Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies, 87935 2016-29194 Federal Trade Federal Trade Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 87936-87938 2016-29149 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Stock Assessment Reports: Southern Sea Otter in California, 87951-87954 2016-29190 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Medical Devices: Neurological Devices; Classification of the Computerized Cognitive Assessment Aid for Concussion, 87810-87812 2016-29134 General Services General Services Administration PROPOSED RULES Federal Acquisition Regulations: Set-Asides under Multiple-Award Contracts, 88072-88095 2016-28432 Grain Inspection Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration NOTICES Requests for Nominations: USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee, 87905-87906 2016-29229 Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council NOTICES Initial Funded Priorities List, 87938 2016-29238 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

NOTICES Federal Financial Participation in State Assistance Expenditures; Federal Matching Shares for Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and Aid to Needy Aged, Blind, or Disabled Persons for October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018; Correction, 87941 2016-29184
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Transportation Security Administration

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department RULES Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013: Implementation in HUD Housing Programs; Correction, 87812 2016-29213 NOTICES Guidance: Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2016; Correction, 87949 2016-29208 Program Evaluation Policy, 87949-87951 2016-29215 Tribal HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program; Technical Correction, 87948-87949 2016-29211 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Land Management Bureau

See

Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office

International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Steel Nails from Malaysia, 87907-87909 2016-29196 Honey from the People's Republic of China, 87906-87907 2016-29230 Justice Department Justice Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: 2014-2016 Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems, 87956-87957 2016-29148 2016-2018 Survey of Sexual Victimization, 87957-87958 2016-29166 Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Tri-State Fuel Breaks Project, Owyhee County, ID, and Malheur County, OR, 87954-87956 2016-29202 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration PROPOSED RULES Federal Acquisition Regulations: Set-Asides under Multiple-Award Contracts, 88072-88095 2016-28432 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for Licensing, 87942-87943 2016-29151 Meetings: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 87941-87943 2016-29140 2016-29141 National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 87942 2016-29142 National Institute on Aging, 87941 2016-29139 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Delays: Discharge Requirements for U.S. Coast Guard Activities in Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries, 87803-87804 2016-29234 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States: Atlantic Bluefish Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for the State of New York, 87844 2016-29137 Fisheries Off West Coast States: Modifications of the West Coast Commercial and Recreational Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Actions 6 through 21, 87845-87848 2016-29135 PROPOSED RULES Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 87863-87881 2016-29152 Gulf of Alaska; 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 87881-87901 2016-29150 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States: Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, 87862-87863 2016-29189 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 87909-87910 2016-29233 Meetings: Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee; Correction, 87909 2016-29248 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Facility Operating and Combined Licenses: Applications and Amendments Involving No Significant Hazards Considerations; Biweekly Notice, 87964-87978 2016-28990 Applications and Amendments Involving Proposed No Significant Hazards Considerations, etc., 87958-87964 2016-28521 Guidance: Program-Specific Guidance about Medical Use Licenses, 87978-87979 2016-29214 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 87979-87980 2016-29281 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 87980-87981 2016-29235 Science Technology Science and Technology Policy Office NOTICES Requests for Information: Framework for a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science, 87981 2016-29187 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 87989-87990, 87993 2016-29295 2016-29296 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Bats BYX Exchange, Inc., 87993-87995 2016-29159 BOX Options Exchange LLC, 87991-87993 2016-29174 Miami International Securities Exchange LLC, 87990-87991 2016-29161 The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC, 87981-87984, 87995-87997 2016-29160 2016-29162 The Options Clearing Corp., 87984-87989 2016-29163 State Department State Department NOTICES Determinations under the International Religious Freedom Act, 87997 2016-29171 Surface Mining Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 87956 2016-29178 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Abandonment Exemptions: Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad Company; Fayette County, PA, 87997-87998 2016-29241 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

Security Transportation Security Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Travel Request and Expense Report Form for TSA Contractors, 87947-87948 2016-29146 Treasury Treasury Department RULES Import Restrictions: Certain Archaeological and Ethnological Materials from the Plurinational State of Bolivia, 87804-87805 2016-29279 Certain Archaeological Material from Egypt, 87805-87810 2016-29191 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 88002-88004 2016-29198 2016-29199 Survey of U.S. Ownership of Foreign Securities as of December 31, 2016, 88003 2016-29180 Customs U.S. Customs and Border Protection RULES Import Restrictions: Certain Archaeological and Ethnological Materials from the Plurinational State of Bolivia, 87804-87805 2016-29279 Certain Archaeological Material from Egypt, 87805-87810 2016-29191 NOTICES Commercial Gaugers and Laboratories; Accreditations and Approvals: AmSpec Services, LLC, 87944-87945 2016-29157 Camin Cargo Control, Inc., 87943-87944, 87946-87947 2016-29153 2016-29156 Chem Gas International LLC, 87946 2016-29155 SGS North America, Inc., 87945 2016-29154 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Transportation Department, Federal Railroad Administration, 88006-88069 2016-28280 Part III Defense Department, 88072-88095 2016-28432 General Services Administration, 88072-88095 2016-28432 National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 88072-88095 2016-28432 Reader Aids

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

To subscribe to the Federal Register Table of Contents electronic mailing list, go to https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USGPOOFR/subscriber/new, enter your e-mail address, then follow the instructions to join, leave, or manage your subscription.

81 234 Tuesday, December 6, 2016 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 7 CFR Part 6 RIN 0551-AA82 Dairy Tariff-Rate Quota Import Licensing Program AGENCY:

Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule, technical amendment.

SUMMARY:

This final rule amends the Dairy Tariff-Rate Quota Import Licensing Program to clarify that for the purposes of the Dairy Tariff-Rate Quota Import Licensing Program, U.S. Customs and Border Protection import entries submitted electronically, as well as on paper, are acceptable.

DATES:

Effective Date: December 6, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Contact Ron Lord, Director, Import Policies and Export Reporting Division, Foreign Agricultural Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250, STOP 1021, email at [email protected] or telephone (202) 720-6939.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006 (SAFE Port Act) (Pub. L. 109-347) requires that all Federal agencies that require documentation for clearing or licensing the importation and exportation of cargo to participate in the International Trade Data System (ITDS). The ITDS is a government-wide project that, in implementing the SAFE Port Act, will allow businesses to electronically submit the data required by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and its Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). Executive Order 13659, Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America's Businesses, signed on February 19, 2014, requires that all Federal agencies complete their program and regulatory changes to comply with the SAFE Port Act by December 31, 2016.

Because the SAFE Port Act requires Federal agencies to accept electronic data, FAS finds under the good cause exception of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), that the notice and comment process is unnecessary to make this technical amendment and is publishing this rule as a final rule without requesting comments.

The current Dairy Tariff-Rate Quota Import Licensing Program regulation at 7 CFR 6.29 requires licensed importers to present certain documents at the time of CBP entry. To comply with the SAFE Port Act, this final rule amends the Dairy Tariff-Rate Quota Import Licensing Program regulation to permit the CBP entry of items requiring a dairy license by utilizing electronic, as well as paper documentation. No other changes are made to the regulation.

Executive Order 12866

The final rule has been determined to be non-significant under E.O. 12866 and has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act ensures that regulatory and information requirements are tailored to the size and nature of small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. This final rule will not have a significant economic impact on small businesses participating in the program.

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988. The provisions of this final rule would not have a preemptive effect with respect to any State or local laws, regulations, or policies which conflict with such provision or which otherwise impede their full implementation. The final rule would not have a retroactive effect. Before any judicial action may be brought forward regarding this final rule, all administrative remedies must be exhausted.

National Environmental Policy Act

The Administrator has determined that this action will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment. Therefore, neither an Environmental Assessment nor an Environmental Impact Statement is necessary for this final rule.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (Pub. L. 104-4)

Public Law 104-4 requires consultation with state and local officials and Indian tribal governments. This final rule does not impose an unfunded mandate or any other requirement on state, local, or tribal governments. Accordingly, these programs are not subject to the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

Executive Order 12630

This Order requires careful evaluation of governmental actions that interfere with constitutionally protected property rights. This final rule would not interfere with any property rights and, therefore, does not need to be evaluated on the basis of the criteria outlined in Executive Order 12630.

Government Paperwork Elimination Act

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

Delegation From the Office of the Secretary

The Foreign Agricultural Service has been delegated authority to exercise the Department's responsibilities with respect to tariff-rate quotes for dairy products under chapter 4 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (7 CFR 2.43(a)(12)).

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 6

Agricultural commodities, Dairy, Cheese, Imports, Procedural rules, Application requirements, Tariff-rate quota, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

For the reasons described in the background, FAS is amending 7 CFR part 6 as follows:

PART 6—IMPORT QUOTAS AND FEES Subpart—Dairy Tariff-Rate Quota Import Licensing 1. The authority citation for Subpart—Dairy Tariff-Rate Quota Import Licensing continues to read as follows: Authority:

Additional U.S. Notes 6, 7, 8, 12, 14, 16-23 and 25 to Chapter 4 and General Note 15 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (19 U.S.C. 1202), Pub. L. 97-258, 96 Stat. 1051, as amended (31 U.S.C. 9701), and secs. 103 and 404, Pub. L. 103-465, 108 Stat. 4819 (19 U.S.C. 3513 and 3601).

2. Revise § 6.29(c), (d), and (e) to read as follows:
§ 6.29 Use of licenses.

(c) If the article entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption was purchased by the licensee through a direct sale from a foreign supplier, the licensee shall present the following documents or their authorized electronic equivalent, when available, at the time of entry:

(1) A true and correct copy of a through bill of lading from the country; and

(2) A commercial invoice or bill of sale from the seller, showing the quantity and value of the product, the date of purchase and the country; or

(3) Where the article was entered into warehouse by the foreign supplier, CBP Form 7501 endorsed by the foreign supplier, and the commercial invoice.

(d) If the article entered was purchased by the licensee via sale-in-transit, the licensee shall present the following documents or their authorized electronic equivalent, when available, at the time of entry:

(1) A true and correct copy of a through bill of lading endorsed by the original consignee of the goods;

(2) A certified copy of the commercial invoice or bill of sale from the foreign supplier to the original consignee of the goods; and

(3) A commercial invoice or bill of sale from the original consignee to the licensee.

(e) If the article entered was purchased by the licensee in warehouse, the licensee shall present the following documents or their authorized electronic equivalent, when available, at the time of entry:

(1) CBP Form 7501 endorsed by the original consignee of the goods;

(2) A certified copy of the commercial invoice or bill of sale from the foreign supplier to the original consignee of the goods; and

(3) A commercial invoice or bill of sale from the original consignee to the licensee.

Dated: October 19, 2016. Bryce Quick, Acting Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-28384 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-10-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2016-9265; Airspace Docket No. 16-ANM-11] RIN 2120-AA66 Amendment of VOR Federal Airways V-235 and V-293 in the Vicinity of Cedar City, Utah AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This action amends the legal description of the Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range (VOR) Federal airways V-235 and V-293 in the vicinity of Cedar City, UT. The FAA is taking this action because the Cedar City VOR/DME, included as part of the V-235 and V-293 route structure, is being renamed the Enoch VOR/DME.

DATES:

Effective date 0901 UTC, March 2, 2017. 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 7400.11 and publication of conforming amendments.

ADDRESSES:

FAA Order 7400.11A, 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 7400.11A at NARA, call (202) 741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

FAA Order 7400.11, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kenneth Ready, 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 modifies the air traffic service route structure in the north central United States to maintain the efficient flow of air traffic.

Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

This document amends FAA Order 7400.11A, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 3, 2016, and effective September 15, 2016. FAA Order 7400.11A is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.11A 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 amending the legal description of VOR Federal airways V-235 and V-293, in the vicinity of Cedar City, UT. Currently, V-235 and V-293 have Cedar City, UT, [VOR/DME] included as part of their route structure. The Cedar City VOR and the Cedar City Airport share the same name, but are not co-located and are greater than 5 nautical miles apart. To eliminate the possibility of confusion, and a potential flight safety issue, the Cedar City VOR/DME is renamed the Enoch VOR/DME; and will have a new facility identifier (ENK). Airways with Cedar City, UT, [VOR/DME] included in their legal descriptions will be amended to reflect the name change. The name change of the VOR/DME will coincide with the effective date of this rulemaking action.

Domestic VOR Federal airways are published in paragraph 6010(a) of FAA Order 7400.11A dated August 3, 2016 and effective September 15, 2016, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Domestic VOR Federal airways listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

Since this action merely involves editorial changes in the legal description of a VOR Federal airway, and does not involve a change in the dimensions or operating requirements of that airspace, 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 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, and its agency implementing regulations in FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures” regarding categorical exclusions for procedural actions at paragraph 5-6.5a, which categorically excludes from full environmental impact review actions that are rulemaking actions that designate or modify classes of airspace areas, airways, routes, and reporting points (see 14 CFR part 71, Designation of Class A, B, C, D, and E Airspace areas; Air Traffic Service Routes; and Reporting Points). This name change action which amends the legal description of the Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range (VOR) Federal Airways V-235 and V-293 in the vicinity of Cedar City, UT is not expected to cause any potentially significant environmental impacts. In accordance with FAAO 1050.1F, paragraph 5-2 regarding Extraordinary Circumstances, this action has been reviewed for factors and circumstances in which a normally categorically excluded action may have a significant environmental impact requiring further analysis, and it is determined that 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 is amended 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 7400.11A, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 3, 2016 and effective September 15, 2016, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6010(a) Domestic VOR Federal Airways. V-235 [Amended]

From Peach Springs, AZ; Mormon Mesa, NV, via INT Mormon Mesa 059° and Enoch, UT, 197° radials; Enoch; Milford, UT; Delta, UT; Fairfield, UT; 10 miles, 15 miles, 135 MSL, 46 miles, 125 MSL; Fort Bridger, WY. From Rock Springs, WY; 20 miles, 41 miles, 92 MSL, 37 miles, 107 MSL; Muddy Mountain, WY; to Newcastle, WY.

V-293 [Amended]

From Grand Canyon, AZ, via Page, AZ; INT Page 340° and Bryce Canyon, UT; 120° radials; Bryce Canyon; Enoch, UT; 37 miles, 108 MSL Wilson Creek, NV; 5 miles, 108 MSL, 37 miles, 115 MSL, Ely, NV; 125 MSL Bullion, NV; 28 miles, 57 miles, 99 MSL, Twin Falls, ID; 37 miles, 33 miles, 87 MSL, 76 miles, 113 MSL, 99 MSL Donnelly, ID.

Issued in Washington, DC, November 29, 2016. Leslie M. Swann, Acting Manager, Airspace Policy Group.
[FR Doc. 2016-29143 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 15 CFR Part 922 [Docket Number 160413330-6330-01] RIN 0648-BF99 Delay of Discharge Requirements for U.S. Coast Guard Activities in Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries AGENCY:

Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC).

ACTION:

Final rule; delay of effectiveness for discharge requirements with regard to U.S. Coast Guard activities.

SUMMARY:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expanded the boundaries of Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (now renamed Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary or GFNMS) and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS) to an area north and west of their previous boundaries with a final rule published on March 12, 2015. The final rule entered into effect on June 9, 2015. At that time, NOAA postponed the effectiveness of the discharge requirements in both sanctuaries' regulations in the areas added to GFNMS and CBNMS boundaries in 2015 with regard to U.S. Coast Guard activities for 6 months. Since then, NOAA published two notices to extend the postponement of the discharge requirements to provide adequate time for completion of an environmental assessment, and subsequent rulemaking, as appropriate. This extension would end on December 9, 2016. This document extends the postponement of the discharge requirements for these activities for another 6 months for the same reasons.

DATES:

The effectiveness for the discharge requirements in both CBNMS and GFNMS expansion areas with regard to U.S. Coast Guard activities is June 9, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

Copies of the FEIS, final management plans, and the final rule published on March 12, 2015, can be viewed or downloaded at http://farallones.noaa.gov/manage/expansion_cbgf.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Maria Brown, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent, at [email protected] or 415-561-6622.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

On March 12, 2015, NOAA expanded the boundaries of Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (now renamed Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary or GFNMS) and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS) to an area north and west of their previous boundaries with a final rule (80 FR 13078). The final rule entered into effect on June 9, 2015 (80 FR 34047). To ensure that the March 12, 2015, rule does not undermine USCG's ability to perform its duties, at that time, NOAA postponed the effectiveness of the discharge requirements in both sanctuaries' regulations with regard to U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) activities for 6 months. Two additional six month postponements of the effectiveness of the discharge requirements were published in the Federal Register on December 1, 2015 (80 FR 74985) and May 31, 2016 (81 FR 34268), to provide adequate time for completion of an environmental assessment and to determine NOAA's next steps. Without further NOAA action, the discharge regulations would become effective with regard to USCG activities December 9, 2016. However, NOAA needs more time to develop alternatives for an environmental assessment developed pursuant to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. Therefore, this notice postpones the effectiveness of the discharge requirements in the expansion areas of both sanctuaries with regard to USCG activities for another 6 months, until June 9, 2017. During this time, NOAA will continue to consider how to address USCG's concerns and, among other things, whether to exempt certain USCG activities in sanctuary regulations. The public, other federal agencies, and interested stakeholders will be given an opportunity to comment on various alternatives that are being considered. This will include the opportunity to review any proposed rule and related environmental analysis. In the course of the rule making to expand GFNMS and CBNMS, NOAA learned from USCG that the discharge regulations had the potential to impair the operations of USCG vessels and air craft conducting law enforcement and on-water training exercises in GFNMS and CBNMS. The USCG supports national marine sanctuary management by providing routine surveillance and dedicated law enforcement of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and sanctuary regulations.

II. Classification A. National Environmental Policy Act

NOAA previously conducted an environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as part of the rulemaking process leading to the expansion of CBNMS and GFNMS, which addressed regulations regarding the discharge of any matter or material in the sanctuaries. The environmental impacts of the decision to postpone effectiveness reflect a continuation of the environmental baseline and the no action alternative presented in that analysis. Should NOAA decide to amend the regulations governing discharges for USGS activities in CBNMS and GFNMS, any additional environmental analysis required under NEPA would be prepared and released for public comment.

B. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Impact

This action has been determined to be not significant for purposes of the meaning of Executive Order 12866.

C. Administrative Procedure Act

The Assistant Administrator of National Ocean Service (NOS) finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because this action is administrative in nature. This action postpones the effectiveness of the discharge requirements in the regulations for CBNMS and GFNMS in the areas added to the sanctuaries' boundaries in 2015 (subject to notice and comment review) with regard to U.S. Coast Guard activities for 6 months to provide adequate time for public scoping, completion of an environmental assessment, and subsequent rulemaking, as appropriate. Should NOAA decide to amend the regulations governing discharges in CBNMS and GFNMS, it would publish a proposed rule followed by an appropriate public comment period as required by the APA. The substance of the underlying regulations remains unchanged. Therefore, providing notice and opportunity for public comment under the Administrative Procedure Act would serve no useful purpose. The delay in effectiveness provided by this action will also enable NOAA to fully implement its statutory responsibilities under the NMSA to protect resources of a national marine sanctuary. For the reasons above, the Assistant Administrator also finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness and make this action effective immediately upon publication.

Authority:

16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.

Dated: December 1, 2016. W. Russell Callender, Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal Management.
[FR Doc. 2016-29234 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-NK-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 19 CFR Part 12 [CBP Dec. 16-24] RIN 1515-AE20 Extension of Import Restrictions Imposed on Certain Archaeological and Ethnological Materials From the Plurinational State of Bolivia AGENCY:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Department of Homeland Security; Department of the Treasury.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule amends the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations to reflect an extension of import restrictions on certain archaeological and ethnological materials from the Plurinational State of Bolivia (“Bolivia”). The restrictions, which were originally imposed by Treasury Decision (T.D.) 01-86 and last extended by CBP Dec. 11-24, are due to expire on December 4, 2016. The Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, United States Department of State, has determined that conditions continue to warrant the imposition of import restrictions. Accordingly, these import restrictions will remain in effect for an additional five years, and the CBP regulations are being amended to reflect this extension through December 4, 2021. These restrictions are being extended pursuant to determinations of the United States Department of State made under the terms of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act in accordance with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. T.D. 01-86 contains the Designated List of archaeological and ethnological materials from Bolivia to which the restrictions apply.

DATES:

Effective December 2, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For legal aspects, Lisa L. Burley, Chief, Cargo Security, Carriers and Restricted Merchandise Branch, Regulations and Rulings, Office of Trade, (202) 325-0215. For operational aspects, William R. Scopa, Branch Chief, Partner Government Agency Branch, Trade Policy and Programs, Office of Trade, (202) 863-6554, [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Pursuant to the provisions of the 1970 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention, codified into U.S. law as the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (Pub. L. 97-446, 19 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.), the United States entered into a bilateral agreement with Bolivia 1 on December 4, 2001, concerning the imposition of import restrictions on certain archaeological and ethnological materials from Bolivia. On December 7, 2001, the U.S. Customs Service (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's predecessor agency) published Treasury Decision (T.D.)01-86 in the Federal Register (66 FR 63490), which amended 19 CFR 12.104g(a) to reflect the imposition of these restrictions and included a list designating the types of articles covered by the restrictions.

1 In 2009, the new constitution of Bolivia changed the country's official name from the “Republic of Bolivia” to the “Plurinational State of Bolivia.”

Import restrictions listed in 19 CFR 12.104g(a) are effective for no more than five years beginning on the date on which the agreement enters into force with respect to the United States. This period can be extended for additional periods not to exceed five years if it is determined that the factors which justified the initial agreement still pertain and no cause for suspension of the agreement exists (19 CFR 12.104g(a)).

On October 11, 2016, after reviewing the findings and recommendations of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, the Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, United States Department of State, concluding that the cultural heritage of Bolivia continues to be in jeopardy from pillage of certain archaeological and ethnological materials, made the necessary determination to extend the import restrictions for an additional five years. Diplomatic notes have been exchanged reflecting the extension of those restrictions for an additional five-year period. Accordingly, CBP is amending 19 CFR 12.104g(a) to reflect the extension of the import restrictions. The Designated List of Archaeological and Ethnological Material from Bolivia covered by these import restrictions is set forth in T.D. 01-86. The Designated List may also be found at the following Web site address: https://eca.state.gov/cultural-heritage-center/cultural-property-protection/bilateral-agreements/bolivia.

The restrictions on the importation of these archaeological and ethnological materials from Bolivia are to continue in effect through December 4, 2021. Importation of such material continues to be restricted unless the conditions set forth in 19 U.S.C. 2606 and 19 CFR 12.104c are met.

Inapplicability of Notice and Delayed Effective Date

This amendment involves a foreign affairs function of the United States and is, therefore, being made without notice or public procedure under 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1). In addition, CBP has determined that such notice or public procedure would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest because the action being taken is essential to avoid interruption of the application of the existing import restrictions (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B)). For the same reason, a delayed effective date is not required under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is required, the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) do not apply.

Executive Order 12866

Because this rule involves a foreign affairs function of the United States, it is not subject to Executive Order 12866.

Signing Authority

This regulation is being issued in accordance with 19 CFR 0.1(a)(1).

List of Subjects in 19 CFR Part 12

Cultural property, Customs duties and inspection, Imports, Prohibited merchandise.

Amendment to CBP Regulations

For the reasons set forth above, part 12 of title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (19 CFR part 12), is amended as set forth below:

PART 12—SPECIAL CLASSES OF MERCHANDISE 1. The general authority citation for part 12 and the specific authority citation for § 12.104g continue to read as follows: Authority:

5 U.S.C. 301; 19 U.S.C. 66, 1202 (General Note 3(i), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)), 1624;

Sections 12.104 through 12.104i also issued under 19 U.S.C. 2612;

§ 12.104g [Amended]
2. In § 12.104g, paragraph (a), the table is amended in the entry for Bolivia by removing the words “CBP Dec. 11-24” in the column headed “Decision No.” and adding in their place the words “CBP Dec. 16-24.” R. Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Approved: December 1, 2016. Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.
[FR Doc. 2016-29279 Filed 12-2-16; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 19 CFR Part 12 [CBP Dec. 16-23] RIN 1515-AE19 Import Restrictions Imposed on Certain Archaeological Material From Egypt AGENCY:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security; Department of the Treasury.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule amends the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations to reflect the imposition of import restrictions on certain archaeological material from the Arab Republic of Egypt (Egypt). These restrictions are being imposed pursuant to an agreement between the United States and Egypt that has been entered into under the authority of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act in accordance with the 1970 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The final rule amends CBP regulations by adding Egypt to the list of countries for which a bilateral agreement has been entered into for imposing cultural property import restrictions. The final rule also contains the designated list that describes the types of archaeological material to which the restrictions apply.

DATES:

Effective December 5, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For legal aspects, Lisa L. Burley, Chief, Cargo Security, Carriers and Restricted Merchandise Branch, Regulations and Rulings, Office of Trade, (202) 325-0030. For operational aspects, William Scopa, Branch Chief, Partner Government Agency Branch, Trade Policy and Programs, Office of Trade, (202) 863-6554, [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The value of cultural property, whether archaeological or ethnological in nature, is immeasurable. Such items often constitute the very essence of a society and convey important information concerning a people's origin, history, and traditional setting. The importance and popularity of such items regrettably makes them targets of theft, encourages clandestine looting of archaeological sites, and results in their illegal export and import.

The United States shares in the international concern for the need to protect endangered cultural property. The appearance in the United States of stolen or illegally exported artifacts from other countries where there has been pillage has, on occasion, strained our foreign and cultural relations. This situation, combined with the concerns of museum, archaeological, and scholarly communities, was recognized by the President and Congress. It became apparent that it was in the national interest for the United States to join with other countries to control illegal trafficking of such articles in international commerce.

The United States joined international efforts and actively participated in deliberations resulting in the 1970 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (823 U.N.T.S. 231 (1972)). U.S. acceptance of the 1970 UNESCO Convention was codified into U.S. law as the “Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act” (Pub. L. 97-446, 19 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.) (the Act). This was done to promote U.S. leadership in achieving greater international cooperation towards preserving cultural treasures that are of importance to the nations from where they originate and contribute to greater international understanding of our common heritage.

Since the Act entered into force, import restrictions have been imposed on the archaeological and ethnological materials of a number of State Parties to the 1970 UNESCO Convention. These restrictions have been imposed as a result of requests for protection received from those nations. More information on import restrictions can be found on the Cultural Property Protection Web site (http://eca.state.gov/cultural-heritage-center/cultural-property-protection).

This rule announces that import restrictions are now being imposed on certain archaeological material from Egypt.

Determinations

Under 19 U.S.C. 2602(a)(1), the United States must make certain determinations before entering into an agreement to impose import restrictions under 19 U.S.C. 2602(a)(2). On November 14, 2014, the Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State, made the determinations required under the statute with respect to certain archaeological material originating in Egypt that are described in the designated list set forth below in this document. These determinations include the following: (1) That the cultural patrimony of Egypt is in jeopardy from the pillage of archaeological material representing Egypt's cultural heritage dating from the Predynastic period (5,200 B.C.) through 1517 A.D. (19 U.S.C. 2602(a)(1)(A)); (2) that the Egyptian government has taken measures consistent with the Convention to protect its cultural patrimony (19 U.S.C. 2602(a)(1)(B)); (3) that import restrictions imposed by the United States would be of substantial benefit in deterring a serious situation of pillage and remedies less drastic are not available (19 U.S.C. 2602(a)(1)(C)); and (4) that the application of import restrictions as set forth in this final rule is consistent with the general interests of the international community in the interchange of cultural property among nations for scientific, cultural, and educational purposes (19 U.S.C. 2602(a)(1)(D)). The Assistant Secretary also found that the material described in the determinations meets the statutory definition of “archaeological material of the state party” (19 U.S.C. 2601(2)).

The Agreement

The United States and Egypt entered into a bilateral agreement on November 30, 2016, pursuant to the provisions of 19 U.S.C. 2602(a)(2). The agreement enables the promulgation of import restrictions on categories of archaeological material representing Egypt's cultural heritage dating from the Predynastic period (5,200 B.C.) through 1517 A.D. A list of the categories of archaeological material subject to the import restrictions is set forth later in this document.

Restrictions and Amendment to the Regulations

In accordance with the Agreement, importation of material designated below is subject to the restrictions of 19 U.S.C. 2606 and § 12.104g(a) of the CBP regulations (19 CFR 12.104g(a)) and will be restricted from entry into the United States unless the conditions set forth in 19 U.S.C. 2606 and § 12.104c of the CBP regulations (19 CFR 12.104c) are met. CBP is amending § 12.104g(a) of the CBP Regulations (19 CFR 12.104g(a)) to indicate that these import restrictions have been imposed.

Designated List of Archaeological Material of Egypt

The bilateral agreement between the United States and Egypt includes, but is not limited to, the categories of objects described in the designated list set forth below. These categories of objects are subject to the import restrictions set forth above, in accordance with the above explained applicable law and the regulation amended in this document (19 CFR 12.104(g)(a)). The import restrictions include complete examples of objects and fragments thereof.

The archaeological material represent the following periods and cultures dating from 5,200 B.C. through 1517 A.D.: Predynastic, Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic, and Early Islamic through the Mamluk Dynasty. Many of the ancient place-names associated with the region of Egypt can be found in J. Baines and J. Malek, Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt (New York, 2000).

I. Stone A. Sculpture

1. Architectural elements, from temples, tombs, palaces, commemorative monuments, and domestic architecture, including columns, capitals, bases, lintels, jambs, friezes, pilasters, engaged columns, mihrabs (prayer niches), fountains, and blocks from walls, floors, and ceilings. Often decorated in relief with ornamental Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, and Coptic motifs and inscriptions. The most common architectural stones are limestone, sandstone and granite.

2. Statues, large- and small-scale, including human, animal, and hybrid figures with a human body and animal head. Human figures may be standing, usually with the left foot forward, seated on a block or on the ground, kneeling, or prone. Figures in stone may be supported by a slab of stone at the back. Greco-Roman examples use traditional Egyptian poses with Hellenistic modeling. The most popular stones are limestone, granite, basalt, sandstone, and diorite, and many other types of stone are used as well.

3. Relief sculpture, large- and small-scale, including Predynastic greywacke cosmetic palettes, limestone wall reliefs depicting scenes of daily life and rituals, and steles and plaques in a variety of stones for funerary and commemorative purposes.

4. Greco-Roman and Coptic tombstones.

B. Vessels and Containers

Includes conventional shapes such as bowls, cups, jars, and lamps, and vessels having the form of human, animal, hybrid, plant, hieroglyphic sign, and combinations or parts thereof.

C. Funerary Objects and Equipment

1. Sarcophagi and coffins, with separate lid, either in the form of a large rectangular box, or human-shaped and carved with modeled human features. Both types are often decorated inside and outside with incised images and inscriptions.

2. Canopic shrines, in the form of a box with space inside for four canopic jars.

3. Canopic jars with lids in the form of human or animal heads. A full set includes four jars. Sometimes these jars are dummies, carved from a single piece of stone with no interior space.

D. Objects of Daily Use

Including chests and boxes, headrests, writing and painting equipment, games and game pieces.

E. Tools and Weapons

Chipped stone includes large and small blades, borers, scrapers, sickles, awls, harpoons, cores, loom weights, and arrow heads. Ground stone types include mortars, pestles, millstones, whetstones, choppers, axes, hammers, molds, and mace heads.

F. Jewelry, Amulets, and Seals

1. Jewelry of colored and semi-precious stones for personal adornment, including necklaces, chokers, pectorals, pendants, crowns, earrings, bracelets, anklets, belts, girdles, aprons, and rings.

2. Amulets of colored and semi-precious stones in the form of humans, animals, hybrids, plants, hieroglyphic signs, and combinations or parts thereof.

3. Stamp and cylinder seals. The most common type is the scarab, in the form of a beetle with an inscription on the flat base.

G. Ostraca

Chips of stone used as surface for writing or drawing.

II. Metal A. Sculpture

1. Statues, large- and small-scale, including human, animal, and hybrid figures similar to those in stone. Metal statues usually lack the support at the back. The most common material is bronze and copper alloys, and gold and silver are used as well.

2. Relief sculpture, including plaques, appliques, and mummy masks.

B. Vessels and Containers

Includes conventional shapes such as bowls, cups, jars, plates, cauldrons, and lamps, and vessels in the form of humans, animals, hybrids, plants, hieroglyphic signs, and combinations or parts thereof.

C. Objects of Daily Use

Musical instruments, including trumpets, clappers, and sistra.

D. Tools

Including axes, adzes, saws, drills, chisels, knives, hooks, needles, tongs, tweezers, and weights. Usually in bronze and copper alloys, later joined by iron.

E. Weapons and Armor

1. Weapons include mace heads, knives, swords, curved swords, axes, arrows, and spears. Usually in bronze and copper alloys, later joined by iron.

2. Early armor consisted of small metal scales, originally sewn to a backing of cloth or leather, later augmented by helmets, body armor, shields, and horse armor.

F. Jewelry, Amulets, and Seals

1. Jewelry of gold, silver, copper, and iron for personal adornment, including necklaces, pectorals, pendants, crowns, earrings, bracelets, anklets, belts, and rings.

2. Amulets in the form of humans, animals, hybrids, plants, hieroglyphic signs, and combinations or parts thereof.

G. Coptic Liturgical Objects

In metal, including censers, crosses, Bible caskets, and lamps.

H. Coins

In copper or bronze, silver, and gold.

1. General—There are a number of references that list Egyptian coin types. Below are some examples. Most Hellenistic and Ptolemaic coin types are listed in R.S. Poole, A Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum: Alexandria and the Nomes (London, 1893); J.N. Svoronos, Τα Nομισματα του Κρατουσ των Πτολe μαιων (Münzen der Ptolemäer) (Athens 1904); and R.A. Hazzard, Ptolemaic Coins: An Introduction for Collectors (Toronto, 1985). Examples of catalogues listing the Roman coinage in Egypt are J.G. Milne, Catalogue of Alexandrian Coins (Oxford, 1933); J.W. Curtis, The Tetradrachms of Roman Egypt (Chicago, 1969); A. Burnett, M. Amandry, and P.P Ripollès, Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the Death of Caesar to the Death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69) (London, 1998—revised edition); and A. Burnett, M. Amandry, and I. Carradice, Roman Provincial Coinage II: From Vespasian to Domitian (AD 69-96) (London, 1999). There are also so-called nwb-nfr coins, which may date to Dynasty 30. See T. Faucher, W. Fischer-Bossert, and S. Dhennin, “Les Monnaies en or aux types hiéroglyphiques nwb nfr,” Bulletin de l'institut français d'archéologie orientale 112 (2012), pp. 147-169.

2. Dynasty 30—Nwb nfr coins have the hieroglyphs nwb nfr on one side and a horse on the other.

3. Hellenistic and Ptolemaic coins—Struck in gold, silver, and bronze at Alexandria and any other mints that operated within the borders of the modern Egyptian state. Gold coins of and in honor of Alexander the Great, struck at Alexandria and Memphis, depict a helmeted bust of Athena on the obverse and a winged Victory on the reverse. Silver coins of Alexander the Great, struck at Alexandria and Memphis, depict a bust of Herakles wearing the lion skin on the obverse, or “heads” side, and a seated statue of Olympian Zeus on the reverse, or “tails” side. Gold coins of the Ptolemies from Egypt will have jugate portraits on both obverse and reverse, a portrait of the king on the obverse and a cornucopia on the reverse, or a jugate portrait of the king and queen on the obverse and cornucopiae on the reverse. Silver coins of the Ptolemies coins from Egypt tend to depict a portrait of Alexander wearing an elephant skin on the obverse and Athena on the reverse or a portrait of the reigning king with an eagle on the reverse. Some silver coins have jugate portraits of the king and queen on the obverse. Bronze coins of the Ptolemies commonly depict a head of Zeus (bearded) on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. These iconographical descriptions are non-exclusive and describe only some of the more common examples. There are other types and variants. Approximate date: ca. 332 B.C. through ca. 31 B.C.

4. Roman coins—Struck in silver or bronze at Alexandria and any other mints that operated within the borders of the modern Egyptian state in the territory of the modern state of Egypt until the monetary reforms of Diocletian. The iconography of the coinage in the Roman period varied widely, although a portrait of the reigning emperor is almost always present on the obverse of the coin. Approximate date: ca. 31 B.C. through ca. A.D. 294.

III. Ceramic and Clay A. Sculpture

Terracotta statues and statuettes, including human, animal, and hybrid figures.

B. Islamic Architectural Decorations

Including carved and molded brick, and tile wall ornaments and panels.

C. Vessels and Containers

1. Predynastic pottery, typically having a burnished red body with or without a white-painted decoration, or a burnished red body and black top, or a burnished black body sometimes with incised decoration, or an unburnished light brown body with dark red painted decoration, including human and animal figures and boats, spirals, or an abstract design.

2. Dynastic period pottery features primarily utilitarian but also ornate forms, typically undecorated, sometimes burnished. New Kingdom examples may have elaborate painted, incised, and molded decoration, especially floral motifs depicted in blue paint.

3. Roman period pottery includes vessels with rilled decoration, pilgrim flasks and terra sigillata, a high quality table ware made of red to reddish brown clay, and covered with a glossy slip.

4. Coptic pilgrim flasks, and decorated ceramic jars and bowls.

5. Islamic glazed, molded, and painted ceramics.

D. Objects of Daily Use

Including game pieces, loom weights, toys, and lamps.

E. Writing

1. Ostraca, pottery shards used as surface for writing or drawing.

2. Cuneiform tablets, typically small pillow-shaped rectangles of unbaked clay incised with patterns of wedge-shaped cuneiform symbols.

IV. Wood A. Sculpture

1. Statues, large- and small-scale, including human, animal, and hybrid figures. Shabti statuettes, small mummiform human figures, are especially popular. Wood statues usually lack the support at the back.

2. Relief sculpture, large- and small-scale, including relief plaques for funerary purposes.

B. Architectural Elements

1. Coptic carved and inlaid wood panels, doors, ceilings, and altars, often decorated with floral, geometric, and Christian motifs.

2. Islamic carved and inlaid wood rooms, balconies, stages, panels, ceilings, and doors.

C. Funerary Objects and Equipment

1. Sarcophagi and coffins, with separate lid, either in the form of a large rectangular box, or human-shaped and carved with modeled human features. Both types are often decorated inside and outside with painted, inlaid or incised images, and inscriptions.

2. Mummy masks, often painted, inlaid, and covered with gold foil.

3. Funerary models, including boats, buildings, food, and activities from everyday life.

4. Shrines to house sarcophagi or statuettes of deities.

5. Food containers in the shape of the product they contain, such as bread or a duck.

D. Objects of Daily Use

Including furniture such as chairs, stools, beds, chests and boxes, headrests, writing and painting equipment, musical instruments, game boxes and pieces, walking sticks, chariots and chariot fittings.

E. Tools and Weapons

Including adzes, axes, bow drills, carpenter's levels and squares, bows, arrows, spears.

V. Faience and Glass A. Egyptian Faience

A glossy, silicate-based fired material, is usually blue or turquoise, but other colors are found as well. It was popular for statuettes, including human, animal, and hybrid figures, vessels and containers, canopic jars, game pieces, seals, amulets, jewelry, and inlays in all types of objects.

B. Glass

1. Pharaonic glass containers are typically small and often elaborately decorated with multi-colored bands.

2. The Roman period introduced a great variety of hand-blown shapes.

3. Islamic vessels and containers in glass, including glass and enamel mosque lamps.

VI. Ivory, Bone, and Shell A. Sculpture

Statuettes of ivory, including human, animal, and hybrid figures, and parts thereof. Some of the earliest Egyptian sculpture is in ivory.

B. Objects of Daily Use

Ivory, bone, and shell were used either alone or as inlays in luxury objects including furniture, chests and boxes, writing and painting equipment, musical instruments, games, cosmetic containers, combs, jewelry, amulets, and seals.

VII. Plaster and Cartonnage A. Plaster

Typically molded and then decorated with paint or gilding for mummy masks, jewelry, and other objects in imitation of expensive materials. Also used by itself for life masks and sculptor's models.

B. Cartonnage

Pieces of papyrus or linen covered with plaster and molded into a shape, similar to papier-mâché, and then painted or gilded. Used for coffins and mummy masks. Today, cartonnage objects are sometimes dismantled in hopes of extracting inscribed papyrus fragments.

C. Stucco

Islamic architectural decoration in stucco.

VIII. Textile, Basketry, and Rope A. Textile

1. Linen cloth was used in Pharaonic and Greco-Roman times for mummy wrapping, shrouds, garments, and sails.

2. Coptic textiles in linen and wool, including garments and hangings.

3. Islamic textile fragments.

B. Basketry

Plant fibers were used to make baskets and containers in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as sandals and mats.

C. Rope

Rope and string were used for a great variety of purposes, including binding planks together in shipbuilding, rigging, lifting water for irrigation, fishing nets, measuring, and stringing beads for jewelry and garments.

IX. Leather and Parchment A. Leather

Used for shields, sandals, clothing, including undergarments, and horse trappings. It was also used occasionally as an alternative to papyrus as a writing surface, a function later assumed by parchment.

B. Parchment

In the Coptic period, documents such as illuminated ritual manuscripts occur in single leaves or bound as a book or “codex” and are written or painted on specially prepared animal skins (cattle, sheep/goat, camel) known as parchment.

X. Papyrus

Scrolls, books, manuscripts, and documents, including religious, ceremonial, literary, and administrative texts. Scripts include hieroglyphic, hieratic, Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Arabic.

XI. Painting and Drawing A. Tomb Paintings

Paintings on plaster or stone, either flat or carved in relief. Typical subjects include the tomb owner and family, gods, and scenes from daily life.

B. Domestic Wall Painting

These are painted on mud plaster or lime plaster. Types include simple applied color, bands and borders, landscapes, and scenes of people and/or animals in natural or built settings.

C. Rock Art

Chipped and incised drawings on natural rock surfaces, from prehistoric to Pharaonic periods.

D. Ostraca

Paintings and drawings on stone chips and pottery shards.

E. Mummy Portrait Panels and Funerary Masks

In wood, plaster, and cartonnage, often painted with the head and upper body of the deceased.

F. Coptic Painting

1. Wall and ceiling paintings—On various kinds of plaster and which generally portray religious images and scenes of Biblical events. Surrounding paintings may contain animal, floral, or geometric designs, including borders and bands.

2. Panel Paintings (Icons)—Smaller versions of the scenes on wall paintings, and may be partially covered with gold or silver, sometimes encrusted with semi-precious or precious stones and are usually painted on a wooden panel, often for inclusion in a wooden screen (iconastasis). May also be painted on ceramic.

XII. Mosaics A. Floor Mosaics

Greco-Roman, including landscapes, scenes of humans or gods, and activities such as hunting and fishing. There may also be vegetative, floral, or decorative motifs. They are made from stone cut into small bits (tesserae) and laid into a plaster matrix.

B. Wall and Ceiling Mosaics

Generally portray religious images and scenes of Biblical events. Surrounding panels may contain animal, floral, or geometric designs. Similar technique to floor mosaics, but may include teserae of both stone and glass.

XIII. Writing

On papyrus, wood, ivory, stone, metal, textile, clay, and ceramic, in hieroglyphic, hieratic, Aramaic, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Arabic scripts.

XIV. Human and Animal Remains

Human and animal mummies.

Inapplicability of Notice and Delayed Effective Date

This amendment involves a foreign affairs function of the United States and is, therefore, being made without notice or public procedure (5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1)). For the same reason, a delayed effective date is not required under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is required, the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) do not apply.

Executive Order 12866

Because this rule involves a foreign affairs function of the United States, it is not subject to Executive Order 12866.

Signing Authority

This regulation is being issued in accordance with 19 CFR 0.1(a)(1).

List of Subjects in 19 CFR Part 12

Cultural property, Customs duties and inspection, Imports, Prohibited merchandise, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Amendment to CBP Regulations

For the reasons set forth above, part 12 of Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (19 CFR part 12), is amended as set forth below:

PART 12—SPECIAL CLASSES OF MERCHANDISE 1. The general authority citation for part 12 and the specific authority citation for § 12.104g continue to read as follows: Authority:

5 U.S.C. 301; 19 U.S.C. 66, 1202 (General Note 3(i), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)), 1624.

Sections 12.104 through 12.104i also issued under 19 U.S.C. 2612;

2. In § 12.104g, paragraph (a), the table is amended by adding the Arab Republic of Egypt to the list in appropriate alphabetical order as follows:
§ 12.104g Specific items or categories designated by agreements or emergency actions.

(a) * * *

State party Cultural property Decision No. *         *         *         *         *         *         * Egypt Archaeological material representing Egypt's cultural heritage from Predynastic period (5,200 B.C.) through 1517 A.D CBP Dec. 16-23. *         *         *         *         *         *         *
R. Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Approved: December 1, 2016. Timothy E. Skud, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.
[FR Doc. 2016-29191 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 882 [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-2737] Medical Devices; Neurological Devices; Classification of the Computerized Cognitive Assessment Aid for Concussion AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Final order.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is classifying the Computerized Cognitive Assessment Aid for Concussion into class II (special controls). The special controls that will apply to the device are identified in this order and will be part of the codified language for the computerized cognitive assessment aid for concussion's classification. The Agency is classifying the device into class II (special controls) in order to provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device.

DATES:

This order is effective December 6, 2016. The classification was applicable on August 22, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Stacie Gutowski, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 2656, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-6032, [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

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

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

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

On August 11, 2015, ImPACT Applications, Inc., submitted a request for classification of the ImPACT and ImPACT Pediatric under section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act.

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

Therefore, on August 22, 2016, FDA issued an order to the requestor classifying the device into class II. FDA is codifying the classification of the device by adding 21 CFR 882.1471.

Following the effective date of this final classification order, any firm submitting a premarket notification (510(k)) for a computerized cognitive assessment aid for concussion will need to comply with the special controls named in this final order. The device is assigned the generic name computerized cognitive assessment aid for concussion, and it is identified as a prescription device that uses an individual's score(s) on a battery of cognitive tasks to provide an indication of the current level of cognitive function in response to concussion. The computerized cognitive assessment aid for concussion is used only as an assessment aid in the management of concussion to determine cognitive function for patients after a potential concussive event where other diagnostic tools are available and does not identify the presence or absence of concussion. It is not intended as a stand-alone diagnostic device.

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

Table 1—Computerized Cognitive Assessment Aid for Concussion Risks and Mitigation Measures Identified risk Mitigation measure User discomfort (e.g., visual or mental fatigue) • Labeling. Incorrect result, inclusive of:
  • • False positive—cognitive impairment from concussion when in fact none is present
  • • False negative—cognitive impairment from concussion is not noted when in fact cognitive impairment is present
  • • Clinical performance testing.
  • • Software verification, validation, and hazard analysis.
  • • Labeling.
  • FDA believes that the special controls, in combination with the general controls, address these risks to health and provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness.

    Computerized cognitive assessment aid for concussion devices are not safe for use except under the supervision of a practitioner licensed by law to direct the use of the device. As such, the device is a prescription device and must satisfy prescription labeling requirements (see 21 CFR 801.109 (Prescription devices)).

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

    II. Analysis of Environmental Impact

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

    III. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

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

    List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 882

    Medical devices.

    Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, 21 CFR part 882 is amended as follows:

    PART 882—NEUROLOGICAL DEVICES 1. The authority citation for part 882 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

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

    2. Add § 882.1471 to subpart B to read as follows:
    § 882.1471 Computerized cognitive assessment aid for concussion.

    (a) Identification. The computerized cognitive assessment aid for concussion is a prescription device that uses an individual's score(s) on a battery of cognitive tasks to provide an indication of the current level of cognitive function in response to concussion. The computerized cognitive assessment aid for concussion is used only as an assessment aid in the management of concussion to determine cognitive function for patients after a potential concussive event where other diagnostic tools are available and does not identify the presence or absence of concussion. It is not intended as a stand-alone diagnostic device.

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

    (1) Software, including any proprietary algorithm(s) used by the device to arrive at its interpretation of the patient's cognitive function, must be described in detail in the software requirements specification (SRS) and software design specification (SDS). Software verification, validation, and hazard analysis must be performed.

    (2) Clinical performance data must be provided that demonstrates how the device functions as an interpretation of the current level of cognitive function in an individual that has recently received an injury that causes concern about a possible concussion. The testing must:

    (i) Evaluate device output and clinical interpretation.

    (ii) Evaluate device test-retest reliability of the device output.

    (iii) Evaluate construct validity of the device cognitive assessments.

    (iv) Describe the construction of the normative database, which includes the following:

    (A) How the clinical workup was completed to establish a “normal” population, including the establishment of inclusion and exclusion criteria.

    (B) Statistical methods and model assumptions used.

    (3) The labeling must include:

    (i) A summary of any clinical testing conducted to demonstrate how the device functions as an interpretation of the current level of cognitive function in a patient that has recently received an injury that causes concern about a possible concussion. The summary of testing must include the following:

    (A) Device output and clinical interpretation.

    (B) Device test-retest reliability of the device output.

    (C) Construct validity of the device cognitive assessments.

    (D) A description of the normative database, which includes the following:

    (1) How the clinical workup was completed to establish a “normal” population, including the establishment of inclusion and exclusion criteria.

    (2) How normal values will be reported to the user.

    (3) Representative screen shots and reports that will be generated to provide the user results and normative data.

    (4) Statistical methods and model assumptions used.

    (5) Whether or not the normative database was adjusted due to differences in age and gender.

    (ii) A warning that the device should only be used by health care professionals who are trained in concussion management.

    (iii) A warning that the device does not identify the presence or absence of concussion or other clinical diagnoses.

    (iv) A warning that the device is not a stand-alone diagnostic.

    (v) Any instructions technicians must convey to patients regarding the administration of the test and collection of cognitive test data.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29134 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT 24 CFR Parts 5, 91, 92, 93, 200, 247, 574, 576, 578, 880, 882, 883, 884, 886, 891, 905, 960, 966, 982, and 983 [Docket No. FR 5720-C-04] Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013: Implementation in HUD Housing Programs; Correction AGENCY:

    Office of General Counsel, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    On November 16, 2016, HUD published a final rule implementing in HUD's regulations the requirements of the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). After publication, HUD discovered an incorrect compliance date in the preamble and an incorrect paragraph designation in the regulatory text. The compliance date, with respect to completing an emergency transfer plan and providing emergency transfers, and associated recordkeeping and reporting requirements, was incorrectly listed as May 15, 2017, in the preamble. The regulatory text provided the correct date of June 14, 2017. This document makes the necessary correction to the preamble to reflect the compliance date in the regulatory text of June 14, 2017 and the paragraph designations in the regulatory text.

    DATES:

    This correction is effective December 16, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    With respect to this supplementary document, contact Ariel Pereira, Associate General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 10238, Washington, DC 20410; telephone number 202-708-1793 (this is not a toll-free number). Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number through TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the final rule FR Doc. 5720-F-03, beginning on page 80724 in the Federal Register of November 16, 2016, the following corrections are made:

    1. In the DATES section, on page 80724 in the second column, revise “May 15, 2017” to read “June 14, 2017”.

    2. In the II.B SUMMARY OF PUBLIC COMMENTS AND HUD RESPONSES section, on page 80790 in the second column, revise “May 15, 2017” to read “June 14, 2017”.

    § 578.99 [Corrected]
    3. On page 80810, in the second column, in the 24 CFR 578.99 regulatory text, the second set of paragraphs (j)(2)(i) through (iii) is redesignated as (j)(2)(iii)(A) through (C).
    Dated: December 1, 2016. Ariel Pereira, Associate General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29213 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2016-1042] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, New Orleans, LA 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 L & N Railroad/Almonaster Road drawbridge across the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, mile 2.9 at New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. The deviation is necessary to conduct repair and replacement of the lift rail assembly on the south end of the bridge. These repairs are essential for the continued safe operation of the bridge. This deviation allows the bridge to remain closed-to-navigation for ten hours with a scheduled one-hour opening to facilitate passage of vessel traffic.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 7 a.m. through 5 p.m., on December 15, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2016-1042] 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 Giselle MacDonald, Bridge Administration Branch, Coast Guard, telephone (504) 671-2128, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    CXS Transportation, through the Port of New Orleans, requested a temporary deviation from the operating schedule of the L & N Railroad/Almonaster Road drawbridge across the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, mile 2.9 at New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana.

    The vertical clearance of the L & N Railroad/Almonaster Road bascule bridge is one foot above high water in the closed-to-navigation position and unlimited clearance in the open-to-navigation position. Navigation on the waterway consists of tugs with tows, small ships, fishing vessels, sailing vessels, and other recreational craft. In accordance with 33 CFR 117.5, the draw shall open on signal for the passage of vessels.

    This deviation allows the drawbridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position from 7 a.m. through 11 a.m. and from noon through 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 15, 2016, with the bridge scheduled to open at 11 a.m. through noon for the passage of all waiting vessels.

    The bridge will not be able to open for the passage of vessels except during the one-hour scheduled opening. Alternate routes are available via the Chef Menteur Pass and the Rigolets.

    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: December 1, 2016. David M. Frank, Bridge Administrator, Eighth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29177 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2016-0935] RIN 1625-AA11 Regulated Navigation Area; Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME and Portsmouth, NH AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary regulated navigation area (RNA) on the Piscataqua River near the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME between Henderson Point Light on Seavey Island and the Memorial Bridge. This RNA establishes speed restrictions to eliminate vessel wake which could endanger the lives of divers and support crews working at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The speed restrictions apply to all vessels transiting the regulated area unless authorized by the First Coast Guard District Commander or the Captain of the Port (COTP), Sector Northern New England.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective without actual notice from December 6, 2016 through June 30, 2017. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from November 14, 2016, through December 6, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2016-0935 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email Mr. Craig Lapiejko, Waterways Management, First Coast Guard District; telephone (617) 223-8351, email [email protected] You may also call or email Chief Petty Officer Chris Bains, Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Northern New England; telephone (207) 347-5003, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking § Section U.S.C. United States Code RNA Regulated Navigation Area COTP Captain of the Port II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because doing so would be impracticable. The Coast Guard was notified of the need for this rule on September 26, 2016. This late notice did not give the Coast Guard enough time to publish a NPRM, take public comments, and issue a final rule before the rule is necessary. Delaying implementation of this rule would inhibit the Coast Guard's ability to provide for the safety of divers and workers completing ship construction at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Without the rule, wake from passing vessels could cause the ship to move erratically and unexpectedly, severely injuring divers and support crews.

    We are issuing this rule, and under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making it effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. For reasons stated in the preceding paragraph, delaying the implementation of this rule would be impracticable.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231.

    As part of a ship construction project at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, divers will be in the water from November 14, 2016, through June 30, 2016. The Coast Guard First District Commander has determined that unexpected and uncontrolled movement of the vessel and associated equipment due to a wake puts the divers and their support crews at significant risk for serious injury or death. In order to ensure the safety of workers during the construction period, the Coast Guard is establishing an RNA to limit the speed, thus wake, of all vessels operating near the shipyard.

    IV. Discussion of the Rule

    This rule places speed restrictions on all vessels transiting the navigable waters of the Piscataqua River, Kittery, ME near the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard between Henderson Point Light on Seavey Island and the Memorial Bridge from 12:01 a.m. on November 14, 2016, through 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2017. The vessels operating within the RNA are subject to a “Slow-No Wake” speed limit. More specifically, vessels may not produce a wake and may not attain speeds greater than five (5) knots unless a higher minimum speed is necessary to maintain steerageway.

    The COTP Sector Northern New England will cause notice of enforcement or suspension of enforcement of this regulated navigation area to be made by all appropriate means in order to affect the widest distribution among the affected segments of the public. Such means of notification will include Broadcast Notice to Mariners and Local Notice to Mariners. In addition, COTP Sector Northern New England maintains a telephone line that is staffed at all times. The public can obtain information concerning enforcement of the RNA by contacting the Sector Northern New England Command Center at (207) 767-0303.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

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

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits. Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This rule has not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, it has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

    This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location, duration, and time-of-year of the RNA. The public impact of this rule will be minimal as the temporary speed restrictions only apply to a small designated area of the Piscataqua River, causing minimal delay to a vessel's transit.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

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

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

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

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

    C. Collection of Information

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

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

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

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves an RNA lasting 229 days that will limit vessel speed on the Piscataqua River in the vicinity of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard while construction work is being completed. It is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. An environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and a Categorical Exclusion Determination will be available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

    G. Protest Activities

    The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places or vessels.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

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

    2. Add § 165.T01-0935 to read as follows:
    § 165.T01-0935 Regulated Navigation Area; Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME and Portsmouth, NH.

    (a) Location. The following area is a regulated navigation area (RNA): All navigable waters on the Piscataqua River, Kittery, ME and Portsmouth, NH near Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from a line drawn between Henderson Point Light “10” (LLNR 8375) at 43°04′29.3″ N., 070°44′10.2″ W. on Seavey Island and Pierce Island Range Front Light (LLNR 8355) at 43°04′25.4″ N., 070°44′25.2″ W. to the Memorial Bridge at 43°04′46.8″ N., 070°45′09.6″ W.

    (b) Regulations. (1) The general regulations contained in 33 CFR 165.10, 165.11 and 165.13 apply.

    (2) In accordance with the general regulations, vessel movement within the RNA is subject to a “Slow-No Wake” speed limit. No vessel may produce a wake and may not attain speeds greater than five (5) knots unless a higher minimum speed is necessary to maintain steerageway.

    (3) All vessels operating within the RNA must comply with all directions given to them by the Captain of the Port (COTP) Sector Northern New England or his on-scene representative. The “on-scene representative” of the COTP is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, or petty officer who has been designated by the COTP to act on his behalf. The on-scene representative may be on a Coast Guard vessel, state marine patrol vessel, another other designated craft, or may be on shore and will communicate with vessels via VHF-FM radio or loudhailer. Members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary or Naval Harbor Security Patrol may be present to inform vessel operators of this regulation.

    (4) All other relevant regulations, including but not limited to the Inland Navigation Rules (33 CFR chapter I, subchapter E), remain in effect within the RNA and must be strictly followed at all times.

    (c) Enforcement Period. This section will be enforced 24 hours a day from November 14, 2016, through June 30, 2017.

    (d) Notifications. Violations of this section may be reported to the COTP at (207) 767-0303 or on VHF-Channel 16.

    Dated: November 7, 2016. S.D. Poulin, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, First Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29260 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0521; FRL-9955-90-Region 4] Air Plan Approval; Kentucky; Revisions to Louisville Definitions and Ambient Air Quality Standards AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action to approve portions of the State Implementation Plan (SIP) submission submitted by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, through the Kentucky Division for Air Quality (KDAQ), on behalf of the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District (District), on March 22, 2011, and May 3, 2012. The revisions to the regulatory portion of the SIP that EPA is taking final action to approve pertain to changes to the District's air quality standards for lead (Pb), particulate matter (both PM2.5 and PM10), ozone, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) to reflect the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), definitional changes, and regulatory consolidation. EPA has determined that these portions of the March 22, 2011, and May 3, 2012, SIP revisions are consistent with the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act).

    DATES:

    This rule will be effective January 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket Identification No. EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0521. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., Confidential Business Information or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Richard Wong, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. The telephone number is (404) 562-8726. Mr. Wong can be reached via electronic mail at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    Sections 108 and 109 of the CAA govern the establishment, review, and revision, as appropriate, of the NAAQS to protect public health and welfare. The CAA requires periodic review of the air quality criteria—the science upon which the standards are based—and the standards themselves. EPA's regulatory provisions that govern the NAAQS are found at 40 CFR 50—National Primary and Secondary Ambient Air Quality Standards.

    In a proposed rulemaking published on August 1, 2016, EPA proposed to approve portions of Kentucky's revisions to the Jefferson County air quality regulations 1 in the Kentucky SIP, submitted by the Commonwealth on March 22, 2011, and May 3, 2012. See 81 FR 50428. The March 22, 2011, submission revises Jefferson County Regulation 1.02—Definitions and consolidates Regulations 3.02—Applicability of Ambient Air Quality Standards; 3.03—Definitions; 3.04—Ambient Air Quality Standards; and 3.05—Methods of Measurement into Regulation 3.01—Ambient Air Quality Standards (currently entitled Purpose of Standards and Expression of Non-Degradation Intention in the SIP) by removing Regulations 3.02 through 3.05 and expanding and retitling Regulation 3.01. This submission also seeks to revise Regulation 1.06—Source Self-Monitoring and Reporting and Regulation 1.07—Emissions During Startups, Shutdowns, Malfunctions and Emergencies. EPA is not taking action on the proposed changes to Regulation 1.06 at this time. EPA approved the revision to Regulation 1.07 on June 10, 2014 (79 FR 33101). The May 3, 2012, submission builds on the revisions to Regulation 3.01 proposed in the March 22, 2011, submission by updating the Jefferson County air quality standards for Pb, PM2.5, PM10, O3, NO2, and SO2 to reflect the NAAQS, reordering the sections within the regulation, and making several textual modifications. The May 3, 2012, submission also seeks to remove the Ford Motor Company NOX Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) permit from the SIP and replace it with a Title V permit; EPA is not taking action on the proposed permit substitution at this time. The details of Kentucky's submission and the rationale for EPA's action are explained in the proposed rulemaking. See 81 FR 50428. Comments on the proposed rulemaking were due on or before August 31, 2016. EPA received no adverse comments on the proposed action.

    1 In 2003, the City of Louisville and Jefferson County governments merged and the “Jefferson County Air Pollution Control District” was renamed the “Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District.” However, each of the regulations in the Jefferson County portion of the Kentucky SIP still has the subheading “Air Pollution Control District of Jefferson County.” Thus, to be consistent with the terminology used in the SIP, EPA refers throughout this notice to regulations contained in Jefferson County portion of the Kentucky SIP as the “Jefferson County” regulations.

    II. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, EPA is finalizing the incorporation by reference of Jefferson County Regulation 1.02—Definitions (except for the definitions of “Acute noncancer effect,” “Cancer,” “Carcinogen,” and “Chronic noncancer effect”), effective June 21, 2005, and Regulation 3.01—Ambient Air Quality Standards, effective April 20, 2011. Therefore, these materials have been approved by EPA for inclusion in the SIP, have been incorporated by reference by EPA into that plan, are fully federally-enforceable under sections See page 660 of the submittal PDF in G:\ARMS\RDS Files through 2015\State Submittals\Kentucky\Finals\KY 197—Louisville SSM & misc.) 110 and 113 of the CAA as of the effective date of the final rulemaking of EPA's approval, and will be incorporated by reference by the Director of the Federal Register in the next update to the SIP compilation.2 EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials generally available through www.regulations.gov and/or at the EPA Region 4 office (please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this preamble for more information).

    2 62 FR 27968 (May 22, 1997).

    III. Final Action

    EPA is taking final action to approve portions of Kentucky's submissions submitted by the Commonwealth of Kentucky through KDAQ on behalf of the District on March 22, 2011, and May 3, 2012. The submissions revise Jefferson County Regulation 1.02—Definitions (except for the definitions of “Acute noncancer effect,” “Cancer,” “Carcinogen,” and “Chronic noncancer effect”), consolidate Regulations 3.02—Applicability of Ambient Air Quality Standards; 3.03—Definitions; 3.04—Ambient Air Quality Standards; and 3.05—Methods of Measurement into Regulation 3.01—Ambient Air Quality Standards (currently entitled Purpose of Standards and Expression of Non-Degradation Intention in the SIP) by removing Regulations 3.02 through 3.05 and expanding and retitling Regulation 3.01, and revise Regulation 3.01 by reordering the sections within the regulation, making several textual modifications, and updating the Jefferson County air quality standards for Pb, PM2.5, PM10, O3, NO2, and SO2 to reflect the NAAQS.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, these rules do not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), nor will it impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

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

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by February 6, 2017. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. See section 307(b)(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: November 21, 2016. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart S—Kentucky 2. Section 52.920(c) is amended: a. Under Table 2, Reg 1—General Provisions by revising the entry for “1.02”, b. Under Table 2, Reg 3—Ambient Air Quality Standards revising the entry for “3.01”, and c. Under Table 2, Reg 3—Ambient Air Quality Standards by removing the entries for “3.02”, “3.03”, “3.04” and “3.05”.

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 52.920 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    Table 2—EPA-Approved Jefferson County Regulations for Kentucky Reg Title/subject EPA approval date Federal Register
  • notice
  • District
  • effective
  • date
  • Explanation
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * 1.02 Definitions 12/6/16 [Insert citation of publication] 6/21/05 Definitions approved except for “Acute noncancer effect,” “Cancer,” “Carcinogen,” and “Chronic noncancer effect”. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 3.01 Ambient Air Quality Standards 12/6/16 [Insert citation of publication] 4/20/11 *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2016-29106 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0426; FRL-9955-96-Region 4] Air Quality Plans; Kentucky; Infrastructure Requirements for the 2010 Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standard AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action to approve portions of the State Implementation Plan (SIP) submission, submitted by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Energy and Environment Cabinet, Department for Environmental Protection, through the Kentucky Division for Air Quality (KDAQ), on April 26, 2013, for inclusion into the Kentucky SIP. This final action pertains to the infrastructure requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) for the 2010 1-hour sulfur dioxide (SO2) national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). The CAA requires that each state adopt and submit a SIP for the implementation, maintenance and enforcement of each NAAQS promulgated by EPA, which is commonly referred to as an “infrastructure SIP submission.” KDAQ certified that the Kentucky SIP contains provisions that ensure the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS is implemented, enforced, and maintained in Kentucky. EPA has determined that Kentucky's infrastructure SIP submission, provided to EPA on April 26, 2013, satisfies certain required infrastructure elements for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS.

    DATES:

    This rule will be effective January 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket Identification No. EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0426. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., Confidential Business Information or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michele Notarianni, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Ms. Notarianni can be reached via electronic mail at [email protected] or via telephone at (404) 562-9031.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background and Overview

    On June 2, 2010 (75 FR 35520, June 22, 2010), EPA revised the primary SO2 NAAQS to an hourly standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) based on a 3-year average of the annual 99th percentile of 1-hour daily maximum concentrations. Pursuant to section 110(a)(1) of the CAA, states are required to submit SIPs meeting the applicable requirements of section 110(a)(2) within three years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS or within such shorter period as EPA may prescribe. Section 110(a)(2) requires states to address basic SIP elements such as requirements for monitoring, basic program requirements and legal authority that are designed to assure attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS. States were required to submit such SIPs for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS to EPA no later than June 2, 2013.

    EPA is acting upon the SIP submission from Kentucky that addresses the infrastructure requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS. In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published on April 4, 2016 (81 FR 19098), EPA proposed to approve Kentucky's 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS infrastructure SIP submission submitted on April 26, 2013, with the exception of the minor source program requirements of section 110(a)(2)(C) and the interstate transport provisions pertaining to the contribution to nonattainment or interference with maintenance in other states and visibility protection requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II) (prongs 1, 2, and 4). The details of Kentucky's submission and the rationale for EPA's actions are explained in the proposed rulemaking. Comments on the NPRM were due on or before May 4, 2016. EPA received an adverse comment on the proposed action. Additionally, EPA acknowledges an erroneous date cited in the Technical Support Document (TSD) to its April 4, 2016, proposal action. For the Kentucky entry in Table 1 of EPA's TSD, “November 23, 2014 (79 FR 65143)” is listed in two places. These two entries should read: “November 3, 2014 (79 FR 65143)”.

    II. Response to Comments

    EPA received an adverse comment on the April 4, 2016, NPRM to approve Kentucky's 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS infrastructure SIP submission intended to meet the CAA requirements for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS. A summary of the comment and EPA's response is provided below. The comment is also available in the docket for this final rulemaking action.

    Comment: The Commenter stated, “EPA cannot approve the PSD [Prevention of Significant Deterioration] related elements of this Infrastructure SIP until the Jefferson County local air authority has incorporated PM2.5 [fine particulate matter] increments into its PSD program.”

    Response: EPA does not agree with the Commenter's assertion that EPA cannot approve the PSD elements of Kentucky's submittal until the Jefferson County Air Pollution Control District incorporates PM2.5 increments into its PSD program. As discussed in the April 4, 2016, NPRM (see 81 FR 19104), Kentucky's SIP-approved PSD permitting program for major sources contains required structural PSD requirements, including PM2.5 increments. See 79 FR 65143, November 3, 2014. Kentucky's rule does not have any exclusion, exception or exemption for individual localities such as Jefferson County, Kentucky. Accordingly, the PSD permitting requirements, including the PM2.5 increments, apply in all areas of the Commonwealth, including Jefferson County.

    Kentucky has a statutory provision that addresses local air pollution control programs at KRS 224.20-130, Concurrent jurisdiction with local district—Effect. This section cross references local programs established under KRS chapter 77, which is the statutory authority for the Jefferson County program. KRS 224.20-130 requires the Energy and Environment Cabinet to approve local programs; provides that local programs cannot be less stringent; provides that, upon approval, there is concurrent jurisdiction; and provides that this (approval of a local program with concurrent jurisdiction) in no way diminishes the authority of the cabinet to administer and enforce chapter 224—which is the chapter that comprises and/or authorizes Kentucky's SIP regulations, including its PSD program. Also, subsection (2) of KRS 224.20-130 allows the cabinet to suspend or revoke approval, or modify the authority granted to a local air pollution control program in Kentucky if the cabinet determines, after public hearing with notice, that a local air pollution control program is not being administered in accordance with the statutes and regulations of the cabinet or the district. Further, subsection (4) states that, “The cabinet shall be empowered to enforce any and all regulations or standards in any district when concurrent jurisdiction is granted.”

    Therefore, Kentucky's PSD program applies to the entire Commonwealth, including Jefferson County, and any deficiencies in the PSD program for Jefferson County would not impact the sufficiency of Kentucky's SIP for the PSD infrastructure elements.

    III. Final Action

    With the exception of the minor source program requirements of section 110(a)(2)(C) and the interstate transport provisions pertaining to the contribution to nonattainment or interference with maintenance in other states and visibility protection requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II) (prongs 1, 2, and 4), EPA is taking final action to approve Kentucky's infrastructure submission submitted on April 26, 2013, for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS for the above described infrastructure SIP requirements. EPA is taking final action to approve Kentucky's infrastructure SIP submission for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS because the submission is consistent with section 110 of the CAA.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), nor will it impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

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

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by February 6, 2017. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. See section 307(b)(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: November 21, 2016. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart S—Kentucky 2. Section 52.920(e) is amended by adding a new entry “110(a)(1) and (2) Infrastructure Requirements for the 2010 1-hour SO2 National Ambient Air Quality Standard” at the end of the table to read as follows:
    § 52.920 Identification of plan.

    (e) * * *

    EPA-Approved Kentucky Non-Regulatory Provisions Name of non-regulatory SIP provision Applicable
  • geographic or
  • nonattainment area
  • State submittal
  • date/effective
  • date
  • EPA approval
  • date
  • Explanations
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * 110(a)(1) and (2) Infrastructure Requirements for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS Kentucky 04/26/2013 12/6/2016 With the exception of the minor source program requirements of section 110(a)(2)(C) and the interstate transport requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II) (prongs 1, 2, and 4).
    [FR Doc. 2016-29115 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R03-OAR-2016-0368; FRL-9955-91-Region 3] Determination of Attainment by the Attainment Date for the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards; Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making a final determination that the Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley, Pennsylvania marginal ozone nonattainment area (the Pittsburgh Area) has attained the 2008 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standards (the 2008 ozone NAAQS) by the July 20, 2016 attainment date. This determination is based on complete, certified, and quality assured ambient air quality monitoring data for the Pittsburgh Area for the 2013-2015 monitoring period. This determination does not constitute a redesignation to attainment. This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on January 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID Number EPA-R03-OAR-2016-0368. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., confidential business information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available through http://www.regulations.gov, or please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section for additional availability information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gavin Huang, (215) 814-2042, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    On August 25, 2016 (81 FR 58435), EPA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In the NPR, EPA proposed to determine, in accordance with its statutory obligations under section 181(b)(2)(A) of the CAA and the provisions of the SIP Requirements Rule (40 CFR 51.1103), that the Pittsburgh Area attained the 2008 ozone NAAQS by the applicable attainment date of July 20, 2016.

    II. EPA's Evaluation

    Consistent with the requirements contained in 40 CFR part 50, EPA reviewed the ozone ambient air quality monitoring data for the monitoring period from 2013 through 2015 for the Pittsburgh Area, as recorded in the AQS database. State and local agencies responsible for ozone air monitoring networks supplied and quality assured the data. EPA determined that the monitoring sites with valid data had design values equal to or less than 0.075 ppm based on the 2013-2015 monitoring period. Therefore, the Pittsburgh Area attained the 2008 ozone NAAQS.

    Other specific requirements of this determination of attainment by the attainment date and the rationale for EPA's action are explained in the NPR and will not be restated here. No public comments were received on the NPR.

    III. Final Action

    EPA is making a final determination, in accordance with its statutory obligations under section 181(b)(2)(A) of the CAA and the provisions of the SIP Requirements Rule (40 CFR 51.1103), that the Pittsburgh Area attained the 2008 ozone NAAQS by the applicable attainment date of July 20, 2016. This determination of attainment does not constitute a redesignation to attainment. Redesignations require states to meet a number of additional criteria, including EPA approval of a state plan to maintain the air quality standard for 10 years after redesignation.

    IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. General Requirements

    This rulemaking action finalizes a determination of attainment on the 2008 ozone NAAQS based on air quality and does not impose additional requirements. For that reason, this determination of attainment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, this rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP is not approved to apply in Indian country located in the state, and EPA notes that it will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    B. Submission to Congress and the Comptroller General

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

    C. Petitions for Judicial Review

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by February 6, 2017. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action.

    This action determining that the Pittsburgh Area attained the 2008 ozone NAAQS by its July 20, 2016 attainment date may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: November 4, 2016. Shawn M. Garvin, Regional Administrator, Region III.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart NN—Pennsylvania 2. In § 52.2056, paragraph (n) is added to read as follows:
    § 52.2056 Determinations of attainment.

    (n) EPA has determined based on 2013 to 2015 ambient air quality monitoring data, that the Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley, Pennsylvania marginal ozone nonattainment area has attained the 2008 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) by the applicable attainment date of July 20, 2016. Therefore, EPA has met the requirement pursuant to CAA section 181(b)(2)(A) to determine, based on the area's air quality as of the attainment date, whether the area attained the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA also determined that the Pittsburgh-Beaver Valley, Pennsylvania marginal nonattainment area will not be reclassified for failure to attain by its applicable attainment date pursuant to section 181(b)(2)(A).

    [FR Doc. 2016-29118 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 228 [FRL-9955-13-Region 1] Ocean Disposal; Designation of a Dredged Material Disposal Site in Eastern Region of Long Island Sound; Connecticut AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    With the publication of this Final Rule, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is designating the Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site (ELDS), located offshore from New London, Connecticut, for the disposal of dredged material from harbors and navigation channels in eastern Long Island Sound and Little Narragansett Bay in the states of Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island. This action is necessary to provide a long-term, open-water dredged material disposal site as an alternative for the possible future disposal of such material. This disposal site designation is subject to restrictions designed to support the goal of reducing or eliminating the disposal of dredged material in Long Island Sound.

    The basis for this action is described herein and in the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) released by EPA on November 4, 2016 in conjunction with this Final Rule. The FSEIS identifies designation of the ELDS as the preferred alternative from the range of options considered.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on January 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket Identification No. EPA-R01-OW-2016-0239. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Publically available docket materials are also available from EPA's Web site https://www.epa.gov/ocean-dumping/dredged-material-management-long-island-sound.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jean Brochi, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New England Regional Office, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Mail Code: OEP06-1, Boston, MA 02109-3912, telephone (617) 918-1536, electronic mail: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Organization of this document. The following outline is provided to aid in locating information in this preamble.

    I. Final Action II. Background III. Purpose IV. Potentially Affected Entities V. Disposal Site Description VI. Summary of Public Comments and EPA's Responses VII. Changes From the Proposed Rule VIII. Compliance With Statutory and Regulatory Requirements A. Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act and Clean Water Act B. National Environmental Policy Act C. Coastal Zone Management Act D. Endangered Species Act E. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act IX. Restrictions X. Supporting Documents XI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Final Action

    EPA is publishing this Final Rule to designate the ELDS to provide an environmentally sound, open-water disposal option for possible use in managing dredged material from harbors and navigation channels in eastern Long Island Sound and its vicinity in the states of Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island. The site designation is effective for an indefinite period of time. The use of the site is subject to restrictions designed to reduce or eliminate open-water disposal of dredged material in Long Island Sound, and to ensure protection of the environment if and when the site is used.

    The site designation process has been conducted consistent with the requirements of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), and other applicable federal and state statutes and regulations. Compliance with these requirements is described in detail in Section VIII (“Compliance with Statutory and Regulatory Requirements”). The basis for this federal action is further described in an FSEIS that identifies EPA designation of the ELDS as the preferred alternative. The FSEIS was released on November 4, 2016 on the EPA Region 1 Web site: https://www.epa.gov/ocean-dumping/final-supplemental-environmental-impact-statement-eastern-long-island-sound and is provided as a supporting document in the docket for this Final Rule. See 40 CFR 1506.10. This Final Rule also serves as EPA's Record of Decision (ROD) for the NEPA review supporting the designation of this site.

    Dredged material disposal sites designated by EPA under the MPRSA are subject to detailed management and monitoring protocols to track site conditions and prevent the occurrence of unacceptable adverse effects. The management and monitoring protocols for the ELDS are described in the Site Management and Monitoring Plan (SMMP) that is incorporated into the FSEIS as Appendix I. See 33 U.S.C. 1412(c)(3). EPA is authorized to close or limit the use of these sites to further disposal activity if their use causes unacceptable adverse impacts to the marine environment or human health.

    The designation of this disposal site does not constitute or imply EPA's approval of open-water disposal of dredged material at the site from any specific project. Disposal of dredged material from federal projects, or non-federal projects involving more than 25,000 cubic yards (cy) of material, will not be allowed at the ELDS until the proposed disposal operation first receives, among other things, proper authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) under MPRSA section 103. (Proposals to dispose of material from non-federal projects involving less than 25,000 cy yards of material are subject to regulation under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.) In addition, any authorization by the USACE under MPRSA section 103 is subject to EPA review under MPRSA section 103(c), and EPA may concur, concur with conditions, or decline to concur with the authorization as a result of such review. In order to properly obtain authorization to dispose of dredged material at the ELDS under the MPRSA, the dredged material proposed for disposal must first satisfy the applicable criteria for testing and evaluating dredged material specified in EPA regulations at 40 CFR part 227, and it must be determined in accordance with EPA regulations at 40 CFR part 227, subpart C, that there is a need for open-water disposal (i.e., that there is no practicable dredged material management alternative to open-water disposal with less adverse environmental impact). In addition, any proposal to dispose of dredged material under the MPRSA at the designated site will need to satisfy all the site restrictions included in the Final Rule as part of the site designation. See 40 CFR 228.8 and 228.15(b)(6).

    II. Background

    On April 27, 2016, EPA published in the Federal Register (81 FR 24748) a proposed rule (the Proposed Rule) to designate an Eastern Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Site (ELDS), located offshore from New London, Connecticut. EPA's Proposed Rule also stated that two other alternative sites, the Niantic Bay and Cornfield Shoals disposal sites and CSDS), met the site selection criteria in the Ocean Dumping Regulations and could be designated for long-term use. EPA indicated that it was not proposing to designate those two alternative sites but requested public comment on the advisability of using those sites.

    On July 7, 2016, EPA published in the Federal Register (81 FR 44220) a final rule to amend the 2005 rule that designated the Central and Western Long Island Sound dredged material disposal sites (CLDS and WLDS, respectively). The rule amendments established new restrictions on the use of those sites to support the goal of reducing or eliminating open-water disposal in Long Island Sound. The restrictions include standards and procedures to promote the development and use of practicable alternatives to open-water disposal, including establishment of an interagency “Steering Committee” and “Regional Dredging Team” that will oversee implementation of the rule. As explained in the Proposed Rule for the ELDS, the restrictions applicable to the CLDS and WLDS also will be applied to use of the ELDS.

    III. Purpose

    The purpose of EPA's action is to provide a long-term, environmentally acceptable dredged material disposal option for potential use by the USACE and other federal, state, county, municipal, and private entities that must dredge channels, harbors, marinas, and other aquatic areas in eastern Long Island Sound in order to maintain conditions for safe navigation for marine commerce and recreation, and for military and public safety operations. This action is necessary because: (1) Periodic dredging is needed to maintain safe navigation and occasionally improve ports and harbors to maintain competitiveness and support a changing economy, and open-water dredged material disposal is necessary when practicable alternative means of managing the material are not available; (2) EPA determined that dredged material disposal/handling needs in the eastern region of Long Island Sound exceed the available disposal/handling capacity in that region; (3) the two currently used disposal sites in this region, the New London Disposal Site (NLDS) and CSDS, are only authorized for use until December 23, 2016; (4) there are currently no disposal sites designated for long-term use in the eastern Long Island Sound region; and (5) under the MPRSA, an EPA designation is required for any long-term open-water dredged material disposal site in Long Island Sound.

    In addition, the closest designated sites outside the eastern Long Island Sound region are the Central Long Island Sound Disposal Site (CLDS) and the Rhode Island Sound Disposal Site (RISDS), and both are too far from dredging centers in the eastern region of the Sound to be reasonable alternatives to the proposed site designation. For example, the distance from New London Harbor to the CLDS is 34.7 nautical miles (nmi) and to the RISDS is 44.5 nmi. The Western Long Island Sound Disposal Site (WLDS) is approximately 59 nmi west of New London Harbor, making it an even less feasible alternative.

    While the CLDS, WLDS, and RISDS have all been determined to be environmentally sound sites for receiving suitable dredged material, proposing to use any of them for suitable dredged material from the eastern region of Long Island Sound would be problematic, and EPA would consider them to be options of last resort. Using the CLDS or RISDS would greatly increase the transport distance for, and duration of, open-water disposal for dredging projects from the eastern Long Island Sound region. This, in turn, would greatly increase the cost of such projects and would likely render many dredging projects too expensive to conduct. For example, maintenance dredging of the U.S. Navy Submarine Base berths planned for 2016-2020 is expected to generate about 75,000 cy of suitable material; the estimated cost of disposal at the ELDS is $31/cy for a total cost of $2,325,000, while disposal at the CLDS is estimated at $64/cy for a total of $4,800,000. An improvement (deepening) project to accommodate a larger class of submarine planned for 2016-2025 is expected to generate about 350,000 cy; the estimated cost of disposal at the ELDS is $26/cy for a total cost of $9,100,000, while disposal at the CLDS is estimated at $57/cy for a total of $19,950,000 (USACE, 2016b). Thus, the longer haul distance more than doubles the cost to the public for the federal government to dredge the same project.

    Furthermore, the greater transport distances would be environmentally detrimental, in that they would entail greater energy use, increased air emissions, and increased risk of spills and short dumps (FSEIS, Section 2.1). Regarding air emissions, increased hauling distances might require using larger scows with more powerful towing vessels, which would use more fuel and cause more air pollution. Longer haul distances also may increase the amount of time necessary to complete a dredging project, resulting in an extended period of disruption to the areas being dredged.

    In its Long Island Sound Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP), the USACE projected that dredging in eastern Long Island Sound would generate approximately 22.6 million cubic yards (mcy) of dredged material over the next 30 years. Of the total amount of 22.6 mcy, approximately 13.5 mcy was projected to be fine-grained sediment that meets MPRSA and Clean Water Act (CWA) standards for aquatic disposal (i.e., “suitable” material), and 9.1 mcy was projected to be coarse-grained sand that also meets MPRSA and CWA standards for aquatic disposal (i.e., also “suitable” material). In addition, the DMMP projected that approximately 80,900 cy of material from eastern Long Island Sound would be fine-grained sediment that does not meet MPRSA and CWA standards for aquatic disposal (i.e., “unsuitable” material).

    In response to comments asserting that no disposal site is needed in the eastern region of Long Island Sound, and comments urging that the size of any site be reduced or minimized, EPA asked the USACE to revisit once more its estimate of disposal capacity needs and to revise the figures, if appropriate. Although the values from the DMMP reflected substantial analysis and public input, the USACE agreed to reassess the capacity needs in coordination with EPA. This reassessment has resulted in a projected disposal capacity need of approximately 20 mcy, which still supports the conclusion that a disposal site is needed in the eastern region of the Sound. The reassessment of capacity needs is discussed further in Sections V (“Disposal Site Description”) and VI (“Summary of Public Comments and EPA's Responses”) of this document and in Section 5.8 of the FSEIS.

    The detailed assessment of alternatives to open-water disposal in the USACE's DMMP determined that, while the sand generated in this region may be able to be used beneficially to nourish beaches, there are not practicable alternatives to open-water disposal with sufficient capacity to handle the projected volume of fine-grained sediment. As described in the Proposed Rule and in Section IX of the Final Rule itself, EPA has placed restrictions on the use of all Long Island Sound dredged material disposal sites that are designed to facilitate and promote the use of practicable alternatives to open-water disposal whenever available, but EPA has determined that one designated open-water disposal site is needed in eastern Long Island Sound.

    Given the need to provide an open-water disposal site as an option for dredged material management, EPA designation of a long-term dredged material disposal site(s) provides environmental benefits. First, when a site being used under the USACE's short-term site selection authority is due to expire, designation by EPA is the only way to authorize continued use of that site, even if the site is environmentally suitable or even environmentally preferable to all other sites. With the NLDS and CSDS closing in December 2016, EPA's site designation studies were designed to determine whether these or any other sites should be designated for continued long-term use. Congress has directed that the disposal of dredged material should take place at EPA-designated sites, rather than USACE-selected sites, when EPA-designated sites are available (see MPRSA 103(b)). Consistent with that Congressional intent, EPA's policy is that it is generally environmentally preferable to concentrate any open-water disposal at sites that have been used historically and at fewer sites, rather than relying on the selection by the USACE of multiple sites to be used for a limited time, see 40 CFR 228.5(e).

    Second, MPRSA criteria for selecting and designating sites require EPA to consider previously used disposal sites, with active or historically used sites given preference in the evaluation (40 CFR 228.5(e)). This preference will concentrate the effects, if any, of open-water disposal of dredged material to discrete areas that have already received dredged material, and avoid distributing any effects over a larger geographic area. Finally, unlike USACE-selected sites, EPA-designated sites require a SMMP that will help ensure environmentally sound monitoring and management of the sites.

    Designating an environmentally sound open-water disposal site to allow for and facilitate necessary dredging in the eastern region of Long Island Sound also will yield a number of public benefits. First, designating an environmentally sound disposal site will yield economic benefits. There are a large number of important navigation-dependent businesses and industries in the eastern Long Island Sound region, ranging from shipping (especially the movement of petroleum fuels and the shipping of bulk materials), to recreational boating-related businesses, marine transportation, commercial and recreational fishing, interstate ferry operations, ship building, and military and public safety operations, such as those associated with the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton and the U.S. Coast Guard facilities in New London. These businesses and industries contribute substantially to the region's economic output, the gross state product (GSP) of the bordering states, and tax revenue. Continued access to navigation channels, harbors, berths, and mooring areas is vital to ensuring the continued economic health of these industries, and to preserving the ability of the region to import fuels, bulk supplies, and other commodities at competitive prices. Second, preserving navigation channels, marinas, harbors, berthing areas, and other marine resources, improves the quality of life for residents and visitors to the eastern Long Island Sound region by facilitating recreational boating and associated activities, such as fishing and sightseeing. Finally, by facilitating dredging needed to support U.S. Navy and Coast Guard operations, designation of an open-water dredged material disposal site also supports national defense planning and operations as well as public safety.

    IV. Potentially Affected Entities

    Entities potentially affected by this action are persons, organizations, or government bodies seeking to dispose of dredged material in waters of eastern Long Island Sound, subject to the requirements of the MPRSA and/or the CWA and their implementing regulations. This rule is expected to be primarily of relevance to: (a) Private parties seeking permits from the USACE to transport more than 25,000 cubic yards of dredged material for the purpose of disposal into the waters of eastern Long Island Sound; (b) the USACE for its own dredged material disposal projects; and (c) other federal agencies seeking to dispose of dredged material in eastern Long Island Sound. Potentially affected entities and categories of entities that may seek to use the designated dredged material disposal site and would be subject to the proposed rule include:

    Category Examples of potentially affected entities Federal government USACE (Civil Works Projects), and other federal agencies. State, local, and tribal governments Governments owning and/or responsible for ports, harbors, and/or berths, government agencies requiring disposal of dredged material associated with public works projects. Industry and general public Port authorities, shipyards and marine repair facilities, marinas and boatyards, and berth owners.

    This table is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather provides a guide for readers regarding the types of entities that could potentially be affected by this Final Rule. EPA notes that nothing in this rule alters the jurisdiction or authority of EPA, the USACE, or the types of entities regulated under the MPRSA and/or CWA. Questions regarding the applicability of this Final Rule to a particular entity should be directed to the contact person listed in the preceding FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    V. Disposal Site Description

    This rule designates the ELDS, but with site boundaries modified from those in the Proposed Rule, for open-water disposal of dredged material for several reasons. First, the entire ELDS is a containment site, which will protect the environment by retaining the dredged material within the site and, accordingly, will also support effective site management and monitoring. Second, the NLDS, which is immediately to the east of the ELDS, has been used for dredged material disposal for over 60 years, and monitoring of the NLDS over the past 35 years has determined that past and present management practices have been successful in minimizing short-term, long-term, and cumulative impacts to water quality and benthic habitat in this vicinity. EPA has determined that the ELDS also can be successfully managed. Third, designating the ELDS, which is immediately adjacent to the NLDS, would be consistent with USEPA's ocean disposal regulations, which indicate a preference for designating disposal sites in areas that have been used in the past, rather than new, relatively undisturbed areas (40 CFR 228.5(e)).

    Finally, in response to public comments, which are described further in Section VI (“Summary of Public Comments and EPA's Responses”), EPA is designating an ELDS that has been relocated farther to the west and is smaller in size than the preferred alternative described in the Proposed Rule. Thus, the boundaries of the ELDS have been redrawn for this Final Rule. For the Proposed Rule, EPA proposed an ELDS with an estimated capacity of 27 mcy based on an estimated need for disposal capacity of approximately 22.6 mcy for material from the eastern region of the Sound, which in turn was based on the dredging needs assessment from the DMMP. See 81 FR 24750. EPA received comments stating that there was no need for a disposal site to be designated in the eastern region of Long Island Sound. As part of its consideration of, and response to, these comments, EPA requested the USACE prepare a more refined estimate of the dredged material disposal capacity needed for sediments projected to be dredged from the eastern region of the Sound. The USACE undertook this analysis and projected that a disposal capacity of approximately 20 mcy (based on water volume below a depth of 59 feet [18 meters] and slope calculations, with a buffer zone) would likely be sufficient. This estimate reflects a variety of factors, some of which involve an unavoidable degree of uncertainty. These factors include the following: Specific dredging projects currently projected within the region (including possible “improvement projects” to further deepen channels or berthing areas); how much of each type of material (e.g., sand, suitable and unsuitable fine-grained material) is estimated to be generated by each project; how much of this material is estimated to require open-water disposal; the possibility of increased dredging needs caused by larger-than-normal storms; and a “bulking factor” of approximately 10 percent. More specifically, the revised projected disposal capacity need of approximately 20 mcy is based on the need to accommodate approximately 12.5 mcy of suitable fine-grained sediment; 2.8 mcy from potential improvement (deepening) dredging projects; 1.8 mcy of shoal material resulting from extreme storm events; 1.1 mcy of sand (recognizing that beach nourishment may not be a practicable alternative for all 9.1 mcy of the projected sand); and 160,000 cy for the excavation of Confined Aquatic Disposal cells (for material unsuitable for open-water disposal); for a total of 18,364,500 cy; and a bulking factor of approximately 10 percent of the total, which brings the total to about 20 mcy. The “bulking factor” assumes that dredged material placed at a disposal site is relatively unconsolidated and, thus, will require more capacity when it is placed at a disposal site than it occupied when in it was in a consolidated state on the seafloor prior to dredging. EPA discussed this disposal capacity needs analysis with the USACE before, during, and after its development, and EPA has also independently assessed it. Based on all of this, EPA regards the disposal capacity needs analysis to be reasonable, especially in light of the unavoidable uncertainty associated with some of its elements.

    EPA also received comments opposing designation of the ELDS but expressing a willingness to accept the NBDS site, lying farther in Connecticut waters. EPA regards these comments to be at least suggestive of a desire to move the site farther from New York waters, while recognizing that such comments do not necessarily indicate an acceptance of an ELDS relocated to lie exclusively in Connecticut waters. In addition, EPA received comments supporting the ELDS but urging that its eastern boundary be pushed westward farther away from the submarine transit corridor in that area of the Sound. Finally, EPA received several comments opposing designation of the NBDS due to its proximity to the Millstone Power Plant.

    Taking all of these comments and the above dredged material disposal capacity needs analysis into account, EPA has redrawn the boundaries of the ELDS. The site has been moved to the west so that it avoids the submarine transit corridor. The entire site now also lies in Connecticut waters approximately 0.2 nm from New York waters. In addition, the northern and southern site boundaries were modified to avoid two areas of rocky outcroppings that might provide habitat for fish and other marine life that are attracted to “structure” on the seafloor. EPA has determined that the reconfigured ELDS would provide approximately 20 mcy of disposal capacity, which will meet the disposal capacity need estimated by the USACE.

    The following site description is based on information in section 3.4.3 of the FSEIS and other support documents. Specifically, Figure 5.6 in the FSEIS show the location of the site and Table 5-11 provides coordinates for the site boundaries.

    The ELDS, as described in the Proposed Rule, comprised approximately the western half of the existing NLDS, along with Sites NL-Wa and NL-Wb, which are adjacent areas immediately to the west of the NLDS. The ELDS now being designated excludes the NLDS entirely and encompasses most of former Site NL-Wa (excluding the northern bedrock area) and former Site NL-Wb (excluding the southern bedrock area) (see FSEIS, Figure 5.6). The ELDS combines these two areas, forming an irregularly-shaped polygon that is 1 x 1.5 nmi, but that excludes the two previously described bedrock areas for a total area of approximately 1.3 square nautical miles (nmi2).

    Water depths in the ELDS range from approximately 59 feet (18 m) in the north to 100 feet (30 m) in the south. The seafloor at the site consists of mostly flat, sandy areas, sloping gradually from north to south. However, there is an area of boulders and bedrock in the northern part of former Site NL-Wa that has been excluded from the reconfigured site boundaries due to its potential value as fisheries habitat. This boulder area may be a lag deposit of a glacial moraine. The water depth in parts of the boulder area is shallower than 59 feet (18 m). The southwestern corner of former Site NL-Wb also contains an area of bedrock and boulders, which is an extension of a larger area with a similar substrate further to the south. The reconfigured site boundaries also exclude this area of potentially high value fisheries habitat.

    The distance from the ELDS to the closest points of land and the state border are as follows: From the northern boundary to the Connecticut shoreline (specifically, Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, Connecticut, is 1.1 nmi; from the southeastern corner to Fishers Island, New York, is 2.3 nmi; and from the southeastern corner to the Connecticut/New York state border is .19 nmi).

    VI. Summary of Public Comments and EPA's Responses

    EPA received numerous comments on its proposed site designation as described in the DSEIS and Proposed Rule from federal and state elected officials in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island; the USACE; the U.S. Navy; the states of Connecticut and New York; a number of municipalities; environmental groups; harbor and marine trade groups; and many private citizens. EPA received comments both in support of and in opposition to its proposed action, with some offering suggested improvements. Documents containing copies of all of the public comments received by EPA and EPA's response to each of the comments have been placed in the public docket and on the Web site identified in the ADDRESSES section of this document. There was significant overlap among the comments received. Below, EPA summarizes the main points of the commenters and the Agency's responses.

    Comment #1. EPA received many comments in support of the designation of ELDS from members of the Connecticut and Rhode Island Congressional delegations (including a separate submission from Congressman Joseph Courtney), the U.S. Navy, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Port Authority, the Connecticut Harbor Management Association, marina and boatyard operators, several local government officials, and private citizens. While many of these comments were of a general nature, some of the commenters also provided additional, specific comments related to the proposed action which are addressed in more detail farther below in this section.

    Response #1. EPA acknowledges the support provided for the Proposed Rule to designate the ELDS.

    Comment #2. EPA also received a number of nearly identical comments stating opposition to the DSEIS and the Proposed Rule to designate the ELDS, and dredged material disposal in Long Island Sound in general. These included comments from Congressman Lee Zeldin, Suffolk County Legislators Sarah Anker and Al Krupski, the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the Fishers Island Conservancy, the Group for the East End, the East End Sailing Association, several local government officials, and private citizens.

    Some of these commenters found the DMMP to be inadequate, criticized the DMMP's use of the Federal Standard in evaluating alternatives, criticized what they see as a lack of progress toward reducing or eliminating dredged material disposal in Long Island Sound (and, conversely, a lack of progress in increasing beneficial use), and opposed the preferred alternative of designating the ELDS as a dredged material disposal site. Some of the commenters also provided additional, specific comments, which are addressed in more detail elsewhere in this section.

    Response #2. EPA acknowledges, but disagrees with, the opposition to the designation of the ELDS, and to the open-water disposal of dredged material in Long Island Sound in general, expressed by these commenters. At the same time, as discussed further in response to other comments in this section, EPA concludes that some amount of open-water disposal of dredged material into Long Island Sound will be necessary in the future because: (1) Dredging is essential to allow for safe navigation for recreational, commercial and military and public safety vessels in Long Island Sound, and (2) practicable alternatives to open-water disposal are unlikely to be sufficient to accommodate the amount of material projected to be dredged from the eastern region of Long Island Sound over the 30-year planning horizon. Furthermore, the ELDS is an environmentally appropriate disposal site and restrictions on the type of material that can be placed at the ELDS, coupled with regulatory requirements to use available practicable alternatives to open-water disposal, should ensure that any use of the disposal site is minimized and does not harm the environment. The Final Rule includes the same site use restrictions that were promulgated for the CLDS and WLDS and are designed to reduce or eliminate the disposal of dredged material into the waters of Long Island Sound.

    In response to concerns regarding the adequacy of the DMMP, EPA believes the DMMP provides useful information to help the agencies achieve the goal of reducing or eliminating the open-water disposal of dredged material in the Sound. To help realize this goal, the DMMP recommends standards and procedures for the agencies to use in the review of dredged material management proposals. In addition, the DMMP identifies and discusses a range of specific alternatives to open-water disposal for each of the 52 Federal Navigation Projects (FNPs) in Long Island Sound. The choice of which alternative (or alternatives) should be implemented for a specific dredging project will be made in the future based on the facts, law and policy that exist at the time of the decision. EPA has provided a more detailed discussion regarding the Federal Standard in the preamble to the final rule for the Central and Western Disposal Sites (81 FR 44220) and in the complete Response to Comments document placed in the public docket and on the Web site identified in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

    Comment #3. Commenters provided a range of opinions on the need for a disposal site in Eastern Long Island Sound. Some commenters noted that dredging is necessary to ensure recreational boating and commercial shipping access to the waters of Long Island Sound. They point out that marinas, boatyards, and boat clubs provide the main access for the public to get out onto the Sound and these facilities must dredge periodically to maintain sufficient depth for safe berthing and navigation. In addition, they comment that dredging is vital to ensure the continued existence of commercial and recreational industries that generate billions of dollars of economic activity and support thousands of jobs around the Sound. They also note that dredging is important to support the function of national interest facilities, such as the Naval Submarine Base New London and U.S. Coast Guard facilities. These commenters conclude that the ELDS site, as proposed, will meet the dredging needs for the region over the next 30 years and, therefore, there is no need to designate additional sites (such as the CSDS or NBDS).

    Other commenters conclude that the dredging needs in the DMMP are vastly overstated, and that there is no need for a disposal site in eastern Long Island Sound. In comments provided by the New York State Department of State (NYSDOS) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the departments noted that they did not think it was necessary to designate a site in the eastern region of Long Island Sound, but they also recognized the importance of providing stakeholders with a range of options for management of dredged material and recommended EPA designate the NBDS alternative and the NLDS as a “remediation site.” EPA received a letter from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo after the end of the comment period expressing opposition to any disposal site designation in eastern Long Island Sound. The Governor's comments further state that the EPA and USACE are incorrectly seeking to justify an eastern site based on the assertion that there is inadequate capacity at the CLDS, WLDS, and Rhode Island Sound Disposal Site (RISDS). (Additional points in the Governor's letter are addressed at Comment and Response #4 below.)

    Response #3. EPA agrees that dredging is necessary to provide for safe navigation in and around Long Island Sound and acknowledges that the marine trade industry is an important contributor to the economies of both Connecticut and New York. EPA also agrees that dredging is necessary to provide recreational boating access to Long Island Sound. Recreational boating, and associated activities such as fishing and sightseeing, are important public uses of the Sound that improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike, while also contributing to the local economy. EPA also notes that by helping to provide for safe navigation, not only does environmentally-sound dredging and dredged material management benefit commercial and recreational uses of Long Island Sound, but it also contributes to national security and public safety by facilitating navigation for U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and other types of military and public safety vessels.

    EPA disagrees with the suggestion in the letter from NYSDOS and NYSDEC and the Governor's letter that an eastern Long Island Sound disposal site is not needed because there is sufficient capacity at other already designated sites outside of the eastern Sound, such as the CLDS, WLDS, and RISDS. The USACE projected in the DMMP that dredging in Long Island Sound would generate approximately 52.9 mcy of material over the 30-year planning horizon, with approximately 30.3 mcy coming from the western and central regions, and 22.6 mcy from the eastern region. Of the 52.9 mcy, approximately 3.3 mcy of material are projected to be unsuitable for open-water disposal, see 81 FR 24750, leaving approximately 49.6 mcy of material that could potentially be placed at an open-water disposal site, if necessary. Of this 49.6 mcy, 15.2 mcy are projected to be sand that could potentially be used for beneficial uses, such as beach nourishment, while 34.4 is projected to be fine-grained material suitable for open-water disposal. Obviously, it is likely that beneficial uses, or some other upland management option, will be found for some amount of the sand, and even some amount of the fine-grained materials, but there is no guarantee of this and it is impossible to be sure in advance what these amounts will be.

    As noted in the DSEIS, the CLDS and WLDS are each estimated to have a disposal capacity of about 20 mcy. This 40 mcy of capacity is not enough to take the full 49.6 mcy of material that could require open-water disposal. The RISDS was designated in 2005 to serve the dredging needs of the Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts region.

    Furthermore, the predicted amounts of material to be managed are unavoidably imperfect estimates. The actual amounts of material to be managed could be higher (or lower) over the 30-year planning horizon, especially when unpredictable events such as large storms and possible improvement dredging needs are considered. Therefore, EPA deems it reasonable to take a conservative approach and designate sites to ensure adequate disposal capacity is available for all the projected material, recognizing that all the capacity might not end up being needed. Indeed, as per the site use restrictions, EPA will be working with others to try to find beneficial use options for dredged material to minimize how much disposal capacity is needed.

    Beyond the issue of having enough disposal capacity, EPA also determined that the CLDS, WLDS, and RISDS would not reasonably serve the needs of the eastern Long Island Sound region once the environmental effects, cost, environmental and safety risks, and logistical difficulties of using such distant sites were taken into account. Thus, part of the basis of EPA's determination that a designated site is needed in eastern Long Island Sound is the longer transit distances from dredging centers in the region to the CLDS, WLDS, and RISDS. These longer trips would result in greater energy use, increased air emissions, increased risk of spills, more difficult project logistics, and greater cost.

    As part of its consideration of, and response to, comments asserting that no disposal site is needed in the eastern region of Long Island Sound, and comments urging that the size of any site be reduced or minimized, EPA asked the USACE to revisit once more its estimate of disposal capacity needs and prepare a more refined estimate of the dredged material disposal capacity needed for sediments projected to be dredged from the eastern region of the Sound. Although the values from the DMMP reflected substantial analysis and public input, the USACE agreed to reassess the capacity needs in coordination with EPA. The USACE undertook this analysis and projected that a disposal capacity of approximately 20 mcy would likely be sufficient to meet disposal needs over the next 30 years.

    Comment #4. EPA received a letter from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (and undersigned by 32 federal and state elected officials) after the end of the comment period (dated August 4, 2016). The Governor's letter expresses opposition to any disposal site being designated in the eastern region of Long Island Sound and indicates his intent to legally challenge any EPA rule designating a disposal site in eastern Long Island Sound and seek to prevent any disposal pursuant to any such rule. The Governor states that this stance is consistent with the State of New York's decades-long opposition to “the unabated dumping of dredged materials in Long Island Sound.” The letter also states that the designation of a site in eastern Long Island Sound is not necessary and may further impede progress toward reducing or eliminating open water disposal, a fundamental component of the rule. In addition, the letter indicates that the State of New York opposes the site designation based on comments provided by NYSDOS and NYSDEC in a joint letter. The letter further states that the EPA and USACE are incorrectly seeking to justify an eastern site based on the assertion that there is inadequate capacity at the WLDS, WLDS, and RISDS.

    Response #4. EPA is not legally obligated to consider and respond to the Governor's comment letter in this rulemaking process and environmental review under NEPA because the letter was submitted after the close of the comment period. Nevertheless, EPA has reviewed and given careful consideration to the views presented by Governor Cuomo and provides a response here.

    EPA disagrees with the stance presented by the Governor's letter. Without waiting to read EPA's final analysis of whether an appropriate site can be identified, and whether there is a need for such a site to provide a dredged material disposal option to ensure that dredging needed to ensure safe navigation and suitable berthing areas for recreational, commercial, public safety and military vessels, the Governor expresses a plan to sue over any rule designating a site in the eastern region of Long Island Sound.

    While the Governor's letter suggests that New York “has for decades opposed” dredged material disposal in Long Island Sound, the reality is more nuanced. Over the years, as with the Connecticut shore of the Sound, harbors and marinas on the New York shore of Long Island Sound have been dredged and in some cases the sediments have been placed at disposal sites in Long Island Sound, without objection from New York (e.g., Mamaroneck Harbor). At other times, NY has not objected as long as materials were not placed at the NLDS near to Fisher's Island, NY, and were instead placed at the CLDS, just south of New Haven, Connecticut. At other times, when practicable alternatives were available, material dredged from New York waters has been managed at upland sites. The same is true for material dredged from Connecticut waters (i.e., that some material has been placed at open-water disposal sites, while other material has been managed at upland sites). Furthermore, in still other cases, the dredged material from particular projects has been analyzed and found to be unsuitable for open-water disposal and such material has been managed using methods other than open-water disposal (e.g., placement in a confined aquatic disposal [CAD] cell or confined disposal facility [CDF]). Thus, some suitable material from New York has been placed at open-water disposal sites, while some has been managed at upland locations (e.g., for beach nourishment) and unsuitable material has been managed without open-water disposal. EPA supports this type of overall approach (i.e., choosing a management method appropriate to the facts of each individual case from a menu of environmentally sound methods).

    Consistent with this more nuanced history, EPA believes these issues should be addressed based on their technical, factual, legal, and policy merits, rather than taking an across-the-board position for or against dredged material disposal in the waters of the Sound. EPA has found that the DMMP and the USACE's more recent updated dredged material disposal capacity needs analysis clearly establish a need for a dredged material disposal site to be designated in the eastern region of the Sound. EPA's analysis, in turn, establishes that the ELDS is an appropriate site for designation. This designation will provide an option for potential use for suitable material when practicable alternatives to open-water disposal are not available. Going forward, application of EPA's sediment quality criteria will ensure that only environmentally suitable dredged material can be approved for open-water disposal. Moreover, EPA's existing ocean dumping criteria concerning whether there is a need for open-water disposal, see 40 CFR 227.15 and 227.16, coupled with the new site use restrictions applicable to the WLDS, CLDS, and ELDS, see 40 CFR 228.15(b)(4)-(6), will ensure that the open-water disposal option is used only when the material is found to be suitable and no practicable alternatives to open-water disposal are available.

    EPA cannot and should not base a decision not to designate an environmentally appropriate disposal site on as of yet unidentified upland management options that might or might not materialize in the future for all the dredged material that needs to be managed. Such an approach would pose an irresponsible threat to safe navigation and the related recreational, commercial, public safety, and national defense activities that depend on it. If, upon EPA designation of the ELDS, there is no actual need for the site (i.e., practicable alternatives are available for every dredging project), then dredged material will not be placed there, as the practicable alternatives will be used instead.

    Contrary to the views in Governor Cuomo's letter, the joint comment letter from the NYSDOS and NYSDEC expressed recognition of both the need for dredging to support water-dependent activities and navigation infrastructure and “the importance of providing stakeholders with a range of options for management of dredged material inLIS . . . .” Also contrary to the views expressed in the Governor's letter, the NYSDOS/NYSDEC letter emphasizes the State of New York's commitment to “working with all partners to secure a path forward for achievable, measurable reductions in open water disposal over time . . . ,” and noted that the state had demonstrated this commitment by NYSDOS's recent concurrence with EPA's amended Final Rule designating the CLDS and WLDS, “which includes updated policies and procedures intended to meet this goal, and is subject to the additional restrictions agreed to by all Agencies involved.” The state agencies' letter further pointed out that the “[t]he proposed rule for eastern LIS contains the same restrictions as those contained within the Final Rule for CLDS and WLDS, with the same ultimate goal of the reduction in open water disposal over time.” EPA agrees with NYSDOS and NYSDEC that the site use restrictions for the CLDS, WLDS, and ELDS are well designed to pursue and achieve the shared long-term goal of reducing or eliminating the open-water disposal of dredged material in Long Island Sound. At the same time, these restrictions do not obviate the need to designate an appropriate open-water disposal site in the eastern region of the Sound to provide an environmentally sound disposal option for material that cannot be managed in some other way. While the Governor states opposition and an intent to sue over any site being designated in the eastern region of the Sound, the NYSDOS/NYSDEC letter instead supports designating both the NBDS and the NLDS (as a “remediation site”) to provide disposal options in the eastern Sound. EPA agrees that a disposal site should be designated in the eastern Sound, but concludes that designating the reconstituted ELDS is preferable to designating the NBDS and NLDS.

    With regard to the Governor's concerns about the capacity at the CLDS, WLDS, and RISDS, see Response #3 above.

    Comment #5. Among those supporting the designation of ELDS, a number of commenters suggested revisions to the boundaries of the site for a variety of reasons. Some suggested modifying the northern boundary to avoid burial of rocky, hard-bottom areas that may provide relatively higher quality fish habitat, while others suggested moving the eastern boundary of the proposed ELDS to remove any portion of the site from the submarine transit corridor into the Thames River. Comments from NYSDOS and NYSDEC recommend buffer zones be established around bedrock and archeological areas and included in the Site Management and Monitoring Plan (SMMP) for the ELDS.

    Response #5. EPA agrees with the comments to modify the disposal site boundaries to avoid the bedrock and boulder areas and the submarine transit corridor. As discussed in detail above in Section V, EPA is designating the ELDS site with modifications to the boundaries. EPA has redrawn the boundaries of the ELDS to exclude both the rocky, hard-bottom area in the north central portion of the site, and another smaller rocky area in the southwestern corner of the site. Disposal in the ELDS near those areas will be carefully managed, including establishing a 100-meter buffer, to avoid any adverse impacts to these important habitat features. EPA also has shifted the eastern boundary of the ELDS to the west to remove it entirely from the submarine transit corridor. The eastern boundary of the ELDS site is now .367 nmi west of the corridor. This shift of the site also has moved it entirely out of New York waters.

    Comment #6. USACE provided comments supporting designation of the Cornfield Shoals Disposal Site (CSDS). The USACE would like a cost-effective open-water alternative for the Connecticut River dredging center, and it states that the availability of the CSDS would help extend the useful life of the CLDS and ELDS by reducing reliance on those sites for placement of materials suitable for CSDS. Another commenter recommends designation of the CSDS to continue its role as a dispersal site for clean, sandy material in order to “take some pressure off” while supporting the designation of NBDS, both in lieu of ELDS. NYSDOS and NYSDEC opposed designation of CSDS because of the dispersive nature of the site.

    EPA received a joint letter from NYSDOS and NYSDEC that commented that there isn't really a need for a site in eastern Long Island Sound based on historic disposal amounts and capacity at other existing sites like the CLDS, but recognized that some stakeholders in the region need one, so they recommend designation of the NBDS. They further recommended designation of the NLDS as a “remediation site.” EPA received comments from others expressing concern that designation of the NBDS would contribute to cumulative impacts to Niantic Bay, which is already stressed by the thermal discharge from the Millstone Nuclear Power Station. CTDEEP, while expressing support for ELDS, also indicated that NBDS, in combination with ELDS, is a viable option if adequate management practices are in place at the site to ensure containment of dredged materials. Another commenter reluctantly supported designating NBDS as the lesser of evils, while still other commenters opposed designation of the NLDS and wanted that site closed. EPA also received comments stating it should have given more consideration to designating a site outside Long Island Sound, including in deep open-ocean waters off Rhode Island and off the continental shelf.

    Response #6. While EPA did determine for the Proposed Rule that the CSDS meets the site selection criteria and could be designated in combination with one of the other alternatives, and did seek comments on that position, EPA ultimately decided not to designate the CSDS. EPA agrees that the site is dispersive and lies within a high energy area, which makes the site difficult to manage and monitor. Further, use of this site would need to be limited to receiving material such as sand, which EPA feels can and should typically be used for beneficial uses, instead, such as beach nourishment. Finally, EPA has concluded that designating a single site is preferable to designating multiple sites because dredged material placement would be concentrated in one area and site management and monitoring demands would be reduced. EPA also has concluded that the ELDS will provide an adequate open-water disposal option by itself, while the CSDS would be insufficient by itself because of the restrictions for site use that EPA would place on it.

    Regarding the request to designate the NBDS, based on the dredging needs assessment conducted by the USACE for the DMMP, and the subsequent, more refined dredged material disposal capacity needs analysis by the USACE, EPA is confident that the ELDS is sufficient by itself to meet all the open-water disposal needs of the eastern Long Island Sound region and EPA prefers to designate a single site to serve the region. Therefore, there is no need to designate the NBDS, too. Moreover, designating a second site would entail additional monitoring and management work and expense that can be avoided. Finally, had EPA decided to designate the NBDS, it would only have designated the containment portion of the site to ensure containment of the dredged material, which does not provide enough capacity to meet the projected need. The question of whether designating the NBDS would cause adverse cumulative impacts on the ecology of Niantic Bay when viewed together with effects of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station thermal discharge is now moot because EPA is not designating the NBDS. With regard to consideration of sites outside of Long Island Sound, as discussed in Chapters 3, 4, and 5 in the DSEIS and in the Proposed Rule, EPA considered a wide range of alternatives, including sites in Block Island Sound and on the continental shelf, before deciding to propose designation of the ELDS. The sites in Block Island Sound had a combination of significant marine habitats and strong tidal currents, and were relatively small or were located at a comparatively long distance from the dredging centers in the region. EPA's evaluation also determined that the long distances and travel times between the dredging locations in eastern Long Island Sound and the continental shelf posed significant environmental, operational, safety, and financial concerns, rendering such options unreasonable.

    Finally, with regard to the suggestion that the NLDS be designated as a “remediation site,” EPA disagrees. Long-term monitoring of the disposal mounds at the NLDS, and surveys conducted in 2013 at all the alternative sites, indicate a healthy and diverse benthic community and no evidence of levels of contamination that would require some sort of “remediation,” even if it could be determined what type of remediation would be appropriate for a site in relatively deep water. The ecological parameters and phyla data indicate that, overall, the NLDS has relatively good species diversity and is not dominated by just a few species. These data were consistent with observations at off-site locations outside of the NLDS, although the species richness was slightly lower at the off-site stations (FSEIS Section 4.9.3 and Table 4-11). Toxicity testing conducted in 2013 indicated no potential toxicity at the NLDS or other alternative sites (FSEIS Section 4.6.3 and (Table 4-9). Finally, the majority of the NLDS is already near capacity, with much of the site already at depths that would prevent further placement of dredged material. EPA is not designating the NLDS and that site will close by operation of law on December 23, 2016.

    Comment #7. NYSDOS and NYDDEC opined that there were deficiencies in the DSEIS, such as an inadequate alternatives analysis, the absence of comprehensive biological monitoring, and an inadequate cumulative impact assessment. They also suggested that comments they had provided earlier on draft sections of the DSEIS regarding physical oceanography and biological studies were not reflected in the final reports. They also expressed concern about the lack of information about the effectiveness of capping plans at the NLDS.

    Response #7. EPA finds the alternatives analysis, biological monitoring, and cumulative impact assessment were all more than adequate. The alternatives analysis included active and historic sites, as well as some other potential sites that had never been used before in eastern Long Island Sound, Block Island Sound, and off the continental shelf south of Long Island. EPA also considered use of the CLDS, WLDS, and/or the RISDS to serve the eastern region of the Sound. In addition, and as informed by the USACE's DMMP, EPA considered beneficial use options and other non-open-water options such as confined disposal cells (CDFs) or facilities (CDFs).

    EPA's cumulative impact assessment is based on over 40 years of monitoring data on chemistry, toxicity, bioaccumulation, benthic health, and bathymetry to assess physical and biological changes at the NLDS and CSDS sites. It also was based on an evaluation of the potential effects of designating the ELDS, NBDS, CSDS, or other site alternatives. Given that EPA has not found significant adverse effects from past disposal at the NLDS or CSDS, and does not anticipate significant adverse effects from the future placement of suitable material at the ELDS, it is not surprising that EPA did not find significant adverse cumulative impacts from the proposed action. EPA also considered issues such as the cumulative effect on bottom depths that would result from future disposal at the proposed disposal sites.

    EPA and the USACE will continue to manage and monitor all Long Island Sound disposal sites and will request input from the state agencies if there is evidence of any adverse impacts. If necessary, EPA and the USACE will modify the SMMPs for any site at which impacts have been identified, and would do so in consultation the states of New York and Connecticut and other interested parties, as appropriate.

    With respect to addressing comments received on various draft reports and documents during the development of the DSEIS, EPA did take all comments into consideration and in some cases modified those documents accordingly. In other cases, EPA may have decided that modifications were not warranted based on the comments submitted. EPA solicited input throughout the development of the DSEIS through a “cooperating agency workgroup,” of which NYSDOS and NYSDEC were regular participants, and from the public through an extensive public involvement program. Agency and public input received during the three-and-a-half-year process was reflected in the DSEIS text or in the appendices or both. Regarding the idea of “capping” disposal mounds at the NLDS with new, clean dredged material, as discussed in Response #7 above, EPA does not see any reason to pursue this approach. Extensive long-term monitoring of the NLDS and surveys conducted in 2013 for the DSEIS have documented a healthy benthic community at the site, with no toxicity in the sediment.

    Comment #8. Some of the commenters who support the Proposed Rule believe that the site use restrictions accompanying the site designation that establish, among other things, standards and procedures for identifying and utilizing alternatives to open-water disposal, will help achieve the goal of reducing or eliminating open-water disposal of dredged material wherever practicable. These commenters support the goal of reducing open-water placement of dredged material in the waters of Long Island Sound, but believe that it is not feasible or practicable at this time to handle all dredged material at upland locations or at already designated dredged material disposal sites. Some of those opposing the designation recommended upland placement and beneficial use of dredged material, rather than disposing of it at open-water sites. One commenter suggested “warehousing” material for future use in response to sea level rise, another suggested consideration of on-barge dewatering as a tool to facilitate upland placement of dredged materials, and another commenter suggested the alternative of the creation of islands near their sources.

    Joint comments from NYSDOS and NYSDEC expressed commitment to “working with all partners to secure a path forward for achievable, measurable reductions in open water disposal over time . . . ,” and noted that the state had demonstrated this commitment by NYSDOS's recent concurrence with EPA's amended Final Rule designating the Central and Western Long Island Sound Disposal Sites, “which includes updated policies and procedures intended to help meet this goal, and is subject to the additional restrictions agreed to by all Agencies involved.” The state departments' letter further pointed out that the “[t]he proposed rule for eastern LIS contains the same restrictions as those contained within the Final Rule for CLDS and WLDS, with the same ultimate goal of the reduction in open water disposal over time.”

    Response #8. EPA agrees with the comment that the standards and procedures in the Final Rule will support the goal of eliminating or reducing open-water disposal. EPA also agrees that relying solely on upland management alternatives for all dredged material from the eastern region of the Sound is not feasible at this time. Such alternatives will, however, likely be feasible for some of that material. For example, sandy material is commonly used for beach and nearshore bar nourishment at the present time and the standards in the Final Rule expect that sandy material will continue to be used beneficially. In addition, it would be impracticable to rely on distant open-water sites outside the eastern region of the Sound, or on contained in-water disposal, for all dredged material from the eastern Sound. See 40 CFR 227.15 and 227.16(b).

    Ultimately, decisions about how particular dredged material will be managed will be made in individual project-specific reviews under the MPRSA and/or the CWA, with additional overview and coordination provided by the Long Island Sound Steering Committee and Regional Dredging Team (RDT), as described in the site use restrictions. The Steering Committee and RDT have a number of important roles specified in the site use for the ELDS, including the identification and piloting of beneficial use alternatives, identifying possible resources to support those alternatives, and eliminating regulatory barriers, as appropriate. EPA expects that the Steering Committee and RDT will, generally and on a project specific basis, facilitate the process of matching projects, beneficial use alternatives and the resources necessary to implement them. The process of continually seeking new alternative uses for dredged material will provide the opportunity to evaluate approaches not yet fully developed, such as the “warehousing” suggestion. EPA views on-barge dewatering as a technique that, while expensive, has promise and should be explored and further evaluated by the Steering Committee and RDT. Ultimately, it could be become a useful technique for dewatering dredged material to prepare it for management using methods other than open-water disposal. Managing dredged material by using it to create islands was evaluated in the DMMP. The concept of creating islands in waters of the United States raises numerous issues (e.g., environmental, water quality, regulatory) and any proposal of this type would need to go through a very involved regulatory process and would have to meet all legal requirements. This is something the Steering Committee and the RDT can consider in the future if a proposal is developed.

    EPA agrees with the NY departments that the new site use restrictions, agreed upon by the interested state and federal agencies and inserted into the CLDS/WLDS regulations, include standards and procedures to secure a path forward for achievable, measurable reductions in open-water disposal over time. EPA also agrees that these same restrictions are now also being applied to the ELDS. In EPA's view, it makes sense to treat all regions of Long Island Sound the same in this regard.

    Comment #9. EPA received a number of comments concerning potential impacts on aquatic species including fish, lobsters and oysters. Some expressed concern that the DSEIS: (1) Incorrectly portrays eastern Long Island Sound as “a barren desert with barely any fish or shellfish species,” based in part on what they characterized as an inadequate data collection effort; (2) “glosses over” the fact that parts of the area are federally-designated Essential Fish Habitat (EFH); and (3) minimizes the potential impacts of dredged material disposal on “struggling lobster populations.” Another commenter noted that the NLDS is adjacent to Fisher's Island, NY, where oyster harvesting has been a way of life for centuries, and the threat to water quality posed by an expansion of open-water dumping at this site translates directly to a loss of important seafood jobs.

    Response #9. With respect to comments about EPA's mischaracterization of eastern Long Island Sound in terms of biological productivity, there was extensive documentation in the DSEIS and its supporting technical reports supporting the conclusion that, while this region is generally a highly productive and diverse ecosystem, the area in which the ELDS is sited is less so. Compared with some of the hard-bottom, bedrock and boulder areas in other parts of the region, the seafloor in the ELDS is relatively flat and sandy, without the sort of structure that typically supports a large diversity of fish or shellfish. At the same time, EPA has excluded two areas from the ELDS that do include the type of hard-bottom, bedrock and boulder conditions that tend to provide relatively better marine habitat. As for concerns about the data on fishing activity, EPA made an extensive effort to encourage as many fisherman as possible to respond to the survey in order to provide information that was as accurate as possible for analysis. The survey was made available for 37 days and, as noted in the DSEIS, it was distributed via multiple media avenues. Of 440 respondents, only 229 surveys provided sufficient information (at least five questions answered), and very few provided location-specific information as to where they fished. Of the 229 respondents, only six percent indicated they fished near dredged material disposal sites (one percent regularly and five percent occasionally). There is no shellfishing in this area, and the closest shellfish aquaculture operation is several miles west of the ELDS and closer to shore.

    EPA did not gloss over the existence of EFH in the vicinity of the ELDS. As required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, EPA coordinated with the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to determine whether its proposal to designate the ELDS would cause adverse impacts to EFH. NMFS concurred with EPA's determination that the designation of the ELDS would not adversely affect EFH. The coordination process is fully documented in the DSEIS.

    EPA assessed lobster abundance in the DSEIS and found that alternative sites do not contain preferred habitat for lobsters. Prior to 1999, lobsters were very abundant throughout Long Island Sound, and particularly in the western and central regions. However since the major lobster die-off in 1999, lobsters are far less abundant through the Sound, and found primarily in the deeper waters of the central basin and The Race. The 1999 lobster die-off prompted millions of dollars in research over the past 16 years, the results of which have led scientists and resource managers to believe that the phenomenon was caused by a combination of factors, including increased water temperatures, low dissolved oxygen levels (hypoxia), a parasitic disease (paramoeba), and possibly pesticide runoff. Researchers have not cited dredged material disposal as a possible factor in the die-off.

    EPA does not agree that designating the ELDS will threaten oystering and the way-of-life of residents of Fisher's Island, NY, or cause the loss of jobs in the seafood industry. The boundaries of the ELDS have been revised so that it is farther from Fisher's Island, entirely outside of the NLDS, and entirely outside of New York State waters. EPA's evaluation of the ELDS indicates that designation of the site will not cause significant adverse effects to water quality or aquatic organisms or their habitat. As a result, the site designation will not cause lost jobs in the seafood industry. To the contrary, designation of the ELDS may assist the local seafood industry. Fishing vessels require adequate navigation channels and berthing areas, which are maintained as a result of dredging. Designation of the ELDS should facilitate needed dredging by providing an open-water disposal option for use when practicable alternative management methods are not available.

    Comment #10. Some of those opposing the Proposed Rule stated that the dredged material is toxic and should not be placed in the waters of Long Island Sound, and requested remediation of such dredged material. Commenters questioned the use of older data to support the evaluation of dredged material for its suitability for open-water disposal. Some commenters noted concern with the introduction of nitrogen from dredged material into the system and requested that EPA estimate the quantity of nitrogen that would be added to the system from dredged material over the next 30 years. EPA also received comments regarding concern due to metal or organic contaminant concentrations in sediment and benthic organism tissues, elevated breast cancer rates in East Lyme, and closed shellfish harvesting areas following rainfall. Some commenters suggested that the CTDEEP Remediation Standard Regulations should be followed for disposal of dredged material in Long Island Sound.

    Response #10. EPA strongly disagrees with the suggestion that toxic sediments will be disposed of at the ELDS. Neither the existing laws and regulations nor the Final Rule would allow the disposal of toxic material at the sites. Rigorous physical, chemical, and biological testing and analysis of sediments is conducted prior to any authorization to dredge. The MPRSA and EPA's ocean dumping regulations provide that sediments that do not pass these tests are considered “unsuitable” and shall not be disposed of at the site.

    EPA believes concerns about the disposal of toxic sediments at the NLDS and other Long Island Sound disposal sites also have been addressed by the USACE's DAMOS program, which has collected data at these sites since the late 1970s. The program has generated over 200 detailed reports addressing questions and concerns related to placement of dredged material in the Sound. These reports indicate that toxic sediments are not being placed at open-water disposal sites. Moreover, sequential surveys of biological conditions at sites following the placement of dredged material consistently show a rapid recovery of the benthic community to that of the surrounding habitat outside the disposal sites. Monitoring at the NLDS has verified that past management practices have been successful in adequately controlling any potential adverse impacts to water quality and benthic habitat.

    Furthermore, water and sediment quality have improved in Long Island Sound as a result of improvements in the control of point source and non-point source pollutant discharges to the Sound and its tributaries. At the same time, dredging and dredged material management are carefully controlled by federal and state agencies to optimize environmental results using tools such as “environmental windows” that preclude dredging when sensitive aquatic organisms in the vicinity of dredging operations would be at an increased risk of being harmed, CAD cells or CDFs that sequester unsuitable dredged material, and beneficial use projects that avoid open-water disposal of dredged material that can be better put to an alternative use (e.g., using sand for beach nourishment). This management approach is reflected in the site use restrictions for ELDS that are intended to reduce or eliminate the open-water disposal of dredged material into Long Island Sound by promoting and facilitating the use of available practicable alternatives to such open-water disposal.

    Potential risks associated with the bioaccumulation of chemicals from sediments at the alternative sites were evaluated by comparing contaminant concentrations in tissues of test organisms to Federal Drug Administration (FDA) Action/Tolerance Levels for an assessment of potential human health impacts and to Ecological Effect Values for an assessment of ecological impacts. Ecological Effects Values represent tissue contaminant concentrations believed to be safe for aquatic organisms, generally derived from the final chronic value of USEPA water quality criteria. The FDA Action/Tolerance Levels and Ecological Effect Values are commonly used by USEPA and USACE in the dredging program to assess risk. This evaluation considers that tissue contaminant concentrations that do not exceed FDA Action/Tolerance Levels or Ecological Effect Values do not result in a potential human health or ecological risk. There is no evidence in the current literature or other data evaluated by EPA to support a causative link between any elevated cancer rates that may exist in East Lyme and dredged material disposal in Long Island Sound.

    Shellfish bed closures are typically a result of bacterial contamination from untreated or poorly treated sanitary wastewater, stormwater runoff, marine biotoxins, or elevated water temperatures. There is no evidence that shellfish harvesting in Long Island Sound, most of which is from aquaculture operations conducted in open waters off the coast, is, or will be, affected by dredged material disposal at the ELDS.

    Regarding comments about older studies referenced in the DSEIS, such as those conducted in support of the 2004 EIS that supported the designation of the CLDS and WLDS, EPA used the best available literature during the development of the DSEIS. Some of this material was older and some was more recent. EPA also has included as part of the FSEIS relevant data from more recent studies (such as fisheries data) that were not available at the time the DSEIS was published. In all cases, EPA evaluated whether the data was relevant and appropriate for addressing whatever issue was at hand. While some parameters may change constantly, others remain consistent for long periods of time. Typically, older data were supplemented with newer data, or juxtaposed to newer data, to help depict trends and patterns in the study area.

    As to the concern about dredged material disposal in Long Island Sound contributing to nitrogen loading in these waters, EPA notes that nitrogen loading is a concern due to its potential to help fuel excessive algae levels, which could be one potential driver of hypoxia in western Long Island Sound. In Chapter 5.2.1 of the DSEIS, however, EPA discussed the relative insignificance of nitrogen loading from dredged material disposal. The USACE also addressed the issue in Section 3.5.2 of the DMMP. The annual placement of dredged material at the open-water sites is estimated to add less than one tenth of one percent of the overall annual nitrogen loading to Long Island Sound.

    Finally, EPA disagrees with the request to follow the CTDEEP Remediation Standard Regulations (RSRs). The RSRs are not applicable to dredged material from marine waters placed at open-water disposal sites. Rather, they “identify the technical standards for the remediation of environmental pollution at hazardous waste sites and other properties that have been subject to a spill, release or discharge of hazardous wastes or hazardous substances.” The MPRSA and Ocean Dumping Regulations limit the potential for adverse environmental impacts associated with dredged material disposal by requiring that the dredged material from each proposed dredging project be subject to sediment testing requirements. Suitability is determined by analyzing the sediments proposed for dredging for their physical characteristics as well as for toxicity and bioaccumulation. If it is determined that the sediment is unsuitable for open-water disposal—that is, that it may unreasonably degrade or endanger human health or the marine environment—it cannot be placed at disposal sites designated under the MPRSA.

    Comment #11. EPA received comments from the Shinnecock Tribal Nation noting the tribe's longstanding reliance on the waters of Long Island Sound for “food, travel and spiritual renewal.” The Shinnecock have high regard for these waters and, as a steward for this resource, feel a shared responsibility to protect it and to speak for other life forms that rely on it but cannot speak for themselves. The Shinnecock's comments note that work is beginning to investigate whether “submerged paleo cultural landscapes” exist that would indicate that the tribe's ancestors lived farther offshore than currently understood. The tribe expresses concern that dredged material placement at an open-water site could further bury any evidence of such sites. The tribe also expresses concern over how long it takes aquatic organisms to recover from open-water placement of dredged material and whether such placement at a designated site will adversely affect whales. Finally, the Shinnecock note that their concern over water pollution is related to their historic use of Long Island Sound as a travel route, which they still use for canoe journeys.

    Response #11. EPA acknowledges and respects the Shinnecock Tribal Nation's stewardship, concern, and reliance upon the waters of Long Island Sound. As tasked by Congress under the CWA and MPRSA, EPA also is a steward of Long Island Sound with a mission of protecting its physical, chemical, and biological integrity, and protecting human and ecological health from harm that could result from the disposal of material into these waters. As a result, EPA believes that its goals align well with the environmental interests of the Shinnecock Tribal Nation.

    With regard to the possibility that dredged material disposal might further bury submerged evidence of settlements of the Shinnecock's ancestors, EPA notes that it is currently unaware of any specific reason to believe that such submerged evidence may exist at the ELDS or the other site alternatives. In evaluating site alternatives, EPA considered the site selection criteria in EPA's regulations, which include whether “any significant natural or cultural features of historical importance” may exist “at or in close proximity to” the disposal sites. See 40 CFR 228.6(a)(11). EPA's consideration of this criterion dovetailed with its consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officers of both Connecticut and New York, as well as its consultation with the Shinnecock Indian Nation. In addition, EPA conducted side-scan sonar survey work to look for possible historic resources in the area of the disposal sites and none of this work identified any archaeological or historical artifacts of cultural significance. If later investigations identify the presence of submerged artifacts of cultural importance to the Shinnecock Indian Nation, EPA will consult with the tribe regarding how to respond appropriately in terms of the future use and management of the site.

    As discussed in detail elsewhere in the preamble, no significant adverse effects will occur to water quality, habitat value, or marine organisms, as a result of using the ELDS as a dredged material disposal site. With regard to the concern expressed about possible impacts to whales, EPA evaluated the potential for the site designation to affect endangered species, including whales, and concluded that adverse effects to whales or their critical habitat were unlikely to result from the site designation. The National Marine Fisheries Service concurred with EPA's conclusion.

    Finally, regarding the Shinnecock using the waters of Long Island Sound for canoe journeys, nothing about the designation of the ELDS should interfere with or preclude such journeys. First, the dredging (and therefore dredged material disposal) season is restricted to avoid the warmer weather months for ecological reasons, but this also ensures that dredging traffic and disposal is less likely to interfere with other boating activities that tend to be occur during warmer weather. Second, any dredged material disposal would be concentrated in one offshore area as a result of designating the ELDS. This would tend to minimize any conflicts with non-dredging-related navigation. Finally, multiple types of navigational activities (e.g., recreational, commercial, military) have coexisted with dredged material disposal-related navigation for years in Long Island Sound and EPA expects that this will continue after designation of the ELDS.

    Comment #12. EPA received a number of very specific and detailed comments on aspects of the studies and findings in the DSEIS and its appendices. Subjects included the physical oceanography study in Appendix C, physical energy and hydrodynamics, sediments, and tidal energy projects, among others.

    Response #12. EPA's detailed responses to these comments are contained in the Response to Comments document that is included in the FSEIS as Appendix J and placed in the public docket and on the Web site identified in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

    VII. Changes From Proposed Rule

    In response to public comment, as previously described, EPA has made certain adjustments to the boundaries of the ELDS as it was proposed. These adjustments have reduced the size of the ELDS from approximately 1 x 2 nm to approximately 1 x 1.5 nm (and an area of 1.3 nmi2), and the capacity of the site from 27 mcy to approximately 20 mcy. The specific boundary adjustments and the reasons for them have been discussed above and are further discussed below.

    EPA also has decided not to designate the NBDS or CSDS. In the Proposed Rule, EPA did not propose to designate either of these two sites, but did request public comment on whether either or both ought to be designated in addition to, or instead of, the ELDS. EPA received some public comments favoring designation of the NBDS or CSDS, and other comments opposing the designation of either site. Some commenters favored designation of the ELDS, while others commented that no designated disposal site was needed in the eastern portion of the Sound. After considering all these comments, EPA decided to designate only the ELDS. This decision was based primarily on the Agency's determination that one site is sufficient to meet the dredging needs of the eastern Long Island Sound region, and that the ELDS is the best site when evaluated in light of the site selection criteria in the Ocean Dumping Regulations. EPA also received public comments that support this decision.

    The Final Rule for the ELDS, as with the Proposed Rule, incorporates by reference the site use restrictions, including the standards and procedures, contained in the final amended site designation rule for the Central and Western Long Island Sound dredged material disposal sites. These restrictions are further described in Section IX (“Restrictions”).

    VIII. Compliance With Statutory and Regulatory Authorities

    EPA has conducted the dredged material disposal site designation process consistent with the requirements of the MPRSA, NEPA, CZMA, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), and any other applicable legal requirements.

    A. Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act

    Section 102(c) of the MPRSA, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1412(c), et seq., gives the Administrator of EPA authority to designate sites where ocean disposal of dredged material may be permitted. See also 33 U.S.C. 1413(b) and 40 CFR 228.4(e). Neither statute nor regulation specifically limits how long an EPA-designated disposal site may be used. Thus, EPA site designations can be for an indefinite term and are generally thought of as long-term designations. EPA may, however, place various restrictions or limits on the use of a site based on the site's capacity to accommodate dredged material or other environmental concerns. See 33 U.S.C. 1412(c).

    Section 103(b) of the MPRSA, 33 U.S.C. 1413(b), provides that any ocean disposal of dredged material should occur at EPA-designated sites to the maximum extent feasible. In the absence of an available EPA-designated site, however, the USACE is authorized to “select” appropriate disposal sites. There are currently no EPA-designated dredged material disposal sites in the eastern portion of Long Island Sound. There are two active USACE-selected sites in that region, the NLDS and CSDS, but neither will be available after December 23, 2016, when their Congressionally-authorized term of use expires.

    The Ocean Dumping Regulations, see generally 40 CFR subchapter H, prescribe general and specific criteria at 40 CFR 228.5 and 228.6, respectively, to guide EPA's choice of disposal sites for final designation. Ocean dumping sites designated on a final basis are promulgated by EPA at 40 CFR 228.15. See 40 CFR 228.4(e)(1). Section 102(c) of the MPRSA, 33 U.S.C. 1412(c), and 40 CFR 228.3 also establish requirements for EPA's ongoing management and monitoring, in conjunction with the USACE, of disposal sites designated by EPA. This enables EPA to ensure that unacceptable, adverse environmental impacts do not occur from the placement of dredged material at designated sites. Examples of site management and monitoring measures employed by EPA and the USACE include the following: Regulating the times, rates, and methods of disposal, as well as the quantities and types of material that may be disposed; conducting pre- and post-disposal monitoring of sites; conducting disposal site evaluation studies; and, if warranted, recommending modification of site use and/or designation conditions and restrictions. See also 40 CFR 228.7, 228.8, 228.9.

    A disposal site designation by EPA does not actually authorize the disposal of particular dredged material at that site. It only makes the site available as a possible management option if various other conditions are met first. Disposal of dredged material at a designated site must first be authorized by the USACE under MPRSA section 103(b), subject to EPA review under MPRSA 103(c). USACE authorization can only be granted if: (1) It is determined that there is a need for open-water disposal for that project (i.e., that there are no practicable alternatives to such disposal that would cause less harm to the environment); and (2) the dredged material is found suitable for open-water disposal by satisfying the applicable environmental criteria specified in EPA's regulations at 40 CFR part 227. See 40 CFR 227.1(b), 227.2, 227.3, 227.5, 227.6 and 227.16. An authorization for disposal also must satisfy other applicable legal requirements, such as those under the ESA, the MSFCMA, the CWA (including any applicable state water quality standards), NEPA, and the CZMA. The text below discusses EPA's evaluation of the ELDS for this Final Rule using the applicable site selection criteria from EPA's MPRSA regulations. It also discusses the Agency's compliance with site management and monitoring requirements.

    EPA's evaluation considered whether there was a need to designate one or more disposal sites for long-term dredged material disposal, including an assessment of whether other dredged material management methods could reasonably be judged to obviate the need for such designations. From this evaluation, EPA concluded that one or more open-water disposal sites were needed. EPA then assessed whether sites were available that would satisfy the applicable environmental criteria to support a site designation under MPRSA section 102(c). In deciding to designate the ELDS, as specified in this Final Rule, EPA complied with all applicable procedural requirements and substantive criteria under the MPRSA and EPA regulations.

    1. Procedural Requirements

    MPRSA sections 102(c) and 103(b) indicate that EPA may designate ocean disposal sites for dredged material. EPA regulations at 40 CFR 228.4(e) specify that dredged material disposal sites will be “designated by EPA promulgation in this [40 CFR] part 228 . . . .” EPA regulations at 40 CFR 228.6(b) direct that if an EIS is prepared by EPA to assess the proposed designation of one or more disposal sites, it should include the results of an environmental evaluation of the proposed disposal site(s). In addition, the Draft SEIS (DSEIS) should be presented to the public along with a proposed rule for the proposed disposal site designation(s), and a Final SEIS (FSEIS) should be provided at the time of final rulemaking for the site designation.

    EPA has complied with all procedural requirements. The Agency prepared a thorough environmental evaluation of the site proposed for designation and other alternative sites and courses of action (including the option of not designating an open-water disposal site). This evaluation was first presented in a DSEIS (and related documents) and a Proposed Rule for promulgation of the disposal sites. EPA published the Proposed Rule and a notice of availability of the DSEIS (81 FR 24748) for a 60-day public comment period on April 27, 2016, and subsequently extended the comment period by 21 days (to July 18, 2016) to give the public additional time to comment on the proposed site designation. By this Final Rule, EPA is now completing the designation of the ELDS by promulgation in 40 CFR part 228.

    Finally, MPRSA sections 102(c)(3) and (4) dictate that EPA must, in conjunction with the USACE, develop a site management plan for each dredged material disposal site it proposes to designate. MPRSA section 102(c)(3) also states that in the course of developing such management plans, EPA and the USACE must provide an opportunity for public comment. EPA and the USACE have met this obligation by publishing for public review and comment a Draft SMMP for the ELDS. The Draft SMMP was published with the DSEIS (as Appendix I) and the proposed rule on April 27, 2016. After considering public comments regarding the SMMP, EPA and the USACE are publishing the Final SMMP for the ELDS as Appendix I of the FSEIS.

    2. Disposal Site Selection Criteria

    EPA regulations under the MPRSA identify four general criteria and 11 specific criteria for evaluating locations for the potential designation of dredged material disposal sites. See 40 CFR 228.4(e), 228.5 and 228.6. EPA's evaluation of the ELDS with respect to the four general and 11 specific criteria was discussed in the DSEIS and the Proposed Rule and is further discussed in detail in the FSEIS and supporting documents and is summarized below.

    a. General Criteria (40 CFR 228.5)

    EPA has determined that the ELDS satisfies the four general criteria specified in 40 CFR 228.5. This is discussed in Chapter 5 and summarized in Table 5-9, “Summary of Impacts for Action and No Action Alternatives of the FSEIS.”

    i. Sites must be selected to minimize interference with other activities in the marine environment, particularly avoiding areas of existing fisheries or shellfisheries, and regions of heavy commercial or recreational navigation (40 CFR 228.5(a)).

    EPA's evaluation determined that use of the ELDS—as modified in this Final Rule in response to public comments and further evaluation—would cause minimal interference with the aquatic activities identified in this criterion. The site is not located in shipping lanes or any other region of heavy commercial or recreational navigation. In addition, the site is not located in an area that is important for commercial or recreational fishing or shellfish harvesting. Analysis of this data indicated that use of the site would have minimal potential for interfering with other existing or ongoing uses of the marine environment in and around the ELDS, including lobster harvesting or fishing activities. In addition, the nearby NLDS has been used for dredged material disposal for many years; not only has this activity not significantly interfered with the uses identified in this criterion, but mariners in the area are accustomed to dealing with the presence of a dredged material disposal site. With the adjustment to the eastern boundary of the ELDS, EPA is even more confident that the site will not pose a hazard to navigation. Finally, time-of-year restrictions (also known as “environmental windows”) imposed to protect fishery resources will typically limit dredged material disposal activities to the months of October through April, thus further minimizing any possibility of interference with the various activities specified in this criterion.

    ii. Sites must be situated such that temporary perturbations to water quality or other environmental conditions during initial mixing caused by disposal operations would be reduced to normal ambient levels or to undetectable contaminant concentrations or effects before reaching any beach, shoreline, marine sanctuary, or known geographically limited fishery or shellfishery (40 CFR 228.5(b)).

    EPA's analysis concludes that the ELDS, as adjusted for this Final Rule, satisfies this criterion. First, the site is a significant distance from any beach, shoreline, marine sanctuary (in fact, there are no federally-designated marine sanctuaries in Long Island Sound), or known geographically limited fishery or shellfishery. Second, the site will be used only for the disposal of dredged material determined to be suitable for open-water disposal by application of the MPRSA's ocean dumping criteria. See 40 CFR part 227. These criteria include provisions related to water quality and account for initial mixing. See 40 CFR 227.4, 227.5(d), 227.6(b) and (c), 227.13(c), 227.27, and 227.29. Data evaluated during development of the FSEIS, including data from monitoring conducted during and after past disposal activities, indicates that any temporary perturbations in water quality or other environmental conditions at the site during initial mixing from disposal operations will be limited to the immediate area of the site and will neither cause any significant environmental degradation at the site nor reach any beach, shoreline, marine sanctuary, or other important natural resource area.

    iii. The sizes of disposal sites will be limited in order to localize for identification and control any immediate adverse impacts, and to permit the implementation of effective monitoring and surveillance to prevent adverse long-range impacts. Size, configuration, and location are to be determined as part of the disposal site evaluation (40 CFR 228.5(d)).

    EPA has determined, based on the information presented in the FSEIS, that the ELDS, in its final configuration, is sufficiently limited in size to allow for the identification and control of any immediate adverse impacts, and to permit the implementation of effective monitoring and surveillance to prevent adverse long-term or cumulative impacts. To put things in perspective, the size of the ELDS is approximately 1.3 nmi2, which is just 0.003 (0.03 percent) of the approximately 370 nmi2 surface area of the eastern Long Island Sound region, and just 0.001 (less than one-tenth of one-percent) of the approximately 1300 nmi2 surface area of the entire Long Island Sound. The designation of just this one site reduces the overall number of active disposal sites in Long Island Sound from four to three. The long history of dredged material disposal site monitoring in New England through the USACE's Disposal Area Monitoring System (DAMOS), and specifically at active and historic dredged material disposal sites in Long Island Sound, provides ample evidence that these surveillance and monitoring programs are effective at determining physical, chemical, and biological impacts at dredged material disposal sites such as the ELDS.

    The boundaries of the ELDS are identified by specific coordinates provided in Table 5-11 of the FSEIS, and the use of precision navigation equipment in both dredged material disposal operations and monitoring efforts will enable accurate disposal operations to be conducted, and also will contribute to effective management and monitoring of the sites. Detailed plans for the management and monitoring of the ELDS are described in the SMMP (Appendix I of the FSEIS). Finally, as discussed herein and in the FSEIS, EPA has tailored the boundaries of the ELDS, and site management protocols, in light of site characteristics such as local currents and bottom features, so that the area and boundaries of the sites are optimized for environmentally sound dredged material disposal operations.

    iv. EPA will, wherever feasible, designate ocean dumping sites beyond the edge of the continental shelf and other such sites that have been historically used (40 CFR 228.5(e)).

    EPA evaluated sites beyond the edge of the continental shelf and historical disposal sites in Long Island Sound as part of the alternatives analysis conducted for the FSEIS. The continental shelf extends about 60 nmi seaward from Montauk Point, New York, and a site located on the continental slope would result in a transit of approximately 80 nmi from New London. This evaluation determined that the long distances and travel times between the dredging locations in eastern Long Island Sound and the continental shelf posed significant environmental, operational, safety, and financial concerns, rendering such options unreasonable and not practicable. Environmental concerns include increased risk of encountering endangered species during transit, increased fuel consumption and air emissions, and greater potential for accidents in transit that could lead to dredged material being dumped in unintended areas.

    As described in Section V (“Disposal Site Description”), while the ELDS, as modified, does not include any areas that have been used historically for dredged material disposal, its eastern boundary is the western boundary of the historically used NLDS. Thus, the modified site is in the general vicinity of the historically used NLDS. To the extent that the ELDS boundaries have been adjusted from those described in the Proposed Rule to include only adjacent areas outside of the existing site, EPA has concluded that these adjustments will be environmentally beneficial, as discussed in the FSEIS. For example, rather than propose designation of part of the existing NLDS, the eastern half of which is at capacity and nearing depths that could lead to scouring of the sediment by surface currents and storms, EPA's final designation of ELDS encompasses two areas (formerly NL-Wb and NL-Wa) immediately to the west of the NLDS. Moving the site to the west is consistent with public comments urging that the originally proposed ELDS be moved to the west, farther from the New London Harbor approach lane and submarine transit corridor in that area of the Sound. It is also consistent with public comments that favored sites that were further from New York state waters. These two adjacent areas have been determined to be suitable for use as containment areas by physical oceanographic modeling. Long-term monitoring of the adjacent NLDS has shown minimal adverse impacts to the marine environment and rapid recovery of the benthic community in the disposal mounds. Similarly, adverse impacts are not expected to result from use of the new ELDS. While there are other historically used disposal sites in eastern Long Island Sound, the analysis in the FSEIS and summarized herein concludes that the ELDS is the preferable location. Thus, designation of the ELDS would be consistent with this criterion.

    b. Specific Criteria (40 CFR 228.6)

    In addition to the four general criteria discussed above, 40 CFR 228.6(a) lists eleven specific factors to be used in evaluating the impact of using a site for dredged material disposal under the MPRSA. Compliance with the eleven specific criteria is discussed below. It is also discussed in detail in Chapter 5 and summarized in Table 5-13, “Summary of Impacts at the Alternative Sites,” of the FSEIS.

    i. Geographical Position, Depth of Water, Bottom Topography and Distance From Coast (40 CFR 228.6(a)(1)).

    Water depths at the ELDS range from approximately 59 feet (18 m) in the north to 100 feet (30 m) in the south. As described above, the closest points of land to the site are Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, Connecticut, approximately 1.1 nmi to the north, and Fishers Island, New York, approximately 2.3 nmi to the east. Based on analyses in the FSEIS, EPA has concluded that the ELDS's geographical position (i.e., location), water depth, and bottom topography (i.e., bathymetry), along with the absence of strong bottom currents at the site, will result in containment of dredged material within site boundaries. As described in Section V (“Disposal Site Description”), and in the above discussion of compliance with general criteria iii and iv (40 CFR 228.5(c) and (d)), the ELDS also is located far enough from shore and lies in deep enough water to avoid adverse impacts to the coastline.

    Because the ELDS is a containment area, dredged material placed there is expected to remain within the site and not affect adjacent seafloor areas. Long-term monitoring of the NLDS and other disposal sites in Long Island Sound supports that determination. Any short-term impacts during dredged material placement, such as burial of benthic organisms or temporarily increasing the turbidity in the water column within the disposal site, will be localized at the site. As explained farther below in this analysis and in the FSEIS, although dredged material disposal will cause these localized, short-term effects, these effects are not expected to result in significant short-term or long-term adverse impacts to the environment.

    ii. Location in Relation To Breeding, Spawning, Nursery, Feeding, or Passage Areas of Living Resources in Adult or Juvenile Phases (40 CFR 228.6(a)(2)).

    EPA considered the ELDS, as modified for this Final Rule, in relation to breeding, spawning, nursery, feeding, and passage areas for adult and juvenile phases (i.e., life stages) of living resources in Long Island Sound. From this analysis, EPA concluded that, while disposal of suitable dredged material at the ELDS would cause some short-term, localized effects, overall it would not cause adverse effects to the habitat functions and living resources specified in the above criterion.

    The ELDS does not encompass or infringe upon any breeding, spawning, nursery, feeding or passage area of particular or heightened importance for juvenile or adult living resources. That said, EPA has noted that in the north-central area of the ELDS as delineated in the Proposed Rule, there is a hard-bottom area with rocky outcroppings that appears likely to constitute high quality habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms, and there is a similar hard bottom area in the extreme southwestern corner of the ELDS. As a result, EPA has redrawn the northern and southern boundaries of the ELDS to avoid these particular areas.

    Generally, there are three primary ways that dredged material disposal could potentially adversely affect marine resources. First, disposal can cause physical impacts by injuring or burying less mobile fish, shellfish, and benthic organisms, as well as their eggs and larvae. Second, tug and barge traffic transporting the dredged material to a disposal site could possibly collide or otherwise interfere with marine mammals and reptiles. Third, if contaminants in the dredged material are taken in by aquatic organisms, these contaminants could potentially bioaccumulate through the food chain. However, EPA and the other federal and state agencies that regulate dredging and dredged material disposal impose requirements that prevent or greatly limit the potential for these types of impacts to occur.

    For example, the agencies impose “environmental windows,” or time-of-year restrictions, for both dredging and dredged material disposal. This type of restriction has been a standard practice for more than a decade in Long Island Sound, and New England generally, and is incorporated in USACE permits and authorizations in response to consultation with federal and state natural resource agencies (e.g., the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)). Dredging, and corresponding dredged material disposal in Long Island Sound, is generally limited to the period between October 1 and April 30 to avoid time periods of possibly heightened threat to aquatic organisms. Indeed, environmental windows are often set depending on the location of specific dredging projects in relation to certain fish and shellfish species. For example, dredging in nearshore areas where winter flounder spawning occurs is generally prohibited between February 1 and April 1; dredging that may interfere with anadromous fish runs is generally prohibited between April 1 and May 15; and dredging that may adversely affect shellfish is prohibited between June 1 and September 30. These environmental windows limiting when dredging can occur also, in effect, restrict periods when dredged material disposal could occur.

    Another benefit of using environmental windows is that they reduce the likelihood of dredged material disposal activities interfering with marine mammals and reptiles. There are several species of marine mammal or reptile, such as harbor porpoises, long-finned pilot whales, seals, and sea turtles that either inhabit or migrate through Long Island Sound. During the winter months, however, most of these species either leave the Sound for warmer waters to the south or are less active and remain near the shore. There also are many species of fish (e.g., striped bass, bluefish, and scup) and invertebrates (e.g., squid) that leave the Sound during the winter for either deeper water or warmer waters to the south, thus avoiding the time of year when most dredging and dredged material disposal occurs. The use of environmental windows has been refined over time and is considered an effective management tool to minimize impacts to marine resources.

    Dredged material disposal will, however, have some short-term, localized impacts to fish, shellfish, and benthic organisms, such as clams and worms, that are present at a disposal site (or in the water column directly above the site) during a disposal event. The sediment plume may entrain and smother some fish in the water column, and may bury some fish, shellfish, and other marine organisms on the sea floor. It also may result in a short-term loss of forage habitat in the immediate disposal area, but the DAMOS program has documented the recolonization of disposal mounds by benthic infauna within 1-3 years after disposal, and this pattern would be expected at the sites evaluated in the FSEIS. As discussed in the FSEIS (section 5.2.2), over time, disposal mounds recover and develop abundant and diverse biological communities that are healthy and able to support species typically found in the ambient surroundings. Some organisms may burrow deeply into sediments, often up to 20 inches, and are more likely to survive a burial event.

    The MPRSA regulations further limit the potential for adverse environmental impacts associated with dredged material disposal by requiring that the dredged material from each proposed dredging project be subject to the MPRSA sediment testing requirements, set forth at 40 CFR 227.6, to determine the material's suitability for open-water disposal. Such suitability is determined by analyzing the sediments proposed for dredging for their physical characteristics as well as for toxicity and bioaccumulation. In addition, the regulatory agencies quantify the risk to human health that would result from consuming marine organisms exposed to the dredged material and its associated contaminants using a risk assessment model. If it is determined that the sediment is unsuitable for open-water disposal—that is, that it may unreasonably degrade or endanger human health or the marine environment—it cannot be placed at disposal sites designated under the MPRSA. See 40 CFR 227.6. In light of these strict controls, EPA does not anticipate significant effects on marine organisms from dredged material disposal at the sites under evaluation.

    EPA recognizes that dredged material disposal causes some short-term, localized adverse effects to marine organisms in the immediate vicinity of each disposal event. Dredged material disposal would be limited, however, to suitable material at the one site (see above regarding compliance with general criteria (40 CFR 228.5(e)), and only during the several colder-weather months of the year. As a result, EPA concludes that designating the ELDS would not cause significant, unacceptable or unreasonable adverse impacts to breeding, spawning, nursery, feeding, or passage areas of living resources in adult or juvenile phases. Moreover, there is no evidence that designating the ELDS would have significant long-term effects on benthic processes or habitat conditions.

    iii. Location in Relation to Beaches and Other Amenity Areas (40 CFR 228.6(a)(3)).

    EPA's analysis concludes that the ELDS satisfies this criterion. The ELDS is far enough away from beaches, parks, wildlife refuges, and other areas of special concern to prevent adverse impacts to these amenities. Also, as previously noted, there are no marine sanctuaries in Long Island Sound. The ELDS is approximately 2.3 nmi from the closest public beach in New York, on the western shore of Fishers Island, and approximately 1.1 nmi from the beach at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, Connecticut. Given that the ELDS is a containment site, no material placed at the site would be expected to move from the site to these amenity areas. As noted above, any temporary perturbations in water quality or other environmental conditions at the site during initial mixing from disposal operations will be limited to the immediate area of the site and will not reach any beach, parks, wildlife refuges, or other areas of special concern.

    iv. Types and Quantities of Wastes Proposed To Be Disposed of, and Proposed Methods of Release, Including Methods of Packing the Waste, if Any (40 CFR 228.6(a)(4)).

    The ELDS is being designated to receive only suitable dredged material; disposal of other types of material will not be allowed. The MPRSA and EPA regulations expressly prohibit open water disposal of certain other types of material (e.g., industrial waste, sewage sludge, chemical warfare agents, and insufficiently characterized materials) (33 U.S.C. 1414b; 40 CFR 227.5).

    The typical composition of dredged material to be disposed at the sites is expected to range from predominantly “clay-silt” to “mostly sand.” This expectation is based on historical data from dredging projects in the eastern region of Long Island Sound. For federal dredging projects and private projects generating more 25,000 cubic yards of dredged material, EPA and the USACE will conduct sediment suitability determinations applying the criteria for testing and evaluating dredged material under 40 CFR part 227, and further guidance in the “Regional Implementation Manual for the Evaluation of Dredged Material Proposed for Disposal in New England Waters” (EPA, 2004). Dredged material must satisfy these suitability criteria before it can be authorized for disposal under the MPRSA. In accordance with MPRSA § 106(f), private dredging projects generating up to 25,000 cubic yards will continue to be regulated under CWA section 404.

    Dredged material to be placed at the ELDS would be transported by either government or private contractor hopper dredges or oceangoing bottom-dump barges (“scows”) towed by a towing vessel (e.g., tugboat). Both types of equipment release the material at or very near the surface, which is the standard operating procedure for this activity. The disposal of this material will occur at specific coordinates marked by buoys, and will be placed so as to concentrate material from each disposal project. This concentrated placement is expected to help minimize bottom impacts to benthic organisms. In addition, there are no plans to pack or package dredged material prior to disposal.

    As previously discussed, the USACE's DMMP projected that dredging in eastern Long Island Sound will generate approximately 22.6 million cubic yards (mcy) of dredged material over the next 30 years, including 17.9 mcy from Connecticut ports and harbors and 4.7 mcy from ports and harbors in New York. Of the total amount of 22.6 mcy, approximately 13.5 mcy are projected to be fine-grained sediment that meets MPRSA and CWA standards for aquatic disposal (i.e., “suitable” material), and 9.1 mcy are projected to be course-grained sand that also meets MPRSA and CWA standards for aquatic disposal (i.e., also “suitable” material).

    As discussed above in Section VI (“Summary of Public Comments and EPA's Responses”), EPA asked the USACE to conduct another analysis to further refine the actual disposal capacity needed as compared with the original dredging needs estimate, taking into consideration EPA's designation of only one site, past dredging experience, and other factors, such as the potential for future improvement dredging projects and extreme storm events, and accounting for consolidation of dredged material in the disposal site. The USACE's disposal capacity analysis determined that the necessary capacity was approximately 20 mcy, which will be just met by the capacity of the ELDS. For all of these reasons, no significant adverse impacts are expected to be associated with the types and quantities of dredged material that may be disposed at the sites.

    v. Feasibility of Surveillance and Monitoring (40 CFR 228.6(a)(5)).

    Monitoring and surveillance will be feasible at the ELDS. The site is conducive to monitoring because it is a containment site and material placed at the site is expected to stay there. The ELDS is readily accessible for sediment grab, bathymetric, and side-scan sonar surveys. The nearby NLDS has been successfully monitored by the USACE over the past 35 years under the DAMOS program. Monitoring of the ELDS would be carried out under the DAMOS program in accordance with the current approved Site Management and Monitoring Plan (SMMP) for the site. In conjunction with the Proposed Rule, EPA and the USACE developed a draft SMMP and published it for public review and comment. The agencies have now developed a final SMMP in connection with this Final Rule. The final SMMP for the ELDS is included as Appendix I of the FSEIS.

    The SMMP is subject to review and updating at least once every ten years, if necessary, and may be subject to additional revisions based on the results of site monitoring and other new information. Any such revisions will be closely coordinated with other federal and state resource management agencies and stakeholders during the review and approval process and will become final only when approved by EPA, in conjunction with the USACE. See 33 U.S.C. 1413 (c)(3).

    vi. Dispersal, Horizontal Transport and Vertical Mixing Characteristics of the Area, Including Prevailing Current Direction and Velocity, if Any (40 CFR 228.6(a)(6)).

    Although the interactions of bathymetry, wind-generated waves, and river and ocean currents in Long Island Sound are complex, EPA has conducted a rigorous assessment of bottom stress, hydrodynamic processes, and storm-driven wave action at the ELDS. The assessment included data collection and modeling of disposal of dredged material under a variety of conditions. The assessment concluded that the area that encompasses both the ELDS and NLDS has the least amount of bottom stress compared with the other sites in the eastern Long Island Sound region that were assessed. This supports EPA's conclusion that the ELDS provides for the greatest stability of disposal mounds and is the optimal location for a containment site. See e.g., 40 CFR 228.15(b)(4)(vi)(L)). Consistent with this, past monitoring during disposal operations at the NLDS (in the vicinity of the ELDS) revealed minimal drift of sediment out of the disposal site area as it passed through the water column. EPA expects the same result at the ELDS.

    Disposal site monitoring has confirmed that peak wave-induced bottom current velocities are not sufficient to cause significant erosion of dredged material placed at the ELDS. As noted above, physical oceanographic monitoring and modeling has indicated that the ELDS is a depositional location that collects, rather than disperses, sediment. As a result, EPA has determined that the dispersal, horizontal transport, and vertical mixing characteristics, as well as the current velocities and directions at the ELDS, all support designating it as a long-term dredged material disposal site.

    vii. Existence and Effects of Current and Previous Discharges and Dumping in the Area (Including Cumulative Effects) (40 CFR 228.6(a)(7)).

    As previously described in Section V (“Disposal Site Description”), the ELDS is west of, and adjacent to, the NLDS, which has received approximately 8.9 mcy (6.7 million m3) of dredged material since 1955. The NLDS was used regularly until the early 2000s and is still an active site, but it has not been used frequently in recent years and it will no longer be available for use after December 23, 2016.

    Until the passage of the CWA in 1972, dredged material disposal was not a heavily regulated activity. Since 1972, open-water disposal in Long Island Sound has been subject to the sediment testing and alternatives analysis provisions of section 404 of the CWA. With passage of the Ambro Amendment in 1980 (which was further amended in 1990), 33 U.S.C. 1416(f), dredged material disposal from all federal projects and non-federal projects generating more than 25,000 cubic yards of material became subject to the requirements of the MPRSA in addition to CWA section 404. These increasingly stringent regulatory requirements for dredged material disposal, combined with other CWA requirements that have reduced the level of pollutants being discharged into the Nation's waterways, have contributed to a steady, measurable improvement in the quality of material that has been allowed to be placed at the NLDS over the past 40 years.

    The NLDS has been used since the early 1980s pursuant to the USACE's short-term site selection authority under section 103(b) of the MPRSA (33 U.S.C. 1413(b)). In EPA's view, the close proximity of the NLDS to the ELDS, coupled with past use of the NLDS, generally makes the ELDS preferable for designation, as compared to more pristine sites that have either not been used or were used in the more distant past. See 40 CFR 228.5(e). Using a site in the vicinity of an existing site, rather than using sites in areas completely unaffected by dredged material in the past, will help to concentrate, rather than spread, the footprint of dredged material disposal on the seafloor of Long Island Sound.

    While the effects of placing suitable dredged material at a disposal site are primarily limited to short-term physical effects, such as burying benthic organisms in the location where the material is placed, EPA regards it to be preferable to concentrate such effects in particular areas and leave other areas untouched as much as possible.

    That said, EPA's evaluation of data and modeling results indicates that past disposal operations at the NLDS have not resulted in unacceptable or unreasonable environmental degradation, and that there should be no such adverse effects in the future from the projected use of the ELDS. As part of this conclusion, discussed in detail in Section 5.7 of the FSEIS, EPA found that there should be no significant adverse cumulative environmental effects from using the ELDS on a long-term basis for dredged material disposal in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements regarding sediment quality and site usage.

    viii. Interference With Shipping, Fishing, Recreation, Mineral Extraction, Desalination, Fish and Shellfish Culture, Areas of Special Scientific Importance and Other Legitimate Uses of the Ocean (40 CFR 228.6(a)(8)).

    In evaluating whether disposal activity at the site could interfere with any of the uses described above, EPA considered both the effects of placing dredged material on the bottom of the Sound at the ELDS and any effects from vessel traffic associated with transporting the dredged material to the disposal site. From this evaluation, EPA concluded there would be no unacceptable or unreasonable adverse effects on the considerations noted in this criterion. Some of the factors listed in this criterion have already been discussed above due to the overlap of this criterion with aspects of certain other criteria. Nevertheless, EPA will address each point below.

    As previously discussed, and in response to public comment, the eastern boundary of the ELDS has been shifted westward to move it further from the submarine transit corridor into the Thames River. The eastern boundary of the ELDS is 0.467 nmi west of the western boundary of the New London Harbor approach lane and submarine transit corridor, which will further reduce any potential for conflicts between use of the disposal site and submarine and deep draft commercial marine traffic. Vessel traffic generated by disposal activity is expected to be similar to that which has occurred over the past 20-30 years, which has not interfered with other shipping activity. Moreover, research by EPA and the USACE concluded that after disposal at the ELDS, resulting water depths will be sufficient to permit navigation in the area without interference. By providing an open-water alternative for dredged material disposal in the absence of environmentally preferable, practicable alternatives, the sites are likely to improve and facilitate navigation in many of the harbors, bays, rivers and channels around eastern Long Island Sound.

    EPA also carefully evaluated the potential effects on commercial and recreational fishing for both finfish and shellfish (including lobster) of designating the ELDS for dredged material disposal, and concluded that there would be no unreasonable or unacceptable adverse effects. As discussed above in relation to other site evaluation criteria, dredged material disposal will have only short-term, incidental, and insignificant effects on organisms in the disposal sites and no appreciable effects beyond the sites. Indeed, since past dredged material disposal, including at the nearby NLDS, has been determined to have no significant adverse effects on fishing, the similar projected levels of future disposal activities at the designated site also are not expected to have any significant adverse effects.

    There are four main reasons that EPA concluded that no unacceptable adverse effects would occur from placing dredged material at the ELDS. First, as discussed above, any contaminants in material permitted for disposal—having satisfied the dredged material criteria in the regulations that restrict any toxicity and bioaccumulation—will not have any significant adverse effects on fish, shellfish, or other aquatic organisms. Moreover, because the ELDS is a containment area, dredged material disposed at the site is expected to remain there.

    Second, as also discussed above, the disposal site does not encompass any especially important, sensitive, or limited habitat for the Sound's fish and shellfish, such as key spawning or nursery habitat for species of finfish. That said, as explained farther above, EPA has redrawn the boundary of the ELDS to avoid a rocky area that could provide particularly good habitat for fish, even though it is not an area that has received any special designation for such purposes.

    Third, while EPA found that a small number of demersal fish (e.g., winter flounder), shellfish (e.g., clams and lobsters), benthic organisms (e.g., worms), and zooplankton and phytoplankton could be lost due to the physical effects of disposal (e.g., burial of organisms on the seafloor by dredged material and entrainment of plankton in the water column by dredged material upon its release from a disposal barge), EPA also determined that these minor, temporary adverse effects would be neither unreasonable nor unacceptable. This determination was based on EPA's conclusion that the numbers of organisms potentially affected represent only a minuscule percentage of those in eastern Long Island Sound, and on DAMOS monitoring that consistently documents the rapid recovery of the benthic community in an area that has received dredged material. In addition, any physical effects will be further limited by the relatively few months in which disposal activities could be permitted by the environmental window (or time-of-year) restrictions.

    Fourth, EPA has determined that vessel traffic associated with dredged material disposal will not have any unreasonable or unacceptable adverse effects on fishing. As explained above, environmental window restrictions will limit any disposal to the period between October 1 and April 30, and often to fewer months depending on species-specific restrictions for each dredging project, each year. Moreover, due to the seasonal nature of recreational boating and commercial shipping, there is generally far less vessel traffic in the colder-weather months when disposal would occur.

    There currently are no mineral extraction activities or desalinization facilities in the eastern Long Island Sound region with which disposal activity could potentially interfere. Energy transmission pipelines and cables are located near the site, but none are within the boundaries of the ELDS.

    No finfish aquaculture currently takes place in Long Island Sound, and the only form of shellfish culture in the area, oyster production, occurs in nearshore locations far enough away from the ELDS that it should not be impacted in any manner by this proposed action.

    Finally, the ELDS is not in an area of special scientific importance; in fact, areas with such characteristics were screened out very early in the alternatives screening process. Accordingly, depositing dredged material at the ELDS will not interfere with any of the activities described in this criterion or other legitimate uses of Long Island Sound.

    ix. The Existing Water Quality and Ecology of the Sites as Determined by Available Data or by Trend Assessment or Baseline Surveys (40 CFR 228.6(a)(9)).

    EPA's analysis of existing water quality and ecological conditions at the ELDS in light of available data, trend assessments and baseline surveys indicates that disposal at the site will not cause unacceptable or unreasonable adverse environmental effects. Considerations related to water quality and various ecological factors (e.g., sediment quality, benthic organisms, fish and shellfish) have already been discussed above in relation to other site selection criteria, and are discussed in detail in the FSEIS and supporting documents. In considering this criterion, EPA took into account existing water quality and sediment quality data collected at the disposal sites, including from the USACE's DAMOS site monitoring program, as well as water quality data from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's (CTDEEP) Long Island Sound Water Quality Monitoring Program. As discussed herein, EPA has determined that placement of suitable dredged material at the ELDS should not cause any significant adverse environmental effects to water quality or to ecological conditions at the disposal sites. EPA and the USACE have prepared a SMMP for the ELDS to guide future monitoring of site conditions (FSEIS Appendix I).

    x. Potentiality for the Development or Recruitment of Nuisance Species in the Disposal Sites (40 CFR 228.6(a)(10)).

    Monitoring at disposal sites in Long Island Sound over the past 35 years has shown no recruitment of nuisance (invasive, non-native) species that are attributable to dredged material disposal. There is no reason to expect this to change, but monitoring will continue to look for any such impacts. EPA and the USACE will continue to monitor the ELDS and other EPA-designated sites under their respective SMMPs, which include a “management focus” on “changes in composition and numbers of pelagic, demersal, or benthic biota at or near the disposal sites” (Section 6.1.5 of the SMMP, Appendix I of the FSEIS).

    xi. Existence at or in Close Proximity to the Sites of Any Significant Natural or Cultural Feature of Historical Importance (40 CFR 228.6(a)(11)).

    There are no natural or cultural features of historical importance located within or in close proximity to the ELDS. There is, however, one shipwreck located within the ELDS near the southeastern corner the site, just inside its eastern boundary. As discussed in the FSEIS, a review of submerged vessel reports in the NOAA and Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office (CT SHPO) shipwreck databases indicates that there is one charted shipwreck located within the ELDS, near its eastern boundary. This wreck also was identified by EPA's side-scan sonar survey. This shipwreck is not, however, considered to be of historical importance.

    EPA coordinated with Indian tribes in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York throughout the development of the FSEIS, and the tribes did not identify any important natural, cultural, spiritual, or historical features or areas within the ELDS. At the same time, the Shinnecock Indian Nation commented to EPA that investigations are underway to determine whether “submerged paleo cultural landscapes” might exist that would indicate that the tribe's ancestors lived farther offshore than currently understood. In this regard, the tribe expresses concern that dredged material placement at an open-water site could further bury any evidence of such sites. As discussed above and in the FSEIS, EPA is currently not aware of any evidence suggesting that such submerged artifacts may exist at the ELDS. If such evidence emerges in the future, EPA will further consult with the Shinnecock Indian Nation about whether any adjustments to the site boundaries, site management requirements, or site use restrictions would be appropriate.

    In summary, one shipwreck is located just inside the eastern boundary of the ELDS, but the wreck is not considered to be of historical significance. Nevertheless, any impacts to that wreck from dredged material disposal will be minimized by establishing a 164-foot (50 m) avoidance buffer surrounding the shipwreck as well as appropriate site management, which accommodates both the minimum buffer of 30 m recommended by the CT SHPO, and the 40-50 m minimum buffer applied by the NY OPRHP.

    3. Disposal Site Management (40 CFR 228.3, 228.7, 228.8 and 228.9)

    The ELDS will be subject to specific management requirements to ensure that unacceptable adverse environmental impacts do not occur. Examples of these requirements include: (1) Restricting the use of the sites to the disposal of dredged material that has been determined to be suitable for ocean disposal following MPRSA and/or CWA requirements in accordance with the provisions of MPRSA section 106(f), as well as to material from waters in the vicinity of the disposal sites; (2) monitoring the disposal sites and their associated reference sites, which are not used for dredged material disposal, to assess potential impacts to the marine environment by providing a point of comparison to an area unaffected by dredged material disposal; and (3) retaining the right to limit or close these sites to further disposal activity if monitoring or other information reveals evidence of unacceptable adverse impacts to the marine environment. As mentioned above, dredged material disposal will not be allowed when weather and sea conditions could interfere with safe, effective placement of any dredged material at a designated site. In addition, although not technically a site management requirement, disposal activity at the sites will generally be limited to the period between October 1 and April 30, but often less, depending on environmental windows, to protect certain species, as described above.

    EPA and the USACE have managed and monitored dredged material disposal activities at disposal sites in Long Island Sound since the early 1980s. Site monitoring has been conducted under the USACE's DAMOS disposal site monitoring program. In accordance with the requirements of MPRSA section 102(c) and 40 CFR 228.3, EPA and the USACE have developed a SMMP for the ELDS, which is incorporated as Appendix I of the FSEIS. The SMMP describes in detail the specific management and monitoring requirements for the ELDS.

    B. National Environmental Policy Act

    As EPA explained in the preamble to the Proposed Rule, 81 FR 24760 (April 27, 2016), EPA disposal site designation evaluations conducted under the MPRSA have been determined to be “functionally equivalent” to NEPA reviews and, as a result, are not subject to NEPA analysis requirements as a matter of law. Nevertheless, as a matter of policy, EPA voluntarily uses NEPA procedures when evaluating the potential designation of ocean dumping sites. See 63 FR 58045 (Notice of Policy and Procedures for Voluntary Preparation of National Environmental Policy Act Documents, October 29, 1998).

    EPA is the agency authorized by the MPRSA to designate dredged material disposal sites and is responsible for the site designation decision and the NEPA analysis supporting it. As discussed in detail in the preamble to the Proposed Rule, 81 FR 24761, EPA used a third-party contracting approach so that funding from the state of Connecticut could be applied to the support the site designation studies and the development of the FSEIS. See 40 CFR 1506.5. Because EPA is ultimately responsible for the FSEIS, the Agency worked closely with the state of Connecticut to select the contractors and then maintained close involvement with production of the SEIS and control over its analyses and conclusions. The U.S. Navy also contributed to the site designation process by funding

    biological and other environmental studies in support of the FSEIS. The Navy, with extensive input from EPA and CTDEEP, used its contractor Tetra Tech based on its expertise in biological resources studies and risk assessment.

    The USACE was a “cooperating agency” in the development of the FSEIS because of its knowledge concerning the region's dredging needs, its technical expertise in monitoring dredged material disposal sites and assessing the environmental effects of dredging and dredged material disposal, its history in the regulation of dredged material disposal in Long Island Sound and elsewhere, and its ongoing legal role in regulating dredging, dredged material disposal, and the management and monitoring of disposal sites. Other cooperating agencies were NMFS, CTDEEP, CT DOT, New York Department of State (NYSDOS), New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (RICRMC). To take advantage of expertise of other entities, and to promote strong inter-agency communications, EPA also coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Mashantucket (Western) Pequot Tribal Nation, Mohegan Tribe, Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation, and Paucatuck Eastern Pequot Indians (in Connecticut); the Narragansett Indian Tribe (in Rhode Island); the Shinnecock Indian Nation (in New York); and, as previously discussed, the CT SHPO and NY OPRHP. Throughout the SEIS development process, EPA communicated with the cooperating federal and state agencies and tribes to keep them apprised of progress on the project and to solicit input.

    Consistent with its voluntary NEPA policy, EPA has undertaken NEPA analyses as part of its decision-making process for the designation of the ELDS. EPA published a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS on October 16, 2012, invited other federal and state agencies to participate as cooperating or coordinating agencies, defined a “Zone of Siting Feasibility” in cooperation with the cooperating agencies, held public meetings regarding the scope of issues to be addressed by the SEIS, and published a DSEIS for public review and comment. The DSEIS, entitled, “Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Designation of Dredged Material Disposal Site(s) in Eastern Long Island Sound, Connecticut and New York,” assesses and compares the effects of designating alternative dredged material disposal sites in eastern Long Island Sound. EPA's SEIS also evaluated various alternative approaches to managing dredging needs, including the “no action” alternative (i.e., the alternative of not designating any open-water disposal sites). See 40 CFR 1502.14. The DSEIS was considered supplemental because it updated and built upon the analyses that were conducted for the 2005 Long Island Sound Environmental Impact Statement that supported the designation of the Central and Western Long Island Sound disposal sites.

    EPA released the DSEIS for a 60-day public comment period on April 27, 2016, and subsequently extended the comment period for 21 days, until July 18, 2016. EPA held four public hearings during the comment period: Two (afternoon and evening) on May 24 in Riverhead and Mattituck, NY, and two on May 25 in Groton, CT. As previously noted, EPA received extensive public comment, both in support of, and in opposition to, EPA's proposed action as described in the DSEIS and proposed rule.

    After considering the public comments received, EPA conducted additional analysis and has now published an FSEIS in conjunction with, and as part of the support for, publication of this Final Rule designating the ELDS. EPA's FSEIS includes additional discussion and analysis pertaining to EPA's final site designation, including discussion and analysis supporting EPA's decision to adjust the boundaries of the ELDS as they were delineated in the Proposed Rule. Appendix J of the FSEIS includes all the public comments EPA received on the DSEIS and Proposed Rule, and provides a summary of those comments and EPA responses to those comments. EPA also has summarized the more significant comments and EPA's responses to them in Section VI of the preamble to this Final Rule.

    C. Coastal Zone Management Act

    Based on the evaluations presented in the FSEIS and supporting documents, and a review of the federally approved coastal zone programs and policies of Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island, EPA determined that designation of the ELDS for open-water dredged material disposal under the MPRSA will be fully consistent with, or consistent to the maximum extent practicable with, the enforceable policies of the approved coastal zone management programs of the three states. EPA provided a written determination to that effect to the NYSDOS (on July 20, 2016), to CTDEEP (on July 29, 2016), and to the RICRMC (on July 28, 2016), respectively.

    The specific policies of each state's coastal zone management program are discussed in detail in the determinations noted above, but in a general sense, there are several broad reasons why designation of the ELDS is consistent with the applicable, enforceable policies of the three states' coastal zone programs. First, the designation is not expected to cause any significant adverse impacts to the marine environment, coastal resources, or uses of the coastal zone. Indeed, EPA expects the designation to benefit coastal uses involving navigation and berthing of vessels by facilitating needed dredging, and to benefit the environment by limiting any open-water dredged material disposal to a small number of environmentally appropriate sites designated by EPA, rather than at a potential proliferation of USACE-selected sites. Second, designation of the site does not actually authorize the disposal of any dredged material at the sites. Any proposal to dispose dredged material from a particular project at a designated site will be subject to case-specific evaluation and be allowed only if: (a) The material satisfies the sediment quality requirements of the MPRSA and the CWA; (b) no practicable alternative method of management with less adverse environmental impact is available; and (c) the disposal complies with the site restrictions for the site. These restrictions are described and discussed in the next section of the preamble and are designed to reduce or eliminate dredged material disposal in Long Island Sound. Third, the designated disposal site will be managed and monitored pursuant to a SMMP and if adverse impacts are identified, use of the sites will be modified to reduce or eliminate those impacts. Such modification could further restrict, or even terminate, use of the sites, if appropriate. See 40 CFR 228.3, 228.11.

    On August 9, 2016, the RICRMC sent EPA a letter concurring with EPA's CZMA determination for Rhode Island. Similarly, on September 26, 2016, CTDEEP, which administers Connecticut's coastal zone management program, sent EPA a letter concurring with EPA's CZMA determination for Connecticut.

    On October 3, 2016, EPA received a letter from the NYSDOS objecting to EPA's designation of the ELDS on the basis of its view that either EPA had provided insufficient information to support a CZMA consistency determination or, based on the information provided, the action was inconsistent with the enforceable policies of New York's Coastal Management Program (CMP).

    After giving careful consideration to the issues raised by NYSDOS, EPA continues to hold the view that designation of the ELDS, as specified herein, is consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the enforceable policies of New York's CMP. EPA also believes that the site use restrictions that have been made applicable to the ELDS provide enhanced assurance of such consistency.

    D. Endangered Species Act

    The ESA requires consultation with NMFS and/or USFWS to adequately address potential impacts to threatened and endangered species that may occur at the proposed dredged material disposal site from any proposal to dispose dredged material. EPA initiated consultations regarding the proposed ELDS with both the NMFS and USFWS, concurrent with the public comment period for the DSEIS. This consultation process is fully documented in the FSEIS. EPA provided the NMFS and USFWS with its conclusion that the proposed designation of the ELDS was not likely to adversely affect any federally listed endangered or threatened species, or designated critical habitat of any such species.

    On August 11, 2016, USFWS sent an email message concurring with EPA's proposed action, stating that the designation of the ELDS, “will have no effect on federally listed species under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and that any effects from activities associated with the disposal of dredged material at this location will be consulted individually under section 7 of the ESA,” and that, “(f)urther consultation . . . is not necessary unless there is new information relative to listed species presence or there are changes to the project.”

    On August 12, 2016, NMFS also concurred with EPA's “conclusion that the proposed action is not likely to adversely affect the ESA-listed species under our jurisdiction and will have no effect on critical habitat since the action does not overlap with any proposed/designation (sic) critical habitat under our jurisdiction,” and that, “. . . no further consultation . . . is required.” Copies of all consultation and coordination correspondence are provided in Appendices A-11 of the FSEIS.

    E. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act

    The MSFCMA requires federal agencies to coordinate with NMFS regarding any action they authorize, fund, or undertake that may adversely affect essential fish habitat (EFH). EPA initiated coordination with NMFS on June 30, 2016, by submitting an EFH assessment in compliance with the Act. This coordination addressed the potential for the designation of any of the alternative disposal sites being evaluated to adversely affect EFH. In a letter dated August 12, 2016, NMFS concurred with EPA's determination that the designation of the ELDS would not adversely affect EFH. The letter stated, in part, “We concur with your determination that by excluding the boulder areas located in the south and northwest corners of the proposed disposal site, and with the incorporation of your specific management practices that include a 200-foot buffer zone from the boulder areas, the proposed designation will result in no more than minimal adverse impacts to designated EFH.” The coordination process is fully documented in the FSEIS.

    IX. Restrictions

    As described in the Proposed Rule, EPA is restricting the use of the ELDS in the same manner that it has restricted use of the CLDS and WLDS. On July 7, 2016, EPA published in the Federal Register (81 FR 44220) a final rule to amend the 2005 rule that designated the CLDS and WLDS, to establish new restrictions on the use of those sites to support the goal of reducing or eliminating open-water disposal in Long Island Sound. The restrictions include standards and procedures to promote the development and use of practicable alternatives to open-water disposal, including establishment of an interagency “Steering Committee” and “Regional Dredging Team” that will play important roles in implementation of the rule. The site use restrictions for the CLDS are detailed in 40 CFR 228.15(b)(4)(vi) and are incorporated for the WLDS by the cross-references in 40 CFR 228.15(b)(4)(vi) and (b)(5)(vi). Similarly, EPA is applying to the ELDS the same restrictions as are applied to the CLDS and WLDS by including simple cross-references to those restrictions in the new ELDS regulations at 40 CFR 228.15(b)(4) and (b)(6)(vi).

    The restrictions incorporate standards and procedures for the use of the Eastern, Central and Western disposal sites consistent with the recommendations of the Long Island Sound DMMP. The DMMP identifies a wide range of alternatives to open-water disposal and recommends standards and procedures to help determine whether and which of these alternatives should be pursued for particular dredging projects. The DMMP addresses dredging and dredged material management issues for the entire Long Island Sound region, including the eastern portion of the Sound. Therefore, EPA concludes that it makes sense to apply site use restrictions based on the DMMP to the ELDS as well as to the CLDS and WLDS. EPA also received public comments in support of applying the site use restrictions to all Long Island Sound disposal sites.

    The standards included in the restrictions are described in the Proposed Rule and address the disposition of sandy material, suitable fine-grained material and unsuitable fine-grained materials. See 81 FR 24764. See also 81 FR 44229 (40 CFR 228.15(b)(4)(vi)(C)(3)(i)-(iii)). Also included are expectations of continued federal, state and local efforts at source reduction (i.e., reducing sediment entering waterways). EPA did not receive any comments on the standards and has not modified them in the Final Rule.

    The restrictions augment the recommended procedures in the DMMP, and in the Proposed Rule, by establishing a Long Island Sound Dredging Steering Committee (Steering Committee), consisting of high-level representatives from the states of Connecticut and New York, EPA, USACE, and, as appropriate other federal and state agencies. Such other parties could include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which had a seat on the previous Steering Committee, and the state of Rhode Island, which had a seat on the previous Long Island Sound Regional Dredging Team (LIS RDT), and may have more interest now that the LIS RDT's geographic scope includes eastern Long Island Sound. The Steering Committee will provide policy-level direction to the Long Island Sound Regional Dredging Team (RDT). The Steering Committee is charged with: Establishing a baseline for the volume and percentage of dredged material being beneficially used and placed at the open-water sites; establishing a reasonable and practicable series of stepped objectives, including timeframes, to increase the percentage of beneficially used material while reducing the percentage and amount being disposed in open water, and while recognizing that the amounts of dredged material generated by the dredging program will naturally fluctuate from year to year; and develop accurate methods to track the placement of dredged material, with due consideration for annual fluctuations. The stepped objectives should incorporate an adaptive management approach while striving for continuous improvement.

    The restrictions provide that when tracking progress, the Steering Committee should recognize that exceptional circumstances may result in delays meeting an objective. Exceptional circumstances should be infrequent, irregular and unpredictable. It is expected that each of the member agencies will commit the necessary resources to support the Long Island Sound RDT and Steering Committee's work, including the collection of data necessary to support establishing the baseline and tracking and reporting on the future disposition of dredged material.

    The restrictions also provide that the Steering Committee may utilize the RDT, as appropriate, to carry out the tasks assigned to it. The Steering Committee, with the support of the RDT, will guide a concerted effort to encourage greater use of beneficial use alternatives, including piloting alternatives, identifying possible resources and eliminating regulatory barriers as appropriate.

    As described in the Proposed Rule, see 81 FR 24765, the restrictions establish the Long Island Sound RDT. See also 81 FR 44229-44230 (40 CFR 228.15(b)(4)(vi)(E) and (F)). The purpose of the RDT reflects its role and relationship to the Steering Committee. The purpose of the RDT is to: (1) Review dredging projects and report to USACE on its review within 30 days of receipt of project information; (2) assist the Steering Committee in the tasks described above; (3) serve as a forum for continuing exploration of new beneficial use alternatives, matching available beneficial use alternatives with dredging projects; (4) exploring cost-sharing opportunities and promoting opportunities for beneficial use of clean, parent marine sediments (that underlie surficial sediments and are not exposed to pollution) often generated in the development of Confined Aquatic Disposal cells; and (5) assist the USACE and EPA in continuing long-term efforts to monitor dredging impacts in Long Island Sound. The membership of the RDT will comprise representatives from the states of Connecticut and New York, EPA, USACE, and, as appropriate, other federal and state agencies. State participation on the RDT is voluntary. The geographic scope of the RDT, as well as details for the structure and process of the RDT, are unchanged from the Proposed Rule.

    Finally, the restrictions provide that if the volume of open-water disposal of dredged material, as measured in 2026, has not declined or been maintained over the prior ten years, then any party may petition EPA to conduct a rulemaking to amend the restrictions of the use of the sites.

    X. Supporting Documents

    1. EPA Region 1/USACE NAE. 2005. Response to Comments on the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Designation of Dredged Material Disposal Sites in Central and Western Long Island Sound, Connecticut and New York. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1, Boston, MA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Concord, MA. April 2005.

    2. EPA Region 1. 2005. Memorandum to the File Responding to the Letter from the New York Department of State Objecting to EPA's Federal Consistency Determination for the Dredged Material Disposal Site Designations. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1, Boston, MA. May 2005.

    3. EPA Region 1/USACE NAE. 2004. Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Designation of Dredged Material Disposal Sites in Central and Western Long Island Sound, Connecticut and New York. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1, Boston, MA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Concord, MA. March 2004.

    4. EPA Region 1/USACE NAE. 2004. Regional Implementation Manual for the Evaluation of Dredged Material Proposed for Disposal in New England Waters. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1, Boston, MA, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Concord, MA. April 2004.

    5. EPA Region 2/USACE NAN. 1992. Guidance for Performing Tests on Dredged Material Proposed for Ocean Disposal. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2, New York, NY and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, New York, NY. Draft Release. December 1992.

    6. EPA/USACE. 1991. Evaluation of Dredged Material Proposed for Ocean Disposal Testing Manual. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC. EPA-503/8-91/001. February 1991.

    7. Long Island Sound Study. 2015. Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Long Island Sound. Long Island Sound Management Conference. September 2015.

    8. NYSDEC and CTDEP. 2000. A total maximum daily load analysis to achieve water quality standards for dissolved oxygen in Long Island Sound. Prepared in conformance with section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act and the Long Island Sound Study. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY and Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Hartford, CT. December 2000.

    9. USACE NAE. 2016. Final Long Island Sound Dredged Material Management Plan and Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement—Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District. December 2015.

    10. EPA Region 1. 2016. Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Designation of Dredged Material Disposal Site(s) in Eastern Long Island Sound, Connecticut and New York. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1, Boston, MA. April 2016.

    11. USACE NAE. 2016a. Memorandum from USACE New England District to EPA Region 1 with updated dredging and disposal capacity needs for Eastern Long Island Sound. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District. September 2016.

    12. USACE NAE. 2016b. Memorandum from USACE New England District to EPA Region 1 with detailed cost estimates for dredged material disposal at different disposal sites in Long Island Sound. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District. September 2016.

    XI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews 1. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    This action is not a significant regulatory action, as defined in the Executive Order, and therefore was not submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.

    2. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This action does not impose an information collection burden under the PRA because it would not require persons to obtain, maintain, retain, report or publicly disclose information to or for a federal agency.

    3. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    This action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The amended restrictions in this rule are only relevant for dredged material disposal projects subject to the MPRSA. Non-federal projects involving 25,000 cubic yards or less of material are not subject to the MPRSA and, instead, are regulated under CWA section 404. This action will, therefore, have no effect on such projects. “Small entities” under the RFA are most likely to be involved with smaller projects not covered by the MPRSA. Therefore, EPA does not believe a substantial number of small entities will be affected by today's rule. Furthermore, the amendments to the restrictions also will not have significant economic impacts on a substantial number of small entities because they will primarily create requirements to be followed by regulatory agencies rather than small entities, and will create requirements (i.e., the standards and procedures) intended to help ensure satisfaction of the existing regulatory requirement (see 40 CFR 227.16) that practicable alternatives to the ocean dumping of dredged material be utilized.

    4. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

    This action does not contain any unfunded mandate as described in UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. The action imposes no enforceable duty on any state, local or tribal governments or the private sector.

    5. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Through the Steering Committee and RDT process, however, this action will provide a vehicle for facilitating the interaction and communication of interested federal and state agencies concerned with regulating dredged material disposal in Long Island Sound.

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

    This action does not have tribal implications as specified in Executive Order 13175 because the proposed restrictions will not have substantial direct effects on Indian tribes, on the relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes, or the distribution of power and responsibilities between the federal government and Indian tribes. EPA coordinated with all Indian Tribal Governments in the vicinity of the proposed action and consulted with the Shinnecock Tribal Nation in making this determination.

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

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it is not economically significant as defined in Executive Order 12866, and because the EPA does not believe the environmental health or safety risks addressed by this action present a disproportionate risk to children.

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

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

    9. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA)

    This rulemaking does not involve technical standards.

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

    The EPA concludes that this action will not have a disproportionate adverse human health or environmental effect on minority, low-income, or indigenous populations.

    11. Executive Order 13158: Marine Protected Areas

    Executive Order 13158 (65 FR 34909, May 31, 2000) requires EPA to “expeditiously propose new science-based regulations, as necessary, to ensure appropriate levels of protection for the marine environment.” EPA may take action to enhance or expand protection of existing marine protected areas and to establish or recommend, as appropriate, new marine protected areas. The purpose of the Executive Order is to protect the significant natural and cultural resources within the marine environment, which means, “those areas of coastal and ocean waters, the Great Lakes and their connecting waters, and submerged lands thereunder, over which the United States exercises jurisdiction, consistent with international law.”

    The EPA expects that this Final Rule will afford additional protection to the waters of Long Island Sound and organisms that inhabit them. Building on the existing protections of the MPRSA and the ocean dumping regulations, the rule is designed to promote the reduction or elimination of open-water disposal of dredged material in Long Island Sound, and, at the same time, to ensure that any such disposal that occurs will be conducted in an environmentally sound manner.

    12. Executive Order 13547: Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes

    Section 6(a)(i) of Executive Order 13547, (75 FR 43023, July 19, 2010) requires, among other things, EPA and certain other agencies “. . . to the fullest extent consistent with applicable law [to] . . . take such action as necessary to implement the policy set forth in section 2 of this order and the stewardship principles and national priority objectives as set forth in the Final Recommendations and subsequent guidance from the Council.” The policies in section 2 of Executive Order 13547 include, among other things, the following: “. . . it is the policy of the United States to: (i) Protect, maintain, and restore the health and biological diversity of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources; [and] (ii) improve the resiliency of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems, communities, and economies . . . .” As with Executive Order 13158 (Marine Protected Areas), the overall purpose of the Executive Order is to promote protection of ocean and coastal environmental resources.

    The EPA expects that this Final Rule will afford additional protection to the waters of Long Island Sound and the organisms that inhabit them. Building on the existing protections of the MPRSA and the ocean dumping regulations, the rule is designed to promote the reduction or elimination of open-water disposal of dredged material in Long Island Sound even as it facilitates necessary dredging.

    13. Congressional Review Act

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. A “major rule” cannot take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This action is not a major rule as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2). This rule will be effective 30 days after date of publication.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 228

    Environmental protection, Water pollution control.

    Dated: November 4, 2016. H. Curtis Spalding, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 1—New England.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, title 40, chapter I, of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as set forth below.

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

    33 U.S.C. 1412 and 1418.

    2. Section 228.15 is amended by revising paragraph (b)(4)(vi) introductory text and adding paragraph (b)(6) to read as follows:
    § 228.15 Dumping sites designated on a final basis.

    (b) * * *

    (4) * * *

    (vi) Restrictions: The designation in this paragraph (b)(4) sets forth conditions for the use of the Central Long Island Sound (CLDS), Western Long Island Sound (WLDS) and Eastern Long Island Sound (ELDS) Dredged Material Disposal Sites. These conditions apply to all disposal subject to the MPRSA, namely, all federal projects and nonfederal projects greater than 25,000 cubic yards. All references to “permittees” shall be deemed to include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) when it is authorizing its own dredged material disposal from a USACE dredging project. The conditions for this designation are as follows:

    (6) Eastern Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Site (ELDS).

    (i) Location: Corner Coordinates (NAD83) 41°15.81′ N., 72°05.23′ W.; 41°16.81′ N., 72°05.23′ W.; 41°16.81′ N., 72°07.22′ W.; 41°15.97′ N., 72°07.22′ W.; 41°15.81′ N., 72°06.58′ W.

    (ii) Size: A 1 x 1.5 nautical mile irregularly-shaped polygon, with an area of 1.3 square nautical miles (nmi2) due to the exclusion of bedrock areas. North-central bedrock area corner coordinates (NAD83) are: 41°16.34′ N., 72°05.89′ W.; 41°16.81′ N., 72°05.89′ W.; 41°16.81′ N., 72°06.44′ W.; 41°16.22′ N., 72°06.11′ W.

    (iii) Depth: Ranges from 59 to 100 feet (18 m to 30 m).

    (iv) Primary use: Dredged material disposal.

    (v) Period of use: Continuing use.

    (vi) Restrictions: See paragraphs (b)(4)(vi)(A) through (N) of this section.

    [FR Doc. 2016-27546 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families 45 CFR Part 1302 RIN 0970-AC63 Head Start Program AGENCY:

    Office of Head Start (OHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    ACTION:

    Final rule; delay of compliance date.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of Head Start will delay the compliance date for background checks procedures described in the Head Start Program Performance Standards final rule that was published in the Federal Register on September 6, 2016. We are taking this action to afford programs more time to implement systems that meet the background checks procedures and to align with deadlines for states complying with background check requirements found in the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014.

    DATES:

    The compliance date for the background checks procedures described in 45 CFR 1302.90(b) is delayed until September 30, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Colleen Rathgeb, Division Director of Early Childhood Policy and Budget, Office of Early Childhood Development, [email protected], (202) 358-3263 (not a toll-free call). Deaf and hearing impaired individuals may call the Federal Dual Party Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Head Start program provides grants to local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families and to help preschoolers develop the skills they need to be successful in school. We amended our Head Start program performance standards in a final rule that published in the Federal Register on September 6, 2016.

    Head Start Program Performance Standards are the foundation for Head Start's mission to deliver comprehensive, high-quality individualized services to support children from low-income families prepare for school. They outline requirements grantees and delegate agencies must implement to operate high quality Head Start or Early Head Start programs and provide a structure to monitor and enforce quality standards.

    Our performance standards highlight child safety as a top priority. We strengthen our criminal background checks process at 45 CFR 1302.90(b), in the final rule, to reflect changes in the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 (Act), 42 U.S.C. 9801 et seq., and to complement background check requirements in the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014, 20 U.S.C. 1431 et seq., 20.

    In the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of the final rule, we provided a table, Table 1: Compliance Table that lists dates by which programs must implement specific standards. We list August 1, 2017 as the date by which programs must comply with background checks performance standards at 45 CFR 1302.90(b)(2), (4), and (5) in the final rule.

    Generally, before a person is hired, we require programs to conduct a sex offender registry check and obtain either a state or tribal criminal history records, including fingerprint checks, or a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history records, including fingerprint checks, before a person is hired. This performance standard under section 1302.90(b)(1) became effective the date the final rule was published. Programs were to have systems in place, by August 1, 2017, to accommodate this part of the background checks process.

    In sections 1302.90 (b)(2), (4), and (5), we afford programs 90 days to obtain which ever check they could not obtain before the person was hired, as well as child abuse and neglect state registry check, if available; we require programs to have systems in place that ensure these newly hired employees do not have unsupervised access to children until their background process is complete; and we require programs to conduct complete background checks that consist of a sex offender registry check, state or tribal history records, including fingerprint checks and an FBI criminal history records, including fingerprint check, as well as a child abuse and neglect state registry check, if available, for each employee at least once every five years.

    We believe programs will need more time to implement systems to complete the backgrounds checks process listed at sections 1302.90(b)(2), (4), and (5) in our final rule. Also, we recognize most states will have systems that can accommodate our programs' background checks requests by September 30, 2017. The reason being, Congress requires states that receive CCDBG funds to use the same set of comprehensive background checks for all child care teachers and staff. These states must have requirements as well as policies and procedures to enforce and conduct criminal background checks for existing and prospective child care providers by September 30, 2017. We can minimize burden on programs that operate with both Head Start and Child Care Development Funds if we extend the time by which our programs must comply with section 1302.90(b) to September 30, 2017. Until September 30, 2017, the criminal record check requirements from section 648A of the Act remain in place.

    We ordinarily publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register to provide a period for public comment before the provisions of a rule take effect in accordance with section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). However, we can waive this notice and comment procedure if the Secretary finds, for good cause, that the notice and comment process is impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest, and incorporates a statement of the finding and the reasons therefore in the notice.

    We find good cause to waive public comment under Section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act because it is unnecessary and contrary to the public interest to provide for public comment in this instance. The delayed compliance date poses no harm or burden to programs or the public. To have provided a period for public comment would have only extended concern in the Head Start community of how they were going to comply with the requirement in a different timeframe than that afforded the child care program. Programs may voluntarily come into compliance at an earlier date if they have the processes already in place.

    Dated: November 22, 2016. Mark H. Greenberg, Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families. Approved: November 30, 2016. Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29183 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 140214138-4482-02] RIN 0648-XF043 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for the State of New York AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS announces that the 2016 commercial Atlantic bluefish quota allocated to the State of New York has been harvested. Vessels issued a commercial Federal permit for this fishery may not land bluefish in New York for the remainder of calendar year 2016, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer from another state. Regulations governing these fisheries require publication of this notice to advise New York that the quota has been harvested, and to advise Federal vessel and dealer permit holders that no Federal commercial quota is available to land bluefish in New York.

    DATES:

    Effective 0001 hours, December 2, 2016, through December 31, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Reid Lichwell, (978) 281-9112, or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Regulations governing the bluefish fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The bluefish regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned on a percentage basis among the coastal states from Florida through Maine. The processes to set the bluefish annual commercial quotas and the percent allocated to each state are described in § 648.162.

    The initial coast wide commercial quota for Atlantic bluefish for the 2016 fishing year was set at 4,884,780 lb (2,215,699 kg) (81 FR 51370; August 4, 2016). The percent allocated to New York is 10.39 percent, resulting in an initial commercial quota of 507,289 lb (230,103 kg). The 2016 allocation was adjusted to 877,289 lb (397,932 kg) (81 FR 85904; November 29, 2016) to reflect quota transfers from other states.

    The Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), monitors the state commercial quotas and determines when a state's commercial quota has been harvested. NMFS is required to publish a notice in the Federal Register alerting Federal commercial vessel and dealer permit holders that, effective upon a specific date, the state's commercial quota has been harvested and no commercial quota is available to land bluefish in that state. The Regional Administrator has determined, based upon dealer reports and other available information, that New York has harvested its bluefish quota for 2016.

    Section 648.4(b) provides that Federal permit holders agree, as a condition of the permit, not to land bluefish in any state that the Regional Administrator has determined no longer has commercial quota available. Therefore, vessels holding Federal commercial permits are prohibited from landing bluefish, effective 0001 hours, December 2, 2016, for the remainder of the 2016 calendar year, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer and is announced in the Federal Register. Federally permitted dealers are also notified that they may not purchase bluefish, effective 0001 hours, December 2, 2016, from federally permitted vessels that land in New York for the remainder of the calendar year, or until additional quota becomes available through a transfer from another state.

    Classification

    This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment because it would be contrary to the public interest. This action closes the bluefish fishery for New York until January 1, 2017, under current regulations. The regulations at § 648.103(b) require such action to ensure that vessels do not exceed state quotas. If implementation of this closure was delayed to solicit public comment, the quota for this fishing year would be exceeded, thereby undermining the conservation objectives of the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan. The AA further finds, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), good cause to waive the 30 day delayed effectiveness period for the reason stated above.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29137 Filed 12-1-16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 151117999-6370-01] RIN 0648-XE680 Fisheries Off West Coast States; Modifications of the West Coast Commercial and Recreational Salmon Fisheries; Inseason Actions #6 Through #21 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Modification of fishing seasons; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS announces 16 inseason actions in the ocean salmon fisheries. These inseason actions modified the commercial and recreational salmon fisheries in the area from the U.S./Canada border to the U.S./Mexico border.

    DATES:

    The effective dates for the inseason actions are set out in this document under the heading Inseason Actions. Comments will be accepted through December 21, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2016-0007, by any one of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0007, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Barry A. Thom, Regional Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-6349

    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:

    Peggy Mundy at 206-526-4323.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    In the 2016 annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries (81 FR 26157, May 2, 2016), NMFS announced the commercial and recreational fisheries in the area from the U.S./Canada border to the U.S./Mexico border, beginning May 1, 2016, and 2017 salmon fisheries opening earlier than May 1, 2017. NMFS is authorized to implement inseason management actions to modify fishing seasons and quotas as necessary to provide fishing opportunity while meeting management objectives for the affected species (50 CFR 660.409). Inseason actions in the salmon fishery may be taken directly by NMFS (50 CFR 660.409(a)—Fixed inseason management provisions) or upon consultation with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and the appropriate State Directors (50 CFR 660.409(b)—Flexible inseason management provisions). The state management agencies that participated in the consultations described in this document were: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

    Management of the salmon fisheries is generally divided into two geographic areas: north of Cape Falcon (U.S./Canada border to Cape Falcon, OR) and south of Cape Falcon (Cape Falcon, OR, to the U.S./Mexico border). The inseason actions reported in this document affected fisheries north and south of Cape Falcon. Within the north of Cape Falcon area, there are four management subareas: The Neah Bay subarea (also known as Washington state marine area 4) extends from the U.S./Canada border to Cape Alava, WA; the La Push subarea (also known as Washington state marine area 3) extends from Cape Alava, WA, to the Queets River, WA; the Westport subarea (also known as Washington state marine area 2) extends from the Queets River, WA, to Leadbetter Point, WA; and the Columbia River subarea (which includes Washington state marine area 1) extends from Leadbetter Point, WA, to Cape Falcon, OR. All times mentioned refer to Pacific daylight time.

    Inseason Actions Inseason Action #6

    Description of action: Inseason action #6 cancelled the commercial ocean salmon fishery from Cape Alava to the Queets River (La Push subarea) previously scheduled for June 10-16, 2016 and June 24-30, 2016.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #6 took effect on June 10, 2016, and remained in effect through June 30, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action, in combination with inseason action #7, was to avoid exceeding the guideline set preseason for the Neah Bay and La Push subareas. The Regional Administrator (RA) considered Chinook landings to date and fishery effort and determined that this inseason action was necessary to meet the guideline set preseason. Inseason action to modify quotas and/or fishing seasons is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #6 occurred on June 8, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    Inseason Action #7

    Description of action: Inseason action #7 reduced the landing limit in the commercial ocean salmon fishery in the area from the U.S./Canada Border to Cape Alava (Neah Bay subarea, also known as Washington State Marine Area 4) from 40 Chinook per vessel per open period to 15 Chinook per vessel per open period. All fishers intending to fish north of Cape Alava must declare that intention before fishing by first notifying WDFW at 360-249-1215 with the following information: Boat name and approximate time they intend to fish in Washington State Marine Area 4, and destination at the end of the trip. All fish from Washington State Marine Area 4 must be landed before fishing any other area. All salmon from other areas must be landed before fishing for salmon in Washington State Marine Area 4. It is unlawful to possess salmon on board from any other area while also possessing salmon from Washington State Marine Area 4.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #7 took effect on June 10, 2016, and remained in effect until superseded by inseason action #9 on June 24, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action, in combination with inseason action #6, was to avoid exceeding the guideline set preseason for the Neah Bay and La Push subareas. The RA considered Chinook landings to date and fishery effort, and determined that this inseason action was necessary to meet the guideline set preseason. Inseason action to modify limited retention regulations is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #7 occurred on June 8, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    Inseason Action #8

    Description of action: Inseason action #8 increased the landing limit in the commercial ocean salmon fishery in the area from the Queets River to Cape Falcon, OR (Westport and Columbia River subareas), from 40 Chinook per vessel per open period to 65 Chinook per vessel per open period.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #8 took effect on June 10, 2016, and remained in effect until superseded by inseason action #10 on June 24, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action was to allow greater access to available quota. The RA considered Chinook landings to date and fishery efforts, and determined that inseason action was required to allow the greater access to remaining Chinook quota in the May-June commercial fishery in the Westport and Columbia River subareas. Inseason action to modify limited retention regulations is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #8 occurred on June 8, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    Inseason Action #9

    Description of action: Inseason action #9 reduced the landing limit in the commercial ocean salmon fishery in the area from the U.S./Canada Border to Cape Alava (Neah Bay subarea, also known as Washington State Marine Area 4) from 15 Chinook per vessel per open period to 14 Chinook per vessel per open period. All fishers intending to fish north of Cape Alava must declare that intention before fishing by first notifying WDFW at 360-249-1215 with the following information: boat name and approximate time they intend to fish in Washington State Marine Area 4, and destination at the end of the trip. All fish from Washington State Marine Area 4 must be landed before fishing any other area. All salmon from other areas must be landed before fishing for salmon in Washington State Marine Area 4. It is unlawful to possess salmon on board from any other area while also possessing salmon from Washington State Marine Area 4.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #9 superseded inseason action #7 on June 24, 2016, and remained in effect through June 30, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action was to avoid exceeding the guideline set preseason for the Neah Bay and La Push subareas. The RA considered Chinook landings to date and fishery effort, and determined that this inseason action was necessary to meet the guideline set preseason. Inseason action to modify limited retention regulations is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #9 occurred on June 22, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    Inseason Action #10

    Description of action: Inseason action #10 decreased the landing limit in the commercial ocean salmon fishery in the area from the Queets River to Cape Falcon, OR (Westport and Columbia River subareas), from 65 Chinook per vessel per open period to 40 Chinook per vessel per open period.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #10 superseded inseason action #8 on June 24, 2016, and remained in effect through June 30, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action was to avoid exceeding the quota set preseason for the May-June fishery. The RA considered Chinook landings to date and fishery effort and determined that inseason action was required due to increased fishing effort and landings. Inseason action to modify limited retention regulations is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #10 occurred on June 22, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    Inseason Action #11

    Description of action: Inseason action #11 increased the landing limit in the commercial ocean salmon fishery in the area from the U.S./Canada Border to Queets River, WA (Neah Bay and La Push subareas), from 50 Chinook per vessel per open period to 60 Chinook per vessel per open period.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #11 took effect on July 8, 2016, and remained in effect until superseded by inseason action #16 on July 22, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action was to allow access to available quota in the summer Chinook fishery. The RA considered Chinook landings and effort in the May-June fishery and the anticipated reduction in effort due to some fishers leaving the north of Falcon salmon fishery for other fisheries (i.e., tuna and Alaska salmon) and determined that inseason action was appropriate to provide access to the available quota. Inseason action to modify limited retention regulations is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #11 occurred on June 22, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    Inseason Action #12

    Description of action: Inseason action #12 increased the landing limit in the commercial ocean salmon fishery in the area from Queets River, WA, to Cape Falcon, OR (Westport and Columbia River subareas), from 50 Chinook per vessel per open period to 80 Chinook per vessel per open period.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #12 took effect on July 8, 2016, and remained in effect until superseded by inseason action #16 on July 22, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action was to allow access to available quota in the summer Chinook fishery. The RA considered Chinook landings and effort in the May-June fishery and the anticipated reduction in effort due to some fishers leaving the north of Falcon salmon fishery for other fisheries (i.e., tuna and Alaska salmon) and determined that inseason action was appropriate to provide access to the available quota. Inseason action to modify limited retention regulations is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #12 occurred on June 22, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    Inseason Action #13

    Description of action: Inseason action #13 extended retention of Pacific halibut caught incidental to commercial ocean salmon fishing (U.S./Canada border to U.S./Mexico border) beyond the June 30, 2016, closure date announced preseason. Pacific halibut retention will continue without any changes to landing and possession requirements until further notice.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #13 took effect on July 1, 2016, and remains in effect until the earlier of the end of the 2016 commercial salmon season or until the remaining allocation of incidental halibut is landed, when a closure will be implemented by inseason action.

    Reason and authorization for the action: The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) establishes an annual allocation of Pacific halibut that can be retained when caught incidental to commercial salmon fishing by fishers who possess the necessary IPHC license. The annual ocean salmon management measures (81 FR 26157, May 2, 2016) authorized halibut retention only during April, May, and June of the 2016 commercial salmon seasons and after June 30, 2016, if quota remains. The RA considered Pacific halibut and Chinook salmon landings to date, and fishery effort, and determined that sufficient halibut allocation remained to allow retention to continue for the foreseeable future. Inseason action to modify quotas and/or fishing seasons is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #13 occurred on June 22, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, ODFW, and CDFW.

    Inseason Action #14

    Description of action: Inseason action #14 increased the landing limit in the commercial ocean salmon fishery from Cape Falcon, OR, to Humbug Mountain, OR, beginning September 1, from 40 Chinook per vessel per landing week (Thursday through Wednesday) to 45 Chinook per vessel per landing week (Thursday through Wednesday).

    Effective dates: Inseason action #14 took effect September 1, 2016, and remains in effect until the end of the fishery, October 31, 2016, unless superseded by inseason action.

    Reason and authorization for the action: This action was taken to implement guidance provided by the State of Oregon at the April 2016 Council meeting. The RA considered the information from the Council records and concurred with making this adjustment inseason. Inseason action to modify limited retention regulations is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #14 occurred on June 22, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, ODFW, and CDFW.

    Inseason Action #15

    Description of action: Inseason action #15 adjusted the Chinook salmon quota in the commercial ocean salmon fishery from Humbug Mountain, OR, to the Oregon/California border for the month of July 2016 from 200 Chinook to 594 Chinook, due to a rollover of unused quota from June.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #15 took effect on July 8, 2016, and remained in effect through July 31, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: The annual ocean salmon management measures (81 FR 26157, May 2, 2016) for the commercial ocean salmon fishery in the Oregon Klamath Management Zone (Humbug Mountain, OR, to the Oregon/California border) include the following provision: Any remaining portion of the June Chinook quota may be transferred inseason on an impact-neutral basis to the July quota period. The June fishery closed with 510 Chinook salmon remaining on the quota. The Council's Salmon Technical Team calculated the rollover of these fish from the June-to-July fishing period on an impact neutral basis for Klamath River fall Chinook salmon. The resulting rollover amount was 394 Chinook; this was added to the 200 Chinook quota set preseason for July, for a total adjusted July quota of 594 Chinook salmon. The RA concurred with this impact-neutral rollover of quota. Inseason action to modify quotas and/or fishing seasons is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(i).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #15 occurred on July 8, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, ODFW, and CDFW.

    Inseason Action #16

    Description of action: Inseason action #16 increased the landing limit in the commercial ocean salmon fishery from 60 Chinook per vessel per open period to 125 Chinook per vessel per open period in the area from the U.S./Canada border to Queets River, WA (Neah Bay and La Push subareas), and from 60 Chinook per vessel per open period to 150 Chinook per vessel per open period in the area from Queets River, WA, to Cape Falcon, OR (Westport and Columbia River subareas).

    Effective dates: Inseason action #16 superseded inseason actions #11 and #12 on July 22, 2016, and remained in effect until superseded by inseason action #18 on August 1, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action was to allow greater access to available quota. The RA considered Chinook landings to date and fishery efforts, and determined that inseason action was required to allow the greater access to remaining Chinook quota. Inseason action to modify limited retention regulations is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #16 occurred on July 20, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    Inseason Action #17

    Description of action: Inseason action #17 adjusted the daily bag limit in the recreational ocean salmon fishery from Queets River, WA, to Leadbetter Point, WA (Westport subarea), to allow retention of two Chinook; previously only one Chinook was allowed.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #17 took effect on July 23, 2016, and remained in effect through August 21, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: This action was taken to allow greater access to available quota. The RA considered Chinook landings to date and fishery efforts, and determined that inseason action was required to allow the greater access to remaining Chinook quota. Inseason action to modify recreational bag limits is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(iii).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #17 occurred on July 20, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    Inseason Action #18

    Description of action: Inseason action #18 increased the landing limit in the commercial ocean salmon fishery from the U.S./Canada border to Cape Falcon, OR, to 225 Chinook per vessel per open period. Previously, under inseason action #16, the landing limits were 125 Chinook in the Neah Bay and La Push subareas, and 150 Chinook in the Westport and Columbia River subareas.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #18 superseded inseason action #16 on August 1, 2016, and remained in effect until superseded by inseason action #20 on August 15, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action was to allow greater access to available quota. The RA considered Chinook landings to date and fishery efforts, and determined that inseason action was required to allow the greater access to remaining Chinook quota. Inseason action to modify limited retention regulations is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #18 occurred on July 29, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    Inseason Action #19

    Description of action: Inseason action #19 adjusted the daily bag limit in the recreational ocean salmon fishery from Leadbetter Point, WA, to Cape Falcon, OR (Columbia River subarea), to allow retention of two Chinook; previously only one Chinook was allowed.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #19 took effect on August 16, 2016, and remained in effect until the fishery was closed on August 27, 2016, under inseason action #21.

    Reason and authorization for the action: This action was taken to allow greater access to available quota. The RA considered Chinook landings to date and fishery efforts, and determined that inseason action was required to allow the greater access to remaining Chinook quota. Inseason action to modify recreational bag limits is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(iii).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #19 occurred on August 10, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    Inseason Action #20

    Description of action: Inseason action #20 increased the landing limit in the commercial ocean salmon fishery from the U.S./Canada border to Cape Falcon, OR, from 225 Chinook per vessel per open period to 300 Chinook per vessel per open period.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #20 superseded inseason action #18 on August 15, 2016, and remained in effect through August 23, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: The purpose of this action was to allow greater access to available quota. The RA considered Chinook landings to date and fishery efforts, and determined that inseason action was required to allow the greater access to remaining Chinook quota. Inseason action to modify limited retention regulations is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(b)(1)(ii).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #20 occurred on August 10, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    Inseason Action #21

    Description of action: Inseason action #21 closed the recreational ocean salmon fishery from Leadbetter Point, WA, to Cape Falcon, OR (Columbia River subarea), at 11:59 p.m., Saturday, August 27, 2016.

    Effective dates: Inseason action #21 took effect at 11:59 p.m., Saturday, August 27, 2016.

    Reason and authorization for the action: This action was taken in response to recent increases in fishing effort and catch of coho salmon in the Columbia River subarea, and fishery forecasts that projected the coho quota would soon be attained. The RA considered coho landings to date and fishery efforts, and determined that inseason action was required to avoid exceeding the coho quota for this fishery. Inseason action to close salmon fisheries when attainment of the quota is projected is authorized by 50 CFR 660.409(a)(1).

    Consultation date and participants: Consultation on inseason action #21 occurred on August 26, 2016. Participants in this consultation were staff from NMFS, Council, WDFW, and ODFW.

    All other restrictions and regulations remain in effect as announced for the 2016 ocean salmon fisheries and 2017 salmon fisheries opening prior to May 1, 2017 (81 FR 26157, May 2, 2016) and as modified by prior inseason actions.

    The RA determined that the best available information indicated that halibut, coho, and Chinook salmon abundance forecasts and expected fishery effort supported the above inseason actions recommended by the states of Washington and Oregon. The states manage the fisheries in state waters adjacent to the areas of the U.S. exclusive economic zone in accordance with these Federal actions. As provided by the inseason notice procedures of 50 CFR 660.411, actual notice of the described regulatory actions was given, prior to the time the action was effective, by telephone hotline numbers 206-526-6667 and 800-662-9825, and by U.S. Coast Guard Notice to Mariners broadcasts on Channel 16 VHF-FM and 2182 kHz.

    Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that good cause exists for this notification to be issued without affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) because such notification would be impracticable. As previously noted, actual notice of the regulatory actions was provided to fishers through telephone hotline and radio notification. These actions comply with the requirements of the annual management measures for ocean salmon fisheries (81 FR 26157, May 2, 2016), the FMP, and regulations implementing the FMP (50 CFR 660.409 and 660.411). Prior notice and opportunity for public comment was impracticable because NMFS and the state agencies had insufficient time to provide for prior notice and the opportunity for public comment between the time Chinook salmon catch and effort projections were developed and fisheries impacts were calculated, and the time the fishery modifications had to be implemented in order to ensure that fisheries are managed based on the best available scientific information, ensuring that conservation objectives and ESA consultation standards are not exceeded. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness required under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), as a delay in effectiveness of these actions would allow fishing at levels inconsistent with the goals of the FMP and the current management measures.

    These actions are authorized by 50 CFR 660.409 and 660.411 and are exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29135 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 234 Tuesday, December 6, 2016 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Parts 944, 980, and 999 [Doc. No. AMS-SC-16-0064; SC16-980-1 PR] Changes to Reporting Requirements—Vegetable and Specialty Crop Import Regulations; and Other Clarifying Changes—Fruit, Vegetable, and Specialty Crop Import Regulations AGENCY:

    Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This proposed rule would change the reporting requirements for certain Irish potatoes, tomatoes, and onions regulated under § 608(e) of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 (section 8e of the Act) by requiring importers of those regulated commodities that have been certified by a designated governmental inspection service other than the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service as meeting 8e requirements to provide the inspection certificate number and a copy of the certificate to AMS (currently, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is the only entity so designated). In addition, the pistachio import regulations would be changed to provide for the electronic filing of aflatoxin test results and to eliminate a requirement to report the disposition of reworked or failed lots of pistachios. Other changes would be made to several of the 8e regulations to remove or replace outdated information. These changes would allow AMS to confirm that section 8e regulatory requirements are being met and would also support the International Trade Data System (ITDS), a key White House economic initiative that will automate the filing of import and export information by the trade.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by January 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this proposal. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Fax: (202) 720-8938; or Internet: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments should reference the document number and the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register and will be made available for public inspection in the Office of the Docket Clerk during regular business hours, or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. All comments submitted in response to this proposal will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments will be made public on the Internet at the address provided above.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Shannon Ramirez, Compliance and Enforcement Specialist, or Vincent Fusaro, Compliance and Enforcement Branch Chief, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

    Small businesses may request information on complying with this regulation by contacting Richard Lower, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Telephone: (202) 720-2491, Fax: (202) 720-8938, or Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This proposed rule is issued under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the “Act.” Section 8e provides that whenever certain commodities are regulated under Federal marketing orders, imports of those commodities into the United States are prohibited unless they meet the same or comparable grade, size, quality, and/or maturity requirements as those in effect for the domestically produced commodities. The Act also authorizes USDA to perform inspections on those imported commodities and to certify whether those requirements have been met.

    Parts 944, 980, and 999 of title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) specify inspection, certification, and reporting requirements for imported commodities regulated under 8e, including the governmental inspection services that are authorized to perform certification.

    The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing this proposed rule in conformance with Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13175.

    This proposal has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This proposed rule is not intended to have retroactive effect.

    There are no administrative procedures that must be exhausted prior to any judicial challenge to the provisions of import regulations issued under section 8e of the Act.

    This proposal invites comments on revisions to the reporting requirements for certain Irish potatoes, tomatoes, and onions regulated under part 980, the vegetable import regulations. This proposal would require importers of those regulated commodities that have been certified by a designated governmental inspection service other than the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service as meeting 8e requirements to electronically enter the inspection certificate number and upload an electronic copy of the certificate to AMS. Currently, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is the only designated non-Federal/Federal-State Inspection Service; therefore, references to the reporting requirement proposed in this rule will hereinafter be described as “CFIA” or “Canadian” inspection certificates and/or inspection information.

    In the event an importer was unable to enter the CFIA inspection information electronically, he or she would be required to provide a copy of the certificate to AMS via email, mail, or facsimile.

    In addition, this rule proposes changes to two pistachio import reporting requirements in § 999.600 of the specialty crop import regulations: the Imported Pistachios—Lot Notification report (form FV-249) and the Imported Pistachios—Rework and Failed Lot Disposition report (form FV-251). Both forms have been previously approved for use by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB No. 0581-0215, Pistachios Grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico (although these two forms are included in the OMB information collection for the domestic pistachio marketing order, they are used strictly for reporting related to imported pistachios). The pistachio regulations currently require that USDA or USDA-accredited laboratories complete a form FV-249 for all lots of imported pistachios that fail to meet aflatoxin requirements and submit the form to USDA, CBP, and the importer who requested the aflatoxin test. The regulations also require that importers of pistachios complete and submit to USDA and CBP a form FV-251 for lots that fail to meet aflatoxin requirements when the lots are reworked for further testing or, when not reworked, are exported, sold for non-human consumption, or destroyed.

    Under this proposal, the form FV-249 would be submitted electronically, and the regulations would require the reporting of all aflatoxin test results (both “meets” and “fails”) to USDA. AMS has confirmed with CBP that it does not need to receive the FV-249, and importers already receive “meets” and “fails” test results from the laboratories in the form of aflatoxin test certificates; therefore, the laboratories would electronically submit this form only to USDA. Importers would no longer be required to submit the form FV-251 because AMS has determined that information provided on this form is available from other sources. AMS will consider in the future if the FV-251 should be extracted from the information collection. Providing for electronic submission of the FV-249 and removing the requirement that importers submit the FV-251 would support the ITDS initiative by streamlining processes and reducing the burden on America's import trade without compromising AMS's ability to ensure compliance with its import regulations.

    This proposed rule would also make other changes to the fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop import regulations in §§ 944.400, 944.401, 980.1, 980.117, 980.212, 999.1, 999.100, 999.300, and 999.400. These changes, which include updating agency and program names and contact information, and removing or updating other information that is out of date, would help ensure the import regulations contain accurate information and align with the ITDS objective of streamlining import processes for the trade.

    Certification by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

    In part 980, the following sections prescribe the grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements for imported vegetable commodities that are regulated under section 8e of the Act: § 980.1(b) for potatoes, § 980.117(b) for onions, and § 980.212(b) for tomatoes. Further, the following sections in part 980 specify the governmental inspection services that are designated to certify that grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements of the commodities have been met: § 980.1(f) for potatoes, § 980.117(e) for onions, and § 980.212(e) for tomatoes. Part 980 also specifies that an inspection certificate issued by a designated government inspection service certifying that the potatoes, onions, and tomatoes meet the import requirements is required for all imports (§§ 980.1(g), 980.117(f), and 980.212(f) for potatoes, onions, and tomatoes, respectively).

    As noted above, the vegetable import regulations specify those domestic and foreign government inspection services that are designated to certify that imported potatoes, onions, and tomatoes meet grade, size, quality, and maturity requirements. Currently, the only foreign designated governmental inspection service is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

    When importers have potatoes, onions, or tomatoes inspected in Canada prior to import into the United States, an inspection certificate is provided to the importer that certifies that the commodity meets section 8e import requirements. These certificates are comprised of various formats, including a Certificate of Inspection for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables—Shipping Point (also known as E2 and E3 forms) and an Export Document for C-PIQ Establishments—Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (also known as a C-PIQ form). CFIA issues C-PIQ forms to C-PIQ establishments that meet the requirements defined within the CFIA quality assurance program known as “Canadian Partners in Quality” (C-PIQ). The C-PIQ program is applicable to potatoes only (i.e., not onions or tomatoes). All of these certificates contain similar information as required by the vegetable import regulations, including the date of inspection, the name of the shipper, the commodity inspected, the quantity of the commodity covered by the certificate, and a statement indicating that the commodity meets the import requirements of section 8e of the Act.

    Currently, Canadian certificates that certify that potatoes, onions, and tomatoes meet 8e requirements are presented to the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the United States/Canadian border, prior to entry into the United States. AMS conducts periodic reviews at CFIA offices and potato handling facilities in various Canadian provinces during which inspectors from AMS's Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) Division, as well as Compliance and Enforcement Specialists from AMS's Marketing Order and Agreement Division (MOAD), observe inspection processes and review records at traditional shipping points and maintained under the C-PIQ program for potatoes exported from Canada to the United States. However, importers are not currently required to submit copies of the Canadian E2, E3, or C-PIQ certificates or otherwise provide proof of Canadian inspection to AMS.

    Electronic Entry of Canadian Certificate Information in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)

    The United States Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is the primary system through which the global trade community electronically files information about imports and exports so that admissibility into the United States may be determined and government agencies may monitor compliance. ACE is the platform that provides a “single window” through which the global trade community electronically files shipment data, instead of completing or submitting paper-based forms to report the same information to different government agencies. This “single window” concept is a key component of the International Trade Data System (ITDS), a White House economic initiative that has been under development for over ten years and is mandated for completion by December 31, 2016 (pursuant to Executive Order 13659, Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America's Businesses, signed by President Obama on February 19, 2014; 79 FR 10657). ITDS is designed to greatly reduce the burden on America's import and export trade while still providing information to government agencies that is necessary for the United States to ensure compliance with its laws.

    In conjunction with the full implementation of the ITDS “single window,” CBP is requiring that government agencies participating in the ITDS project, including AMS, ensure that regulations provide for the electronic entry of import and/or export information.

    AMS has developed and deployed a new automated system called the Compliance and Enforcement Management System (CEMS) that interfaces with CBP's ACE system in support of ITDS. CEMS electronically links with the ACE system to create a “pipeline” through which data is transmitted between MOAD and CBP. CEMS validates information electronically entered by importers in ACE and transmits messages to CBP about whether a shipment may be released for importation into the United States.

    AMS has determined that the changes to the vegetable import regulations proposed in this rule meet CBP's requirements for ITDS by providing for the electronic entry in ACE of certification information for potatoes, onions, and tomatoes inspected by CFIA prior to import into the United States. This data would be transmitted from CBP's ACE to AMS's CEMS, where it would be electronically validated. Upon validation, CEMS would transmit an electronic message back to ACE indicating the shipment is cleared for import into the United States. The proposed changes to the vegetable import regulations would automate and streamline the entry and reporting process for importers while enhancing AMS's ability to ensure compliance with its import regulations.

    These proposed changes would also provide an option for importers to provide AMS with a paper copy of a CFIA certificate, via email, mail, or facsimile, in the event an importer is unable to electronically provide the required certificate number and image in ACE.

    Imported Pistachio Regulation Reporting Changes

    The pistachio import regulations provide that each pistachio sample drawn and prepared for aflatoxin testing by a USDA-authorized inspector be submitted to a USDA or USDA-accredited laboratory for analysis (§ 999.600(e)). Lots that fail to meet the aflatoxin requirements currently must be reported by the laboratories to USDA, CBP, and the importer using an Imported Pistachios—Failed Lot Notification report (form FV-249), pursuant to §§ 999.600(e), (g) and (h). Importers are also currently required to report the disposition of reworked and failed lots to USDA and CBP using an Imported Pistachios—Rework and Failed Lot Disposition report (form FV-251), pursuant to §§ 999.600(g) and (h). Both the FV-249 and FV-251 are paper forms.

    Section 999.600(f) provides that the laboratories provide an aflatoxin inspection certificate to importers that contains, among other things, a statement as to whether the lot meets or fails the import requirements under section 8e of the Act. Thus, all aflatoxin test results are provided to importers by the testing laboratories.

    Section 999.600 would be revised by changing the reporting requirements for laboratories (form FV-249) and importers (form FV-251). USDA and USDA-accredited laboratories currently submit a paper form FV-249 to USDA, CBP, and an importer when a lot fails to meet the aflatoxin requirements of the pistachio import regulations. The testing laboratories are now meeting this requirement and are also voluntarily providing information to USDA about lots that meet aflatoxin requirements; in other words, the laboratories are providing all aflatoxin test results to USDA, not just failed lot notifications. Importers currently complete and submit to USDA and CBP a paper form FV-251 to report the disposition of reworked or failed lots.

    To streamline the regulations and eliminate the paper-based reporting process, AMS would convert the existing FV-249 to an electronic format. The electronic format would provide for the laboratories to report all aflatoxin test results to AMS, in line with the current practice. USDA's Science and Technology Program approves and accredits laboratories to perform chemical analyses of pistachios for aflatoxin content. The regulations would require accredited laboratories to submit aflatoxin test results to AMS using the electronic form FV-249, and USDA laboratories would also use the electronic form FV-249 to submit test results to AMS. AMS has determined that CBP does not require this test result information, and the laboratories already provide importers with certificates for all aflatoxin tests; therefore, the laboratories would be required to electronically submit the FV-249 to only USDA and not to CBP or importers.

    In addition to the changes to laboratory-reporting requirements, § 999.600 would be revised to remove the requirement that importers report the disposition of reworked or failed lots to USDA and CBP using the Imported Pistachios—Rework and Failed Lot Disposition report (form FV-251). When this form was included in a proposed rule published in the Federal Register on October 11, 2011 (76 FR 65411) and implemented in a final rule published in the Federal Register on August 27, 2012 (77 FR 51686), AMS believed that the most effective way to ensure compliance with the rework and failed lot disposition requirements of the pistachio import regulations was to require importers to submit the form FV-251 with details about reworked, exported, sold for non-human consumption, or destroyed lots. Since that time, however, AMS has determined that the information provided on this form is available from other sources (for example, destruction information is available from AMS's Specialty Crops Inspection Division) or requires additional follow up with an importer. The requirements for rework and final disposition of failed lots is not changing; only the reporting associated with these requirements is changing. The proposal to remove the requirement that importers use the paper form FV-251 would support the full implementation of ITDS by streamlining processes and reducing the burden on importers while allowing AMS to continue to ensure compliance with import regulations. AMS will consider proposing removal of the form FV-251 from the information collection during the next renewal of the forms package.

    Accordingly, §§ 999.600(e), (g), and (h) would be revised to reflect the changes to reporting noted above.

    Other Changes

    To further ensure that the fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop import regulations provide accurate information to the import trade and in furtherance of streamlining processes in support of ITDS, the following changes would be made:

    Contact information for inspection offices and ports of entry, and references to importers making various advance arrangements for inspection services would be revised or removed from the fruit import regulations at §§ 944.400(a) (designated inspection services and procedures), 944.401(c) (olives); the vegetable import regulations at §§ 980.1(g)(1)(ii) (potatoes), 980.117(f)(3) (onions); 980.212(f)(3) (tomatoes); and in the specialty crop regulations at §§ 999.1(c)(1) (dates), 999.100(c)(4) (walnuts), 999.300(c)(3) (raisins), and 999.400(c)(2) (filberts). The contact information for individual inspection offices and ports of entry is currently out of date in many of these sections. Under ITDS, importers will electronically file initial requests for inspection (SC-357, Initial Inspection Request for Regulated Import Commodities), which will alert the appropriate inspection office and CBP that a regulated commodity will be arriving that will require inspection at the port of entry or at another location. This electronic process will provide the needed advance notice to the inspection service. AMS's Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) Division intends to amend its inspection application regulations (7 CFR parts 51 and 52) to provide for the electronic filing of the initial request for inspection, thereby meeting CBP's requirement that the regulations of agencies participating in ITDS be revised to provide for electronic filing of shipment entry data. This proposed rule would add contact information (address, telephone number, and facsimile numbers) for the main SCI office in Washington, DC, in the event importers need any information about inspection services. This change would also make the fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop regulations more current and consistent.

    Proposed administrative changes would include updating the USDA agency and program names in §§ 944.400(a) (designated inspection services and procedures) and 944.401(a)(5) and (c) (olives) in the fruit import regulations; 980.1(f) (potatoes), 980.117(e) (onions), and 980.212(e) (tomatoes) in the vegetable import regulations; and 999.600(h) (pistachios) in the specialty crop import regulations. Additionally, the word “nectarines” would be removed from § 944.400(a) (designated inspection services and procedures) of the fruit import regulations. Nectarines were regulated in the past but are not currently regulated under the fruit import regulations and should not, therefore, be listed in this section.

    Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities. Accordingly, AMS has prepared this initial regulatory flexibility analysis.

    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened.

    Small agricultural service firms, which includes importers, are defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,500,000 (13 CFR 121.201).

    This proposed action would change the import regulations for potatoes, onions, and tomatoes by requiring importers to enter the certificate number and upload an electronic image of the certificate for those shipments certified by CFIA as meeting 8e requirements into CBP's ACE system, for transmission to AMS, prior to import into the United States. If an importer is unable to provide this information electronically in ACE, a copy of the certificate would have to accompany the shipment at entry into the United States, and the importer would also have to submit a copy of the certificate to AMS via email, mail, or facsimile.

    Based on 2015 information from CBP, USDA estimates there are 25 importers of potatoes from Canada, 13 importers of onions from Canada, and 12 importers of tomatoes from Canada. Although USDA has limited access to data about the business sizes of these importers, it is likely that the majority may be classified as small entities.

    According to data from CBP and USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), USDA estimates that in 2015, there were 894,945,959 pounds of potatoes, onions, and tomatoes that were subject to 8e regulations that were imported from Canada into the U.S. The table below provides a breakdown of this information by commodity:

    Vegetables Regulated Under Section 8e—Imported From Canada in 2015 Commodity Number
  • of entries
  • Weight
  • in pounds
  • Potatoes 20,146 728,594,707 Onions 13,591 158,918,237 Tomatoes 634 7,333,015

    Currently, importers of Canadian potatoes, onions, and tomatoes that are certified by CFIA as meeting 8e requirements are not required to provide AMS with proof of this certification. The proposed change to require electronic entry of a CFIA certificate number and an electronic copy of the certificate through ACE would provide importers with an automated method of submitting this information to AMS at the same time they are electronically entering information about the shipment as required by other agencies, such as CBP. This electronic filing option should streamline business operations, both for importers of these commodities and for USDA, which would use the electronically submitted data to monitor compliance with 8e regulations. Electronic submission of this certificate information would meet CBP's requirement to ensure that the regulations of those government agencies participating in the ITDS project, such as AMS, provide for the electronic submission of required data. This change would create a minimal burden on importers while providing AMS with the ability to properly monitor imported vegetable shipments for compliance with the import regulations.

    In the event an importer would be unable to electronically provide the required certificate number and electronic copy of the certificate in ACE, this proposed change would require that a paper copy of the CFIA certificate accompany the shipment at entry and would also provide for the submission of a copy of the certificate to AMS via email, mail, or facsimile.

    This proposed action would also change the pistachio import regulations by modifying the reporting requirements for USDA or USDA-accredited laboratories that perform chemical analyses of aflatoxin levels in imported pistachios. The regulations would require these laboratories to submit all aflatoxin test results to USDA instead of only the results of failed lots; however, the laboratories are already voluntarily providing all test results to AMS. AMS reports that most of the aflatoxin chemical analyses are performed by the USDA Science and Technology Program laboratory in Blakely, Georgia, which is not subject to RFA analysis.

    There are currently nine USDA-accredited laboratories that perform chemical analyses on aflatoxin levels for imported pistachios to determine if they meet 8e requirements. Although USDA does not have access to data about the business sizes of these laboratories, it is likely that the majority may be classified as large entities.

    USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) estimates that in 2015, 2,743,823 pounds of pistachios (shelled and inshell) were imported into the United States. According to FAS data, most of those pistachios were imported from Turkey, with additional imported pistachios coming from other countries that include Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, Greece, Thailand, and Germany. For those pistachios imported in 2015, AMS received 8 failed lot notifications from two of the USDA-accredited laboratories, as required by the regulations, and voluntarily received notifications from four of the USDA-accredited laboratories that 54 lots met 8e aflatoxin level requirements. The total test results received in 2015 (62) divided among the nine USDA-accredited labs would average 7 test results per year for each USDA-accredited laboratory. Because the laboratories currently provide AMS with both “meets” and “fails” aflatoxin test results, there is not expected to be any additional cost as a result of this action.

    Regarding alternatives to this action, AMS determined that these changes to the regulations are needed to comply with the ITDS mandate and to provide AMS with information it requires to ensure compliance with its regulations. As noted earlier, CBP is requiring all government agencies who are partnering with CBP on the ITDS initiative (including AMS) to update their regulations to provide for the electronic entry of import and export shipment data. Providing for the entry of certificate information in ACE for potatoes, onions, and tomatoes imported from Canada that have been certified by CFIA as meeting 8e requirements enhances AMS's ability to monitor compliance while also meeting the objectives of ITDS to streamline processes for the import trade. In addition, changing the pistachio regulations by revising the reporting requirements would streamline the regulations and reduce the burden on the trade. The other changes proposed in this action would also provide the import trade with accurate information.

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), AMS considered the information collection requirements necessary for importers to electronically submit CFIA's inspection certificates and certificate numbers, and it was deemed not to place an additional paperwork burden on importers. No changes in the information collection requirements for the vegetable import regulations are necessary as a result of this action. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval.

    The information collection requirements for the form FV-249 (for imported pistachios) have been previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB No. 0581-0215 (Pistachios Grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico). As noted earlier, form FV-249 is contained within the OMB information collection for the domestic pistachio marketing order but is used strictly for imported pistachios.

    AMS has submitted a request to OMB to make changes to the information collection currently approved under OMB No. 0581-0215, which was last renewed in 2014, by providing for the electronic submission of form FV-249; renaming the existing form Notification of Aflatoxin Levels to reflect the inclusion of all aflatoxin test results; and relaxing the submission requirements so that laboratories submit the form to only USDA, eliminating the need to also submit the form to CBP and importers. There are currently nine USDA-accredited laboratories that could potentially submit all aflatoxin test results to USDA instead of only failed test results using the FV-249. As a result, the number of respondents is changing from 7 to 9, the estimated number of responses per respondent is increasing from 4 to 7, and the annual burden hours is increasing from 5.6 hours to 12.6 hours. These changes have been included in AMS's request to OMB to revise this information collection.

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

    USDA has not identified any relevant Federal rules that duplicate, overlap or conflict with this proposed rule.

    A small business guide on complying with fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing agreements and orders may be viewed at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/moa/small-businesses. Any questions about the compliance guide should be sent to Rick Lower at the previously mentioned address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    A 30-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to this proposal. Thirty days is deemed appropriate because (1) the import industry is fully aware of ITDS and its goal to streamline and automate paper-based processes and has attended annual ITDS Trade Support Network plenary sessions conducted by the U.S. government over the past few years; (2) USDA and USDA-accredited laboratories are already voluntarily providing all imported pistachio aflatoxin test results to USDA; and (3) CPB is requiring the timely update of import and export regulations to meet the ITDS electronic data submission requirement. All written comments timely received will be considered before a final determination is made on this matter.

    List of Subjects 7 CFR Part 944

    Avocados, Food grades and standards, Grapefruit, Grapes, Imports, Kiwifruit, Olives, Oranges.

    7 CFR Part 980

    Food grades and standards, Imports, Marketing agreements, Onions, Potatoes, Tomatoes.

    7 CFR Part 999

    Dates, Filberts, Food grades and standards, Imports, Nuts, Pistachios, Prunes, Raisins, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Walnuts.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR parts 944, 980, and 999 are proposed to be amended as follows:

    1. The authority citation for 7 CFR parts 944, 980, and 999 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 601-674.

    PART 944—FRUITS; IMPORT REGULATIONS 2. Revise § 944.400 to read as follows:
    § 944.400 Designated inspection services and procedure for obtaining inspection and certification of imported avocados, grapefruit, kiwifruit, oranges, prune variety plums (fresh prunes), and table grapes regulated under section 8e of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended.

    (a) The Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service, Specialty Crops Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, United States Department of Agriculture is hereby designated as the governmental inspection service for the purpose of certifying the grade, size, quality, and maturity of avocados, grapefruit, oranges, prune variety plums (fresh prunes), and table grapes that are imported into the United States. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is also designated as a governmental inspection service for the purpose of certifying grade, size, quality and maturity of prune variety plums (fresh prunes) only. Inspection by the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service or the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, with appropriate evidence thereof in the form of an official inspection certificate, issued by the respective services, applicable to the particular shipment of the specified fruit, is required on all imports. Inspection and certification by the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service will be available upon application in accordance with the Regulations Governing Inspection, Certification and Standards for Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, and Other Products (7 CFR part 51). For further information about Federal or Federal-State inspection services, contact Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0240, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone (202) 720-5870; fax (202) 720-0393.

    3. In § 944.401, revise paragraphs (a)(5) and (c) to read as follows:
    § 944.401 Olive Regulation 1.

    (a) * * *

    (5) USDA Inspector means an inspector of the Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Specialty Crops Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, or any other duly authorized employee of the Department.

    (c) The Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Specialty Crops Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, is hereby designated as the governmental inspection service for the purpose of certifying the grade and size of processed olives from imported bulk lots for use in canned ripe olives and the grade and size of imported canned ripe olives. Inspection by said inspection service with appropriate evidence thereof in the form of an official inspection certificate, issued by the service and applicable to the particular lot of olives, is required. With respect to imported bulk olives, inspection and certification shall be completed prior to use as packaged ripe olives. With respect to canned ripe olives, inspection and certification shall be completed prior to importation. Any lot of olives which fails to meet the import requirements and is not being imported for purposes of contribution to a charitable organization or processing into oil may be exported or disposed of under the supervision of the Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, with the cost of certifying the disposal borne by the importer. Such inspection and certification services will be available, upon application, in accordance with the applicable regulations governing the inspection and certification of Processed Fruits and Vegetables, Processed Products Thereof, and Certain Other Processed Food Products (part 52 of this title). * For questions about inspection services or for further assistance, contact: Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 1536-S, STOP 0240, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone (202) 720-5870; fax (202) 720-0393.

    PART 980—VEGETABLES; IMPORT REGULATIONS 4. In § 980.1, revise paragraphs (f), (g)(1)(i), and (g)(1)(ii) to read as follows:
    § 980.1 Import regulations; Irish potatoes.

    (f) Designation of governmental inspection services. The Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service, Specialty Crops Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food of Plant Origin Division, Plant Products Directorate, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, are hereby designated as governmental inspection services for the purpose of certifying the grade, size, quality, and maturity of Irish potatoes that are imported, or to be imported, into the United States under the provisions of § 608e of the Act.

    (g) * * *

    (1)(i) Inspection and certification by the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service will be available and performed in accordance with the rules and regulations governing certification of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other products (part 51 of this title), and each lot shall be made available and accessible for inspection as provided therein. Cost of inspection and certification shall be borne by the applicant. For questions about inspection services or for further assistance, contact: Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1536-S, STOP 0240, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone (202) 720-5870; fax (202) 720-0393.

    (ii) If certification is provided by a designated governmental inspection service other than the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service, in accordance with 980.1(f), an importer shall electronically transmit to USDA, prior to entry, the certificate number and an electronic image of the certificate using the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Automated Commercial Environment system. If this information is not provided electronically prior to entry, a paper copy of the certificate must accompany the shipment at the time of entry, and a copy of the certificate must be submitted by email, mail, or fax to the Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone (202) 720-2491; email [email protected]; or fax (202) 720-5698.

    5. In § 980.117, revise paragraphs (e), (f)(2), and (f)(3) to read as follows:
    § 980.117 Import regulations; onions.

    (e) Designation of governmental inspection service. The Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service, Specialty Crops Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food of Plant Origin Division, Plant Products Directorate, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, are hereby designated as governmental inspection services for the purpose of certifying the grade, size, quality, and maturity of onions that are imported, or to be imported, into the United States under the provisions of section 8e of the Act.

    (f) * * *

    (2) Inspection and certification by the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service will be available and performed in accordance with the rules and regulations governing certification of fresh fruits, vegetables and other products (7 CFR part 51). Each lot shall be made available and accessible for inspection as provided therein. Cost of inspection and certification shall be borne by the applicant. For questions about inspection services or for further assistance, contact: Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 1536-S, STOP 0240, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone (202) 720-5870; fax (202) 720-0393.

    (3) If certification is provided by a designated governmental inspection service other than the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service, in accordance with 980.117(e), an importer shall electronically transmit to USDA, prior to entry, the certificate number and an electronic image of the certificate using the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Automated Commercial Environment system. If this information is not provided electronically prior to entry, a paper copy of the certificate must accompany the shipment at the time of entry, and a copy of the certificate must be submitted by email, mail, or fax to the Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone (202) 720-2491; email [email protected]; or fax (202) 720-5698.

    6. In § 980.212, revise paragraphs (e), (f)(2), and (f)(3) to read as follows:
    § 980.212 Import regulations; tomatoes.

    (e) Designation of governmental inspection service. The Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service, Specialty Crops Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food of Plant Origin Division, Plant Products Directorate, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, are hereby designated as governmental inspection services for the purpose of certifying the grade, size, quality, and maturity of tomatoes that are imported, or to be imported, into the United States under the provisions of section 8e of the Act.

    (f) * * *

    (2) Inspection and certification by the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service will be available and performed in accordance with the rules and regulations governing certification of fresh fruits, vegetables and other products (7 CFR part 51). Each lot shall be made available and accessible for inspection as provided therein. Cost of inspection and certification shall be borne by the applicant. For questions about inspection services or for further assistance, contact: Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1536-S, STOP 0240, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone (202) 720-5870; fax (202) 720-0393.

    (3) If certification is provided by a designated governmental inspection service other than the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Service, in accordance with 980.212(e), an importer shall electronically transmit to USDA, prior to entry, the certificate number and an electronic image of the certificate using the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Automated Commercial Environment system. If this information is not provided electronically prior to entry, a paper copy of the certificate must accompany the shipment at the time of entry, and a copy of the certificate must be submitted by email, mail, or fax to the Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; telephone (202) 720-2491; email [email protected]; or fax (202) 720-5698.

    PART 999—SPECIALTY CROPS; IMPORT REGULATIONS
    § 999.100 [Amended].
    7. In § 999.100, amend paragraph (c)(4) by removing the last sentence. 8. In § 999.300, revise paragraph (c)(3) to read as follows:
    § 999.300 Regulation governing importation of raisins.

    (c) * * *

    (3) Whenever raisins are offered for inspection, the applicant shall furnish any labor and pay any costs incurred in moving and opening containers as may be necessary for proper sampling and inspection. The applicant shall also furnish the USDA inspector the entry number and such other identifying information for each lot as the inspector may request.

    9. In § 999.400, revise paragraph (c)(2) to read as follows:
    § 999.400 Regulation governing the importation of filberts.

    (c) * * *

    (2) Inspection. Inspection shall be performed by USDA inspectors in accordance with the Regulations Governing the Inspection and Certification of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables and Related Products (7 CFR part 51). The cost of each such inspection and related certification shall be borne by the applicant. Whenever filberts are offered for inspection, the applicant shall furnish any labor and pay any costs incurred in moving and opening containers as may be necessary for proper sampling and inspection. The applicant shall also furnish the USDA inspector the entry number and such other identifying information for each lot as the inspector may request. Inspection must be completed prior to the importation of filberts.

    10. Amend § 999.600 by: a. Revising paragraphs (e)(2) and (e)(3); b. Revising paragraph (g); c. Redesignating paragraph (h)(1) as (h) and revising newly redesignated paragraph (h); and d. Removing paragraph (h)(2).

    The revisions to read as follows:

    § 999.600 Regulation governing the importation of pistachios.

    (e) * * *

    (2) Lots that require a single test sample will be certified as “negative” on the aflatoxin inspection certificate if the sample has an aflatoxin level at or below 15 ppb. If the aflatoxin level is above 15 ppb, the lot fails. The laboratory shall electronically submit the results to USDA (Form FV-249) as described in paragraph (h) of this section.

    (3) Lots that require two test samples will be certified as “negative” on the aflatoxin inspection certificate if Test Sample #1 has an aflatoxin level at or below 10 ppb. If the aflatoxin level of Test Sample #1 is above 20 ppb, the lot fails and the laboratory shall electronically submit the results to USDA (Form FV-249) as described in paragraph (h) of this section. If the aflatoxin level of Test Sample #1 is above 10 ppb and at or below 20 ppb, the laboratory may, at the importer's discretion, analyze Test Sample #2 and average the test results of Test Samples #1 and #2. Alternately, the importer may elect to withdraw the lot from testing, rework the lot, and resubmit it for testing after reworking. If the importer directs the laboratory to proceed with the analysis of Test Sample #2, a lot will be certified as negative to aflatoxin and the laboratory shall issue an aflatoxin inspection certificate if the averaged result of Test Samples #1 and #2 is at or below 15 ppb. If the average aflatoxin level of Test Samples #1 and #2 is above 15 ppb, the lot fails. The laboratory shall electronically submit the results to USDA (Form FV-249) as described in paragraph (h) of this section.

    (g) Failed lots/rework procedure. Any lot or portion thereof that fails to meet the import requirements prior to or after reconditioning may be exported, sold for non-human consumption, or disposed of under the supervision the Federal or Federal-State Inspection Programs, with the costs of certifying the disposal of such lot paid by the importer.

    (1) Inshell rework procedure for aflatoxin. If inshell rework is selected as a remedy to meet the aflatoxin requirements of this part, then 100 percent of the product within that lot shall be removed from the bulk and/or retail packaging containers and reworked to remove the portion of the lot that caused the failure. Reworking shall consist of mechanical, electronic, or manual procedures normally used in the handling of pistachios. The reworked lot shall be sampled and tested for aflatoxin as specified in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section, except that the lot sample size and the test sample size shall be doubled. If, after the lot has been reworked and tested, it fails the aflatoxin test for a second time, the lot may be shelled and the kernels reworked, sampled, and tested in the manner specified for an original lot of kernels, or the failed lot may be exported, used for non-human consumption, or otherwise disposed of.

    (2) Kernel rework procedure for aflatoxin. If pistachio kernel rework is selected as a remedy to meet the aflatoxin requirements of this part, then 100 percent of the product within that lot shall be removed from the bulk and/or retail packaging containers and reworked to remove the portion of the lot that caused the failure. Reworking shall consist of mechanical, electronic, or manual procedures normally used in the handling of pistachios. The reworked lot shall be sampled and tested for aflatoxin as specified in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section.

    (3) Failed lot reporting. If a lot fails to meet the aflatoxin requirements of this part, the testing laboratory shall electronically submit the results to USDA (Form FV-249) as described in paragraph (h) of this section within 10 working days of the test failure. This information must be submitted each time a lot fails aflatoxin testing.

    (h) Reports and Recordkeeping. Form FV-249, Notification of Aflatoxin Levels. Each USDA or USDA-accredited laboratory shall notify the Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA of all aflatoxin test results for all lots by electronically submitting this form within 10 days of testing.

    Dated: November 29, 2016. Elanor Starmer, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29016 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2016-9320; Airspace Docket No. 15-AWP-2] Proposed Establishment of Class E Airspace, Weed, CA AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes to establish Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at Weed Airport, Weed, CA, to support the development of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations under standard instrument approach and departure procedures at the airport, and for the safety and management of IFR operations within the National Airspace System.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before January 20, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590; telephone: 1-800-647-5527, or (202) 366-9826. You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2016-9320; Airspace Docket No. 15-AWP-2, 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.

    FAA Order 7400.11A, 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 7400.11A at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.11, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tom Clark, Federal Aviation Administration, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057; telephone (425) 203-4511.

    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 controlled airspace at Weed Airport, Weed, CA.

    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. Persons 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-2016-9320/Airspace Docket No. 15-AWP-2.” 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 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/air_traffic/publications/airspace_amendments/.

    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see the ADDRESSES section for the address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the Northwest Mountain Regional Office of the Federal Aviation Administration, Air Traffic Organization, Western Service Center, Operations Support Group, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057.

    Availability and Summary of Documents Proposed for Incorporation by Reference

    This document proposes to amend FAA Order 7400.11A, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 3, 2016, and effective September 15, 2016. FAA Order 7400.11A is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.11A 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 at Weed Airport, Weed, CA. This airspace is necessary to support the development of IFR operations in standard instrument approach and departure procedures at the airport. Class E airspace would be established within a 4.3-mile radius of the airport, with a segment extending from the 4.3-mile radius to 6 miles north of the airport.

    Class E airspace designations are published in paragraph 6005 of FAA Order 7400.11A, dated August 3, 2016, and effective September 15, 2016, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designations listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    Regulatory Notices and Analyses

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

    Environmental Review

    This proposal will be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures” prior to any FAA final regulatory action.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

    PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for 14 CFR part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

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

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.11A, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 3, 2016, and effective September 15, 2016, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. AWP CA E5 Weed, CA [New] Weed Airport, CA (Lat. 41°28′51″ N., long. 122°27′16″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 4.3-mile radius of Weed Airport, and within 2 miles each side of the 348° bearing from the airport 4.3-mile radius to 6 miles north of the airport.

    Issued in Seattle, Washington, on November 21, 2016. Tracey Johnson, Manager, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29138 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0812; FRL-9956-11-Region 9] Approval of Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Nevada; Infrastructure Requirements To Address Interstate Transport for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection on April 10, 2013, and supplemented on March 25, 2016. The SIP revision and supplement address the interstate transport requirements of Clean Air Act (CAA or “Act”) section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) with respect to the 2008 ozone (O3) national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). The EPA's rationale for proposing to approve Nevada's April 10, 2013 SIP revision and March 25, 2016 supplement is described in this notice.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before January 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0812 at http://www.regulations.gov, or via email to [email protected] For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, the EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tom Kelly, EPA Region IX, (415) 972-3856, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document, the terms “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to the EPA.

    Table of Contents I. Background II. State Submittals III. The EPA's Assessment IV. Proposed Action V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background

    CAA sections 110(a)(1) and (2) require states to address structural SIP requirements to implement, maintain and enforce the NAAQS no later than three years after the promulgation of a new or revised standard. Section 110(a)(2) outlines the specific requirements that each state is required to address in this SIP submission that collectively constitute the “infrastructure” of a state's air quality management program. SIP submittals that address these requirements are referred to as “infrastructure SIPs” (I-SIP). In particular, CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requires that each SIP for a new or revised NAAQS contain adequate provisions to prohibit any source or other type of emissions activity within the state from emitting air pollutants that will “contribute significantly to nonattainment” (prong 1) or “interfere with maintenance” (prong 2) of the applicable air quality standard in any other state. This action addresses the section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requirements of prongs 1 and 2 for Nevada's I-SIP submissions.

    On March 27, 2008, the EPA issued a revised NAAQS for ozone.1 This action triggered a requirement for states to submit an I-SIP to address the applicable requirements of section 110(a)(2) within three years of issuance of the revised NAAQS.

    1 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone; Final Rule, 73 FR 16436 (March 27, 2008).

    On September 13, 2013, the EPA issued “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2),” which provides “advice on the development of infrastructure SIPs for the 2008 ozone NAAQS . . . as well as infrastructure SIPs for new or revised NAAQS promulgated in the future.” 2 The EPA followed that guidance with an additional memo specific to 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) (prongs 1 and 2) requirements for the 2008 O3 standard on January 22, 2015 entitled, “Information on the Interstate Transport “Good Neighbor” Provision for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS Under CAA Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)” (2015 Transport Memo).3 While this memo did not provide specific guidance to western states regarding how to address the interstate transport requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), it did contain preliminary modeling information for western states. This 2015 Transport Memo, following the approach used in the EPA's prior Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR),4 provided data identifying ozone monitoring sites that were projected to be in nonattainment or have maintenance problems for the 2008 ozone NAAQS in 2018. Also, the EPA provided the projected contribution estimates from 2018 anthropogenic oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in each state to ozone concentrations at each of the projected sites.

    2 Memorandum from Stephen D. Page, Director, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, to Regional Air Division Directors, Regions 1-10 (September 13, 2013).

    3 Memorandum from Stephen D. Page, Director, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, to Regional Air Division Directors, Regions 1-10 (January 22, 2015).

    4 Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, 76 FR 48208 (Aug. 8, 2011).

    On August 4, 2015, the EPA published a Federal Register Notice entitled, “Notice of Availability of the Environmental Protection Agency's Updated Ozone Transport Modeling Data for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS.” 5 This Notice of Data Availability (NODA) was an update of the preliminary air quality modeling data that was released January 22, 2015, and was also used to support the proposed Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS (“CSAPR Update”), which proposed to address interstate transport obligations in the eastern United States.6 The EPA's modeling was updated a second time with the release of the final Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS (“CSAPR Update”).7 The CSAPR Update addresses CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) requirements with respect to the 2008 ozone NAAQS in the eastern United States.

    5 Notice of Availability of the Environmental Protection Agency's Updated Ozone Transport Modeling Data for the 2008 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), 80 FR 46271 (August 4, 2015).

    6 Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS, Proposed Rule, 80 FR 75706 (December 3, 2015).

    7 Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS, Final Rule, 81 FR 74504 (October 25, 2016).

    The CSAPR Update modeling provided data used to identify ozone monitoring sites that are projected to be nonattainment or have maintenance problems (following the CSAPR approach) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS in 2017.8 The modeling further provided the projected ozone contribution estimates from 2017 anthropogenic NOX and VOC emissions in each state to ozone concentrations at each of the projected monitoring sites. While the CSAPR Update did not finalize any determinations regarding upwind state contributions to air quality problems in the 11 western states,9 the supportive modeling included data on potential interstate transport impacts among 11 western states, including Nevada. In this action, we are utilizing these data to evaluate the state's submittals and any interstate transport obligations under section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I).

    8 The EPA adopted 2017 as the analytic year for the updated ozone modeling information. See 80 FR 46273.

    9 For purposes of the CSAPR Update, the western U.S. (or the West) consists of the 11 western contiguous states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

    The EPA is obligated, pursuant to a judgment by the District of Nevada in Nevada vs. McCarthy, to take final action by February 13, 2017 on section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) prongs 1 and 2 of Nevada's April 2013 SIP revision and March 25, 2016 supplement.10 We previously took action on the other I-SIP elements covered by Nevada's submittals for the 2008 ozone NAAQS on November 3, 2015.11

    10 See Judgment, Nevada v. McCarthy, Case 3:15-cv-00396-HDM-WGC (D. Nev. June 22, 2016).

    11 Partial Approval and Partial Disapproval of Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Nevada; Infrastructure Requirements for Ozone, NO2 and SO2, 80 FR 67652.

    II. State Submittals

    On April 10, 2013, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) submitted its 2008 ozone NAAQS I-SIP (2013 submittal). Nevada's 2013 Submittal quoted the decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) in EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, 696 F.3d 7 (2012), which instructed the EPA to quantify each state's significant contribution to air quality problems in other states before requiring states to submit SIPs addressing the interstate transport requirements with respect to such pollution. Nevada's submittal also cited an EPA memorandum that explained, in light of the D.C. Circuit decision, “EPA cannot deem a SIP deficient for failing to meet the good neighbor provision, if the EPA has not quantified the state's obligation.” 12 The state concluded that, “Because US EPA has not informed Nevada of its contribution to any ozone NAAQS attainment problem in downwind states, the NDEP concludes that it is not obligated to address this requirement at this time.” Subsequent to Nevada's submission, however, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the D.C. Circuit with respect to states' obligations to submit a SIP addressing these requirements. See EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, 134 S. Ct. 1584 (2014).

    12 Memorandum from Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator of the EPA, to Regional Air Division Directors, Regions 1-10 (November 19, 2012).

    Despite the NDEP's conclusion with respect to the state's obligation to submit a SIP addressing the interstate transport requirements, the 2013 Submittal also included information intended to demonstrate that emissions from the state do not contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2008 ozone NAAQS in other states. In particular, the 2013 Submittal referenced the EPA's proposed CAIR rule and modeling, which excluded Western States, including Nevada, from its analysis. Finally, the 2013 Submittal discussed prevailing wind directions and nearby nonattainment areas in Phoenix, Arizona, and throughout California, concluding “NDEP finds it reasonable to conclude that the Phoenix nonattainment area is not significantly influenced by winds from Nevada.”

    Subsequent to the Supreme Court's vacatur of the D.C. Circuit's EME Homer City decision, on March 25, 2016, Nevada supplemented the Interstate Transport portions of its 2013 I-SIP submittal for the 2008 ozone NAAQS (2016 Supplement). The 2016 Supplement acknowledges and addresses the EPA modeling released in the 2015 Transport Memo which was updated by the August 2015 NODA. The 2016 Supplement acknowledges that the EPA's modeling showed that emissions from Nevada impact air quality in California and provides multiple reasons to support its conclusion that Nevada nonetheless does not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2008 ozone NAAQS in any downwind states.13 For example, the 2016 Supplement states that Nevada contributes slightly more than 1% of 2008 Ozone NAAQS at monitors in Madera and Fresno, but notes that this contribution is less than 1% of the projected 2017 design values for those monitors. It notes that even if the interstate transport contribution were eliminated, these monitors would not attain the 2008 ozone standard. The monitors are located within an extreme nonattainment area that has until 2031 to attain the 2008 Ozone NAAQS. The 2016 Supplement contends that the one percent screening threshold used in CSAPR to identify upwind states linked to downwind ozone problems is not appropriate in cases where the total contribution of upwind states to a downwind air quality problem are minimal and where the downwind design values are significantly higher than the NAAQS, particularly in light of high background concentrations.

    13 We have summarized the primary concerns raised in Nevada's 2016 Supplement. The complete details of Nevada's analysis can be found in the 2016 Supplement, which is contained in the docket for this action.

    The 2016 Supplement discusses current emissions of ozone precursors, controls in place for current sources, and the planned shutdown of several coal-fired electrical generating units. It briefly discusses VOC emissions, explaining that these are overwhelmingly from biogenic sources, which are uncontrollable; from mobile sources, which are federally regulated; and from fires, which are also uncontrollable. For NOX emissions sources, the 2016 Supplement relies on the 2011 National Emissions Inventory, and notes that on-road and off-road mobile sources comprise 90% of mobile source NOX emissions, which in turn comprise 75% of state-wide NOX emissions. As mentioned for VOC emissions, on-road and off-road mobile sources are primarily regulated at the federal level, though Nevada has several programs that control mobile source emissions, including the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicle annual Inspection and Maintenance program. According to the 2016 Supplement, fuel combustion is the second largest source of NOX in Nevada, and nearly half of that source sector is comprised of the electric generation sub-sector, mostly from facilities using coal for fuel. For Nevada's three coal-fired energy generation units (EGU), the 2016 Supplement explains that the last remaining boiler at the Reid Gardner Generating Station will shut down by December 2017 while the two units at the North Valmy Generating Station are planned to shut down in 2021 and 2025. Furthermore, NOX emissions controls at the remaining EGU facility, the TS Power Plant, include selective catalytic reduction system and low NOX coal burners.14 The 2016 Supplement concludes by reaffirming the 2013 submittal's conclusion that “ozone and ozone precursor emissions from Nevada do not contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone standard in any other state.”

    14 Emission limits for the TS Power Plant are contained in Class I Air Quality Operation Permit AP4911-2502 in the docket for this action.

    III. The EPA's Assessment 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) Prong 1 and Prong 2

    The EPA proposes to approve Nevada's SIP submissions pertaining to CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), prongs 1 and 2, with respect to the 2008 ozone NAAQS. As explained below, the EPA's proposal is based on the state's submission and the EPA's analysis of several factors and available data.

    To determine whether the CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), prongs 1 and 2 requirement is satisfied, the EPA first must determine whether a state's emissions will contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of a NAAQS in other states. If a state is determined not to make such contribution or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS, then the EPA can conclude that the state's SIP complies with the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). In several prior federal rulemakings interpreting section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), The EPA has evaluated whether a state will significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of a NAAQS by first identifying downwind receptors that are expected to have problems attaining or maintaining the NAAQS.15 The EPA has then determined which upwind states contribute to these identified air quality problems in amounts sufficient to warrant further evaluation to determine if the state can make emission reductions to reduce its contribution. CSAPR and the CSAPR Update used a screening threshold (1% of the NAAQS) to identify such contributing upwind states warranting further review and analysis. The EPA believes contribution from an individual state equal to or above 1% of the NAAQS could be considered significant where the collective contribution of emissions from one or more upwind states is responsible for a considerable portion of the downwind air quality problem regardless of where the receptor is geographically located.16 The EPA's air quality modeling supporting the CSAPR Update evaluated contributions from upwind states to downward receptors. The modeling information indicates that emissions from Nevada contribute amounts exceeding the 1% threshold at receptors in two projected downwind nonattainment areas, Madera County and Fresno County, California.17

    15 NOX SIP Call, Final Rule, 63 FR 57371 (October 27, 1998); Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), Final Rule, 70 FR 25172 (May 12, 2005); Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), Final Rule, 76 FR 48208 (August 8, 2011); CSAPR Update Rule, Proposed Rule, 80 FR 75706 (Dec. 3, 2015).

    16 The EPA notes that there may be additional criteria to evaluate regarding collective contribution of transported air pollution at certain locations in the West.

    17 Data file with 2017 Ozone Contributions included in docket for this action.

    Although The EPA's modeling indicates that emissions from Nevada contribute above the 1% threshold to two projected downwind air quality problems, the EPA examined several factors to determine whether emissions from Nevada should be considered to significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS at those sites, including the air quality and contribution modeling, receptor data, and the statewide measures reducing emissions of VOCs and NOX. The EPA notes that no single piece of information is by itself dispositive of the issue for purposes of this analysis. Instead, the EPA has considered the total weight of all the evidence taken together to evaluate whether Nevada significantly contributes to nonattainment or interferes with maintenance of the 2008 ozone NAAQS in those areas.

    One such factor that the EPA considers relevant to determining the nature of a projected receptor's interstate transport problem is the magnitude of ozone attributable to transport from all upwind states collectively contributing to the air quality problem. In CSAPR and the CSAPR Update Rule, the EPA used the 1% air quality threshold to identify linkages between upwind states and downwind maintenance receptors. States whose contributions to a specific receptor meet or exceed the threshold were considered to be linked to that receptor. The linked states' emissions (and available emission reductions) were then analyzed further as a second step to the EPA's contribution analysis. States whose contributions to all receptors that were below the 1% threshold did not require further evaluation to address interstate transport and we therefore determined that those states made insignificant contributions to downwind air quality. Therefore, the EPA determined that the states below the threshold do not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS in other states. The EPA used the 1% threshold in the East because prior analysis showed that, in general, nonattainment problems result from a combined impact of relatively small individual contributions from upwind states, along with contributions from in-state sources. The EPA has observed that a relatively large portion of the air quality problem at most ozone nonattainment and maintenance receptors in the East is the result of the collective contribution from a number of upwind states.

    Specifically, the EPA found the total upwind states' contribution to ozone concentration (from linked and unlinked states) based on modeling for 2017 ranges from 17% to 68% to identified downwind air quality problems in the East, with between 4 and 11 states each contributing above 1% to the downwind air quality problem.18 19 Thus, irrespective of the 1% air quality threshold in the East, the EPA has found that the collective contributions from upwind states represent a large portion of the ozone concentrations at projected air quality problems. Further, in the East, the EPA found that the 1% threshold is appropriate to capture a high percentage of the total pollution transport affecting downwind receptors. By comparison, the CSAPR Update modeling information indicates the total upwind (linked or unlinked) states' contribution to ozone concentration at the projected nonattainment site in Fresno, California (Monitor ID 60190242) and Madera, California (Monitor ID 60390004), is comparatively small, with only one state contributing above 1% to the downwind air quality problem.

    18 The stated range is based on the highest nonattainment or maintenance receptor in each area. All nonattainment and maintenance receptors had upwind contributions of well over 17%, except for some receptors in Dallas and Houston.

    19 Memo to Docket from the EPA, Air Quality Policy Division. “Contribution Analysis of Receptors in the Updated CSAPR Proposal.” March 10, 2016.

    Nevada is the only state that contributes greater than the 1% threshold to the projected 2017 levels of the 2008 ozone NAAQS to the receptor in Fresno. The total contribution from all states to the Fresno receptor is less than 2.6% of the ozone concentration at this receptor. Nevada is also the only state that contributes greater than 1% to the projected 2017 levels of the 2008 ozone NAAQS to a receptor in Madera, and the total contribution from all states is less than 2.2% of the ozone concentration at this receptor. The EPA believes that a 2.6% and 2.2% cumulative ozone contribution from all upwind states is negligible, particularly when compared to the relatively large contributions from upwind states in the East or in certain other areas of the West. For these reasons, the EPA believes the emissions that result in transported ozone from upwind states have limited impacts on the projected air quality problems in Madera County, and Fresno County, California, and therefore these receptors should not be treated as receptors for purposes of determining the interstate transport obligations of upwind states under section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I).

    This analysis is consistent with Nevada's determination that it would not be appropriate to determine that the state is linked to air quality problems in California. However, the EPA does not agree with the rationale provided by the state in its 2016 Supplement.20 For example, the EPA does not agree that upwind states should not be required to reduce emissions to downwind air quality problems simply because the downwind design values are significantly higher than the NAAQS. Although upwind reductions might not bring such areas into attainment, such reductions, where otherwise warranted, may still play an important role in improving air quality in downwind states and, therefore, improving public health and welfare. Moreover, the EPA does not agree that high levels of background concentrations at a particular monitor should necessarily excuse an upwind state from reducing emissions where such emissions reductions may nonetheless improve downwind air quality. Nonattainment and/or maintenance receptors in different parts of the Country may experience differing amounts of measured ozone from background sources (that are outside of the U.S.). But in some cases, areas with high background ozone may still have a relatively large amount of ozone from the collective contribution of upwind U.S. emissions. Therefore, regardless of the level of background ozone, emissions reductions from upwind states may be an important component of solving the local nonattainment problem.

    20 To the extent that the 2013 Submittal relies on analysis conducted for CAIR, the EPA notes that the modeling conducted for that rulemaking did not include the western United States. The EPA's more recent modeling does consider western states. Moreover, CAIR only addressed the 1997 ozone NAAQS, and the record for CAIR therefore contains no data evaluating the impact of emissions from Nevada to other states relative to the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Finally, while the EPA suggested that 8-hour ozone nonattainment problems were “likely” not affected by transported pollution in the west, the EPA took no final action determining that western states do not significantly contribute to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS in other states. Rather, as the 2013 Submittal notes, the EPA did not further analyze those states. 69 FR at 4581.

    In this case, the modeling data conducted to support the CSAPR Update show that Nevada contributes either less than 1% of the NAAQS to projected air quality problems in other states, or where it contributes above 1% of the NAAQS to a projected downwind air quality problem in California, the EPA proposes to find, based on the overall weight of evidence, that these particular receptors are not significantly impacted by transported ozone from upwind states. Emissions reductions from Nevada are not necessary to address interstate transport because the total collective upwind state ozone contribution to these receptors is relatively low compared to the air quality problems typically addressed by the good neighbor provision. Additionally, Nevada has demonstrated that both VOC and NOX emissions are decreasing and will continue to go down. The EPA therefore believes that Nevada's impact on downwind receptors in California are insignificant and will continue to remain insignificant.

    IV. Proposed Action

    The EPA is proposing to approve Nevada's SIP as meeting the interstate transport requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) prongs 1 and 2 for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. The EPA is proposing this approval based on the overall weight of evidence from information and analysis provided by Nevada, as well as the recent air quality modeling released in the EPA's August 4, 2015 NODA, and other data analysis that confirms that emissions from Nevada will not contribute significantly to nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the 2008 ozone NAAQS in California or any other state.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This action does not impose an information collection burden under the PRA because this action does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law.

    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the RFA. This action will not impose any requirements on small entities beyond those imposed by state law.

    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

    This action does not contain any unfunded mandate as described in UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. This action does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. Accordingly, no additional costs to State, local, or tribal governments, or to the private sector, will result from this action.

    E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

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

    F. Executive Order 13175: Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    This action does not have tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 13175, because the SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where the EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction, and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

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

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

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

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

    I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA)

    Section 12(d) of the NTTAA directs the EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory activities unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. The EPA believes that this action is not subject to the requirements of section 12(d) of the NTTAA because application of those requirements would be inconsistent with the CAA.

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

    The EPA lacks the discretionary authority to address environmental justice in this rulemaking.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Air pollution control, Approval and promulgation of implementation plans, Environmental protection, Incorporation by reference, Oxides of nitrogen, Ozone, and Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: November 22, 2016. Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29252 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 54 [WC Docket No. 10-90; Report No. 3056] Petition for Reconsideration of Action in Rulemaking Proceeding AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Petition for reconsideration.

    SUMMARY:

    A Petition for Reconsideration (Petition) has been filed in the Commission's rulemaking proceeding by Karen Brinkmann, on behalf of Alaska Communications.

    DATES:

    Oppositions to the Petition must be filed on or before December 21, 2016. Replies to an opposition must be filed on or before January 3, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Alexander Minard, Wireline Competition Bureau, phone: (202) 418-7400, TTY: (202) 418-0484 or by email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's document, Report No. 3056, released November 25, 2016. The full text of the Petition is available for viewing and copying at the FCC Reference Information Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554 or may be accessed online via the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System at: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/. The Commission will not send a copy of this document pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A), because this document does not have an impact on any rules of particular applicability.

    Subject: Connect America Fund, FCC 16-143, published at 81 FR 83706, November 22, 2016, in WC Docket No. 10-90. This document is being published pursuant to 47 CFR 1.429(e). See also 47 CFR 1.4(b)(1) and 1.429(f), (g).

    Number of Petitions Filed: 1.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29181 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 RIN 0648-BF26 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability of proposed Fishery Management Plan amendment; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The New England Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. We are requesting comments from the public on this Amendment, which was developed to prevent excessive consolidation in the groundfish fishery, promote fleet diversity, and enhance sector management. Amendment 18 includes measures that would limit the number of permits and annual groundfish allocation that an entity could hold. This action would also remove several effort restrictions to increase operational flexibility for limited access handgear vessels.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before February 6, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0143, by either of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0143, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope: “Comments on Northeast Multispecies Amendment 18.”

    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 commenter may be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

    Copies of Amendment 18, including its environmental impact statement, preliminary Regulatory Impact Review, and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EIS/RIR/IRFA), are available from the New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Newburyport, MA 01950. The EIS/RIR/IRFA is also accessible via the Internet at: www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    William Whitmore, Fishery Policy Analyst, 978-281-9182.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The New England Fishery Management Council has submitted to us Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. The Council identified four goals for Amendment 18:

    1. Promote a diverse groundfish fishery, including different gear types, vessel sizes, ownership patterns, geographic locations, and levels of participation through sectors and permit banks;

    2. Enhance sector management to effectively engage industry to achieve management goals and improve data quality;

    3. Promote resilience and stability of fishing businesses by encouraging diversification, quota utilization, and capital investment; and

    4. Prevent any individual(s), corporation(s), or other entity(ies) from acquiring or controlling excessive shares of the fishery access privileges.

    Amendment 18 addresses these goals through two mechanisms. First, this action proposes to establish accumulation limits on the number of groundfish permits and the amount of Potential Sector Contribution (PSC) that an entity may hold. PSC is the proportion of total landings of a particular stock associated with each permit's fishing history. PSC also represents the allocation that an individual permit would contribute to a sector once enrolled. Second, this action proposes to remove several restrictions on limited access handgear vessels to promote participation in this small-boat fishery.

    The PSC limit would restrict the amount of PSC that may be held by an entity in aggregate across all allocated stocks to an average of no more than 15.5. With 15 allocated stocks, the total PSC across all stocks held by an individual or entity must be ≤ 232.5 (an average of 15.5 per stock). An individual or entity could hold PSC for a single stock in excess of 15.5, so long as the total holdings do not exceed 232.5. Supporting analyses indicate that no one entity currently holds more than 140.4 PSC. As a result, if approved, this limit is unlikely to immediately constrain any entity.

    The Amendment also includes a permit cap that limits an entity to holding no more than 5 percent of groundfish permits. An entity would be prohibited from acquiring a permit that would result in it exceeding the 5-percent cap. There are approximately 1,373 permits currently in the fishery; a 5-percent cap would limit an entity to approximately 69 permits. As of May 1, 2014, the most permits held by an entity are 55; therefore, if approved, this alternative is unlikely to immediately restrict any entities.

    Amendment 18 proposes several management measures for limited access handgear vessels (Handgear A permitted vessels) to remove effort restrictions, increase operational flexibility, and encourage participation in the fishery.

    First, the March 1-20 spawning-block closure would be removed for all Handgear A vessels. Fishing effort by Handgear A vessels is restricted by a small annual catch limit and vessels are subject to other spawning closures. This measure would make the regulations for Handgear A vessels more consistent with vessels fishing in sectors, which are already exempted from the 20-day spawning block.

    Second, Handgear A vessels would no longer be required to carry a standard fish tote on board. This measure was initially implemented to aid in the sorting and weighing of fish by both fishermen and enforcement personnel. However, enforcement no longer uses totes for at-sea weight and volume estimates so the requirement for vessels to carry a tote is unnecessary.

    Lastly, this action would allow a sector with Handgear A vessels to request that Handgear A vessels be exempt from the requirement to use a Vessel Monitoring System. Instead, vessels would be required to declare trips through a call-in system. This measure is intended to encourage Handgear A vessels to enroll in a sector by reducing their operating expenses.

    Public comments are being solicited on the Amendment through the end of the comment period stated in the DATES section above. A proposed rule that would implement the Amendment will be published in the Federal Register for public comment, as part of our evaluation of Amendment 18 under requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Management Act. Public comments on the proposed rule must be received by the end of the comment period on Amendment 18 to be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on the Amendment. All comments received by the end of the Amendment 18 comment period, whether specifically directed to the Amendment or the proposed rule, will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision. Comments received after that day will not be considered in the approval/disapproval decision for Amendment 18. To be considered, comments must be received by the close of business on the last day of the comment period; that does not mean postmarked or otherwise transmitted by that date.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: December 1, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29189 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 161020985-6985-01] RIN 0648-XE989 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS proposes 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, apportionments, and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) management area. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2017 and 2018 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by January 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2016-0140, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0140, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS, and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared for this action may be obtained from http://www.regulations.gov or from the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2015 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2015, is available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99501-2252, phone 907-271-2809, or from the Council's Web site at http://www.npfmc.org/. The draft 2016 SAFE report for the BSAI is available from the same source.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 implement the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600.

    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum TAC for all groundfish species must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see § 679.20(a)(1)(i)(A)). Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to publish proposed harvest specifications in the Federal Register and solicit public comments on proposed annual TACs and apportionments thereof, prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances, prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by § 679.21, seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC, American Fisheries Act allocations, Amendment 80 allocations, and Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by § 679.20(b)(1)(ii). The proposed harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 17 of this action satisfy these requirements.

    Under § 679.20(c)(3), NMFS will publish the final harvest specifications for 2017 and 2018 after (1) considering comments received within the comment period (see DATES), (2) consulting with the Council at its December 2016 meeting, (3) considering information presented in the SIR that assesses the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (see ADDRESSES), and (4) considering information presented in the final 2016 SAFE reports prepared for the 2017 and 2018 groundfish fisheries.

    Other Actions Affecting the 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications

    The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF), a regulatory body for the State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game (State), established a guideline harvest level (GHL) in State waters between 164 and 167 degrees west longitude in the Bering Sea subarea (BS) equal to 6.4 percent of the Pacific cod acceptable biological catch (ABC) for the BS. The Council recommends the proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs to accommodate the State's GHLs for Pacific cod in State waters in the BS. The Council and its BSAI Groundfish Plan Team (Plan Team), Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), and Advisory Panel (AP) recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the BS not exceed the proposed ABC recommendations of 255,000 mt. Accordingly, the Council set the proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs in the BS to account for State GHLs.

    For 2017 and 2018, the BOF established a GHL in State waters in the Aleutian Islands subarea (AI) equal to 27 percent of the Pacific cod ABC for the AI. The Council recommends the proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs to accommodate the State's GHLs for Pacific cod in State waters in the AI. The Council and its Plan Team, SSC, and AP recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the AI not exceed the proposed ABC recommendations of 17,600 mt. Accordingly, the Council set the proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs in the AI to account for State GHLs.

    In October 2015, the Council took final action to recommend for Secretarial Review Amendment 113 to the BSAI FMP. NMFS published a notice of availability for Amendment 113 on July 19, 2016 (81 FR 46883). The public comment period for the notice of availability on Amendment 113 ended on September 19, 2016, and the Secretary approved Amendment 113 on October 17, 2016. Amendment 113 sets aside a portion of the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod TAC for catcher vessels that directed fish for Aleutian Islands Pacific cod and then deliver the catch to Aleutian Islands shoreplants for processing.

    NMFS published a proposed rule to implement Amendment 113 on August 1, 2016, and accepted public comment through August 31, 2016 (81 FR 50444). If NMFS approves the final rule, in November 2016, NMFS expects the authority to set aside Aleutian Islands Pacific cod for catcher vessels delivering to Aleutian Islands shoreplants for processing would be in effect by the beginning of the 2017 fisheries on January 1, 2017.

    Amendment 111 to the FMP (81 FR 24714, April 27, 2016) became effective May 27, 2016. Amendment 111 implemented BSAI halibut PSC limit reductions for the trawl and non-trawl sectors. These amounts are found in Table 8.

    Amendment 110 to the FMP (81 FR 37534, June 10, 2016) became effective July 11, 2016. Amendment 110 improves the management of Chinook and chum salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery by creating a comprehensive salmon bycatch avoidance program. Amendment 110 also changed the seasonal apportionments of the pollock TAC to allow more pollock to be harvested earlier in the year when Chinook salmon PSC use tends to be lower.

    Proposed ABC and TAC Harvest Specifications

    At the October 2016 Council meeting, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed the most recent biological and harvest information on the condition of the BSAI groundfish stocks. The Council's Plan Team compiled and presented this information, which was initially compiled by the Plan Team and presented in the final 2015 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries, dated November 2015 (see ADDRESSES). The amounts proposed for the 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications are based on the 2015 SAFE report, and are subject to change in the final harvest specifications to be published by NMFS following the Council's December 2016 meeting. In November 2016, the Plan Team updated the 2015 SAFE report to include new information collected during 2016, such as NMFS stock surveys, revised stock assessments, and catch data. At its December 2016 meeting, the Council will consider information contained in the final 2016 SAFE report, recommendations from the November 2016 Plan Team meeting, public testimony from the December 2016 SSC and AP meetings, and relevant written comments in making its recommendations for the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications.

    In previous years, the OFLs and ABCs that have had the most significant changes (relative to the amount of assessed tonnage of fish) from the proposed to the final harvest specifications have been for OFLs and ABCs that are based on the most recent NMFS stock surveys, which provide updated estimates of stock biomass and spatial distribution, and changes to the models used in the stock assessments. These changes were recommended by the Plan Team in November 2016 and are included in the final 2016 SAFE report. The final 2016 SAFE report includes the most recent information, such as 2016 catch data. The final harvest specification amounts for these stocks are not expected to vary greatly from the proposed harvest specification amounts published here.

    If the final 2016 SAFE report indicates that the stock biomass trend is increasing for a species, then the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications may reflect an increase from the proposed harvest specifications. Conversely, if the final 2016 SAFE report indicates that the stock biomass trend is decreasing for a species, then the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications may reflect a decrease from the proposed harvest specifications. In addition to changes driven by biomass trends, there may be changes in TACs due to the sum of ABCs exceeding 2 million mt. Since the regulations require TACs to be set to an OY between 1.4 and 2 million mt, the Council may be required to recommend TACs that are lower than the ABCs recommended by the Plan Team, if setting TACs equal to ABCs would cause TACs to exceed an OY of 2 million mt. Generally, ABCs greatly exceed 2 million mt in years with a large pollock biomass. NMFS anticipates that, both for 2017 and 2018, the sum of the ABCs will exceed 2 million mt. NMFS expects that the final total TAC for the BSAI for both 2017 and 2018 will equal 2 million mt.

    The proposed ABCs and TACs are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic data, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. In general, the development of ABCs and OFLs involves statistical modeling of fish populations. The FMP specifies a series of six tiers to define OFLs and ABCs based on the level of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier 1 represents the highest level of information quality available, while Tier 6 represents the lowest.

    In October 2016, the SSC adopted the proposed 2017 and 2018 OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team for all groundfish species. The Council adopted the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations. These amounts are unchanged from the final 2017 harvest specifications published in the Federal Register on March 18, 2016 (81 FR 14773). The Council adopted the AP's TAC recommendations. For 2017 and 2018, the Council recommended and NMFS proposes the OFLs, ABCs, and TACs listed in Table 1. The proposed ABCs reflect harvest amounts that are less than the specified OFLs. The sum of the proposed 2017 and 2018 ABCs for all assessed groundfish is 3,128,135 mt, which is the same as the final 2017 ABC total in the final 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016).

    Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts

    The Council recommended proposed TACs for 2017 and 2018 that are equal to proposed ABCs for Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, Bering Sea sablefish, AI sablefish, and eastern Aleutian Islands (EAI) Pacific ocean perch. The Council recommended proposed TACs for 2017 and 2018 that are less than the proposed ABCs for Bering Sea pollock, AI “other rockfish,” AI pollock, Bogoslof pollock, Bering Sea Pacific cod, AI Pacific cod, yellowfin sole, Bering Sea Greenland turbot, AI Greenland turbot, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, flathead sole, Alaska plaice, “other flatfish,” central Aleutian Islands (CAI) Pacific ocean perch, western Aleutian Islands (WAI) Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, eastern Bering Sea (EBS)/EAI rougheye rockfish, CAI/WAI rougheye rockfish, shortraker rockfish, Bering Sea “other rockfish,” Bering Sea/EAI, CAI, and WAI Atka mackerel, skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. Section 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(1) requires the AI pollock TAC to be set at 19,000 mt when the AI pollock ABC equals or exceeds 19,000 mt. The Bogoslof pollock TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch amounts. TACs are set so that the sum of the overall TAC does not exceed the BSAI OY.

    The proposed groundfish OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are subject to change pending the completion of the final 2016 SAFE report and the Council's recommendations for final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications during its December 2016 meeting. These proposed amounts are consistent with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 2015 SAFE report, and have been adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations. Pursuant to Section 3.2.3.4.1 of the FMP, the Council could recommend adjusting the TACs if “warranted on the basis of bycatch considerations, management uncertainty, or socioeconomic considerations; or if required in order to cause the sum of the TACs to fall within the OY range.” Table 1 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ amounts for groundfish for the BSAI. The proposed apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and seasons is discussed below.

    Table 1—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Overfishing Level (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), Total Allowable Catch (TAC), Initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ Reserve Allocation of Groundfish in the BSAI1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Area Proposed 2017 and 2018 OFL ABC TAC ITAC 2 CDQ 3 4 Pollock 4 BS 3,540,000 2,019,000 1,340,643 1,206,579 134,064 AI 44,455 36,664 19,000 17,100 1,900 Bogoslof 31,906 23,850 500 500 Pacific cod 5 BS 412,000 255,000 238,680 213,141 25,539 AI 23,400 17,600 12,839 11,465 1,374 Sablefish BS 1,241 1,052 1,052 447 39 AI 1,681 1,423 1,423 302 27 Yellowfin sole BSAI 219,200 203,500 144,000 128,592 15,408 Greenland turbot BSAI 7,416 6,132 2,873 2,442 n/a BS n/a 4,734 2,673 2,272 286 AI n/a 1,398 200 170 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI 84,156 72,216 14,000 11,900 1,498 Kamchatka flounder BSAI 11,700 10,000 5,000 4,250 Rock sole 6 BSAI 149,400 145,000 57,100 50,990 6,110 Flathead sole 7 BSAI 77,544 64,580 21,000 18,753 2,247 Alaska plaice BSAI 46,800 39,100 14,500 12,325 Other flatfish 8 BSAI 17,414 13,061 2,500 2,125 Pacific Ocean perch BSAI 38,589 31,724 31,490 27,779 n/a BS n/a 7,953 7,953 6,760 EAI n/a 7,537 7,537 6,731 806 CAI n/a 7,002 7,000 6,251 749 WAI n/a 9,232 9,000 8,037 963 Northern rockfish BSAI 14,085 11,468 4,500 3,825 Rougheye BSAI 855 694 300 255 rockfish 9 EBS/EAI n/a 216 100 85 CAI/WAI n/a 478 200 170 Shortraker rockfish BSAI 690 518 200 170 Other rockfish 10 BSAI 1,667 1,250 875 744 BS n/a 695 325 276 AI n/a 555 550 468 Atka mackerel BSAI 99,490 85,840 55,000 49,115 5,885 EAI/BS n/a 29,296 28,500 25,451 3,050 CAI n/a 25,860 16,000 14,288 1,712 WAI n/a 30,684 10,500 9,377 1,124 Skates BSAI 47,674 39,943 26,000 22,100 Sculpins BSAI 52,365 39,725 4,500 3,825 Sharks BSAI 1,363 1,022 125 106 Squids BSAI 6,912 5,184 1,500 1,275 Octopuses BSAI 3,452 2,589 400 340 Total 4,935,455 3,128,135 2,000,000 1,790,446 196,895 1 These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District. 2 Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod), 15 percent of each TAC is put into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. 3 For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod), 10.7 percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, and 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC is allocated to trawl gear. The 2017 hook-and-line and pot gear portion of the sablefish ITAC and CDQ reserve will not be specified until the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications. 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland turbot, “other flatfish,” Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, Kamchatka flounder, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, “other rockfish,” squids, octopuses, skates, sculpins, and sharks are not allocated to the CDQ program. 4 Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (4.0 percent), is further allocated by sector for a directed pollock fishery as follows: inshore—50 percent; catcher/processor—40 percent; and motherships—10 percent. Under § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. 5 The Bering Sea subarea and Aleutian Islands subarea Pacific cod TACs are set to account for the State of Alaska guideline harvest level in state waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea. 6 “Rock sole” includes Lepidopsetta polyxystra (Northern rock sole) and Lepidopsetta bilineata (Southern rock sole). 7 “Flathead sole” includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder). 8 “Other flatfish” includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice. 9 “Rougheye rockfish” includes Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 10 “Other rockfish” includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern, shortraker, and rougheye rockfish. Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2 (BS=Bering Sea subarea, AI=Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI=Eastern Aleutian district, CAI=Central Aleutian district, WAI=Western Aleutian district.) Groundfish Reserves and the Incidental Catch Allowance (ICA) for Pollock, Atka Mackerel, Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, Yellowfin Sole, and AI Pacific Ocean Perch

    Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) requires NMFS to reserve 15 percent of the TAC for each target species category, except for pollock, hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species, in a non-specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires NMFS to allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish to the fixed gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires NMFS to allocate 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocation of sablefish and 10.7 percent of Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder to the respective CDQ reserves. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires NMFS to allocate 10.7 percent of the TACs for Atka mackerel, AI Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod to the CDQ reserves. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) and 679.31(a) also require allocation of 10 percent of the BS pollock TACs to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA (see § 679.20(a)(5)(ii)). With the exception of the hook-and-line and pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the regulations do not further apportion the CDQ reserves by gear.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS proposes a pollock ICA of 4.0 percent or 53,626 mt of the Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC after subtracting the 10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS' examination of the pollock incidentally retained and discarded catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2000 through 2016. During this 17-year period, the pollock incidental catch ranged from a low of 2.4 percent in 2006 to a high of 4.8 percent in 2014, with a 17-year average of 3.2 percent. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS proposes a pollock ICA of 2,400 mt of the AI subarea TAC after subtracting the 10 percent CDQ DFA. This allowance is based on NMFS' examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 through 2016. During this 14-year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from a low of 5 percent in 2006 to a high of 17 percent in 2013, with a 14-year average of 8 percent.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS proposes ICAs of 4,000 mt of flathead sole, 5,000 mt of rock sole, 4,500 mt of yellowfin sole, 10 mt of Western Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 60 mt of Central Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 100 mt of Eastern Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 20 mt of Western Aleutian District Atka mackerel, 75 mt of Central Aleutian District Atka mackerel, and 1,000 mt of Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea Atka mackerel after subtracting the 10.7 percent CDQ reserve. These ICAs are based on NMFS' examination of the average incidental retained and discarded catch in other target fisheries from 2003 through 2016.

    The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified reserve by species or species group. Any amount of the reserve may be apportioned to a target species that contributed to the non-specified reserve during the year, provided that such apportionments do not result in overfishing (see § 679.20(b)(1)(i)).

    Allocations of Pollock TAC Under the American Fisheries Act (AFA)

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that Bering Sea pollock TAC be apportioned after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ program and 4.0 percent for the ICA as a DFA as follows: 50 percent to the inshore sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor sector, and 10 percent to the mothership sector. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20 to June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10 to November 1) (§§ 679.20(a)(5)(i)(B)(1) and 679.23(e)(2)). The AI directed pollock fishery allocation to the Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock remaining in the AI subarea after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 percent), and 2,400 mt for the ICA (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i)-(iii)). In the AI subarea, the total A season apportionment of the pollock TAC may equal up to 40 percent of the ABC, and the remainder of the pollock TAC is allocated to the B season (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(3)). Table 2 lists these proposed 2017 and 2018 amounts.

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6) sets harvest limits for pollock in the A season (January 20 to June 10) in Areas 543, 542, and 541. In Area 543, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. In Area 542, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 15 percent of the Aleutian Islands ABC. In Area 541, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 30 percent of the Aleutian Islands ABC.

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific requirements regarding Bering Sea subarea pollock allocations. First, it requires that 8.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the catcher/processor sector be available for harvest by AFA catcher vessels with catcher/processor sector endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator receives a cooperative contract that allows the distribution of harvest among AFA catcher/processors and AFA catcher vessels in a manner agreed to by all members. Second, AFA catcher/processors not listed in the AFA are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the catcher/processor sector. Table 2 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 14 through 17 list the AFA catcher/processor and catcher vessel harvesting sideboard limits. The Bering Sea subarea inshore pollock cooperative and open access sector allocations are based on the submission of AFA inshore cooperative applications due to NMFS on December 1 of each calendar year. Because AFA inshore cooperative applications for 2017 have not been submitted to NMFS, and NMFS therefore cannot calculate 2017 allocations, NMFS has not included inshore cooperative text and tables in these proposed harvest specifications. NMFS will post 2017 AFA inshore cooperative allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2017, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date.

    Table 2 also lists proposed seasonal apportionments of pollock and harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The harvest of pollock within the SCA, as defined at § 679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to no more than 28 percent of the DFA before noon, April 1, as provided in § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C). The A season pollock SCA harvest limit will be apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector's allocated percentage of the DFA. Table 2 lists these proposed 2017 and 2018 amounts by sector.

    Table 2—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Allocations of Pollock Tacs to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed Fishing Allowances (DFA) 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Area and sector 2017 and 2018
  • Allocations
  • A season 1 A season DFA SCA harvest limit 2 B season 1 B season DFA
    Bering Sea subarea TAC 1,340,643 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 134,064 60,329 37,538 73,735 ICA 1 48,263 n/a n/a n/a AFA Inshore 579,158 260,621 162,164 318,537 AFA Catcher/Processors 3 463,326 208,497 129,731 254,829 Catch by C/Ps 423,943 190,775 n/a 233,169 Catch by C/Vs 3 39,383 17,722 n/a 21,661 Unlisted C/P Limit 4 2,317 1,042 n/a 1,274 AFA Motherships 115,832 52,124 32,433 63,707 Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 202,705 n/a n/a n/a Excessive Processing Limit 6 347,495 n/a n/a n/a Total Bering Sea DFA (non-CDQ) 1,158,316 521,242 324,328 637,074 Aleutian Islands subarea ABC 36,664 n/a n/a n/a Aleutian Islands subarea TAC 19,000 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 1,900 760 n/a 1,140 ICA 2,400 1,200 n/a 1,200 Aleut Corporation 14,700 13,520 n/a 1,180 Area harvest limit 7 n/a n/a n/a n/a Area 541 harvest limit 7 10,999 n/a n/a n/a Area 542 harvest limit 7 5,500 n/a n/a n/a Area 543 harvest limit 7 1,833 n/a n/a n/a Bogoslof District ICA 8 100 n/a n/a n/a 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4.0 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: inshore sector 50 percent, catcher/processor sector 40 percent, and mothership sector 10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated 40 percent of the ABC, and the B season is allocated the remainder of the directed pollock fishery. 2 In the Bering Sea subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before noon, April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors (C/Ps) shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels (CVs) delivering to listed C/Ps. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processor sector's allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the pollock DFAs not including CDQ. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the pollock DFAs not including CDQ. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 8 The Regional Administrator proposes closing the Bogoslof pollock fishery for directed fishing under the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for the BSAI. The amounts specified are for incidental catch only and are not apportioned by season or sector.
    Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TACs

    Section 679.20(a)(8) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and non-trawl gear sectors (Table 3). The percentage of the ITAC for Atka mackerel allocated to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is listed in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and in § 679.91. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea Atka mackerel ITAC may be allocated to jig gear. The percentage of this allocation is recommended annually by the Council based on several criteria, including the anticipated harvest capacity of the jig gear fleet. The Council recommended and NMFS proposes a 0.5 percent allocation of the Atka mackerel ITAC in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea to jig gear in 2017 and 2018. This percentage is applied to the TAC after subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA.

    Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC into two equal seasonal allowances. Section 679.23(e)(3) sets the first seasonal allowance for directed fishing with trawl gear from January 20 through June 10 (A season), and the second seasonal allowance from June 10 through December 31 (B season). Section 679.23(e)(4)(iii) applies Atka mackerel seasons to CDQ Atka mackerel fishing. The ICA and jig gear allocations are not apportioned by season.

    Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) limits Atka mackerel catch within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located west of 178° W longitude to no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543; and equally divides the annual TAC between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3). Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the annual TAC in Area 543 will be no more than 65 percent of the ABC in Area 543. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(D) requires that any unharvested Atka mackerel A season allowance that is added to the B season be prohibited from being harvested within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located in Areas 541, 542, and 543.

    Two Amendment 80 cooperatives have formed for the 2017 fishing year. Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of a cooperative, no allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. NMFS will post 2017 Amendment 80 cooperative allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2017, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date.

    Table 3 lists these 2017 and 2018 Atka mackerel season allowances, area allowances, and the sector allocations. The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. NMFS will post 2018 Amendment 80 cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2018, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date.

    Table 3—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance, and Amendment 80 Allocations of the BSAI Atka Mackerel TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 2017 and 2018 Allocation by area Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea Central
  • Aleutian
  • District
  • Western
  • Aleutian
  • District
  • TAC n/a 28,500 16,000 10,500 CDQ reserve Total 3,050 1,712 1,124 A 1,525 856 562 Critical habitat 5 n/a 514 337 B 1,525 856 562 Critical habitat 5 n/a 514 337 ICA Total 1,000 75 20 Jig 6 Total 122 BSAI trawl limited access Total 2,433 1,421 A 1,216 711 Critical habitat 5 n/a 426 B 1,216 711 Critical habitat 5 n/a 426 Amendment 80 7 Total 21,895 12,792 9,357 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for 2017 Total 12,326 7,615 5,754 A 6,163 3,808 2,877 Critical habitat 5 n/a 2,285 1,726 B 6,163 3,808 2,877 Critical habitat 5 n/a 2,285 1,726 Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 2017 Total 9,570 5,177 3,603 A 4,785 2,589 1,802 Critical habitat 5 n/a 1,553 1,081 B 4,785 2,589 1,802 Critical habitat 5 n/a 1,553 1,081 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, ICAs, and the jig gear allocation, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10, and the B season from June 10 to December 31. 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of critical habitat; paragraph (a)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and paragraph (a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC. 6 Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtraction of the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. 7 The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017.
    Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC

    The Council recommended and NMFS proposes separate BS and AI subarea OFLs, ABCs, and TACs for Pacific cod. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) allocates 10.7 percent of the BS TAC and the AI TAC to the CDQ program. After CDQ allocations have been deducted from the respective BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, the remaining BS and AI Pacific cod TACs are combined for calculating further BSAI Pacific cod sector allocations. However, if the non-CDQ Pacific cod TAC is or will be reached in either the BS or AI subareas, NMFS will prohibit non-CDQ directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea, as provided in § 679.20(d)(1)(iii).

    Section 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocates the Pacific cod TAC in the combined BSAI TAC, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ program, as follows: 1.4 percent to vessels using jig gear, 2.0 percent to hook-and-line or pot catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) length overall (LOA), 0.2 percent to hook-and-line catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, 48.7 percent to hook-and-line catcher/processors, 8.4 percent to pot catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, 1.5 percent to pot catcher/processors, 2.3 percent to AFA trawl catcher/processors, 13.4 percent to non-AFA trawl catcher/processors, and 22.1 percent to trawl catcher vessels. The BSAI ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of BSAI Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. For 2017 and 2018, the Regional Administrator proposes a BSAI ICA of 500 mt, based on anticipated incidental catch by these sectors in other fisheries.

    The BSAI ITAC allocation of Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. Two Amendment 80 cooperatives have formed for the 2017 fishing year. Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of a cooperative, no allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. NMFS will post 2017 Amendment 80 cooperative allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2017, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date.

    The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. NMFS will post 2018 Amendment 80 cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2018, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date.

    The Pacific cod ITAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see §§ 679.20(a)(7), (a)(7)(iv)(A), and 679.23(e)(5)). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(B) and (C), any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance will become available at the beginning of the next seasonal allowance.

    Section 679.20(a)(7)(vii) requires the Regional Administrator to establish an Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit based on Pacific cod abundance in Area 543. Based on the 2015 stock assessment, the Regional Administrator determined the Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit to be 26.3 percent of the AI Pacific cod TAC for 2017 and 2018. NMFS first subtracted the State GHL Pacific cod amount from the AI Pacific cod ABC and then multiplied the remaining ABC for AI Pacific cod by the percentage of Pacific cod estimated in Area 543. Based on these calculations, the Area 543 harvest limit is 3,379 mt.

    The CDQ and non-CDQ season allowances by gear based on the proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs are listed in Table 4 based on the sector allocation percentages of Pacific cod set forth at § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) and (a)(7)(iv)(A); and the seasonal allowances of Pacific cod set forth at § 679.23(e)(5).

    Table 4—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI 1 Pacific Cod TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector Percent 2017 and 2018
  • share of gear
  • sector total
  • 2017 and 2018
  • share of
  • sector total
  • 2017 and 2018 seasonal apportionment Season Amount
    Total Bering Sea TAC n/a 238,680 n/a n/a n/a Bering Sea CDQ n/a 25,539 n/a See § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a Bering Sea non-CDQ TAC n/a 213,141 n/a n/a n/a Total Aleutian Islands TAC n/a 12,839 n/a n/a n/a Aleutian Islands CDQ n/a 1,374 n/a See § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a Aleutian Islands non-CDQ TAC n/a 11,465 n/a n/a n/a Western Aleutians Islands Limit n/a 3,379 n/a n/a n/a Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 100 224,606 n/a n/a n/a Total hook-and-line/pot gear 60.8 136,561 n/a n/a n/a Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 n/a n/a 500 n/a n/a Hook-and-line/pot sub-total n/a 136,061 n/a n/a n/a Hook-and-line catcher/processors 48.7 n/a 108,983 Jan 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Dec 31
  • 55,581
  • 53,402
  • Hook-and-line catcher vessels >60 ft LOA 0.2 n/a 448 Jan 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Dec 31
  • 228
  • 219
  • Pot catcher/processors 1.5 n/a 3,357 Jan 1-Jun 10
  • Sept 1-Dec 31
  • 1,712
  • 1,645
  • Pot catcher vessels >60 ft LOA 8.4 n/a 18,798 Jan 1-Jun 10
  • Sept 1-Dec 31
  • 9,587
  • 9,211
  • Catcher vessels <60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear 2 n/a 4,476 n/a n/a Trawl catcher vessels 22.1 49,638 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1
  • Apr 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Nov 1
  • 36,732
  • 5,460
  • 7,446
  • AFA trawl catcher/processors 2.3 5,166 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1
  • Apr 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Nov 1
  • 3,874
  • 1,291
  • 0
  • Amendment 80 13.4 30,097 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1
  • Apr 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Nov 1
  • 22,573
  • 7,524
  • 0
  • Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for 2017 3 n/a 4,751 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1
  • Apr 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Nov 1
  • 3,563
  • 1,188
  • 0
  • Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 2017 3 n/a 25,346 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1
  • Apr 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Nov 1
  • 19,010
  • 6,337
  • 0
  • Jig 1.4 3,144 n/a Jan 1-Apr 30
  • Apr 30-Aug 31
  • Aug 31-Dec 31
  • 1,887
  • 629
  • 629
  • 1 The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains. 2 The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator proposes an ICA of 500 mt for 2017 and 2018 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. 3 The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017.
    Sablefish Gear Allocation

    Section 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) requires allocation of sablefish TACs for the Bering Sea and AI subareas between trawl gear and hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TACs for the Bering Sea subarea are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations for the TACs for the AI subarea are 25 percent for trawl gear and 75 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires NMFS to apportion 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of sablefish to the CDQ reserve. Additionally, § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1) requires that 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocation of sablefish from the nonspecified reserves, established under § 679.20(b)(1)(i), be apportioned to the CDQ reserve. The Council has recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be established biennially. The harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear and pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fisheries are limited to the 2017 fishing year to ensure those fisheries are conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery. Concurrent sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries reduce the potential for discards of halibut and sablefish in those fisheries. The sablefish IFQ fisheries remain closed at the beginning of each fishing year until the final harvest specifications for the sablefish IFQ fisheries are in effect. Table 5 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 gear allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts.

    Table 5—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Gear Shares and CDQ Reserve of BSAI Sablefish TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Subarea and gear Percent
  • of TAC
  • 2017 Share
  • of TAC
  • 2017 ITAC 1 2017 CDQ
  • reserve
  • 2018 Share
  • of TAC
  • 2018 ITAC 2018 CDQ
  • reserve
  • Bering Sea: Trawl 50 526 447 39 526 447 39 Hook-and-line gear 2 50 526 n/a 105 n/a n/a n/a Total 100 1,052 447 145 526 447 39 Aleutian Islands: Trawl 25 356 302 27 356 302 27 Hook-and-line gear 2 75 1,067 n/a 213 n/a n/a n/a Total 100 1,423 302 240 356 302 27 1 Except for the sablefish hook-and-line or pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the reserve. The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. 2 For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the allocated TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants. Section 679.20(b)(1) does not provide for the establishment of an ITAC for sablefish allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.
    Allocation of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACs

    Section 679.20(a)(10)(i) and (ii) requires that NMFS allocate AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs between the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ reserve and an ICA for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-trawl gear. The allocation of the ITAC for AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole to the Amendment 80 sector is established in Tables 33 and 34 to 50 CFR part 679 and in § 679.91.

    Two Amendment 80 cooperatives have formed for the 2017 fishing year. Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of a cooperative, no allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. NMFS will post 2017 Amendment 80 cooperative allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2017, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date.

    The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. NMFS will post 2018 Amendment 80 cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2018, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date. Table 6 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 allocations of the AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs.

    Table 6—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment 80 Allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector 2017 and 2018 allocations Pacific ocean perch Eastern
  • Aleutian
  • district
  • Central
  • Aleutian
  • district
  • Western
  • Aleutian
  • district
  • Flathead sole BSAI Rock sole BSAI Yellowfin sole BSAI
    TAC 7,537 7,000 9,000 21,000 57,100 144,000 CDQ 806 749 963 2,247 6,110 15,408 ICA 100 60 10 4,000 5,000 4,500 BSAI trawl limited access 663 619 161 0 0 14,579 Amendment 80 5,967 5,572 7,866 14,753 45,990 109,513 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for 2017 1 3,164 2,954 4,171 1,513 11,377 43,510 Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 2017 1 2,803 2,617 3,695 13,240 34,614 66,003 1 The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017.

    Section 679.2 defines the ABC surplus for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole as the difference between the annual ABC and TAC for each species. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii) establishes ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The ABC surpluses and the ABC reserves are necessary to mitigate the operational variability, environmental conditions, and economic factors that may constrain the CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperatives from achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve at or below the ABC surplus for each species thus maintaining the TAC below ABC limits. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves will be allocated as CDQ reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The Amendment 80 ABC reserves shall be the ABC reserves minus the CDQ ABC reserves. Section 679.91(i)(2) establishes each Amendment 80 cooperative ABC reserve to be the ratio of each cooperatives' quota share units and the total Amendment 80 quota share units, multiplied by the Amendment 80 ABC reserve for each respective species. Table 7 lists the 2017 and 2018 ABC surplus and ABC reserves for BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole.

    Table 7—Proposed 2017 and 2018 ABC Surplus, Community Development Quota (CDQ) ABC Reserves, and Amendment 80 ABC Reserves in the BSAI for Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector Flathead sole Rock sole Yellowfin sole ABC 64,580 145,000 203,500 TAC 21,000 57,100 144,000 ABC surplus 43,580 87,900 59,500 ABC reserve 43,580 87,900 59,500 CDQ ABC reserve 4,663 9,405 6,367 Amendment 80 ABC reserve 38,917 78,495 53,134 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for 2017 1 3,992 19,417 21,112 Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 2017 1 34,925 59,077 32,022 1 The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. Proposed PSC Limits for Halibut, Salmon, Crab, and Herring

    Section 679.21(b), (e), (f), and (g) sets forth the BSAI PSC limits. Pursuant to § 679.21(b)(1), the 2017 and 2018 BSAI halibut PSC limits total 3,515 mt. Section 679.21(b)(1) allocates 315 mt of the halibut PSC limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program, 1,745 mt of halibut PSC limit for the Amendment 80 sector, 745 mt of halibut PSC limit for the BSAI trawl limited access sector, and 710 mt of halibut mortality for the BSAI non-trawl sector.

    Section 679.21(b)(1)(iii)(A) and (B) authorizes apportionment of the non-trawl halibut PSC limit into PSC allowances among six fishery categories, and § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B) and §§ 679.21(e)(3)(i)(B) and 679.21(e)(3)(iv) require apportionment of the BSAI trawl limited access halibut and crab PSC limits into PSC allowances among seven fishery categories. Table 10 lists the fishery PSC allowances for the BSAI trawl limited access fisheries, and Table 11 lists the fishery PSC allowances for the non-trawl fisheries.

    Pursuant to Section 3.6 of the FMP, the Council recommends, and NMFS agrees, that certain specified non-trawl fisheries be exempt from the halibut PSC limit. As in past years, after consultation with the Council, NMFS exempts pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories from halibut bycatch restrictions for the following reasons: (1) The pot gear fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality; (2) NMFS estimates halibut mortality for the jig gear fleet to be negligible because of the small size of the fishery and the selectivity of the gear; and (3) the sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality because the IFQ program requires legal-size halibut to be retained by vessels using hook-and-line gear if a halibut IFQ permit holder or a hired master is aboard and is holding unused halibut IFQ (subpart D of 50 CFR part 679). As of November 2016, total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the BSAI was 43,079 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality of 2 mt.

    The 2016 jig gear fishery harvested about 47 mt of groundfish. Most vessels in the jig gear fleet are exempt from observer coverage requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on halibut bycatch in the jig gear fishery. However, as mentioned above, NMFS estimates a negligible amount of halibut bycatch mortality because of the selective nature of jig gear and the low mortality rate of halibut caught with jig gear and released.

    Under § 679.21(f)(2), NMFS annually allocates portions of either 33,318, 45,000, 47,591, or 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limits among the AFA sectors, depending on past bycatch performance, on whether Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreements (IPAs) are formed, and on whether NMFS determines it is a low Chinook salmon abundance year. NMFS will determine that it is a low Chinook salmon abundance year when abundance of Chinook salmon in western Alaska is less than or equal to 250,000 Chinook salmon. The State of Alaska provides to NMFS an estimate of Chinook salmon abundance using the 3-System Index for western Alaska based on the Kuskokwim, Unalakleet, and Upper Yukon aggregate stock grouping.

    If an AFA sector participates in an approved IPA and it is not a low Chinook salmon abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 60,000 PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). If no IPA is approved, or if the sector has exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6), and it is not a low abundance year, NMFS will allocate a portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(C). If an AFA sector participates in an approved IPA in a low abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 45,000 PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). If no IPA is approved, or if the sector has exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6) in a low abundance year, NMFS will allocate a portion of the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D).

    As of October 1, 2016, NMFS has determined that it is not a low Chinook salmon abundance year based on the State of Alaska's estimate that Chinook salmon abundance in western Alaska is greater than 250,000 Chinook salmon. Therefore, in 2017, the Chinook salmon PSC limit is 60,000, and the AFA sector Chinook salmon allocations are seasonally allocated with 70 percent of the allocation for the A season pollock fishery, and 30 percent of the allocation for the B season pollock fishery as stated in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). Additionally, in 2017, the Chinook salmon bycatch performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6) is 47,591 Chinook salmon, allocated to each sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(C).

    The basis for these PSC limits is described in detail in the final rule implementing management measures for Amendment 91 (75 FR 53026, August 30, 2010) and Amendment 110 (81 FR 37534, June 10, 2016). NMFS publishes the approved IPAs, allocations, and reports at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/bycatch/default.htm.

    Section 679.21(g)(2)(i) specifies 700 fish as the 2017 and 2018 Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI subarea pollock fishery. Section 679.21(g)(2)(ii) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, as the AI subarea PSQ for the CDQ program and allocates the remaining 647 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries.

    Section 679.21(f)(14)(i) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2017 and 2018 non-Chinook salmon PSC limit in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area (CVOA). Section 679.21(f)(14)(ii) allocates 10.7 percent, or 4,494, non-Chinook salmon in the CVOA as the PSQ for the CDQ program, and allocates the remaining 37,506 non-Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries.

    PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on abundance and spawning biomass. Due to the lack of new information as of October 2016 regarding herring PSC limits and apportionments, the Council recommended and NMFS proposes basing the herring 2017 and 2018 PSC limits and apportionments on the 2015 survey data. The Council will reconsider these amounts in December 2016.

    Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1) allocates 10.7 percent of each trawl gear PSC limit specified for crab as a PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program.

    Based on 2016 survey data, the red king crab mature female abundance is estimated at 22.8 million red king crabs, which is above the threshold of 8.4 million red king crabs, and the effective spawning biomass is estimated at 42.2 million lbs (19,148 mt). Based on the criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(i), the proposed 2017 and 2018 PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear is 97,000 animals. This limit derives from the mature female abundance estimate of more than 8.4 million red king crab and the effective spawning biomass estimate of more than 14.5 million lbs (6,577 mt) but less than 55 million lbs (24,948 mt).

    Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2) establishes criteria under which NMFS must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). The regulations limit the RKCSS to up to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance based on the need to optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red king crab bycatch. NMFS proposes the Council's recommendation that the red king crab bycatch limit be equal to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance within the RKCSS (Table 9).

    Based on 2016 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) abundance is estimated at 285 million animals. Pursuant to criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 2017 and 2018 C. bairdi crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 830,000 animals in Zone 1, and 2,070,000 animals in Zone 2. In Zone 1, C. bairdi abundance was estimated to be greater than 270 million and less than 400 million animals. In Zone 2, C. bairdi abundance was estimated to be greater than 175 million animals and less than 290 million animals.

    Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iii), the PSC limit for snow crab (C. opilio) is based on total abundance as indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab PSC limit in the C. opilio bycatch limitation zone (COBLZ) is set at 0.1133 percent of the Bering Sea abundance index minus 150,000 crabs. Based on the 2016 survey estimate of 8.169 billion animals, the calculated C. opilio crab PSC limit is 9,105,477 animals.

    Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(v), the PSC limit of Pacific herring caught while conducting any trawl operation for BSAI groundfish is 1 percent of the annual eastern Bering Sea herring biomass. The best estimate of 2017 and 2018 herring biomass is 263,098 mt. This amount was developed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game based on spawning location estimates. Therefore, the herring PSC limit proposed for 2017 and 2018 is 2,631 mt for all trawl gear as listed in Tables 8 and 9.

    Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A) requires PSQ reserves to be subtracted from the total trawl PSC limits. The amount of the 2017 PSC limits assigned to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors are specified in Table 35 to 50 CFR part 679. The resulting allocations of PSC limits to CDQ PSQ, the Amendment 80 sector, and the BSAI trawl limited access sector are listed in Table 8. Pursuant to § 679.21(b)(1)(i), § 679.21(e)(3)(vi), and § 679.91(d) through (f), crab and halibut trawl PSC limits established for the Amendment 80 sector are then further established for Amendment 80 cooperatives as PSC cooperative quota as listed in Table 12. Two Amendment 80 cooperatives have formed for the 2017 fishing year. Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of a cooperative, no allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. NMFS will post 2017 Amendment 80 cooperative allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2017, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date.

    The 2018 PSC limit allocations between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. NMFS will post 2018 Amendment 80 cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2018, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date.

    Section 679.21(b)(2) and (e)(5) authorizes NMFS, after consulting with the Council, to establish seasonal apportionments of PSC amounts for the BSAI trawl limited access and Amendment 80 limited access sectors to maximize the ability of the fleet to harvest the available groundfish TAC and to minimize bycatch. The factors considered are (1) seasonal distribution of prohibited species, (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish species, (3) PSC bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relevant to prohibited species biomass, (4) expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the year, (5) expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons, (6) expected start of fishing effort, and (7) economic effects of seasonal PSC apportionments on industry sectors. The Council recommended and NMFS proposes the seasonal PSC apportionments in Table 10 to maximize harvest among gear types, fisheries, and seasons while minimizing bycatch of PSC based on the above criteria.

    Table 8—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Apportionment of Prohibited Species Catch Allowances to Non-Trawl Gear, the CDQ Program, Amendment 80, and the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Sectors PSC species and area 1 Non-trawl
  • PSC
  • Total trawl
  • PSC
  • Trawl PSC
  • remaining
  • after CDQ PSQ
  • CDQ PSQ
  • reserve 2
  • Amendment 80 sector BSAI trawl
  • limited access
  • fishery
  • Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI 710 2,805 n/a 315 1,745 745 Herring (mt) BSAI n/a 2,631 n/a n/a n/a n/a Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 n/a 97,000 86,621 10,379 43,293 26,489 C. opilio (animals) COBLZ n/a 9,105,477 8,131,191 974,286 3,996,480 2,613,365 C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1 n/a 830,000 741,190 88,810 312,115 348,285 C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2 n/a 2,070,000 1,848,510 221,490 437,542 865,288 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of zones. 2 The PSQ reserve for crab species is 10.7 percent of each crab PSC limit.
    Table 9—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Herring and Red King Crab Savings Subarea Prohibited Species Catch Allowances for All Trawl Sectors Fishery categories Herring (mt)
  • BSAI
  • Red king crab
  • (animals)
  • Zone 1
  • Yellowfin sole 179 n/a Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 1 29 n/a Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish 19 n/a Rockfish 13 n/a Pacific cod 40 n/a Midwater trawl pollock 2,151 n/a Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 2 3 199 n/a Red king crab savings subarea non-pelagic trawl gear 4 n/a 24,250 Total trawl PSC 2,631 97,000 1 “Other flatfish” for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 2 Pollock other than midwater trawl pollock, Atka mackerel, and “other species” fishery category. 3 “Other species” for PSC monitoring includes sculpins, sharks, skates, squids, and octopuses. 4 In October 2016 the Council recommended that the red king crab bycatch limit for non-pelagic trawl fisheries within the RKCSS be limited to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance (see § 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2)). Note: Species apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.
    Table 10-Proposed 2017 and 2018 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowances for the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Sector BSAI trawl limited access fisheries Prohibited species and area 1 Halibut
  • mortality (mt)
  • BSAI
  • Red king crab
  • (animals)
  • Zone 1
  • C. opilio
  • (animals)
  • COBLZ
  • C. bairdi (animals) Zone 1 Zone 2
    Yellowfin sole 150 23,338 2,463,587 293,234 826,258 Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 2 0 0 0 Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish 0 0 0 Rockfish April 15-December 31 4 0 4,069 0 697 Pacific cod 391 2,954 105,008 50,816 34,848 Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 3 200 197 40,701 4,235 3,485 Total BSAI trawl limited access PSC 745 26,489 2,613,365 348,285 865,288 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. 2 “Other flatfish” for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 3 “Other species” for PSC monitoring includes sculpins, sharks, skates, squids, and octopuses. Note: Species apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.
    Table 11—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Halibut Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowances for Non-Trawl Fisheries Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Non-trawl fisheries Seasons Catcher/
  • processor
  • Catcher vessel All non-trawl
    Pacific cod Annual Pacific cod 648 13 n/a  January 1-June 10 388 9 n/a  June 10-August 15 162 2 n/a  August 15-December 31 98 2 n/a Non-Pacific cod non-trawl—Total  May 1-December 31 n/a n/a 49 Groundfish pot and jig n/a n/a n/a Exempt Sablefish hook-and-line n/a n/a n/a Exempt Total for all non-trawl PSC n/a n/a n/a 710
    Table 12—Proposed 2017 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowance for the BSAI Amendment 80 Cooperatives Cooperative Prohibited species and zones 1 Halibut
  • mortality (mt)
  • BSAI
  • Red king crab
  • (animals)
  • Zone 1
  • C. opilio
  • (animals)
  • COBLZ
  • C. bairdi
  • (animals)
  • Zone 1 Zone 2
    Alaska Groundfish Cooperative 474 12,459 1,258,109 82,136 112,839 Alaska Seafood Cooperative 1,271 30,834 2,738,371 229,979 324,703 Total 1,745 43,293 3,996,480 312,115 437,542 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of zones.
    Halibut Discard Mortality Rates (DMRs)

    To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut incidental catch rates, halibut discard mortality rates (DMRs), and estimates of groundfish catch to project when a fishery's halibut bycatch mortality allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. Halibut incidental catch rates are based on observers' estimates of halibut incidental catch in the groundfish fishery. DMRs are estimates of the proportion of incidentally caught halibut that do not survive after being returned to the sea. The cumulative halibut mortality that accrues to a particular halibut PSC limit is the product of a DMR multiplied by the estimated halibut PSC. DMRs are estimated using the best information available in conjunction with the annual BSAI stock assessment process. The DMR methodology and findings are included as an appendix to the annual BSAI groundfish SAFE report.

    Historically, DMRs consisted of long-term averages of annual DMRs within target fisheries that were defined by management area, CDQ, gear, and target species. Since the late 1990s, halibut DMRs were calculated by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), which then provided the estimates to the NMFS for application in managing halibut bycatch limits. DMRs specified through the Council process and used for catch accounting by NMFS have consisted of long-term averages of annual estimates within target fisheries that are defined by management area, CDQ, gear, and target species. Long-term averages are taken from annual estimates for the most recent ten-year period with the number of years with data to support annual DMR estimates varying among fisheries. Fishery-specific DMRs, once calculated, have generally been put in place for three-year increments.

    NMFS proposes to revise methods for estimating DMRs consistent with those methods developed by the halibut DMR working group and recommended by the Council at its October 2016 meeting. NMFS proposes for the 2017 and 2018 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications revised DMRs consistent with modified DMR estimation methodology. The proposed change will make the DMR process transparent, transferable, and allow for review by all agencies/entities involved. The Alaska Region will program the revised DMRs into its groundfish catch accounting system to monitor the 2017 and 2018 halibut bycatch allowances (see Tables 8, 10, 11, and 12). The DMRs proposed for 2017 and 2018 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications reflect an ongoing effort by the Council to improve the estimation of DMRs in the Alaska groundfish fisheries.

    The halibut DMR working group, consisting of the IPHC, Council, and NMFS Alaska Region staff, recommended the following broad changes to the DMR estimation method: Implementation of sampling design consistent with sampling protocols used under the Observer Restructuring Program; categorization of data of halibut viability based on vessel operations (sorting and handling practices, gear type, and processing sector) rather than target fisheries; and revision of reference timeframes to obtain estimates that are more responsive to changes in how the groundfish fisheries are observed and managed. These recommendations, and others, are described below.

    • Incorporate CDQ with non-CDQ in the calculation of the DMRs instead of the currently specified DMRs, which calculate DMRs separately for CDQ and non-CDQ. Regulations allow assignment of CDQ status to a haul up to two hours after completion of gear retrieval. Most vessels fishing under the CDQ program also participate in the non-CDQ fisheries. The size of the haul, fishing operations, and catch-handling process do not tend to differ compared to the non-CDQ fisheries. For this reason, CDQ is not a recommended aggregation factor for estimating DMRs under the revised estimation method.

    • Revise the DMR estimation methodology for consistency with the sampling protocols instituted in 2013 through the restructured Observer Program. The Observer Program randomizes sampling of fishing trips within operational groupings, sampling of hauls within fishing trips, and sampling of biological data within hauls. Basing halibut DMR estimation on a sampling design consistent with Observer Program sampling protocols should reduce the potential for sampling bias, improve data on operational causes of variation in post-capture halibut viability, and promote the ability for NMFS to make timely improvements to halibut DMR estimation in the future.

    • Incorporate the use of vessel operations into DMR estimation methodology. This incorporates data about the viability (likelihood to survive) of discarded halibut into DMR calculations. Data based on different vessel operational categories, such as sorting practices, handling practices, gear type, and processing sectors (i.e. CVs, CPs, and CVs delivering to motherships), provide better information on halibut viability. NMFS expects that incorporating this information into the DMR estimation methodology will yield a more precise estimate of actual mortality.

    • Remove the use of target fishery. Fishery targets do not necessarily characterize statistical and/or vessel operational differences in the sampling or handling of halibut PSC. Using fishery target aggregations may have reduced the quality of DMR estimates due to small sample sizes or by combining vessel operations with very important differences in sampling and handling characteristics.

    • Change the reference time-frame for DMR calculations. Rather than using 10-year average rates, the revised methodology estimates DMRs based on initial 3-year average rates. Using 2013 as the starting year is more responsive to, and better aligns DMR calculation methodology with, the 2013 restructured Observer Program's sampling protocols. Using 2013 as the base year, NMFS and the Council will evaluate the time frame each year. Evaluating the time frame each year will enable NMFS and the Council to update the methodology and the halibut DMRs based on the best available information.

    The working group's discussion paper also included a comparison of the total amount of halibut mortality that accrues using current DMRs versus the working group's recommended DMRs. Calculating the 2015 halibut mortality using specified DMRs yielded 2,312 mt of halibut mortality, whereas using the recommended DMRs yielded 2,299 mt of halibut morality (a less than one-percent decrease). Calculating the 2016 halibut mortality (through September 2016) yielded 1,701 mt of halibut mortality, versus 1,663 mt of halibut mortality when applying the recommended DMRs (a two percent decrease).

    These proposed estimation methods, and recommendations for 2017 and 2018 halibut DMRs, were presented to the Plan Team in September 2016. The Plan Team concurred with the revised methodology, as well as the working group's halibut DMR recommendations for 2017 and 2018. The Council agreed with these recommendations at the Council's October 2016 meeting. Additionally, in April 2016 the SSC reviewed the methodology and made a number of suggestions for improving and refining it. The working group has incorporated those suggestions into its DMR estimation methodology. The working group's discussion of the revised halibut DMR methodology, including the comparative assessment, is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). Table 13 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 DMRs.

    Table 13—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific Halibut Discard Mortality Rates for the BSAI Gear Sector Groundfish fishery Halibut discard
  • mortality rate
  • (percent)
  • Pelagic trawl All All 100 Non-pelagic trawl Catcher/Processor and Mothership All 85 Non-pelagic trawl Catcher vessel All 52 Hook-and-line Catcher vessel All 13 Hook-and-line Catcher/Processor All 8 Pot All All 5
    Listed AFA Catcher/Processor Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to § 679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is responsible for restricting the ability of listed AFA catcher/processors to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock, to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the directed pollock fishery. These restrictions are set out as “sideboard” limits on catch. The basis for these proposed sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Table 14 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 catcher/processor sideboard limits.

    All harvests of groundfish sideboard species by listed AFA catcher/processors, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted from the sideboard limits in Table 14. However, groundfish sideboard species that are delivered to listed AFA catcher/processors by catcher vessels will not be deducted from the 2017 and 2018 sideboard limits for the listed AFA catcher/processors.

    Table 14—Proposed 2017 and 2018 BSAI Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Listed American Fisheries Act Catcher/Processors (C/Ps) [Amounts are in metric tons] Target species Area 1995-1997 Retained catch Total catch Ratio of
  • retained catch
  • to total catch
  • 2017
  • and 2018
  • ITAC available
  • to all trawl
  • C/Ps 1
  • 2017
  • and 2018
  • AFA C/P
  • sideboard limit
  • Sablefish trawl BS 8 497 0.016 447 7 AI 0 145 0 302 0 Greenland turbot BS 121 17,305 0.007 2,272 16 AI 23 4,987 0.005 170 1 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI 76 33,987 0.002 11,900 24 Kamchatka flounder BSAI 76 33,987 0.002 4,250 9 Rock sole BSAI 6,317 169,362 0.037 50,990 1,887 Flathead sole BSAI 1,925 52,755 0.036 18,753 675 Alaska plaice BSAI 14 9,438 0.001 12,325 12 Other flatfish BSAI 3,058 52,298 0.058 2,125 123 Pacific ocean perch BS 12 4,879 0.002 6,760 14 Eastern AI 125 6,179 0.02 6,731 135 Central AI 3 5,698 0.001 6,251 6 Western AI 54 13,598 0.004 8,037 32 Northern rockfish BSAI 91 13,040 0.007 3,825 27 Rougheye rockfish EBS/EAI 50 2,811 0.018 85 2 CAI/WAI 50 2,811 0.018 170 3 Shortraker rockfish BSAI 50 2,811 0.018 170 3 Other rockfish BS 18 621 0.029 276 8 AI 22 806 0.027 468 13 Atka mackerel Central AI n/a n/a 0.115 14,288 1,643 A season 2 n/a n/a 0.115 7,144 822 B season 2 n/a n/a 0.115 7,144 822 Western AI n/a n/a 0.2 9,377 1,875 A season 2 n/a n/a 0.2 4,689 938 B season 2 n/a n/a 0.2 4,689 938 Skates BSAI 553 68,672 0.008 22,100 177 Sculpins BSAI 553 68,672 0.008 3,825 31 Sharks BSAI 553 68,672 0.008 106 1 Squids BSAI 73 3,328 0.022 1,275 28 Octopuses BSAI 553 68,672 0.008 340 3 1 Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C). 2 The seasonal apportionment of Atka mackerel in the open access fishery is 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. Listed AFA catcher/processors are limited to harvesting no more than zero in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea, 20 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Western Aleutian District, and 11.5 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Central Aleutian District. Note: Section 679.64(a)(1)(v) exempts AFA catcher/processors from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2017 and 2018 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt.

    Section 679.64(a)(2) and Tables 40 and 41 to 50 CFR part 679 establish a formula for calculating PSC sideboard limits for listed AFA catcher/processors. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007).

    PSC species listed in Table 15 that are caught by listed AFA catcher/processors participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue against the proposed 2017 and 2018 PSC sideboard limits for the listed AFA catcher/processors. Section 679.21(b)(4)(iii) and (e)(3)(v) authorizes NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA catcher/processors once a proposed 2017 or 2018 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 15 is reached.

    Crab or halibut PSC caught by listed AFA catcher/processors while fishing for pollock will accrue against the PSC allowances annually specified for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” fishery categories, according to § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and § 679.21(e)(3)(iv).

    Table 15—Proposed 2017 and 2018 BSAI Prohibited Species Sideboard Limits for American Fisheries Act Listed Catcher/Processors PSC species and area 1 Ratio of PSC
  • to total PSC
  • Proposed 2017 and
  • 2018 PSC
  • available
  • to trawl
  • vessels after
  • subtraction
  • of PSQ 2
  • Proposed 2017 and
  • 2018 C/P
  • sideboard
  • limit 2
  • BSAI Halibut mortality n/a n/a 286 Red king crab Zone 1 0.007 86,621 606 C. opilio (COBLZ) 0.153 8,131,191 1,224,072 C. bairdi n/a n/a n/a Zone 1 0.14 741,190 103,767 Zone 2 0.05 1,848,510 92,426 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. 2 Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.
    AFA Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to § 679.64(b), the Regional Administrator is responsible for restricting the ability of AFA catcher vessels to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the directed pollock fishery. Section 679.64(b) establishes formulas for setting AFA catcher vessel groundfish and PSC sideboard limits for the BSAI. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Tables 16 and 17 list the proposed 2017 and 2018 AFA catcher vessel sideboard limits.

    All catch of groundfish sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA catcher vessels, whether as targeted catch or as incidental catch, will be deducted from the 2017 and 2018 sideboard limits listed in Table 16.

    Table 16—Proposed 2017 and 2018 BSAI Groundfish Sideboard Limits for American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessels (CVs) [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Fishery by area/gear/season Ratio of
  • 1995-1997
  • AFA CV catch
  • to 1995-1997
  • TAC
  • 2017 and
  • 2018 initial
  • TAC 1
  • 2017 and
  • 2018 AFA
  • catcher vessel
  • sideboard
  • limits
  • Pacific cod BSAI n/a n/a n/a Jig gear 0 3,144 0 Hook-and-line CV n/a n/a n/a Jan 1-Jun 10 0.0006 228 0 Jun 10-Dec 31 0.0006 219 0 Pot gear CV n/a n/a n/a Jan 1-Jun 10 0.0006 9,587 6 Sept 1-Dec 31 0.0006 9,211 6 CV <60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear 0.0006 4,476 3 Trawl gear CV n/a n/a n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 0.8609 36,732 31,623 Apr 1-Jun 10 0.8609 5,460 4,701 Jun 10-Nov 1 0.8609 7,446 6,410 Sablefish BS trawl gear 0.0906 447 40 AI trawl gear 0.0645 302 19 Greenland turbot BS 0.0645 2,272 147 AI 0.0205 170 3 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI 0.069 11,900 821 Kamchatka flounder BSAI 0.069 4,250 293 Rock sole BSAI 0.0341 50,990 1,739 Flathead sole BS trawl gear 0.0505 18,753 947 Alaska plaice BSAI 0.0441 12,325 544 Other flatfish BSAI 0.0441 2,125 94 Pacific ocean perch BS 0.1 6,760 676 Eastern AI 0.0077 6,731 52 Central AI 0.0025 6,251 16 Western AI 0 8,037 0 Northern rockfish BSAI 0.0084 3,825 32 Rougheye rockfish EBS/EAI 0.0037 85 0 CAI/WAI 0.0037 170 1 Shortraker rockfish BSAI 0.0037 170 1 Other rockfish BS 0.0048 276 1 AI 0.0095 468 4 Atka mackerel Eastern AI/BS n/a 25,451 n/a Jan 1-Jun 10 0.0032 12,726 41 Jun 10-Nov 1 0.0032 12,726 41 Central AI n/a 14,288 n/a Jan 1-Jun 10 0.0001 7,144 1 Jun 10-Nov 1 0.0001 7,144 1 Western AI n/a 9,377 n/a Jan 1-Jun 10 0 4,689 0 Jun 10-Nov 1 0 4,689 0 Skates BSAI 0.0541 22,100 1,196 Sculpins BSAI 0.0541 3,825 207 Sharks BSAI 0.0541 106 6 Squids BSAI 0.3827 1,275 488 Octopuses BSAI 0.0541 340 18 1 Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC of that species after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C). Note: Section 679.64(b)(6) exempts AFA catcher vessels from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2017 and 2018 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt.

    Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 17 that are caught by AFA catcher vessels participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue against the 2017 and 2018 PSC sideboard limits for the AFA catcher vessels. Section 679.21(b)(4)(iii), (e)(7), and (e)(3)(v) authorizes NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for AFA catcher vessels once a proposed 2017 and 2018 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 17 is reached. The PSC that is caught by AFA catcher vessels while fishing for pollock in the Bering Sea subarea will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” fishery categories under § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and § 679.21(e)(3)(iv).

    Table 17—Proposed 2017 and 2018 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Prohibited Species Catch Sideboard Limits for the BSAI 1 PSC species and area 1 Target fishery category 2 AFA catcher
  • vessel PSC
  • sideboard
  • limit ratio
  • Proposed
  • 2017 and
  • 2018 PSC
  • limit after
  • subtraction
  • of PSQ
  • reserves 3
  • Proposed
  • 2017 and
  • 2018 AFA
  • catcher vessel
  • PSC sideboard
  • limit 3
  • Halibut Pacific cod trawl n/a n/a 887 Pacific cod hook-and-line or pot n/a n/a 2 Yellowfin sole total n/a n/a 101 Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 4 n/a n/a 228 Greenland turbot/arrowtooth/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish n/a n/a 0 Rockfish n/a n/a 2 Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 5 n/a n/a 5 Red king crab Zone 1 n/a 0.299 86,621 25,900 C. opilio COBLZ n/a 0.168 8,131,191 1,366,040 C. bairdi Zone 1 n/a 0.33 741,190 244,593 C. bairdi Zone 2 n/a 0.186 1,848,510 343,823 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. 2 Target fishery categories are defined at § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B). 3 Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. 4 “Other flatfish” for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 5 “Other species” for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, and octopuses.
    Classification

    NMFS has determined that the proposed harvest specifications are consistent with the FMP and preliminarily determined that the proposed harvest specifications are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws, and subject to further review after public comment.

    This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563.

    NMFS prepared an EIS for this action and made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 13, 2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final EIS. A Supplemental Information Report (SIR) that assesses the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS is being prepared for the final action. Copies of the Final EIS, ROD, and SIR for this action are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The Final EIS analyzes the environmental consequences of the proposed groundfish harvest specifications and alternative harvest strategies on resources in the action area. The Final EIS found no significant environmental consequences from the proposed action or its alternatives.

    NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), analyzing the methodology for establishing the relevant TACs. The IRFA evaluates the impacts on small entities of alternative harvest strategies for the groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zone off Alaska. As set forth in the methodology, TACs are set to a level that falls within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve OY specified in the FMP. While the specific numbers that the methodology may produce vary from year to year, the methodology itself remains constant.

    A description of the proposed action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this proposed action are contained in the preamble above. A copy of the analysis is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows.

    The action under consideration is a harvest strategy to govern the catch of groundfish in the BSAI. The preferred alternative is the existing harvest strategy in which TACs fall within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC, but, as discussed below, NMFS considered other alternatives. This action is taken in accordance with the FMP prepared by the Council pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    The entities directly regulated by this action are those that harvest groundfish in the exclusive economic zone of the BSAI and in parallel fisheries within State waters. These include entities operating catcher vessels and catcher/processors within the action area and entities receiving direct allocations of groundfish.

    For RFA purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide.

    The estimated directly regulated small entities in 2015 include approximately 152 catcher vessels, four catcher/processors, and six CDQ groups. Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, Gulf of Alaska rockfish cooperatives, or BSAI Crab Rationalization Program cooperatives, and, since under the RFA it is the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the cooperative that must meet the “under $11 million” threshold, they are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. Thus, the estimate of 152 catcher vessels may be an overstatement of the number of small entities. Average gross revenues were $520,000 for small hook-and-line vessels, $1.29 million for small pot vessels, and $2.99 million for small trawl vessels. Revenue data for catcher/processors is confidential; however, in 2015, NMFS estimates that there were four catcher/processor small entities with gross receipts less than $11 million.

    The preferred alternative (Alternative 2) was compared to four other alternatives. Alternative 1 would have set TACs to generate fishing rates equal to the maximum permissible ABC (if the full TAC were harvested), unless the sum of TACs exceeded the BSAI OY, in which case TACs would have been limited to the OY. Alternative 3 would have set TACs to produce fishing rates equal to the most recent 5-year average fishing rates. Alternative 4 would have set TACs equal to the lower limit of the BSAI OY range. Alternative 5, the “no action” alternative, would have set TACs equal to zero.

    The TACs associated with the preferred harvest strategy are those adopted by the Council in October 2016, as per Alternative 2. OFLs and ABCs for the species were based on recommendations prepared by the Council's BSAI Groundfish Plan Team in September 2016, and reviewed and modified by the Council's SSC in October 2016. The Council based its TAC recommendations on those of its AP, which were consistent with the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations.

    Alternative 1 selects harvest rates that would allow fishermen to harvest stocks at the level of ABCs, unless total harvests were constrained by the upper bound of the BSAI OY of two million mt. As shown in Table 1 of the preamble, the sum of ABCs in 2017 and 2018 would be about 3,128,135 mt, which falls above the upper bound of the OY range. The sum of TACs is equal to the sum of ABCs. In this instance, Alternative 1 is consistent with the preferred alternative (Alternative 2), meets the objectives of that action, and has small entity impacts that are equivalent to the preferred alternative.

    Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 years of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the most recent 5 years of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). This alternative is inconsistent with the objectives of this action, (the Council's preferred harvest strategy) because it does not take account of the most recent biological information for this fishery. NMFS annually conducts at-sea stock surveys for different species, as well as statistical modeling, to estimate stock sizes and permissible harvest levels. Actual harvest rates or harvest amounts are a component of these estimates, but in and of themselves may not accurately portray stock sizes and conditions. Harvest rates are listed for each species category for each year in the SAFE report (see ADDRESSES).

    Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all species and reduce TACs from the upper end of the OY range in the BSAI, to its lower end of 1.4 million mt. Overall, this would reduce 2017 TACs by about 30 percent, which would lead to significant reductions in harvests of species by small entities. While reductions of this size would be associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these increases is very uncertain. While production declines in the BSAI would undoubtedly be associated with significant price increases in the BSAI, these increases would still be constrained by production of substitutes, and are very unlikely to offset revenue declines from smaller production. Thus, this alternative action would have a detrimental impact on small entities.

    Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, would have a significant adverse impact on small entities and would be contrary to obligations to achieve OY on a continuing basis, as mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    The proposed harvest specifications extend the current 2017 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs to 2017 and 2018. As noted in the IRFA, the Council may modify these OFLs, ABCs, and TACs in December 2016, when it reviews the November 2016 SAFE report from its groundfish Plan Team, and the December Council meeting reports of its SSC and AP. Because 2017 TACs in the proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications are unchanged from the 2017 harvest specification TACs, NMFS does not expect adverse impacts on small entities. Also, NMFS does not expect any changes made by the Council in December 2016 to be large enough to have an impact on small entities.

    This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting requirements, or duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any Federal rules.

    Adverse impacts on marine mammals resulting from fishing activities conducted under these harvest specifications are discussed in the Final EIS (see ADDRESSES), and in the 2016 SIR (https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/sir-2016-17.pdf).

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540(f); 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105-277; Pub. L. 106-31; Pub. L. 106-554; Pub. L. 108-199; Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 109-241; Pub. L. 109-479.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29152 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 160920866-6999-01] RIN 0648-XE904 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS proposes 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2017 and 2018 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the GOA in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by January 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2016-0127, by any one 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-2016-0127, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS), Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final EIS, Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the Final EIS, and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared for this action may be obtained from http://www.regulations.gov or from the Alaska Region Web site at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2015 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the GOA, dated November 2015, is available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99501, phone 907-271-2809, or from the Council's Web site at http://www.npfmc.org. The draft 2016 SAFE report for the GOA will be available from the same source.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the GOA groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the GOA under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). The Council prepared the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the FMP appear at 50 CFR parts 600, 679, and 680.

    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species, the sum of which must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 116,000 to 800,000 metric tons (mt) (§ 679.20(a)(1)(i)(B)). Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to publish and solicit public comment on proposed annual TACs, Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limits, and seasonal allowances of pollock and Pacific cod. The proposed harvest specifications in Tables 1 through 19 of this document satisfy these requirements. For 2017 and 2018, the sum of the proposed TAC amounts is 573,872 mt.

    Under § 679.20(c)(3), NMFS will publish the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications after (1) considering comments received within the comment period (see DATES), (2) consulting with the Council at its December 2016 meeting, (3) considering information presented in the 2016 SIR that assesses the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (see ADDRESSES), and (4) considering information presented in the final 2016 SAFE report prepared for the 2017 and 2018 groundfish fisheries.

    Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications Amendment 103: Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limit Reapportionment Provisions for Trawl Sectors in the Western and Central GOA

    In December 2015, the Council recommended for Secretarial review Amendment 103 to the FMP to reapportion unused Chinook salmon PSC limits among the GOA pollock and non-pollock trawl sectors. Amendment 103 allows NMFS to reapportion the Chinook salmon PSC limits established by Amendments 93 and 97 to prevent or limit fishery closures due to attainment of sector-specific Chinook salmon PSC limits, while maintaining the annual, combined 32,500 Chinook salmon PSC limit for all sectors. The Secretary approved Amendment 103 on August 24, 2016. The final rule implementing Amendment 103 published on September 12, 2016, (81 FR 62659) and became effective on October 12, 2016.

    Amendment 101: Authorize Longline Pot Gear for Use in the Sablefish IFQ Fishery in the GOA

    NMFS issued a proposed rule to implement Amendment 101 to the FMP for the sablefish individual fishing quota (IFQ) fisheries in the GOA on August 19, 2016 (81 FR 55408). That proposed action would authorize the use of longline pot gear in the GOA sablefish IFQ fishery. The Secretary approved Amendment 101 on November 4, 2016. If NMFS approves the final rule, NMFS expects it would be effective for the 2017 GOA sablefish IFQ fishery.

    Proposed Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Specifications

    In October 2016, the Council, its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), and its Advisory Panel (AP) reviewed the most recent biological and harvest information about the condition of groundfish stocks in the GOA. This information was compiled by the GOA Groundfish Plan Team (Plan Team) and presented in the final 2015 SAFE report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2015 (see ADDRESSES). The SAFE report contains a review of the latest scientific analyses and estimates of each species' biomass and other biological parameters, as well as summaries of the available information on the GOA ecosystem and the economic condition of the groundfish fisheries off Alaska. From these data and analyses, the Plan Team estimates and the SSC sets an overfishing level (OFL) and ABC for each species or species group. The amounts proposed for the 2017 and 2018 OFLs and ABCs are based on the 2015 SAFE report. The AP and Council recommended that the proposed 2017 and 2018 TACs be set equal to proposed ABCs for all species and species groups, with the exception of the species categories further discussed below. The proposed OFLs, ABCs, and TACs could be changed in the final harvest specifications depending on the most recent scientific information contained in the final 2016 SAFE report. The draft stock assessments that will comprise, in part, the 2016 SAFE report are available at http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/REFM/stocks/plan_team/draft_assessments.htm.

    In November 2016, the Plan Team will update the 2015 SAFE report to include new information collected during 2016, such as NMFS stock surveys, revised stock assessments, and catch data. The Plan Team will compile this information and produce the draft 2016 SAFE report for presentation at the December 2016 Council meeting. At that meeting, the Council will consider information in the draft 2016 SAFE report, recommendations from the November 2016 Plan Team meeting and December 2016 SSC and AP meetings, public testimony, and relevant written public comments in making its recommendations for the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(2) and (3), the Council could recommend adjusting the TACs if warranted on the biological condition of groundfish stocks or a variety of socioeconomic considerations; or if required in order to cause the sum to fall within the optimum yield range.

    In previous years, the OFLs and ABCs that have had the most significant changes (relative to the amount of assessed tonnage of fish) from the proposed to the final harvest specifications have been for OFLs and ABCs that are based on the most recent NMFS stock surveys. These surveys provide updated estimates of stock biomass and spatial distribution, and changes to the models used for producing stock assessments. NMFS scientists presented updated and new survey results, changes to assessment models, and accompanying stock estimates at the September 2016 Plan Team meeting, and the SSC reviewed this information at the October 2016 Council meeting. The species with possible significant model changes are Pacific cod, pollock, sablefish, and sharks. In November 2016, the Plan Team considered updated stock assessments for groundfish, which will be included in the draft 2016 SAFE report.

    If the draft 2016 SAFE report indicates that the stock biomass trend is increasing for a species, then the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for that species may reflect an increase from the proposed harvest specifications. Conversely, if the draft 2016 SAFE report indicates that the stock biomass trend is decreasing for a species, then the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications may reflect a decrease from the proposed harvest specifications.

    The proposed 2017 and 2018 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised methods used to calculate stock biomass. The FMP specifies the formulas, or tiers, to be used to compute OFLs and ABCs. The formulas applicable to a particular stock or stock complex are determined by the level of reliable information available to the fisheries scientists. This information is categorized into a successive series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts, with Tier 1 representing the highest level of information quality available and Tier 6 representing the lowest level of information quality available. The Plan Team used the FMP tier structure to calculate OFLs and ABCs for each groundfish species. The SSC adopted the proposed 2017 and 2018 OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team for all groundfish species. The Council adopted the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations and the AP's TAC recommendations. These amounts are unchanged from the final 2017 harvest specifications published in the Federal Register on March 18, 2016 (81 FR 14740).

    Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts

    The Council recommended proposed 2017 and 2018 TACs that are equal to proposed ABCs for all species and species groups, with the exception of shallow-water flatfish in the Western GOA, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole in the Western and Central GOA, “other rockfish” in Southeast Outside (SEO) District, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod. The shallow-water flatfish, arrowtooth flounder, and flathead sole TACs are set to allow for harvest opportunities while conserving the halibut PSC limit for use in other fisheries. The “other rockfish” TAC is set to reduce the potential amount of discards in the SEO District. The Atka mackerel TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch amounts of this species in other directed fisheries. The Pacific cod TACs are reduced from ABC amounts to accommodate the State waters Pacific cod fisheries. Similarly, the combined Western, Central, and West Yakutat pollock ABC is reduced to account for the State water pollock fishery. These reductions are described below.

    The proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the State's guideline harvest levels (GHLs) for Pacific cod in State waters in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, as well as in Prince William Sound (PWS). The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and Council recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the GOA not exceed ABC recommendations. Accordingly, the Council reduced the proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs in the Eastern, Central, and Western Regulatory Areas to account for State GHLs. Therefore, the proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs are less than the proposed ABCs by the following amounts: (1) Eastern GOA, 1,898 mt; (2) Central GOA, 10,653 mt; and (3) Western GOA, 10,499 mt. These amounts reflect the sum of the State's 2017 and 2018 GHLs in these areas, which are 25 percent of the Eastern and Central, and 30 percent of the Western GOA proposed ABCs.

    The ABC for the pollock stock in the combined Western, Central, and West Yakutat Regulatory Areas (W/C/WYK) includes the amount for the GHL established by the State for the PWS pollock fishery. The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and Council recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water pollock removals from the GOA not exceed ABC recommendations. For 2017 and 2018, the SSC recommended and the Council approved the W/C/WYK pollock ABC, including the amount to account for the State's PWS GHL. At the November 2016 Plan Team meeting, State fisheries managers recommended setting the PWS GHL at 2.5 percent of the annual W/C/WYK pollock ABC. For 2017, this yields a PWS pollock GHL of 6,264 mt, a slight decrease from the 2016 PWS GHL of 6,358 mt. The proposed W/C/WYK 2017 and 2018 pollock ABC is 250,544 mt, and the proposed TAC is 244,280 mt.

    Apportionments of pollock to the W/C/WYK management areas are considered to be “apportionments of annual catch limit (ACLs)” rather than “ABCs.” This more accurately reflects that such apportionments address management, rather than biological or conservation, concerns. In addition, apportioning ACLs in this manner allow NMFS to balance any transfer of TAC from one area to another pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B) to ensure that the area-wide ACL and ABC are not exceeded.

    NMFS' proposed apportionments for groundfish species are based on the distribution of biomass among the regulatory areas under which NMFS manages the species. Additional regulations govern the apportionment of pollock, Pacific cod, and sablefish. Additional detail on these apportionments are described below, and briefly summarized here.

    NMFS proposes pollock TACs in the W/C/WYK and the SEO District of the GOA (see Table 1). NMFS also proposes seasonal apportionment of the annual pollock TAC in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630. These apportionments are divided equally among each of the following four seasons: The A season (January 20 through March 10), the B season (March 10 through May 31), the C season (August 25 through October 1), and the D season (October 1 through November 1) (§ 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), and § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A) and (B)). Additional detail is provided below; Table 2 lists these amounts.

    NMFS proposes Pacific cod TACs in the Western, Central, and Eastern GOA (see Table 1). NMFS also proposes seasonal apportionment of the Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Sixty percent of the annual TAC is apportioned to the A season for hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear from January 1 through June 10, and for trawl gear from January 20 through June 10. Forty percent of the annual TAC is apportioned to the B season for jig gear from June 10 through December 31, for hook-and-line or pot gear from September 1 through December 31, and for trawl gear from September 1 through November 1 (§§ 679.23(d)(3) and 679.20(a)(12)). The Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs are allocated among various gear and operational sectors. Table 3 lists the amounts apportioned to each sector.

    The Council's recommendation for sablefish area apportionments takes into account the prohibition on the use of trawl gear in the SEO District of the Eastern Regulatory Area and makes available 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area ABCs to trawl gear for use as incidental catch in other groundfish fisheries in the WYK District (§ 679.20(a)(4)(i)). Additional detail is provided below; Tables 4 and 5 list these amounts.

    For 2017 and 2018, the Council recommends and NMFS proposes the OFLs, ABCs, and TACs listed in Table 1. The proposed ABCs reflect harvest amounts that are less than the specified overfishing levels. Table 1 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 OFLs, ABCs, TACs, and area apportionments of groundfish in the GOA. These amounts are consistent with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 2015 SAFE report, and adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the total TAC within the required OY range. The sum of the proposed TACs for all GOA groundfish is 573,872 mt for 2017 and 2018, which is within the OY range specified by the FMP. These proposed amounts and apportionments by area, season, and sector are subject to change pending consideration of the draft 2016 SAFE report and the Council's recommendations for the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications during its December 2016 meeting.

    Table 1—Proposed 2017 and 2018 ABCs, TACs, and OFLs of Groundfish for the Western/Central/West Yakutat, Western, Central, and Eastern Regulatory Areas, and in the West Yakutat, Southeast Outside, and Gulfwide Districts of the Gulf of Alaska [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Area 1 OFL ABC TAC 2 Pollock 2 Shumagin (610) n/a 55,657 55,657 Chirikof (620) n/a 123,078 123,078 Kodiak (630) n/a 56,336 56,336 WYK (640) n/a 9,209 9,209 W/C/WYK (subtotal) 289,937 250,544 244,280 SEO (650) 13,226 9,920 9,920 Total 303,163 260,464 254,200 Pacific cod 3 W n/a 34,998 24,499 C n/a 42,610 31,958 E n/a 7,592 5,693 Total 100,800 85,200 62,150 Sablefish 4 W n/a 1,163 1,163 C n/a 3,678 3,678 WYK n/a 1,348 1,348 SEO n/a 2,118 2,118 E (WYK and SEO) (subtotal) n/a 3,466 3,466 Total 9,825 8,307 8,307 Shallow-water flatfish 5 W n/a 19,159 13,250 C n/a 17,680 17,680 WYK n/a 2,919 2,919 SEO n/a 1,006 1,006 Total 50,220 40,764 34,855 Deep-water flatfish 6 W n/a 187 187 C n/a 3,516 3,516 WYK n/a 3,015 3,015 SEO n/a 2,563 2,563 Total 11,168 9,281 9,281 Rex sole W n/a 1,318 1,318 C n/a 4,453 4,453 WYK n/a 767 767 SEO n/a 969 969 Total 9,810 7,507 7,507 Arrowtooth flounder W n/a 28,659 14,500 C n/a 109,804 75,000 WYK n/a 37,999 6,900 SEO n/a 12,870 6,900 Total 196,714 189,332 103,300 Flathead sole W n/a 11,080 8,650 C n/a 20,307 15,400 WYK n/a 2,944 2,944 SEO n/a 856 856 Total 43,060 35,187 27,850 Pacific ocean perch 7 W n/a 2,709 2,709 C n/a 16,860 16,860 WYK n/a 2,818 2,818 W/C/WYK 26,045 22,387 22,387 SEO 2,096 1,802 1,802 Total 28,141 24,189 24,189 Northern rockfish 8 W n/a 430 430 C n/a 3,338 3,338 E n/a 4 Total 4,501 3,768 3,768 Shortraker rockfish 9 W n/a 38 38 C n/a 301 301 E n/a 947 947 Total 1,715 1,286 1,286 Dusky rockfish 10 W n/a 159 159 C n/a 3,791 3,791 WYK n/a 251 251 SEO n/a 83 83 Total 5,253 4,284 4,284 Rougheye and blackspotted rockfish 11 W n/a 105 105 C n/a 705 705 E n/a 515 515 Total 1,592 1,325 1,325 Demersal shelf rockfish 12 SEO 364 231 231 Thornyhead rockfish 13 W n/a 291 291 C n/a 988 988 E n/a 682 682 Total 2,615 1,961 1,961 Other rockfish 14 15 W/C combined n/a 1,534 1,534 WYK n/a 574 574 SEO n/a 3,665 200 Total 7,424 5,773 2,308 Atka mackerel GW 6,200 4,700 2,000 Big skates 16 W n/a 908 908 C n/a 1,850 1,850 E n/a 1,056 1,056 Total 5,086 3,814 3,814 Longnose skates 17 W n/a 61 61 C n/a 2,513 2,513 E n/a 632 632 Total 4,274 3,206 3,206 Other skates 18 GW 2,558 1,919 1,919 Sculpins GW 7,338 5,591 5,591 Sharks GW 6,020 4,514 4,514 Squids GW 1,530 1,148 1,148 Octopuses GW 6,504 4,878 4,878 Total 815,875 708,629 573,872 1 Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2. (W = Western Gulf of Alaska; C = Central Gulf of Alaska; E = Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK = West Yakutat District; SEO = Southeast Outside District; GW = Gulf-wide). 2 The combined pollock ABC for the Western, Central, and West Yakutat areas is apportioned in the Western/Central Regulatory Areas among four statistical areas. These apportionments are considered subarea ACLs, rather than ABCs, for specification and reapportionment purposes. Table 2 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 seasonal apportionments. In the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided into seasonal allowances. 3 Section 679.20(a)(12)(i) requires the allocation of the Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among gear and operational sectors. The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned among various sectors, 60 percent to the A season and 40 percent to the B season in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA. In the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA, Pacific cod is allocated 90 percent for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent for processing by the offshore component. Table 3 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments. 4 Sablefish is allocated to hook-and-line and trawl gear in 2017 and trawl gear in 2018. Tables 4 and 5 list the proposed 2017 and 2018 allocations of sablefish TACs. 5 “Shallow-water flatfish” means flatfish not including “deep-water flatfish,” flathead sole, rex sole, or arrowtooth flounder. 6 “Deep-water flatfish” means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deep-sea sole. 7 “Pacific ocean perch” means Sebastes alutus. 8 “Northern rockfish” means Sebastes polyspinous. For management purposes the 3 mt apportionment of ABC to the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the other rockfish (slope rockfish) species group. 9 “Shortraker rockfish” means Sebastes borealis. 10 “Dusky rockfish” means Sebastes variabilis. 11 “Rougheye rockfish” means Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 12 “Demersal shelf rockfish” means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper), S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye). 13 “Thornyhead rockfish” means Sebastes species. 14 “Other rockfish (slope rockfish)” means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio), S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S. wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergray), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA only, “other rockfish” also includes northern rockfish (S. polyspinous). 15 “Other rockfish” in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means all rockfish species included in the “other rockfish” and demersal shelf rockfish categories. 16 “Big skates” means Raja binoculata. 17 “Longnose skates” means Raja rhina. 18 “Other skates” means Bathyraja and Raja spp. Proposed Apportionment of Reserves

    Section 679.20(b)(2) requires NMFS to set aside 20 percent of each TAC for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses in reserves for possible apportionment at a later date during the fishing year. In 2016, NMFS reapportioned all of the reserves in the final harvest specifications. For 2017 and 2018, NMFS proposes reapportionment of each of the reserves for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses back into the original TAC from which the reserve was derived. NMFS anticipates, based on recent harvest patterns, that such reserves are not necessary and the entire TAC for each of these species will be caught. The TACs in Table 1 reflect this proposed reapportionment of reserve amounts for these species and species groups, i.e., each proposed TAC for the above mentioned species categories contains the full TAC recommended by the Council.

    Proposed Apportionments of Pollock TAC Among Seasons and Regulatory Areas, and Allocations for Processing by Inshore and Offshore Components

    In the GOA, pollock is apportioned by season and area, and is further allocated for processing by inshore and offshore components. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B), the annual pollock TAC specified for the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA is apportioned into four equal seasonal allowances of 25 percent. As established by § 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 through March 10, March 10 through May 31, August 25 through October 1, and October 1 through November 1, respectively.

    Pollock TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA are apportioned among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A). In the A and B seasons, the apportionments have historically been based on the proportional distribution of pollock biomass based on the four most recent NMFS winter surveys. In the C and D seasons, the apportionments are in proportion to the distribution of pollock biomass based on the four most recent NMFS summer surveys. For 2017 and 2018, the Council recommends, and NMFS proposes, following the methodology used for the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications. This methodology averages the winter and summer distribution of pollock in the Central Regulatory Area for the A season instead of using the distribution based on only the winter surveys. The average is intended to reflect the best available information about migration patterns, distribution of pollock, and the performance of the fishery in the area during the A season. For the A season, the apportionment is based on the proposed adjusted estimate of the relative distribution of pollock biomass of approximately 6 percent, 73 percent, and 21 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. For the B season, the apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass of approximately 6 percent, 85 percent, and 9 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. For the C and D seasons, the apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass of approximately 41 percent, 26 percent, and 33 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively.

    Within any fishing year, the amount by which a seasonal allowance is underharvested or overharvested may be added to, or subtracted from, subsequent seasonal allowances in a manner to be determined by the Regional Administrator (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The rollover amount is limited to 20 percent of the unharvested seasonal apportionment for the statistical area. Any unharvested pollock above the 20-percent limit could be further distributed to the other statistical areas, in proportion to the estimated biomass in the subsequent season in those statistical areas (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The proposed 2017 and 2018 pollock TACs in the WYK District of 9,209 mt and SEO District of 9,920 mt are not allocated by season.

    Section 679.20(a)(6)(i) requires the allocation of 100 percent of the pollock apportionments in all regulatory areas and all seasonal allowances to vessels catching pollock for processing by the inshore component after subtraction of pollock amounts projected by the Regional Administrator to be caught by, or delivered to, the offshore component incidental to directed fishing for other groundfish species. Thus, the amount of pollock available for harvest by vessels harvesting pollock for processing by the offshore component is that amount that will be taken as incidental catch during directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock, up to the maximum retainable amounts allowed under § 679.20(e) and (f). At this time, these incidental catch amounts of pollock are unknown and will be determined as fishing activity occurs during the fishing year by the offshore component.

    Table 2 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 seasonal biomass distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, area apportionments, and seasonal allowances. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown.

    Table 2—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Distribution of Pollock in the Central and Western Regulatory Areas of the Gulf of Alaska; Seasonal Biomass Distribution, Area Apportionments; and Seasonal Allowances of Annual TAC 1 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Season 2 Shumagin (Area 610) Chirikof (Area 620) Kodiak (Area 630) Total 3 A (Jan 20-Mar 10) 3,769 (6.41%) 42,732 (72.71%) 12,272 (20.88%) 58,768 B (Mar 10-May 31) 3,769 (6.41%) 49,996 (85.07%) 5,007 (8.52%) 58,768 C (Aug 25-Oct 1) 24,060 (40.94%) 15,176 (25.82%) 19,529 (33.23%) 58,768 D (Oct 1-Nov 1) 24,060 (40.94%) 15,175 (25.82%) 19,529 (33.23%) 58,768 Annual Total 55,657 123,078 56,336 235,071 1 Area apportionments and seasonal allowances may not total precisely due to rounding. 2 As established by § 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 through March 10, March 10 through May 31, August 25 through October 1, and October 1 through November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown in this table. 3 The West Yakutat and Southeast Outside District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table. Proposed Annual and Seasonal Apportionments of Pacific Cod TAC

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(12)(i), NMFS proposes allocations for the 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among gear and operational sectors. NMFS also proposes allocating the 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs annually between the inshore and offshore components in the Eastern GOA (§ 679.20(a)(6)(ii)). In the Central GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is apportioned seasonally first to vessels using jig gear, and then among catcher vessels (CVs) less than 50 feet in length overall using hook-and-line gear, CVs equal to or greater than 50 feet in length overall using hook-and-line gear, catcher/processors (C/Ps) using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, C/Ps using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear (§ 679.20(a)(12)(i)(B)). In the Western GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is apportioned seasonally first to vessels using jig gear, and then among CVs using hook-and-line gear, C/Ps using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, C/Ps using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear (§ 679.20(a)(12)(i)(A)). The overall seasonal apportionments in the Western and Central GOA are 60 percent of the annual TAC to the A season and 40 percent of the annual TAC to the B season.

    Under § 679.20(a)(12)(ii), any overage or underage of the Pacific cod allowance from the A season will be subtracted from, or added to, the subsequent B season allowance. In addition, any portion of the hook-and-line, trawl, pot, or jig sector allocations that is determined by NMFS as likely to go unharvested by a sector may be reapportioned to other sectors for harvest during the remainder of the fishing year.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(12)(i)(A) and (B), a portion of the annual Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central GOA will be allocated to vessels with a Federal fisheries permit that use jig gear before TAC is apportioned among other non-jig sectors. In accordance with the FMP, the annual jig sector allocations may increase to up to 6 percent of the annual Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs, depending on the annual performance of the jig sector (see Table 1 of Amendment 83 to the FMP for a detailed discussion of the jig sector allocation process (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011)). Jig sector allocation increases are established for a minimum of 2 years.

    NMFS has evaluated the historical harvest performance of the jig sector in the Western and Central GOA, and is establishing the proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod apportionments to this sector based on the jig performance through 2015. NMFS proposes that the jig sector receive 3.5 percent of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Western GOA. This includes a base allocation of 1.5 percent and an additional 2.0 percent because this sector harvested greater than 90 percent of its initial 2012 and 2014 allocations in the Western GOA. NMFS also proposes that the jig sector would receive 1.0 percent of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Central GOA. This includes a base allocation of 1.0 percent and no additional performance increase. These historical Pacific cod jig allocations, catch, and percent allocation changes are listed in Example 1.

    Example 1—Summary of Western GOA and Central GOA Management Area Pacific Cod Catch by Jig Gear in 2012 Through 2015, and Corresponding Percent Allocation Changes Area Year Initial
  • percent of
  • TAC
  • Initial TAC
  • allocation
  • Catch
  • (mt)
  • Percent of
  • initial
  • allocation
  • >90% of
  • initial
  • allocation?
  • Change to
  • percent
  • allocation
  • WGOA 2012 1.5 315 322 102 Y Increase 1% 2013 2.5 530 273 52 N None 2014 2.5 573 785 137 Y Increase 1% 2015 3.5 948 55 6 N None CGOA 2012 1.0 427 400 94 Y Increase 1% 2013 2.0 740 202 27 N None 2014 2.0 797 262 33 N None 2015 1.0 460 355 77 N Decrease 1%

    NMFS will re-evaluate the annual 2015 and 2016 harvest performance of each jig sector when the 2016 fishing year is complete to determine whether to change the jig sector allocations proposed by this action in conjunction with the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications. The current catch through November 2016 by the Western GOA jig sector indicates that the Pacific cod allocation percentage to this sector would probably decrease by 1 percent in 2017. Also, the current catch by the Central GOA jig sector indicates that this sector's Pacific cod allocation percentage would not change in 2017. The jig sector allocations are further apportioned between the A (60 percent) and B (40 percent) seasons (§ 679.20(a)(12)(i) and § 679.23(d)(3)(iii)).

    Table 3 lists the seasonal apportionments and allocations of the proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs.

    Table 3—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Seasonal Apportionments and Allocations of Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts in the GOA; Allocations in the Western GOA and Central GOA Sectors, and the Eastern GOA for Processing by the Inshore and Offshore Components [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Regulatory area and sector Annual
  • allocation
  • (mt)
  • A season Sector
  • percentage of
  • annual
  • non-jig
  • TAC
  • Seasonal
  • allowances
  • (mt)
  • B season Sector
  • percentage of
  • annual
  • non-jig
  • TAC
  • Seasonal
  • allowances
  • (mt)
  • Western GOA: Jig (3.5% of TAC) 857 N/A 514 N/A 343 Hook-and-line CV 331 0.70 165 0.70 165 Hook-and-line C/P 4,681 10.90 2,577 8.90 2,104 Trawl CV 9,078 27.70 6,549 10.70 2,530 Trawl C/P 567 0.90 213 1.50 355 Pot CV and Pot C/P 8,984 19.80 4,681 18.20 4,303 Total 24,499 60.00 14,699 40.00 9,799 Central GOA: Jig (1.0% of TAC) 320 N/A 192 N/A 128 Hook-and-line <50 CV 4,620 9.32 2,947 5.29 1,673 Hook-and-line ≥50 CV 2,122 5.61 1,775 1.10 347 Hook-and-line C/P 1,615 4.11 1,299 1.00 316 Trawl CV 1 13,156 21.13 6,687 20.45 6,470 Trawl C/P 1,328 2.00 634 2.19 694 Pot CV and Pot C/P 8,797 17.83 5,641 9.97 3,156 Total 31,958 60.00 19,175 40.00 12,783 Eastern GOA: Inshore (90% of Annual TAC) Offshore (10% of Annual TAC) 5,693 5,124 569 1 Trawl vessels participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives receive 3.81 percent, or 1,409 mt, of the annual Central GOA TAC (see Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679), which is deducted from the Trawl CV B season allowance (see Table 8).
    Proposed Allocations of the Sablefish TACs Amounts to Vessels Using Hook-and-Line and Trawl Gear

    Sections 679.20(a)(4)(i) and (ii) require allocations of sablefish TACs for each of the regulatory areas and districts to hook-and-line and trawl gear. In the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 80 percent of each TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear, and 20 percent of each TAC is allocated to trawl gear. In the Eastern Regulatory Area, 95 percent of the TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear and 5 percent is allocated to trawl gear. The trawl gear allocation in the Eastern GOA may only be used to support incidental catch of sablefish in directed fisheries for other target species (§ 679.20(a)(4)(i)).

    In recognition of the prohibition against trawl gear in the SEO District of the Eastern Regulatory Area, the Council recommended and NMFS proposes the allocation of 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the WYK District, making the remainder of the WYK sablefish TAC available to vessels using hook-and-line gear. NMFS proposes to allocate 100 percent of the sablefish TAC in the SEO District to vessels using hook-and-line gear. This action results in a proposed 2017 allocation of 173 mt to trawl gear and 1,175 mt to hook-and-line gear in the WYK District, a 2,118 mt to hook-and-line gear in the SEO District, and a 2018 allocation of 173 mt to trawl gear in the WYK District. Table 4 lists the allocations of the proposed 2017 sablefish TACs to hook-and-line and trawl gear. Table 5 lists the allocations of the proposed 2018 sablefish TACs to trawl gear.

    The Council recommended that the hook-and-line sablefish TAC be established annually to ensure that the sablefish IFQ fishery is conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery and is based on recent survey information. The Council also recommended that only the trawl sablefish TAC be established for 2 years so that retention of incidental catch of sablefish by trawl gear could commence in January in the second year of the groundfish harvest specifications. Since there is an annual assessment for sablefish and the final harvest specifications are expected to be published before the IFQ season begins (typically, in early March), the Council recommended that the sablefish TAC be set annually, rather than for 2 years, so that the best available scientific information could be considered in establishing the ABCs and TACs. With the exception of the trawl allocations that are provided to the Rockfish Program cooperatives (see Table 28c to part 679), directed fishing for sablefish with trawl gear is closed during the fishing year. Also, fishing for groundfish with trawl gear is prohibited prior to January 20. Therefore, it is not likely that the sablefish allocation to trawl gear would be reached before the effective date of the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications.

    Table 4—Proposed 2017 Sablefish Total Allowable Catch (TAC) in the Gulf of Alaska and Allocations to Hook-and-Line and Trawl Gear [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area/district TAC Hook-and-line
  • allocation
  • Trawl allocation
    Western 1,163 930 233 Central 1 3,678 2,942 736 West Yakutat 2 1,348 1,175 173 Southeast Outside 2,118 2,118 0 Total 8,307 7,166 1,142 1 The trawl allocation to the Central Regulatory Area is further reduced by the sablefish apportioned to the Rockfish Program cooperatives (378 mt). See Table 8. This results in 358 mt being available for the non-Rockfish Program trawl fisheries. 2 The proposed trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District.
    Table 5—Proposed 2018 Sablefish Total Allowable Catch (TAC) in the Gulf of Alaska and Allocation to Trawl Gear 1 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area/district TAC Hook-and-line
  • allocation
  • Trawl allocation
    Western 1,163 n/a 233 Central 2 3,678 n/a 736 West Yakutat 3 1,348 n/a 173 Southeast Outside 2,118 n/a 0 Total 8,307 n/a 1,142 1 The trawl allocation to the Central Regulatory Area is further reduced by the sablefish apportioned to the Rockfish Program cooperatives (378 mt). See Table 8. This results in 358 mt being available for the non-Rockfish Program trawl fisheries. 2 The Council recommended that harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota fisheries be limited to 1 year. 3 The proposed trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District.
    Proposed Apportionments to the Rockfish Program

    These proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for the GOA include the fishery cooperative allocations and sideboard limitations established by the Rockfish Program. Program participants are primarily trawl CVs and trawl C/Ps, with limited participation by vessels using longline gear. The Rockfish Program assigns quota share and cooperative quota to participants for primary (Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish) and secondary species (Pacific cod, rougheye rockfish, sablefish, shortraker rockfish, and thornyhead rockfish), allows a participant holding a license limitation program (LLP) license with rockfish quota share to form a rockfish cooperative with other persons, and allows holders of C/P LLP licenses to opt out of the fishery. The Rockfish Program also has an entry level fishery for rockfish primary species for vessels using longline gear.

    Under the Rockfish Program, rockfish primary species in the Central GOA are allocated to participants after deducting for incidental catch needs in other directed groundfish fisheries. Participants in the Rockfish Program also receive a portion of the Central GOA TAC of specific secondary species. Besides groundfish species, the Rockfish Program allocates a portion of the halibut PSC limit (191 mt) from the third season deep-water species fishery allowance for the GOA trawl fisheries to Rockfish Program participants (§ 679.81(d)). Rockfish Program sideboards and halibut PSC limits are discussed below.

    Additionally, the Rockfish Program establishes sideboard limits to restrict the ability of harvesters that operate under the Rockfish Program to increase their participation in other, non-Rockfish Program fisheries. These restrictions are discussed in a subsequent section titled “Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations.”

    Section 679.81(a)(2)(ii) requires allocations of 5 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 5 mt of northern rockfish, and 30 mt of dusky rockfish to the entry level longline fishery in 2017 and 2018. The allocation for the entry level longline fishery would increase incrementally each year if the catch exceeds 90 percent of the allocation of a species. The incremental increase in the allocation would continue each year until it is the maximum percentage of the TAC for that species. In 2016, the catch did not exceed 90 percent of any allocated rockfish species. Therefore, NMFS is not proposing an increase to the entry level longline fishery 2017 and 2018 allocations in the Central GOA. The remainder of the TACs for the rockfish primary species would be allocated to the CV and C/P cooperatives. Table 6 lists the allocations of the proposed 2017 and 2018 TACs for each rockfish primary species to the entry level longline fishery, the incremental increase for future years, and the maximum percentage of the TAC for the entry level longline fishery.

    Table 6—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species to the Entry Level Longline Fishery in the Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish primary species 2017 and 2018 allocations Incremental increase in 2018 if ≥90
  • percent of 2017 allocation is harvested
  • Up to maximum percent of each TAC of:
    Pacific ocean perch 5 metric tons 5 metric tons 1 Northern rockfish 5 metric tons 5 metric tons 2 Dusky rockfish 30 metric tons 20 metric tons 5

    Section 679.81(a)(2) requires allocations of rockfish primary species among various components of the Rockfish Program. Table 7 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 allocations of rockfish in the Central GOA to the entry level longline fishery, and Rockfish CV and C/P Cooperatives in the Rockfish Program. NMFS also proposes setting aside incidental catch amounts (ICAs) for other directed fisheries in the Central GOA of 1,500 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 300 mt of northern rockfish, and 250 mt of dusky rockfish. These amounts are based on recent average incidental catches in the Central GOA by other groundfish fisheries.

    Allocations among vessels belonging to CV or C/P cooperatives are not included in these proposed harvest specifications. Rockfish Program applications for CV cooperatives and C/P cooperatives are not due to NMFS until March 1 of each calendar year; therefore, NMFS cannot calculate 2017 and 2018 allocations in conjunction with these proposed harvest specifications. NMFS will post these allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/rockfish/ when they become available after March 1.

    Table 7—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species in the Central Gulf of Alaska to the Entry Level Longline Fishery and Rockfish Cooperatives in the Rockfish Program [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Rockfish primary species TAC Incidental catch allowance
  • (ICA)
  • TAC minus ICA Allocation to
  • the entry level longline 1 fishery
  • Allocation to
  • the Rockfish
  • Cooperatives 2
  • Pacific ocean perch 16,860 1,500 15,360 5 15,535 Northern rockfish 3,338 300 3,038 5 3,033 Dusky rockfish 3,791 250 3,541 30 3,511 Total 23,989 2,050 21,939 40 21,899 1 Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear. 2 Rockfish cooperatives include vessels in CV and C/P cooperatives.

    Section 679.81(c) requires allocations of rockfish secondary species to CV and C/P cooperatives in the GOA. CV cooperatives receive allocations of Pacific cod, sablefish from the trawl gear allocation, and thornyhead rockfish. C/P cooperatives receive allocations of sablefish from the trawl allocation, rougheye rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and thornyhead rockfish. Table 8 lists the apportionments of the proposed 2017 and 2018 TACs of rockfish secondary species in the Central GOA to CV and C/P cooperatives.

    Table 8—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA to Catcher Vessel and Catcher/Processor Cooperatives [Values are in metric tons] Rockfish secondary species Central GOA
  • annual TAC
  • Catcher vessel cooperatives Percentage of
  • TAC
  • Apportionment
  • (mt)
  • Catcher/processor
  • cooperatives
  • Percentage of TAC Apportionment
  • (mt)
  • Pacific cod 31,958 3.81 1,218 0.0 0.0 Sablefish 3,678 6.78 249 3.51 129 Shortraker rockfish 301 0.0 0 40.00 120 Rougheye rockfish 705 0.0 0 58.87 415 Thornyhead rockfish 988 7.84 77 26.50 262
    Halibut PSC Limits

    Section 679.21(d) establishes annual halibut PSC limit apportionments to trawl and hook-and-line gear, and authorizes the establishment of apportionments for pot gear. In October 2016, the Council recommended halibut PSC limits of 1,706 mt for trawl gear, 257 mt for hook-and-line gear, and 9 mt for the demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) fishery in the SEO District.

    The DSR fishery in the SEO District is defined at § 679.21(d)(2)(ii)(A). This fishery is apportioned 9 mt of the halibut PSC limit in recognition of its small-scale harvests of groundfish. NMFS estimates low halibut bycatch in the DSR fishery because (1) the duration of the DSR fisheries and the gear soak times are short, (2) the DSR fishery occurs in the winter when less overlap occurs in the distribution of DSR and halibut, and (3) the directed commercial DSR fishery has a low DSR TAC. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game sets the commercial GHL for the DSR fishery after deducting (1) estimates of DSR incidental catch in all fisheries (including halibut and subsistence) and (2) the allocation to the DSR sport fish fishery. Of the 231 mt TAC for DSR in 2016, 188 mt were available for the DSR commercial directed fishery, of which 8 mt were harvested.

    The FMP authorizes the Council to exempt specific gear from the halibut PSC limits. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, proposes to exempt pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories from the non-trawl halibut PSC limit for 2017 and 2018. The Council recommended, and NMFS is proposing, these exemptions because (1) pot gear fisheries have low annual halibut bycatch mortality, (2) IFQ program regulations prohibit discard of halibut if any halibut IFQ permit holder on board a CV holds unused halibut IFQ (§ 679.7(f)(11)), (3) some sablefish IFQ permit holders hold halibut IFQ permits and are therefore required to retain the halibut they catch while fishing sablefish IFQ, and (4) NMFS estimates negligible halibut mortality for the jig gear fisheries. NMFS estimates halibut mortality is negligible in the jig gear fisheries given the small amount of groundfish harvested by jig gear, the selective nature of jig gear, and the high survival rates of halibut caught and released with jig gear.

    The best available information on estimated halibut bycatch consists of data collected by fisheries observers during 2016. The calculated halibut bycatch mortality through November 8, 2016, is 1,321 mt for trawl gear and 206 mt for hook-and-line gear for a total halibut mortality of 1,527 mt. This halibut mortality was calculated using groundfish and halibut catch data from the NMFS Alaska Region's catch accounting system. This accounting system contains historical and recent catch information compiled from each Alaska groundfish fishery.

    Section 679.21(d)(4)(i) and (ii) authorizes NMFS to seasonally apportion the halibut PSC limits after consultation with the Council. The FMP and regulations require that the Council and NMFS consider the following information in seasonally apportioning halibut PSC limits: (1) Seasonal distribution of halibut, (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to halibut distribution, (3) expected halibut bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relative to changes in halibut biomass and expected catch of target groundfish species, (4) expected bycatch rates on a seasonal basis, (5) expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons, (6) expected actual start of fishing effort, and (7) economic effects of establishing seasonal halibut allocations on segments of the target groundfish industry. Based on public comment and the information presented in the final 2016 SAFE report, the Council may recommend or NMFS may make changes to the seasonal, gear-type, or fishery category apportionments of halibut PSC limits for the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications.

    The final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (81 FR 14740, March 18, 2016) summarized the Council's and NMFS' findings with respect to halibut PSC for each of these FMP considerations. The Council's and NMFS' findings for 2017 are unchanged from 2016. Table 9 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific halibut PSC limits, allowances, and apportionments. The halibut PSC limits in these tables reflect the halibut PSC limits set forth at § 679.21(d)(2) and § 679.21(d)(3). Sections 679.21(d)(4)(iii) and (iv) specify that any underages or overages of a seasonal apportionment of a PSC limit will be deducted from or added to the next respective seasonal apportionment within the fishing year.

    Table 9—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Pacific Halibut PSC Limits, Allowances, and Apportionments [Values are in metric tons] Trawl gear Season Percent Amount Hook-and-line gear 1 Other than DSR Season Percent Amount DSR Season Amount January 20-April 1 27.5 469 January 1-June 10 86 221 January 1-December 31 9 April 1-July 1 20 341 June 10-September 1 2 5 July 1-September 1 30 512 September 1-December 31 12 31 September 1-October 1 7.5 128 October 1-December 31 15 256 Total 1,706 257 9 1 The Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limit for hook-and-line gear is allocated to the demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) fishery and fisheries other than DSR. The hook-and-line sablefish fishery is exempt from halibut PSC limits, as are pot and jig gear for all groundfish fisheries.

    Section 679.21(d)(3)(ii) authorizes further apportionment of the trawl halibut PSC limit as bycatch allowances to trawl fishery categories. The annual apportionments are based on each category's proportional share of the anticipated halibut bycatch mortality during a fishing year and optimization of the total amount of groundfish harvest under the halibut PSC limit. The fishery categories for the trawl halibut PSC limits are (1) a deep-water species fishery, composed of sablefish, rockfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, and arrowtooth flounder; and (2) a shallow-water species fishery, composed of pollock, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka mackerel, skates and “other species” (sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses) (§ 679.21(d)(3)(iii)). Table 10 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 seasonal apportionments of trawl halibut PSC limits between the trawl gear deep-water and the shallow-water species fisheries.

    Table 28d to 50 CFR part 679 specifies the amount of the trawl halibut PSC limit that is assigned to the CV andC/P sectors that are participating in the Central GOA Rockfish Program. This includes 117 mt of halibut PSC limit to the CV sector and 74 mt of halibut PSC limit to the C/P sector. These amounts are allocated from the trawl deep-water species fishery's halibut PSC third seasonal apportionment.

    Section 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B) limits the amount of the halibut PSC limit allocated to Rockfish Program participants that could be re-apportioned to the general GOA trawl fisheries to no more than 55 percent of the unused annual halibut PSC apportioned to Rockfish Program participants. The remainder of the unused Rockfish Program halibut PSC limit is unavailable for use by vessels directed fishing with trawl gear for the remainder of the fishing year (§ 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(C)).

    Table 10—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Seasonal Apportionments of the Pacific Halibut PSC Limit Apportioned Between the Trawl Gear Shallow-Water and Deep-Water Species Fisheries [Values are in metric tons] Season Shallow-water Deep-water 1 Total January 20-April 1 384 85 469 April 1-July 1 85 256 341 July 1-September 1 171 341 512 September 1-October 1 128 (3) 128 Subtotal, January 20-October 1 768 682 1,450 October 1-December 31 2 256 Total 1,706 1 Vessels participating in cooperatives in the Rockfish Program will receive 191 mt of the third season (July 1 through September 1) deep-water species fishery halibut PSC apportionment. 2 There is no apportionment between trawl shallow-water and deep-water species fisheries during the fifth season (October 1 through December 31). 3 Any remainder.

    Section 679.21(d)(2) requires that the “other hook-and-line fishery” halibut PSC apportionment to vessels using hook-and-line gear must be divided between CVs and C/Ps. NMFS must calculate the halibut PSC limit apportionments for the entire GOA to hook-and-line CVs and C/Ps in accordance with § 679.21(d)(2)(iii) in conjunction with these harvest specifications. A comprehensive description and example of the calculations necessary to apportion the “other hook-and-line fishery” halibut PSC limit between the hook-and-line CV and C/P sectors were included in the proposed rule to implement Amendment 83 to the FMP (76 FR 44700, July 26, 2011) and is not repeated here.

    For 2017 and 2018, NMFS proposes annual halibut PSC limit apportionments of 129 mt and 128 mt to the hook-and-line CV and hook-and-line C/P sectors, respectively. The 2017 and 2018 annual halibut PSC limits are divided into three seasonal apportionments, using seasonal percentages of 86 percent, 2 percent, and 12 percent. Table 11 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 annual halibut PSC limits and seasonal apportionments between the hook-and-line CV and hook-and-line C/P sectors in the GOA.

    No later than November 1 of each year, NMFS calculates the projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit by either of the hook-and-line sectors for the remainder of the year. The projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit is made available to the other hook-and-line sector for the remainder of that fishing year if NMFS determines that an additional amount of halibut PSC limit is necessary for that sector to continue its directed fishing operations (§ 679.21(d)(2)(iii)(C)).

    Table 11—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Apportionments of the “Other Hook-and-Line Fisheries” Halibut PSC Allowance Between the Hook-and-Line Gear Catcher Vessel and Catcher/Processor Sectors [Values are in metric tons] “Other than DSR”
  • allowance
  • Hook-and-line sector Sector annual amount Season Seasonal
  • percentage
  • Sector
  • seasonal
  • amount
  • 257 Catcher Vessel 129 January 1-June 10 86 111 June 10-September 1 2 3 September 1-December 31 12 15 Catcher/Processor 128 January 1-June 10 86 110 June 10-September 1 2 3 September 1-December 31 12 15
    Halibut Discard Mortality Rates

    To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut incidental catch rates, halibut discard mortality rates (DMRs), and estimates of groundfish catch to project when a fishery's halibut bycatch mortality allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. Halibut incidental catch rates are based on observers' estimates of halibut incidental catch in the groundfish fishery. DMRs are estimates of the proportion of incidentally caught halibut that do not survive after being returned to the sea. The cumulative halibut mortality that accrues to a particular halibut PSC limit is the product of a DMR multiplied by the estimated halibut PSC. DMRs are estimated using the best information available in conjunction with the annual GOA stock assessment process. The DMR methodology and findings are included as an appendix to the annual GOA groundfish SAFE report.

    Historically, DMRs consisted of long-term averages of annual DMRs within target fisheries that were defined by management area, gear, and target species. Since the late 1990s, halibut DMRs were calculated by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), which then provided the estimates to the NMFS for application in managing halibut bycatch limits. DMRs specified through the Council process and used for catch accounting by NMFS have consisted of long-term averages of annual estimates within target fisheries that are defined by region, gear, and target species. Long-term averages are taken from annual estimates for the most recent 10-year period with the number of years with data to support annual DMR estimates varying among fisheries. Fishery-specific DMRs, once calculated, have generally been put in place for 3-year increments.

    NMFS proposes to revise methods for estimating DMRs consistent with those methods developed by the halibut DMR working group and recommended by the Council at its October 2016 meeting. NMFS proposes for the 2017 and 2018 GOA groundfish harvest specifications revised DMRs consistent with modified DMR estimation methodology. The proposed change will make the DMR process transparent, transferable, and allow for review by all agencies/entities involved. The Alaska Region will program the revised DMRs into its groundfish catch accounting system to monitor the 2017 and 2018 halibut bycatch allowances (see Tables 9, 10, and 11). The DMRs proposed for 2017 and 2018 GOA groundfish harvest specifications reflect an ongoing effort by the Council to improve the estimation of DMRs in the Alaska groundfish fisheries.

    The halibut DMR working group, consisting of the IPHC, Council, and NMFS Alaska Region staff, recommended the following broad changes to the DMR estimation method: Implementation of sampling design consistent with sampling protocols used under the Observer Restructuring Program; categorization of data of halibut viability based on vessel operations (sorting and handling practices, gear type, and processing sector) rather than target fisheries; and revision of reference timeframes to obtain estimates that are more responsive to changes in how the groundfish fisheries are observed and managed. These recommendations, and others, are described below.

    • Revise the DMR estimation methodology for consistency with the sampling protocols instituted in 2013 through the restructured Observer Program. The Observer Program randomizes sampling of fishing trips within operational groupings, sampling of hauls within fishing trips, and sampling of biological data within hauls. Basing halibut DMR estimation on a sampling design consistent with Observer Program sampling protocols should reduce the potential for sampling bias, improve data on operational causes of variation in post-capture halibut viability, and promote the ability for NMFS to make timely improvements to halibut DMR estimation in the future.

    • Incorporate the use of vessel operations into DMR estimation methodology. This incorporates data about the viability (likelihood to survive) of discarded halibut into DMR calculations. Data based on different vessel operational categories, such as sorting practices, handling practices, gear type, and processing sectors (i.e. CVs, CPs, and CVs delivering to motherships), provide better information on halibut viability. NMFS expects that incorporating this information into the DMR estimation methodology will yield a more precise estimate of actual mortality.

    • Remove the use of target fishery. Fishery targets do not necessarily characterize statistical and/or vessel operational differences in the sampling or handling of halibut PSC. Using fishery target aggregations may have reduced the quality of DMR estimates due to small sample sizes or by combining vessel operations with very important differences in sampling and handling characteristics.

    • Change the reference time-frame for DMR calculations. Rather than using 10-year average rates, the revised methodology estimates DMRs based on and initial 3-year average rates. Using 2013 as the starting year is more responsive to, and better aligns DMR calculation methodology with, the 2013 restructured Observer Program's sampling protocols. Using 2013 as the base year, NMFS and the Council will evaluate the time frame each year. Evaluating the time frame each year will enable NMFS and the Council to update the methodology and the halibut DMRs based on the best available information.

    The working group's discussion paper also included a comparison of the total amount of halibut mortality that accrues using current DMRs versus the working group's recommended DMRs. Calculating the 2015 halibut mortality using specified DMRs yielded 1,620 mt of halibut mortality, whereas using the recommended DMRs yielded 1,688 mt of halibut morality (a four percent increase). Calculating the 2016 halibut mortality (through September 2016) yielded 1,243 mt of halibut mortality, versus 1,256 mt of halibut mortality when applying the recommended DMRs (a one percent increase).

    These proposed estimation methods, and recommendations for 2017 and 2018 halibut DMRs, were presented to the Plan Team in September 2016. The Plan Team concurred with the revised methodology, as well as the working group's halibut DMR recommendations for 2017 and 2018. The Council agreed with these recommendations at the Council's October 2016 meeting. Additionally, in April 2016 the SSC reviewed the methodology and made a number of suggestions for improving and refining it. The working group has incorporated those suggestions into its DMR estimation methodology. The working group's discussion of the revised halibut DMR methodology, including the comparative assessment, is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). Table 12 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 DMRs.

    Table 12—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Halibut Discard Mortality Rates for Vessels Fishing in the Gulf of Alaska [Values are percent of halibut assumed to be dead] Gear Sector Program Discard
  • mortality rate
  • (percent)
  • Hook-and-line C/P non-Rockfish Program 11 Hook-and-line CV non-Rockfish Program 12 Pot CV and C/P non-Rockfish Program 10 Pelagic trawl CV Rockfish Program 100 Non-pelagic trawl CV Rockfish Program 85 Pelagic trawl CV non-Rockfish Program 100 Non-pelagic trawl CV non-Rockfish Program 63 Non-pelagic trawl C/P and Mothership non-Rockfish Program 85 Non-pelagic trawl C/P Rockfish Program 85 Pelagic trawl C/P Rockfish Program 100 Pelagic trawl C/P non-Rockfish Program 100
    Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limit

    Amendment 93 to the FMP (77 FR 42629, July 20, 2012) established separate Chinook salmon PSC limits in the Western and Central GOA in the directed pollock trawl fishery. These limits require NMFS to close the pollock directed fishery in the Western and Central regulatory areas of the GOA if the applicable limit is reached (§ 679.21(h)(8)). The annual Chinook salmon PSC limits in the pollock directed fishery of 6,684 salmon in the Western GOA and 18,316 salmon in the Central GOA are set in § 679.21(h)(2)(i) and (ii). In addition, all salmon (regardless of species), taken in the pollock directed fisheries in the Western and Central GOA must be retained until an observer at the processing facility that takes delivery of the catch is provided an opportunity to count the number of salmon and to collect any scientific data or biological samples from the salmon (§ 679.21(h)(6)).

    Amendment 97 to the FMP (79 FR 71350, December 2, 2014) established an initial annual PSC limit of 7,500 Chinook salmon for the non-pollock groundfish fisheries. This limit is apportioned among three sectors: 3,600 Chinook salmon to trawl C/Ps; 1,200 Chinook salmon to trawl CVs participating in the Rockfish Program; and 2,700 Chinook salmon to trawl CVs not participating in the Rockfish Program that are fishing for groundfish species other than pollock (§ 679.21(h)(4)). NMFS will monitor the Chinook salmon PSC in the non-pollock GOA groundfish fisheries and close an applicable sector if it reaches its Chinook salmon PSC limit.

    The Chinook salmon PSC limit for two sectors, trawl C/Ps and trawl CVs not participating in the Rockfish Program, may be increased in subsequent years based on the performance of these two sectors and their ability to minimize their use of their respective Chinook salmon PSC limits. If either or both of these two sectors limits its use of Chinook salmon PSC to a certain threshold amount in 2016, that sector will receive an incremental increase to its 2017 Chinook salmon PSC limit (§ 679.21(h)(4)). NMFS will evaluate the annual Chinook salmon PSC by trawl C/Ps and non-Rockfish Program CVs when the 2016 fishing year is complete to determine whether to increase the Chinook salmon PSC limits for these two sectors. Based on preliminary 2016 Chinook salmon PSC data, the trawl C/P sector will receive an incremental increase of its Chinook salmon PSC limit, as will the non-Rockfish Program CV sector. This evaluation will be completed in conjunction with the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications.

    As described earlier in this preamble, Amendment 103 to the FMP became effective in 2016. The regulations associated with Amendment 103 authorize NMFS to use inseason management actions to reapportion unused Chinook salmon PSC among the pollock and non-pollock sectors. As of November 15, 2016, NMFS has not exercised this authority, as none of the trawl sectors have needed such reapportionments.

    American Fisheries Act (AFA) Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel Groundfish Sideboard Limits

    Section 679.64 establishes groundfish harvesting and processing sideboard limits on AFA C/Ps and CVs in the GOA. These sideboard limits are necessary to protect the interests of fishermen and processors who do not directly benefit from the AFA from those fishermen and processors who receive exclusive harvesting and processing privileges under the AFA. Section 679.7(k)(1)(ii) prohibits listed AFA C/Ps from harvesting any species of fish in the GOA. Additionally, § 679.7(k)(1)(iv) prohibits listed AFA C/Ps from processing any pollock harvested in a directed pollock fishery in the GOA and any groundfish harvested in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA.

    AFA CVs that are less than 125 ft (38.1 meters) length overall, have annual landings of pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands of less than 5,100 mt, and have made at least 40 landings of GOA groundfish from 1995 through 1997 are exempt from GOA sideboard limits under § 679.64(b)(2)(ii). Sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs operating in the GOA are based on their traditional harvest levels of TAC in groundfish fisheries covered by the FMP. Section 679.64(b)(3)(iv) establishes the groundfish sideboard limitations in the GOA based on the retained catch of non-exempt AFA CVs of each sideboard species from 1995 through 1997 divided by the TAC for that species over the same period.

    Table 13 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 groundfish sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs. NMFS will deduct all targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA CVs from the sideboard limits listed in Table 13.

    Table 13—Proposed 2017 and 2018 GOA Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel (CV) Groundfish Sideboard Limits [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments by
  • season/gear
  • Area/component Ratio of
  • 1995-1997
  • non-exempt AFA
  • CV catch
  • to 1995-
  • 1997 TAC
  • Proposed 2017 and
  • 2018 TACs 3
  • Proposed 2017 and
  • 2018 non-
  • exempt AFA CV sideboard limit
  • Pollock A Season—January 20-March 10 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.6047
  • 0.1167
  • 3,769
  • 42,732
  • 2,279
  • 4,987
  • Kodiak (630) 0.2028 12,272 2,489 B Season—March 10-May 31 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.6047
  • 0.1167
  • 3,769
  • 49,996
  • 2,279
  • 5,835
  • Kodiak (630) 0.2028 5,007 1,015 C Season—August 25-October 1 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.6047
  • 0.1167
  • 24,060
  • 15,176
  • 14,549
  • 1,771
  • Kodiak (630) 0.2028 19,529 3,960 D Season—October 1-November 1 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.6047
  • 0.1167
  • 24,060
  • 15,175
  • 14,549
  • 1,771
  • Kodiak (630) 0.2028 19,529 3,960 Annual WYK (640) 0.3495 9,209 3,219 SEO (650) 0.3495 9,920 3,467 Pacific cod A Season 1—January 1-June 10 W
  • C
  • 0.1331
  • 0.0692
  • 14,699
  • 19,175
  • 1,956
  • 1,327
  • B Season 2—September 1-December 31 W
  • C
  • 0.1331
  • 0.0692
  • 9,799
  • 12,783
  • 1,304
  • 885
  • Annual E inshore 0.0079 5,124 40 E offshore 0.0078 569 4 Sablefish Annual, trawl gear W 0.0000 233 0 C 0.0642 736 47 E 0.0433 173 8 Flatfish, shallow-water Annual W 0.0156 13,250 207 C 0.0587 17,680 1,038 E 0.0126 3,925 49 Flatfish, deep-water Annual W 0.0000 187 0 C 0.0647 3,516 227 E 0.0128 5,578 71 Rex sole Annual W 0.0007 1,318 1 C 0.0384 4,453 171 E 0.0029 1,736 5 Arrowtooth flounder Annual W 0.0021 14,500 30 C 0.0280 75,000 2,100 E 0.0002 13,800 3 Flathead sole Annual W 0.0036 8,650 31 C 0.0213 15,400 328 E 0.0009 3,800 3 Pacific ocean perch Annual W 0.0023 2,709 6 C 0.0748 16,860 1,261 E 0.0466 4,620 215 Northern rockfish Annual W 0.0003 430 0 C 0.0277 3,338 92 Shortraker rockfish Annual W 0.0000 38 0 C 0.0218 301 7 E 0.0110 947 10 Dusky Rockfish Annual W 0.0001 159 0 C 0.0000 3,791 0 E 0.0067 334 2 Rougheye rockfish Annual W 0.0000 105 0 C 0.0237 705 17 E 0.0124 515 6 Demersal shelf rockfish Annual SEO 0.0020 231 0 Thornyhead rockfish Annual W 0.0280 291 8 C 0.0280 988 28 E 0.0280 682 19 Other Rockfish Annual W/C 0.1699 1,534 261 E 0.0000 774 0 Atka mackerel Annual Gulfwide 0.0309 2,000 62 Big skates Annual W 0.0063 908 6 C 0.0063 1,850 12 E 0.0063 1,056 7 Longnose skates Annual W 0.0063 61 0 C 0.0063 2,513 16 E 0.0063 632 4 Other skates Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 1,919 12 Sculpins Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 5,591 35 Sharks Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 4,514 28 Squids Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 1,148 7 Octopuses Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 4,878 31 1 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. 2 The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. 3 The Western and Central GOA area apportionments of pollock are considered ACLs.
    Non-Exempt AFA Catcher Vessel Halibut PSC Limits

    The halibut PSC sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA are based on the aggregate retained groundfish catch by non-exempt AFA CVs in each PSC target category from 1995 through 1997 divided by the retained catch of all vessels in that fishery from 1995 through 1997 (§ 679.64(b)(4)). Table 14 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 non-exempt AFA CV halibut PSC limits for vessels using trawl gear in the GOA.

    Table 14—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Halibut Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) Limits for Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the GOA [PSC limits are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Season Season dates Fishery category Ratio of
  • 1995-1997
  • non-exempt AFA CV retained catch to total
  • retained catch
  • Proposed
  • 2017 and 2018 PSC limit
  • Proposed
  • 2017 and 2018 non-exempt AFA CV PSC limit
  • 1 January 20-April 1 shallow-water 0.340 384 131 deep-water 0.070 85 6 2 April 1-July 1 shallow-water 0.340 85 29 deep-water 0.070 256 18 3 July 1-September 1 shallow-water 0.340 171 58 deep-water 0.070 341 24 4 September 1-October 1 shallow-water 0.340 128 44 deep-water 0.070 0 0 5 October 1-December 31 all targets 0.205 256 52 Annual Total shallow-water 262 Total deep-water 48 Grand Total, all seasons and categories 1,706 362
    Non-AFA Crab Vessel Groundfish Sideboard Limits

    Section 680.22 establishes groundfish sideboard limits for vessels with a history of participation in the Bering Sea snow crab fishery to prevent these vessels from using the increased flexibility provided by the Crab Rationalization Program to expand their level of participation in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Sideboard harvest limits restrict these vessels' catch to their collective historical landings in each GOA groundfish fishery (except the fixed-gear sablefish fishery). Sideboard limits also apply to landings made using an LLP license derived from the history of a restricted vessel, even if that LLP license is used on another vessel.

    The basis for these sideboard harvest limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the Crab Rationalization Program, including Amendments 18 and 19 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP) (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005), Amendment 34 to the Crab FMP (76 FR 35772, June 20, 2011), Amendment 83 to the GOA FMP (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011), and Amendment 45 to the Crab FMP (80 FR 28539, May 19, 2015).

    Table 15 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 groundfish sideboard limitations for non-AFA crab vessels. All targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-AFA crab vessels or associated LLP licenses will be deducted from these sideboard limits.

    Table 15—Proposed 2017 and 2018 GOA Non-American Fisheries Act Crab Vessel Groundfish Sideboard Limits [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Season/gear Area/component/gear Ratio of
  • 1996-2000
  • non-AFA crab
  • vessel catch to
  • 1996-2000
  • total harvest
  • Proposed 2017 and 2018 TACs Proposed 2017 and 2018 non-AFA crab vessel sideboard limit
    Pollock A Season—January 20-March 10 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.0098
  • 0.0031
  • 3,769
  • 42,732
  • 37
  • 132
  • Kodiak (630) 0.0002 12,272 2 B Season—March 10-May 31 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.0098
  • 0.0031
  • 3,769
  • 49,996
  • 37
  • 155
  • Kodiak (630) 0.0002 5,007 1 C Season—August 25-October 1 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.0098
  • 0.0031
  • 24,060
  • 15,176
  • 236
  • 47
  • Kodiak (630) 0.0002 19,529 4 D Season—October 1-November 1 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.0098
  • 0.0031
  • 24,060
  • 15,175
  • 236
  • 47
  • Kodiak (630) 0.0002 19,529 4 Annual WYK (640) 0.0000 9,209 SEO (650) 0.0000 9,920 Pacific cod A Season 1—January 1-June 10 W Jig CV
  • W Hook-and-line CV
  • 0.0000
  • 0.0004
  • 14,699
  • 14,699
  • 6
  • W Pot CV 0.0997 14,699 1,466 W Pot C/P 0.0078 14,699 115 W Trawl CV 0.0007 14,699 10 C Jig CV 0.0000 19,175 C Hook-and-line CV 0.0001 19,175 2 C Pot CV 0.0474 19,175 909 C Pot C/P 0.0136 19,175 261 C Trawl CV 0.0012 19,175 23 B Season 2—September 1-December 31 W Jig CV
  • W Hook-and-line CV
  • 0.0000
  • 0.0004
  • 9,799
  • 9,799
  • 4
  • W Pot CV 0.0997 9,799 977 W Pot C/P 0.0078 9,799 76 W Trawl CV 0.0007 9,799 7 C Jig CV 0.0000 12,783 C Hook-and-line CV 0.0001 12,783 1 C Pot CV 0.0474 12,783 606 C Pot C/P 0.0136 12,783 174 C Trawl CV 0.0012 12,783 15 Annual E inshore 0.0110 5,124 56 E offshore 0.0000 569 Sablefish Annual, trawl gear W 0.0000 233 C 0.0000 736 E 0.0000 173 Flatfish, shallow-water Annual W 0.0059 13,250 78 C 0.0001 17,680 2 E 0.0000 3,925 Flatfish, deep-water Annual W 0.0035 187 1 C 0.0000 3,516 E 0.0000 5,578 Rex sole Annual W 0.0000 1,318 C 0.0000 4,453 E 0.0000 1,736 Arrowtooth flounder Annual W 0.0004 14,500 6 C 0.0001 75,000 8 E 0.0000 13,800 Flathead sole Annual W 0.0002 8,650 2 C 0.0004 15,400 6 E 0.0000 3,800 Pacific ocean perch Annual W 0.0000 2,709 C 0.0000 16,860 E 0.0000 4,620 Northern rockfish Annual W 0.0005 430 0 C 0.0000 3,338 Shortraker rockfish Annual W 0.0013 38 0 C 0.0012 301 0 E 0.0009 947 1 Dusky rockfish Annual W 0.0017 159 0 C 0.0000 3,791 E 0.0000 334 Rougheye rockfish Annual W 0.0067 105 1 C 0.0047 705 3 E 0.0008 515 0 Demersal shelf rockfish Annual SEO 0.0000 231 Thornyhead rockfish Annual W 0.0047 291 1 C 0.0066 988 7 E 0.0045 682 3 Other rockfish Annual W 0.0035 1,534 5 C 0.0033 774 E 0.0000 2,000 Atka mackerel Annual Gulfwide 0.0000 908 36 Big skate Annual W 0.0392 1,850 29 C 0.0159 1,056 E 0.0000 61 2 Longnose skate Annual W 0.0392 2,513 40 C 0.0159 632 E 0.0000 1,919 34 Other skates Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 5,591 98 Sculpins Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 4,514 79 Sharks Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 1,148 20 Squids Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 4,878 86 Octopuses Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 38 0 1 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. 2 The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.
    Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations

    The Rockfish Program establishes three classes of sideboard provisions: CV groundfish sideboard restrictions, C/P rockfish sideboard restrictions, and C/P opt-out vessel sideboard restrictions. These sideboards are intended to limit the ability of rockfish harvesters to expand into other fisheries.

    CVs participating in the Rockfish Program may not participate in directed fishing for dusky rockfish, northern rockfish, and Pacific ocean perch in the Western GOA and West Yakutat Districts from July 1 through July 31. Also, CVs may not participate in directed fishing for arrowtooth flounder, deep-water flatfish, and rex sole in the GOA from July 1 through July 31 (§ 679.82(d)).

    C/Ps participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives are restricted by rockfish and halibut PSC sideboard limits. These C/Ps are prohibited from directed fishing for northern rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and dusky rockfish in the Western GOA and West Yakutat District from July 1 through July 31. Holders of C/P-designated LLP licenses that opt out of participating in a Rockfish Program cooperative will be able to access those sideboard limits that are not assigned to Rockfish Program cooperatives. Table 16 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 Rockfish Program C/P rockfish sideboard limits in the Western GOA and West Yakutat District. Due to confidentiality requirements associated with fisheries data, the sideboard limits for the West Yakutat District are not displayed.

    Table 16—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Rockfish Program Sideboard Limits for the Western GOA and West Yakutat District by Fishery for the Catcher/Processor (C/P) Sector [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area Fishery C/P sector
  • (% of TAC)
  • Proposed 2017
  • and 2018 TACs
  • Proposed 2017
  • and 2018 C/P
  • sideboard
  • limit
  • Western GOA Dusky rockfish 72.3 159 115 Pacific ocean perch 50.6 2,709 1,371 Northern rockfish 74.3 430 319 West Yakutat District Dusky rockfish Confidential 1 251 Confidential 1 Pacific ocean perch Confidential 1 2,818 Confidential 1 1 Not released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data, as established by NMFS and the State of Alaska.

    Under the Rockfish Program, the C/P sector is subject to halibut PSC sideboard limits for the trawl deep-water and shallow-water species fisheries from July 1 through July 31. No halibut PSC sideboard limits apply to the CV sector, as vessels participating in a rockfish cooperative receive a portion of the annual halibut PSC limit. C/Ps that opt out of the Rockfish Program would be able to access that portion of the deep-water and shallow-water halibut PSC sideboard limit not assigned to C/P rockfish cooperatives. The sideboard provisions for C/Ps that elect to opt out of participating in a rockfish cooperative are described in § 679.82(c), (e), and (f). Sideboard limits are linked to the catch history of specific vessels that may choose to opt out. After March 1, NMFS will determine which C/Ps have opted-out of the Rockfish Program in 2017, and will know the ratios and amounts used to calculate opt-out sideboard ratios. NMFS will then calculate any applicable opt-out sideboard limits and post these limits on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/rockfish/. Table 17 lists the 2017 and 2018 proposed Rockfish Program halibut PSC limits for the C/P sector.

    Table 17—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Rockfish Program Halibut Mortality Limits for the Catcher/Processor Sector [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Sector Shallow-water
  • species
  • fishery
  • halibut PSC
  • sideboard ratio
  • (percent)
  • Deep-water
  • species
  • fishery
  • halibut PSC
  • sideboard ratio
  • (percent)
  • Annual halibut
  • mortality limit
  • (mt)
  • Annual shallow-
  • water species
  • fishery halibut
  • PSC sideboard
  • limit
  • (mt)
  • Annual deep-
  • water species
  • fishery
  • halibut PSC
  • sideboard
  • limit
  • (mt)
  • Catcher/processor 0.10 2.50 1,706 2 43
    Amendment 80 Program Groundfish and PSC Sideboard Limits

    Amendment 80 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (Amendment 80 Program) established a limited access privilege program for the non-AFA trawl C/P sector. The Amendment 80 Program established groundfish and halibut PSC limits for Amendment 80 Program participants to limit the ability of participants eligible for the Amendment 80 Program to expand their harvest efforts in the GOA.

    Section 679.92 establishes groundfish harvesting sideboard limits on all Amendment 80 Program vessels, other than the F/V Golden Fleece, to amounts no greater than the limits shown in Table 37 to part 679. Under § 679.92(d), the F/V Golden Fleece is prohibited from directed fishing for pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, dusky rockfish, and northern rockfish in the GOA.

    Groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels operating in the GOA are based on their average aggregate harvests from 1998 through 2004. Table 18 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. NMFS will deduct all targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by Amendment 80 Program vessels from the sideboard limits in Table 18.

    Table 18—Proposed 2017 and 2018 GOA Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Season Area Ratio of
  • Amendment 80
  • sector vessels
  • 1998-2004
  • catch to TAC
  • Proposed 2017 and 2018 TAC (mt) Proposed
  • 2017 and 2018
  • Amendment 80
  • vessel sideboard
  • limits
  • (mt)
  • Pollock A Season—January 20-February 25 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.003
  • 0.002
  • 3,769
  • 42,732
  • 11
  • 85
  • Kodiak (630) 0.002 12,272 25 B Season—March 10-May 31 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.003
  • 0.002
  • 3,769
  • 49,996
  • 11
  • 100
  • Kodiak (630) 0.002 5,007 10 C Season—August 25-September 15 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.003
  • 0.002
  • 24,060
  • 15,176
  • 72
  • 30
  • Kodiak (630) 0.002 19,529 39 D Season—October 1-November 1 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.003
  • 0.002
  • 24,060
  • 15,175
  • 72
  • 30
  • Kodiak (630) 0.002 19,529 39 Annual WYK (640) 0.002 9,209 18 Pacific cod A Season 1—January 1-June 10 W
  • C
  • 0.020
  • 0.044
  • 14,699
  • 19,175
  • 294
  • 844
  • B Season 2—September 1-December 31 W
  • C
  • 0.020
  • 0.044
  • 9,799
  • 12,783
  • 196
  • 562
  • Annual WYK 0.034 5,693 194 Pacific ocean perch Annual W 0.994 2,709 2,693 WYK 0.961 2,818 2,708 Northern rockfish Annual W 1.000 430 430 Dusky rockfish Annual W 0.764 159 121 WYK 0.896 251 225 1 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. 2 The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

    The halibut PSC sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels in the GOA are based on the historic use of halibut PSC by Amendment 80 Program vessels in each PSC target category from 1998 through 2004. These values are slightly lower than the average historic use to accommodate two factors: Allocation of halibut PSC cooperative quota under the Rockfish Program and the exemption of the F/V Golden Fleece from this restriction (§ 679.92(b)(2)). Table 19 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 halibut PSC sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. These tables incorporate the maximum percentages of the halibut PSC sideboard limits that may be used by Amendment 80 Program vessels, as contained in Table 38 to 50 CFR part 679.

    Table 19—Proposed 2017 and 2018 Halibut PSC Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels in the GOA [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Season Season dates Fishery category Historic
  • Amendment 80
  • use of the
  • annual halibut
  • PSC limit
  • (ratio)
  • Proposed 2017 and 2018 annual PSC limit
  • (mt)
  • Proposed
  • 2017 and 2018 Amendment 80 vessel PSC sideboard limit (mt)
  • 1 January 20-April 1 shallow-water 0.0048 1,706 8 deep-water 0.0115 1,706 20 2 April 1-July 1 shallow-water 0.0189 1,706 32 deep-water 0.1072 1,706 183 3 July 1-September 1 shallow-water 0.0146 1,706 25 deep-water 0.0521 1,706 89 4 September 1-October 1 shallow-water 0.0074 1,706 13 deep-water 0.0014 1,706 2 5 October 1-December 31 shallow-water 0.0227 1,706 39 deep-water 0.0371 1,706 63 Annual Total shallow-water 117 Total deep-water 357 Grand Total, all seasons and categories 474
    Classification

    NMFS has determined that the proposed harvest specifications are consistent with the FMP and preliminarily determined that the proposed harvest specifications are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws, subject to further review after public comment.

    This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563.

    NMFS prepared an EIS for this action and made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 13, 2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final EIS. A Supplemental Information Report (SIR) that assesses the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS is being prepared for the final action. Copies of the Final EIS, ROD, and SIR for this action are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The Final EIS analyzes the environmental consequences of the proposed groundfish harvest specifications and alternative harvest strategies on resources in the action area. The Final EIS found no significant environmental consequences from the proposed action or its alternatives.

    NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), analyzing the methodology for establishing the relevant TACs. The IRFA evaluated the impacts on small entities of alternative harvest strategies for the groundfish fisheries in the EEZ off Alaska. As set forth in the methodology, TACs are set to a level that fall within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve the OY specified in the FMP. While the specific numbers that the methodology produces may vary from year to year, the methodology itself remains constant.

    A description of the proposed action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this proposed action are contained in the preamble above. A copy of the analysis is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows.

    The action under consideration is a harvest strategy to govern the catch of groundfish in the GOA. The preferred alternative is the existing harvest strategy in which TACs fall within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC. This action is taken in accordance with the FMP prepared by the Council pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    The entities directly regulated by this action are those that harvest groundfish in the EEZ of the GOA and in parallel fisheries within State of Alaska waters. These include entities operating CVs and C/Ps within the action area and entities receiving direct allocations of groundfish.

    For RFA purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide.

    The IRFA shows that, in 2015, there were 969 individual CVs with gross revenues less than or equal to $11 million. This estimate accounts for corporate affiliations among vessels, and for cooperative affiliations among fishing entities, since some of the fishing vessels operating in the GOA are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, GOA rockfish cooperatives, or BSAI Crab Rationalization Program cooperatives. Therefore, under the RFA, it is the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the cooperative that must meet the “under $11 million” threshold. Vessels that participate in these cooperatives are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. After accounting for membership in these cooperatives, there are an estimated 969 small CV entities remaining in the GOA groundfish sector. This latter group of vessels had average gross revenues that varied by gear type. Average gross revenues for hook-and-line CVs, pot gear vessels, and trawl gear vessels are estimated to be $350,000, $760,000, and $1.85 million, respectively. Revenue data for the three C/Ps considered to be small entities are confidential. There are three C/Ps that are considered to be small entities; however, their revenue data is confidential.

    The preferred alternative (Alternative 2) was compared to four other alternatives. Alternative 1 would have set TACs to generate fishing rates equal to the maximum permissible ABC (if the full TAC were harvested), unless the sum of TACs exceeded the GOA OY, in which case TACs would be limited to the OY. Alternative 3 would have set TACs to produce fishing rates equal to the most recent 5-year average fishing rate. Alternative 4 would have set TACs to equal the lower limit of the GOA OY range. Alternative 5, the “no action alternative,” would have set TACs equal to zero.

    The TACs associated with the preferred harvest strategy are those adopted by the Council in October 2016, as per Alternative 2. OFLs and ABCs for the species were based on recommendations prepared by the Council's GOA Plan Team in September 2016, and reviewed by the Council's SSC in October 2016. The Council based its TAC recommendations on those of its AP, which were consistent with the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations.

    Alternative 1 selects harvest rates that would allow fishermen to harvest stocks at the level of ABCs, unless total harvests were constrained by the upper bound of the GOA OY of 800,000 mt. As shown in Table 1 of the preamble, the sum of ABCs in 2017 and 2018 would be 708,629 mt, which falls below the upper bound of the OY range. The sum of TACs is 573,872 mt, which is less than the sum of ABCs. In this instance, Alternative 1 is consistent with the preferred alternative (Alternative 2), meets the objectives of that action, and has small entity impacts that are equivalent to the preferred alternative. In some instances, the selection of Alternative 1 would not reflect the practical implications that increased TACs (where the sum of TACs equals the sum of ABCs) for some species probably would not be fully harvested. This could be due to a lack of commercial or market interest in such species. Additionally, an underharvest of some TACs could result due to constraints such as the fixed, and therefore constraining, PSC limits associated with the harvest of the GOA groundfish species.

    Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 years of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the most recent 5 years of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). This alternative is inconsistent with the objectives of this action, the Council's preferred harvest strategy, because it does not take account of the most recent biological information for this fishery. NMFS annually conducts at-sea stock surveys for different species, as well as statistical modeling, to estimate stock sizes and permissible harvest levels. Actual harvest rates or harvest amounts are a component of these estimates, but in and of themselves may not accurately portray stock sizes and conditions. Harvest rates are listed for each species category for each year in the SAFE report (see ADDRESSES).

    Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all species and reduce the TACs from the upper end of the OY range in the GOA, to its lower end of 116,000 mt. Overall, this would reduce 2017 TACs by about 80 percent and would lead to significant reductions in harvests of species harvested by small entities. While reductions of this size would be associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these increases is very uncertain. There are close substitutes for GOA groundfish species available in significant quantities from the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. While production declines in the GOA would undoubtedly be associated with significant price increases in the GOA, these increases would still be constrained by production of substitutes, and are very unlikely to offset revenue declines from smaller production. Thus, this alternative would have a detrimental impact on small entities.

    Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, would have a significant adverse economic impact on small entities and would be contrary to obligations to achieve OY on a continuing basis, as mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Under Alternative 5, all 969 individual CVs impacted by this rule would have gross revenues of $0. Additionally, the three small C/Ps impacted by this rule also would have gross revenues of $0.

    The proposed harvest specifications (Alternative 2) extend the current 2017 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs to 2017 and 2018. As noted in the IRFA, the Council may modify these OFLs, ABCs, and TACs in December 2016, when it reviews the November 2016 SAFE report from its Groundfish Plan Team, and the December 2016 Council meeting reports of its SSC and AP. Because the 2017 TACs in the proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications are unchanged from the 2017 TACs, NMFS does not expect adverse impacts on small entities. Also, NMFS does not expect any changes made by the Council in December 2016 to have significant adverse impacts on small entities.

    This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting requirements, or duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any Federal rules.

    Adverse impacts on marine mammals or endangered species resulting from fishing activities conducted under this rule are discussed in the Final EIS and its accompanying annual SIRs (see ADDRESSES).

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540(f); 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105-277; Pub. L. 106-31; Pub. L. 106-554; Pub. L. 108-199; Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 109-241; Pub. L. 109-479.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29150 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 234 Tuesday, December 6, 2016 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service [Doc. No. AMS-NOP-16-0085; NOP-16-06] National Organic Program: Notice of Draft Guidance for Calculating the Percentage of Organic Ingredients in Multi-Ingredient Products AGENCY:

    Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability of draft guidance with request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing the availability of a draft guidance document intended for use by accredited certifying agents and certified handling operations. The draft guidance document is entitled as follows: Calculating Percentage Organic in Multi-Ingredient Products (NOP 5037). This draft guidance document is intended to inform the public of AMS' current thinking on this topic. AMS invites organic producers, handlers, certifying agents, material evaluation programs, consumers and other interested parties to submit comments.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before February 6, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit written requests for hard copies of this draft guidance to Paul I. Lewis, Ph.D., Standards Division Director, National Organic Program (NOP), USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2646—So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250-0268. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for electronic access to the draft guidance document.

    You may submit comments on this draft guidance document by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: Paul I. Lewis, Ph.D., Standards Division Director, National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2646—So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250-0268.

    Instructions: Written comments responding to this request should be identified with the document number AMS-NOP-XX-XXXX; NOP-16-06. You should clearly indicate your position and the reasons supporting your position. If you are suggesting changes to the draft guidance document, you should include recommended language changes, as appropriate, along with any relevant supporting documentation. AMS is specifically requesting that stakeholders comment and quantify any impacts that the guidance will have on certified operations. AMS is also requesting comments from accredited certifying agents on the policy related to the calculation of multi-ingredient ingredients. How is the industry currently calculating organic products that use organic ingredients that contain several ingredients? What are the sound and sensible approaches currently being used?

    USDA intends to make available all comments, including names and addresses when provided, regardless of submission procedure used, on www.regulations.gov and at USDA, AMS, NOP, Room 2646—South building, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday (except official Federal holidays). Persons wanting to visit the USDA South building to view comments from the public to this notice are requested to make an appointment by calling (202) 720-3252.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Paul I. Lewis, Ph.D., Standards Division Director, National Organic Program (NOP), USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2646—So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250-0268; Telephone: (202) 720-3252; Fax: (202) 260-9151; Email: [email protected]; or visit the NOP Web site at: www.ams.usda.gov/nop.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    The draft guidance document announced through this notice was developed to respond to an April 2013 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) request that the National Organic Program (NOP) correct and/or clarify the requirements codified at 7 CFR 205.302(a), calculating the percentage of organically produced ingredients. Section 205.302(a)(1) states the method of calculation as “[d]ividing the total net weight (excluding water and salt) of combined organic ingredients at formulation by the total weight (excluding water and salt) of the finished product.” Current interpretation of 205.302(a)(1) is to “[d]ivid[e] the total net weight (excluding water and salt) of combined organic ingredients at formulation by the total weight (excluding water and salt) of all ingredients.” [Emphasis added.]

    The NOSB recommendation asked the NOP to: (1) Correct the regulatory language at § 205.302(a) to clarify that organic percentages should be calculated by dividing the total net weight (excluding water and salt) of combined organic ingredients at formulation by the total net weight (excluding water and salt) of all ingredients. The NOSB asked that the NOP clarify that the percentage of organic ingredients in a product should be calculated based on the net weight of “all ingredients” in that product, and not the net weight of the “finished product” because most products lose weight during processing; (2) Clarify how to calculate the organic percentages of a multi-ingredient product that contains ingredients that are themselves composed of more than one ingredient; (3) Clarify when to exclude salt and water from ingredients; (4) Provide guidance on how to calculate raw agricultural product and processed single ingredient ingredients; and to (5) Develop and publish example self-calculating forms on items related to the organic percentage of each ingredient and the exclusion of salt and water. This guidance addresses the NOSB recommendation.

    The draft guidance is available from AMS on its Web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/organic/draft-guidance. If finalized, any final guidance would be available in “The Program Handbook: Guidance and Instructions for Accredited Certifying Agents (ACAs) and Certified Operations”. This Handbook provides those who own, manage, or certify organic operations with guidance and instructions that can assist them in complying with the USDA organic regulations. The current edition of the Program Handbook is available online at http://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/organic/handbook.

    II. Significance of Guidance

    This draft guidance document is being issued in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Bulletin on Agency Good Guidance Practices (GGPs) (January 25, 2007, 72 FR 3432-3440).

    The purpose of GGPs is to ensure that program guidance documents are developed with adequate public participation, are readily available to the public, and are not applied as binding requirements. The draft guidance, when finalized, will represent AMS' current thinking on these topics. It does not create or confer any rights for, or on, any person and does not operate to bind AMS or the public. Guidance documents are intended to provide a uniform method for operations to comply that can reduce the burden of developing their own methods and simplify audits and inspections. Alternative approaches that can demonstrate compliance with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), as amended (7 U.S.C. 6501-6522), and its implementing regulations are also acceptable. AMS strongly encourages industry to discuss alternative approaches with the NOP before implementing them to avoid unnecessary or wasteful expenditures of resources and to ensure the proposed alternative approach complies with the Act and its implementing regulations.

    III. Electronic Access

    Persons with access to Internet may obtain the draft guidance at either AMS' Web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop or http://www.regulations.gov. Requests for hard copies of the draft guidance documents can be obtained by submitting a written request to the person listed in the ADDRESSES section of this Notice.

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 6501-6522.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Elanor Starmer, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29173 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Office of the Secretary Notice of Request for Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection AGENCY:

    Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination's (OHSEC) intention to request an extension for and revision to a currently approved information collection for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Request for Credential, the USDA Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) program. HSPD-12 establishes a mandatory, Government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification (credentials) issued by the Federal Government to its Federal employees, non-Federal employees and contractors. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) mandated that these credentials be issued to all Federal Government employees, contractors, and other applicable individuals who require long-term access to federally controlled facilities and/or information systems. The HSPD-12 compliant program is jointly owned and administered by the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and OHSEC.

    DATES:

    Comments on this notice must be received by December 15, 2016, to be assured of consideration.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Richard Holman, Chief, Physical Security Division, Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 1457, Washington DC 20250.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: USDA PIV Request for Credential.

    OMB Number: 0505-0022.

    Expiration Date of Approval: February 28, 2017.

    Type of Request: Extension and revision of a currently approved information collection.

    Abstract: The HSPD-12 information collection is required for establishing the applicant's identity for PIV credential issuance. The information requested must be provided by Federal employees, contractors and other applicable individuals when applying for a USDA credential (identification card). This information collection is necessary to comply with the requirements outlined in Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 12, and Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201-2. USDA must implement an identity proofing, registration, and issuance process consistent with the requirements outlined in FIPS 201-2. This information collection form was required as part of USDA's identity proofing and registration process. After October 27, 2006, form AD-1197 has been eliminated and the identity process has been streamlined with the addition of a web-based HSPD-12 system. As USDA continues the HSPD-12 program, one estimate of burden has been calculated and one process description has been included.

    Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1.5 hours. The burden is estimated based on the three prerequisites for PIV Credential issuance as well as the receipt of the PIV Credential itself.

    Respondents: New long term contractors, affiliates, and employees must undergo the information collection process. Existing contractors/employees/affiliates must undergo the process to receive a PIV Credential.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 12,000.

    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: Each respondent should complete one response.

    Estimated Total One-Time Burden on Respondents: 18,000 hours.

    Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to Richard Holman. All comments received will be available for public inspection during regular business hours at the same address.

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Dr. Gregory L. Parham, Assistant Secretary for Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29185 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODEP
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS-2016-0087] Notice of Request for Reinstatement of an Information Collection; Standards for Privately Owned Quarantine Facilities for Ruminants AGENCY:

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Reinstatement of an information collection; comment request.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request a reinstatement of an information collection associated with regulations for privately owned quarantine facilities for ruminants.

    DATES:

    We will consider all comments that we receive on or before February 6, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0087.

    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2016-0087, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0087 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information on the regulations for privately owned quarantine facilities for ruminants, contact Dr. Oriana Beemer, Staff Veterinarian, Live Animal Imports, National Import Export Services, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 39, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-3300. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2483.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Standards for Privately Owned Quarantine Facilities for Ruminants.

    OMB Control Number: 0579-0232.

    Type of Request: Reinstatement of an information collection.

    Abstract: The Animal Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.), authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to, among other things, prohibit or restrict the importation and interstate movement of animals and animal products into the United States to prevent the introduction of animal diseases and pests.

    The regulations in 9 CFR part 93 govern the importation into the United States of specified animals and animal products in order to help prevent the introduction of various animal diseases into the United States. The regulations in part 93 require, among other things, that certain animals, as a condition of entry, be quarantined upon arrival in the United States. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service operates animal quarantine facilities and also authorizes the use of quarantine facilities that are privately owned and operated for certain animal importations.

    The regulations in subpart D of part 93 (9 CFR 93.400 through 93.436) pertain to the importation of ruminants. Ruminants include all animals that chew the cud, such as cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, deer, antelopes, camels, llamas, and giraffes. Ruminants imported into the United States must be quarantined upon arrival for at least 30 days, with certain exceptions. Ruminants from Canada and Mexico are not subject to this quarantine.

    The regulations for privately owned quarantine facilities for ruminants require the use of certain information collection activities, including an application for facility approval, a compliance agreement explaining the conditions under which the facility must be operated, creation and maintenance of a daily log of persons entering and leaving the facility while quarantine is in process, request for variance, a manual of standard operating procedures, and maintenance of certain records covering quarantine operations.

    We are asking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve our use of these information collection activities for 3 years.

    The purpose of this notice is to solicit comments from the public (as well as affected agencies) concerning our information collection. These comments will help us:

    (1) Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through use, as appropriate, of automated, electronic, mechanical, and other collection technologies; e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Estimate of burden: The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1.07 hours per response.

    Respondents: Owners/operators of privately owned quarantine facilities for ruminants.

    Estimated annual number of respondents: 5.

    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 12.

    Estimated annual number of responses: 60.

    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 64 hours. (Due to averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per response.)

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 30th day of November 2016. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29168 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS-2016-0085] Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Export Health Certificate for Animal Products AGENCY:

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Extension of approval of an information collection; comment request.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request an extension of approval of an information collection associated with the export of animal products from the United States.

    DATES:

    We will consider all comments that we receive on or before February 6, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0085.

    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2016-0085, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0085 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information on the export of animal products from the United States, contact Dr. Dawn Hunter, Director, Export Products, National Import Export Services, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 40, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-3333. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2483.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Export Health Certificate for Animal Products.

    OMB Control Number: 0579-0256.

    Type of Request: Extension of approval of an information collection.

    Abstract: The export of agricultural commodities, including animals and animal products, is a major business in the United States and contributes to a favorable balance of trade. To facilitate the export of U.S. animals and animal products, U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) maintains information regarding the import health requirements of other countries for animals and animal products exported from the United States. The regulations for export certification of animals and animal products are contained in 9 CFR parts 91 and 156.

    Many countries that import animal products from the United States require a certification from APHIS that the United States is free of certain diseases. These countries may also require that our certification statement contain additional declarations regarding the U.S. animal products being exported. This certification must carry the USDA seal and be endorsed by an APHIS representative (e.g., a Veterinary Medical Officer). The certification process involves the use of information collection activities, including an animal products export certificate and request for a hearing. An exporter can request a hearing to appeal a decision if a request for a certificate is not granted due to an exporter not meeting certain requirements in part 156 or if a certificate is denied or withdrawn by Veterinary Services if it is determined that an issued certificate has been altered or parts imitated.

    We are asking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve our use of these information collection activities for an additional 3 years.

    The purpose of this notice is to solicit comments from the public (as well as affected agencies) concerning our information collection. These comments will help us:

    (1) Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through use, as appropriate, of automated, electronic, mechanical, and other collection technologies; e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Estimate of Burden: The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 0.32 hours per response.

    Respondents: Exporters of U.S. animal products.

    Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 43,467.

    Estimated Annual Number of Responses per Respondent: 4.25.

    Estimated Annual Number of Responses: 184,737.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 59,117 hours. (Due to averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per response.)

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 30th day of November 2016. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29172 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration Solicitation of Nominations for Members of the USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice to solicit nominees.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is seeking nominations for individuals to serve on the USDA Grain Inspection Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee). The Advisory Committee meets twice annually to advise GIPSA on the programs and services it delivers under the U.S. Grain Standards Act (USGSA). Recommendations by the Advisory Committee help GIPSA better meet the needs of its customers who operate in a dynamic and changing marketplace.

    DATES:

    GIPSA will consider nominations received by January 20, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit nominations for the Advisory Committee by completing form AD-755 and mail to:

    • Terri L. Henry, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Rm. 2542-S, Mail Stop 3611, Washington, DC 20250-3611, or

    • FAX: 202-690-2173.

    Form AD-755 may be obtained via USDA's Web site: http://www.gipsa.usda.gov/fgis/forms-fgis/ad755.pdf.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Terri L. Henry, telephone (202) 205-8281 or email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As required by section 21 of the USGSA (7 U.S.C. 87j), as amended, the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) established the Advisory Committee on September 29, 1981, to provide advice to the GIPSA Administrator on implementation of the USGSA. As specified in the USGSA, each member's term is 3 years and no member may serve successive terms.

    The Advisory Committee consists of 15 members, appointed by the Secretary, who represent the interests of grain producers, processors, handlers, merchandisers, consumers, exporters, and scientists with expertise in research related to the policies in section 2 of the USGSA (7 U.S.C. 74). While members of the Advisory Committee serve without compensation, USDA reimburses them for travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, for travel away from their homes or regular places of business in performance of Advisory Committee service (see 5 U.S.C. 5703).

    A list of current Advisory Committee members and other relevant information are available on the GIPSA at http://www.gipsa.usda.gov/fgis/adcommit.html.

    GIPSA is seeking nominations for individuals to serve on the Advisory Committee to replace seven members whose terms will expire April 1, 2017.

    Nominations are open to all individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, mental or physical disability, marital status, or sexual orientation. To ensure that recommendations of the Advisory Committee take into account the needs of the diverse groups served by the USDA, membership shall include, to the extent practicable, individuals with demonstrated ability to represent minorities, women, and persons with disabilities.

    The final selection of Advisory Committee members and alternates is made by the Secretary.

    Larry Mitchell, Administrator, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29229 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-KD-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-863] Honey From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Intent To Rescind New Shipper Review AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department is conducting a new shipper review (“NSR”) covering the period of review (“POR”) of December 1, 2014, through November 30, 2015. Because the sales made by Shanghai Sunbeauty Trading Co., Ltd. (“Sunbeauty”) are not bona fide, we have preliminarily determined to rescind this NSR.

    DATES:

    Effective December 6, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kabir Archuletta or Carrie Bethea, AD/CVD Operations, Office V, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-2593 or (202) 482-1491, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    In response to a December 17, 2015 request from Sunbeauty,1 on February 3, 2016, the Department published the notice of initiation of a new shipper review of honey for the period December 1, 2014 to November 30, 2015.2 On June 14, 2016, the Department extended the deadline for issuing the preliminary results by 120 days to November 30, 2016.3

    1See Request for NSR.

    2See Initiation Notice.

    3See Memorandum to Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, through James C. Doyle, Director, Office V, Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations “Honey from the People's Republic of China: Extension of Deadline for Preliminary Results of New Shipper Review” (June 14, 2016).

    The Department sent the NSR antidumping duty questionnaire to Sunbeauty on February 3, 2016,4 to which it responded in a timely manner.5 Between March 2016 and August 2016, the Department issued supplemental questionnaires to Sunbeauty, to which it responded in a timely manner.6 Petitioner submitted comments on Sunbeauty's questionnaire response between March and September 2016.7 Sunbeauty submitted rebuttal comments to Petitioner's comments between March and September 2016.8

    4See Letter to Shanghai Sunbeauty Co., Ltd. from Catherine Bertrand, Program Manager, Office V, regarding, “New Shipper Questionnaire,” dated February 3, 2016.

    5See Letter to the Secretary from Shanghai Sunbeauty Trading Co., Ltd., regarding, “Honey from the People's Republic of China: Shanghai Sunbeauty Section A Response,” dated March 2, 2016; Letter to the Secretary from Shanghai Sunbeauty Trading Co., Ltd., regarding, “Honey from the People's Republic of China: Response to Importer-Specific Questions,” dated March 2, 2016.

    6See, e.g., Letter to Shanghai Sunbeauty Co., Ltd., regarding, “Antidumping Duty New Shipper Review of Honey from the People's Republic of China—Supplemental Section AC Questionnaire,” dated July 7, 2016.

    7 Petitioner is the American Honey Producers Association and Sioux Honey Association. See, e.g., Letter to the Secretary from Petitioners, regarding, “Honey from the People's Republic of China—Petitioners' Submission of New Factual Information to Rebut, Clarify, or Correct, Information Contained in Sunbeauty's Importer-Specific Questionnaire,” dated August 8, 2016.

    8See, e.g., Letter to the Secretary from Shanghai Sunbeauty Trading Co., Ltd., regarding, “Honey from the People's Republic of China: Rebuttal Comments on CBP Entry Documentation,” dated March 28, 2016.

    Scope of the Order

    The products covered by this order are natural honey, artificial honey containing more than 50 percent natural honey by weight, preparations of natural honey containing more than 50 percent natural honey by weight and flavored honey. The subject merchandise includes all grades and colors of honey whether in liquid, creamed, comb, cut comb, or chunk form, and whether packaged for retail or in bulk form.

    The merchandise subject to this order is currently classifiable under subheadings 0409.00.00, 1702.90.90 and 2106.90.99 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the Department's written description of the merchandise under order is dispositive.

    Methodology

    The Department is conducting this review in accordance with section 751(a)(2)(B) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”), and 19 CFR 351.214. For a full description of the methodology underlying our conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (“ACCESS”). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov and in the Department's Central Records Unit, room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the Internet at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Preliminary Rescission of Sunbeauty New Shipper Review

    For the reasons detailed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum, the Department preliminarily finds that, Sunbeauty's sales under review are not bona fide transactions. As such, the Department preliminarily finds that we cannot rely on these sales to calculate a dumping margin and there are no sales on which we can base this review. Consequently, the Department is preliminarily rescinding the new shipper review of Sunbeauty.

    Disclosure and Public Comment

    The Department will disclose the analysis performed for these preliminary results to the parties within five days of the date of publication of this notice in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b). Interested parties may submit written comments by no later than 30 days after the date of publication of these preliminary results of review.9 Rebuttals, limited to issues raised in the written comments, may be filed by no later than five days after the written comments are filed.10

    9See 19 CFR 351.309(c).

    10See 19 CFR 351.309(d).

    Any interested party may request a hearing within 30 days of publication of this notice.11 Hearing requests should contain the following information: (1) The party's name, address, and telephone number; (2) the number of participants; and (3) a list of the issues to be discussed. Oral presentations will be limited to issues raised in the briefs. If a request for a hearing is made, parties will be notified of the time and date for the hearing to be held at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.12

    11See 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    12See 19 CFR 351.310(d).

    The Department intends to issue the final results of this new shipper review, which will include the results of its analysis of issues raised in any such comments, within 90 days of publication of these preliminary results, pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(B)(iv) of the Act.

    Assessment Rates

    Upon completion of the final results, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.212(b), the Department will determine, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. If we proceed to a final rescission of the new shipper review, Sunbeauty's entries will be assessed at the rate entered.13 If we do not proceed to a final rescission of the new shipper review, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1), we will calculate importer-specific assessment rates. We will instruct CBP to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review if any importer-specific assessment rate calculated in the final results of this review is above de minimis.14

    13See 19 CFR 351.212(c).

    14See 19 CFR 351.106(c)(2).

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    Effective upon publication of the final rescission or the final results of this new shipper review, we will instruct CBP to discontinue the option of posting a bond or security in lieu of a cash deposit for entries of subject merchandise by Sunbeauty. If the Department proceeds to a final rescission of the new shipper review, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the PRC-wide rate. If we issue final results of the new shipper review for Sunbeauty, we will instruct CBP to collect cash deposits, effective upon the publication of the final results, at the rates established therein.

    Notification to Importers

    This notice also serves as a preliminary reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Department's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties,

    The Department is issuing and publishing these results in accordance with sections 751(a)(2)(B) and 777(i)(l) of the Act, and 19 CFR 351.214 and 19 CFR 351.221(b)(4).

    Dated: November 29, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29230 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 a.m.] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-557-816] Certain Steel Nails From Malaysia: Preliminary Results of the Changed Circumstances Review AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    On November 17, 2015, the Department of Commerce (the “Department”) initiated a changed circumstance review (“CCR”) of the antidumping duty (“AD”) order on certain steel nails (“nails”) from Malaysia. Pursuant to section 751(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”), and 19 CFR 351.216, the Department preliminarily determines that Inmax Sdn. Bhd. (“Inmax Sdn”) and Inmax Industries Sdn. Bhd. (“Inmax Industries”) (collectively, “Inmax”) should be collapsed and assigned the same AD cash deposit rate for purposes of determining AD liability in this proceeding. Interested parties are invited to comment on these preliminary results.

    DATES:

    Effective December 6, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Moses Song, AD/CVD Operations, Office VI, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-5041.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On July 13, 2015, the Department published the AD order on nails from Malaysia in the Federal Register.1 On September 2, 2015, Mid Continent Steel & Wire, Inc. (“Petitioner”) requested that the Department conduct a CCR, pursuant to section 751(b) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.216, to determine that Inmax Sdn and Inmax Industries should be collapsed and assigned the same AD cash deposit rate assigned to Inmax Sdn.2 On November 17, 2015, the Department initiated this CCR, pursuant to section 751(b)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.216(c) and (d), upon finding that there is sufficient information and “good cause” regarding new trading patterns and possible evasion of the Order. 3

    1See Certain Steel Nails From the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Antidumping Duty Orders, 80 FR 39994 (July 13, 2015) (“Order”).

    2See Letter from Petitioner to the Department, regarding “Certain Steel Nails from Malaysia: Request for Changed Circumstances Review,” dated September 2, 2015 (“CCR Request”).

    3See Certain Steel Nails From Malaysia: Initiation of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review, 80 FR 71772 (November 17, 2015) (“Initiation Notice”).

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise covered by the Order is certain steel nails having a nominal shaft length not exceeding 12 inches.4 Certain steel nails include, but are not limited to, nails made from round wire and nails that are cut from flat-rolled steel. Merchandise covered by this order is currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff System of the United States (“HTSUS”) under subheadings 7317.00.55.02, 7317.00.55.03, 7317.00.55.05, 7317.00.55.07, 7317.00.55.08, 7317.00.55.11, 7317.00.55.18, 7317.00.55.19, 7317.00.55.20, 7317.00.55.30, 7317.00.55.40, 7317.00.55.50, 7317.00.55.60, 7317.00.55.70, 7317.00.55.80, 7317.00.55.90, 7317.00.65.30, 7317.00.65.60 and 7317.00.75.00. These HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes; the written description of the scope of this order is dispositive.

    4 The shaft length of certain steel nails with flat heads or parallel shoulders under the head shall be measured from under the head or shoulder to the tip of the point. The shaft length of all other certain steel nails shall be measured overall.

    A complete description of the scope of the Order is contained in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.5 The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (“ACCESS”). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov, and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/index.html. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    5See Memorandum to Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, from Moses Song, International Trade Compliance Analyst, Office VI, through Scot Fullerton, Director, Office VI, regarding “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Results of the Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review of Certain Steel Nails from Malaysia,” dated concurrently with and hereby adopted in this notice.

    Methodology

    We are conducting this CCR in accordance with section 751(b)(1) of the Act. For a full description of the methodology underlying our conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    Preliminary Results of the Changed Circumstances Review

    We preliminarily determine that Inmax Sdn and Inmax Industries are affiliated and should be collapsed as a single entity. Specifically, we find that Inmax Sdn and Inmax Industries are directly controlled by Inmax Holding Co., Ltd. (Inmax Holding) as Inmax Sdn and Inmax Industries are both wholly-owned by Inmax Holding, thereby meeting the affiliation criteria in accordance with section 777(33)(F) of the Act. In addition, we find that Inmax Sdn and Inmax Industries should be collapsed because both producers have production facilities for similar or identical products that would not require substantial retooling in order to restructure manufacturing priorities.

    Additionally, there is a significant potential for the manipulation of price or production. Regarding a significant potential for the manipulation of price or production, the following criteria are all satisfied: (1) A high level of common ownership; (2) managerial overlap; and (3) intertwined operations. In particular, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) import data for entries of merchandise under review from the publication date of the preliminary determination of the investigation (i.e., December 29, 2014) to March 31, 2016 (i.e., subsequent to the initiation of this CCR), clearly indicate new trading patterns since the Order was issued in July 2015, which has the potential to undermine the efficacy and integrity of the Order. Furthermore, we note that the collapsing issue was not thoroughly addressed in the final determination of the investigation and that, based on record evidence, there is a significant potential for future manipulation of price or production of subject merchandise between Inmax Sdn and Inmax Industries. A list of topics discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum appears in the Appendix to this notice.

    If the Department upholds these preliminary results in the final results, entries of subject merchandise produced by Inmax Sdn and Inmax Industries will be subject to the AD cash deposit rate currently assigned to Inmax Sdn (i.e., 39.35 percent).6

    6See Certain Steel Nails From Malaysia; Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, 80 FR 28969 (May 20, 2015).

    Public Comment

    Interested parties may submit case briefs no later than 30 days after the date of publication of these preliminary results of review in the Federal Register.7 Rebuttal briefs, limited to issues raised in the case briefs, may be filed by no later than five days after the deadline for filing case briefs.8 Parties that submit case or rebuttal briefs are encouraged to submit with each argument: (1) A statement of the issue; (2) a brief summary of the argument; and (3) a table of authorities.9 All briefs are to be filed electronically using ACCESS.10 An electronically filed document must be received successfully in its entirety by ACCESS by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the day on which it is due.11

    7See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii). The Department has exercised its discretion under 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii) to alter the time limit for submission of case briefs.

    8See 19 CFR 351.309(d)(1).

    9See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2) and (d)(2).

    10See 19 CFR 351.303(b) and (f).

    11See 19 CFR 351.303(b).

    Any interested party may submit a request for a hearing to the Assistant Secretary of Enforcement and Compliance using ACCESS within 30 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.12 Hearing requests should contain the following information: (1) The party's name, address, and telephone number; (2) the number of participants; and (3) a list of the issues to be discussed. Oral presentations will be limited to issues raised in the briefs.13 If a request for a hearing is made, parties will be notified of the time and date of the hearing, which will be held at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.14

    Final Results of the Review

    12See 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    13Id.

    14See 19 CFR 351.310(d).

    Unless extended, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.216(e), the Department intends to issue the final results of this CCR not later than 270 days after the date on which the review was initiated.

    Notification to Parties

    The Department is issuing and publishing these results in accordance with sections 751(b)(1) and 777(i) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.216 and 351.221(c)(3)(i).

    Dated: November 16, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary, for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope of the Order IV. Preliminary Results of the Changed Circumstances Review A. Affiliation Legal Standard Analysis Recommendation B. Collapsing Legal Standard Analysis 1. Affiliation 2. Substantial Retooling of Manufacturing Facilities 3. Significant Potential for Manipulation of Price or Production i. Level of Common Ownership ii. Managerial Overlap iii. Intertwined Operations C. Whether the Department Should Collapse Affiliated Parties After the Final Determination of an Investigation and Prior to the First Administrative Review Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2016-29196 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XF057 Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee; Correction AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of open public meetings; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice corrects the SUMMARY section to a notice published on November 25, 2016, which contained incorrect information about what will be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC). This correction sets out the SUMMARY in full to make it clear that the members will discuss and finalize recommendations on issues and priorities that should be addressed by the incoming Administration.

    DATES:

    The meeting is scheduled for December 14, 2016, 2-4 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

    ADDRESSES:

    Public access is available at 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Any member of the public wishing to participate may contact Heidi Lovett, (301) 427-8034; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Need for Correction

    In a notice NMFS published on November 25, 2016, on page 85208, in the third column, revise the SUMMARY in its entirety to read as follows:

    “This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of a forthcoming meeting of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC). The members will discuss and finalize recommendations on issues and priorities that should be addressed by the incoming Administration.”

    Background

    The MAFAC was established by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), and, since 1971, advises the Secretary on all living marine resource matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce. The charter and other information are located online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ocs/mafac/.

    Matters To Be Considered

    The Committee is convening to discuss and finalize their recommendations on fisheries and living marine resource issues and priorities that should be addressed by the incoming Administration. Other administrative matters may be considered. This date, time, and agenda are subject to change.

    Time and Date

    The meeting is scheduled for December 14, 2016, 2-4 p.m., Eastern Standard Time by conference call. Conference call information for the public will be posted at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ocs/mafac/ by December 7, 2016.

    Special Accommodations

    These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Heidi Lovett, 301-427-8034 by December 7, 2016.

    Dated: December 1, 2016. Jennifer Lukens, Director for the Office of Policy, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29248 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

    Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Title: West Coast Region Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery: Trawl Rationalization Cost Recovery Program.

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0663.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Request: Regular (extension of a currently approved information collection).

    Number of Respondents: 176.

    Average Hours per Response: Cost recovery and annual reporting forms, 1 hour; failure to pay reports, 4 hours.

    Burden Hours: 1,898.

    Needs and Uses: This request is for an extension of a currently approved information collection.

    The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requires that the Secretary of Commerce maintain a cost recovery program to cover part of the management, data collection, and enforcement costs of the limited access privilege programs, such as the Pacific coast groundfish fishery's trawl rationalization program. This cost recovery program requires fish sellers to submit fees to fish buyers who then submit those fees to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and include information about the volume and value of groundfish. Information is collected from monthly and annual reports as well as non-payment documents when necessary.

    This program is authorized under the Pacific coast groundfish fishery regulations, trawl rationalization cost recovery program at 50 CFR 660.115.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations.

    Frequency: Monthly and annually.

    Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

    This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29233 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meetings TIME AND DATE:

    10:00 a.m., Tuesday, December 13, 2016.

    PLACE:

    Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street NW., Washington, DC, 9th Floor Commission Conference Room.

    STATUS:

    Closed.

    MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED:

    Surveillance, enforcement, and examinations matters. In the event that the time, date, or location of this meeting changes, an announcement of the change, along with the new time, date, and/or place of the meeting will be posted on the Commission's Web site at http://www.cftc.gov.

    CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    Christopher Kirkpatrick, 202-418-5964.

    Natise Allen, Executive Assistant.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29372 Filed 12-2-16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6351-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee Meeting AGENCY:

    Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing this notice to announce a Federal Advisory Committee meeting of the Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel (hereafter referred to as the Panel).

    DATES:

    Thursday, January 5, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    Naval Heritage Center Theater, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20004.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    CAPT Edward Norton, DFO, Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel, 7700 Arlington Boulevard, Suite 5101, Falls Church, VA 22042-5101. Telephone: (703) 681-2890. Fax: (703) 681-1940. Email Address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This meeting is being held under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (Title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.), Appendix, as amended) and the Government in the Sunshine Act of 1976 (5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended).

    Purpose of Meeting: The Panel will review and comment on recommendations made to the Director of Defense Health Agency, by the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee, regarding the Uniform Formulary.

    Meeting Agenda 1. Sign-In 2. Welcome and Opening Remarks 3. Public Citizen Comments 4. Scheduled Therapeutic Class Reviews (Comments will follow each agenda item) a. Antilipidemics-1: Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin type 9 (PCSK9) Inhibitors b. Anticoagulants: Oral Anticoagulants 5. Newly Approved Drugs 6. Pertinent Utilization Management Issues 7. Panel Discussions and Vote

    Meeting Accessibility: Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended, and 41 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 102-3.140 through 102-3.165, and the availability of space, this meeting is open to the public. Seating is limited and will be provided only to the first 220 people signing-in. All persons must sign-in legibly.

    Administrative Work Meeting: Prior to the public meeting, the Panel will conduct an Administrative Work Meeting from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. to discuss administrative matters of the Panel. The Administrative Work Meeting will be held at the Naval Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20004. Pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.160, the Administrative Work Meeting will be closed to the public.

    Written Statements: Pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.140, the public or interested organizations may submit written statements to the membership of the Panel at any time or in response to the stated agenda of a planned meeting. Written statements should be submitted to the Panel's Designated Federal Officer (DFO). The DFO's contact information can be obtained from the General Services Administration's Federal Advisory Committee Act Database at http://facadatabase.gov/. Written statements that do not pertain to the scheduled meeting of the Panel may be submitted at any time. However, if individual comments pertain to a specific topic being discussed at a planned meeting, then these statements must be submitted no later than 5 business days prior to the meeting in question. The DFO will review all submitted written statements and provide copies to all the committee members.

    Public Comments: In addition to written statements, the Panel will set aside 1 hour for individuals or interested groups to address the Panel. To ensure consideration of their comments, individuals and interested groups should submit written statements as outlined in this notice; but if they still want to address the Panel, then they will be afforded the opportunity to register to address the Panel. The Panel's DFO will have a “Sign-Up Roster” available at the Panel meeting for registration on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those wishing to address the Panel will be given no more than 5 minutes to present their comments, and at the end of the 1-hour time period, no further public comments will be accepted. Anyone who signs-up to address the Panel, but is unable to do so due to the time limitation, may submit their comments in writing; however, they must understand that their written comments may not be reviewed prior to the Panel's deliberation.

    To ensure timeliness of comments for the official record, the Panel encourages that individuals and interested groups consider submitting written statements instead of addressing the Panel.

    Dated: December 1, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29204 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No. ED-2016-ICCD-0133] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program Application AGENCY:

    Department of Education (ED), Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing an extension of an existing information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://www.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED-2016-ICCD-0133. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Room 2E-347, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Njeri Clark, 202-453-6224.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program Application.

    OMB Control Number: 1840-0745.

    Type of Review: An extension of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Private Sector.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 250.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 13,750.

    Abstract: Collection of the information is necessary in order for the Secretary of Education to carry out the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program under Title V, Part A, Section 501 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 1101-1101d; 1103-1103g. The information will be used in the evaluation process to determine whether proposed activities are consistent with legislated activities and to determine the dollar share of the Congressional appropriation to be awarded to successful applicants. The Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program provides grants to: (1) Expand educational opportunities for, and improve the academic attainment of, Hispanic students; and (2) expand and enhance academic offerings, program quality, faculty quality, and institutional stability of colleges and universities that are educating the majority of Hispanic college students and help large numbers of Hispanic and low-income students complete postsecondary degrees.

    Dated: December 1, 2016. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29164 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No. ED-2016-ICCD-0106] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Targeted Teacher Shortage Areas AGENCY:

    Department of Education (ED), Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing a revision of an existing information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://www.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED-2016-ICCD-0106. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Room 2E-347, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Freddie Cross, 202-453-7224.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Targeted Teacher Shortage Areas.

    OMB Control Number: 1840-0595.

    Type of Review: A revision of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 57.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 4,275.

    Abstract: This request is for approval of reporting requirements that are contained in the Federal Family Education Loan Program regulations which address the targeted teacher deferment provision of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. The information collected is necessary for a state to support it's annual request for designation of teacher shortage areas within the state. In previous years, the data collection was conducted by paper and pencil, mail-in method. Beginning with the 2017 collection, data collection will be conducted completely online thus reducing burden to the respondents.

    Dated: December 1, 2016. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29167 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Record of Decision for the Recapitalization of Infrastructure Supporting Naval Spent Nuclear Fuel Handling at the Idaho National Laboratory AGENCY:

    Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Record of Decision.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP) is issuing this Record of Decision (ROD) for the recapitalization of infrastructure supporting naval spent nuclear fuel handling at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) at the Naval Reactors Facility (NRF) based on information and analyses contained in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Recapitalization of Infrastructure Supporting Naval Spent Nuclear Fuel Handling at the Idaho National Laboratory (DOE/EIS-0453-F) issued on September 23, 2016. The NNPP will recapitalize the infrastructure supporting naval spent nuclear fuel handling at the INL by constructing a new facility in the northeast section of the NRF site (i.e., Location 3/4). In making this decision, the NNPP considered potential environmental impacts of the alternatives, impacts upon the NNPP support of naval spent fuel handling until at least 2060, availability of resources, and public comments on the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements (EISs), DOE/EIS-0453-D and DOE/EIS-0453-F.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information about this ROD, contact Mr. Erik Anderson, Department of Navy, Naval Sea Systems Command, 1240 Isaac Hull Avenue SE., Stop 8036, Washington Navy Yard, DC 20376-8036.

    For information regarding the DOE NEPA process, contact Ms. Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance (GC-54), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585.

    The Draft and Final EIS are available at www.ecfrecapitalization.us and on the DOE NEPA Web site at http://energy.gov/nepa.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The NNPP prepared this ROD in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and the DOE NEPA implementing procedures (10 CFR part 1021). The NNPP is committed to managing naval spent nuclear fuel in a manner that is consistent with the Department of Energy (DOE) Programmatic Spent Nuclear Fuel Management and Idaho National Engineering Laboratory Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Programs Final Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0203-F), and to complying with the Settlement Agreement, as amended in 2008, among the State of Idaho, the DOE, and the Navy concerning the management of naval spent nuclear fuel. Consistent with the ROD for DOE/EIS-0203-F, naval spent nuclear fuel is shipped by rail from shipyards and prototype facilities to the INL for processing. To allow the NNPP to continue to unload, transfer, prepare, and package naval spent nuclear fuel for disposal, three alternatives were evaluated in the Draft and Final EIS: No Action Alternative, Overhaul Alternative, and New Facility Alternative. The impacts to human health and the environment for all the alternatives would primarily be small; however, there would be impacts to naval spent fuel handling from the No Action and Overhaul Alternatives; therefore, the NNPP selected the preferred alternative (New Facility Alternative) at Location 3/4 since a new facility will improve long-term capacity, increase efficiency and effectiveness, reduce long-term costs and risks, and best support the ability of the NNPP to comply with the Settlement Agreement, as amended in 2008.

    Background

    The mission of the NNPP, also known as the Naval Reactors Program, is to provide the U.S. with safe, effective, and affordable naval nuclear propulsion plants and to ensure their continued safe and reliable operation through lifetime support, research and development, design, construction, specification, certification, testing, maintenance, and disposal. A crucial component of this mission, naval spent nuclear fuel handling, occurs at the end of a nuclear propulsion system's useful life or when naval nuclear fuel has been depleted. The NNPP is responsible for removal of the naval spent nuclear fuel through a defueling or refueling operation. Both operations remove the naval spent nuclear fuel from the reactor, but a refueling operation also involves installing new fuel, allowing the nuclear-powered ship to be redeployed into the U.S. Navy fleet. Once the naval spent nuclear fuel has been removed from an aircraft carrier, submarine, or prototype, the spent fuel is sent to NRF for examination and further naval spent nuclear fuel handling including transferring, preparing, and packaging for transfer to an interim storage facility or geologic repository.

    The NNPP ensures that naval spent nuclear fuel handling is performed in a safe and environmentally responsible manner in accordance with 50 U.S.C. 2406 and 2511 (codifying Executive Order 12344).

    Alternatives

    Consistent with the ROD for DOE/EIS-0203-F, naval spent nuclear fuel will continue to be shipped by rail from shipyards and prototypes to NRF for processing. To allow the NNPP to continue to unload, transfer, prepare, and package naval spent nuclear fuel for disposal, three alternatives were identified and analyzed in the Draft and Final EIS.

    1. No Action Alternative

    The No Action Alternative involves maintaining the Expended Core Facility (ECF) without a change to the present course of action or management of the facility. The current naval spent nuclear fuel handling infrastructure would continue to be used while the NNPP performs only preventative and corrective maintenance. The No Action Alternative does not meet the purpose for the proposed action because it would not provide the infrastructure necessary to support the naval nuclear reactor defueling and refueling schedules required to meet the operational needs of the U.S. Navy. The No Action Alternative does not meet the NNPP's need because significant upgrades are necessary to the ECF infrastructure to continue safe and environmentally responsible naval spent nuclear fuel handling until at least 2060. As currently configured, the ECF infrastructure cannot support use of the new M-290 shipping containers. Significant changes in configuration of the facility and spent fuel handling processing locations in the water pool would be required to support unloading fuel from the new M-290 shipping containers. In addition, over the next 45 years, preventative and corrective maintenance without significant upgrades and refurbishments may not be sufficient to sustain the proper functioning of ECF structures, systems, and components. Upgrades and refurbishments needed to support use of the new M-290 shipping containers and continue safe and environmentally responsible operations would not meet the definition of the No Action Alternative; therefore, these actions are represented by the Overhaul Alternative.

    The implementation of the No Action Alternative (i.e., failure to perform upgrades and refurbishments), in combination with the NNPP commitment to only operate in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, may result in ECF eventually being unavailable for handling naval spent nuclear fuel. If the NNPP naval spent nuclear fuel handling infrastructure were to become unavailable, the inability to transfer, prepare, and package naval spent nuclear fuel could immediately and profoundly impact the NNPP's mission and national security needs to refuel and defuel nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers. In addition, the U.S. Navy could not ensure its ability to meet the requirements of the Settlement Agreement and its 2008 Addendum.

    Since the No Action Alternative does not meet the purpose and need for the proposed action, it is considered to be an unreasonable alternative; however, the No Action Alternative was included in the Draft and Final EIS as required by CEQ regulations.

    2. Overhaul Alternative

    The Overhaul Alternative involves continuing to use the aging infrastructure at ECF, while incurring increasing costs to provide the required refurbishments and workaround actions necessary to ensure uninterrupted aircraft carrier and submarine refuelings and defuelings. Under the Overhaul Alternative, the NNPP would operate ECF in a safe and environmentally responsible manner by continuing to maintain ECF while implementing major refurbishment projects for the ECF infrastructure and water pools. This would entail:

    Short-term actions necessary to keep the infrastructure in safe working order, including regular upkeep and actions sufficient to sustain the proper functioning of structures, systems, and components (e.g., the ongoing work currently performed in ECF to inspect and repair deteriorating water pool concrete coatings).

    Facility, process, and equipment reconfigurations needed for specific capabilities required in the future. These actions involve installation of new equipment and processes, and relocation of existing equipment and processes, within the current facility to provide a new capability (e.g., modification of ECF and reconfiguration of the water pool as necessary to handle M-290 shipping containers).

    Major refurbishment actions necessary to sustain the life of the infrastructure (e.g., to the extent practicable, overhaul the water pools to bring them up to current design and construction standards).

    Refurbishment activities would take place in parallel with ECF operations for the majority of the Overhaul Alternative time period. The first 33 years of the 45 years (i.e., the refurbishment period) would include refurbishment and operations activities being conducted in parallel. During certain refurbishment phases, operations could be limited due to the nature of the refurbishment activities (e.g., operations would not continue in water pools that are under repair). There would then be a 12-year period where only operational activities would take place in ECF (i.e., the post-refurbishment operational period).

    Failure to implement this overhaul in advance of infrastructure deterioration would impact the ability of ECF to operate for several years. Further, overhaul actions would necessitate operational interruptions for extended periods of time.

    3. New Facility Alternative

    A New Facility Alternative would acquire capital assets to recapitalize naval spent nuclear fuel handling capabilities. While a new facility requires new process and infrastructure assets, the design could leverage use of the newer, existing ECF support facilities and would leverage use of newer equipment designs. The facility would be designed with the flexibility to integrate future identified mission needs.

    Under the current budget and funding levels for the New Facility Alternative, it is anticipated that construction activities would occur over approximately a 5-year period.

    Construction of the New Facility Alternative would occur in parallel with ECF operations. An approximately 2-year period would follow the construction of the New Facility Alternative when new equipment would be installed and tested, and training would be provided to qualify the operations workforce.

    A new facility would include all current naval spent nuclear fuel handling operations conducted at ECF. In addition, it would include the capability to unload naval spent nuclear fuel from M-290 shipping containers in the water pool and handle aircraft carrier naval spent nuclear fuel assemblies without prior disassembly for preparation and packaging for disposal. Such capability does not currently exist within the ECF water pools, mainly due to insufficient available footprint in areas of the water pool with the required depth of water.

    The NNPP would continue to operate ECF during new facility construction, during a transition period, and after the new facility is operational for examination work. To keep the ECF infrastructure in a safe working order during these time periods, some limited upgrades and refurbishments may be necessary. Details are not currently available regarding which specific actions will be taken; therefore, they are not explicitly analyzed as part of the New Facility Alternative. The environmental impacts from these upgrades and refurbishments are considered to be bounded by the environmental impacts described in the Refurbishment Period of the Overhaul Alternative.

    Environmental Impacts of Alternatives

    With the following exceptions, there are no environmental impacts associated with any of the alternatives, or the impacts are negligible or small:

    • For the No Action Alternative, there would be large and profound impacts to naval spent nuclear fuel management and national security needs.

    ○ While ECF operations continue, management of M-290 shipping containers and work stoppages would affect fleet performance and the ability to manage naval spent nuclear fuel in accordance with the Settlement Agreement and its 2008 Addendum.

    ○ If ECF operations cease, the NNPP would eventually be unable to defuel and refuel submarines, leading to the inability of the nuclear-powered ships or their nuclear-trained naval personnel to be deployed or redeployed into fleet operations. Additionally, the NNPP would be unable to meet the requirements of the Settlement Agreement and its 2008 Addendum.

    • For the refurbishment period of the Overhaul Alternative, there would be moderate impacts on naval spent nuclear fuel management from temporary work stoppages; however, the facility would be operated to minimize the impact on the NNPP's ability to meet its mission.

    • For the New Facility Alternative, there would be beneficial impacts on naval spent nuclear fuel management once the new facility is fully operational because of increased process efficiencies.

    • For the No Action Alternative, the refurbishment period of the Overhaul Alternative, and the construction and transition period of the New Facility Alternative, the impact from seismic hazards to ECF, without additional refurbishment or upgrades, would be moderate from the continued degradation of the facility over time.

    • For the New Facility Alternative, electrical energy consumption impacts would be moderate in the transition period and the new facility operational period.

    Environmentally Preferable Alternative

    The impacts to human health and the environment from all the alternatives would primarily be small. The New Facility Alternative would involve the largest amount of ground surface disturbance but would provide the lowest risk from seismic hazards. Conversely, the No Action Alternative would involve no new ground disturbance but would pose a higher risk from seismic hazards. The Overhaul Alternative would involve some ground disturbance and a risk from seismic hazards that falls between the other two alternatives. Because the impacts to human health and the environment for all the alternatives would primarily be small, all alternatives are considered to be comparable and indistinguishable under CEQ regulations; therefore, the NNPP concludes that there is no environmentally preferred alternative.

    Public Involvement

    On July 20, 2010 the NNPP published a Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register (75 FR 42082) to prepare an EIS for the recapitalization of infrastructure supporting naval spent nuclear fuel handling and examination on the INL. Due to fiscal constraints on the DOE budget, project schedules changed such that the evaluation of the recapitalization of naval spent nuclear fuel handling capabilities progressed further than evaluations for examination recapitalization. As a result, an amended NOI was published on May 10, 2012 (77 FR 27448) to announce the NNPP's reduction in the scope of the EIS to include only the recapitalization of naval spent nuclear fuel handling capabilities.

    On June 19, 2015 the NNPP published in the Federal Register (80 FR 35331) a Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Draft EIS; the duration of public comment period through August 10, 2015; the location and timing for three public hearings; and the various methods that could be used for submitting comments on the Draft EIS. In response to a request from the Shoshone-Bannock tribes, on August 14, 2015 the NNPP published a notice that it was reopening the public comment through August 31, 2015 (80 FR 48850).

    The NNPP considered all comments received in preparing the Final EIS. On September 30, 2016 the NOA for the Final EIS was published in the Federal Register (81 FR 67338).

    Decision

    The NNPP will recapitalize the infrastructure supporting naval spent nuclear fuel handling at the INL by constructing a new facility in the northeast section of the NRF site (i.e., Location 3/4). This decision will include recapitalization of the naval spent nuclear fuel handling capabilities described in the EIS including: Unloading M-140 and M-290 shipping containers; temporary wet storage of naval spent nuclear fuel; initial examination of naval spent nuclear fuel; resizing and securing nuclear poison in naval spent nuclear fuel modules; transfer of naval spent nuclear fuel for more detailed examination at the examination location; loading naval spent nuclear fuel into naval spent nuclear fuel canisters; transfer of naval spent nuclear fuel into or out of temporary dry storage; and loading waste shipping containers.

    As described in the EIS, the recapitalization of ECF infrastructure supporting the preparation and examination of irradiated fuel and material specimens and the destructive examination of naval spent nuclear fuel will be the subject of separate evaluation under NEPA. No decision is being made at this time regarding the recapitalization of ECF infrastructure for examinations. Therefore, in addition to building a new facility, the NNPP will continue to perform limited upgrades as necessary to keep the ECF infrastructure in safe working order.

    Basis for the Decision

    The impacts to human health and the environment from the Overhaul Alternative and New Facility Alternative would primarily be small. Recapitalizing the infrastructure and processes for naval spent nuclear fuel handling by building a new facility will improve long-term capacity, increase efficiency and effectiveness, and reduce long-term costs and risks. The new facility will improve the ability of the NNPP to meet long-term mission needs and anticipated future production capabilities and enhance the ability of the NNPP to meet the 1995 Settlement Agreement and its 2008 Addendum. Continuing to perform upgrades to the ECF infrastructure will ensure that operations that continue in ECF are conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. Building a new facility at Location 3/4 will allow the NNPP to utilize existing overpack fabrication and storage buildings and the existing facility for loading M-290 shipping containers for shipments to an interim storage facility or a geologic repository in conjunction with the new facility. Therefore, based on these factors, the NNPP has selected the New Facility Alternative at Location 3/4.

    Mitigation Measures

    NNPP standards for construction and operation of facilities incorporate engineered and administrative controls to minimize impacts to the environment, workers, and the public. Furthermore, activities are performed to comply with applicable laws and regulations, including obtaining appropriate construction and operating permits. Complying with permits, following standard procedures and management practices, and implementing best management practices, when applicable, are considered part of normal practices and are not included as mitigation measures.

    The NNPP will prepare a Mitigation Action Plan (MAP) to track mitigation commitments. The MAP will explain the planned mitigation measures and the monitoring needed to ensure compliance. These measures include actions identified during consultation with agencies and actions where credit is taken for reducing impacts. These mitigation measures are listed below.

    Mitigations Identified Through Consultation

    Mitigation commitments resulting from consultations with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and Tribal Government (Appendix B of the EIS) are listed below:

    1. Idaho State Historical Society Compliance Archeologist concurred with the recommendation of no adverse effect if “Recommendations for Additional Project Measures” as identified in Section 8.3 of the 2013 Cultural Resources Investigations Report are adopted. A subset of the recommendations that meet the definition for mitigations are:

    • Monitor sensitive archaeological resources located in proximity to the three defined direct areas of potential effect for indirect impacts and implement protective measures if warranted;

    • Conduct cultural resource sensitivity training for personnel to discourage unauthorized artifact collection, off-road vehicle use, and other activities that may impact cultural resources;

    • Implement a Stop Work Procedure to guide the assessment and protection of any unanticipated discoveries of cultural materials during construction and operations.

    2. Provide the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Heritage Tribal Office the opportunity to monitor key ground-disturbing activities that occur at NRF in support of the recapitalization activities.

    Mitigations Where Credit Is Taken for Impact Reduction

    Best Management Practices (BMPs) identified in the EIS that are part of adopted DOE, INL, or NRF plans, contractor stipulations, or listed in standard operating procedures for the DOE, INL, or NRF are not considered a mitigation. Additional BMPs, where credit is taken for reducing an impact are listed below:

    1. Use of high-performance generators (Tier-4).

    Issued in Washington, DC, on 15 November 2016. James F. Caldwell, Jr., Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29203 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Record of Decision and Floodplain Statement of Findings for the Magnolia LNG, LLC Application To Export Liquefied Natural Gas to Non-Free Trade Agreement Countries AGENCY:

    Office of Fossil Energy, Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Record of Decision.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces its decision in Magnolia LNG, LLC (Magnolia LNG), DOE/FE Docket No. 13-132-LNG, to issue DOE/FE Order No. 3909, granting final long-term, multi contract authorization for Magnolia LNG to engage in the export of domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the proposed Magnolia LNG facility located near Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, in a volume equivalent to 394.2 Bcf/yr (equal to 1.08 Bcf/day) of natural gas for a term of 25 years. Magnolia LNG is seeking to export LNG from the terminal to countries with which the United States has not entered into a free trade agreement (FTA) that requires national treatment for trade in natural gas, and with which trade is not prohibited by U.S. law or policy (non-FTA countries). Order No. 3909 is issued under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and 10 CFR part 590 of DOE's regulations. DOE participated as a cooperating agency with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) 1 analyzing the potential environmental impacts resulting from the proposed LNG facility.

    1 Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects, Docket Nos. CP14-347-000 and CP14-511-000, FERC/EIS—0260F (Nov. 2015).

    ADDRESSES:

    The EIS and this Record of Decision (ROD) are available on DOE's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Web site at: http://energy.gov/nepa/downloads/eis-0498-final-environmental-impact-statement. Order No. 3909 is available on DOE/FE's Web site at: http://www.fossil.energy.gov/programs/gasregulation/authorizations/2013_applications/Magnolia_LNG%2C_LLC_-_FE_Dkt._No._13-132-L.html. For additional information about the docket in these proceedings, contact Larine Moore, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Regulation and International Engagement, Office of Oil and Natural Gas, Office of Fossil Energy, Room 3E-042, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To obtain additional information about the EIS or the ROD, contact Mr. Kyle W. Moorman, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Regulation and International Engagement, Office of Oil and Natural Gas, Office of Fossil Energy, Room 3E-042, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, (202) 586-5600, or Mr. Edward Le Duc, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Environment, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    DOE prepared this ROD and Floodplain Statement of Findings pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 United States Code [U.S.C.] 4321, et seq.), and in compliance with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) implementing regulations for NEPA (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] parts 1500 through 1508), DOE's implementing procedures for NEPA (10 CFR part 1021), and DOE's “Compliance with Floodplain and Wetland Environmental Review Requirements” (10 CFR part 1022).

    Background

    Magnolia LNG, a Delaware limited liability company with its principal place of business in Houston, Texas, proposes to construct liquefaction facilities in Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish Louisiana (Magnolia LNG Project). The Magnolia LNG Project will connect to the U.S. natural gas pipeline and transmission system through a proposed pipeline system modification and upgrade project (Lake Charles Expansion Project) to an interstate natural gas pipeline owned by Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline LLC (KMLP).

    On October 15, 2013, Magnolia LNG filed the application (Application) with DOE/FE seeking authorization to export domestically produced LNG. Magnolia LNG proposes to export this LNG to non-FTA countries in a total volume equivalent to 394.2 billion cubic feet per year (Bcf/yr) of natural gas.

    Magnolia LNG has also submitted two applications to DOE/FE for authorizations to export LNG to FTA countries, each in the amount of 197.1 Bcf/yr (0.54 Bcf/day) for a 25-year term, for a combined total authorized FTA export volume of 394.2 Bcf/yr (1.08 Bcf/day). DOE/FE subsequently granted these FTA applications.2 The authorized FTA export volumes are not additive to the export volumes requested in this proceeding. Therefore, DOE's grant of the pending non-FTA export application in this proceeding will not provide Magnolia LNG with the authority to export more than 394.2 Bcf/yr of natural gas from the Magnolia LNG Project.

    2Magnolia LNG, LLC, Order Granting Long-Term Multi-Contract Authorization to Export Liquefied Natural Gas by Vessel from the Proposed Magnolia LNG Terminal in Lake Charles, Louisiana to Free Trade Agreement Nations, DOE/FE Order No. 3245, February 26, 2013 (FE Docket No 12-183-LNG); Magnolia LNG, LLC, Order Granting Long-Term Multi-Contract Authorization to Export Liquefied Natural Gas by Vessel from the Proposed Magnolia LNG Terminal in Lake Charles, Louisiana to Free Trade Agreement Nations, DOE/FE Order No. 3406, March 5, 2014 (FE Docket No 13-131-LNG).

    In addition to its Application to DOE/FE for export authority, on April 30, 2014, Magnolia LNG submitted an applications to FERC under sections 3 of the NGA for the siting, construction, and operation of the Magnolia LNG Project and, on June 30, 2014, KMLP submitted an application under section 7 of the NGA for approval of the Lake Charles Expansion Project. FERC issued an order granting Magnolia LNG its requested Section 3 authorization and KMLP its requested certificate of public convenience and necessity under Section 7 (c) on April 15, 2016 (the “FERC Order”).3

    3Order Granting Authorization Under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act and Issuing Certificates, FERC Docket Nos. CP14-347-000 and CP14-511-000, 155 FERC ¶ 61,033 (issued April 15, 2016).

    Project Description

    The Magnolia LNG Project will include a new liquefaction facility consisting of four liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks with a capacity of approximately 160,000 cubic meters each, a LNG vessel loading berth, and a LNG truck loading area. The Lake Charles Expansion Project will require varying lengths/diameters of new pipeline/pipeline facilities in Acadia, Calcasieu and Evangeline Parishes, Louisiana, to supply natural gas to the liquefaction facility from existing gas transmission pipelines. This pipeline project includes the construction of approximately 6,400 feet of 36-inch-diameter and 700 feet of 24-inch-diameter header pipelines in existing KMLP right-of-way along with one new compressor station.

    EIS Process

    FERC was the lead federal agency and initiated the NEPA process by publishing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS for the Magnolia LNG Project in FERC Docket No. PF13-9 on June 18, 2013, and for the Lake Charles Expansion Project in CP14-511 on August 11, 2014. FERC conducted a single environmental review process, that addressed both of these projects and DOE was a cooperating agency. FERC issued the draft EIS for the Liquefaction and Expansion Projects on July 17, 2015 and published in the Federal Register a notice of availability (NOA) for the draft EIS on July 24, 2015 (80 FR 44093). FERC issued the final EIS on November 13, 2015 and published a NOA for the final EIS on November 19, 2015 (80 FR 72431). The final EIS addresses comments received on the draft EIS. Among other resource areas, the final EIS addresses groundwater, water resources, socioeconomics, air quality and noise, reliability and safety, and cumulative impacts.

    The final EIS recommended that FERC subject any approval of the Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects to 114 conditions to reduce the environmental impacts that would otherwise result from the construction and operation of the project. Accordingly, FERC issued an Order authorizing the Projects on April 15, 2016, subject to 115 environmental conditions contained in Appendix H of that Order.4

    4Within its Order, FERC included an additional condition to the 114 conditions listed in the EIE related to commissioning volumes to its environmental mitigation measures. See Appendix H of the FERC Order for more details.

    In accordance with 40 CFR 1506.3, after an independent review of FERC's final EIS, DOE/FE adopted FERC's final EIS (DOE/EIS-0498). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a notice of the adoption on September 30, 2016 (81 FR 67348).

    Addendum to Environmental Review Documents Concerning Exports of Natural Gas From the United States (Addendum)

    On June 4, 2014, DOE/FE published the Draft Addendum to Environmental Review Documents Concerning Exports of Natural Gas from the United States (Draft Addendum) for public comment (79 FR 32258). The purpose of this review was to provide additional information to the public concerning the potential environmental impacts of unconventional natural gas exploration and production activities, including hydraulic fracturing. Although not required by NEPA, DOE/FE prepared the Addendum in an effort to be responsive to the public and to provide the best information available on a subject that had been raised by commenters in this and other LNG export proceedings.

    The 45-day comment period on the Draft Addendum closed on July 21, 2014. DOE/FE received 40,745 comments in 18 separate submissions, and considered those comments in issuing the Final Addendum on August 15, 2014. DOE provided a summary of the comments received and responses to substantive comments in Appendix B of the Addendum. DOE/FE has incorporated the Draft Addendum, comments, and Final Addendum into the record in this proceeding.

    Alternatives

    The EIS assessed alternatives that could achieve the Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects' objectives. The range of alternatives analyzed included the No-Action alternative, system alternatives, site alternatives, and process alternatives. Alternatives were evaluated and compared to the Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects to determine if the alternatives were environmentally preferable.

    In analyzing the No-Action Alternative, the EIS reviewed the effects and actions that could result if the proposed Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects were not constructed. FERC determined that other LNG export projects could be developed in the Gulf Coast region or elsewhere in the U.S., resulting in both adverse and beneficial environmental impacts. LNG terminal developments and pipeline system expansion of similar scope and magnitude to the proposed projects would likely result in environmental impacts of comparable significance, especially those projects in similar regional settings.

    The EIS evaluated system alternatives which included an evaluation of the LNG terminal design as well as the pipeline system. For the LNG terminal, the EIS evaluated nine existing LNG terminals with approved, proposed, or planned status and 19 greenfield LNG terminals that are approved, proposed, or planned along the Gulf Coast of the U.S. In order to be a compatible alternative, it would have to meet Magnolia LNG's purpose and objective: To construct and operate a terminal to serve both domestic and export markets for LNG. The alternatives each lacked infrastructure to support LNG truck loading facilities and/or the proposed liquefaction volume capacity, and were therefore not further considered as viable alternatives.

    For the alternatives to the pipeline system, the EIS evaluated three major natural gas pipeline systems within three miles of the proposed site. Although the proposed pipeline expansion requires reconfiguration (e.g. new metering station and new interconnect pipeline), the three alternatives either do not meet the necessary capacity requirements or require the construction of longer pipeline connections.

    The EIS evaluated four site alternatives. In order to meet the stated objectives of Magnolia LNG Project, the EIS considered following factors when identifying the site that would most likely pose some environmental advantage to the proposed terminal site: Waterfront access; property size; existing land use; site availability; natural gas pipelines and transmission lines; population center/residences; distance to an interstate highway; and wetlands. After evaluating each of the site alternatives, the EIS concluded that the proposed site would have less impact on wetlands, greater separation between population center/residences, and greater optimization of existing land use.

    For the process alternatives, the EIS considered several liquefaction technologies in addition to the proposed Optimized Single Mixed Refrigerant (OSMR) ® Process by LNG Technology). Although the OSMR® Process uses anhydrous ammonia, which present several safety hazards, methods of mitigating the safety hazards are well understood and subject to additional federal regulation. The EIS determined that none of the alternatives would have a significant safety or environmental advantage over the OSMR® Process when considering additional mitigation measure outlined in LNG Facility Siting Requirements at section 4.12.5 of the EIS.

    Environmentally Preferred Alternative

    When compared against the other action alternatives assessed in the EIS, as discussed above, the proposed Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects are the environmentally preferred alternative. While the No-Action Alternative would avoid the environmental impacts identified in the EIS, adoption of this alternative would not meet the Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects objectives.

    Decision

    DOE has decided to issue Order No. 3909 authorizing Magnolia LNG to export domestically produced LNG by vessel from the Magnolia LNG terminal located in Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana to non-FTA countries, in a volume up to the equivalent to 394.2 Bcf/yr of natural gas for a term of 25 years to commence on the earlier of the date of first export or seven years from the date that the Order is issued.

    Concurrently with this Record of Decision, DOE is issuing Order No. 3909 in which it finds that the requested authorization has not been shown to be inconsistent with the public interest, and the Application should be granted subject to compliance with the terms and conditions set forth in the Order, including the environmental conditions recommended in the EIS and adopted in the FERC Order at Appendix H. Additionally, this authorization is conditioned on Magnolia LNG's compliance with any other mitigation measures imposed by other federal or state agencies.

    Basis of Decision

    DOE's decision is based upon the analysis of potential environmental impacts presented in the EIS, and DOE's determination in Order No. 3909 that the opponents of Magnolia LNG's Application have failed to overcome the statutory presumption that the proposed export authorization is not inconsistent with the public interest. Although not required by NEPA, DOE/FE also considered the Addendum, which summarizes available information on potential upstream impacts associated with unconventional natural gas activities, such as hydraulic fracturing.

    Mitigation

    As a condition of its decision to issue Order No. 3909 authorizing Magnolia LNG to export LNG to non-FTA countries, DOE is imposing requirements that will avoid or minimize the environmental impacts of the project. These conditions include the environmental conditions recommended in the EIS and adopted in the FERC Order at Appendix H. Mitigation measures beyond those included in Order No. 3909 that are enforceable by other Federal and state agencies are additional conditions of Order No. 3909. With these conditions, DOE/FE has determined that all practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm from the Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects have been adopted.

    Floodplain Statement of Findings

    DOE prepared this Floodplain Statement of Findings in accordance with DOE's regulations, entitled “Compliance with Floodplain and Wetland Environmental Review Requirements” (10 CFR part 1022). The required floodplain assessment was conducted during development and preparation of the EIS (see Section 4.1.3.3 of the EIS). DOE determined that the majority of the LNG terminal site is outside the 500-year floodplain and the pipeline facilities are outside the 100- and 500-year floodplains. However, placement of some project components within floodplains would be unavoidable. Overall, the current design for the Magnolia LNG and Lake Charles Expansion Projects minimizes floodplain impacts to the extent practicable.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on November 30, 2016. Christopher A. Smith, Assistant Secretary, Office of Fossil Energy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29206 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 1971-079] Idaho Power Company; Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order

    Take notice that on November 23, 2016, Idaho Power Company (Idaho Power), licensee of the Hells Canyon Project No. 1971, filed a petition for a declaratory order (petition) pursuant to Rule 207(a)(2) of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.207(a)(2). Idaho Power requests that the Commission declare that, under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Part I of the Federal Power Act (FPA) 1 preempts the fish passage provisions contained in Oregon Revised Statute 509.585 with respect to the Hells Canyon Project, all as more fully explained in its petition.

    1 16 U.S.C. 791a-823d (2016).

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.211, 385.214. Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Petitioner.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on December 30, 2016.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29228 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL17-23-000] Independent Market Monitor for PJM v. PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.; Notice of Complaint

    Take notice that on November 23, 2016, pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.206, Independent Market Monitor for PJM (Complainant or PJM) filed a formal complaint against PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (Respondent or PJM) alleging that, certain modifications to PJM's manual 18 rules are unjust, unreasonable, and inconsistent with competitive markets, all as more fully explained in the complaint.

    The Complainant states that a copy of the complaint has been served on the Respondent.

    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. The Respondent's answer and all interventions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. The Respondent's answer, motions to intervene, and protests must be served on the Complainants.

    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 electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on December 13, 2016.

    Dated: November 29, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29223 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket Nos. CP16-22-000; CP16-23-000; CP16-24-000; CP16-102-000] NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC; Texas Eastern Transmission, LP; DTE Gas Company; Vector Pipeline L.P.; Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Nexus Gas Transmission Project and Texas Eastern Appalachian Lease Project

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the NEXUS Gas Transmission (NGT) Project and Texas Eastern Appalachian Lease (TEAL) Project (jointly referred to as “Projects”), proposed by NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC (NEXUS) and Texas Eastern Transmission, LP (Texas Eastern) in the above-referenced dockets. NEXUS and Texas Eastern request authorization to construct a new greenfield pipeline and expand an existing pipeline system from the Appalachian Basin to deliver 1.5 million dekatherms per day to consuming markets in northern Ohio, southeastern Michigan, and Ontario, Canada. DTE Gas Company and Vector Pipeline L.P. are requesting approval to lease capacity on their systems to NEXUS.

    The final EIS assesses the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of the Projects in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The FERC staff concludes that approval of the Projects would result in some adverse environmental impacts; however, these impacts would be reduced to acceptable levels with the implementation of NEXUS' and Texas Eastern's proposed mitigation measures and the additional measures recommended by staff in the final EIS.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) participated as cooperating agencies in the preparation of the final EIS. Cooperating agencies have jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to resources potentially affected by the proposal and participate in the National Environmental Policy Act analysis. Although the FWS, COE, and EPA provided input to the conclusions and recommendations presented in the final EIS, these agencies will each present their own conclusions and recommendations in their respective record of decision or determination for the Projects.

    The final EIS addresses the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of both the NGT and TEAL Projects. The NGT Project consists of about 256.6 miles of pipeline composed of the following facilities:

    • 209.8 miles of new 36-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline in Ohio;

    • 46.8 miles of new 36-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline in Michigan;

    • associated equipment and facilities.

    The TEAL Project would include two main components:

    • 4.4 miles of new 36-inch-diameter loop pipeline in Ohio;

    • 0.3 mile of new 30-inch-diameter interconnecting pipeline Ohio; and

    • associated equipment and facilities.

    The Projects' proposed aboveground facilities include five new compressor stations in Ohio; additional compression and related modifications to one existing compressor station in Ohio; five new metering and regulating stations in Ohio; one new metering and regulating station in Michigan; and minor modifications at existing aboveground facilities at various locations across Ohio.

    The FERC staff mailed copies of the final EIS 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; and newspapers and libraries near the Projects. Paper copy versions of this final EIS were mailed to those specifically requesting them; all others received a CD version. In addition, the final EIS is available for public viewing on the FERC's Web site (www.ferc.gov) using the eLibrary link. A limited number of copies 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.

    Additional information about the Projects 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., CP16-22). 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; 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 to subscribe.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29219 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP17-17-000] Southwest Gas Storage Company; Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization

    Take notice that on November 18, 2016, Southwest Gas Storage Company (Southwest), 1300 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002, filed a prior notice application pursuant to sections 157.205, and 157.216(b) of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) regulations under the Natural Gas Act (NGA), and Southwest's blanket certificate issued in Docket No. CP99-230-000. Southwest requests authorization to plug and abandon fifteen wells and abandon certain related natural gas storage lateral pipelines and appurtenances within Southwest's existing Waverly Storage Field located in Morgan County, Illinois, all as more fully set forth in the application, which is open to the public for inspection. The filing may also be viewed on the Web at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC at [email protected] or call toll-free, (866) 208-3676 or TTY, (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions regarding this application should be directed to Stephen Veatch, Sr. Director of Certificates, Southwest Gas Storage Company, 1300 Main St., Houston, Texas 77002 or phone (713) 989-2024, or fax (713) 989-1205 or by email [email protected]

    Any person or the Commission's staff may, within 60 days after issuance of the instant notice by the Commission, file pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission's Procedural Rules (18 CFR 385.214) a motion to intervene or notice of intervention and pursuant to Section 157.205 of the regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.205), a protest to the request. If no protest is filed within the time allowed therefore, the proposed activity shall be deemed to be authorized effective the day after the time allowed for filing a protest. If a protest is filed and not withdrawn within 30 days after the allowed time for filing a protest, the instant request shall be treated as an application for authorization pursuant to section 7 of the NGA.

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either: Complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding, or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's FEIS or EA.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commenters will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commenters will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commenter will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, 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.

    Dated: November 29, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29222 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL17-22-000] Independent Market Monitor for PJM v. American Electric Power Service Corp.; Notice of Complaint

    Take notice that on November 30, 2016, Independent Market Monitor for PJM (Complainant or PJM) filed a complaint against American Electric Power Service Corp. (Respondent or AEP). PJM complains that AEP refused to provide certain information in response to information requests sent by PJM's Market Monitor Unit and request that the Commission issue an order directing AEP to provide the information, all as more fully explained in the complaint.

    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. The Respondent's answer and all interventions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. The Respondent's answer, motions to intervene, and protests must be served on the Complainants.

    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 electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on December 20, 2016.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29224 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP17-14-000] UGI LNG, Inc.; Notice of Application

    Take notice that on November 14, 2016, UGI LNG, INC. (UGI LNG) One Meridian Boulevard, Suite 2C01, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania 19610, filed in Docket No. CP17-14-000, an application pursuant to section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act and Part 157 of the Commission's regulations, for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct and operate its Temple Truck Rack Expansion Project at UGI LNG's Temple liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility located in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Specifically, UGI LNG requests to operate two new trailer loading and unloading racks at UGI LNG's Temple LNG storage facility. The project will be installed within the Temple Facility's existing footprint, and will consist of two racks with scales, trailer loading skid, pump skid, transfer piping and associated equipment. In addition, UGI LNG will also construct a new, approximately 1,500-foot driveway connecting the expansion to Willow Creek Road. The project will enable UGI LNG to provide more reliable service to its customers by allowing increased flexibility, coordination, and throughput of intra-tank transfers, all as more fully set forth in the application, which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection. The filing may also be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC at [email protected] or call toll-free, (866) 208-3676 or TTY, (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions regarding this application should be directed to Frank H. Markle, 460 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406, or phone by: (610) 768-3625, or by email: [email protected]

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either: Complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding; or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's FEIS or EA.

    There are two ways to become involved in the Commission's review of this project. First, any person wishing to obtain legal status by becoming a party to the proceedings for this project should, on or before the comment date stated below, file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214 or 385.211) and the Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.10). A person obtaining party status will be placed on the service list maintained by the Secretary of the Commission and will receive copies of all documents filed by the applicant and by all other parties. A party must submit 7 copies of filings made with the Commission and must mail a copy to the applicant and to every other party in the proceeding. Only parties to the proceeding can ask for court review of Commission orders in the proceeding.

    However, a person does not have to intervene in order to have comments considered. The second way to participate is by filing with the Secretary of the Commission, as soon as possible, an original and two copies of comments in support of or in opposition to this project. The Commission will consider these comments in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but the filing of a comment alone will not serve to make the filer a party to the proceeding. The Commission's rules require that persons filing comments in opposition to the project provide copies of their protests only to the party or parties directly involved in the protest.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commentors will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commentors will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commentors will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, 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.

    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: December 20, 2016.

    Dated: November 29, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29220 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP17-15-000] Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP; Notice of Application

    Take notice that on November 15, 2016, Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP (Cove Point), 707 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia, filed in Docket No. CP17-15-000, an application pursuant to section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act and Part 157 of the Commission's regulations requesting authorization of its Eastern Market Access Project (Project) consisting of one new compressor station, additional compression at an existing station, and re-wheeling of a compressor unit at an existing compressor station for an increase of 31,370 horsepower in Charles County, Maryland and Loudon and Fairfax Counties, Virginia. The Project would also construct two new delivery taps in Charles County, Maryland. The Project would cost approximately $147.3 million and would enable 294,000 dekatherms per day of firm natural gas transportation service to Washington Gas Light Company and Mattawoman Energy, LLC, all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection. This filing may be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, please contact FERC at [email protected] or call toll-free, (886) 208-3676 or TYY, (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions regarding this Application should be directed to Salud Astruc, Gas Transmission Certificates, Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP, 707 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219, or by telephone at (866) 319-3382.

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either: Complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding; or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's FEIS or EA.

    There are two ways to become involved in the Commission's review of this project. First, any person wishing to obtain legal status by becoming a party to the proceedings for this project should, on or before the comment date stated below, file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214 or 385.211) and the Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.10). A person obtaining party status will be placed on the service list maintained by the Secretary of the Commission and will receive copies of all documents filed by the applicant and by all other parties. A party must submit 7 copies of filings made with the Commission and must mail a copy to the applicant and to every other party in the proceeding. Only parties to the proceeding can ask for court review of Commission orders in the proceeding.

    However, a person does not have to intervene in order to have comments considered. The second way to participate is by filing with the Secretary of the Commission, as soon as possible, an original and two copies of comments in support of or in opposition to this project. The Commission will consider these comments in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but the filing of a comment alone will not serve to make the filer a party to the proceeding. The Commission's rules require that persons filing comments in opposition to the project provide copies of their protests only to the party or parties directly involved in the protest.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commenter's will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commenter's will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commentary, will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, 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. See, 18 CFR 385.2001(a) (1) (iii) and the instructions on the Commission's Web site under the “e-Filing” link.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on December 21, 2016.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29221 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 11834-065] Brookfield White Pine Hydro, LLC; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Protests

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection:

    a. Type of Application: Application for Temporary Variance of Minimum Flow Requirements.

    b. Project No.: 11834-065.

    c. Date Filed: November 23, 2016.

    d. Applicant: Brookfield White Pine Hydro, LLC (licensee).

    e. Name of Project: Upper and Middle Dams Storage Hydroelectric Project.

    f. Location: Rapid River in Oxford and Franklin counties, Maine.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791(a)-825(r).

    h. Applicant Contact: Kelly Maloney, Manager, Licensing and Compliance, Brookfield White Pine Hydro LLC, 150 Main Street, Lewiston, ME 04240, Phone: (207) 755-5605.

    i. FERC Contact: Robert Ballantine, (202) 502-6289, or [email protected].

    j. Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, protests, and recommendations is 30 days from the issuance date of this notice (by December 29, 2016). The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file motions to intervene, protests, comments, or recommendations 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. Please include the project number (P-11834-065) on any comments, motions to intervene, protests, or recommendations filed.

    k. Description of Request: The licensee requests a temporary variance of the minimum flow requirements in the Rapid River below the Middle Dam development due to drought conditions. License Article 402, in part, requires the licensee to release from September 16 through the start of the spring refill of Richardson Lake, a minimum flow of 472 cubic feet per second (cfs). The licensee explains that due to drought conditions, Richardson Lake is below its long term average. Considering a dry long term precipitation forecast and the impending winter freeze up, the licensee is concerned that the reservoir may not refill by spring as intended, which could cause additional water level and minimum flow issues in the spring of 2017. Therefore in order to conserve as much fall runoff as possible, the licensee is requesting to reduce the minimum flow to 200 cfs until April 23, 2017, at which time a minimum flow of 382 cfs would be released in accordance with the requirements of Article 402.

    l. Locations of the Application: A copy of the application is available for inspection and reproduction at the Commission's Public Reference Room, located at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, or by calling (202) 502-8371. This filing may also 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.

    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: Any filing must (1) bear in all capital letters the title “COMMENTS”, “PROTEST”, or “MOTION TO INTERVENE” as applicable; (2) set forth in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) furnish the name, address, and telephone number of the person protesting or intervening; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 385.2001 through 385.2005. All comments, motions to intervene, or protests must set forth their evidentiary basis and otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 4.34(b). All comments, motions to intervene, or protests should relate to project works which are the subject of proposed action. Agencies may obtain copies of the application directly from the applicant. A copy of any protest or motion to intervene must be served upon each representative of the applicant specified in the particular application. If an intervener files comments or documents with the Commission relating to the merits of an issue that may affect the responsibilities of a particular resource agency, they must also serve a copy of the document on that resource agency. A copy of all other filings in reference to this application must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010.

    Dated: November 29, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29226 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP17-9-000] ANR Pipeline Company; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Wisconsin South Expansion Project, and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the Wisconsin South Expansion Project (Project) involving replacement and expansion of existing aboveground facilities by ANR Pipeline Company (ANR) in the area west and southwest of Lake Michigan. The Commission will use this EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.

    This notice announces the opening of the scoping process the Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested agencies on the project. You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the project. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EA. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC, on or before December 29, 2016.

    If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on November 3, 2016, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. CP17-9-000 to ensure they are considered as part of this proceeding.

    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for this project. State and local government representatives should notify their constituents of this proposed project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

    If you are a landowner receiving this notice, a pipeline company representative may contact you about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed facilities. The company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the Commission approves the project, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with state law.

    ANR provided landowners within 0.5 mile of proposed expansion facilities with a fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility On My Land? What Do I Need To Know?” This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent domain and how to participate in the Commission's proceedings. It is also available for viewing on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov).

    Public Participation

    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or [email protected] Please carefully follow these instructions so that your comments are properly recorded.

    (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;

    (2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “eRegister.” If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type; or

    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address. Be sure to reference the project docket number (CP17-9-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

    Summary of the Proposed Project

    ANR is proposing to expand ANR's delivery by 230,950 dekatherms per day (Dth/d), into the Northern Illinois and Wisconsin market areas by modifying five existing ANR facilities, to meet growing natural gas demand and enhance ANR's system reliability in Northern Illinois and Wisconsin.

    The Project would consist of the following facilities:

    1. Install one new 6,130-horsepower (HP) Solar Centaur 50 compressor unit and appurtenant facilities at ANR's existing Sandwich Compressor Station in Kendall County, Illinois;

    2. increase capacity of the existing Hampshire Meter Station in Kane County, Illinois from the current 300 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD) to 500 MMCFD;

    3. replace the existing 0.54-mile Line 332 Lateral located in Kane County, Illinois, which originates at the Hampshire Meter Station;

    4. increase capacity of ANR's existing Tiffany East Meter Station in Rock County, Wisconsin from the current 118 MMCFD to 237 MMCFD; and

    5. Re-stage an existing Saturn 10 turbine compressor unit at ANR's Kewaskum Compressor Station in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.

    The general location of the project facilities is shown in appendix 1.1

    1 The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at www.ferc.gov using the link called “eLibrary” or from the Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice.

    Land Requirements for Construction

    Most of the Project impacts would occur within existing facilities in areas that have been previously disturbed or are currently in agricultural use. A total of 56.23 acres would be used as construction workspace, of which 46.30 acres are existing permanent easement and 9.45 acres would be restored to pre-existing conditions after construction is completed. Approximately 0.16 acres would be converted to new permanent easement at the Hampshire Meter Station and 0.32 acres would be converted to new permanent easement for the Line 332 Lateral Replacement.

    The EA Process

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us 2 to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. This process is referred to as “scoping.” The main goal of the scoping process is to focus the analysis in the EA on the important environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EA. We will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EA.

    2 “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

    In the EA we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed project under these general headings:

    • Water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;

    • cultural resources;

    • vegetation and wildlife;

    • air quality and noise;

    • endangered and threatened species;

    • public safety; and

    • cumulative impacts

    We will also evaluate reasonable alternatives to the proposed project or portions of the project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas.

    The EA will present our independent analysis of the issues. The EA will be available in the public record through eLibrary. Depending on the comments received during the scoping process, we may also publish and distribute the EA to the public for an allotted comment period. We will consider all comments on the EA before making our recommendations to the Commission. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section, beginning on page [2].

    With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues of this project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EA.3 Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments provided under the Public Participation section of this notice.

    3 The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1501.6.

    Consultations Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

    In accordance with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's implementing regulations for section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, we are using this notice to initiate consultation with the applicable State Historic Preservation Office. (SHPO), and to solicit their views and those of other government agencies, interested Indian tribes, and the public on the project's potential effects on historic properties.4 We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPO as the project develops. On natural gas facility projects, the APE at a minimum encompasses all areas subject to ground disturbance (examples include construction right-of-way, contractor/pipe storage yards, compressor stations, and access roads). Our EA for this project will document our findings on the impacts on historic properties and summarize the status of consultations under section 106.

    4 The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's regulations are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Those regulations define historic properties as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

    Environmental Mailing List

    The environmental mailing list includes federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American Tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. This list also includes all affected landowners (as defined in the Commission's regulations) who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within certain distances of aboveground facilities, and anyone who submits comments on the project. We will update the environmental mailing list as the analysis proceeds to ensure that we send the information related to this environmental review to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the proposed project.

    If we publish and distribute the EA, copies of the EA will be sent to the environmental mailing list for public review and comment. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the document instead of the CD version or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached Information Request (appendix 2).

    Becoming an Intervenor

    In addition to involvement in the EA scoping process, you may want to become an “intervenor” which is an official party to the Commission's proceeding. Intervenors play a more formal role in the process and are able to file briefs, appear at hearings, and be heard by the courts if they choose to appeal the Commission's final ruling. An intervenor formally participates in the proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in the “Document-less Intervention Guide” under the “e-filing” link on the Commission's Web site. Motions to intervene are more fully described at http://www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/how-to/intervene.asp.

    Additional Information

    Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC Web site at www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., CP17-9-000). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.

    In addition, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Finally, public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission's calendar located at www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information.

    Dated: November 29, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29218 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP17-18-000] Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization

    Take notice that on November 18, 2016, Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (Columbia), 5151 San Felipe, Suite 2500, Houston, Texas 77056, filed in Docket No. CP17-18-000 a prior notice request pursuant to sections 157.205 and 157.208 of the Commission's regulations under the Natural Gas Act (NGA), and Columbia's blanket certificate issued in Docket No. CP83-76-000, to construct and modify certain facilities on its existing Line V located in Holmes, Wayne, Stark, Carroll, and Columbiana Counties, Ohio (Line V Project). Columbia states that its Line V Project involves the installation of bi-directional launcher/receivers allowing Line V to be pigged for integrity assessment of multiple high consequence areas. The existing Line V extends approximately 70.0 miles from Holmes Compressor Station located in Holmes County, Ohio to Dungannon Measuring Station located in Columbiana County, Ohio. Columbia states that the proposed Line V Project includes 45 modifications and estimates the cost of the project to be $14.3 million, all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection. The filing may also be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or TTY, contact (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions concerning this application may be directed to Robert D. Jackson, Manager, Certificates & Regulatory Administration, Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, 700 Louisiana Street, Suite 700, Houston, TX 77002-2700, by telephone at (832) 320-5487, or by email at [email protected]

    Any person or the Commission's staff may, within 60 days after issuance of the instant notice by the Commission, file pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission's Procedural Rules (18 CFR 385.214) a motion to intervene or notice of intervention and pursuant to section 157.205 of the regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.205), a protest to the request. If no protest is filed within the time allowed therefore, the proposed activity shall be deemed to be authorized effective the day after the time allowed for filing a protest. If a protest is filed and not withdrawn within 30 days after the allowed time for filing a protest, the instant request shall be treated as an application for authorization pursuant to section 7 of the NGA.

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either: Complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding, or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's FEIS or EA.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commenters will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commenters will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commenters, will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, 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 seven copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    Dated: November 28, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29227 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [P-6764-038] BMB Enterprises, Inc.; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Protests

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection:

    a. Type of Application: Amendment of License.

    b. Project No.: 6764-038.

    c. Date Filed: July 18, 2016.

    d. Applicant: BMB Enterprises, Inc.

    e. Name of Project: Sixmile Creek Hydroelectric Project.

    f. Location: The project is located on the Sixmile Creek in Sanpete County, Utah.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791 (a)-825(r).

    h. Applicant Contact: Mr. Brad F. Hutchings, BMB Enterprises, Inc., 282 North 1350 East, Bountiful, Utah 84010, (801) 298-7383.

    i. FERC Contact: Anumzziatta Purchiaroni, (202) 502-6191, [email protected].

    j. Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, and protests is 30 days from the issuance of this notice by the Commission. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file comments, motions to intervene, and protests 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-6764-038.

    k. Description of Request: The licensee is proposing to delete a portion of the project transmission line that is no longer needed for interconnection of the project and change the point of interconnection with Manti City. The proposed changes are within the project boundary and will have no impact on federal lands.

    l. Locations of the Applications: A copy of the application is available for inspection and reproduction at the Commission's Public Reference Room, located at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, or by calling (202) 502-8371. The filing may also 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 (i.e., P-6764). 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, call1-866-208-3676 or email [email protected], for TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    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, Motions to Intervene or Protests: Anyone may submit comments, a motion to intervene, or a protest 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, motions to intervene, or protests must be received on or before the specified comment date for the particular application.

    o. Filing and Service of Responsive Documents: Any filing must (1) bear in all capital letters the title “COMMENTS”, “MOTION TO INTERVENE”, or “PROTEST” as applicable; (2) set forth in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) furnish the name, address, and telephone number of the person protesting or intervening; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 385.2001 through 385.2005. All comments, motions to intervene, or protests must set forth their evidentiary basis and otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 4.34(b). All comments, motions to intervene, or protests should relate to project works which are the subject of the amendment request. Agencies may obtain copies of the application directly from the applicant. A copy of any protest or motion to intervene must be served upon each representative of the applicant specified in the particular application. If an intervener files comments or documents with the Commission relating to the merits of an issue that may affect the responsibilities of a particular resource agency, they must also serve a copy of the document on that resource agency. A copy of all other filings in reference to this application must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010.

    Dated: November 29, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29225 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP16-357-000; Docket No. CP16-361-000] Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC; Notice of Revised Schedule for Environmental Review of the Mountaineer Xpress Project and the Gulf Xpress Project

    This notice identifies the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff's revised schedule for the completion of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC's Mountaineer XPress Project and Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC's Gulf XPress Project. The first notice of schedule, issued on September 14, 2016, identified April 28, 2017 as the final EIS issuance date. However, due to recently filed re-routes and additional environmental information that required re-opening a scoping period, it was necessary for us to revise the published EIS schedule. Staff has now received all the information necessary to complete our review. As a result, staff has revised the schedule for issuance of the final EIS, based on a revised issuance of the draft EIS in February 2017.

    Schedule for Environmental Review

    Issuance of Notice of Availability of the final EIS: July 28, 2017.

    90-day Federal Authorization Decision Deadline: October 26, 2017.

    If another schedule change becomes necessary, an additional notice will be provided so that the relevant agencies are kept informed of the projects' progress.

    Additional Information

    In order to receive notification of the issuance of the EIS and to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription (http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp).

    Dated: November 29, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29217 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP16-496-000] Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.; Notice of Public Scoping Session for the Proposed Lone Star Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will hold a public scoping session as part of their preparation of an environmental assessment (EA) in Edna, Texas to receive comments on the Lone Star Project involving construction and operation of facilities by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. (Tennessee) in San Patricio and Jackson Counties, Texas. The date, time, and location of the meeting is detailed in the table below.

    FERC Public Scoping Session, Lone Star Project Date and time Location Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. a Edna Elementary School, 400 Apollo Drive, Edna, TX 77957. a FERC staff may conclude the session at 8:00 p.m. if all comments have been received. See session format below.

    This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for this project. State and local government representatives should notify their constituents of this proposed project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern. More information about the Commission's EA and Tennessee's project is available in the Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Lone Star Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues (NOI) issued on October 12, 2016. The NOI describes the scoping process that is under way seeking public participation in the environmental review of this project. Based on public concerns, this notice announces the continuation of the scoping process, initiated by the NOI, the Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested agencies on the project. The scoping period has been extended until December 21, 2016. The Commission invites you to attend the public scoping session.

    The primary goal of the scoping session is to identify the specific environmental issues and concerns that should be considered and addressed in the EA. Commission staff will accept verbal comments between 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the project. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EA. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before December 21, 2016.

    In addition to providing verbal comments at the public scoping session, you may submit comments in writing. It is important to note that verbal comments hold the same weight as written or electronically submitted comments.

    If you submitted comments in response to the October 12, 2016 NOI, you do not need to re-submit those comments.

    Session Format

    There will not be a formal presentation by Commission staff when the session begins; however, Commission staff will be available to answer your questions about the environmental review process. Your comments will be recorded individually by a stenographer (with FERC staff or representative present) and placed into the Commission's administrative record. A transcript of the scoping session will be entered into the FERC's publicly available eLibrary (see below for instructions on using eLibrary). The session format is as follows:

    • Tickets are handed out on a “first come, first serve” basis starting at 5:00 p.m. and ending promptly at 8:00 p.m.

    • Comments will be taken until 10:00 p.m. However, if no additional numbers have been handed out and all individuals who wish to provide comments have had an opportunity to do so, staff may conclude the session at 8:00 p.m.

    • Individuals are called in ticket number order to provide verbal comments to be transcribed by a court reporter for the public record.

    • Time limits on verbal comments may be enforced to ensure that all those wishing to comment have the opportunity to do so within the designated session time.

    • Written comments may be submitted in addition to, or in lieu of, verbal comments.

    • Additional materials about FERC and the environmental review process are available at information stations at the session.

    Session Conduct

    Proper conduct will help the sessions maintain a respectful atmosphere for attendees to learn about the FERC Environmental Review Process and to be able to provide comments effectively.

    • Loudspeakers, lighting, oversized visual aids, or other visual or audible disturbances are not permitted.

    • Disruptive video and photographic equipment may not be used.

    • Conversations should be kept to a reasonable volume. Attendees should be respectful of those providing verbal comments to the court reporters.

    • Recorded interviews are not permitted within the session space.

    • FERC reserves the right end the session if disruptions interfere with the opportunity for individuals to provide verbal comments or if there is a safety or security risk.

    Additional Information

    Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC Web site at www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., CP16-496). 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.

    Dated: November 28, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29216 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0827; FRL-9956-12-OAR] Proposed Determination on the Appropriateness of the Model Year 2022-2025 Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards Under the Midterm Evaluation AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability of a proposed order.

    SUMMARY:

    On or about November 30, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made available for public comment its proposed adjudicatory determination that the GHG standards currently in place for MY2022-2025 remain appropriate under the Clean Air Act and therefore should not be amended to be either more or less stringent. EPA made this Proposed Determination as part of its Midterm Evaluation of light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for model years (MY) 2022-2025, as required under its regulations. The Proposed Determination follows a Draft Technical Assessment Report (TAR) issued jointly by EPA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in July 2016. In the Draft TAR, the agencies examined a wide range of issues relevant to the appropriateness of the GHG emissions standards for MY2022-2025, and shared with the public its initial technical analyses of those issues. The Draft TAR was required by EPA's regulations as the first step in the Midterm Evaluation process. For the next step, the Proposed Determination, EPA has considered public comments submitted on the Draft TAR as well as other information, and has updated its analyses where appropriate. EPA will again consider public comments received on the Proposed Determination as it proceeds with the final step in the Midterm Evaluation, a Final Determination regarding the appropriateness of the MY2022-2025 standards.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before December 30, 2016. See the ADDRESSES and SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for more information about how to submit comments and where to find the Proposed Determination and related materials.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0827 to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or withdrawn. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the submission to the official dockets (i.e., located elsewhere on the web, cloud, or in another file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher Lieske, Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ), Assessment and Standards Division (ASD), Environmental Protection Agency, 2000 Traverwood Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48105; telephone number: (734) 214-4584; email address: [email protected], fax number: 734-214-4816.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Public Participation

    The Proposed Determination and related materials are available in the public docket noted above and at https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/midterm-evaluation-light-duty-vehicle-ghg-emissions. EPA requests comment on the Proposed Determination. This section describes how you can participate in this process.

    1. How do I prepare and submit comments?

    Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0827. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

    2. Tips for Preparing Your Comments

    When submitting comments, remember to:

    • Identify the action by docket number and other identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date and page number);

    • Explain why you agree or disagree, suggest alternatives, and substitute language for your requested changes;

    • Describe any assumptions and provide any technical information and/or data that you used;

    • If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be reproduced;

    • Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and suggest alternatives;

    • Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding the use of profanity or personal threats.

    Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period deadline identified in the DATES section above.

    3. How do I submit confidential business information?

    Do not submit CBI to EPA through http://www.regulations.gov or email. Clearly mark the part or all of the information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or CD ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI. In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.

    In addition, you should submit a copy from which you have deleted the claimed confidential business information to the Docket by one of the methods set forth above.

    4. How can I read the comments submitted by other people?

    You may read the materials placed in the docket for this document (e.g., the comments submitted in response to this document by other interested persons) at any time by going to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets. You may also read the materials at the EPA Docket Center (details provided at https://www.epa.gov/dockets/epa-docket-center-reading-room).

    You may read the materials placed in the docket for this document (e.g., the comments submitted in response to this document by other interested persons) at any time by going to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets. You may also read the materials at the EPA Docket Center (details provided at https://www.epa.gov/dockets/epa-docket-center-reading-room).

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Gina McCarthy, Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29255 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OW-2016-0150; FRL-9956-09-OW] General Permit for Ocean Disposal of Marine Mammal Carcasses AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability of final general permit.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a general permit to authorize the transport of marine mammal carcasses from the United States and disposal of marine mammal carcasses in ocean waters. Permit authorization is available for any officer, employee, agent, department, agency, or instrumentality of federal, state, tribal, or local unit of government, as well as any Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (MMHSRP) Stranding Agreement Holder, and any Alaskan Native, who already may take a marine mammal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA). The EPA's purpose in issuing a general permit is to expedite required authorizations for the ocean disposal of marine mammal carcasses that otherwise currently require the issuance of an emergency permit.

    DATES:

    This general permit is effective January 5, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    This permit is identified as Docket No. EPA-HQ-OW-2016-0150. The record is closed but available for inspection from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays, at the Water Docket, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., Room B-135, Washington, DC 20460. For access to docket materials, call 202-566-2426, to schedule an appointment.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Brian Rappoli, Ocean and Coastal Protection Division, Office of Water, 4504T, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202-566-1548; fax number: 202-566-1546; email address: [email protected]

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

    The general permit authorization is available for any officer, employee, agent, department, agency, or instrumentality of federal, state, tribal, or local unit of government, as well as any MMHSRP Stranding Agreement Holder, and any Alaskan Native, who already may take a marine mammal under the MMPA and ESA, to transport from the United States and dispose of a marine mammal carcass in ocean waters.

    B. Does this action require the disposal of marine mammal carcasses in ocean waters?

    The general permit does not require ocean disposal; it merely authorizes ocean disposal when there is a need for such disposals.

    II. Federal Law and International Conventions

    The EPA establishes general terms of authorization under Title I of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), sometimes referred to as the Ocean Dumping Act, for the ocean disposal of the marine mammal carcasses. As defined under the MMPA, which is relevant for the purposes of this permit as explained later, the term “marine mammal” means any mammal that is morphologically adapted to the marine environment (including sea otters and members of the orders Sirenia, Pinnipedia, and Cetacea) or primarily inhabits the marine environment (e.g., polar bears). Other than for Alaskan Natives who would engage in subsistence uses, EPA does not anticipate that ocean disposal will be necessary for marine mammal carcasses except in unusual circumstances, such as but not limited to (1) beached and floating whale or large pinniped carcasses and (2) mass strandings of other marine mammals.

    Transportation for the purpose of disposal of any material in the ocean requires authorization under the MPRSA. In the past, the EPA has permitted the ocean disposal of cetacean (whales and related species) and pinniped (seals and related species) carcasses on a case-by-case basis, with emergency permits. The terms of this general permit are based on the EPA's past emergency permitting and will enable more timely authorization of such ocean disposals. The general permit applies to the transport of marine mammal carcasses from the United States for the purpose of ocean disposal.

    Living marine mammals are protected by federal law, including the MMPA, the ESA, the Whaling Convention Act (WCA), the Fur Seal Act, and international conventions, including the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, which established the International Whaling Commission (IWC), and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Although the general permit applies only to marine mammal carcasses, certain IWC regulations are nevertheless relevant. Specifically, IWC regulations recognize that indigenous or aboriginal subsistence whaling is not the same as the commercial whaling that is subject to the IWC's whaling moratorium. As relevant to subsistence whaling in the United States, the IWC sets catch limits for the Western Arctic stock of bowhead whales based upon the needs of Native hunters in Alaskan villages. The hunt is managed cooperatively by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission under the WCA and the MMPA.

    The Stranding Response Program of the NMFS and MMHSRP Stranding Agreement Holders are provided authority under this general permit because Stranding Agreement Holders are authorized to take marine mammals subject to the provisions of the 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 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the Regulations Governing the Taking, Importing, and Exporting of Endangered and Threatened Fish and Wildlife (50 CFR parts 222-226), and/or the Fur Seal Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1151 et seq.). As such, MMHSRP Stranding Agreement Holders may have a need for ocean disposal should stranded marine mammals die.

    III. Strandings and Beachings

    Marine mammals that have died or have become sick or injured reach the ocean shoreline by a variety of mechanisms. Possible mechanisms include: Beaching, which involves a marine mammal carcass being driven ashore by currents or winds; stranding (single or multiple) of live marine mammal(s) that subsequently die; and transport on the bow of vessels. In most stranding cases, the causes of marine mammal strandings are unknown, but some causes may include: Disease, parasite infestation, harmful algal blooms, injuries due to ship strikes, fishery entanglements, pollution exposure, unusual weather or oceanographic events, trauma, and starvation. While many cetaceans and pinnipeds die every year, most carcasses never reach the shore; rather, the carcasses are consumed by other organisms or decompose sufficiently to sink to the ocean bottom where, depending upon size, the carcass may form the basis of an “organic fall” (e.g., kelp, wood, and whale falls) ecosystem.

    Stranding or beaching events may pose a risk to public health due to the potential for transfer to the public of communicable diseases (e.g., brucellosis, poxvirus and mycobacteriosis) from cetacean or pinniped carcasses. Cetacean or pinniped carcasses present a significant disposal concern due not only to the size of some carcasses but also due to the frequency with which carcasses reach the shoreline. For example, between February 2010 and February 2014, over 1000 cetacean carcasses were found along the coast of the northern Gulf of Mexico.

    IV. Hazard to Public Safety and Navigation

    A floating carcass near shore may pose a risk to public safety before making land fall to the extent it might attract predators (e.g., sharks) to a recreation use area in nearby waters. Floating carcasses near shore (e.g., in a harbor) also may pose a hazard to navigation. Per regulations promulgated by the Army Corps of Engineers, at 33 CFR 245.20, the determination of a navigation hazard is made jointly by the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). If such a determination is made, the Army Corps of Engineers determines appropriate remedial action as described in section 245.25, which may include removal of the carcass(es). Permit authorization to transport for the purpose of ocean disposal will be available if the removal operation requires ocean disposal of such carcasses.

    V. Disposal and Management Options

    For a dead marine mammal found along the shore, generally available options for marine mammal carcass disposal and management include: Allowing the carcass to decompose in place; burial in place; transportation to a landfill; incineration; and towing to sea for ocean disposal. Additional disposal options, such as rendering, composting, and alkaline hydrolysis, will depend on the availability of appropriate facilities. Selection of an option will depend upon factors such as carcass size, number of carcasses, availability of local resources, and/or location. This general permit concerns only the towing to sea for ocean disposal option.

    A. In-Place Decomposition

    Allowing a carcass to decompose in place may be an acceptable option if the location of the carcass is on a remote portion of the shoreline that is sufficiently distant from population centers so that the carcass does not pose a risk for public health and animal health, or result in unacceptable olfactory or visual aesthetic impacts. This option may be the most practical when the carcass is located in an area that is inaccessible to heavy equipment, thereby making other options, such as burying in place or moving to a landfill, infeasible.

    B. In-Place and Landfill Burial

    Burial of a carcass may be used as a disposal option, especially when the carcass is located near population centers or near areas used for recreational activities. A carcass may be buried near where the animal strands or beaches, usually above the high water mark, or transported inland for disposal, for example, at a municipal landfill. Disposal by trench burial involves excavating a trough, placing the carcass in the trench, and covering the carcass with the excavated material. The burial disposal option depends on the availability of appropriate excavation equipment but may be limited by potential environmental damage (e.g., destruction of dunes, beach grass, or nesting sites) caused by the transportation and operation of excavation equipment. While burial may be a cost-effective option for carcass disposal, it may not necessarily eliminate disease agents and disease transmission vectors that may be present, consequently posing a potential risk to human health and animal health.

    C. Incineration

    The incineration option for carcass disposal, which includes both open-air burning and fixed-facility incineration, offers an advantage in terms of pathogen destruction. However, due to the high water content of marine mammal carcasses, incineration costs may limit this option to small carcasses. While open-air burning of carcasses may yield a relatively benign ash, the amount of particulate matter and pyrogenic compounds released to the atmosphere by open-air burning may be significant and may require authorization (or may be prohibited) under state or local air pollution control laws. Additionally, the EPA presumes that open-air burning may require the use of hydrocarbon fuels, which could result in contamination of the underlying soil. Fixed-facility incinerators, which include small and large incineration facilities, crematoria, and power plant incinerators, offer the advantage of being regulated facilities that meet local and/or federal emission standards; however, the use of the fixed-facility option depends upon the transportability of the carcass.

    D. Ocean Disposal

    Sometimes, the only available carcass disposal option is towing to sea for ocean disposal. Ocean disposal may be appropriate after consideration and exhaustion of land-based alternatives, provided that an acceptable ocean dumping site can be identified, for example, where the release point is sufficiently far offshore that currents and winds are not expected to return the carcass to shore, and the carcass is not expected to pose a hazard to navigation. Positive buoyancy of the carcass may occur, depending on the time elapsed, due to the natural progression of the decomposition process. Consequently, appropriate carcass preparation (e.g., attachment of weights) may be necessary if the carcass must be sunk, rather than released, at the ocean disposal site so that the carcass will not return to shore or pose a hazard to navigation.

    VI. Potential Consequences of Marine Mammal Carcass Disposal in the Ocean

    Most deep-sea benthic ecosystems are organic-carbon limited and, in many cases, are dependent upon organic matter from surface waters. A sunken carcass provides a large load of organic carbon to the sea floor. These local enrichments of the sea floor result in the establishment of specialized assemblages. Large organic falls occur naturally on the sea floor. Over 20 macro faunal species are known to exclusively inhabit the microenvironment formed by large organic falls and over 30 other macro faunal species are known to inhabit these sites.

    The deep-sea benthic ecosystem response to whale falls has been the subject of scientific study and several stages of succession have been observed in the assemblages. The duration of these stages varies greatly with carcass size. The first stage is marked by the formation of bathyal scavenger assemblages that include hagfishes, sleeper sharks, crabs, and amphipods. During the second stage, sediments surrounding the carcass, which have become enriched with organic carbon, become colonized by high densities of worms (e.g., Dorvilleidae, Chrysopetalidae). Once the consumption of soft tissue is complete, decomposition proceeds dominantly via anaerobic microbial digestion of bone lipids. The efflux of sulfides from the bones may, depending upon the size of the skeleton, provide for the formation of chemoautotrophic assemblages, which is the third stage of succession. These chemoautotrophic assemblages consist of organisms such as heterotrophic bacteria, mussels, snails, worms, limpets, and amphipods.

    Considering the available scientific information on organic falls, the EPA finds that the potential effects of carcass disposal are minimal for the following reasons: (1) Except for happenstance, cetacean and pinniped carcasses would sink to the ocean floor rather than wash ashore; (2) the formation of an organic fall is a naturally occurring phenomenon with no known adverse environmental impacts; and (3) towing or other transportation of a carcass to sea for ocean disposal, when other disposal options are not viable, presents a minimal perturbation to a naturally occurring phenomenon.

    The EPA's findings are consistent with the statutory considerations applicable to permit issuance under the MPRSA because: The general permit requires consideration of land-based alternatives; carcass disposal will not significantly affect human health, fisheries resources, or marine ecosystems; and carcass disposal will not result in permanent adverse effects.

    VII. Regulatory Background

    MPRSA Section 102(a)(1), 33 U.S.C. 1412(a)(1), requires a permit for any person to transport any material from the United States for the purpose of dumping into ocean waters; Section 102(a)(2) requires that agencies or instrumentalities of the United States obtain a permit in order to transport any material from any location for the purpose of ocean dumping. MPRSA Section 104(c), 33 U.S.C. 1414(c), and the EPA regulations at 40 CFR 220.3(a) authorize the issuance of a general permit under the MPRSA for the dumping of materials which have a minimal adverse environmental impact and are generally disposed of in small quantities. The towing (or other transportation) of a marine mammal carcass by any person for disposal at sea constitutes transportation of material for the purpose of dumping in ocean waters, and thus is subject to the MPRSA. Because the material to be disposed will consist of the carcass or carcasses, there will be no materials present that are prohibited by 40 CFR 227.5.

    VIII. Consideration of Alaskan Natives Engaged in Subsistence Uses

    The general permit includes specific considerations that apply to Alaskan Native persons engaged in subsistence uses. For purposes of this general permit, EPA intends the term “Alaskan Native” to be based on the statutory term defined at 16 U.S.C. 1371(b) that refers to “any Indian, Aleut, or Eskimo who resides in Alaska and who dwells on the coast of the North Pacific Ocean or the Arctic Ocean” who takes a marine mammal for subsistence purposes or for purposes of creating and selling authentic native articles of handicrafts and clothing and provided such taking is not in a wasteful manner.

    The general permit authorizes ocean disposal of marine mammal carcasses by an Alaskan Native engaged in subsistence uses for two reasons. First, marine mammals are comparatively abundant and widely distributed throughout coastal Alaska, and Alaskan Natives depend upon these natural resources for many customary and traditional uses. Collectively, these customary and traditional uses (e.g., food, clothing) are referred to as “subsistence uses.” Alaskan Native subsistence uses of marine mammals have been ongoing for thousands of years. More recently, the United States has recognized the importance of subsistence uses of marine mammals by Alaskan Natives through enactment of the MMPA, which expressly exempts Alaskan Natives engaged in subsistence uses from the general prohibition on “taking” marine mammals under certain circumstances (16 U.S.C. 1371(b)). The MPRSA, by comparison, does not include a similar exemption for the transport and disposal in ocean waters by Alaskan Natives when marine mammal carcasses (or parts thereof) have no further use for subsistence purposes. The general permit accommodates the absence of a similar exemption by facilitating authorization of ocean disposal of marine mammals by Alaskan Natives.

    Second, many coastal communities of Alaskan Natives engaged in subsistence uses are in remote locations and thus face a time-critical public safety issue, for example, when a marine mammal carcass washes ashore near a village or town, or a marine mammal is harvested or salvaged and the carcass is hauled ashore near a village or town. Such carcasses may attract bears or other scavenger animals, which may increase the risk of human injury or mortality. For these reasons, it would be prudent to expedite the removal and, if necessary, ocean disposal of such carcasses as soon as practical.

    With these considerations in mind, EPA's intent in developing the Alaskan Native-specific permit conditions (see Section B) is, to the maximum extent allowable, to avoid unnecessary interference with long-standing subsistence uses and traditional cultural practices, and to recognize the unique circumstances faced by Alaskan Natives engaged in subsistence uses. In issuing this general permit, the EPA does not intend to change, alter or otherwise affect subsistence uses of marine mammals by Alaskan Natives engaged in subsistence uses. Section B sets forth requirements designed to address these considerations while also complying with the MPRSA and the EPA's accompanying regulations at 40 CFR Subchapter H. The primary differences between Sections A and B relate to federal agency concurrence, distance from land requirements for ocean disposal, and reporting requirements.

    To further clarify, the general permit does not in any way require ocean disposal of marine mammal carcasses; it merely authorizes ocean disposal of marine mammal carcasses when there is a need for such disposals. Additionally, the general permit is not intended to and does not regulate: Any subsistence activities of Alaskan Natives, including hunting, harvesting, salvaging, hauling, dressing, butchering, distribution and consumption of marine mammals (or any other species used for subsistence purposes); the transportation and dumping of marine mammal carcasses on land, such as in whale boneyards or in inland waters (i.e., waters that are landward of the baseline of the territorial sea, such as rivers, lakes and certain enclosed bays or harbors); or leaving marine mammal carcasses to decompose in place on sea ice (or in a hole or lead in the sea ice), where there is no transportation by vessel or other vehicle for the purpose of ocean disposal. The purpose of this general permit is to expedite required authorizations that EPA otherwise currently manages through the issuance of an emergency permit for the ocean disposal of marine mammal carcasses.

    IX. Discussion

    Considering the information presented in the previous section, the EPA determines that the potential adverse environmental impacts of marine mammal carcass disposal at sea are minimal and that marine mammal carcasses often must be disposed of in emergency situations to mitigate threats to public safety (e.g., recreational uses in nearby waters) as well as risks of navigation hazards. As such, issuance of a general permit is appropriate under the MPRSA.

    Authorization under Section A of the general permit is available to federal, state, and local government officials and employees acting in the course of official duties and to MMHSRP Stranding Agreement Holders. Section A authorizes such persons to transport and dispose of marine mammal carcasses in ocean waters. Section A requires that each such general permittee consult with the MMHSRP of NMFS—and recommends that each such general permittee consults with the applicable USCG District Office—prior to initiating any ocean disposal activities with respect to a marine mammal carcass. General permittees authorized under Section A must consult with and obtain concurrence from the applicable EPA Regional Office on selection of a disposal site, which must be seaward of the three mile territorial sea lines demarcated on nautical charts, and submit a report to the applicable EPA Regional Office on the ocean disposal activities.

    Alaskan Natives engaged in subsistence uses are not required to, but may, transport and dispose of marine mammal carcasses in ocean waters. When disposal in ocean waters is the selected disposal approach, Section B of the general permit authorizes any Alaskan Native engaged in subsistence uses to transport and dispose of a marine mammal carcass in ocean waters. Under Section B, the Alaskan Native general permittee selects an ocean disposal site sufficiently far offshore so that currents and winds are not expected to return the carcass to shore and the carcass is not expected to pose a hazard to navigation and afterwards submits an annual report to EPA Region 10 on ocean disposal activities conducted in the prior calendar year. Section B does not require a statement of need for selecting ocean disposal nor does it specify a distance requirement. The State of Alaska has waived certification under Clean Water Act Section 401 for the Section B authorization.

    X. Response to Comments Received

    The EPA received seven comments during the public comment period. The EPA agrees with several of the recommendations received via the public comment process. As a consequence, the EPA has made several changes to the general permit.

    In response to comments, the EPA added language to the General Information section to clarify that the general permit does not require ocean disposal of marine mammal carcasses. In addition, the EPA revised the requirements of Section A(2) regarding concurrence on the ocean disposal site. Because the presence of a marine mammal carcass near human habitation or recreation areas may pose a time-critical public safety issue, the requirement to obtain concurrences from multiple agencies might unnecessarily delay the disposal. In response to comments and in order to expedite ocean disposals in time-critical public safety situations, the general permittee authorized under Section A need only obtain concurrences from the appropriate EPA Regional Office and such concurrence may initially be provided via telephone. Finally, the EPA revised the reporting requirements of Section B applicable to Alaskan Natives engaged in subsistence uses. Under revisions to Section B, an Alaskan Native permittee may provide reports to EPA Region 10 on an annual basis. The EPA's intention regarding annual reporting for Section B permittees is to mitigate any potential burden on Alaskan Natives engaged in subsistence uses who may dispose of marine mammal carcasses in the ocean.

    XI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The information collections under this general permit are covered under the MPRSA Information Collection Request (ICR) that has been submitted for approval to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act. The ICR document that the EPA prepared for all of MPRSA activities has been assigned EPA ICR number 0824.06.

    Section 104(e) of the MPRSA authorizes the EPA to collect information to ensure that ocean dumping is appropriately regulated and will not harm human health or the marine environment, based on applying the Ocean Dumping Criteria. To meet United States' reporting obligation under the London Convention, the EPA also reports some of this information in the annual United States Ocean Dumping Report, which is sent to the International Maritime Organization.

    Respondents/affected entities: Any officer, employee, agent, department, agency, or instrumentality of federal, state, tribal, or local unit of government, as well as any MMHSRP Stranding Agreement Holder, and any Alaskan Native engaged in subsistence uses who disposes of a marine mammal carcass in ocean waters will be affected by the general permit. Under this general permit, respondents do not need to request permit authorization because the general permit already authorizes ocean disposal of a marine mammal carcass by an eligible person.

    Respondent's obligation to respond: Pursuant to 40 CFR 221.1-221.2, the EPA requires all ocean dumping permittees to supply specified reporting information.

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

    This action has tribal implications. However, the general permit will neither impose substantial direct compliance costs on federally recognized tribal governments, nor preempt tribal law. The general permit has tribal implications because it may affect traditional practices of some tribes.

    Dated: November 23, 2016. Marcus Zobrist, Acting Director, Oceans and Coastal Protection Division, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds, Office of Water, Environmental Protection Agency. General Permit for Ocean Disposal of Marine Mammal Carcasses A. General Requirements for Governmental Entities and Stranding Agreement Holders

    Except as provided in Section B below, any officer, employee, agent, department, agency, or instrumentality of federal, state, tribal, or local unit of government, and any MMHSRP Stranding Agreement Holder, is hereby granted a general permit to transport and dispose of marine mammal carcasses in ocean waters subject to the following conditions:

    1. The permittee shall consult with the MMHSRP of NMFS prior to initiating any disposal activities. A fact sheet containing points of contact at MMHSRP is available at http://www.epa.gov/ocean-dumping/ocean-disposal-marine-mammal-carcasses.

    2. A disposal site must be seaward of the three mile territorial sea demarcated on nautical charts. The permittee shall consult with and obtain written concurrence (via email or letter) from the applicable EPA Regional Office on ocean disposal site selection. Because the presence of a marine mammal carcass near human habitation or recreation areas may pose a time-critical public safety issue, the permittee may obtain concurrence via telephone from the applicable EPA Regional Office provided that the permittee subsequently obtains written concurrence (via email or letter). A fact sheet containing points of contact at EPA is available at http://www.epa.gov/ocean-dumping/ocean-disposal-marine-mammal-carcasses.

    3. If a determination is made that the carcass must be sunk, rather than released at the disposal site, the transportation and disposal of materials necessary to ensure the sinking of the carcass are also authorized for ocean dumping under this general permit. When materials are to be used to sink the carcass, the permittee must first consult with and obtain written concurrence (via email or letter) from the applicable EPA Regional Office on the selection of materials. Any materials described in 40 CFR 227.5 (prohibited materials) or 40 CFR 227.6 (constituents prohibited as other than trace amounts) shall not be used. The transportation and dumping of any materials other than the materials necessary to ensure the sinking of the carcass are not authorized under this general permit and constitute a violation of the MPRSA. Because the presence of a marine mammal carcass near human habitation or recreation areas may pose a time-critical public safety issue, the permittee may obtain concurrence via telephone from the applicable EPA Regional Office provided that the permittee subsequently obtains written concurrence (via email or letter).

    4. The permittee shall submit a report on the ocean disposal activities authorized by this general permit to the applicable EPA Regional Office within 30 days after carcass disposal. This report shall include:

    a. A description of the carcass(es) disposed;

    b. The date and time of the disposal as well as the latitude and longitude of the disposal site. Latitude and longitude of the disposal site shall be reported at the highest degree of accuracy available on board the vessel or vehicle that transported the carcass (e.g., onboard geographic position system technology);

    c. The name, title, affiliation, and contact information of the person in charge of the disposal operation and the person in charge of the vessel or vehicle that transported the carcass (if different than the person in charge of the disposal);

    d. A statement of need and rationale for selecting ocean disposal rather than other disposal options; and

    5. The permittee shall immediately notify EPA of any violation of any condition of this general permit.

    B. Requirements for any Alaskan Native Engaged in Subsistence Uses

    Notwithstanding Section A, any Alaskan Native engaged in subsistence uses is hereby granted a general permit to transport and dispose of marine mammal carcasses in ocean waters subject to the following conditions:

    1. The permittee shall submit a report (via email or letter) on all disposal activities authorized by this general permit that the permittee has conducted in the prior calendar year. Reports shall be submitted to EPA Region 10 within 30 days of the end of the calendar year. A fact sheet containing contact information for EPA Region 10 is available at http://www.epa.gov/ocean-dumping/ocean-disposal-marine-mammal-carcasses. This report shall include:

    a. The number and type of carcasses disposed;

    b. A description of the general vicinity in which the carcasses were disposed; and

    c. The name and contact information of the permittee.

    2. Where ocean disposal is the selected approach, marine mammal carcasses must be towed or otherwise transported to a site offshore where, based on available information, which may include local or traditional knowledge, currents and winds are not expected to return the carcass to shore and the carcass is not expected to pose a hazard to navigation.

    [FR Doc. 2016-29250 Filed 12-5-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OAR-2015-0072; FRL-9955-78-OAR] Release of the Final Integrated Review Plan for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the availability of the final document titled Integrated Review Plan for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter (IRP). The IRP presents the planned approach and anticipated schedule for the review of the air quality criteria for particulate matter (PM) and the primary and secondary national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for PM. The primary and secondary NAAQS for PM are set to protect the public health and public welfare, respectively, from exposures to PM in ambient air.

    DATES:

    The IRP will be available on or about December 5, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The IRP will be available primarily via the Internet at https://www3.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/standards/pm/s_pm_2014_pd.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Scott Jenkins, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (Mail code C504-06), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711; telephone number: 919-541-1167; email: