Federal Register Vol. 81, No.236,

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 236 (December 8, 2016)

Page Range88609-88972
FR Document

81_FR_236
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
81 FR 88671 - Sunshine Act Notice of Public Meeting AgendaPDF
81 FR 88609 - Safeguarding the Nation From the Impacts of Invasive SpeciesPDF
81 FR 88681 - Farm Credit Administration Board; Sunshine Act; Regular MeetingPDF
81 FR 88700 - 60 Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: American Healthy Homes Survey IIPDF
81 FR 88627 - Application of the Fair Housing Act's Discriminatory Effects Standard to Insurance; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 88636 - Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter: Revision of Federal Implementation Plan Requirements for TexasPDF
81 FR 88681 - National Lakes Assessment 2012 Final ReportPDF
81 FR 88679 - Final Revision to the PAG Manual: Protective Action Guides and Planning Guidance for Radiological IncidentsPDF
81 FR 88705 - Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.: Grant of Expansion of RecognitionPDF
81 FR 88663 - Production Activity Not Authorized Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 134-Chattanooga, Tennessee, Wacker Polysilicon North America LLC, (Polysilicon), Charleston, TennesseePDF
81 FR 88707 - Anti-Trafficking Risk Management Best Practices & Mitigation Considerations GuidancePDF
81 FR 88707 - Public Availability of Fiscal Year 2014 and Fiscal Year 2015 Agency Inventories Under the Federal Activities Inventory Reform ActPDF
81 FR 88724 - Type Certificates 3A2 and A-772PDF
81 FR 88616 - Special Conditions: Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. (BHTI), Model 525 Helicopters; Interaction of Systems and Structures.PDF
81 FR 88685 - Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment and RecommendationsPDF
81 FR 88702 - Final Environmental Impact Statement Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan for Cape Lookout National Seashore, North CarolinaPDF
81 FR 88712 - New Postal ProductsPDF
81 FR 88658 - Solicitation of Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)PDF
81 FR 88675 - Valley Crossing Pipeline, LLC; Notice of ApplicationPDF
81 FR 88676 - Combined Notice of Filings #2PDF
81 FR 88674 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
81 FR 88674 - Footprint Power Salem Harbor Development LP; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
81 FR 88671 - Rubicon NYP Corp; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
81 FR 88673 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
81 FR 88677 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
81 FR 88672 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
81 FR 88704 - Seamless Refined Copper Pipe and Tube From China and Mexico; DeterminationPDF
81 FR 88725 - Environmental Impact Statement: Rockingham County, New HampshirePDF
81 FR 88639 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Notice of 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's Whale as Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)PDF
81 FR 88687 - A Performance Test Protocol for Closed System Transfer Devices Used During Pharmacy Compounding and Administration of Hazardous Drugs; Extension of Comment PeriodPDF
81 FR 88726 - Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; DiabetesPDF
81 FR 88727 - Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; DiabetesPDF
81 FR 88682 - Scientific Information Request on Short and Long Term Outcomes After Bariatric Therapies in the Medicare PopulationPDF
81 FR 88710 - Withdrawal of Regulatory Guides 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5PDF
81 FR 88688 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestedPDF
81 FR 88701 - Eastern States: Filing of Plat of Survey; MississippiPDF
81 FR 88703 - Certain Single-Molecule Nucleic Acid Sequencing Systems and Reagents, Consumables, and Software for Use With Same; Institution of InvestigationPDF
81 FR 88694 - Approval of Petrospect, Inc., as a Commercial GaugerPDF
81 FR 88724 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in the Heart of Europe” ExhibitionPDF
81 FR 88663 - Glycine From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of the Expedited Sunset Review of the Antidumping Duty OrderPDF
81 FR 88684 - Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act ReviewPDF
81 FR 88709 - State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Policy Advisory Committee (SLTPS-PAC)PDF
81 FR 88705 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery ActPDF
81 FR 88702 - Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public InterestPDF
81 FR 88662 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD)PDF
81 FR 88661 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 88668 - 36(b)(1) Arms Sales NotificationPDF
81 FR 88666 - 36(b)(1) Arms Sales NotificationPDF
81 FR 88710 - Instructions for Recording and Reporting Occupational Radiation Dose DataPDF
81 FR 88615 - Plant-Specific Applicability of Transition Break Size Specified in 10 CFR 50.46aPDF
81 FR 88714 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending Chapter Nine of the NYSE Listed Company ManualPDF
81 FR 88664 - Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys in the Gulf of MexicoPDF
81 FR 88713 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Bats BZX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Make Non-Substantive Changes to the Equity Options Fee SchedulePDF
81 FR 88716 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Exchange's Transaction Fees at Rule 7047PDF
81 FR 88720 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rule 12400 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes and Rule 13400 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Industry Disputes Relating To Broadening Chairperson Eligibility in ArbitrationPDF
81 FR 88671 - Manual for Courts-Martial; Publication of Supplementary MaterialsPDF
81 FR 88681 - Performance Review Board; Establishment of MembersPDF
81 FR 88724 - Minnesota Disaster #MN-00059PDF
81 FR 88724 - Surrender of License of Small Business Investment CompanyPDF
81 FR 88696 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Customer Satisfaction SurveysPDF
81 FR 88696 - Minnesota; Amendment No. 1 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
81 FR 88694 - Virginia; Amendment No. 3 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
81 FR 88695 - Kansas; Amendment No. 2 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
81 FR 88695 - North Carolina; Amendment No. 15 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
81 FR 88728 - Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncompliancePDF
81 FR 88657 - Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory CommitteePDF
81 FR 88687 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 88635 - Privacy Act of 1974: Implementation of Exemptions; Department of Homeland Security/United States Coast Guard-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of RecordsPDF
81 FR 88697 - Privacy Act of 1974; Department of Homeland Security/United States Coast Guard-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of RecordsPDF
81 FR 88627 - Dicamba; Pesticide TolerancesPDF
81 FR 88621 - Airworthiness Directives; M7 Aerospace LLCPDF
81 FR 88634 - Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 88657 - Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan AmendmentPDF
81 FR 88886 - Title I-Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged-Academic AssessmentsPDF
81 FR 88940 - Every Student Succeeds-Innovative Assessment Demonstration AuthorityPDF
81 FR 88690 - Privacy Act of 1974; Notice To Establish an Exempt System of RecordsPDF
81 FR 88637 - Privacy Act; ImplementationPDF
81 FR 88619 - Airworthiness Directives; Bombardier, Inc. AirplanesPDF
81 FR 88806 - Income and Currency Gain or Loss With Respect to a Section 987 QBUPDF
81 FR 88854 - Recognition and Deferral of Section 987 Gain or LossPDF
81 FR 88882 - Recognition and Deferral of Section 987 Gain or LossPDF
81 FR 88623 - Airworthiness Directives; Bombardier, Inc. AirplanesPDF
81 FR 88732 - Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle OperatorsPDF

Issue

81 236 Thursday, December 8, 2016 Contents Agency Health Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality NOTICES Requests for Scientific Information: Short and Long Term Outcomes after Bariatric Therapies in the Medicare Population, 88682-88684 2016-29408 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Forest Service

See

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

See

Office of Advocacy and Outreach

Census Bureau Census Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 88661-88662 2016-29394 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics, 88662-88663 2016-29395 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 88684-88687 2016-29399 2016-29428 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Performance Test Protocol for Closed System Transfer Devices Used During Pharmacy Compounding and Administration of Hazardous Drugs, 88687 2016-29411 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 88687-88688 2016-29373 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: RPG National Cross-Site Evaluation and Evaluation Technical Assistance, 88688-88690 2016-29406 Commerce Commerce Department See

Census Bureau

See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Defense Department Defense Department NOTICES Arms Sales, 88666-88671 2016-29393 2016-29392 Manual for Courts-Martial; Supplementary Materials, 88671 2016-29384 Education Department Education Department RULES Every Student Succeeds: Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority, 88940-88972 2016-29126 Title I--Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged—Academic Assessments, 88886-88938 2016-29128 Election Election Assistance Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 88671 2016-29592 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Pesticide Tolerances: Dicamba, 88627-88634 2016-29245 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Texas: Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter, 88636-88637 2016-29442 NOTICES Guidance: PAG Manual: Protective Action Guides and Planning Guidance for Radiological Incidents, 88679-88681 2016-29439 National Lakes Assessment 2012 Final Report, 88681 2016-29440 Farm Credit Farm Credit Administration NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 88681 2016-29491 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Bombardier, Inc. Airplanes, 88619-88621, 88623-88627 2016-28210 2016-28602 M7 Aerospace LLC, 88621-88623 2016-29242 Final Special Conditions: Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. (BHTI), Model 525 Helicopters; Interaction of Systems and Structures, 88616-88619 2016-29431 NOTICES Type Certificates: 3A2 and A-772, 88724-88725 2016-29432 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Public Assistance Customer Satisfaction Surveys, 88696 2016-29380 Major Disaster Declarations: Kansas; Amendment No. 2, 88695 2016-29377 Minnesota; Amendment No. 1, 88696-88697 2016-29379 North Carolina; Amendment No. 15, 88695 2016-29376 Virginia; Amendment No. 3, 88694-88695 2016-29378 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Applications: Valley Crossing Pipeline, LLC, 88675-88676 2016-29423 Combined Filings, 88672-88678 2016-29415 2016-29416 2016-29417 2016-29420 2016-29421 2016-29422 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: Footprint Power Salem Harbor Development LP, 88674 2016-29419 Rubicon NYP Corp, 88671-88672 2016-29418 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Rockingham County, NH, 88725-88726 2016-29413 Federal Maritime Federal Maritime Commission NOTICES Performance Review Board Membership, 88681-88682 2016-29383 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration RULES Commercial Driver's License Requirements: Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators, 88732-88803 2016-28012 NOTICES Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications: Diabetes, 88726-88728 2016-29409 2016-29410 Federal Procurement Federal Procurement Policy Office NOTICES Guidance: Anti-Trafficking Risk Management Best Practices and Mitigation Considerations, 88707 2016-29434 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Production Activities: Wacker Polysilicon North America LLC, Foreign-Trade Zone 134, Chattanooga, TN, 88663 2016-29435 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan Amendment, 88657-88658 2016-29188 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Children and Families Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

PROPOSED RULES Privacy Act; Implementation, 88637-88639 2016-29058
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

PROPOSED RULES Privacy Act; Systems of Records: Department of Homeland Security/United States Coast Guard-031 USCG Law Enforcement, 88635-88636 2016-29342 NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records: Department of Homeland Security/United States Coast Guard-031 USCG Law Enforcement, 88697-88700 2016-29341
Housing Housing and Urban Development Department RULES Application of the Fair Housing Act's Discriminatory Effects Standard to Insurance; Correction, 88627 2016-29446 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: American Healthy Homes Survey II, 88700-88701 2016-29447 Information Information Security Oversight Office NOTICES Meetings: State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Policy Advisory Committee, 88709 2016-29398 Interior Interior Department See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service RULES Income and Currency Gain or Loss with Respect to a Section Qualified Business Unit, 88806-88852 2016-28381 Recognition and Deferral of Section 987 Gain or Loss, 88854-88880 2016-28380 PROPOSED RULES Recognition and Deferral of Section 987 Gain or Loss, 88882-88884 2016-28377 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Glycine from the People's Republic of China, 88663-88664 2016-29400 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Seamless Refined Copper Pipe and Tube from China and Mexico, 88704-88705 2016-29414 Complaints: Certain Arrowheads with Arcuate Blades and Components Thereof, 88702-88703 2016-29396 Certain Single-Molecule Nucleic Acid Sequencing Systems and Reagents, Consumables, and Software for Use with Same, 88703-88704 2016-29403 Justice Department Justice Department NOTICES Consent Decrees: Proposed Consent Decrees under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 88705 2016-29397 Labor Department Labor Department See

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Land Land Management Bureau RULES Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation; Correction, 88634 2016-29205 NOTICES Plats of Surveys: Eastern States; Mississippi, 88701 2016-29405 Management Management and Budget Office See

Federal Procurement Policy Office

NOTICES Public Availability of Fiscal Year 2014 and Fiscal Year 2015 Agency Inventories under the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act, 88707-88709 2016-29433
National Archives National Archives and Records Administration See

Information Security Oversight Office

National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Petitions for Decisions of Inconsequential Noncompliance: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., 88728-88729 2016-29375 National Institute Food National Institute of Food and Agriculture NOTICES Requests for Nominations: Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, 88658-88661 2016-29424 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 88690-88694 2016-29059 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration PROPOSED RULES Endangered and Threatened Species: 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's Whale as Endangered, 88639-88656 2016-29412 NOTICES Takes of Marine Mammals: Incidental to Geophysical Surveys in the Gulf of Mexico, 88664-88665 2016-29388 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan for Cape Lookout National Seashore, NC, 88702 2016-29426 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission RULES Plant-Specific Applicability of Transition Break Size; Discontinuation and Withdrawal, 88615 2016-29390 NOTICES Instructions for Recording and Reporting Occupational Radiation Dose Data, 88710-88712 2016-29391 Withdrawal of Regulatory Guides 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5, 88710 2016-29407 Occupational Safety Health Adm Occupational Safety and Health Administration NOTICES Expansion of Recognition; Applications: Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., 88705-88707 2016-29437 Advocacy Outreach Office of Advocacy and Outreach NOTICES Meetings: Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee, 88657 2016-29374 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 88712-88713 2016-29425 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents EXECUTIVE ORDERS Invasive Species; Efforts to Safeguard the Nation From Their Impacts (EO 13751), 88609-88614 2016-29519 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Bats BZX Exchange, Inc., 88713-88714 2016-29387 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., 88720-88724 2016-29385 New York Stock Exchange LLC, 88714-88716 2016-29389 The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC, 88716-88720 2016-29386 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Disaster Declarations: Minnesota, 88724 2016-29382 Surrender of License of Small Business Investment Companies: White Oak SBIC Fund, LP, 88724 2016-29381 State Department State Department NOTICES Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition: Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in the Heart of Europe, 88724 2016-29401 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Treasury Treasury Department See

Internal Revenue Service

Customs U.S. Customs and Border Protection NOTICES Commercial Gaugers and Laboratories; Accreditations and Approvals: Petrospect, Inc., 88694 2016-29402 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Transportation Department, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 88732-88803 2016-28012 Part III Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, 88806-88852 2016-28381 Part IV Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, 88854-88880 2016-28380 Part V Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, 88882-88884 2016-28377 Part VI Education Department, 88886-88938 2016-29128 Part VII Education Department, 88940-88972 2016-29126 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.

81 236 Thursday, December 8, 2016 Rules and Regulations NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 10 CFR Part 50 [NRC-2010-0229] RIN 3150-AH29 Plant-Specific Applicability of Transition Break Size Specified in 10 CFR 50.46a AGENCY:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION:

Draft regulatory guide; discontinuation and withdrawal.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is announcing the discontinuation of further regulatory action on Draft Regulatory Guide (DG) DG-1216, “Plant-Specific Applicability of Transition Break Size Specified in 10 CFR 50.46a,” and its withdrawal. Draft Regulatory Guide DG-1216 was a proposed new regulatory guide written to provide implementing guidance for a proposed rule “Risk-Informed Changes to Loss-of-Coolant Accident Technical Requirements,” (Emergency core cooling system (ECCS) rulemaking)) that provided a voluntary, alternate approach for evaluating the performance of an ECCS. The NRC is discontinuing further regulatory action on the DG and not publishing the DG in final form because the NRC has discontinued the underlying rulemaking.

DATES:

The effective date for discontinuance and withdrawal of the DG is December 8, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2010-0229 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this document using any of the following methods:

Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2010-0229. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: [email protected] For technical questions, contact the individuals listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.

NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected] The ADAMS accession number for each document referenced in this document (if that document is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is referenced.

NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Robert L. Tregoning, telephone: 301-415-2324; email: [email protected]; or Harriet Karagiannis, telephone: 301-415-2493; email: [email protected] Both are staff of the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The NRC is announcing the discontinuation of further NRC action on DG-1216, “Plant-Specific Applicability of Transition Break Size Specified in 10 CFR 50.46a, and its withdrawal. This draft guide describes a method that the NRC considered acceptable for demonstrating that the generic transition break size specified in the proposed 10 CFR 50.46a ECCS rule was applicable to a specific plant. The NRC provided an opportunity for public comment on DG-1216 in the Federal Register on June 28, 2010 (75 FR 36698). The DG package (ADAMS Accession No. ML100430352) consists of DG-1216 (ADAMS Accession No. ML100430356), a Federal Register notice (FRN) (ADAMS Accession No. ML100430445), and a regulatory analysis (ADAMS Accession No. ML101530472).

Draft Regulatory Guide DG-1216 was a proposed new regulatory guide written to provide implementing guidance for a proposed ECCS rulemaking which would have provided a voluntary, risk-informed alternative to the existing, deterministic requirements for evaluating ECCS performance. The proposed ECCS rule was published in the Federal Register on November 7, 2005 (70 FR 67597), with a supplemental proposed rule published on August 10, 2009 (74 FR 40006). In SECY-16-0009, “Recommendations Resulting from the Integrated Prioritization and Re-Baselining of Agency Activities,” dated January 31, 2016 (ADAMS Accession No. ML16028A189), the staff recommended that the ECCS rulemaking be discontinued. In the Staff Requirements Memorandum for SECY-16-0009, dated April 13, 2016 (ADAMS Accession No. ML16104A158), the Commission approved discontinuation of the ECCS rulemaking. The NRC published an FRN on October 6, 2016 (81 FR 69446), which provided a discussion of the discontinuation decision.

Because the NRC discontinued the ECCS rulemaking, further NRC action to develop and adopt DG-1216 as a final guidance document is not needed. Therefore, this notice announces the NRC's decision to discontinue further action on DG-1216 and documents the final NRC action on DG-1216.

Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd day of December, 2016.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Thomas H. Boyce, Chief, Regulatory Guide and Generic Issues Branch, Division of Engineering, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research.
[FR Doc. 2016-29390 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 29 [Docket No. FAA-2016-6939; Notice No. 29-038-SC] Special Conditions: Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. (BHTI), Model 525 Helicopters; Interaction of Systems and Structures. AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final special conditions.

SUMMARY:

These special conditions are issued for the BHTI Model 525 helicopter. This helicopter will have a novel or unusual design feature associated with fly-by-wire flight control system (FBW FCS) functions that affect the structural integrity of the rotorcraft. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.

DATES:

These special conditions are effective January 9, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Martin R. Crane, Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On December 15, 2011, BHTI applied for a type certificate for a new transport category helicopter designated as the Model 525. The aircraft is a medium twin engine rotorcraft. The design maximum takeoff weight is 20,000 pounds, with a maximum capacity of 16 passengers and a crew of 2.

The BHTI Model 525 helicopter will be equipped with a FBW FCS. The control functions of the FBW FCS and its related systems affect the structural integrity of the rotorcraft. Current regulations do not take into account loads for the rotorcraft due to the effects of systems on structural performance including normal operation and failure conditions with strength levels related to probability of occurrence. Special conditions are needed to account for these features.

Type Certification Basis

Under the provisions of 14 CFR 21.17, BHTI must show that the Model 525 helicopter meets the applicable provisions of part 29, as amended by Amendment 29-1 through 29-55 thereto. The BHTI Model 525 certification basis date is December 15, 2011, the date of application to the FAA.

If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 29) do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the BHTI Model 525 because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under the provisions of § 21.16.

Special conditions are initially applicable to the model for which they are issued. Should the type certificate for that model be amended later to include any other model that incorporates the same or similar novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would also apply to the other model under § 21.101.

In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special conditions, the BHTI Model 525 helicopter must comply with the noise certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36, and the FAA must issue a finding of regulatory adequacy under § 611 of Public Law 92-574, the “Noise Control Act of 1972.”

The FAA issues special conditions, as defined in 14 CFR 11.19, in accordance with § 11.38, and they become part of the type-certification basis under § 21.17(a)(2).

Novel or Unusual Design Features

The BHTI Model 525 helicopter will incorporate the following novel or unusual design features: FBW FCS, and its related systems (stability augmentation system, load alleviation system, flutter control system, and fuel management system), with control functions that affect the structural integrity of the rotorcraft. Current regulations are inadequate for considering the effects of these systems and their failures on structural performance. The general approach of accounting for the effect of system failures on structural performance would be extended to include any system where partial or complete failure, alone or in combination with any other system's partial or complete failure, would affect structural performance.

Discussion

Active flight control systems are capable of providing automatic responses to inputs from sources other than the pilots. Active flight control systems have been expanded in function, effectiveness, and reliability to the point that FBW FCS systems are being installed on new rotorcraft. As a result of these advancements in flight control technology, 14 CFR part 29 does not provide a basis to achieve an acceptable level of safety for rotorcraft so equipped. Certification of these systems requires issuing special conditions under the provisions of § 21.16.

In the past, traditional rotorcraft flight control system designs have incorporated power-operated systems, stability or control augmentation with limited control authority, and autopilots that were certificated partly under § 29.672 with guidance from Advisory Circular 29-2C, Section AC 29.672. These systems are integrated into the primary flight controls and are given sufficient control authority to maneuver the rotorcraft up to its structural design limits in 14 CFR part 29 subparts C and D. The FBW FCS advanced technology with its full authority necessitates additional requirements to account for the interaction of control systems and structures.

The regulations defining the loads envelope in 14 CFR part 29 do not fully account for the effects of systems on structural performance. Automatic systems may be inoperative or they may operate in a degraded mode with less than full system authority and associated built-in protection features. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the structural factors of safety and operating margins such that the probability of structural failures due to application of loads during FBW FCS malfunctions is not greater than that found in rotorcraft equipped with traditional flight control systems. To achieve this objective and to ensure an acceptable level of safety, it is necessary to define the failure conditions and their associated frequency of occurrence.

Traditional flight control systems provide two states, either fully functioning or completely inoperative. These conditions are readily apparent to the flight crew. Newer active flight control systems have failure modes that allow the system to function in a degraded mode without full authority and associated built-in protection features. As these degraded modes are not readily apparent to the flight crew, monitoring systems are required to provide an annunciation of degraded system capability.

Comments

A notice of proposed special conditions for the BHTI Model 525 helicopter FBW FCS and its related systems was published in the Federal Register on May 27, 2016 (81 FR 33606). We did not receive any comments.

Applicability

As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the BHTI Model 525 helicopter. Should BHTI apply at a later date for a change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would apply to that model as well.

Conclusion

This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features on one model of rotorcraft. It is not a rule of general applicability.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 29

Aircraft, Aviation safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701, 44702, 44704.

The Special Conditions

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the following special conditions are issued as part of the type certification basis for Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Model 525 helicopters when a fly-by-wire flight control system is installed:

Interaction of Systems and Structures

For rotorcraft equipped with systems that affect structural performance, either directly or as a result of a failure or malfunction, the influence of these systems and their failure conditions must be taken into account when showing compliance with the requirements of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 29 subparts C and D.

The following criteria must be used for showing compliance with these special conditions for rotorcraft equipped with flight control systems, autopilots, stability augmentation systems, load alleviation systems, flutter control systems, fuel management systems, and other systems that either directly or as a result of failure or malfunction affect structural performance. If these special conditions are used for other systems, it may be necessary to adapt the criteria to the specific system.

(a) The criteria defined herein only address the direct structural consequences of the system responses and performance. They cannot be considered in isolation but should be included in the overall safety evaluation of the rotorcraft. These criteria may in some instances duplicate standards already established for this evaluation. These criteria are only applicable to structure whose failure could prevent continued safe flight and landing. Specific criteria that define acceptable limits on handling characteristics or stability requirements when operating in the system degraded or inoperative mode are not provided in these special conditions.

(b) Depending upon the specific characteristics of the rotorcraft, additional studies may be required that go beyond the criteria provided in this special condition in order to demonstrate the capability of the rotorcraft to meet other realistic conditions such as alternative gust or maneuver descriptions for a rotorcraft equipped with a load alleviation system.

(c) The following definitions are applicable to these special conditions:

(1) Structural performance: Capability of the rotorcraft to meet the structural requirements of 14 CFR part 29.

(2) Flight limitations: Limitations that can be applied to the rotorcraft flight conditions following an in-flight occurrence and that are included in the flight manual (e.g., speed limitations and avoidance of severe weather conditions).

(3) Operational limitations: Limitations, including flight limitations, which can be applied to the rotorcraft operating conditions before dispatch (e.g., fuel, payload, and Master Minimum Equipment List limitations).

(4) Probabilistic terms: The terms “improbable” and “extremely improbable” are the same as those used in § 29.1309.

(5) Failure condition: The term “failure condition” is the same as that used in § 29.1309; however, these special conditions apply only to system failure conditions that affect the structural performance of the rotorcraft (e.g., system failure conditions that induce loads, change the response of the rotorcraft to inputs such as gusts or pilot actions, or lower flutter margins).

Effects of Systems on Structures

(a) General. The following criteria will be used in determining the influence of a system and its failure conditions on the rotorcraft structure.

(b) System fully operative. With the system fully operative, the following apply:

(1) Limit loads must be derived in all normal operating configurations of the system from all the limit conditions specified in subpart C (or defined by special condition or equivalent level of safety in lieu of those specified in subpart C), taking into account any special behavior of such a system or associated functions or any effect on the structural performance of the rotorcraft that may occur up to the limit loads. In particular, any significant nonlinearity (rate of displacement of control surface, thresholds or any other system nonlinearities) must be accounted for in a realistic or conservative way when deriving limit loads from limit conditions.

(2) The rotorcraft must meet the strength requirements of part 29 (static strength, residual strength), using the specified factors to derive ultimate loads from the limit loads defined above. The effect of nonlinearities must be investigated beyond limit conditions to ensure the behavior of the system presents no anomaly compared to the behavior below limit conditions. However, conditions beyond limit conditions need not be considered when it can be shown that the rotorcraft has design features that will not allow it to exceed those limit conditions.

(3) The rotorcraft must meet the flutter and divergence requirements of § 29.629.

(c) System in the failure condition. For all system failure conditions shown to be not extremely improbable, the following apply:

(1) At the time of occurrence. Starting from 1-g level flight conditions, a realistic scenario, including pilot corrective actions, must be established to determine the loads occurring at the time of failure and immediately after the failure.

(i) For static strength substantiation, these loads multiplied by an appropriate factor of safety that is related to the probability of occurrence of the failure are the ultimate loads that must be considered for design. The factor of safety is defined in Figure 1.

ER08DE16.007

(ii) For residual strength substantiation, the rotorcraft must be able to withstand two-thirds of the ultimate loads defined in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of these special conditions.

(iii) Freedom from flutter and divergence must be shown under all conditions of operation including:

(A) Airspeeds up to 1.11 VNE (power on and power off).

(B) Main rotor speeds from 0.95 multiplied by the minimum permitted speed up to 1.05 multiplied by the maximum permitted speed (power on and power off).

(C) The critical combinations of weight, center of gravity position, load factor, and altitude.

(iv) For failure conditions that result in excursions beyond operating limitations, freedom from flutter and divergence must be shown to increased speeds, so that the margins intended by paragraph (c)(1)(iii) of these special conditions are maintained.

(v) Failures of the system that result in forced structural vibrations (oscillatory failures) must not produce loads that could result in detrimental deformation of primary structure.

(2) For the continuation of the flight. For the rotorcraft in the system failed state, and considering all appropriate reconfiguration and flight limitations, the following apply:

(i) The loads derived from the following conditions (or defined by special conditions or equivalent level of safety in lieu of the following conditions) at speeds up to VNE (power on and power off) (or the speed limitation prescribed for the remainder of the flight) and at the minimum and maximum main rotor speeds, if applicable, must be determined:

(A) The limit maneuvering conditions specified in §§ 29.337 and 29.339.

(B) The limit gust conditions specified in § 29.341.

(C) The limit yaw maneuvering conditions specified in § 29.351.

(D) The limit unsymmetrical conditions specified in § 29.427.

(E) The limit ground loading conditions specified in § 29.473.

(ii) For static strength substantiation, each part of the structure must be able to withstand the loads in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of these special conditions multiplied by a factor of safety depending on the probability of being in this failure state. The factor of safety is defined in Figure 2.

ER08DE16.008 Qj = (Tj)(Pj) Where: Tj = Average time spent in failure condition j (in hours) Pj = Probability of occurrence of failure mode j (per hour) Note:

If Pj is greater than 10 3 per flight hour, then a 1.5 factor of safety must be applied to all limit load conditions specified in Subpart C.

(iii) For residual strength substantiation, the rotorcraft must be able to withstand two-thirds of the ultimate loads defined in paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of these special conditions.

(iv) If the loads induced by the failure condition have a significant effect on fatigue or damage tolerance, then their effects must be taken into account.

(v) Freedom from flutter and divergence must be shown up to 1.11 VNE (power on and power off).

(vi) Freedom from flutter and divergence must also be shown up to 1.11 VNE (power on and power off) for all probable system failure conditions combined with any damage required or considered under § 29.571(g) or § 29.573(d)(3).

(3) Consideration of certain failure conditions may be required by other sections of 14 CFR part 29 regardless of calculated system reliability. Where the failure analysis shows the probability of these failure conditions to be less than 10 9, criteria other than those specified in this paragraph may be used for structural substantiation to show continued safe flight and landing.

(d) Failure indications. For system failure detection and indication, the following apply:

(1) The system must be checked for failure conditions, not extremely improbable, that degrade the structural capability below the level required by 14 CFR part 29 or that significantly reduce the reliability of the remaining operational portion of the system. As far as reasonably practicable, the flight crew must be made aware of these failures before flight. Certain elements of the control system, such as mechanical and hydraulic components, may use special periodic inspections, and electronic components may use daily checks, in lieu of detection and indication systems to achieve the objective of this requirement. These other means of detecting failures before flight will become part of the certification maintenance requirements (CMRs) and must be limited to components that are not readily detectable by normal detection and indication systems, and where service history shows that inspections will provide an adequate level of safety.

(2) The existence of any failure condition, shown to be not extremely improbable, during flight that could significantly affect the structural capability of the rotorcraft and for which the associated reduction in airworthiness can be minimized by suitable flight limitations, must be signaled to the flight crew. For example, failure conditions that result in a factor of safety between the rotorcraft strength and the loads of Subpart C below 1.25, or flutter and divergence margins below 1.11 VNE (power on and power off), must be signaled to the crew during flight.

(e) Dispatch with known failure conditions. If the rotorcraft is to be dispatched in a known system failure condition that affects structural performance, or that affects the reliability of the remaining operational portion of the system to maintain structural performance, then the provisions of these special conditions must be met, including the provisions of paragraph (b) for the dispatched condition and paragraph (c) for subsequent failures. Expected operational limitations may be taken into account in establishing Pj as the probability of failure occurrence for determining the safety margin in Figure 1 of these special conditions. Flight limitations and expected operational limitations may be taken into account in establishing Qj as the combined probability of being in the dispatched failure condition and the subsequent failure condition for the safety margins in Figure 2 of these special conditions. These limitations must be such that the probability of being in this combined failure state and then subsequently encountering limit load conditions is extremely improbable. No reduction in these safety margins is allowed if the subsequent system failure rate is greater than 10 3 per hour.

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on November 30, 2012. Lance Gant, Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-29431 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2016-7267; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-015-AD; Amendment 39-18723; AD 2016-24-06] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Bombardier, Inc. Airplanes AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Bombardier, Inc. Model DHC-8-102, -103, and -106 airplanes, Model DHC-8-200 series airplanes, and Model DHC-8-300 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by several occurrences of loss of airspeed data on both pilot and co-pilot air speed indicators due to the accumulation of ice on the pitot probes caused by inoperative pitot probe heaters. This AD requires replacing the existing circuit breakers in the pitot heater system. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective January 12, 2017.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of January 12, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Bombardier, Inc., Q-Series Technical Help Desk, 123 Garratt Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario M3K 1Y5, Canada; telephone: 416-375-4000; fax: 416-375-4539; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.bombardier.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-7267.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-7267; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Assata Dessaline, Aerospace Engineer, Avionics and Services Branch, ANE-172, FAA, New York Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1600 Stewart Avenue, Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone: 516-228-7301; fax: 516-794-5531.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain Bombardier, Inc. Model DHC-8-102, -103, and -106 airplanes, Model DHC-8-200 series airplanes, and Model DHC-8-300 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on June 28, 2016 (81 FR 41897) (“the NPRM”).

Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), which is the aviation authority for Canada, has issued Canadian AD CF-2016-04, dated February 1, 2016 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Bombardier, Inc. Model DHC-8-102, -103, and -106 airplanes, Model DHC-8-200 series airplanes, and Model DHC-8-300 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

There have been several occurrences of loss of airspeed data on both pilot and co-pilot Airspeed Indicators (ASI) due to the accumulation of ice on the pitot probes. Subsequent investigation revealed that the build up of ice on the pitot probes was due to inoperative pitot probe heaters. When flying in heavy precipitations, the increased heat required by the pitot probe to clear ice build up may result in a current demand in excess of the trip point of the associated circuit breakers (CB). Under this condition, the CB may trip and cut power supply to the heater. If not corrected, the loss of airspeed data may result in the crew not being able to control the aeroplane's airspeed.

This [Canadian] AD is issued to mandate the replacement of the existing CBs with CBs that have higher trip points.

You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-7267. Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. The following presents the comments received on the NPRM and the FAA's response to each comment. The Airline Pilots Association, International, stated that it supported the NPRM.

Request To Revise the Cost of Compliance

Bombardier, Inc. requested that we correct the cost of the pitot heaters. Bombardier, Inc. stated that we provided the cost of left-hand pitot heater ($1,194), but not the right-hand pitot heater. Bombardier Inc. stated that the cost of the right-hand pitot heater is $1,155.

We agree with the commenter's request for the reasons provided. We have revised this AD accordingly.

Request To Revise the Requirements in the NPRM

Bombardier, Inc. requested that we omit the phrase “in production” in the first sentence of paragraph (h) of the proposed AD. Bombardier, Inc. stated that ModSum IS8Q3000004 was incorporated in service.

We agree with the commenter for the reason stated above. We have revised this AD accordingly.

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Bombardier Service Bulletin 8-30-39, dated November 11, 2015, and Bombardier Service Bulletin 8-30-40, dated November 11, 2015. The service information describes procedures for replacing the existing circuit breakers in both the left and right sides of the pitot heater system with circuit breakers that have higher trip points. These documents are distinct since they apply to different sides of the airplane. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 83 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S.
  • operators
  • Replacement (Left-hand pitot) 20 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,700 $1,194 $2,894 $240,202 Replacement (Right-hand pitot) 20 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,700 1,155 2,855 236,965
    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2016-24-06 Bombardier, Inc.: Amendment 39-18723; Docket No. FAA-2016-7267; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-015-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective January 12, 2017.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Bombardier, Inc. Model DHC-8-102, -103, -106, -201, -202, -301, -311, and -315 airplanes, certificated in any category, serial numbers 003 through 672 inclusive.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 30, Ice and rain protection.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by several occurrences of loss of airspeed data on both pilot and co-pilot air speed indicators due to the accumulation of ice on the pitot probes. An investigation revealed that the accumulation of ice was due to inoperative pitot probe heaters. We are issuing this AD to prevent circuit breakers from tripping and cutting power supply to the pitot probe heater, which could cause loss of airspeed data and result in the flight crew not being able to control the airspeed of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Replacement

    Except as provided by paragraph (h) of this AD, within 5,000 flight hours or 60 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first: Replace the existing circuit breakers in both the left and right side of the pitot heater system with circuit breakers that have higher trip points, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Service Bulletin 8-30-39, dated November 11, 2015 (for the right side), and Bombardier Service Bulletin 8-30-40, dated November 11, 2015 (for the left side).

    (h) Airplanes That Meet the Requirements of Paragraph (g) of This AD

    For airplanes on which Bombardier ModSum IS8Q3000004 has been incorporated, no action is required by paragraph (g) of this AD.

    (i) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, New York Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), ANE-170, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the New York ACO, send it to ATTN: Program Manager, Continuing Operational Safety, FAA, New York ACO, 1600 Stewart Avenue, Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone: 516-228-7300; fax: 516-794-5531. Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, New York ACO, ANE-170, FAA; or Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA); or Bombardier, Inc.'s TCCA Design Approval Organization (DAO). If approved by the DAO, the approval must include the DAO-authorized signature.

    (j) Related Information

    Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) Canadian AD CF-2016-04, dated February 1, 2016, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-7267.

    (k) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Bombardier Service Bulletin 8-30-39, dated November 11, 2015.

    (ii) Bombardier Service Bulletin 8-30-40, dated November 11, 2015.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Bombardier, Inc., Q-Series Technical Help Desk, 123 Garratt Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario M3K 1Y5, Canada; telephone: 416-375-4000; fax: 416-375-4539; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.bombardier.com.

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

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 16, 2016. Phil Forde, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-28602 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2016-9120; Directorate Identifier 2016-CE-024-AD; Amendment 39-18738; AD 2016-25-12] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; M7 Aerospace LLC AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all M7 Aerospace LLC Models SA226-AT, SA226-T, SA226-T(B), SA226-TC, SA227-AC (C-26A), SA227-AT, SA227-BC (C-26A), SA227-CC, SA227-DC (C-26B), and SA227-TT airplanes. This AD was prompted by corrosion and stress corrosion cracking of the pitch trim actuator upper attach fittings of the horizontal stabilizer front spar. This AD requires repetitive inspections with replacement of fittings as necessary. We are issuing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective January 12, 2017.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of January 12, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact M7 Aerospace LLC, 10823 NE Entrance Road, San Antonio, Texas 78216; phone: (210) 824-9421; fax: (210) 804-7766; Internet: http://www.elbitsystems-us.com; email: [email protected] You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 816-329-4148. It is also available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-9120.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-9120; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Document Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Andrew McAnaul, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, ASW-143 (c/o San Antonio MIDO), 10100 Reunion Place, Suite 650, San Antonio, Texas 78216; phone: (210) 308-3365; fax: (210) 308-3370; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to all M7 Aerospace LLC Models SA226-AT, SA226-T, SA226-T(B), SA226-TC, SA227-AC (C-26A), SA227-AT, SA227-BC (C-26A), SA227-CC, SA227-DC (C-26B), and SA227-TT airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on September 13, 2016 (81 FR 62845). The NPRM was prompted by reports of multiple SA226 and SA227 airplanes with corrosion and/or stress corrosion cracks in the pitch trim actuator upper attach fittings of the horizontal stabilizer front spar. The NPRM proposed to require repetitive inspections of the pitch trim actuator upper attach fittings for corrosion and/or cracking in the bolt holes and the web/flange radius with replacement of fittings as necessary. This condition, if not corrected, could cause jamming and/or loss of control of the horizontal stabilizer, which could result in partial or complete loss of airplane pitch control. We are issuing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

    Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the NPRM or on the determination of the cost to the public.

    Conclusion

    We reviewed the relevant data and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD as proposed except for minor editorial changes. We have determined that these minor changes:

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

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

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed M7 Aerospace LLC Service Bulletin (SB) 226-27-081 R1, M7 Aerospace LLC SB 227-27-061 R1, and M7 Aerospace LLC SB CC7-27-033 R1, all revised June 27, 2016. In combination for the different applicable models, the service information describes procedures for detailed visual, liquid penetrant, ultrasound, and high frequency eddy current inspections of the pitch trim actuator upper attach fittings for corrosion and cracking in the bolt holes and the web/flange radius, and replacement if necessary for applicable airplane models. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 300 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S.
  • operators
  • Inspect pitch trim actuator upper attach fittings 16 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,360 Not applicable $1,360 $408,000

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

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Replace 2 fittings 8 work-hours × $85 per hour = $680 $4,900 $5,580
    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2016-25-12 M7 Aerospace LLC: Amendment 39-18738; Docket No. FAA-2016-9120; Directorate Identifier 2016-CE-024-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective January 12, 2017.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to M7 Aerospace LLC Models SA226-AT, SA226-T, SA226-T(B), SA226-TC, SA227-AC (C-26A), SA227-AT, SA227-BC (C-26A), SA227-CC, SA227-DC (C-26B), and SA227-TT airplanes, all serial numbers, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC)/Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 5510, Horizontal Stabilizer Structure.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by corrosion and stress corrosion cracking of the pitch trim actuator upper attach fittings of the horizontal stabilizer front spar. We are issuing this AD to prevent jamming and/or loss of control of the horizontal stabilizer, which could result in partial or complete loss of airplane pitch control.

    (f) Compliance

    Comply with paragraphs (g)(1) and (2) of this AD using the following service bulletins and within the compliance times specified, unless already done:

    (1) For Models SA226-AT, SA226-T, SA226-T(B), and SA226-TC: M7 Aerospace LLC Service Bulletin (SB) 226-27-081 R1, revised June 27, 2016; or

    (2) For Models SA227-AC (C-26A), SA227-AT, SA227-BC (C-26A), and SA227-TT: M7 Aerospace LLC SB 227-27-061 R1, revised June 27, 2016; or

    (3) For Models SA227-CC and SA227-DC (C-26B): M7 Aerospace LLC SB CC7-27-033 R1, revised June 27, 2016.

    (g) Actions

    (1) Within the next 600 hours time-in-service (TIS) after January 12, 2017 (the effective date of this AD) or within the next 12 months after January 12, 2017 (the effective date of this AD), whichever occurs first, and repetitively thereafter at intervals not to exceed every 5,000 hours TIS or 5 years, whichever occurs first, perform the inspection of the pitch trim actuator upper attach fittings following section 2.A. and return to service following section 2.C. of the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletins identified in paragraph (f)(1), (2), or (3) of this AD, as applicable.

    (2) If any corrosion or cracks are found as a result of any inspection in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD, before further flight, replace the fitting following section 2.B. and return to service following section 2.C. of the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletins identified in paragraph (f)(1), (2), or (3) of this AD, as applicable.

    (h) Credit for Actions Accomplished in Accordance With Previous Service Information

    This AD allows credit for inspection or replacement of the pitch trim actuator upper attach fittings required in paragraph (g)(1) and (2) of the AD, if done before January 12, 2017 (the effective date of this AD), following the procedures in the Accomplishment Instructions of the applicable service information listed in paragraphs (h)(1) through (3) of this AD:

    (1) For Models SA226-AT, SA226-T, SA226-T(B), and SA226-TC: M7 Aerospace LLC Service Bulletin (SB) 226-27-081, Issued: April 13, 2016; or

    (2) For Models SA227-AC (C-26A), SA227-AT, SA227-BC (C-26A), and SA227-TT: M7 Aerospace LLC SB 227-27-061, Issued: April 13, 2016; or

    (3) For Models SA227-CC and SA227-DC (C-26B): M7 Aerospace LLC SB CC7-27-033, Issued: April 13, 2016.

    (i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

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

    (j) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Andrew McAnaul, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, ASW-143 (c/o San Antonio MIDO), 10100 Reunion Place, Suite 650, San Antonio, Texas 78216; phone: (210) 308-3365; fax: (210) 308-3370; email: [email protected]

    (k) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) M7 Aerospace LLC Service Bulletin (SB) 226-27-081 R1, revised June 27, 2016.

    (ii) M7 Aerospace LLC SB 227-27-061 R1, revised June 27, 2016.

    (iii) M7 Aerospace LLC SB CC7-27-033 R1, revised June 27, 2016.

    (3) For M7 Aerospace LLC service information identified in this AD, contact M7 Aerospace LLC, 10823 NE Entrance Road, San Antonio, Texas 78216; phone: (210) 824-9421; fax: (210) 804-7766; Internet: http://www.elbitsystems-us.com; email: [email protected]

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

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

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on November 30, 2016. Melvin Johnson, Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29242 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2016-4224; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-170-AD; Amendment 39-18720; AD 2016-24-03] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Bombardier, Inc. Airplanes AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Bombardier, Inc. Model DHC-8-400 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports of cracked and corroded barrel nuts found at the mid-spar location of the horizontal-stabilizer-to-vertical-stabilizer attachment joint. This AD requires repetitive detailed inspections of each barrel nut and cradle, a check of the bolt torque of the preload indicating (PLI) washers, and corrective action if necessary. We are issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective January 12, 2017.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of January 12, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Bombardier, Inc., Q-Series Technical Help Desk, 123 Garratt Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario M3K 1Y5, Canada; telephone 416-375-4000; fax 416-375-4539; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.bombardier.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-4224.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-4224; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Aziz Ahmed, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe and Mechanical Systems Branch, ANE-171, FAA, New York Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1600 Stewart Avenue, Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone 516-228-7329; fax 516-794-5531.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain Bombardier, Inc. Model DHC-8-400 airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on March 14, 2016 (81 FR 13298) (“the NPRM”). The NPRM was prompted by reports of cracked and corroded barrel nuts found at the mid-spar location of the horizontal-stabilizer-to-vertical-stabilizer attachment joint. The NPRM proposed to require repetitive detailed inspections of each barrel nut and cradle, a check of the bolt torque of the PLI washers, and corrective action if necessary. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracked and corroded barrel nuts, which could compromise the structural integrity of the vertical-stabilizer attachment joints and lead to loss of control of the airplane.

    Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), which is the aviation authority for Canada, issued Canadian Airworthiness Directive CF-2015-13, dated June 25, 2015 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Bombardier, Inc. Model DHC-8-400 series airplanes. The MCAI states:

    There has been one in-service report of a cracked and corroded barrel nut, part number (P/N) DSC228-12, found at the mid-spar location of the horizontal stabilizer to vertical stabilizer attachment joint. There have also been two other reports of corroded barrel nuts found at mid-spar locations.

    Preliminary investigation determined that the cracking is initiated by corrosion. The corrosion may have been caused by inadequate cadmium plating on the barrel nut. Failure of the barrel nuts could compromise the structural integrity of the joint and could lead to loss of control of the aeroplane.

    This [Canadian] AD mandates initial and repetitive inspections of the barrel nuts [and cradles for cracks and corrosion] at each horizontal stabilizer to vertical stabilizer attachment joints.

    Required actions include a bolt preload check of the PLI washers and applicable corrective actions (retorque of the bolts and replacement of the barrel nut), a detailed inspection of cracked or broken barrel nuts for damaged bores of the fittings, replacement of barrel nuts, and repair of damage and corrosion.

    You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-4224.

    Comments

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

    Support for the NPRM

    The Air Line Pilots Association, International, and a commenter, Lara Gabrys, supported the intent of the NPRM.

    Request To Specify Revised Service Information

    The source of service information in the NPRM—Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision A, dated June 2, 2015—has been revised. Horizon Air requested that we revise the NPRM to refer to the latest version of the service information.

    We agree and have revised this final rule to identify Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016, as the appropriate source of service information. The revised service information clarifies certain conditional actions; the major actions remain essentially unchanged. We have also revised paragraph (m) of this AD to include all earlier revisions as credit for prior accomplishment of the corresponding actions specified in this AD.

    Request for Terminating Action

    Commenter Lara Gabrys expressed concern about the unsafe condition and the lack of a permanent solution to address it.

    We acknowledge the commenter's concern, and point out that this final rule (as also specified in the NPRM) requires that operators submit their inspection findings to Bombardier. Then, based on those findings, Bombardier plans to develop a permanent solution to address the unsafe condition. If terminating action is developed, approved, and available, we might consider additional rulemaking. At this time, however, we are issuing this final rule as proposed.

    Request To Limit Required Actions

    Paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), (h)(1)(i), (h)(1)(ii), (i), and (k) of the proposed AD specified that certain actions be done in accordance with “the Accomplishment Instructions” of the referenced service information. Noting that “the Accomplishment Instructions” include paragraphs 3.A., “Job Set-Up,” and 3.C., “Close Out,” Horizon Air requested that the compliance method instead be limited to paragraph 3.B., “Procedures”—the only section that corrects the unsafe condition. Horizon Air objected to the inclusion of the specified set-up and close-out procedures, which would restrict the operators' ability to perform other maintenance in conjunction with the incorporation of the service information.

    We agree with the request, for the reasons provided by the commenter. We have revised paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), (h)(1)(i), (h)(1)(ii), (i), and (k) of this AD, as well as paragraph (h)(1) of this AD, to refer to paragraph 3.B., “Procedures.”

    Clarification of Applicability

    This AD affects Model DHC-8-400, -401, and -402 airplanes. The SUMMARY of the NPRM and paragraph (c) of the proposed AD identified the affected airplanes as “Model DHC-8-400 airplanes.” Model DHC-8-400 series airplanes consist of Model DHC-8-400, -401, and -402 airplanes and correspond to the affected airplanes identified in the MCAI. We have therefore revised the SUMMARY to identify the affected airplanes as certain “Model DHC-8-400 series airplanes.” We also revised paragraph (c) of this AD to identify the applicability as “Model DHC-8-400, -401, and -402 airplanes” with serial numbers 4001 and subsequent.

    Conclusion

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

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

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

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

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Bombardier, Inc. has issued Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016. The service information describes procedures for a detailed inspection and repair for cracks and corrosion of the barrel nuts and cradles, a bolt preload check of the PLI washers, applicable corrective actions, a detailed inspection and repair for corrosion and damage of the bores of the fittings, and replacement of the barrel nuts.

    Bombardier, Inc. has also issued Bombardier Repair Drawing (RD) 8/4-55-1143, Issue 1, dated May 21, 2015. The service information describes procedures for repairing corrosion and damage of the fitting bore.

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 76 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We also estimate that it will take about 6 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this AD and 1 work-hour per product for reporting. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts will cost about $0 per product. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $45,220, or $595 per product.

    In addition, we estimate that any necessary follow-on actions would take about 4 work-hours, and require parts costing $8,881, for a cost of $9,221 per product. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need this action.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB control number. The control number for the collection of information required by this AD is 2120-0056. The paperwork cost associated with this AD has been detailed in the Costs of Compliance section of this document and includes time for reviewing instructions, as well as completing and reviewing the collection of information. Therefore, all reporting associated with this AD is mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, ATTN: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2016-24-03 Bombardier, Inc.: Amendment 39-18720; Docket No. FAA-2016-4224; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-170-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective January 12, 2017.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Bombardier, Inc. Model DHC-8-400, -401, and -402 airplanes, certificated in any category, serial numbers 4001 and subsequent.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 55, Stablizers.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by reports of cracked and corroded barrel nuts found at the mid-spar location of the horizontal-stabilizer-to-vertical-stabilizer attachment joint. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracked and corroded barrel nuts, which could compromise the structural integrity of the vertical-stabilizer attachment joints and lead to loss of control of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Detailed Inspection of Barrel Nuts for Cracks and Corrosion

    (1) For airplanes that have accumulated 5,400 flight hours or more, or have been in service 32 months or more since the date of issuance of the original certificate of airworthiness or the date of issuance of the original export certificate of airworthiness, as of the effective date of this AD: Within 600 flight hours or 4 months, whichever occurs first after the effective date of this AD, do a detailed visual inspection for signs of cracks and corrosion of the barrel nut and cradle, in accordance with paragraph 3.B., “Procedures,” of the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016.

    (2) For airplanes that have less than 5,400 flight hours, and have been in-service for less than 32 months since the date of issuance of the original certificate of airworthiness or the date of issuance of the original export certificate of airworthiness, as of the effective date of this AD: Before the accumulation of 6,000 total flight hours or 36 months since the date of issuance of the original certificate of airworthiness or the date of issuance of the original export certificate of airworthiness, whichever occurs first, do a detailed visual inspection of the barrel nut for signs of cracks and corrosion of the barrel nut and cradle, in accordance with paragraph 3.B., “Procedures,” of the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016.

    (h) Corrective Actions, Detailed Inspection, and Repetitive Inspections

    Depending on the findings of any inspection required by paragraphs (g) and (j) of this AD, do the applicable actions in paragraphs (h)(1), (h)(2), and (h)(3) of this AD.

    (1) If any barrel nut or cradle is found cracked or broken, before further flight, replace the barrel nut and associated hardware, in accordance with paragraph 3.B., “Procedures,” of the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016.

    (i) Concurrently with the replacement of any barrel nut, do a detailed inspection for corrosion and damage of the bore of the fitting, in accordance with paragraph 3.B., “Procedures,” of the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016, and, before further flight, repair all corrosion and damage, in accordance with Bombardier Repair Drawing (RD) 8/4-55-1143, Issue 1, dated May 21, 2015. If the bore of the fitting cannot be repaired in accordance with Bombardier RD 8/4-55-1143, Issue 1, dated May 21, 2015, accomplish corrective actions in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (n)(2) of this AD.

    (ii) Within 600 flight hours or 4 months, whichever occurs first, after the replacement of a cracked barrel nut, replace the remaining barrel nuts and their associated hardware at the horizontal-stabilizer-to-vertical-stabilizer attachment joints, in accordance with paragraph 3.B., “Procedures,” of the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016.

    (2) If any corrosion is found on any barrel nut on the front or rear-spar joints, before further flight, replace the barrel nut accomplish corrective actions in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (n)(2) of this AD.

    (3) If any corrosion above level 1, as defined in Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016, is found on a barrel nut at the mid-spar joint, before further flight, replace the barrel nut and accomplish corrective actions in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (n)(2) of this AD.

    (4) If all corrosion found is at level 1 or below, as defined in Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016, on a barrel nut at the mid-spar joint, repeat the inspection specified in paragraph (g) of this AD at intervals not to exceed 600 flight hours or 4 months, whichever occurs first, until completion of the actions required by paragraph (k) of this AD.

    (i) Preload Indicating (PLI) Washer Check

    For airplanes with PLI washers installed at the front and rear-spar joints, before further flight after accomplishing any inspection required by (g) of this AD and all applicable corrective actions required by paragraph (h) of this AD, check the bolt preload, and do all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with paragraph 3.B., “Procedures,” of the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016. Do all applicable corrective actions before further flight.

    (j) Repetitive Inspection Interval

    Repeat the inspection and preload check required by paragraphs (g) and (i) of this AD at intervals not to exceed 3,600 flight hours or 18 months, whichever occurs first, except as provided by paragraph (k) of this AD.

    (k) Optional Barrel Nut Replacement

    Inspection and replacement of all barrel nuts at the horizontal-stabilizer-to vertical-stabilizer attachment joints, in accordance with paragraph 3.B., “Procedures,” of the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016, extends the next inspection required by paragraph (j) of this AD to within 6,000 flight hours or 36 months, whichever occurs first, after accomplishing the replacement.

    (l) Reporting Requirements

    At the applicable time specified in paragraph (l)(1) or (l)(2) of this AD, submit a report of the findings (both positive and negative) of each inspection required by this AD to Technical Help Desk—Q-series, telephone: 416-375-4000, fax: 416-375-4539, email: [email protected], using the inspection form in Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016.

    (1) If the inspection was done on or after the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after the inspection.

    (2) If the inspection was done before the effective date of this AD: Submit the report within 30 days after the effective date of this AD.

    (m) Credit for Previous Actions

    This paragraph provides credit for the corresponding actions specified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), (h)(1), (h)(1)(i), (h)(1)(ii), (h)(3), (h)(4), (i), (k), and (l) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using the service information identified in paragraphs (m)(1), (m)(2), and (m)(3) of this AD.

    (1) Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, dated May 21, 2015.

    (2) Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision A, dated June 2, 2015.

    (3) Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision B, dated July 30, 2015.

    (n) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, New York ACO, ANE-170, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the ACO, send it to ATTN: Program Manager, Continuing Operational Safety, FAA, New York ACO, 1600 Stewart Avenue, Suite 410, Westbury, NY 11590; telephone 516-228-7300; fax 516-794-5531. Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, New York ACO, ANE-170, FAA; or Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA); or Bombardier, Inc.'s TCCA DAO. If approved by the DAO, the approval must include the DAO-authorized signature.

    (3) Reporting Requirements: A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be approximately 5 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, completing and reviewing the collection of information. All responses to this collection of information are mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, Attn: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

    (o) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) Canadian Airworthiness Directive CF-2015-13, dated June 25, 2015, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-4224.

    (2) Service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (p)(4) and (p)(5) of this AD.

    (p) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Bombardier Alert Service Bulletin A84-55-04, Revision C, dated May 3, 2016.

    (ii) Bombardier Repair Drawing (RD) 8/4-55-1143, Issue 1, dated May 21, 2015.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Bombardier, Inc., Q-Series Technical Help Desk, 123 Garratt Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario M3K 1Y5, Canada; telephone 416-375-4000; fax 416-375-4539; email thd.qseries[email protected]; Internet http://www.bombardier.com.

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

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on November 15, 2016. Paul Bernado, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-28210 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT 24 CFR Part 100 [Docket No. FR 5508-C-04] Application of the Fair Housing Act's Discriminatory Effects Standard to Insurance; Correction AGENCY:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Classification of published document; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    On October 5, 2016, HUD published a document in response to a court remand, which was miscategorized and placed in the “proposed rules” section of the Federal Register. See 81 FR 69012 (Oct. 5, 2016). The October 5, 2016, document is neither a proposed rule, nor is it related to a proposed rule. Rather, the October 5, 2016, document responds to a court remand on a final rule by supplementing HUD's responses to certain insurance industry comments that HUD responded to in the preamble to its final rule, entitled “Implementation of the Fair Housing Act's Discriminatory Effects Standard,” 78 FR 11460 (Feb. 15, 2013). HUD issues this correction to clarify that the published document was related to a final rule and thus should have been categorized and published in the “rules and regulations” section of the Federal Register.

    DATES:

    December 8, 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:

    Pursuant to 1 CFR 5.9, the Federal Register must select one of four different categories for publishing documents: The President, Rules and regulations, Proposed rules, and Notices. Documents in the “rules and regulations” category include documents that “affect other documents previously published in the rules and regulations section,” whereas documents in the “proposed rules” category include documents that “affect or relate to other documents previously published in the proposed rules section.” 1 CFR 5.9(b), (c) (emphasis added).

    On October 5, 2016, HUD published a document entitled “Application of the Fair Housing Act's Discriminatory Effects Standard to Insurance,” see 81 FR 69012 (Oct. 5, 2016), which supplements responses previously published with the final rule, “Implementation of the Fair Housing Act's Discriminatory Effects Standard.” See 78 FR 11460 (Feb. 15, 2013). Because the October 5, 2016, document “affect[ed an]other document[ ] previously published in the rules and regulations section,” namely HUD's February 15, 2013 final rule, it falls within the “rules and regulations” category pursuant to 1 CFR 5.9(b). Therefore, HUD issues this correction to make clear that the document published on October 5, 2016, was not a document that affects or relates to a document previously published in the “proposed rules” section, but rather was a final agency action related to a final rule that should have been categorized and published in the “rules and regulations” category.

    Dated: December 5, 2016. Ariel Pereira, Associate General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29446 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 180 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0496, EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0841; FRL-9954-37] Dicamba; Pesticide Tolerances AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulation establishes tolerances for residues of dicamba in or on cotton, gin byproducts; cotton, undelinted seed; soybean, forage; and soybean, hay. Monsanto Company requested these tolerances under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective December 8, 2016. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before February 6, 2017, and must be filed in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178 (see also Unit I.C. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).

    ADDRESSES:

    The dockets for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0496 for soybeans and EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0841 for cotton respectively are available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael Goodis, Registration Division (7505P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; main telephone number: (703) 305-7090; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    You may be potentially affected by this action if you are an agricultural producer, food manufacturer, or pesticide manufacturer. The following list of North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide to help readers determine whether this document applies to them. Potentially affected entities may include:

    • Crop production (NAICS code 111).

    • Animal production (NAICS code 112).

    • Food manufacturing (NAICS code 311).

    • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS code 32532).

    B. How can I get electronic access to other related information?

    You may access a frequently updated electronic version of EPA's tolerance regulations at 40 CFR part 180 through the Government Printing Office's e-CFR site at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?&c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title40/40tab_02.tpl.

    C. How can I file an objection or hearing request?

    Under FFDCA section 408(g), 21 U.S.C. 346a, any person may file an objection to any aspect of this regulation and may also request a hearing on those objections. You must file your objection or request a hearing on this regulation in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, you must identify docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0496 and EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0841 in the subject line on the first page of your submission. All objections and requests for a hearing must be in writing, and must be received by the Hearing Clerk on or before February 6, 2017. Addresses for mail and hand delivery of objections and hearing requests are provided in 40 CFR 178.25(b).

    In addition to filing an objection or hearing request with the Hearing Clerk as described in 40 CFR part 178, please submit a copy of the filing (excluding any Confidential Business Information (CBI)) for inclusion in the public docket. Information not marked confidential pursuant to 40 CFR part 2 may be disclosed publicly by EPA without prior notice. Submit the non-CBI copy of your objection or hearing request, identified by docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0496 and EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0841, by one of the following methods:

    Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    Mail: OPP Docket, Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), (28221T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001.

    Hand Delivery: To make special arrangements for hand delivery or delivery of boxed information, please follow the instructions at http://www.epa.gov/dockets/contacts.html.

    Additional instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more information about dockets generally, is available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets. II. Summary of Petitioned-For Tolerance

    In the Federal Register of August 4, 2010 (75 FR 46924) (FRL-8834-9) and December 19, 2012 (77 FR 75082) (FRL-9372-6), EPA issued a document pursuant to FFDCA section 408(d)(3), 21 U.S.C. 346a(d)(3), announcing the filing of pesticide petitions (PP 0F7725 and 2F8067, respectively) by Monsanto Company, 1300 I St. NW., Suite 450 East, Washington, DC 20052. The petitions requested that 40 CFR part 180 be amended by establishing tolerances for residues of the herbicide dicamba, 3,6-dichloro-o-anisic acid and its metabolites 3,6-dichloro-5-hydroxy-o-anisic acid (5-OH dicamba) and 3,6-dichloro-2-hydroxybenzoic acid (DCSA), as follows: PP 0F7725 requested tolerances for residues in or on soybean, forage at 45 parts per million (ppm) and soybean, hay at 70 ppm and PP 2F8067 requested tolerances for residues in or on cotton, undelinted seed at 3 ppm and cotton, gin byproducts at 70 ppm. Those documents referenced summaries of the petitions prepared by Monsanto Company, the registrant, which are available in the dockets, http://www.regulations.gov. Comments were received, and EPA's responses to these comments are discussed in Unit IV.C.

    Based upon review of the data supporting the petition, EPA is establishing tolerances for soybean, forage and soybean, hay that are higher than requested. The reason for these changes are explained in Unit IV.D.

    III. Aggregate Risk Assessment and Determination of Safety

    Section 408(b)(2)(A)(i) of FFDCA allows EPA to establish a tolerance (the legal limit for a pesticide chemical residue in or on a food) only if EPA determines that the tolerance is “safe.” Section 408(b)(2)(A)(ii) of FFDCA defines “safe” to mean that “there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, including all anticipated dietary exposures and all other exposures for which there is reliable information.” This includes exposure through drinking water and in residential settings, but does not include occupational exposure. Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA requires EPA to give special consideration to exposure of infants and children to the pesticide chemical residue in establishing a tolerance and to “ensure that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to infants and children from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue. . . .”

    Consistent with FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), and the factors specified in FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), EPA has reviewed the available scientific data and other relevant information in support of this action. EPA has sufficient data to assess the hazards of and to make a determination on aggregate exposure for dicamba, including exposure resulting from the tolerances established by this action. EPA's assessment of exposures and risks associated with dicamba follows.

    A. Toxicological Profile

    EPA has evaluated the available toxicity data and considered its validity, completeness, and reliability, as well as the relationship of the results of the studies to human risk. EPA has also considered available information concerning the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable sub-groups of consumers, including infants and children.

    For dicamba, toxicology studies for dicamba acid; its salts (isopropylamine (IPA), diglycolamine (DGA), and N, N-Bis-(3-aminopropyl) methylamine (BAPMA)); and its plant metabolites (DCSA (3, 6-dichlorosalicylic acid) and DCGA (3, 6-dichlorogentisic acid)) were all considered for risk assessment. The dicamba BAPMA salt is the BAPMA base added to the dicamba acid form. The DCSA exposure is primarily from dietary exposures (food + water) from uses on transgenic crops, and the dicamba acid exposure is relevant for the incidental oral exposure. In scenarios where co-exposure to the various forms could occur, the most protective point of departure (POD) was utilized for regulation.

    Neurotoxic signs (e.g., ataxia, decreased motor activity, impaired righting reflex and gait) were observed in dicamba acid studies in rats and rabbits at doses over 150 mg/kg/day. The DCSA metabolite is less neurotoxic than dicamba acid, although a rat developmental study involving the BAPMA salt indicated neurotoxic effects (e.g., unsteady gait, ataxia, and convulsions) at lower doses (86 mg/kg/day).

    The rat reproduction study and the developmental studies in rats and rabbits showed no evidence (qualitative or quantitative) for increased susceptibility following in utero or postnatal exposure of dicamba acid or its salts. In the rabbit developmental toxicity study, a single incidence of abortion (1/20 does) was seen at doses that also caused maternal toxicity, as evidenced by clinical signs of neurotoxicity. In a 2-generation reproductive toxicity study involving dicamba acid, offspring toxicity was manifested as decreases in pup weight at a dose where parental toxicity was also observed. There was however, an indication of potential increased quantitative susceptibility from exposure to the metabolite DCSA (decreased pup body weight was observed at 37 mg/kg/day, where no parental toxic effects were noted).

    Dicamba is classified as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans”. Mutagenicity studies did not demonstrate mutagenic concern for dicamba. There was no evidence of dermal or systemic toxicity following repeated dermal application of dicamba acid or the salts at the limit dose (1,000 mg/kg/day). There is no concern for immunotoxicity following exposure to dicamba. Following oral administration, dicamba is rapidly absorbed and rapidly excreted in urine and feces without significant metabolism. Dicamba has a low acute toxicity via the oral, dermal or inhalation route (Acute Toxicity Categories III or IV). It is an eye and dermal irritant but it is not a skin sensitizer.

    Specific information on the studies received and the nature of the adverse effects caused by dicamba as well as the no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) and the lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level (LOAEL) from the toxicity studies can be found at http://www.regulations.gov in document Dicamba and Dicamba BAPMA salt: Human-Health risk Assessment for Proposed Section 3 New Uses on dicamba-tolerant Cotton and Soybean in docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0187.

    B. Toxicological Points of Departure/Levels of Concern

    Once a pesticide's toxicological profile is determined, EPA identifies toxicological points of departure (POD) and levels of concern to use in evaluating the risk posed by human exposure to the pesticide. For hazards that have a threshold below which there is no appreciable risk, the toxicological POD is used as the basis for derivation of reference values for risk assessment. PODs are developed based on a careful analysis of the doses in each toxicological study to determine the dose at which no adverse effects are observed (the NOAEL) and the lowest dose at which adverse effects of concern are identified (the LOAEL). Uncertainty/safety factors are used in conjunction with the POD to calculate a safe exposure level—generally referred to as a population-adjusted dose (PAD) or a reference dose (RfD)—and a safe margin of exposure (MOE). For non-threshold risks, the Agency assumes that any amount of exposure will lead to some degree of risk. Thus, the Agency estimates risk in terms of the probability of an occurrence of the adverse effect expected in a lifetime. For more information on the general principles EPA uses in risk characterization and a complete description of the risk assessment process, see http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/riskassess.htm.

    A summary of the toxicological endpoints for dicamba used for human risk assessment is shown in Table 1 of this unit.

    Table 1—Summary of Toxicological Doses and Endpoints for Dicamba Acid and Dicamba BAPMA Salt for Use in Human Health Risk Assessment Exposure/scenario Point of departure
  • and uncertainty/
  • safety factors
  • RfD, PAD, LOC for risk assessment Study and toxicological effects
    Acute dietary (Females 13 to 50 years of age) Not Applicable (NA) NA No developmental toxicity attributed to acute exposure in the toxicity database. Acute dietary (General population including infants and children) NOAEL = 29 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • Acute RfD = 0.29 mg/kg/day
  • aPAD = 0.29 mg/kg/day
  • Developmental Rat Study Dicamba BAPMA.
  • LOAEL = 86 mg/kg/day in dams based on ataxia, unsteady gait and convulsions observed shortly after dosing.
  • Chronic dietary (All populations) Offspring NOAEL= 4 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • Chronic RfD = 0.04 mg/kg/day
  • cPAD = 0.04 mg/kg/day
  • Reproductive Rat Study with Metabolite DCSA.
  • Offspring LOAEL = 37 mg/kg/day based on decreased pup weights in F1 generation PND 14 and 21 (both sexes) and week 18 (females).
  • Incidental oral short- (1 to 30 days) and intermediate- (1 to 6 months) term Offspring NOAEL= 136 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • Residential LOC for MOE = 100 Reproductive Study in Rats with Dicamba Acid Offspring.
  • LOAEL = 450 mg/kg/day based on decreased pup weights.
  • No endpoints for assessing dermal risk were identified since the dermal toxicology studies for dicamba acid, IPA and DGA salts all had NOAELs of 1,000 mg/kg/day. Inhalation short-, intermediate-, and long-term Inhalation study NOAEL = 0.005 mg/L
  • UFA = 3x
  • UFH = 10x
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • Residential LOC for MOE = 30 Aerosol Inhalation Rat Study with Dicamba Acid.
  • LOAEL = 0.050 mg/L based on minimal multifocal bronchiole-alveolar hyperplasia in males, multiple microscopic findings in the lung and associated lymph nodes in females.
  • Cancer (Oral, dermal, inhalation) Dicamba is classified as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans” FQPA SF = Food Quality Protection Act Safety Factor. LOAEL = lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level. LOC = level of concern. mg/kg/day = milligram/kilogram/day. MOE = margin of exposure. NOAEL = no-observed-adverse-effect-level. PAD = population adjusted dose (a = acute, c = chronic). RfD = reference dose. UF = uncertainty factor. UFA = extrapolation from animal to human (interspecies). UFH = potential variation in sensitivity among members of the human population (intraspecies). UFL = use of a LOAEL to extrapolate a NOAEL. PND = postnatal day.
    C. Exposure Assessment

    1. Dietary exposure from food and feed uses. In evaluating dietary exposure to dicamba, EPA considered exposure under the petitioned-for tolerances as well as all existing dicamba tolerances in 40 CFR 180.227. EPA assessed dietary exposures from dicamba in food as follows:

    i. Acute exposure. Quantitative acute dietary exposure and risk assessments are performed for a food-use pesticide, if a toxicological study has indicated the possibility of an effect of concern occurring as a result of a 1-day or single exposure.

    Such effects were identified for dicamba. In estimating acute dietary exposure, EPA used food consumption information from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, What We Eat in America (NHANES/WWEIA). As to residue levels in food, EPA used tolerance levels and 100 percent crop treated (PCT) for the acute dietary exposure assessment.

    ii. Chronic exposure. In conducting the chronic dietary exposure assessment EPA used the food consumption data from the USDA 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, What We Eat in America (NHANES/WWEIA). As to residue levels in food, EPA used average residues based on field trial studies for crops, tolerance levels for livestock commodities and relevant PCT data for several existing uses to assess chronic dietary exposure.

    iii. Cancer. Based on the data summarized in Unit III.A., EPA has concluded that dicamba does not pose a cancer risk to humans. Therefore, a dietary exposure assessment for the purpose of assessing cancer risk is unnecessary.

    iv. Anticipated residue and percent crop treated (PCT) information. Section 408(b)(2)(E) of FFDCA authorizes EPA to use available data and information on the anticipated residue levels of pesticide residues in food and the actual levels of pesticide residues that have been measured in food. If EPA relies on such information, EPA must require pursuant to FFDCA section 408(f)(1) that data be provided 5 years after the tolerance is established, modified, or left in effect, demonstrating that the levels in food are not above the levels anticipated. For the present action, EPA will issue such data call-ins as are required by FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(E) and authorized under FFDCA section 408(f)(1). Data will be required to be submitted no later than 5 years from the date of issuance of these tolerances.

    Section 408(b)(2)(F) of FFDCA states that the Agency may use data on the actual percent of food treated for assessing chronic dietary risk only if:

    Condition a: The data used are reliable and provide a valid basis to show what percentage of the food derived from such crop is likely to contain the pesticide residue.

    Condition b: The exposure estimate does not underestimate exposure for any significant subpopulation group.

    Condition c: Data are available on pesticide use and food consumption in a particular area, the exposure estimate does not understate exposure for the population in such area.

    In addition, the Agency must provide for periodic evaluation of any estimates used. To provide for the periodic evaluation of the estimate of PCT as required by FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(F), EPA may require registrants to submit data on PCT.

    The Agency estimated the average PCT for existing uses as follows: Asparagus: 5%; barley: 5%; corn: 10%; oats: 2.5%; sorghum: 15%; sugarcane: 20%; sweet corn: 1%; and wheat: 10%.

    In most cases, EPA uses available data from United States Department of Agriculture/National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA/NASS), proprietary market surveys, and the National Pesticide Use Database for the chemical/crop combination for the most recent 6 to 7 years. EPA uses an average PCT for chronic dietary risk analysis. The average PCT figure for each existing use is derived by combining available public and private market survey data for that use, averaging across all observations, and rounding to the nearest 5%, except for those situations in which the average PCT is less than one. In those cases, 1% is used as the average PCT and 2.5% is used as the maximum PCT. EPA uses a maximum PCT for acute dietary risk analysis. The maximum PCT figure is the highest observed maximum value reported within the recent 6 years of available public and private market survey data for the existing use and rounded up to the nearest multiple of 5%.

    The Agency believes that the three conditions discussed in Unit III.C.1.iv. have been met. With respect to Condition a, PCT estimates are derived from Federal and private market survey data, which are reliable and have a valid basis. The Agency is reasonably certain that the percentage of the food treated is not likely to be an underestimation. As to Conditions b and c, regional consumption information and consumption information for significant subpopulations is taken into account through EPA's computer-based model for evaluating the exposure of significant sub-populations including several regional groups. Use of this consumption information in EPA's risk assessment process ensures that EPA's exposure estimate does not understate exposure for any significant subpopulation group and allows the Agency to be reasonably certain that no regional population is exposed to residue levels higher than those estimated by the Agency. Other than the data available through national food consumption surveys, EPA does not have available reliable information on the regional consumption of food to which dicamba may be applied in a particular area.

    2. Dietary exposure from drinking water. The Agency used screening level water exposure models in the dietary exposure analysis and risk assessment for dicamba in drinking water. These simulation models take into account data on the physical, chemical, and fate/transport characteristics of dicamba. Further information regarding EPA drinking water models used in pesticide exposure assessment can be found at http://www.epa.gov/oppefed1/models/water/index.htm.

    Based on the Pesticide Root Zone Model/Exposure Analysis Modeling System (PRZM/EXAMS) and Pesticide Root Zone Model Ground Water (PRZM GW), the estimated drinking water concentrations (EDWCs) of dicamba for acute exposures are calculated to be 53.37 parts per billion (ppb) for surface water and 329 ppb parent plus 0.041 ppb DCSA for ground water. For chronic exposures for non-cancer assessments are estimated to be 44.5 ppb for surface water and 187 ppb parent plus 0.041 ppb DCSA for ground water.

    Modeled estimates of drinking water concentrations were directly entered into the dietary exposure model. The combined estimated drinking water residues (parent + DCSA) for peak concentration used in the acute assessment and chronic were 329 and 187 ug/L (ppb), respectively.

    3. From non-dietary exposure. The term “residential exposure” is used in this document to refer to non-occupational, non-dietary exposure (e.g., for lawn and garden pest control, indoor pest control, termiticides, and flea and tick control on pets).

    There are no residential uses being proposed in connection with this action for either dicamba or the dicamba BAPMA salt; however, there are existing residential turf uses of dicamba that have been reassessed to reflect updates to the Agency's 2012 Residential Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

    There is no potential hazard via the dermal route for dicamba; therefore, the handler assessment includes only the inhalation route of exposure, and the post-application assessment includes only the incidental oral routes of exposure.

    The quantitative exposure/risk assessment developed for residential handlers to adults is based on the following lawn/turf application scenarios:

    • Mix/Load/Apply Liquid with Hand-held Equipment • Apply Ready-To-Use with Hand-held Equipment • Load/Apply Granule with Hand-held Equipment

    The quantitative exposure/risk assessment for residential post-application exposures to children is based on the following scenarios:

    • Children (1 to <2 years old) incidental oral exposure to treated turf.

    • Children (1 to <2 years old) episodic granular ingestion exposure.

    Further information regarding EPA standard assumptions and generic inputs for residential exposures may be found at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/trac/science/trac6a05.pdf.

    4. Cumulative effects from substances with a common mechanism of toxicity. Section 408(b)(2)(D)(v) of FFDCA requires that, when considering whether to establish, modify, or revoke a tolerance, the Agency consider “available information” concerning the cumulative effects of a particular pesticide's residues and “other substances that have a common mechanism of toxicity.”

    EPA has not found dicamba to share a common mechanism of toxicity with any other substances, and dicamba does not appear to produce a toxic metabolite produced by other substances. For the purposes of this tolerance action, therefore, EPA has assumed that dicamba does not have a common mechanism of toxicity with other substances. For information regarding EPA's efforts to determine which chemicals have a common mechanism of toxicity and to evaluate the cumulative effects of such chemicals, see EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/cumulative.

    D. Safety Factor for Infants and Children

    1. In general. Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA provides that EPA shall apply an additional tenfold (10X) margin of safety for infants and children in the case of threshold effects to account for prenatal and postnatal toxicity and the completeness of the database on toxicity and exposure unless EPA determines based on reliable data that a different margin of safety will be safe for infants and children. This additional margin of safety is commonly referred to as the FQPA Safety Factor (SF). In applying this provision, EPA either retains the default value of 10X, or uses a different additional safety factor when reliable data available to EPA support the choice of a different factor.

    2. Prenatal and postnatal sensitivity. There is no evidence of susceptibility to the young following in utero exposure to dicamba acid or its salts. Although quantitative offspring susceptibility was observed in the 2-generation reproduction study for the DCSA metabolite based on decreased pup weights, the degree of concern for the susceptibility is low because there is a well-established NOAEL for offspring toxicity in that study and DCSA has rapid clearance. Additionally, the current points of departure are health protective and therefore address the concern for offspring toxicity observed in this reproduction study.

    3. Conclusion. EPA has determined that reliable data show the safety of infants and children would be adequately protected if the FQPA SF were reduced to 1X. That decision is based on the following findings:

    i. The toxicity database for dicamba is complete for purposes of assessing the safety of existing and petitioned-for tolerances under the FFDCA.

    ii. Although consistent neurotoxic signs (e.g., ataxia, decreased motor activity, impaired righting reflex and gait) were observed in multiple studies in rats and rabbits, there is no need for a developmental neurotoxicity study to account for neurotoxicity for the following reasons: (1) Although clinical signs of neurotoxicity were seen in pregnant animals, no evidence of developmental anomalies of the fetal nervous system were observed in the prenatal developmental toxicity studies, in either rats or rabbits, at maternally toxic doses up to 300 or 400 mg/kg/day, respectively; (2) there was no evidence of behavioral or neurological effects on the offspring in the two-generation reproduction study in rats; and (3) the ventricular dilation of the brain in the combined chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity study in rats was only observed in females at the high dose after two years of exposure at doses of 127 mg/kg/day. The significance of this dilation observation is questionable, since no similar histopathological finding was seen in two sub-chronic neurotoxicity studies at the limit dose or other chronic studies. Endpoints and points of departure chosen to quantify chronic risks are well below the dose level at which these effects were observed, and are therefore protective.

    iii. As indicated in Unit III.D.2., the degree of concern for potential susceptibility is low; therefore, there is no need to retain the 10X FQPA safety factor to address any concern for prenatal or postnatal exposure.

    iv. There are no residual uncertainties identified in the exposure databases. The dietary food exposure assessments were performed based on tolerance-level residues for the acute dietary, and average field trial data and percent crop treated information for the chronic dietary. EPA made conservative (protective) assumptions in the ground and surface water modeling used to assess exposure to dicamba in drinking water. EPA used similarly conservative assumptions to assess post-application exposure of children as well as incidental oral exposure of toddlers. These assessments will not underestimate the exposure and risks posed by dicamba.

    E. Aggregate Risks and Determination of Safety

    EPA determines whether acute and chronic dietary pesticide exposures are safe by comparing aggregate exposure estimates to the acute PAD (aPAD) and chronic PAD (cPAD). For linear cancer risks, EPA calculates the lifetime probability of acquiring cancer given the estimated aggregate exposure. Short-, intermediate-, and chronic-term risks are evaluated by comparing the estimated aggregate food, water, and residential exposure to the appropriate PODs to ensure that an adequate MOE exists.

    1. Acute risk. Using the exposure assumptions discussed in this unit for acute exposure, the acute dietary exposure from food and water to dicamba will occupy 31% of the aPAD for all infants (<1 year old), the population sub-group receiving the greatest exposure.

    2. Chronic risk. Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for chronic exposure, EPA has concluded that chronic exposure to dicamba from food and water will utilize 42% of the cPAD for children 1 to 2 years old the population sub-group receiving the greatest exposure. Based on the explanation in Unit III.C.3., regarding residential use patterns, chronic residential exposure to residues of dicamba is not expected.

    3. Short-term risk. Short-term aggregate exposure takes into account residential exposure plus chronic exposure to food and water (considered to be a background exposure level).

    Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for short-term exposures, EPA has concluded the combined short-term food, water, and residential post-application exposures to children (1 to 2 years old) on turf result in an aggregate MOE of 3,600. Because EPA's level of concern for dicamba is a MOE of 100 or below, this MOE is not of concern.

    EPA has determined that it is not appropriate to aggregate short-term exposures for adults, since there was no dermal hazard identified in the route-specific dermal studies and the inhalation effects were not systemic.

    4. Intermediate-term risk. Intermediate-term aggregate exposure takes into account intermediate-term residential exposure plus chronic exposure to food and water (considered to be a background exposure level).

    An intermediate-term adverse effect was identified; however, dicamba is not registered for any use patterns that would result in intermediate-term residential exposure. Intermediate-term risk is assessed based on intermediate-term residential exposure plus chronic dietary exposure. Because there is no intermediate-term residential exposure and chronic dietary exposure has already been assessed under the appropriately protective cPAD (which is at least as protective as the POD used to assess intermediate-term risk), no further assessment of intermediate-term risk is necessary, and EPA relies on the chronic dietary risk assessment for evaluating intermediate-term risk for dicamba.

    5. Aggregate cancer risk for U.S. population. Based on the lack of evidence of carcinogenicity in two adequate rodent carcinogenicity studies on dicamba acid and one on DCSA, dicamba is not expected to pose a cancer risk to humans.

    6. Determination of safety. Based on these risk assessments, EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to the general population, or to infants and children from aggregate exposure to dicamba residues.

    IV. Other Considerations A. Analytical Enforcement Methodology

    Adequate enforcement methodology liquid chromatography/mass spectrometer/mass spectrometer (LC/MS/MS) method, BASF Method D0902 is available to enforce the tolerance expression.

    The method may be requested from: Chief, Analytical Chemistry Branch, Environmental Science Center, 701 Mapes Rd., Ft. Meade, MD 20755-5350; telephone number: (410) 305-2905; email address: [email protected]

    B. International Residue Limits

    In making its tolerance decisions, EPA seeks to harmonize U.S. tolerances with international standards whenever possible, consistent with U.S. food safety standards and agricultural practices. EPA considers the international maximum residue limits (MRLs) established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), as required by FFDCA section 408(b)(4). The Codex Alimentarius is a joint United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization food standards program, and it is recognized as an international food safety standards-setting organization in trade agreements to which the United States is a party. EPA may establish a tolerance that is different from a Codex MRL; however, FFDCA section 408(b)(4) requires that EPA explain the reasons for departing from the Codex level.

    The Codex has not established a MRL for dicamba in or on soybean, forage; soybean, hay; and cotton, gin byproducts.

    The Codex has established a MRL for dicamba in or on cotton seed at 0.04 ppm. This MRL is different than the tolerance being established for dicamba in or on cotton, undelinted seed at 3.0 ppm in the United States. Since the use pattern of dicamba on dicamba-tolerant cotton has been changed to late season, the currently established international tolerances are not adequate to cover residues likely from the new use in the United States. In addition, the dicamba residues of concern for dicamba-tolerant cotton also include the DCSA metabolite, which is not found nor regulated in the other common varieties of cotton. Therefore, harmonization with respect to the tolerance expression is not possible at this time for cotton seed.

    C. Response to Comments

    Several comments were received in both dockets EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0496 and EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0841, objecting to any approval of new dicamba uses on cotton and soybeans under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Several comments raised concerns about a sharp increase of dicamba use due to a longer application season, the possible spread of weed resistance, off-site drift to non-targets, volatility, negative environmental effects, possible threat to endangered species, and the negative impact the new uses may have on the U.S. agricultural business as a whole. These comments do not appear to be concerned with the issuance of the tolerances under the FFDCA, but rather the approval of the uses under FIFRA. In any event, the existing legal framework provided by section 408 of the FFDCA states that tolerances may be set when persons seeking such tolerances or exemptions have demonstrated that the pesticide meets the safety standard imposed by the statute, taking into consideration human health impacts from aggregate exposure (including dietary and other non-occupational exposure) from the pesticide and other related chemicals. The scope of review under the FFDCA does not extend to other environmental considerations. Therefore, the Agency is not addressing these comments here. Where appropriate, the Agency may address them in connection with the associated pending pesticide registration action.

    Comments were submitted in both docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0496 and EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0841 raising issues about the establishment of tolerances for dicamba on cotton and soybeans. Commenters raised concerns about the potential toxicity of dicamba, questioned the Agency's endpoint selection, and alleged that increased use of the pesticide would increase exposure to farmers and workers and dietary exposure. The Agency considered all the available toxicity and exposure data for dicamba and its sales and metabolites and determined that these tolerances are safe for the reasons spelled out in detail within the risk assessment Dicamba and Dicamba Salt: Human-Health Risk Assessment for Proposed Section 3 New Uses on Dicamba-tolerant Cotton and Soybean located in Docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0187 on Although many of the commenters' concerns are about toxicity that may occur or be associated with occupational exposure to dicamba and even though occupational exposure is outside the scope of the Agency's FFDCA safety analysis, the Agency did consider the available toxicity information and has concluded that dicamba does not pose risks of carcinogenicity or developmental toxicity. In addition, to take into account new toxicology received since the last risk assessment, the Agency has updated the chronic endpoint and is no longer relying on the endpoint about which the commenters expressed concern in their comments. The updated chronic reference dose takes into account all the available information, which has been updated since the 1987 Health Advisory that the commenters mention. The Agency also reviewed comments and requests for evaluating residue tolerances for dicamba tolerant crops and the tolerances proposed by a SOCC petition concurrently due to the potential dangers of dicamba drift and volatilization. After completing our final assessments of the new dicamba uses (which can be found in Docket ID # EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0187) it has been determined that through proper label mitigations and restrictions, the Agency does not expect use of dicamba on cotton or soybeans to result in any inadvertent residues on neighboring crops. As a result, the Agency believes there is no need to establish tolerances for inadvertent residues on food crops as a result of the new uses for dicamba on cotton and soybean.

    Finally, the commenters expressed concern that approval of new uses would increase exposure to workers and urged the Agency to take into account the likely increased dietary exposure, including any residues of dicamba that are in cattle diets and livestock commodities from treated cotton plants, from increased use of dicamba from approval of these tolerances. Because the FFDCA directs EPA to aggregate non-occupational exposure with dietary exposure, the Agency's assessment under the FFDCA does not assess the levels of occupational exposure to farmers and other workers. As to the dietary exposure, as noted in Unit III.C.1., the Agency considers exposure under the petitioned-for tolerances (including residues ingested by livestock diets that may result in residues livestock commodities) as well as all existing dicamba tolerances. Upon assessing those levels of exposure, the Agency has determined that these tolerances will be safe.

    D. Revisions to Petitioned-For Tolerances

    Tolerances for soybean forage and hay requested by the petitioner were estimated using the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) MRL calculator. EPA is establishing tolerances, which differ from the proposed tolerances, based on the Organization for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) MRL calculation procedures, which is the Agency's current standard for determination of tolerances.

    V. Conclusion

    Therefore, tolerances are established for residues of dicamba, 3,6-dichloro-2-methoxybenzoic acid, in or on cotton, gin byproducts at 70 ppm; cotton, undelinted seed at 3.0 ppm; soybean, forage at 60 ppm; and soybean, hay at 100 ppm.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    This action establishes tolerances under FFDCA section 408(d) in response to a petition submitted to the Agency. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has exempted these types of actions from review under Executive Order 12866, entitled “Regulatory Planning and Review” (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993). Because this action has been exempted from review under Executive Order 12866, this action is not subject to Executive Order 13211, entitled “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) or Executive Order 13045, entitled “Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks” (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997). This action does not contain any information collections subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), nor does it require any special considerations under Executive Order 12898, entitled “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations” (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).

    Since tolerances and exemptions that are established on the basis of a petition under FFDCA section 408(d), such as the tolerances in this final rule, do not require the issuance of a proposed rule, the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), do not apply.

    This action directly regulates growers, food processors, food handlers, and food retailers, not States or tribes, nor does this action alter the relationships or distribution of power and responsibilities established by Congress in the preemption provisions of FFDCA section 408(n)(4). As such, the Agency has determined that this action will not have a substantial direct effect on States or tribal governments, on the relationship between the national government and the States or tribal governments, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government or between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. Thus, the Agency has determined that Executive Order 13132, entitled “Federalism” (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and Executive Order 13175, entitled “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000) do not apply to this action. In addition, this action does not impose any enforceable duty or contain any unfunded mandate as described under Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.).

    This action does not involve any technical standards that would require Agency consideration of voluntary consensus standards pursuant to section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272 note).

    VII. Congressional Review Act

    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), 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. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Agricultural commodities, Pesticides and pests, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: November 9, 2016. Michael Goodis, Acting Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

    Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows:

    PART 180—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 180 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 321(q), 346a and 371.

    2. In § 180.227: a. Remove from the table in paragraph (a)(1), the entry “Cotton, undelinted seed”. b. Add alphabetically the following entries to the table in paragraph (a)(3) “Cotton, gin byproducts”; “Cotton, undelinted seed”; “Soybean, forage”; and “Soybean, hay”.

    The additions read as follows:

    § 180.227 Dicamba; tolerances for residues.

    (a) * * *

    (3) * * *

    Commodity Parts per million Cotton, gin byproducts 70 Cotton, undelinted seed 3.0 *    *    *    *    * Soybean, forage 60 Soybean, hay 100 *    *    *    *    *
    [FR Doc. 2016-29245 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management 43 CFR Parts 3100 and 3170 [17X.LLWO310000.L13100000.PP0000] RIN 1004-AE14 Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation; Correction AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is correcting a final rule that appeared in the Federal Register on November 18, 2016. The document promulgated new regulations to reduce waste of natural gas from venting, flaring, and leaks during oil and natural gas production activities on onshore Federal and Indian (other than Osage Tribe) leases. The regulations also clarify when produced gas lost through venting, flaring, or leaks is subject to royalties, and when oil and gas production may be used royalty-free on-site. This document corrects several minor errors that were introduced by the Office of the Federal Register during formatting, as well as one erroneous cross-reference, in the text of the final rule.

    DATES:

    Effective January 17, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Timothy Spisak at the BLM Washington Office, 20 M Street SE., Room 2134LM, Washington, DC 20003, or by telephone at 202-912-7311. For questions relating to regulatory process issues, contact Faith Bremner at 202-912-7441.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In FR Doc. 2016-27637 published in the Federal Register on November 18, 2016 (81 FR 83008), the following corrections are made:

    § 3103.3-1 [Corrected]
    1. On page 83077, in the third column, in § 3103.3-1(a)(2) add the word “after” before “January 17, 2017:”
    § 3179.4 [Corrected]
    2. On page 83082, in the first column, in § 3179.4, designate the definition of “unavoidably lost oil or gas” as paragraph (a). 3. On page 83082, in the second column, in § 3179.4, designate the definition for “avoidably lost oil or gas” as paragraph (b).
    § 3179.102 [Corrected]
    4. On page 83084, in the second column, in § 3179.102(d), remove the phrase “paragraph (d)” and add in its place the phrase “paragraph (c).” Dated: November 28, 2016. Amanda Leiter, Acting Assistant Secretary, Land and Minerals Management.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29205 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-84-P
    81 236 Thursday, December 8, 2016 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Office of the Secretary 6 CFR Part 5 [Docket No. DHS-2016-0075] Privacy Act of 1974: Implementation of Exemptions; Department of Homeland Security/United States Coast Guard-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records AGENCY:

    Privacy Office, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Homeland Security is giving concurrent notice of a newly established system of records pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974 for the “Department of Homeland Security/United States Coast Guard-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records” and this proposed rulemaking. In this proposed rulemaking, the Department proposes to exempt portions of the system of records from one or more provisions of the Privacy Act because of criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement requirements.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before January 9, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-2016-0075, by one of the following methods:

    Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Fax: 202-343-4010.

    Mail: Jonathan R. Cantor, Acting Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this notice. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For general questions please contact: Marilyn Scott-Perez (202-475-3515), Privacy Officer, Commandant (CG-61), United States Coast Guard, Mail Stop 7710, Washington, DC 20593. For privacy issues please contact: Jonathan R. Cantor, (202-343-1717), Acting Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) United States Coast Guard (USCG) proposes to establish a new DHS system of records titled, “DHS/United States Coast Guard-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records.” Concurrent with this newly issued system of records, DHS/USCG is proposing to exempt the ULE System of Records from certain provisions of the Privacy Act.

    II. Privacy Act

    The Privacy Act embodies fair information practice principles in a statutory framework governing the means by which Federal Government agencies collect, maintain, use, and disseminate personally identifiable information. The Privacy Act applies to information that is maintained in a “system of records.” A “system of records” is a group of any records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual. In the Privacy Act, an individual is defined to encompass U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. As a matter of policy, DHS extends administrative Privacy Act protections to all individuals when systems of records maintain information on U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and visitors.

    The Privacy Act allows Government agencies to exempt certain records from the access and amendment provisions. If an agency claims an exemption, however, it must issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to make clear to the public the reasons why a particular exemption is claimed.

    DHS is claiming exemptions from certain requirements of the Privacy Act for DHS/USCG-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records. Some information in DHS/USCG-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records relates to official DHS national security, law enforcement, immigration, and intelligence activities. These exemptions are needed to protect information relating to DHS activities from disclosure to subjects or others related to these activities. Specifically, the exemptions are required to preclude subjects of these activities from frustrating these processes; to avoid disclosure of activity techniques; to protect the identities and physical safety of confidential informants and law enforcement personnel; and to ensure DHS's ability to obtain information from third parties and other sources; to protect the privacy of third parties; and to safeguard classified information. Disclosure of information to the subject of the inquiry could also permit the subject to avoid detection or apprehension.

    In appropriate circumstances, when compliance would not appear to interfere with or adversely affect the law enforcement purposes of this system and the overall law enforcement process, the applicable exemptions may be waived on a case by case basis.

    A notice of system of records for DHS/USCG-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records is also published in this issue of the Federal Register.

    List of Subjects in 6 CFR Part 5

    Freedom of information; Privacy.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, DHS proposes to amend chapter I of title 6, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

    PART 5—DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS AND INFORMATION 1. Revise the authority citation for Part 5 to read as follows: Authority:

    6 U.S.C. 101 et seq.; Pub. L. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135; 5 U.S.C. 301. Subpart A also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552. Subpart B also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552a.

    2. Add at the end of Appendix C to part 5, the following new paragraph 76: Appendix C to Part 5—DHS Systems of Records Exempt From the Privacy Act

    76. The DHS/USCG-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records consists of electronic and paper records and will be used by DHS and its components. The DHS/USCG-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records is a repository of information held by DHS in connection with its several and varied missions and functions, including, but not limited to the enforcement of civil and criminal laws; investigations, inquiries, and proceedings there under; and national security and intelligence activities. The DHS/USCG-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records contains information that is collected by, on behalf of, in support of, or in cooperation with DHS and its components and may contain personally identifiable information collected by other federal, state, local, tribal, foreign, or international government agencies.

    The Secretary of Homeland Security, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), has exempted this system from the following provisions of the Privacy Act: 5 U.S.C. 552a (c)(3-4); (d); (e)(1-3), (e)(5), (e)(8); and (g). Additionally, the Secretary of Homeland Security, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) has exempted this system from the following provisions of the Privacy Act: 5 U.S.C. 552a (c)(3); (d); (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I); and (f).

    When a record received from another system has been exempted in that source system under 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), DHS will claim the same exemptions for those records that are claimed for the original primary systems of records from which they originated and claims any additional exemptions set forth here.

    Exemptions from these particular subsections are justified, on a case-by-case basis to be determined at the time a request is made, for the following reasons:

    (a) From subsection (c)(3) and (4) (Accounting for Disclosures) because release of the accounting of disclosures could alert the subject of an investigation of an actual or potential criminal, civil, or regulatory violation to the existence of that investigation and reveal investigative interest on the part of DHS as well as the recipient agency. Disclosure of the accounting would therefore present a serious impediment to law enforcement efforts and/or efforts to preserve national security. Disclosure of the accounting would also permit the individual who is the subject of a record to impede the investigation, to tamper with witnesses or evidence, and to avoid detection or apprehension, which would undermine the entire investigative process.

    (b) From subsection (d) (Access to Records) because access to the records contained in this system of records could inform the subject of an investigation of an actual or potential criminal, civil, or regulatory violation to the existence of that investigation and reveal investigative interest on the part of DHS or another agency. Access to the records could permit the individual who is the subject of a record to impede the investigation, to tamper with witnesses or evidence, and to avoid detection or apprehension. Amendment of the records could interfere with ongoing investigations and law enforcement activities and would impose an unreasonable administrative burden by requiring investigations to be continually reinvestigated. In addition, permitting access and amendment to such information could disclose security-sensitive information that could be detrimental to homeland security.

    (c) From subsection (e)(1) (Relevancy and Necessity of Information) because in the course of investigations into potential violations of federal law, the accuracy of information obtained or introduced occasionally may be unclear, or the information may not be strictly relevant or necessary to a specific investigation. In the interests of effective law enforcement, it is appropriate to retain all information that may aid in establishing patterns of unlawful activity.

    (d) From subsection (e)(2) (Collection of Information from Individuals) because requiring that information be collected from the subject of an investigation would alert the subject to the nature or existence of the investigation, thereby interfering with that investigation and related law enforcement activities.

    (e) From subsection (e)(3) (Notice to Subjects) because providing such detailed information could impede law enforcement by compromising the existence of a confidential investigation or reveal the identity of witnesses or confidential informants.

    (f) From subsection (e)(5) (Collection of Information) because with the collection of information for law enforcement purposes, it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. Compliance with subsection (e)(5) would preclude DHS agents from using their investigative training and exercise of good judgment to both conduct and report on investigations.

    (h) From subsection (e)(8) (Notice on Individuals) because compliance would interfere with DHS's ability to obtain, serve, and issue subpoenas, warrants, and other law enforcement mechanisms that may be filed under seal and could result in disclosure of investigative techniques, procedures, and evidence.

    (j) From subsection (g) (Civil Remedies) to the extent that the system is exempt from other specific subsections of the Privacy Act.

    Dated: December 1, 2016. Jonathan R. Cantor, Acting Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29342 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-HQ-OAR-2016-0598; FRL-9956-30-OAR] RIN 2060-AT16 Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter: Revision of Federal Implementation Plan Requirements for Texas AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the public comment period for the proposed rule titled “Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter: Revision of Federal Implementation Plan Requirements for Texas” published in the Federal Register on November 10, 2016.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before January 9, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    The EPA has established docket number EPA-HQ-OAR-2016-0598 for this action. Follow the instructions for submitting comments provided under ADDRESSES in the November 10, 2016 proposal (81 FR 78954).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information on this action, contact Robert L. Miller, Clean Air Markets Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs (Mail Code 6204M), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 343-9077; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the proposed rule titled “Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter: Revision of Federal Implementation Plan Requirements for Texas” (81 FR 78954, November 10, 2016), the EPA established a public comment period ending on December 12, 2016. The EPA received multiple requests for an extension of this period. In order to ensure that the public has sufficient time to review and comment on the proposal, the EPA is extending the public comment period to end on January 9, 2017.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control, Electric power plants, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen oxides, Ozone, Particulate matter, Regional haze, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur dioxide.

    Dated: December 2, 2016. Sarah Dunham, Director, Office of Atmospheric Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29442 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 45 CFR Part 5b [Docket Number NIH-2016-0001] RIN 0925-AA63 Privacy Act; Implementation AGENCY:

    Department of Health and Human Services.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS or Department), through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), proposes to exempt, from certain requirements of the Privacy Act, a subset of records in a new system of records, System No. 09-25-0225, NIH Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Records (NIH eRA Records), which covers records used in managing NIH research and development applications and awards throughout the award lifecycle. Elsewhere in today's Federal Register, HHS has published a proposed System of Records Notice (SORN) for System No. 09-25-0225 for public notice and comment.

    The subset of records proposed to be exempted is material that would inappropriately reveal the identities of referees who provide letters of recommendation and peer reviewers who provide written evaluative input and recommendations to NIH about particular funding applications under an express promise by the government that their identities in association with the written work products they authored and provided to the government will be kept confidential. Only material that would inappropriately reveal a particular referee or peer reviewer as the author of a specific work product (e.g., reference or recommendation letters, reviewer critiques, preliminary or final individual overall impact/priority scores, and/or assignment of peer reviewers to an application and other evaluative materials and data compiled by NIH/OER) is proposed to be exempted. The exemptions would protect not only an author's name in association with their written work product but any content that could enable the author to be identified from context.

    The Privacy Act provisions from which the material is proposed to be exempted are those that require the agency to provide an accounting of disclosures, access and amendment, and notification, which are contained in subsections (c)(3) and (d) of the Privacy Act.

    DATES:

    Submit either electronic or written comments regarding this notice by February 6, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket Number NIH-2016-0001 via any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

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

    Written Submission

    Submit written submissions in the following ways:

    Fax: 301-402-0169.

    Mail: Jerry Moore, NIH Regulations Officer, Office of Management Assessment, National Institutes of Health, 6011 Executive Boulevard, Suite 601, MSC 7669, Rockville, MD 20852-7669. To ensure timely processing of comments, the HHS/NIH is no longer accepting NPRM comments submitted to the agency by email. The HHS/NIH encourages you to continue to submit electronic comments by using the Federal eRulemaking Portal, as described previously, in the ADDRESSES portion of this document under Electronic Submissions.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket No. for this rulemaking. All comments received may be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions provided for conducting a search, using the docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jerry Moore, NIH Regulations Officer, Office of Management Assessment, National Institutes of Health, 6011 Executive Boulevard, Suite 601, MSC 7669, Rockville, MD 20852-7669, telephone 301-496-4607, fax 301-402-0169, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NIH research and development award programs provide funds through contracts, cooperative agreements, and grants to support biomedical and behavioral research and development projects and centers, training, career development, small business, and loan repayment and other research programs. The NIH is responsible to Congress and the U.S. taxpayers for carrying out its research and development award programs in a manner that facilitates research cost-effectively and in compliance with applicable statutes, rules and regulations, including 42 U.S.C. 217a, 281, 282, 41 U.S.C. 423 and 45 CFR part 75. The NIH uses an award process that relies on checks and balances, separation of responsibilities, and a two-level peer review system to ensure that funding applications submitted to NIH are evaluated in a manner that is fair, equitable, timely, and free of bias. The two-level peer review system is authorized by 42 U.S.C. 216; 42 U.S.C. 282(b)(6); 42 U.S.C. 284(c)(3); and 42 U.S.C. 289a and governed by regulations at 42 CFR part 52h, “Scientific Peer Review of Research Grant Applications and Research and Development Contract Projects.” The two-level system separates the scientific assessment of proposed projects from policy decisions about scientific areas to be supported and the level of resources to be allocated, which permits a more objective and complete evaluation than would result from a single level of review. The two-level review system is designed to provide NIH officials with the best available advice about scientific and technical merit as well as program priorities and policy considerations. The initial or first level review involves panels of experts established according to scientific disciplines, generally referred to as Scientific Review Groups (SRGs), whose primary function is to evaluate the scientific merit of grant applications. The second level of review of grant applications is performed by National Advisory Boards or Councils composed of both scientific and lay representatives. The recommendations made by these Boards or Councils are based not only on considerations of scientific merit as judged by the SRG but also on the relevance of a proposed project to the programs and priorities of NIH. Referees are those individuals who supply reference or other letters of recommendations for a grant or cooperative agreement applicant. Confidential referee and peer reviewer identifying material is contained in records such as reference or recommendation letters, reviewer critiques, preliminary or final individual overall impact/priority score records, and/or assignment of peer reviewers to an application and other evaluative materials and data, which referees and peer reviewers provide to the NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER) under express promises that they will not be identified as the sources of the information, and which NIH/OER compiles solely for the purpose of determining applicants' suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements. To the extent that records in System No. 09-25-0225 are retrieved by personal identifiers for individuals other than the referees and reviewers (for example, individual applicants), the exemptions proposed for the new system will enable the agency to prevent, when appropriate, those individual record subjects from having access to, and other rights under the Privacy Act with respect to, confidential source-identifying material in the records.

    Under the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a), individuals have a right of access to records about them in federal agency systems of records, and other rights with respect to those records (such as notification, amendment, and an accounting of disclosures), but the Act permits certain types of systems of records (identified in § 552a (j) and (k)) to be exempted from certain requirements of the Act. Subsection (k)(5) permits the head of an agency to promulgate rules to exempt from the requirements in subsections (c)(3) and (d) of the Act investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for Federal contracts, to the extent that the disclosure of such material would reveal the identity of a source who furnished information to the Government under an express promise that the identity of the source would be held in confidence.

    Confidential referee and peer reviewer-identifying material in NIH award program records covered by System No. 09-25-0225 qualifies for exemption under subsection (k)(5) because it is investigatory material that NIH/OER compiles solely for the purpose of determining applicants' suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal research and development contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements.

    The exemptions are necessary to maintain the integrity of the NIH extramural peer review and award processes, which depend on receiving accurate, objective, and unbiased recommendations and evaluations from referees and peer reviewers about funding applications. Protecting their identities as the sources of the information they provide protects them from harassment, intimidation, and other attempts to improperly influence award outcomes, and ensures that they are not reluctant to provide sensitive information or frank assessments. Case law has held that exemptions promulgated under subsection (k)(5) may protect source-identifying material even where the identity of the source is known.

    The specific rationales that support the exemptions, as to each affected Privacy Act provision, are as follows:

    Subsection (c)(3). An exemption from the requirement to provide an accounting of disclosures to record subjects is needed to protect the identity of any referee or peer reviewer source who is expressly promised confidentiality. Release of an accounting of disclosures to an individual who is related to the application under assessment or evaluation could identify particular referees and peer reviewers as sources of recommendations or evaluative input received, or to be received, on the application. Inappropriately revealing their identities in association with the nature and scope of their assessments or evaluations and could lead them to alter or destroy their assessments or evaluations or subject them to harassment, intimidation, or other improper influences, which would impede or compromise the fairness and objectivity of the grant or contract review process.

    Subsection (d)(1). An exemption from the access requirement is needed both during and after a grant or contract review proceeding, to avoid inappropriately revealing the identity of any referee or peer reviewer source who was expressly promised confidentiality. Protecting confidential referee and peer reviewer identifying material from inappropriate access by record subjects is necessary for the integrity of the peer review process to ensure such sources provide candid assessments or evaluations to the government without fear that their identities as linked to a specific work product will be inappropriately revealed. Allowing an individual applicant or other individual who is the subject of an assessment or evaluation to access material that would inappropriately reveal a confidential referee or peer reviewer source could interfere with or compromise the objectivity and fairness of grant and contract review proceedings, constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of the source and violate the express promise of confidentiality made to the source.

    Subsections (d)(2) through (d)(4). An exemption from the amendment provisions is necessary while one or more related grant and/or contract review proceedings are pending to avoid inappropriately revealing the identity of any referee or peer reviewer source who was expressly promised confidentiality. Allowing an individual applicant or other individual who is the subject of an evaluation or assessment an opportunity to amend extramural assistance program records in a pending proceeding could interfere with that proceeding, could constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of a source, and would violate the express promise of confidentiality made to the source, if the information sought to be amended was provided by the source under an express promise of confidentiality and if acknowledging the existence of the record and discussing its contents as required to process the amendment request would inappropriately reveal the source's identity.

    Accordingly, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), the agency proposes to exempt the following source-identifying material in system of records--25-0225 NIH eRA Records from the accounting, access, amendment and notification provisions of the Privacy Act (paragraphs (c)(3), and (d)), based on the specific rationales indicated above: Material that would inappropriately reveal the identities of referees who provide letters of recommendation and peer reviewers who provide written evaluative input and recommendations to NIH about particular funding applications under an express promise by the government that their identities in association with the written work products they authored and provided to the government will be kept confidential; this includes only material that would reveal a particular referee or peer reviewer as the author of a specific work product (e.g., reference or recommendation letters, reviewer critiques, preliminary or final individual overall impact/priority scores, and/or assignment of peer reviewers to an application and other evaluative materials and data compiled by NIH/OER); it includes not only an author's name but any content that could enable the author to be identified from context.

    Notwithstanding the exemptions, consideration will be given to any requests for notification, access, and amendment that are addressed to the System Manager, as provided in the SORN for system of records 09-25-0225.

    Analysis of Impacts

    The HHS/NIH has examined the impacts of this rule under Executive Order 12866 and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4). Executive Order 12866 directs agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). The agency believes that this rule is not a significant regulatory action under the Executive Order.

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires agencies to analyze regulatory options that would minimize any significant impact of a rule on small entities. Because the rule imposes no duties or obligations on small entities, the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    Section 202(a) of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires that agencies prepare a written statement, which includes an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits, before proposing “any rule that includes any Federal mandate that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year.” The current threshold after adjustment for inflation is $144 million, using the most current (2015) Implicit Price Deflator for the Gross Domestic Product. The NIH does not expect that a final rule consistent with this NPRM would result in any 1-year expenditure that would meet or exceed this amount.

    List of Subjects in 45 CFR Part 5b

    Privacy.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Department proposes to amend its part 5b of title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

    PART 5b—PRIVACY ACT REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for Part 5b continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 301, 5 U.S.C. 552a.

    2. Amend § 5b.11 by adding paragraph (b)(2)(vii)(E) as follows:
    § 5b.11 Exempt systems.

    (b) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (vii) * * *

    (E) NIH Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Records, HHS/NIH/OD/OER, 09-25-0225 (e.g., reference or recommendation letters, reviewer critiques, preliminary or final individual overall impact/priority scores, and/or assignment of peer reviewers to an application and other evaluative materials and data compiled by the NIH Office of Extramural Research).

    Dated: October 14, 2016. Francis S. Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health. Approved: October 18, 2016. Sylvia Matthews Burwell, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29058 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 224 [Docket No. 141216999-6999-02] RIN 0648-XD669 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Notice of 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's Whale as Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule, request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We, NMFS, announce a 12-month finding and listing determination on a petition to list the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We have completed a Status Review report of the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale in response to a petition submitted by the Natural Resources Defense Council. After reviewing the best scientific and commercial data available, including the Status Review report, and consulting with the Society for Marine Mammology's Committee on Taxonomy, we have determined that the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale is taxonomically a subspecies of the Bryde's whale thus meeting the ESA's definition of a species. Based on the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale's small population (likely fewer than 100 individuals), its life history characteristics, its extremely limited distribution, and its vulnerability to existing threats, we believe that the species faces a high risk of extinction. Based on these considerations, described in more detail within this action, we conclude that the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale is in danger of extinction throughout all of its range and meets the definition of an endangered species. We are soliciting information that may be relevant to inform both our final listing determination and designation of critical habitat.

    DATES:

    Information and comments on the subject action must be received by January 30, 2017. For the specific date of the public hearing, see Public Hearing section.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, information, or data on this document, identified by the code NOAA-NMFS-2014-0101 by any of the following methods:

    Electronic submissions : Submit all electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0101, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments;

    Mail: NMFS, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701;

    Hand delivery: You may hand deliver written information to our office during normal business hours at the street address given above.

    The Status Review of Bryde's Whales in the Gulf of Mexico (Rosel et al., 2016) and reference list are available by submitting a request to the Species Conservation Branch Chief, Protected Resources Division, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5505, Attn: Bryde's Whale 12-month Finding. The Status Review report and references are also available electronically at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/listing_petitions/index.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Laura Engleby or Calusa Horn, NMFS, Southeast Regional Office (727) 824-5312 or Marta Nammack, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources (301) 427-8469.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On September 18, 2014, we received a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council to list the Gulf of Mexico population of Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) as an endangered species. The petition asserted that the Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico is endangered by at least three of the five ESA section 4(a)(1) factors: present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of habitat or range; inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. The petitioner also requested that critical habitat be designated concurrent with listing under the ESA.

    On April 6, 2015, we published a 90-day finding that the petition presented substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted (80 FR 18343). At that time, we announced the initiation of a formal status review and requested scientific and commercial information from the public, government agencies, scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties on the delineation of, threats to, and the status of the Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico including: (1) Historical and current distribution, abundance, and population trends; (2) life history and biological information including adaptations to ecological settings, genetic analyses to assess paternal contribution and population connectivity, and movement patterns to determine population mixing; (3) management measures and regulatory mechanisms designed to protect the species; (4) any current or planned activities that may adversely impact the species; and (5) ongoing or planned efforts to protect and restore the species and habitat. We received eight public comments in response to the 90-day finding, with the majority of comments in support of the petition. The public provided relevant scientific literature to be considered in the Status Review report as well as a recently developed density model and abundance estimate. Relevant information was incorporated in the Status Review report and in this proposed rule.

    Listing Determinations Under the ESA

    We are responsible for determining whether the Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico is threatened or endangered under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA requires us to make listing determinations based solely on the best scientific and commercial data available after conducting a review of the status of the species and after taking into account efforts being made by any state or foreign nation to protect the species. To be considered for listing under the ESA, a group of organisms must constitute a “species,” which is defined in Section 3 of the ESA to include taxonomic species and “any subspecies of fish, or wildlife, or plants, and any distinct population segment (DPS) of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.” Under NMFS regulations, we must rely not only on standard taxonomic distinctions, but also on the biological expertise of the agency and the scientific community, to determine if the relevant taxonomic group is a “species” for purposes of the ESA (see 50 CFR 424.11). Under Section 4(a)(1) of the ESA, we must next determine whether any species is endangered or threatened due to any of the following five factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence (sections 4(a)(1)(A) through (E)).

    To determine whether the Bryde's whale population in the Gulf of Mexico warrants listing under the ESA, we first formed a Status Review Team (SRT) of seven biologists, including six NOAA Fisheries Science Center (Southeast, Southwest, and Northeast) and Southeast Regional Office personnel and one member from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement—Gulf of Mexico Region, to compile and review the best available scientific information on Bryde's whales in the Gulf of Mexico and assess their extinction risk. The Status Review report prepared by the SRT summarizes the taxonomy, distribution, abundance, life history, and biology of the species, identifies threats or stressors affecting the status of the species, and provides a description of existing regulatory mechanisms and conservation efforts (Rosel et al., 2016). The Status Review report incorporates information received in response to our request for information (80 FR 18343; April 6, 2015) and comments from three independent peer reviewers. Information from the Status Review report about the biology of the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale is summarized below under “Biological Review.” The Status Review report also includes a threats evaluation and an Extinction Risk Analysis (ERA), conducted by the SRT. The results of the threats evaluation are discussed below under “Threats Evaluation” and the results of the ERA are discussed below under “Extinction Risk Analysis.”

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

    In determining whether the Gulf of Mexico population of Bryde's whale meets the standard of endangered or threatened, we first determined that, based on the best scientific and commercial data available, the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale is a genetically distinct subspecies of the globally distributed Bryde's whale. We next considered the specific life history and ecology of the species, the nature of threats, the species' response to those threats, and population numbers and trends. We considered both the data and information summarized in the Status Review report, as well as the results of the ERA. We considered impacts of each identified threat both individually and cumulatively. For purposes of our analysis, the mere identification of factors that could impact a species negatively is not sufficient to compel a finding that ESA listing is appropriate. In considering those factors that might constitute threats, we look beyond mere exposure of the species to the factor to determine whether the species responds, either to a single threat or multiple threats, in a way that causes actual impacts at the species level. In making this finding, we have considered and evaluated the best available scientific and commercial information, including information received in response to our 90-day finding.

    Biological Review

    This section provides a summary of key biological information presented in the Status Review report (Rosel et al., 2016), which provides the baseline context and foundation for our listing determination. The petition specifically requested that we consider the Gulf of Mexico population of Bryde's whale as a DPS and list that population as an endangered species. Therefore, the SRT first considered whether the Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico constituted a DPS, a subspecies, a species, or part of the globally distributed Bryde's whale population. This section also includes our conclusions based on the biological information presented in the Status Review report.

    Species Description

    Bryde's whale (B. edeni) is a large baleen whale found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. Currently two subspecies of Bryde's whale are recognized: A smaller form, Eden's whale (B. e. edeni), found in the Indian and western Pacific oceans primarily in coastal waters, and a larger, more pelagic form, Bryde's whale (B. e. brydei), found worldwide. Like Bryde's whales found worldwide, the Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico has a streamlined and sleek body shape, a somewhat pointed, flat rostrum with three prominent ridges (i.e., a large center ridge, and smaller left and right lateral ridges), a large falcate dorsal fin, and a counter-shaded color that is fairly uniformly-dark dorsally and light to pinkish ventrally (Jefferson et al., 2015). There is no apparent morphological difference between the Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico and those worldwide. Baleen from these whales has not been thoroughly characterized, but the baleen plates from one individual from the Gulf of Mexico were dark gray to black with white bristles (Rosel et al., 2016). This is consistent with the description by Mead (1977), who indicated that the bristles of both Bryde's whale subspecies are coarser than those in the closely-related sei whale. Limited data (n=14) indicate the length of Bryde's whales in the Gulf of Mexico is intermediate with the currently recognized subspecies. The largest Bryde's whale observed in the Gulf of Mexico was a lactating female at 12.7 meters (m) in length and the next four largest animals were 11.2-11.6 m in length (Rosel and Wilcox 2014). Rice (1998) reported adult Eden's whales rarely exceed 11.5 m total length and adult Bryde's whales from the Atlantic, Pacific and the Indian Ocean reach 14.0-15.0 m in length.

    Genetics

    In a recent genetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) samples taken from Bryde's whales in the Gulf of Mexico, Rosel and Wilcox (2014) found that the Gulf of Mexico population was genetically distinct from all other Bryde's whales worldwide. Maternally inherited mtDNA is an indicator of population-level differentiation, as it evolves relatively rapidly. Rosel and Wilcox (2014) identified 25-26 fixed nucleotide differences in the mtDNA control region between the Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico and the two currently recognized subspecies (i.e., Eden's whale and Bryde's whale) and the sei whale (B. borealis). They found that the level and pattern of mtDNA differentiation discovered indicates that Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whales are as genetically differentiated from other Bryde's whales worldwide, as those Bryde's whales are differentiated from their most closely-related species, the sei whale. In addition, genetic analysis of the mtDNA data and data from 42 nuclear microsatellite loci (repeating base pairs in the DNA) revealed that the genetic diversity within the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale population is exceedingly low. Rosel and Wilcox (2014) concluded that this level of genetic divergence suggests a unique evolutionary trajectory for the Gulf of Mexico population of Bryde's whale, worthy of its own taxonomic standing.

    The SRT considered this level of genetic divergence to be significant, indicating that the Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico is a separate subspecies. To confirm its determination, the SRT asked the Society for Marine Mammalogy Committee on Taxonomy (Committee) for its expert scientific opinion on the level of taxonomic distinctiveness of the Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico. The Committee maintains the official list of marine mammal species and subspecies for the Society for Marine Mammalogy. It updates the list as new descriptions of species, subspecies, or taxonomic actions appear in the technical literature, adhering to principle and procedures, opinions, and directions set forth by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. The Committee also reviews, as requested, formal descriptions of new taxa and other taxonomic actions, and provides expert advice on taxonomic descriptions and other aspects of marine mammal taxonomy. In response to the request made by the SRT, all of the Committee members who responded (nine out of nine) voted it was “highly likely” that Bryde's whales in the Gulf of Mexico comprise at least an undescribed subspecies of what is currently recognized as B. edeni. This result constituted the opinion of the Committee, which makes decisions by majority vote (W. F. Perrin, Committee Chairman 2015). Based on the expert opinion from the Committee and the best available scientific information, the SRT concluded Bryde's whales in the Gulf of Mexico are taxonomically distinct from the other two Bryde's whale subspecies. The SRT identified the Bryde's whale occurring in the Gulf of Mexico as a separate subspecies called “GOMx Bryde's whale,” and conducted the Status Review accordingly.

    Our regulations state that, “In determining whether a particular taxon or population is a species for the purpose of the Act, the Secretary shall rely on standard taxonomic distinctions and biological expertise of the Department and scientific community concerning the relevant taxonomic group” (50 CFR 424.11(a)). Under this provision, we must consider the biological expertise of the SRT and the scientific community, and apply the best available science when it indicates that a taxonomic classification is outdated or incorrect. The GOMx Bryde's whale has a high level of genetic divergence from the two recognized Bryde's whale subspecies (Eden's whale and Bryde's whale) elsewhere in the world. Given this information, we relied on the biological expertise of the SRT and the Committee concerning the taxonomic status of the Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico. We agree with the SRT and the Committee's determination that the Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico is taxonomically at least a subspecies of B. edeni. Based on the best available scientific and commercial information described above and in the Status Review report, we have determined that the Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico is a taxonomically distinct subspecies and, therefore, eligible for listing under the ESA. Accordingly, we did not further consider whether the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale population is a DPS under the ESA.

    Distribution

    The Status Review report (Rosel et al., 2016) found that the historical distribution of Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico included the northeastern, north-central and southern Gulf of Mexico. This was based on work by Reeves et al. (2011), which reviewed whaling logbooks of “Yankee whalers” and plotted daily locations of ships during the period 1788-1877 as a proxy for whaling effort, with locations of species takes and sightings in the Gulf of Mexico. These sightings by the whalers were generally offshore in deeper (e.g., >1000 m) waters, given their primary target of sperm whales (Physeter microcephalus). Reeves et al. (2011) concluded whales reported as “finback” by “Yankee whalers” in the Gulf of Mexico were most likely Bryde's whales, because Bryde's whales are the only baleen whales that occur in the Gulf of Mexico year-round. The SRT found that these data indicate that the historical distribution of Bryde's whales in the Gulf of Mexico was much broader and also included the north-central and southern Gulf of Mexico.

    Stranding records from the Southeast U.S. stranding network, the Smithsonian Institution, and the literature (Mead 1977, Schmidly 1981, Jefferson 1995) include 22 Bryde's whales strandings in the Gulf of Mexico from 1954-2012, although three have uncertain species identification. Most strandings were recorded east of the Mississippi River through west central Florida, but two were recorded west of Louisiana. There are no documented Bryde's whale strandings in Texas, although strandings of fin (B. physalus), sei (B. borealis), and minke (B. acutorostrata) whales have been documented.

    We began conducting oceanic (ship) and continental shelf (ship and aerial) surveys for cetaceans in 1991 that continue today. The location of shipboard and aerial survey effort in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean was plotted by Roberts et al. (2016). Details of Bryde's whale sightings from these surveys are summarized in Waring et al. (2015). During surveys in 1991, Bryde's whales were sighted in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico along the continental shelf break, in an area known as the De Soto Canyon. In subsequent surveys, Bryde's whales or whales identified as Bryde's/sei whales (i.e.., where it was not possible to distinguish between a Bryde's whale or a sei whale), were sighted in this same region of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. When observers were able to clearly see the dorsal surface of the rostrum of at least one whale, three ridges were present, a diagnostic characteristic of Bryde's whales (Maze-Foley & Mullin 2006). As a result, our Gulf of Mexico surveys from 1991-2015 use sightings of Bryde's whale, Bryde's/sei whale, and baleen whale species collectively as the basis for estimates of Bryde's whales abundance and distribution. Sightings of Bryde's whales in the Gulf of Mexico have been consistently located in the De Soto Canyon area, along the continental shelf break between 100 m and 300 m depth. Bryde's whales have been sighted in all seasons within the De Soto Canyon area (Mullin and Hoggard 2000, Maze-Foley and Mullin 2006, Mullin 2007, DWH MMIQT 2015). Consequently, LaBrecque et al. (2015) designated this area, home to the small resident population of Bryde's whale in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, as a Biologically Important Area (BIA). BIA's are reproductive areas, feeding areas, migratory corridors, and areas in which small and resident populations are concentrated. They do not have direct or immediate regulatory consequences. Rather, they are intended to provide the best available science to help inform regulatory and management decisions, in order to minimize impacts from anthropogenic activities on marine mammals (LaBrecque et al., 2015).

    Despite the lack of sightings of Bryde's whales in the Gulf of Mexico outside the BIA, questions remain about their current distribution in U.S. waters. NMFS surveys recorded three baleen whales sighted outside the BIA (i.e., fin whale identified in 1992 off Texas and two sightings of Bryde's/sei whale in 1992 and 1994 along the shelf break in the western Gulf of Mexico). In addition, five records of `baleen whales' have been recorded from 2010 to 2014 west of the BIA, at the longitude of western Louisiana in depths similar to those in the BIA (Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, unpublished). The two sightings southwest of Louisiana included photographs showing they were clearly baleen whales. However, the information collected was not sufficient to identify to the species level. In 2015 a citizen sighted and photographed what most experts believe was a Bryde's whale in the western Gulf of Mexico south of the Louisiana-Texas border (Rosel et al., 2016). Given these observations, the SRT determined that while it is possible that a small number of baleen whales occur in U.S. waters outside the BIA, these observations in the north-central and western Gulf of Mexico were difficult to interpret (Rosel et al., 2016).

    Few systematic surveys have been conducted in the southern Gulf of Mexico (i.e., Mexico and Cuba). Six marine mammal surveys were conducted from 1997 to 1999 in the southern Gulf of Mexico and Yucatán Channel. These surveys focused specifically in the extreme southern Bay of Campeche, an area where Reeves et al. (2011) reported numerous sightings of baleen whales from the whaling logbooks. A more recent survey reported a single baleen whale in an area of nearly 4,000 square kilometers (km2) (Ortega-Ortiz 2002, LaBrecque et al. 2015). This whale was identified as a fin whale; however, subsequent discussion between the author and the SRT suggested it should have been recorded as an unidentified baleen whale (Rosel et al., 2016). A compilation of all available records of marine mammal sightings, strandings, and captures in the southern Gulf of Mexico identified no Bryde's whales (Ortega-Ortiz 2002) as summarized in the Status Review report (Rosel et al., 2016).

    We agree with the SRT's findings that what is now recognized as the GOMx Bryde's whale has been consistently located over the past 25 years along a very narrow depth corridor in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, recognized as the GOMx Bryde's whale BIA. Sightings outside this particular area are few, despite a large amount of dedicated marine mammal survey effort that included both continental shelf and oceanic waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the southeastern United States and the northern Gulf of Mexico. Historical whaling records indicate that the historical distribution of the GOMx Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico was much broader than it is currently and included the north-central and southern Gulf of Mexico. We agree with the SRT that the BIA, located in the De Soto Canyon area of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, encompasses the current areal distribution of GOMx Bryde's whale.

    Abundance Estimates

    All of the abundance estimates for Bryde's whale in the northern Gulf of Mexico are based on aerial- or ship-based line-transect surveys (Buckland et al., 2005). Various surveys conducted from 1991 to 2012 are discussed in the Status Review report (Rosel et al., 2016). As previously stated, nearly all GOMx Bryde's whale sightings occurred in the BIA during surveys that uniformly sampled the entire northern Gulf of Mexico. The Marine Mammal Protection Act abundance estimate used for management of the “Northern Gulf of Mexico Bryde's Whale Stock” is 33 whales (coefficient of variation = 1.07; Waring et al., 2013). Recently, Duke University researchers estimated abundance to be 44 individuals (coefficient of variation = .27) based on the averages of 23 years of survey data (Roberts et al., 2015a, Roberts et al., 2016). No analysis has been conducted to evaluate abundance trends for GOMx Bryde's whale. Given the paucity of data that influences the range in the abundance estimates, the SRT agreed by consensus that, given the best available science and allowing for the uncertainty of Bryde's whale occurrence in non-U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico, most likely less than 100 individuals exist. For the reasons stated above, we concur that likely less than 100 GOMx Bryde's whales exist.

    Behavior

    Little information exists on the behavior of GOMx Bryde's whale. Maze-Foley and Mullin (2006) found GOMx Bryde's whales to have a mean group size of 2 (range 1 −5, n = 14), similar to group sizes of the Eden's and Bryde's whales (Wade and Gerrodette 1993). The GOMx Bryde's whale is known to be periodically “curious” around ships and has been documented approaching them in the Gulf of Mexico (Rosel et al., 2016), as observed in Bryde's whales worldwide (Leatherwood et al. 1976, Cummings 1985). In September 2015, a female GOMx Bryde's whale was tagged with an acoustic and kinematic data-logging tag in the De Soto Canyon (Rosel et al., 2016). Over the nearly 3-day tagging period, the whale spent 47 percent of its time within 15 m of the surface during the day and 88 percent of its time within 15 m of the surface during the night (NMFS, unpublished data).

    Foraging Ecology

    Little information is available on foraging ecology available for GOMx Bryde's whales. Based on behavior observed during assessment surveys, these whales do not appear to forage at or near the surface (NMFS, unpublished). In general, Bryde's whales are thought to feed primarily in the water column on schooling fish such as anchovy, sardine, mackerel and herring, and small crustaceans (Kato 2002). These prey occur throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the BIA (Grace et al. 2010). Tracking data from the single whale with an acoustic tag (described above) indicated diurnal diving to depths of up to 271 m, with foraging lunges apparent at the deepest depths. That whale was likely foraging at or just above the sea floor (NMFS, unpublished data) where diel-vertical-migrating schooling fish form tight aggregations.

    Reproduction and Growth

    Little information exists on reproduction and growth of GOMx Bryde's whale; however, similar to Eden's whales and Bryde's whales elsewhere in the world, the GOMx Bryde's whale is considered to have k-selected life history parameters (large body size, long life expectancy, slow growth rate, late maturity, with few offspring). Taylor et al. (2007) estimated that Bryde's whales worldwide may reproduce every two to three years and reach sexual maturity at age nine. Given the basic biology of baleen whales, it is likely that under normal conditions, the female GOMx Bryde's whales produce a calf every 2 to 3 years. The largest known GOMx Bryde's whale was a lactating female 12.6 m in length (Rosel and Wilcox 2014). Currently, skewed sex ratio does not appear to be an issue for this population, as recent biopsies have shown equal number of males and females (Rosel and Wilcox, 2014; Rosel et al., 2016). No GOMx Bryde's whale calves have been reported during surveys. However, two stranded calves have been recorded in the Gulf of Mexico: A 4.7 m calf stranded in the Florida Panhandle in 2006 (SEUS Historical Stranding Database) and a 6.9 m juvenile stranded north of Tampa, Florida, in 1988 (Edds et al. 1993).

    Acoustics

    Baleen whale species produce a variety of highly stereotyped, low-frequency tonal and broadband calls for communication purposes (Richardson et al. 1995). These calls are thought to function in a reproductive or territorial context, provide individual identification, and communicate the presence of danger or food (Richardson et al., 1995). Bryde's whales worldwide produce a variety of calls that are distinctive among geographic regions that may be useful for delineating subspecies or populations (Oleson et al. 2003, Širović et al. 2014). In the Gulf of Mexico, Širović et al. (2014) reported Bryde's whale call types composed of downsweeps and downsweep sequences and localized these calls. Rice et al. (2014) detected these sequences, as well as two stereotyped tonal call types that originated from Bryde's whales in the Gulf of Mexico. One call type has been definitively identified to free-ranging GOMx Bryde's whales (Širović et al., 2014), four additional call types have been proposed as likely candidates (Rice et al., 2014a, Širović et al., 2014), and two call types have been described from a captive juvenile during rehabilitation (Edds et al., 1993). Based on these data, the calls by the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale are consistent with, but different from those previously reported for Bryde's whales worldwide (Rice et al., 2014). These unique acoustic signatures support the genetic analyses identifying the GOMx Bryde's whale as an evolutionary distinct unit (Rosel and Wilcox 2014).

    Threats Evaluation

    The threats evaluation is the second step in making an ESA listing determination for the GOMx Bryde's whale, as described above in “Listing Determinations Under the ESA.” The SRT identified a total of 27 specific threats, organized and described them according to the five ESA factors listed in section 4(a)(1), and then evaluated the severity of each threat with a level of certainty (see Appendix 3 in Rosel et al., 2016). Because direct evidence from studies on GOMx Bryde's whales was lacking, the SRT agreed that published scientific evidence from other similar marine mammals was relevant and necessary to estimate impacts to GOMx Bryde's whale and extinction risk.

    To promote consistency when ranking each threat, the SRT used definitions for `severity of threat' and `level of certainty' similar to other status reviews, including the Hawaiian insular false killer whales (Oleson et al. 2010) and the northeastern Pacific population of white shark (Dewar et al. 2013). The SRT categorically defined specific rankings for both severity and certainty for each specific threat (identified below) as “low,” “moderate,” or “high.” The categorical definitions for the severity of each threat were identified by the SRT as 1 = “low,” meaning that the threat is likely to only slightly impair the population; 2 = “moderate,” meaning that the threat is likely to moderately degrade the population; or 3 = “high,” meaning that the threat is likely to eliminate or seriously degrade the population. The SRT also scored the certainty of the threat severity based on the following categorical definitions: 1 = “low,” meaning little published and/or unpublished data exist to support the conclusion that the threat did affect, is affecting, or is likely to affect the GOMx Bryde's whale with the severity ascribed; 2 = “moderate,” meaning some published and/or unpublished data exist to support the conclusion that the threat did affect, is affecting, or is likely to affect the population with the severity ascribed; and 3 = “high,” meaning there are definitive published and/or unpublished data to support the conclusion that this threat did affect, is affecting, or is likely to affect the GOMx Bryde's whale with the severity ascribed. Then, to determine the overall impact of an ESA factor, the SRT looked at the collective impact of threats considered for each ESA factor to provide an “overall threat ranking” for each ESA factor, defined as follows: 1= “low,” meaning the ESA factor included “a low number” of threats likely to contribute to the decline of the GOMx Bryde's whale; 2 = “moderate,” meaning the ESA Factor included an intermediate number of threats likely to contribute to the decline of the GOMx Bryde's whale, or contained some individual threats identified as moderately likely to contribute to the decline; and 3 = “high,” meaning the ESA factor included a high number of threats that are moderately or very likely to contribute to the decline of the GOMx Bryde's whale, or contains some individual threats identified as very likely to contribute to the decline of the GOMx Bryde's whale.

    The SRT then calculated the numerical mean of the team members' scores for each threat or category of threats. However, we do not believe that relying on the numerical mean of the SRT's scores is appropriate, because the specific rankings for the severity, certainty, and overall threat were categorically defined by the SRT and not numerically defined. Therefore, we assessed the majority vote of the team members' scores (i.e., 1, 2, or 3, as described above) and assigned each threat a specific ranking defined by the SRT's categorical definitions (i.e., low, moderate or high) based on the majority vote of the SRT. When there was no clear majority (i.e., no rank received four votes), the categorical ranking we assigned was a combination of the two ranks receiving three votes each (e.g., three votes for high and three votes for moderate we characterized as “moderate-high”).

    Each of the 27 threats identified by the SRT is summarized below, by ESA factor, with severity and certainty rankings based on the SRT's categorical scoring, as described above. We also summarize the overall threat ranking for each ESA factor, based on the SRT's scores, and provide NMFS' determination with regard to each factor. A detailed table of the SRT's threats and rankings can be found in Appendix 3 of the Status Review report (Rosel et al., 2016).

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

    The SRT considered the following threats to the GOMx Bryde's whale under ESA Factor A: Energy exploration and development, oil spills and spill response, harmful algal blooms, persistent organic pollutants, and heavy metals. Based on the SRT's numerical threat rankings, the overall threat ranking assigned to Factor A was “high.”

    Energy Exploration and Development

    The SRT assigned the threat of energy exploration and development (drilling rigs, platforms, cables, pipelines) a score of “high” severity threat with “moderate” certainty, as it relates to destruction, modification, or curtailments of the range of the GOMx Bryde's whale. (Note: Other aspects or elements of energy exploration and development can act directly on the whales (e.g., noise, vessel collision, marine debris). The SRT evaluated those threats under Factor E, other natural or human factors affecting a species continued existence. Accordingly, we discuss and evaluate those threats under Factor E below.)

    The Gulf of Mexico is a major oil and gas producing area and has proven a steady and reliable source of crude oil and natural gas for more than 50 years. Approximately 2,300 platforms operate in Federal outer continental shelf (OCS) waters (Rosel et al., 2016) and in 2001 approximately 27,569 miles (44,368 km) of pipeline lay on the Gulf of Mexico seafloor (Cranswick 2001). For planning and administrative purposes, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has divided the Gulf of Mexico into three planning areas: Western, Central, and Eastern. The majority of active lease sales are located in the Western and Central Planning Areas. Habitat in the north-central and western Gulf of Mexico, which includes the GOMx Bryde's whale's historical range, has been significantly modified with the presence of thousands of oil and gas platforms. The Eastern Planning Area (EPA), which overlaps with the GOMx Bryde's whale BIA, currently has no production activity, with most of the area falling under a moratorium of lease sales until 2022. However, this moratorium expires in 2022, and GOMx Bryde's whale could then be exposed to increased threats associated with energy exploration and development activities (e.g., marine debris, operational discharge, vessel collision, noise, seismic surveys, oil spills, etc.) as they are almost exclusively located within this geographic region. In addition to expressing concern regarding the current curtailment of the GOMx Bryde's whale range due to energy exploration and development in the north-central and western Gulf of Mexico, the SRT raised significant concern about the moratorium expiring and the potential expansion of impacts that opening these waters to development would have on the Bryde's whale BIA in the future, especially in light of the apparent limited use by Bryde's whales of the north-central and western Gulf of Mexico.

    Oil Spills and Spill Response

    Oil spills are a common occurrence in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill was the largest spill affecting U.S. waters in U.S. history, spilling nearly 134 million gallons (507 million liters) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, 46 smaller-scale spills associated with oil and gas related activities (e.g., platforms, rigs, vessels, pipelines) occurred in the Gulf of Mexico between 2011 and 2013 (OCS EIS EA BOEM 2015-001).

    Exposure to oil spills may cause marine mammals acute or chronic impacts with lethal or sub-lethal effects depending on the size and duration of the spill. For large baleen whales, like the GOMx Bryde's whale, oil can foul the baleen they use to filter-feed, decreasing their ability to eat, and resulting in the ingestion of oil (Geraci et al., 1989). Impacts from exposure may also include: Reproductive failure, lung and respiratory impairments, decreased body condition and overall health, and increased susceptibility to other diseases (Harvey and Dahlheim 1994). Oil and other chemicals on the body of marine mammals may result in irritation, burns to mucous membranes of eyes and mouth, and increased susceptibility to infection (DWH Trustees 2016). Dispersants used during oil spill response activities may also be toxic to marine mammals (Wise et al., 2014a). After oil spills cease, marine mammals may experience continued effects through persistent exposure to oil and dispersants in the environment, reduction or contamination of prey, direct ingestion of contaminated prey, or displacement from preferred habitat (Schwacke et al., 2014, BOEM and Gulf of Mexico OCS Region 2015, DWH Trustees 2016). The DWH oil spill is an example of the significant impacts a spill can have on the status of the GOMx Bryde's whale. Although the DWH platform was not located within the BIA, the oil footprint included 48 percent of GOMx Bryde's whale habitat and an estimated 17 percent of the species was killed, 22 percent of reproductive females experienced reproductive failure, and 18 percent of the population likely suffered adverse health effects due to the spill (DWH Trustees 2016). Based on the SRT's scoring, the threat of exposure to oil spills and spill response is a “high” severity threat with a “high” level of certainty to the GOMx Bryde's whale.

    Harmful Algal Blooms

    Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) occur throughout the Gulf of Mexico, with most blooms occurring off the coast of Florida. One of the most common HAB species, Karenia brevis (also known as the red tide organism), is common along coastal zones, but can also develop offshore. Karenia brevis produces neurotoxins that affect the nervous system by blocking the entry of sodium ions to nerve and muscle cells (Geraci et al., 1989). The neurotoxins can accumulate in primary consumers through direct exposure to toxins in the water, ingestion, or inhalation. Once neurotoxins have entered the food web, bioaccumulation can occur in predators higher up on the food web, like GOMx Bryde's whales.

    HABs are also known to negatively affect marine mammal populations through acute and chronic detrimental health effects, including reproductive failure (reviewed in Fire et al., 2009). Although no documented cases of GOMx Bryde's whale deaths resulting from HABs exist, cases involving humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae; Geraci et al., 1989) and potentially fin (B. physalus) and minke whales (Gulland and Hall 2007) have been reported. Impacts from HABs have also been associated with large-scale mortality events for common bottlenose dolphins and manatees in the offshore and coastal waters of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Given the small population size of the GOMx Bryde's whale, the SRT noted that a HAB-induced mortality of a single breeding female would significantly degrade the status of the population. Largely due to human activities, HABs are increasing in frequency, duration, and intensity throughout the world (Van Dolah 2000). Based on the SRT's scoring, the threat of harmful algal blooms (HABs) is a “moderate” severity threat with a “low” level certainty.

    Persistent Organic Pollutants and Heavy Metals

    Concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POP) are typically lower in baleen whales compared to toothed whales due to differences in feeding levels in the trophic system (Waugh et al., 2014, Wise et al., 2014b). In general, thresholds for adverse impacts to baleen whales resulting from POPs are unknown (Steiger and Calambokidis 2000).

    Little is known about the effects of heavy metals on offshore marine mammal populations. Heavy metals can accumulate in whale tissue and cause toxicity (Sanpera et al., 1996, Hernández et al., 2000, Wise et al., 2009). Similarly heavy metals accumulate in prey at the trophic levels where marine mammals feed. However, concentrations of heavy metals in tissue vary based on physiological and ecological factors such as geographic location, diet, age, sex, tissue, and metabolic rate (Das et al., 2003). Although heavy metals are pervasive in the marine environment and documented in various marine mammal species, their impact on Bryde's whale health and survivorship is unknown. Based on the SRT's scoring, the threat of POPs and heavy metals are “low” severity threat, with a “moderate” level of certainty for POPs and a “low” level of certainty for heavy metals.

    Summary of Factor A

    We interpret the overall risk assigned by the SRT for ESA Factor A as “high,” indicating that there are a high number of threats that are moderately or very likely to contribute to the decline of the GOMx Bryde's whale, or some individual threats identified as very likely to contribute to the decline of the population. Specifically, the SRT found that energy exploration and development, and oil spills and spill response, were significant threats currently seriously degrading the GOMx Bryde's whale population. In addition, the SRT found that HABs, POPs, and heavy metals are not currently significantly contributing to the risk of extinction for the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale.

    Based on the comprehensive status review and after considering the SRT's threats assessment, we conclude that energy exploration and development, and oil spills and spill response, are currently increasing the GOMx Bryde's whales risk of extinction.

    Factor B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes

    The SRT considered two threats under ESA Factor B; historical whaling and scientific biopsy sampling. The overall rank assigned for Factor B, based on the SRT's scoring, is “low.”

    Historical Whaling

    The SRT scored the impacts from historical whaling as a “low” severity threat with a “moderate-high” degree of certainty. Whaling that occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries in the Gulf of Mexico may have removed Bryde's whales. The primary target species were sperm whales, but other species were taken. Reeves et al., (2011) indicated that, during the 18th and 19th centuries, whalers hunting “finback whales” in the Gulf of Mexico were most likely taking Bryde's whales, based on the known distribution and recent records of baleen whale species in the Gulf of Mexico. However, the total number of whales killed during that time cannot be quantified. The SRT determined that it is unlikely the current low abundance of GOMx Bryde's whales is related to historical whaling, as the population would have recovered to some extent, given the estimated population recovery rate (Wade 1998) and considering that whaling stopped over a century ago (Rosel et al., 2016). Whaling is not a current threat in the Gulf of Mexico and is regulated by the International Whaling Commission (see Factor D). The SRT ranked the impacts from historical whaling as “low” severity threat with a “moderate-high” degree of certainty.

    Scientific Biopsy Sampling

    Scientific research that may have the potential to disturb and/or injure marine mammals such as the Bryde's whale requires a letter of authorization under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). As of March 7, 2016 (the reference date used by the SRT), there was one active scientific permit authorizing non-lethal take of GOMx Bryde's whale and four scientific research permits authorizing non-lethal take of Bryde's whales worldwide, including the Gulf of Mexico. The permits authorize activities such as vessel or aerial surveys, photo-identification, behavioral observation, collection of sloughed skin, and passive acoustics. Four of the permits also authorize activities such as dart biopsies and/or tagging. Biopsy sampling, where a small piece of tissue is removed for analysis, is a common research activity used to support stock differentiation, evaluate genetic variation, and investigate health, reproduction and pollutant loads (Brown et al., 1994). Research on wound healing from biopsies has indicated little long-term impact (Brown et al., 1994, Best et al., 2005). In addition, research activities are closely monitored and evaluated in the United States in an attempt to minimize impacts (see Factor D). The SRT scored the threat of scientific biopsy sampling as a “low” severity threat with a “high” level of certainty.

    Summary of Factor B

    The overall threat rank assigned for Factor B by the SRT was “low,” indicating there are a low number of threats that are likely to contribute to the decline of the GOMx Bryde's whale. We conclude, based on our review of the information presented in the Status Review report and SRTs threats assessment, that the threats posed by whaling and scientific biopsy sampling are not increasing the risk of extinction for the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale. Upon reviewing the information in the Status Review report and the SRT's threats assessment, we concluded that whaling and scientific biopsy sampling are low potential threats to the GOMx Bryde's whale and are not currently contributing to the risk of extinction.

    Factor C. Disease, Parasites, and Predation

    The SRT considered the following threats under ESA Factor C: Disease and parasites, and predation. The overall rank assigned for Factor C based on the SRT's scoring was “low.”

    Disease and Parasites

    There is little information on disease or parasitism of any Bryde's whale in the literature. Reviews of conservation issues for baleen whales have tended to see disease as a relatively inconsequential threat (Claphan et al., 1999). The SRT noted that cetacean morbillivirus, which causes epizootics resulting in serious population declines in dolphin species (Van Bressem et al., 2014), has also been detected in fin whales in the eastern Atlantic Ocean (Jauniaux et al., 2000) and in fin whales and minke whales in the Mediterranean Sea (Mazzariol et al., 2012; Di Guardo et al., 1995). In the Gulf of Mexico the morbillivirus outbreaks that occurred in 1990, 1992, and 1994, caused marine mammal mortalities, with most the mortalities being common bottlenose dolphins (Rosel et al., 2016). These outbreaks were thought to have originated in the Atlantic Ocean (Litz et al. 2014). An unusual mortality event involving hundreds of common bottlenose dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean from 2013-2015 was caused by morbillivirus (Rosel et al., 2016). During this outbreak, a few individuals of multiple species of baleen whales in the Atlantic tested positive for the disease, indicating that it could potentially spread to Bryde's whales (Rosel et al., 2016). However, there have been no confirmed morbillivirus-related deaths of Bryde's whales in the Gulf of Mexico (Rosel et al., 2016).

    The SRT identified only two cases of other diseases and parasites known to occur in Bryde's whale detected in Australia (Patterson 1984) and Brazil (Pinto et al., 2004). Based on the SRT's scoring, the threat of disease and parasites is a “low” severity threat with “low” certainty.

    Predation

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are the only known predator to Bryde's whales and they occur in areas further offshore from the BIA (Silber & Newcomer 1990, Alava et al. 2013). There are no published records of killer whale predation of GOMx Bryde's whale (Rosel et al., 2016). Killer whales have been observed harassing sperm whales and attacking pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuate) and a dwarf/pygmy sperm whale (Kogia sp.) (Pitman et al. 2001, Whitt et al. 2015, NMFS SEFSC, unpublished) in the Gulf of Mexico. While large sharks (e.g., white sharks Carcharodon carcharias, and tiger sharks Galaecerdo cuvier) are known to scavenge on carcasses of Bryde's whales elsewhere in the world (Dudley et al. 2000), the SRT found no published reports of large shark predation on healthy, living individuals (Rosel et al., 2016). Based on this information, the SRT's scoring of this threat was “low” severity with “low” certainty.

    Summary of Factor C

    The overall threat rank assigned for Factor C, based on the SRT's scoring was “low,” indicating that this category includes a low number of threats that are likely to contribute to the decline of the GOMx Bryde's whale. Based on the limited observance of disease, parasites, or predation, we concur that these are low potential threats to the GOMx Bryde's whale and are not currently contributing to their extinction risk.

    Factor D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The relevance of existing regulatory mechanisms to extinction risk for an individual species depends on the vulnerability of that species to each of the threats identified under the other factors of ESA section 4, and the extent to which regulatory mechanisms could or do control the threats that are contributing to the species' extinction risk. If a species is not vulnerable to a particular threat, it is not necessary to evaluate the adequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms for addressing that threat. Conversely, if a species is vulnerable to a particular threat, we do evaluate the adequacy of existing measures, if any, in controlling or mitigating that threat. In the following paragraphs, we summarize existing regulatory mechanisms relevant to threats to GOMx Bryde's whale generally, and assess their adequacy for controlling those threats.

    Marine Mammal Protection Act

    In U.S. waters, Bryde's whales are protected by the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.). The MMPA sets forth a national policy to prevent marine mammal species or population stocks from diminishing to the point where they are no longer a significant functioning element of their ecosystem. The Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior have primary responsibility for implementing the MMPA. The Secretary of Commerce has jurisdiction over the orders Cetacean and Pinnipedia with the exception of walruses, and the Secretary of Interior has jurisdiction over all other marine mammals. Both agencies are responsible for promulgating regulations, issuing permits, conducting scientific research, and enforcing regulations, as necessary, to carry out the purposes of the MMPA. The MMPA includes a general moratorium on the `taking' and importing of marine mammals, which is subject to a number of exceptions. Some of these exceptions include `take' for scientific purposes, public display, and unintentional incidental take coincident with conducting lawful activities. Any U.S. citizen, agency, or company who engages in a specified activity other than commercial fishing (which is specifically and separately addressed under the MMPA) within a specified geographic region may submit an application to the Secretary to authorize the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals within that region for a period of not more than five consecutive years (16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(5)(A)). U.S. citizens can also apply under the MMPA for authorization to incidentally take marine mammals by harassment for up to 1 year (16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(5)(D)). For both types of authorizations, it must be determined that the take is of small numbers, has no more than a negligible impact on those marine mammal species or stocks, and does not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock for subsistence use. The MMPA also provides mechanisms for directed “take” of marine mammals for the purposes of scientific research. Non-lethal research takes of Bryde's whale for scientific research (e.g., biopsy sampling) are currently authorized on a global scale and typically do not specify a geographic area. Hence the potential for multiple biopsies of an individual Bryde's whale does exist. However, any risk to GOMx Bryde's whale from multiple sampling is low, and we do not expect any mortalities to result. In these situations, we take a proactive role and coordinate with researchers to minimize any potential negative effects to a small population.

    The MMPA currently identifies the Northern Gulf of Mexico stock of Bryde's whales as a “strategic” stock, because the level of direct human-caused mortality and serious injury exceeds the potential biological removal (PBR) level determined for the species, which could have management implications. The MMPA also provides additional protections to stocks designated as “depleted” and requires that conservation plans be developed to conserve and restore the stock to its optimum sustainable population (OSP). In order for a stock to be considered “depleted” the Secretary, after consultation with the Marine Mammal Commission and the Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals, must determine it is below its OSP or if the species or stock is listed under the ESA. In 2015, the Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Report determined that the status of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Population of Bryde's whales, relative to OSP was unknown, as there was insufficient information to determine population trends (SARS 2015). Due to this lack of information on OSP, the GOMx Bryde's whale is not designated as a “depleted” stock and there is no conservation plan. Based on the above, we conclude that, outside of the general protections provided to marine mammals by the MMPA, there are no specific regulatory mechanisms specific to the GOMx Bryde's whale under the MMPA.

    Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Oil Pollution Act

    The SRT also identified existing regulatory mechanisms relating to oil and gas development and oil spills and spill response (see Factors A and E for a discussion of those threats). The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) establishes Federal jurisdiction over submerged lands on the OCS seaward of coastal state boundaries in order to explore and develop oil and gas resources. Implementation, regulation, and granting of leases for exploration and development on the OCS are delegated to the BOEM, and BOEM is responsible for managing development of the nation's offshore resources. The functions of BOEM include leasing, exploration and development, plan administration, environmental studies, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis, resource evaluation, economic analysis, and the renewable energy program BSEE is responsible for enforcing safety and environmental regulations. OCSLA mandates that orderly development of OCS energy resources be balanced with protection of human, marine and coastal environments. It is the stated objective of the OCSLA “to prevent or minimize the likelihood of blowouts, loss of well control, fires, spillages . . . or other occurrences which may cause damage to the environment or to property, or endanger life or health” (43 U.S.C. 1332(6)). OCSLA further requires the study of the environmental impacts of oil and gas leases on the continental shelf, including an assessment of effects on marine biota (43 U.S.C. 1346). OCSLA, as amended, requires the Secretary of the Interior, through BOEM and BSEE, to manage the exploration and development of OCS oil, gas, and marine minerals (e.g., sand and gravel) and the siting of renewable energy facilities. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, Public Law (Pub. L.) 109-58, added Section 8(p)(1)(C) to the OCSLA, which grants the Secretary of Interior the authority to issue leases, easements, or rights-of-way on the OCS for the purpose of renewable energy development (43 U.S.C. 1337(p)(1)(C)). This authority has been delegated to BOEM (30 CFR 585), who now regulates activities within Federal waters. Since 2006, there has been a moratorium on leasing new areas for oil and gas development and production in the Gulf of Mexico EPA that includes the waters offshore of Florida, including the BIA. The moratorium is set to expire in 2022 and, if it is not renewed, the GOMx Bryde's whale within the BIA could be exposed to increased energy exploration.

    The Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 1990 (33 U.S.C. 2701-2761) is the principal statute governing oil spills in the nation's waterways. OPA was passed following the March 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill to address a lack of adequate resources, particularly Federal funds, to respond to oil spills (National Pollution Funds Center 2016). The OPA created requirements for preventing, responding to, and funding restoration for oil pollution incidents in navigable waters, adjoining shorelines, and Federal waters. The OPA authorizes Trustees (representatives of Federal, state, and local government entities, and Tribes with jurisdiction over the natural resources in question) to determine the type and amount of restoration needed to compensate the public for the environmental impacts of the spill. These assessments are typically described in damage assessment and restoration plans. The Final Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (PDARP) developed for the 2010 DWH oil spill found the GOMx Bryde's whale to be the most impacted oceanic and shelf marine mammal; 48 percent of the population was affected, resulting in an estimated 22 percent maximum decline in population size (DWH Trustees 2016). The DWH PDARP allocates fifty-five million dollars over the next 15 years for restoration of oceanic and shelf marine mammals, including Bryde's whales. The PDARP does not identify specific projects, but lays out a framework for planning future restoration projects, that may contribute to the restoration of GOMx Bryde's whale.

    The ongoing impacts to the GOMx Bryde's whale from oil and gas development and oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico identified by the SRT indicate that existing regulatory mechanisms are not adequate to control these threats. While the current moratorium on leasing for new oil and gas development in the EPA appears to provide some protection to the GOMx Bryde's whale, the SRT found that development in the Gulf of Mexico continues to have broad impacts, through curtailment of range and anthropogenic noise from seismic surveys and vessels associated with oil and gas development. Additionally, the existing moratorium on new leases in the EPA expires in 2022 and, if not renewed, energy exploration would be allowed in the GOMx Bryde's whale BIA, resulting in potentially severe impacts to this small population. We acknowledge that activities under the DWH PDARP may be beneficial to GOMx Bryde's whales, but we also conclude that oil spills and spill response remain a serious current threat to the GOMx Bryde's whale population, as discussed above in Factor A.

    International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling

    The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), signed in 1946. The IWC established an international moratorium on commercial whaling for all large whale species in 1982, effective in 1986; this affected all member (signatory) nations (paragraph 10e, IWC 2009a). Since 1985, IWC catch limits for commercial whaling have been set at zero. However, under the IWC's regulations, commercial whaling has been permitted in both Norway and Iceland based on their objection to specific provisions. In addition, harvest of whales by Japan for scientific purposes has been permitted by the ICRW, including the Bryde's whale in the North Pacific. However, distribution of the GOMx Bryde's whale does not overlap with any permitted commercial whaling. The SRT concluded the current commercial whaling moratorium provides significant protection for the GOMx Bryde's whale, and we concur.

    The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

    The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is aimed at protecting species at risk from unregulated international trade and regulates international trade in animals and plants by listing species in one of its three appendices. The level of monitoring and control to which an animal or plant species is subject depends on the appendix in which the species is listed. All Bryde's whales (B. edeni) are currently listed in Appendix I under CITES. Appendix I includes species that are threatened with extinction and may be affected by trade; trade of Appendix I species is only allowed in exceptional circumstances. Due to the IWC commercial whaling moratorium in place since 1985, commercial trade of Bryde's whale in the Gulf of Mexico has not been permitted. However, if the moratorium should be lifted in the future, the Bryde's whale's CITES Appendix I listing would restrict trade, so that trade would not contribute to the extinction risk of the species.

    International Maritime Organization

    The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a branch of the United Nations, is the international authority on shipping, pollution, and safety at sea and has adopted guidelines to reduce shipping noise and pollution from maritime vessels. Additionally, the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee occasionally identifies special areas and routing schemes for various ecological, economic, or scientific reasons. Some of these actions help benefit endangered right whales and humpback whales. However the SRT found no protected areas or routing schemes that would protect the GOMx Bryde's whale.

    Mexico Energy Sector: Opening to Private Investment

    The SRT expressed concern regarding potential oil and gas development in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Mexico recently instituted reforms related to its oil and gas sector that officially opened Mexico's oil, natural gas, and energy sectors to private investment. As a result, Mexico's state-owned petroleum company, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) may now partner with international companies for the purposes of exploring the southern Gulf of Mexico's deep water and shale resources. The SRT found that more than 9 companies have shallow water lease permits either pending or approved, and 2D and 3D seismic data collection has begun. In 2013, the U.S. Congress approved the U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement, which aims to facilitate joint development of oil and natural gas in part of the Gulf of Mexico. This agreement, coupled with recent reforms in Mexico, could lead to development within the Gulf of Mexico offshore Mexico oil and gas, including infrastructure for cross-border pipelines. The SRT found that recent developments indicate a high potential for oil and gas development in these waters. However, we believe that anticipating any future threats to the GOMx Bryde's whale at this point in time is overly speculative, because the best available science indicates that the GOMx Bryde's whale distribution does not currently include the southern Gulf of Mexico.

    Summary of Factor D

    The SRT unanimously agreed that the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms factor is a “high” threat to the GOMx Bryde's whale (Rosel et al., 2016). Specifically the SRT found that, given the current status and limited distribution of the Bryde's whale population in the Gulf of Mexico, it is clear that existing regulations have been inadequate to protect them. The SRT expressed particular concern regarding current oil and gas development and impacts from oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as vessel strikes due to shipping traffic. We agree that currently there are no regulatory mechanisms in the Gulf of Mexico to address ship strikes on GOMx Bryde's whales, which the SRT identified as one of the primary threats faced by the species (see Factor E below). Additionally, the Status Review report suggests that oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico have been a contributing factor to limiting the GOMx Bryde's whale's current range to the De Soto Canyon. Thus, while we acknowledge that existing protective regulations are in place, we agree with the SRT's overall conclusion that the existing regulatory mechanisms have not prevented the current status of the GOMx Bryde's whale, for the reasons stated above.

    Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence

    The SRT categorized threats under ESA Factor E by three groups: A general category for “other natural or human factors;” anthropogenic noise; and small population concerns. Within the general sub-category for other natural or human factors, the SRT included: Vessel collision; military activities; fishing gear entanglements; trophic impacts due to commercial harvest of prey; climate change; plastics and marine debris; and aquaculture. Within the anthropogenic noise sub-category of Factor E, the SRT included: Aircraft and vessel noise associated with oil and gas activities; drilling and production noise associated with oil and gas activities; seismic survey noise associated with oil and gas activities; noise associated with military training and exercises; noise associated with commercial fisheries and scientific acoustics; and noise associated with vessels and shipping traffic. Within the small population concerns sub-category of Factor E, the SRT included: Allee effects; demographic stochasticity; genetics; k-selected life-history parameters; and stochastic and catastrophic events. An explanation of these threats and the SRT's ranking for each of these sub-categories follows.

    Other Natural or Human Factors

    Vessel Collision—Vessel collisions are a significant source of mortality for a variety of coastal large whale species (Laist et al., 2001). The northern Gulf of Mexico is an area of considerably high amount of ship traffic, which increases the risk of vessel-whale collisions (Rosel et al., 2016). Several important commercial shipping lanes travel through the primary GOMx Bryde's whale habitat in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, particularly vessel traffic from ports in Mobile, Pensacola, Panama City, and Tampa (see Figure 17; Rosel et al., 2016). In 2009, a GOMx Bryde's whale was found floating dead in the Port of Tampa, Tampa Bay, Florida. The documented cause of death was blunt impact trauma due to ship strike (Waring et al., 2016). The necropsy report found that the whale was a lactating female indicating that the whale was nursing a calf. It is likely that the calf died, as it was still dependent on the mother.

    Bryde's whales are the third most commonly reported species struck by ships in the southern hemisphere (Van Waerebeek et al., 2007). As previously described, tracking information from a single GOMx Bryde's whale indicated a consistent diel dive pattern over 3 days, with 88 percent of nighttime hours spent within 15 m of the surface. This suggested to the SRT that, if other individuals exhibit a similar diving pattern, they would be at greater risk of ship strike, because they spend most of the time at the surface at night when there is minimal visibility. Marine mammals that spend the majority of their nighttime hours near the surface and animals that spend more time at or near the surface are at greater risk than species that spend less time at the surface (Rosel et al., 2016). Additionally, the threat of vessel collision may increase in the future given the expansion of the Panama Canal, which is anticipated to increase vessel traffic in the Gulf of Mexico (Institute for Water Resources 2012). Given the location of commercial shipping lanes, the difficulty of sighting a whale at the surface at night, and the low ability of large ships to change course quickly enough to avoid a whale, the SRT's scoring indicates that ship strikes pose a “high” severity threat to the GOMx Bryde's whale with “high” certainty.

    Military Activities—Significant portions of the Gulf of Mexico are used for military activities. NMFS conducted a 2013 Biological Opinion to assess the impact of the Navy training exercises and coordinated via a Letter of Authorization under the MMPA to govern unintentional takes incidental to training and testing activities (Rosel et al., 2016). Although Level B harassment (i.e., activities that have the potential to disturb or harass) is authorized, the Navy determined that very few training or testing activities are likely to occur within the BIA (see Figures 18 and 19 in Rosel et al., 2016). Moreover, the Navy agreed to expand their Planning Awareness Area to encompass the Bryde's whale BIA and as a result they will avoid planning major training activities there, when feasible. In addition, Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) also conducts training exercises in the Gulf of Mexico. Eglin AFB also has an incidental harassment authorization for common bottlenose dolphin and Atlantic spotted dolphin, for their Maritime Weapon Systems Evaluation Program. However, their training activities take place in relatively shallow water (i.e., 35 to 50 m depth). Eglin AFB does not anticipate that its activities would take GOMx Bryde's whales, because the GOMx Bryde's whales are rare in the areas involved (e.g., shallow waters); therefore, Eglin AFB did not request a take authorization (Rosel et al., 2016; 81 FR 7307, February 11, 2016). The SRT concluded that, although there are military activities in the Gulf of Mexico, including the northern Gulf of Mexico, most activities appeared to occur outside the BIA. In addition, they found that military activities are not constant, and due to the current scope of existing activities, the threat was considered less likely to have negative impacts on the population (Rosel et al., 2016). However, the SRT believed that this threat would need to be re-evaluated if the intensity, timing, or location of military training exercises encroached closer to the BIA. Based on the SRT rankings, the threat of military activities (i.e., explosive pressure waves, target training, and vessel activities) is a “moderate” threat with “low” certainty. The threat of noise from military activities is considered under the Anthropogenic Noise section, below.

    Fishing Gear Entanglement—Marine mammals are known to become hooked, trapped, or entangled in fishing gear, leading to injury or mortality (Read 2008, Reeves et al., 2013). While gear interactions are documented more frequently for toothed whales, they remain a threat to small populations of baleen whales like the GOMx Bryde's whale (Reeves et al., 2013). The SRT evaluated the special distribution and fishing effort for 12 fisheries that occur in the Gulf of Mexico. Based on their evaluation, the SRT concluded that five commercial fisheries (Table 7; Rosel et al., 2016) overlap or possibly overlap with the Bryde's whale BIA and use gear types (i.e., pelagic longlines, bottom longlines, and trawls) that pose entanglement threats to whales.

    Pelagic longlines are a known entanglement threat to baleen whales, as the majority of mainline gear is in the water column and animals swimming in the area may interact with the gear (Andersen et al., 2008). The Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico commercial pelagic longline fishery for large pelagic species is active within the GOMx Bryde's whale BIA. Approximately two thirds of the BIA has been closed to commercial pelagic longline fishing year-round since 2000, when the Highly Migratory Species Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish, and Sharks Fishery Management Plan was amended to close the De Soto Canyon Marine Protected Area (65 FR 47214, August 1, 2000). While longline fishing still occurs in the remaining one third of the BIA (Figure 20B; Rosel et al., 2016), the fishery typically operates in waters greater than 300m, where sightings of Bryde's whales are infrequent. To date, no interactions between GOMx Bryde's whale and pelagic longline gear have been recorded.

    Gulf reef fish and shark bottom longline gear consists of a monofilament mainline up to a mile in length anchored on the seafloor, with up to 1,000 baited hooks along the mainline and marked with buoys. Generally bottom longline gear poses less of a threat of entanglement threat to cetaceans compared to pelagic longline gear, except when cetaceans forage along the seafloor. Such foraging appears to be the case with the GOMx Bryde's whale, exposing them to risk of entanglement in mainlines. These fisheries overlap spatially with the GOMx Bryde's whale BIA. While bottom longlining typically occurs in waters less than 100m, fishing for yellowedge grouper, golden tilefish, blueline tilefish, and sharks occurs in deeper waters between 100 and 300m within the BIA. The available information indicates the GOMx Bryde's whale forages on or near the seafloor bottom, such that, potential for interactions exists, although no interactions have been recorded (Rosel et al., 2016).

    Both the Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawl fishery and the butterfish trawl fishery occur within the GOMx Bryde's whale BIA (Rosel et al., 2016). However, the shrimp trawl fishery has limited spatial overlap with the BIA and the areas that do overlap represent only a small portion of total fishing effort. The butterfish trawl fishery is small, with only two participants currently permitted, and limited available information. Based on the SRT's scoring, the threat of entanglement in commercial fishing gear is “moderate” in severity with “moderate” certainty.

    Trophic Impacts Due to Commercial Harvest of Prey Items—While GOMx Bryde's whales' prey in the Gulf of Mexico are currently unknown (Rosel et al., 2016), they likely feed on anchovy, sardine, mackerel and herring, and small crustaceans, similar to Bryde's whales worldwide (Kato 2000). The two main Gulf of Mexico commercial fisheries for small schooling fish are the Gulf of Mexico menhaden purse-seine fishery and the Florida west coast sardine purse-seine fishery; the main invertebrate fishery is the Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawl fishery. The SRT concluded that direct competition between GOMx Bryde's whale and commercial fisheries did not appear to be likely, based on the current distribution of the GOMx Bryde's whale, the distribution of fishery effort, and presumed fish and invertebrate habitat (Rosel et al., 2016). The SRT also evaluated the threat of total biomass removal by the menhaden purse-seine fishery and the shrimp trawl fishery in the Gulf of Mexico and the resulting impact on ecosystem functioning, species composition, and potential trophic pathway alterations, and concluded that the ecosystem and trophic effects of these removals are unknown. Based on the SRT's scoring, the threat from trophic impacts due to commercial harvest of prey is a “low” severity threat with “low” certainty.

    Climate Change—The impacts of climate change on cetaceans are not easily quantified; however direct and indirect impacts are expected (Evans and Bjørge 2013). Potential impacts of climate change on marine mammals include range shifts, habitat degradation or loss, changes to the food web, susceptibility to disease and contaminants, and thermal intolerance (MacLeod 2009, Evans and Bjørge 2013). The restricted distribution of the GOMx Bryde's whale is a concern, as climate change may disproportionately affect species with specialized or restricted habitat requirements. As water temperatures rise, many marine species will have to shift their distributions northward or in a direction that maintains a near-constant environment (e.g., temperature and prey availability) (Evans et al., 2010). Within the Gulf of Mexico, GOMx Bryde's whales have little room to shift their distribution northward into cooler waters. Furthermore, the predicted changes in freshwater inflow and the associated effects on productivity may affect the health of the Gulf of Mexico. While recognizing the potential threat that climate change poses to the GOMx Bryde's whale, the SRT considered that there are more significant and immediate pressures on the GOMx Bryde's whale (Rosel et al., 2016). The SRT assigned the threat of climate change as a “low” severity threat to GOMx Bryde's whale with “low” certainty.

    Plastics and Marine Debris—Plastics comprise 60-80 percent of all marine debris (Baulch and Perry 2014), and derelict fishing gear is the second most common form of marine debris (National Oceanic Service 2015). The interactions of marine mammals with marine debris in the Gulf of Mexico are not frequently documented and the SRT did not find any documented cases specific to Bryde's whale (NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Database). Less than one percent of marine mammal strandings in the Gulf of Mexico from 2000-2014 showed evidence of entanglement or ingestion of marine debris (NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Database, March 21, 2016). While noting that the records of reported marine mammal strandings may not be comprehensive, the SRT's scoring ranked this threat as “low” severity with “low” certainty (Rosel et al., 2016).

    Aquaculture—There are currently no aquaculture facilities in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico. However, a final rule was published on January 13, 2016 (81 FR 1761) regulating offshore marine aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico and establishing a regional permitting process. We note that this final rule is currently under challenge in a pending court proceeding, Gulf Fishermen's Association, et al. v. NMFS, 16-cv-01271 (E.D. La.). The associated Fishery Management Plan for Regulating Offshore Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico (FMP) specifies that each facility must satisfy a list of siting requirements and conditions and specifies that an application may be denied for potential risks to essential fish habitat, endangered and threatened species, marine mammals, wild fish and invertebrate stocks, public health, or safety (Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and National Marine Fisheries Service 2009). Marine mammals are known to interact with aquaculture facilities through physical interaction with nets, ropes, twine and anchor lines (Price and Marris 2013). Because each application, including the proposed location, will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account potential impacts to marine mammals, and no aquaculture facilities are currently sited in the Gulf of Mexico, the SRT scoring indicates that the SRT found aquaculture to be a “low” severity threat with “low” certainty.

    Anthropogenic Noise—A variety of anthropogenic noise sources, such as energy exploration and development and shipping have considerable energy at low frequencies (<100 Hz) (Sodal 1999; Nieukirk et al., 2004; Hildebrand 2009; Nieukirk et al., 2012) and are pervasive in the Gulf of Mexico (Rosel et al., 2016). Baleen whales produce calls that span a similar low frequency range (20 Hz-30 kHz), and therefore, presumably these species' best hearing abilities fall within this range, and are most impacted by low-frequency sounds (Richardson et al., 1995, Ketten 1997, Ketten et al., 2013, Cranford and Krysl 2015). Marine mammals rely heavily on their hearing to detect and interpret communication and environmental cues to select mates, find food, maintain group structure and relationships, avoid predators, navigate, and perform other critical life functions (Rosel et al., 2016). As noise levels rise in the marine environment, there are a variety of direct and indirect adverse physical and behavioral effects to marine mammals such as death, hearing loss or impairment, stress, behavioral changes, physiological effects, reduced foraging success, reduced reproductive success, masking of communication and environmental cues, and habitat displacement (Richardson et al., 1995, Southall et al., 2007, Francis and Barber 2013). The SRT evaluated anthropogenic noise and separately assessed, as detailed below, noise from aircraft and vessels associated with oil and gas activities, seismic surveys associated with oil and gas activities, noise associated with military training and exercises, noise associated with commercial fisheries and scientific acoustics, and noise associated with vessels and shipping traffic.

    Noise Generated from Aircraft and Vessels and Oil Drilling and Production Associated with Oil and Gas Activities—Aircraft and vessel operations (service vessels, etc.) support outer continental shelf oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico. Routine aircraft overflights may interrupt and elicit a startle response from marine mammals nearby (Richardson et al., 1995). However, if marine mammals are nearby, the disturbance caused by helicopters approaching or departing OCS oil and gas facilities will be short in duration and transient in nature. The SRT reasoned that aircraft and vessel operations may ensonify large areas, but due to the lack of oil and gas activities currently in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the threat from service aircraft and vessel noise to GOMx Bryde's whale should be minimal.

    Oil drilling and production activities produce low-frequency underwater sounds that are in the frequency range detectable by the GOMx Bryde's whale and, given the amount of drilling activity and platforms in the central and western Gulf of Mexico, noise levels are already high. While there are currently no wells being drilled in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and no production platforms in place, the potential opening of the EPA that overlaps the GOMx Bryde's whale BIA for oil and gas exploration is of considerable concern (Rosel et al., 2016). Based on the SRT's scoring, the threat of noise generated from aircraft and vessels associated with oil and gas activities and noise from drilling and oil production is a “moderate” threat, with a “moderate” level of certainty for noise associated with aircraft and vessels, and the SRT assigned a “low” level of certainty for noise generated from drilling and oil production.

    Seismic Survey Noise Associated with Oil and Gas Activities—The northern Gulf of Mexico is an area of high seismic survey activity; seismic surveys are typically conducted 24 hours a day, 365-days a year, using airguns that are a source of primarily low-frequency sound (Sodal 1999), and that overlap with ranges baleen whales use for communication and hearing (Rosel et al., 2016). These low-frequency sounds can travel substantial distances and airgun sounds have been recorded many hundreds of miles away from the survey locations (Nieukirk et al., 2004). Seismic surveys have the potential to cause serious injury to animals within 100m-1km of airguns with source levels of 230 dB re 1 µPa (peak) or higher (Southall et al., 2007). Behavioral changes following seismic surveys, specifically changes in vocal behavior and habitat avoidance, have been documented for baleen whales (Malme et al., 1984, McCauley et al., 1998, Gordon et al., 2001, Blackwell et al., 2015). While reactions of Bryde's whales to seismic surveys have not been studied, the auditory abilities of all baleen whale species are considered to be broadly similar based upon vocalization frequencies and ear anatomy (Ketten 1998). There are currently few seismic surveys occurring in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, due in part to the moratorium on energy exploration in the EPA; however, the SRT noted that, given the ability of low-frequency sounds to travel substantial distances, sounds from nearby surveys may be impacting the GOMx Bryde's whales in the BIA. The SRT scorned anthropogenic noise associated with seismic surveys as a “high” severity threat with “moderate” certainty.

    Noise Associated with Military Training and Exercises—Military training and exercises use active sonar sources and explosives as part of their operations and each of these sources have the potential to impact marine mammals (Rosel et al., 2016). However, as discussed above, most military activities that occur in the Gulf of Mexico take place outside of the GOMx Bryde's whale BIA and the Navy expanded their Planning Awareness Area to encompass the BIA (see Military Activities above). The SRT found this threat to be less likely to have a negative impact on the GOMx Bryde's whale compared to other threats associated with the anthropogenic noise considered in this sub-category. Therefore, the SRT assigned the threat of noise associated with military training and exercises as “low” in severity with a “moderate” level of certainty.

    Noise Associated with Commercial Fisheries and Scientific Acoustics—Commercial and scientific vessels employ active sonar for the detection, localization, and classification of underwater targets, including the seafloor, plankton, fish, and human divers (Hildebrand 2009). Source frequencies of many of these sonars are likely above the frequency range for Bryde's whale hearing (Watkins 1986, Au et al. 2006, Tubelli et al. 2012). Recent technological advancements, such as Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing (OAWRS) system, use low-frequency acoustics that have the potential to impact baleen whale behavior (Risch et al., 2012). However, the SRT concluded these low-frequency systems are not likely to be used in U.S. waters in the future (Rosel et al., 2016). Because the acoustic frequencies associated with the sonar systems employed by commercial fisheries and scientific vessels are not within the range of GOMx Bryde's whale hearing and are not likely to be used in the Gulf of Mexico, the SRT assigned the threat of noise associated with commercial fisheries and scientific acoustics a ranking of “low” in severity with “low” certainty.

    Noise Associated with Shipping Traffic and Vessels—Noise from shipping traffic is an unintended byproduct of shipping and depends on factors such as ship type, load, speed, ship hull and propeller design; noise levels increase with increasing speed and vessel size (Allen et al., 2012, McKella et al 2012b, Rudd et al., 2015). Shipping noise is characterized by mainly low frequencies (Hermannsen et al., 2014) and contributes significantly to low-frequency noise in the marine environment (National Research Council 2003, Hildebrand 2009). Approximately 50 percent of U.S. merchant vessel traffic (as measured by port calls or tonnage for merchant vessels over 1000 gross tons) occurs at U.S. Gulf of Mexico ports, indicating shipping activity is a significant source of noise in this region. Noise is likely to increase as shipping trends indicate that faster, larger ships will traverse the Gulf of Mexico following expansion of the Panama Canal (Rosel et al., 2016).

    Shipping noise in the northeast United States was predicted to reduce the communication space of humpback whales, right whales, and fin whales by 8 percent, 77 percent, and 20 percent, respectively, by masking their calls (Clark et al. 2009). Because Bryde's whale call source levels are most similar to those of right whales, the SRT found they may be similarly impacted (Rosel et al., 2016). Documented impacts of vessel and shipping noise on marine mammals, like the GOMx Bryde's whale, include: habitat displacement; changes in diving and foraging behavior; changes in vocalization behavior; and altered stress hormone levels (Rosel et al., 2016).

    The SRT found that there is a high level of low frequency noise caused by shipping activity in the Gulf of Mexico, and that it is likely the GOMx Bryde's whale is experiencing significant biological impacts as a result. The impacts to the GOMx Bryde's whale are assumed to be similar to those observed in other low frequency hearing baleen whale species, and include increased stress hormone levels, changes in dive and foraging behavior and communication, and habitat displacement. The SRT assigned the threat of noise associated with shipping traffic and vessels a score of “moderate” severity threat with “moderate” certainty.

    Small Population Concerns

    The final sub-category considered by the SRT under ESA Factor E was small population concerns. The SRT considered Allee effects, demographic stochasticity, genetics, k-selected life-history parameters, and stochastic and catastrophic events under this sub-category.

    Allee Effects—If a population is critically small in size, individuals may have difficulty finding a mate. The probability of finding a mate depends largely on density (i.e., abundance per area) rather than absolute abundance alone (Rosel et al., 2016). As previously discussed, noise from ships and industrial oil activities, including seismic exploration, could mask mating calls and contribute to reduced fecundity of the GOMx Bryde's whale (Rosel et al., 2016). The small population size (i.e., likely less than 100 individuals) may mean that Allee effects are occurring, making it difficult for individual whales to find one another for breeding, thereby reducing the population growth rate. The SRT's scored the impacts from Allee effects as a “moderate” threat in both severity and certainty.

    Demographic Stochasticity—Demographic stochasticity refers to the variability of annual population change arising from random birth and death events at the individual level. Populations that are small in number are more vulnerable to adverse effects from demographic stochasticity. Demographic stochasticity is also more problematic for slowly reproducing species, such as GOMx Bryde's whales, which under normal conditions are likely to produce a calf every two to three years, similar to Bryde's whales worldwide and Eden's whale. Mean population growth rates can be reduced by variances in inter-annual growth rates, and this variance steadily increases as the population size decreases (Goodman 1987). The SRT also noted that, while skewed sex ratios do not currently appear to be a problem for GOMx Bryde's whales, their low calving rate and small population size create a higher probability of developing skewed sex ratios through chance alone. The SRT's scored the threat from impacts from demographic stochasticity as “high” in both severity and certainty.

    Genetics—Genetic stochasticity results from three separate factors: Inbreeding depression, loss of potentially adaptive genetic diversity and mutation accumulation (Frankham 2005, Reed 2005). The SRT concluded that the very small population size and documented low level of genetic diversity (Rosel and Wilcox 2014) indicates that the GOMx Bryde's whale is likely already experiencing inbreeding (mating with related individuals) that could lead to a loss of potentially adaptive genetic diversity and accumulation of deleterious mutations (Frankham 2005, Reed 2005). Applying the estimate from Taylor et al., (2007) of 0.51 for the proportion of a Bryde's whale population that is mature, and assuming a stable age distribution, the SRT concluded there would be at most 50 mature individuals for the GOMx Bryde's whale population, putting the whales at immediate recognized risk for genetic factors. Even with a 50-50 sex ratio, the SRT concluded that current abundance estimates are so low that current Bryde's whale population levels would meet any genetic risk threshold for decreased population growth due to inbreeding depression and potential loss of adaptive genetic diversity (Rosel et al., 2016). The SRT scored the threat of genetic stochasticity as “high” in both severity and certainty.

    K-Selected Life History Parameters—In general all whales are considered as k-selected species due to their life history characteristics of large-size, late-maturity, and iteroparous reproduction that is energetically expensive, resulting in few offspring. K-selected life history characteristics in and of themselves are not a problem for baleen whales, but a small population size coupled with a low productivity rate further hinders population growth and increases the time frame for recovery when, as with the GOMx Bryde's whale, the population size is small and overly vulnerable to threats (Rosel et al., 2016). The SRT assigned the threat from k-selective life history parameters a score of “high” in severity and certainty.

    Stochastic and Catastrophic Events—The small number of GOMx Bryde's whales and their restricted range (i.e., De Soto Canyon area of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico) exacerbates the species' vulnerability to stochastic and catastrophic events. Further, the GOMx Bryde's whales are in close proximity to oil extraction developments, extreme weather events, and HABs. For example, an analysis of the impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on cetacean stocks in the Gulf of Mexico estimated that 17 percent of the GOMx Bryde's whale population was killed (DWH Trustees 2016). The SRT scored the threat from stochastic and catastrophic events on the GOMx Bryde's whale as “high” in severity with “high” certainty.

    Summary of Factor E

    The overall threat rank for ESA Factor E by the SRT was influenced by the suite of threats assessed by the SRT. Based on the SRT's scoring, vessel collision, followed by fishing gear entanglements, presents the most serious individual threats of those considered in the generic “other natural and human factors,” category. The threat of vessel collision is a significant source of mortality for a variety of coastal whale species and several important commercial shipping lanes travel through the GOMx Bryde's whale BIA (Rosel et al., 2016). Fishing gear entanglement from the pelagic longline and bottom longline fisheries is a threat due to the spatial overlap between these fisheries and the Bryde's whale BIA, and the potential for interactions given the whale's foraging behavior (Rosel et al., 2016). The SRT's overall threat ranking for the generic “other natural or human factors category” was moderate-high. The SRT's overall threat ranking for the sub-category of “anthropogenic noise” was “high”, which was driven strongly by the impacts of seismic noise, shipping noise, and oil and gas activities. The greatest threat identified by the SRT under ESA Factor E was “small population concerns, which the SRT's scoring unanimously assigned a “high” overall threat rank.

    In summary, the SRT found the level of anthropogenic noise in the Gulf of Mexico, the cumulative threat posed by energy exploration, development and production, and the risk of vessel collisions, in combination with the small population size, are threats that are likely to eliminate or seriously degrade the population. The overall rank the SRT assigned for Factor E was “high” (i.e., two high overall ranks and one moderate-high overall rank), indicating that there are a high number of threats that are moderately or very likely to contribute to the decline of the GOMx Bryde's whale. Considering the assessment completed by the SRT, we determine that the threats considered under Factor E are currently increasing the risk of extinction for the GOMx Bryde's whale.

    NMFS' Conclusions From Threats Evaluation

    The most serious threats to the GOMx Bryde's whale are: Energy exploration and development, oil spills and oil spill response, vessel collision, anthropogenic noise, and the effects of small population size. We consider these threats, under ESA section 4(a)(1) factors A and E, as overall “high” threats. We agree with the SRT's assessment that these threats are currently affecting the status of the GOMx Bryde's whale, and find that they are putting it at a heightened risk of extinction. We also agree with the SRT's characterization of factors B and C, overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes and disease, parasites, or predation, and their low overall ranking. We find that these are not factors that are likely contributing to the extinction risk for the GOMx Bryde's whale. Finally, we agree with the SRT's overall conclusion for Factor D, that existing regulatory measures have not adequately prevented the GOMx Bryde's whale from reaching its current status, given the presence of current threats to the GOMx Bryde's whale identified under Factors A and E.

    Demographic Risk Analysis

    The SRT also evaluated four demographic factors to assess the degree of extinction risk: Abundance, spatial distribution, growth/productivity, and genetic diversity. These demographic criteria have been used in previous NMFS status reviews to summarize and assess a population's extinction risk due to demographic processes. The SRT used the following definitions to rank these factors: 1 = “No or low risk: it is unlikely that this factor contributes significantly to risk of extinction, either by itself or in combination with other factors;” 2 = “Low risk: it is unlikely that this factor contributes significantly to risk of extinction by itself, but some concern that it may contribute, in combination with other factors;” 3 = “Moderate risk: it is likely that this factor in combination with others contributes significantly to risk of extinction;” 4 = “High risk: it is likely that this factor, by itself, contributes significantly to risk of extinction”; and 5 = “Very high risk: it is highly likely that this factor, by itself, contributes significantly to risk of extinction.” As described in detail below, the SRT concluded that each of these four demographic factors are likely to contribute significantly to the risk of extinction for the GOMx Bryde's whale.

    The SRT determined that both abundance and spatial distribution were “very high risk” factors, meaning that it is highly likely that each factor, by itself, contributes significantly to the risk of extinction. The SRT concluded the best available science indicated: (1) The number of GOMx Bryde's whales is likely less than 100 mature individuals, and (2) their current distribution restricted to a small region along the continental shelf break (100-300 m) in the De Soto Canyon makes them vulnerable to catastrophe. The SRT concluded that the GOMx Bryde's whale constitutes a dangerously small population, at or below the near-extinction population level, and the species' restricted range makes it vulnerable to a single catastrophic event (Rosel et al., 2016).

    The SRT ranked both growth/productivity and genetic diversity as “high” risk factors, meaning that it is likely that each factor, by itself, contributes significantly to the risk of extinction. The SRT noted that the life-history characteristics of the GOMx Bryde's whale (i.e., late-maturing, long gestation, single offspring) result in a slower recovery ability from their small population size and leads to a longer time during which a risk factor like a catastrophe could occur (Rosel et al., 2016). Allee effects were also identified by the SRT as increasing extinction risk because the small number of individuals reduces population growth rate through mate limitation (Rosel et al., 2016). Similarly, the low level of genetic diversity, documented in both mtDNA and nuclear DNA by Rosel and Wilcox (2014), combined with the small population size, means that individuals are likely breeding with related individuals and inbreeding depression may be occurring, resulting in a loss of genetic diversity (Rosel et al., 2016).

    Extinction Risk Analysis

    The SRT considered the information provided in the Status Review report and demographic risk factors to conduct an Extinction Risk Analysis (ERA). The SRT summarized its ERA for the GOMx Bryde's whale, placing it in the context of our agency guidelines on how to synthesize extinction risk (NMFS 2015). Those agency guidelines define the high extinction risk category as:

    A species or DPS with a high risk of extinction is at or near a level of abundance, productivity, spatial structure, and/or diversity that places its continued persistence in question. The demographics of a species or DPS at such a high level of risk may be highly uncertain and strongly influenced by stochastic or depensatory processes. Similarly, a species or DPS may be at high risk of extinction if it faces clear and present threats (e.g., confinement to a small geographic area; imminent destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat; or disease epidemic) that are likely to create present and substantial demographic risks.

    Applying this standard, the SRT unanimously agreed that the GOMx Bryde's whale has a high risk of extinction.

    The SRT provided the following summary of the concerns leading to its overall extinction risk assessment:

    The GOMx Bryde's whale population is very small and is restricted to a small habitat area in the De Soto Canyon region of the northeastern [Gulf of Mexico]. Their level of genetic divergence from other Bryde's whales worldwide indicates they are reproductively isolated and on a unique evolutionary trajectory. The Society for Marine Mammalogy's Committee on Taxonomy concluded they represent at least an unnamed subspecies of Bryde's whales. Although the historic population size is unknown, whaling data indicate their distribution in the [Gulf of Mexico] was once much broader. The Team concluded, therefore, based on the best available scientific data, that there has been a range contraction such that their primary range is restricted to the northeastern [Gulf of Mexico] although there are limited data from outside U.S. waters. The north-central and western [Gulf of Mexico] contains some of the most industrialized marine waters in the U.S. due to expansive energy exploration and production, and also experiences significant commercial shipping traffic and commercial fishing activity. The area in the northeastern [Gulf of Mexico], where all verified sightings of Bryde's whales have been recorded during cetacean surveys, has experienced the least amount of energy exploration, due in part to a moratorium put in place in 2006. However, this moratorium expires in 2022 and the eastern [Gulf of Mexico] could be exposed to increased energy activities. Commercial fishing and vessel traffic also could affect the whales in the eastern [Gulf of Mexico].

    The Team concluded that the small population size alone put the GOMx Bryde's whale at high risk of extinction. The small size of this population makes it vulnerable to inbreeding depression, demographic stochasticity, and stochastic and catastrophic events. The combination of small size plus risk factors that may have affected the population in the past and may affect it in the future, further increase the extinction risk. These factors include, in particular, impacts due to energy exploration (e.g., habitat modification, noise from seismic surveys, and shipping) and energy production (e.g., oil spills), and vessel collisions. The Team's concern for this group of whales is further increased by uncertainty regarding the cause(s) of its small population size, its limited distribution, current and future threats, and the long-term viability of the population (Rosel et al., 2016).

    We consider the SRT's approach to assessing the extinction risk for GOMx Bryde's whale appropriate, consistent with our agency guidance, and based on the best scientific and commercial information available. Based on the key conclusions from the Status Review report, including the ERA (Rosel et al., 2016), we find that the GOMx Bryde's whale is a species, as defined by the ESA, which is in danger of extinction throughout all of its range, as a result of ESA Factors A (the present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of a species' habitat or range), D (inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms), and E (other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence). Accordingly, we find that the species meets the definition of an endangered species.

    Protective Efforts

    Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA requires the Secretary, when making a listing determination for a species, to take into consideration those efforts, if any, being made by any State or foreign nation to protect the species. To evaluate the efficacy of domestic efforts that have not yet been implemented or that have been implemented, but have not yet demonstrated to be effective, the Services developed a joint “Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When Making Listing Decisions” (PECE) (68 FR 15100; March 28, 2003). The PECE is designed to ensure consistent and adequate evaluation on whether domestic conservation efforts that have been recently adopted or implemented, but not yet proven to be successful, will result in recovering the species to the point at which listing is not warranted or contribute to forming the basis for listing a species as threatened rather than endangered. The PECE is expected to facilitate the development of conservation efforts by states and other entities that sufficiently improve a species' status so as to make listing the species as threatened or endangered unnecessary.

    The PECE establishes two overarching criteria to use in evaluating efforts identified in conservations plans, conservation agreements, management plans or similar documents: (1) The certainty that the conservation efforts will be implemented; and (2) the certainty that the efforts will be effective. We have considered the actions identified by the SRT (i.e., potential future DWH PDARP restoration activities and Gulf of Mexico Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (GoMMAPPS) as conservation efforts and we have concluded that they do not meet the PECE policy criteria (see analysis below).

    The Status Review report (Rosel et al., 2016) summarized two known conservation efforts, both of which are planned and have yet to be implemented, which we further assess here: The DWH PDARP and the GoMMAPPS. The restoration plan in the PDARP is a framework for planning future restoration projects. For marine mammals, the PDARP focuses on restoration activities that support population resilience, reduce further harm or impacts, and complement existing management priorities, with the goal of compensating for the population injuries suffered by each marine mammal stock. GOMx Bryde's whales were the most impacted offshore cetacean by the DWH oil spill, suffering an estimated 22 percent maximum decline in population size (DWH Trustees 2016). Although specific projects are not yet identified to implement Bryde's whale restoration, we anticipate that they should benefit the population, but, considering the species' life history, population recovery to pre-spill levels will take decades. More importantly, the population estimates considered by the SRT were pre-spill and were still found to represent a high extinction risk. Therefore, the conservation benefits that may be expected through implementation of the PDARP would not be expected to reduce the extinction risk for Bryde's whale to a degree where this population qualifies only as threatened or where that listing is not warranted.

    We also considered the proposed results from GoMMAPPS and its potential to protect and restore the population of GOMx Bryde's whale. The purpose of this program is to improve information about abundance, distribution, habitat use, and behavior of living marine resources (e.g., marine mammals, sea turtles, sea birds) in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as to mitigate and monitor potential impacts of human activities. GoMMAPPS promotes collaborations via data sharing with other research efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, including potentially with Mexico. Given the scope of the program, studies are likely to increase scientific understanding of the GOMx Bryde's whale and its habitat, support management decisions, and monitor potential impacts of human activities. GoMMAPPS is likely to provide significantly improved information on the status of protected species in the Gulf of Mexico, possibly including GOMx Bryde's whales, and we anticipate that this information can be used to protect Bryde's whales more effectively in the future. However, these conservation benefits will require secondary actions that are not currently known. Therefore, we conclude that the conservation benefits from GOMAPPS to Bryde's whales are too diffuse and uncertain to be considered effective measures under our PECE policy. After taking into account these conservation efforts and the current status of GOMx Bryde's whale, our evaluation of the section 4(a)(1) factors is that the conservation efforts identified cannot be considered effective measures in reducing the current extinction risk.

    Proposed Listing Determination

    Section 4(b)(1) of the ESA requires that we make listing determinations based solely on the best scientific and commercial data available after conducting a review of the status of the species and taking into account those efforts, if any, being made by any state or foreign nation, or political subdivisions thereof, to protect and conserve the species. We have reviewed the best available scientific and commercial information contained in the Status Review report, the Threats Evaluation, Demographic Evaluation, and the ERA (Rosel et al., 2016). We found that the GOMx Bryde's whale is a species, as defined by the ESA, which is in danger of extinction throughout all of its range as a result of ESA section 4(a)(1) Factors A, D, and E. After considering efforts being made to protect the species, we could not conclude that existing or proposed conservation efforts would alter its extinction risk. Accordingly, we propose to list the GOMx Bryde's whale as an endangered species.

    Effects of Listing

    Conservation measures provided for species listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA include recovery plans (16 U.S.C. 1533(f)), critical habitat designations (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(A)), Federal agency consultation requirements (16 U.S.C. 1536), and protective regulations (16 U.S.C. 1533(d)). Recognition of the species' status through listing promotes conservation actions by Federal and state agencies, private groups, and individuals, as well as the international community. Both a recovery program and designation of critical habitat could result from this final listing. Given its narrow range in the De Soto Canyon region of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, and existing threats, a regional cooperative effort to protect and restore the population is necessary. Federal, state, and the private sectors will need to cooperate to conserve listed GOMx Bryde's whales and the ecosystem upon which they depend.

    Marine Mammal Protection Act

    The MMPA provides protections to all marine mammals, such as Bryde's whales, whether they are listed under the ESA or not. In addition, the MMPA provides heightened protections to marine mammals designated as “depleted.” Section 3(1) of the MMPA defines “depleted” as “any case in which”: (1) The Secretary “determines that a species or population stock is below its optimum sustainable population”; (2) a state to which authority has been delegated makes the same determination; or (3) a species or stock “is listed as an endangered species or a threatened species under the [ESA]” (16 U.S.C. 1362(1)). Section 115(a)(1) of the MMPA establishes that “[i]n any action by the Secretary to determine if a species or stock should be designated as depleted, or should no longer be designated as depleted,” such determination must be made by rule, after public notice and an opportunity for comment (16 U.S.C. 1383b(a)(1)). It is our position that a marine mammal species or stock automatically gains “depleted” status under the MMPA when it is listed under the ESA.

    Identifying ESA Section 7 Consultation Requirements

    Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA and joint NMFS/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations require Federal agencies to consult with us on any actions they authorize, fund, or carry out if those actions may affect the listed species or designated critical habitat. Based on currently available information, we can conclude that examples of Federal actions that may affect GOMx Bryde's whale include, but are not limited to: Authorizations for energy exploration (e.g., habitat modification, noise from seismic surveys, and shipping), energy production (e.g., oil drilling and production), actions that directly or indirectly introduce vessel traffic that could result in collisions, and military activities and fisheries regulations that may impact the species.

    Take Prohibitions

    Because we are proposing to list this species as endangered, all of the take prohibitions of section 9(a)(1) of the ESA would apply. These include prohibitions against the import, export, use in foreign commerce, or “take” of the species. “Take” is defined under the ESA as “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct.” These prohibitions apply to all persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including in the United States or on the high seas.

    Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1532(5)) as: (1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by a species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the ESA, on which are found those physical or biological features (a) essential to the conservation of the species and (b) that may require special management considerations or protection; and (2) specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is listed upon a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. “Conservation” means the use of all methods and procedures needed to bring the species to the point at which listing under the ESA is no longer necessary. Critical habitat may also include areas unoccupied by GOMx Bryde's whale if those areas are essential to the conservation of the species.

    Section 4(a)(3)(A) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(A)) requires that, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable, critical habitat be designated concurrently with the listing of a species. Pursuant to 50 CFR 424.12(a), designation of critical habitat is not determinable when one or both of the following situations exist: (i) Data sufficient to perform required analyses are lacking; or (ii) The biological needs of the species are not sufficiently well known to identify any area that meets the definition of “critical habitat.” Although we have gathered information through the Status Review report and public comment periods on the habitat occupied by this species, we currently do not have enough information to determine what physical and biological feature(s) within that habitat facilitate the species' life history strategy and are thus essential to the conservation of GOMx Bryde's whale, and may require special management considerations or protection. To the maximum extent prudent and determinable, we will publish a proposed designation of critical habitat for GOMx Bryde's whale in a separate rule. Designations of critical habitat must be based on the best scientific data available and must take into consideration the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. Once critical habitat is designated, section 7 of the ESA requires Federal agencies to ensure that they do not fund, authorize, or carry out any actions that are likely to destroy or adversely modify that habitat. This requirement is in addition to the section 7 requirement that Federal agencies ensure that their actions do not jeopardize the continued existence of listed species.

    Policies on Peer Review

    In December 2004, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review establishing minimum peer review standards, a transparent process for public disclosure of peer review planning, and opportunities for public participation. The OMB Bulletin, implemented under the Information Quality Act (Pub. L. 106-554) is intended to enhance the quality and credibility of the Federal government's scientific information, and applies to influential or highly influential scientific information disseminated on or after June 16, 2005. To satisfy our requirements under the OMB Bulletin, we received peer reviews from three independent peer reviewers on the Status Review report (Rosel et al., 2016). All peer reviewer comments were addressed prior to dissemination of the final Status Review report and publication of this final rule. We conclude that these experts' reviews satisfy the requirements for “adequate [prior] peer review” contained in the Bulletin (sec. II.2.).

    Public Comments Solicited

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposal will be as accurate as possible and informed by the best available scientific and commercial information. Therefore, we request comments or information from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested party concerning this proposed rule. In particular we seeks comments containing: (1) Information, including genetic analyses, regarding the classification of the GOMx Bryde's whale as a subspecies; (2) life history information including abundance, distribution, diving, and foraging patterns; (3) information concerning threats to the species; (4) efforts being made to protect the species throughout its current range; and (5) other pertinent information regarding the species.

    We are also soliciting information on physical or biological features and areas that may support designation of critical habitat for the GOMx Bryde's whale. Information provided should identify the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species and areas that contain these features. Areas outside the occupied geographical area should also be identified if such areas themselves are essential to the conservation of the species. Essential features may include, but are not limited to, features specific to the species' range, habitat, and life history characteristics within the following general categories of habitat features: (1) Space for individual growth and normal behaviour; (2) food, or other nutritional or physiological requirements; (3) protection from predation; (4) sites for reproduction and development of offspring; and (5) habitats that are protected from natural or human disturbance or are representative of the historical, geographical, and ecological distributions of the species (50 CFR 424.12(b)). ESA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(h) specify that critical habitat shall not be designated within foreign countries or in other areas outside of U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, we request information only on potential areas of critical habitat within U.S. jurisdiction. For features and areas potentially qualifying as critical habitat, we also request information describing: (1) Activities or other threats to the essential features or activities that could be affected by designating them as critical habitat, and (2) the positive and negative economic, national security and other relevant impacts, including benefits to the recovery of the species, likely to result if these areas are designated as critical habitat.

    Public Hearing

    During the public hearing, a brief opening presentation on the proposed rule will be provided before accepting public testimony. Written comments may be submitted at the hearing or via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES) until the scheduled close of the comment period on (January 30, 2017). In the event that attendance at the public hearing is large, the time allotted for oral statements may be limited. There are no limits on the length of written comments submitted to us. Oral and written statements receive equal consideration.

    Public Hearing Schedule

    The date and location for the public hearing is as follows: St. Petersburg, Florida: January 19, 2017, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office, Dolphin Conference Room, 236 13th Avenue, South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701.

    Special Accommodations

    This hearing is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other accommodations should be directed to Calusa Horn (see ADDRESSES) as soon as possible, but no later than 7 business days prior to the hearing date.

    References

    A complete list of the references used in this proposed rule is available upon request, and also available at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/listing_petitions/species_esa_consideration/index.html.

    Classifications National Environmental Policy Act

    The 1982 amendments to the ESA, in section 4(b)(1)(A), restrict the information that may be considered when assessing species for listing. Based on this limitation of criteria for a listing decision and the opinion in Pacific Legal Foundation v. Andrus, 675 F. 2d 825 (6th Cir. 1981), NMFS has concluded that ESA listing actions are not subject to the environmental assessment requirements of the NEPA (See NOAA Administrative Order 216-6A).

    Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Flexibility Act and Paperwork Reduction Act

    As noted in the Conference Report on the 1982 amendments to the ESA, economic impacts cannot be considered when assessing the status of a species. Therefore, the economic analysis requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act are not applicable to the listing process. In addition, this final rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. This final rule does not contain a collection-of-information requirement for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    In keeping with the intent of the Administration and Congress to provide continuing and meaningful dialogue on issues of mutual state and Federal interest, the proposed rule will be provided to the relevant agencies in each state in which the subject species occurs, and these agencies are invited to comment.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 224

    Administrative practice and procedure, Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and record keeping requirements, Transportation.

    Dated: December 2, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, we propose to amend 50 CFR part 224 as follows:

    PART 224—ENDANGERED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES 1. The authority citation for part 224 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1531-1543 and 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.

    2. In § 224.101, in the table in paragraph (h), add an entry for “Whale, Bryde's (Gulf of Mexico subspecies)” under MARINE MAMMALS in alphabetical order by common name to read as follows:
    § 224.101 Enumeration of endangered marine and anadromous species.

    (h) * * *

    Species 1 Common name Scientific name Description of listed
  • entity
  • Citation(s) for listing
  • determination(s)
  • Critical habitat ESA rules
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Marine mammals *         *         *         *         *         *         * Whale, Bryde's (Gulf of Mexico subspecies) Balaenoptera edeni (unnamed subspecies) Bryde's whales that breed and feed in the Gulf of Mexico [ Federal Register citation and date when published as a final rule] NA NA *         *         *         *         *         *         * 1 Species includes taxonomic species, subspecies, distinct population segments (DPSs) (for a policy statement, see 61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996), and evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) (for a policy statement, see 56 FR 58612, November 20, 1991).
    [FR Doc. 2016-29412 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 236 Thursday, December 8, 2016 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Office of Advocacy and Outreach Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Office of Advocacy and Outreach, USDA

    ACTION:

    Notice of Public Meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO) is announcing a meeting of the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee (BFRAC). The committee is being convened to consider issues involving barriers for beginning farmers and ranchers, including lending and access to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs, resources, and land. The members will continue deliberations on recommendations to be prepared for USDA Secretarial consideration as discussed during the recent in-person meeting held in Cleveland, Ohio, September 29-30, 2016.

    DATES:

    The committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 19, 2016, 2:30-4:30 p.m., EST, via teleconference. The meeting will be open to the public. All persons wishing to make comments during this meeting will be allowed a maximum of three minutes. If the number of registrants requesting to speak is greater than what can be reasonably accommodated during the scheduled open public teleconference meeting timeframe, speakers will be scheduled on a first-come basis. Public written comments for the committee's consideration may be submitted by close of business on December 16, 2016, to Mrs. Kenya Nicholas, Designated Federal Official, USDA OAO, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 520-A, Washington, DC 20250-0170, Phone (202) 720-6350, Fax (202) 720-7704, Email: [email protected] Written submissions are encouraged to either be less than one page in length, or be accompanied by an executive summary and a summary of policy initiatives.

    A listen-only line will be available during the entire meeting for all who wish to listen in on the meeting or make public comments through the following telephone number: 1 (888) 455-1685 and enter passcode 1047915#. Members of the public may also submit written comments for consideration to the committee via email at: [email protected] or fax to: (202) 720-7136.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Questions should be directed to Phyllis Morgan, Executive Assistant, OAO, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Whitten Building, Room 520-A, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: (202) 720-6350; Fax: (202) 720-7704; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The BFRAC last met in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29-30, 2016. The Secretary tasked the BFRAC with providing recommendations on access to land, farm business transition, and land tenure. They also considered issues around lending and credit in parsing statistics generated by USDA. Please visit our Web site at: http://www.outreach.usda.gov/smallbeginning/index.htm for additional information on the BFRAC.

    Members of the public who wish to make comments during the committee meeting are asked to pre-register for the meeting by midnight on December 16, 2016. You may pre-register for the public meeting by submitting an email to [email protected] with your name, organization or affiliation, or any comments for the committee's consideration. You may also fax this information to (202) 720-7704. The agenda is as follows: Committee discussions and public comments and continued, and continued committee deliberations. Please visit the BFRAC Web site for the full agenda. All agenda topics and documents will be made available to the public by December 16, 2016, at: http://www.outreach.usda.gov/smallbeginning/index.htm.

    Meeting Accommodations: USDA is committed to ensuring that everyone is accommodated in our work environment, programs, and events. If you are a person with a disability and request reasonable accommodations to participate in this meeting, please contact Mrs. Kenya Nicholas in advance of the meeting by or before noon on December 16, 2016, by phone at (202) 720-6350, fax (202) 720-7704, or email: [email protected]

    Issued in Washington, DC, this 30 day of November 2016. Christian Obineme, Associate Director, Office of Advocacy and Outreach.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29374 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan Amendment AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Forest Plan Amendment approval.

    SUMMARY:

    M. Earl Stewart, the Forest Supervisor for the Tongass National Forest, Alaska Region, signed the final Record of Decision (ROD) for the Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan Amendment (Forest Plan Amendment). The Final ROD documents the rationale for approving the Forest Plan Amendment and is consistent with the Reviewing Officer's response to objections and instructions.

    DATES:

    The effective date of the Forest Plan Amendment is 30 days after publication of notice of Forest Plan Amendment approval in the newspaper of record, the Ketchikan Daily News. A supplemental notice will also be published in the Juneau Empire. To view the final ROD, final environmental impact statement (FEIS), FEIS errata, amended Forest Plan, and other related documents please visit the Tongass National Forest Plan Amendment Web site at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/R10/Tongass/PlanAmend.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Further information about the Tongass National Forest Plan can be obtained from Earl Stewart during normal office hours (weekdays, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Alaska Time) at the Tongass National Forest Supervisor's Office (Address: Tongass National Forest, 648 Mission Street, Ketchikan, AK 99901-6591); Phone/voicemail: (907) 228-6200.

    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Forest Plan Amendment lays the foundation to address and balance the need for more stable contributions to the economic and social sustainability of Southeast Alaska. It supports both transitioning to a more economically, socially and ecologically sustainable timber program on the Tongass and promoting more sustainable and diverse local economies by encouraging renewable energy production.

    The Forest Plan Amendment amends the 2008 Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan (2008 Forest Plan) and describes resource management practices, levels of resource production and management, and the availability and suitability of lands for different kinds of resource management. The Forest Plan Amendment guides all natural resource management projects and activities and establishes management direction for the Tongass National Forest. The Forest Plan Amendment was developed using the current Planning Rule, issued in 2012 and embodies the provisions of the National Forest Management Act, the implementing regulations, and other guiding documents.

    The Forest Plan Amendment was shaped by best available science, current laws, and public participation including participation of a cooperating agency (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service); consultation with Alaska Native tribes and Alaska Native Corporations; advice and recommendations from the Tongass Advisory Committee, a Federal Advisory Committee established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and significant public contributions from nine open house meetings, nine subsistence hearings, and the receipt of over 165,000 public comments.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. M. Earl Stewart, Forest Supervisor, Tongass National Forest.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29188 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE National Institute of Food and Agriculture Solicitation of Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) AGENCY:

    National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice and solicitation for nominations.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is soliciting nominations of veterinary service shortage situations for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) for fiscal year (FY) 2017, as authorized under the National Veterinary Medical Services Act (NVMSA), 7 U.S.C. 3151a. This notice initiates the nomination period and prescribes the procedures and criteria to be used by States, Insular Areas, DC and Federal Lands to nominate veterinary shortage situations. Each year all eligible nominating entities may submit nominations, up to the maximum indicated for each entity in this notice. NIFA is conducting this solicitation of veterinary shortage situation nominations under a previously approved information collection (OMB Control Number 0524-0046).

    DATES:

    Shortage situation nominations must be submitted on or before February 8, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submissions must be made by clicking the submit button on the Veterinarian Shortage Situation nomination form provided in the VMLRP Shortage Situations section at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp.

    This form is sent as a data file directly to the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Danielle Tack; Program Coordinator, Veterinary Science; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture; STOP 2220; 1400 Independence Avenue SW.,Washington, DC 20250-2220; Voice: 202-401-6802; Fax: 202-401-6156; Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background and Purpose

    Food supply veterinary medicine embraces a broad array of veterinary professional activities, specialties and responsibilities, and is defined as the full range of veterinary medical practices contributing to the production of a safe and wholesome food supply and to animal, human, and environmental health. A series of studies and reports 1-6 have drawn attention to maldistributions in the veterinary workforce leaving some communities, especially rural areas, with insufficient access to food supply veterinary services.

    1 Government Accountability Office, Veterinary Workforce: Actions Are Needed to Ensure Sufficient Capacity for Protecting Public and Animal Health, GAO-09-178: Feb 18, 2009).

    2 National Academies of Science, Workforce Needs in Veterinary Medicine, 2013.

    3 Andrus DM, Gwinner KP, Prince, JB. Food Supply Veterinary Medicine Coalition Report: Estimating FSM Demand and Maintaining the Availability of Veterinarians in Food Supply Related Disciplines in the United States and Canada, 2016. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Food-Supply-Veterinary-Medicine-Coalition-Report.aspx.

    4 Andrus DM, Gwinner KP, Prince, JB. Future demand, probable shortages and strategies for creating a better future in food supply veterinary medicine. 2006, JAVMA 229(1):57-69.

    5 Andrus DM, Gwinner KP, Prince, JB. Attracting students to careers in food supply veterinary medicine. 2006, JAVMA 228(1):16931704.

    6 Andrus DM, Gwinner KP, Prince, JB. Job satisfaction, changes in occupational area and commitment to a career in food supply veterinary medicine. 2006, JAVMA 228(12):1884-1893.

    Two programs, born out of this concern, aim to mitigate the maldistribution of the veterinary workforce: The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) and Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP), both administered by USDA—NIFA. VMLRP addresses increasing veterinary school debt by offering veterinary school debt payments in exchange for service in shortage situations, while VSGP addresses other factors contributing to the maldistribution of veterinarians serving the agricultural sector. Specifically, the VSGP promotes availability and access to (1) specialized education and training which will enable veterinarians and veterinary technicians to provide services in designated veterinarian shortage situations, and (2) practice-enhancing equipment and personnel resources to enable veterinary practices to expand or improve access to veterinary services.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations (5 CFR part 1320) that implement the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the information collection and recordkeeping requirements imposed by the implementation of these guidelines have been approved by OMB Control Number 0524-0046.

    List of Subjects in Guidelines for Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations I. Preface and Authority II. Nomination of Veterinary Shortage Situations A. General 1. Eligible Shortage Situations 2. Authorized Respondents and Use of Consultation 3. State Allocation of Nominations 4. FY 2017 Shortage Situation Nomination Process 5. Submission and Due Date 6. Period Covered 7. Definitions B. Nomination Form C. NIFA Review of Shortage Situation Nominations 1. Review Panel Composition and Process 2. Review Criteria Guidelines for Veterinary Shortage Situation Nominations I. Preface and Authority

    In January 2003, the National Veterinary Medical Service Act (NVMSA) was passed into law adding section 1415A to the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1997 (NARETPA). This law established a new Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (7 U.S.C. 3151a) authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out a program of entering into agreements with veterinarians under which they agree to provide veterinary services in veterinarian shortage situations. In FY 2010, NIFA announced the first funding opportunity for the VMLRP.

    Section 7104 of the 2014 Farm Bill (Pub. L. 113-79) added section 1415B to NARETPA, as amended, (7 U.S.C. 3151b) to establish the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP). This amendment authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to make competitive grants to qualified entities and individual veterinarians that carry out programs in veterinarian shortage situations and for the purpose of developing, implementing, and sustaining veterinary services. Funding for the VSGP was first appropriated in 2016 through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Pub. L. 114-113).

    Pursuant to the requirements enacted in the NVMSA of 2004 (as revised), and the implementing regulation for this Act, part 3431 subpart A of the VMLRP Final Rule [75 FR 20239-20248], NIFA hereby implements guidelines for authorized State Animal Health Officials (SAHO) to nominate veterinary shortage situations for the FY 2017 program cycle.

    II. Nomination of Veterinary Shortage Situations A. General 1. Eligible Shortage Situations

    Section 1415A of NARETPA, as amended and revised by Section 7105 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act, directs determination of veterinarian shortage situations for the VMLRP to consider (1) geographical areas that the Secretary determines have a shortage of veterinarians; and (2) areas of veterinary practice that the Secretary determines have a shortage of veterinarians, such as food animal medicine, public health, epidemiology, and food safety. This section also added that priority should be given to agreements with veterinarians for the practice of food animal medicine in veterinarian shortage situations.

    While the NVMSA (as amended) specifies priority be given to food animal medicine shortage situations, and that consideration also be given to specialty areas such as public health, epidemiology and food safety, the Act does not identify any areas of veterinary practice as ineligible. Accordingly, all nominated veterinary shortage situations will be considered eligible for submission. However, assessment of submitted nominations by the external review panel convened by NIFA will reflect that priority be given to certain types of veterinary service shortage situations. NIFA therefore anticipates that the more competitive nominations will be those directly addressing food supply veterinary medicine shortage situations.

    A subset of the shortages designated for VMLRP applicants are also available to satisfy requirements, as applicable, for VSGP applicants. In addition, a shortage situation under the VSGP Rural Practice Enhancement program area must also be designated rural as defined in section 343(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1991(a)).

    NIFA adopted definitions for the practice of veterinary medicine and the practice of food supply medicine that are broadly inclusive of the critical roles veterinarians serve in both public practice and private practice situations. Nominations describing either public or private practice veterinary shortage situations are eligible for submission.

    2. State Respondents and Use of Consultation

    The only authorized respondent on behalf of each State is the chief SAHO, as duly authorized by the Governor or the Governor's designee in each State. The chief SAHO must submit nominations using the Veterinarian Shortage Situation Nomination Form (OMB Control Number 0524-0046), which is available in the VMLRP Shortage Situations section on the VMLRP Web site at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp. One form must be submitted for each nominated shortage situation. When “SUBMIT” is selected on the form a data file will be sent directly to NIFA. NIFA strongly encourages the SAHO to involve leading health animal experts in the State in the identification and prioritization of shortage situation nominations.

    3. State Allocation of Nominations

    NIFA will accept the number of nominations equivalent to the maximum number of designated shortage areas for each state. For historical background and more information on the rationale for capping nominations and state allocation method, please visit www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp.

    The maximum number of nominations (and potential designations) is based on data from the 2012 Agricultural Census conducted by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Awards from previous years have no bearing on a state's maximum number of allowable shortage nomination submissions or designations in any given year, or number of nominations or designations allowed for subsequent years. NIFA reserves the right in the future to proportionally adjust the maximum number of designated shortage situations per state to ensure a balance between available funds and the requirement to ensure that priority is given to mitigating veterinary shortages corresponding to situations of greatest need. Nomination Allocation tables for FY 2017 are available under the VMLRP Shortage Situations section of the VMLRP Web site at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp.

    Table I lists the maximum nomination allocations by state. Table II lists “Special Consideration Areas” which include any State or Insular Area not reporting data to NASS, reporting less than $1,000,000 in annual Livestock and Livestock Products Total Sales ($), and/or possessing less than 500,000 acres. One nomination is allocated to any State or Insular Area classified as a Special Consideration Area.

    Table III shows the values and quartile ranks of States for two variables broadly correlated with demand for food supply veterinary services: “Livestock and Livestock Products Total Sales ($)” (LPTS) and “Land Area (acres)” (LA). The maximum number of NIFA-designated shortage situations per state is based on the sum of quartile rankings for LPTS and LA for each state and can be found in Table IV.

    While Federal Lands are widely dispersed within States and Insular Areas across the country, they constitute a composite total land area over twice the size of Alaska. If the 200-mile limit U.S. coastal waters and associated fishery areas are included, Federal Land total acreage would exceed 1 billion. Both State and Federal Animal Health officials have responsibilities for matters relating to terrestrial and aquatic food animal health on Federal Lands. Interaction between wildlife and domestic livestock, such as sheep and cattle, is particularly common in the plains states where significant portions of Federal lands are leased for grazing. Therefore, both SAHOs and the Chief Federal Animal Health Officer (Deputy Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or designee) may submit nominations to address shortage situations on or related to Federal Lands.

    NIFA emphasizes that the shortage nomination allocation is set to broadly balance the number of designated shortage situations across states prior to the nomination and award phases of the VMLRP and VSGP. Awards will be made based strictly on the peer review panels' assessment according to each program's review criteria; thus no state will be given a preference for placement of awardees. Additionally, each designated shortage situation will be limited to one award per program.

    4. FY 2017 Shortage Situation Nomination Process

    For the FY 2017 program cycle, all eligible submitting entities may: (1) Request to retain designated status for any shortage situation successfully designated in 2016 and/or (2) submit new nominations. Any shortage from FY 2016 not retained or submitted as a new nomination will not be considered a shortage situation in 2017. The total number of new nominations plus designated nominations retained (carried over) may not exceed the maximum number of nominations each entity is permitted. ALL nominations, new and retained, will be evaluated by the 2017 review panel.

    The following process is the mechanism for retaining a designated nomination: Each SAHO should review the map of VMLRP designated shortage situations for FY 2016 (http://go.usa.gov/xkFD3) and download a PDF copy of the nomination form for each designated area that remains open (not awarded) in FY 2016. If the SAHO wishes to retain (carry over) one or more designated nomination(s), the SAHO shall copy and paste the prior year information into the current year's nomination form and select “SUBMIT.”

    Both new and retained nominations must be submitted on the Veterinary Shortage Situation Nomination form provided in the VMLRP Shortage Situations section at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp.

    5. Submission and Due Date

    Submissions must be made by clicking the submit button on the Veterinarian Shortage Situation nomination form provided in the VMLRP Shortage Situations section at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp.

    This form is sent as a data file directly to the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; U.S. Department of Agriculture; Shortage situation nominations. Both new and retained (carry-over) nominations must be submitted on or before February 8, 2017.

    7. Period Covered

    Each shortage situation is approved for one program year cycle only. However, any previously approved shortage situation not filled in a given program year may be resubmitted as a retained (carry-over) nomination. Retained (carry-over) shortage nominations will be required to undergo panel merit review for 2017. Starting in 2018 retained shortages (without any revisions) will be automatically approved for up to three years before requiring another merit review. By resubmitting a carry-over nomination, the SAHO is affirming that in his or her professional judgment the original case made for shortage status, and the original description of needs, remain current and accurate.

    8. Definitions

    For the purpose of implementing the solicitation for veterinary shortage situations, the definitions provided in 7 CFR part 3431 are applicable.

    B. Nomination Form

    The VMLRP Shortage Nomination Form must be used to nominate Veterinarian Shortage Situations. Once designated as a shortage situation, VMLRP applicants will use the information to select shortage situations they are willing and qualified to fill, and to guide the preparation of their applications. NIFA will use the information to assess contractual compliance of awardees. The form is available in the VMLRP Shortage Situations section at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp. The completed form must be sent to NIFA by selecting “SUBMIT” on the nomination form.

    Detailed directions for each field can be found at http://go.usa.gov/xkFDY.

    C. NIFA Review of Shortage Situation Nominations 1. Review Panel Composition and Process

    NIFA will convene a panel of food supply veterinary medicine experts from Federal and State agencies, as well as institutions receiving Animal Health and Disease Research Program funds under section 1433 of NARETPA, to review the nominations and make recommendations to the NIFA Program Manager. NIFA will review the panel's recommendations and designate the VMLRP shortage situations. The list of approved shortage situations will be made available on the VMLRP Web site at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp.

    2. Review Criteria

    Criteria used by the shortage situation nomination review panel and NIFA for certifying a veterinary shortage situation will be consistent with the information requested in the shortage situations nomination form. NIFA understands the process for defining the risk landscape associated veterinary service shortages within a state may require consideration of many qualitative and quantitative factors. In addition, each shortage situation will be characterized by a different array of subjective and objective supportive information that must be developed into a cogent case identifying, characterizing, and justifying a given geographic or disciplinary area as deficient in certain types of veterinary capacity or service. To accommodate the uniqueness of each shortage situation, the nomination form provides opportunities to present a case using both supportive metrics and narrative explanations to define and explain the proposed need.

    While NIFA anticipates some arguments made in support of a given shortage situation will be qualitative, respondents are encouraged to present verifiable quantitative and qualitative evidentiary information wherever possible. Absence of quantitative data such as animal and veterinarian census data for the proposed shortage area(s) may lead the panel to recommend disapproval of the shortage nomination.

    The maximum point value that panelists may award for each element is as follows:

    20 points: Describe the objectives of a veterinarian to meet the needs of the shortage situation in the community, area, state/insular area, or position requested above.

    20 points: Describe the activities required of a veterinarian to meet the needs of the shortage situation located in the community, area, state/insular area, or position requested above.

    5 points: Describe any past efforts to recruit and retain a veterinarian to achieve the objectives and activities in the shortage situation identified above.

    35 points: Describe the risk of this veterinarian position not being filled or retained. Include the risk(s) to the production of a safe and wholesome food supply and/or to animal, human, and environmental health not only in the community but in the region, state/insular area, nation, and/or international community.

    An additional 20 points will be used to evaluate overall merit/quality of the case made for each nomination.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 30th day of November, 2016. Sonny Ramaswamy, Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29424 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 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: U.S. Census Bureau.

    Title: Business Research and Development and Innovation Survey.

    OMB Control Number: 0607-0912.

    Form Number(s): BRDI-1, BRDI-1S, and BRDI-M.

    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Number of Respondents: 245,000.

    Average Hours Per Response: 43 minutes.

    Burden Hours: 176,500.

    Needs and Uses: The Census Bureau requests a revision to the currently cleared Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS) information collection. This revision adds a form type [BRDI-M] to collect data on research and development (R&D) and innovation activities from small businesses with fewer than 10 employees.

    In 2004, the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) reviewed the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics' (NCSES) portfolio of R&D surveys and recommended that NCSES explore ways to measure firm innovation and investigate the incidence of R&D activities in growing sectors, such as small business enterprises not currently covered by BRDIS. As a result, Census plans to expand BRDIS to include very small businesses or microbusinesses through the use of the BRDI-M questionnaire.

    The National Science Foundation Act of 1950 as amended authorizes and directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) “. . . to provide a central clearinghouse for the collection, interpretation, and analysis of data on scientific and engineering resources and to provide a source of information for policy formulation by other agencies of the Federal government.” One of the methods used by NCSES to fulfill this mandate is the Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS)—the primary federal source of information on R&D in the business sector.

    BRDIS will continue to collect the following types of information:

    • R&D expense based on accounting standards.

    • Worldwide R&D of domestic companies.

    • Business segment detail.

    • R&D related capital expenditures.

    • Detailed data about the R&D workforce.

    • R&D strategy and data on the potential impact of R&D on the market.

    • R&D directed to application areas of particular national interest.

    • Data measuring innovation and intellectual property protection activities.

    In addition to adding the BRDI-M form, the following changes will be made to the 2016-2017 BRDIS compared to the 2015 BRDIS:

    • Add item in type-of-cost questions to collect Royalty and licensing payments.

    • Add questions collecting Basic-Applied-Development split of Total R&D paid for by the company and Total R&D paid for by others.

    • Delete question on intellectual property protection.

    • Add two Yes/No questions to help separately identify intellectual property transfer transactions with U.S. persons and foreign persons.

    • Discontinue the pre-survey letter. This letter was planned to collect contact and company status information (merger, acquisition, etc.) from approximately 500 of the largest R&D companies.

    The forms used in the BRDIS are:

    Form BRDI-M. This form will be mailed to approximately 200,000 small businesses with less than 10 employees. In addition to general business information—primary business activity (NAICS code), year business was formed, and number of employees—this form would collect data on R&D, innovation, employment, related activities (such as sales of significantly improved goods and services; operating agreements and licensing activities; technology transfer; patents and intellectual property; and sources of technical knowledge), measures of entrepreneurial strategies, and demographic characteristics of the entrepreneur.

    Form BRDI-1. This form will be mailed to approximately 7,000 companies with a history of significant R&D and contains the full complement of BRDIS data items.

    Form BRDI-1(S). This form will be mailed to approximately 38,000 companies and contains only the most high-level BRDIS data items.

    Information from BRDIS will continue to support the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 as well as other R&D-related initiatives introduced during the clearance period. Other initiatives that have used BRDIS statistics include: The Innovation Measurement-Tracking the State of Innovation in the American Economy (U.S. Department of Commerce); Science of Science and Innovation Policy (NSF); and Rising Above the Gathering Storm (National Research Council).

    Policy officials from many Federal agencies rely on BRDIS statistics for essential information. For example, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) now incorporates R&D as fixed investment in the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs). Businesses and trade organizations also rely on BRDIS data to benchmark their industries' performance against others. Each BRDIS data item is intended to address specific data user needs identified by NCSES through research, workshops, and regular interaction with data users.

    In previous years, BRDIS statistics were limited to companies with five or more U.S. employees. With the addition of BRDI-M, all companies with U.S. employees will be eligible for inclusion in providing statistics on R&D and innovation regardless of company size. Expanding the coverage of the BRDIS will provide data users a more complete picture of R&D and innovation in the business sector and will allow policy makers and researchers to investigate questions about R&D, innovation, and competiveness in small businesses.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit.

    Frequency: Annually.

    Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

    Legal Authority: Title 13, United States Code, Sections 8(b), 131, and 182, and Title 42, United States Code, Sections 1861-76 (National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended).

    This information collection request may be viewed at www.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.

    Sheleen Dumas, PRA Departmental Lead, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29394 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Census Bureau Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) AGENCY:

    U.S. Census Bureau, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    To ensure consideration, written comments must be submitted on or before February 6, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument(s) and instructions should be directed to Robert Sienkiewicz; [email protected]; phone: 301-763-1234.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    A 21st century statistical system must provide information about the dynamic economy quickly, using data assets efficiently while minimizing the burden of collecting and providing data and fully preserving confidentiality. The Census Bureau's Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) program has demonstrated the power and usefulness of linking multiple business and employee data sets with state-of-the-art confidentiality protections to build a longitudinal national frame of jobs.

    This program supports the Department of Commerce plan to improve American competitiveness and measures of innovation. It provides federal, state, and local policymakers and planners, businesses, private sector decision makers, and Congress with comprehensive and timely national, state, and local information on the dynamic nature of employers and employees.

    The LEHD program significantly reduces the overall effort for the generation of its quarterly data product by:

    • Leveraging exiting federal administrative and state data • Avoiding costs required to expand existing surveys to collect the information directly • Reducing respondent burden by limiting the number of required resources to just the owners of the required data

    The LEHD program is a member of a partnership between the US Census Bureau and the Labor Market Information (LMI) agencies from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. This partnership supports the development, promotion, and distribution of the following data products:

    • QWI Public Use—The flagship data product of the LEHD program is the QWI Public Use which provides 32 statistical indicators on employment, job creation and destruction, accessions (hires and recalls), and separations (e.g. exits and layoffs). These statistics are released for the following by-groups for all quarters for which data are available for each partner state:

    ○ County, metropolitan, and workforce investment area

    ○ Age, sex, race, and ethnicity categories

    ○ Detailed industry (i.e., type, firm age, firm size)

    • LEHD Origin Destination Employment Statistics (LODES)—LODES data provide detailed spatial distributions of workers' employment and residential locations and the relation between the two at the Census Block level. LODES also provides characteristic detail on age, earnings, industry distributions, and local workforce indicators.

    • Job-to-Job Flows (J2J)—Job-to-Job Flows (J2J) is a new set of statistics on worker reallocation in the United States constructed from the LEHD data. The initial release of national data distinguishes hires and separations associated with job change from hires and separations to non-employment. Future releases will be published at more detailed levels of aggregations, and will tabulate the origin and destination job characteristics of workers changing jobs.

    These data products highlight state and local labor market dynamics that cannot be learned from other statistical sources and are therefore used in many different arenas. For example, the QWI can be used as local-labor-market controls in regression analysis; to identify long-term trends; to provide local context in performance evaluations, and a host of other applications.

    II. Method of Collection

    The collection of data occurs in accordance with the rules established by interagency agreements with the participating state partners or data sharing agreements that have been established within the Census Bureau. For state partners, their data is submitted directly to the Census secure servers where Personally Identifiable Information (PII) goes through a process to replace it with Protected Identification Keys (PIK). This “PIKing” process also applies to all other administrative data that are used by the LEHD program. For all other required administration data, they are transferred or referenced by the QWI production system. Data collection and processing also includes activities such as validation of data quality.

    The data products created by the LEHD program are not generated by a traditional survey. Rather, all input data required is collected electronically as follows:

    • State Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) are provided via secure File Transfer Protocol (FTP) where each state LMI agency sends these data directly to the Census Bureau. This transfer of data is governed by a Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with each state partner.

    • Federal and Census Administrative data are acquired from other directorates or divisions within the Census Bureau where an internal agreement has been established for the use of the data.

    • Public Use data sets are acquired from public source Web sites or public File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers.

    III. Data

    Data that is used by the LEHD program is defined in the following table.

    Table III-1—Input Data Sets for the LEHD Program File Source Delivery schedule Number of
  • respondents
  • American Housing Survey (AHS) Census Bureau Yearly 1 Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS) Census Bureau Quarterly 1 Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly 1 Current Population Survey (CPS) Census Bureau Yearly 1 Federal Workers Office of Personnel Management Quarterly 1 Geographic Reference File Census Bureau Yearly 1 Master Address File Extract Census Bureau Yearly 1 New Business Register Census Bureau Yearly 1 Geographic Database Pitney Bowes Corporation Quarterly 1 Composite Person Record Census Bureau Yearly 1 Master Address File Auxiliary Reference File Census Bureau Yearly 1 Residence Candidate File Census Bureau Yearly 1 Survey of Income and Program Participation Census Bureau Yearly 1 Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing Census Bureau Yearly 1 Unemployment Insurance Wage File State Partners Quarterly 52 Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (ES-202) State Partners Quarterly 52 WIB Definitions files State Partners Acquired as needed 52

    OMB Control Number: 0607-XXXX.

    Form Number(s): Not applicable as survey forms are not required to collect this data.

    Type of Review: Regular submission as defined in Table III-1.

    Affected Public: 0.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: As defined in Table III-1.

    Estimated Time per Response: No more than 4 hours required to identify and send/post required data sets.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: Approximately 1964 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: Census Bureau collection of this data imposes no such costs to the respondents.

    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

    Legal Authority: The authority to conduct the LEHD program is 13 U.S.C. Section 6. Of course, confidentiality is assured by 13 U.S.C. Section 9.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Sheleen Dumas, PRA Departmental Lead, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29395 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-52-2016] Production Activity Not Authorized Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 134—Chattanooga, Tennessee, Wacker Polysilicon North America LLC, (Polysilicon), Charleston, Tennessee

    On August 5, 2016, Wacker Polysilicon North America LLC submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board for its facility within FTZ 134, in Charleston, Tennessee.

    The notification was processed in accordance with the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR part 400), including notice in the Federal Register inviting public comment (81 FR 54554, August 16, 2016). Pursuant to Section 400.37, the FTZ Board has determined that further review is warranted and has not authorized the proposed activity. If the applicant wishes to seek authorization for this activity, it will need to submit an application for production authority, pursuant to Section 400.23.

    Dated: December 5, 2016. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29435 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-836] Glycine From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of the Expedited Sunset Review of the Antidumping Duty Order AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    As a result of this sunset review, the Department of Commerce (the Department) finds that revocation of the antidumping duty order on glycine from the People's Republic of China (PRC) would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping at the rate identified in the “Final Results of Review” section of this notice.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dena Crossland, AD/CVD Operations, Office VI, Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-3362.

    DATES:

    Effective December 8, 2016.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On March 29, 1995, the Department published the antidumping duty order on glycine from the PRC.1 On August 1, 2016, the Department initiated a sunset review of the Order in accordance with section 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act).2 On August 8, 2016, the Department received complete notices of intent to participate in the sunset review from GEO Specialty Chemicals, Inc. (GEO or domestic interested party) and Chattem Chemicals, Inc. within the deadline specified in 19 CFR 351.218(d)(1)(i). On August 25, 2016, Chattem Chemicals, Inc. withdrew its intent to appear as a party to this review. GEO is a producer of a domestic like product in the United States and, accordingly, is a domestic interested party pursuant to section 771(9)(C) of the Act.

    1See Glycine from the People's Republic of China: Antidumping Duty Order, 60 FR 16116 (March 29, 1995) (Order).

    2See Initiation of Five-Year (“Sunset”) Review, 81 FR 50462 (August 1, 2016).

    On August 30, 2016, the Department received an adequate substantive response to the notice of initiation from GEO within the 30-day deadline specified in 19 CFR 351.218(d)(3)(i). The Department did not receive any responses from the respondent interested parties, i.e., glycine producers and exporters from the PRC. On the basis of the notice of intent to participate and adequate substantive response filed by the domestic interested party and no response from any respondent interested party, the Department has conducted an expedited sunset review of the Order pursuant to section 751(c)(3)(B) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(e)(1)(ii)(C).

    Scope of the Order

    The product covered by the order is glycine, which is a free-flowing crystalline material, like salt or sugar. Glycine is produced at varying levels of purity and is used as a sweetener/taste enhancer, a buffering agent, reabsorbable amino acid, chemical intermediate, and a metal complexing agent. This order covers glycine of all purity levels. Glycine is currently classified under subheading 2922.49.4020 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Although the HTSUS subheading is provided for convenience and Customs purposes, the written description of the merchandise under the order is dispositive.3

    3 In a separate scope ruling, the Department determined that D(-) Phenylglycine Ethyl Dane Salt is outside the scope of the order. See Notice of Scope Rulings, 62 FR 62288 (November 21, 1997).

    Analysis of Comments Received

    The issues discussed in the Decision Memorandum 4 are the likelihood of continuation or recurrence of dumping, and the magnitude of the margin of dumping likely to prevail if the Order were revoked. Parties can find a complete discussion of all issues raised in this review and the corresponding recommendations in the Decision Memorandum which 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 https://access.trade.gov and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit in room B8024 of the main Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the Internet at http://trade.gov/enforcement/frn. The signed Decision Memorandum and electronic versions of the Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    4See Department Memorandum, “Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Expedited Sunset Review of the Antidumping Duty Order on Glycine from the People's Republic of China; Final Results,” dated concurrently with this notice (Decision Memorandum).

    Final Results of Review

    Pursuant to sections 752(c)(1) and (3) of the Act, we determine that revocation of the Order would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping up to the following weighted-average percentage margin:

    Exporter/producer Margin
  • (percent)
  • PRC-Wide Entity (all producers and exporters) 155.89
    Administrative Protective Order

    This notice also serves as the only reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305. Timely notification of the return of destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a violation which is subject to sanction.

    The Department is issuing and publishing these final results and notice in accordance with sections 751(c), 752(c), and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218.

    Dated: November 28, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29400 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XF065 Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys in the Gulf of Mexico AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; receipt of revised application for marine mammal incidental take regulations (ITRs); request for comments and information.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS has received a revised application for ITRs from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), on behalf of oil and gas industry operators. The specified activity considered in the application is geophysical survey activity conducted in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), over the course of five years from the date of issuance. Pursuant to regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing receipt of BOEM's request for the development of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals. NMFS invites the public to provide information, suggestions, and comments on BOEM's application.

    DATES:

    Comments and information must be received no later than January 9, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments on the application should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments should be sent to [email protected]

    Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted online at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/oilgas.htm without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ben Laws, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Availability

    Electronic copies of the application and supporting documents may be obtained online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/oilgas.htm. BOEM has separately released a draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public review (September 30, 2016; 81 FR 67380). This draft EIS was prepared in order to evaluate the potential significant effects of multiple geological and geophysical activities on the GOM Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. The document is available online at: www.boem.gov/GOM-G-G-PEIS/.

    Background

    Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) directs the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) if certain findings are made and regulations are issued.

    Incidental taking shall be allowed if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s) affected and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for taking for subsistence uses, and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such taking are set forth.

    NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as “an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.”

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: “any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment).”

    The use of sound sources such as those described in the application (e.g., airgun arrays) may result in the disturbance of marine mammals through disruption of behavioral patterns or may cause auditory injury of marine mammals. Therefore, incidental take authorization under the MMPA is warranted.

    Summary

    BOEM was formerly known as the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and, later, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE). On December 20, 2002, MMS petitioned NMFS for rulemaking under Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA to authorize take of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) incidental to conducting geophysical surveys during oil and gas exploration activities in the GOM. On March 3, 2003, NMFS published a notice of receipt of MMS's application and requested comments and information from the public (68 FR 9991). This comment period was later extended to April 16, 2003 (68 FR 16263). MMS subsequently submitted a revised petition on September 30, 2004, to include a request for incidental take authorization of additional species of marine mammals. On April 18, 2011, BOEMRE submitted a revision to the petition, which incorporated updated information and analyses. NMFS published a notice of receipt of this revised petition on June 14, 2011 (76 FR 34656). In order to incorporate the best available information, BOEM submitted another revision to the petition on March 28, 2016, which was followed on October 17, 2016, by a revised version that we have deemed adequate and complete based on our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104.

    The requested regulations would establish a framework for authorization of incidental take by Level A and Level B harassment through Letters of Authorization (LOAs). Following development of the ITRs, implementation could occur via issuance of LOAs upon request from individual industry applicants planning specific geophysical survey activities.

    Specified Activities

    The application describes geophysical survey activity, conducted by industry operators in OCS waters of the GOM within BOEM's GOM planning areas (i.e., the Western, Central, and Eastern Planning Areas). Geophysical surveys are conducted by industry operators to characterize the shallow and deep structure of the OCS, including the shelf, slope, and deepwater ocean environment, in order to obtain data for hydrocarbon exploration and production, aid in siting oil and gas structures and facilities, identify possible seafloor or shallow-depth geologic hazards, and locate potential archaeological resources and benthic habitats that should be avoided.

    Deep penetration seismic surveys, used largely for oil and gas exploration and development and involving a vessel or vessels towing an airgun or array of airguns that emit acoustic energy pulses through the overlying water and into the seafloor, are one of the most extensive survey types and are expected to carry the greatest potential for effects to marine mammals. Non-airgun high resolution geophysical surveys are used to detect and monitor geohazards, archaeological resources, and certain types of benthic communities.

    Information Solicited

    Interested persons may submit information, suggestions, and comments concerning BOEM's request (see ADDRESSES). NMFS will consider all relevant information, suggestions, and comments related to the request during the development of proposed regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals, as appropriate.

    Dated: December 2, 2016. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29388 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Transmittal No. 16-43] 36(b)(1) Arms Sales Notification AGENCY:

    Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing the unclassified text of a section 36(b)(1) arms sales notification. This is published to fulfill the requirements of section 155 of Public Law 104-164 dated July 21, 1996.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Pam Young, DSCA/SA&E/RAN, (703) 697-9107.

    The following is a copy of a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Transmittal 16-43 with attached Policy Justification and Sensitivity of Technology.

    Dated: December 2, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. EN08DE16.000 Transmittal No. 16-43 Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended

    (i) Prospective Purchaser: Republic of Korea.

    (ii) Total Estimated Value:

    Major Defense Equipment* $ 41 million. Other $100 million. TOTAL $141 million.

    (iii) Description and Quantity or Quantities of Articles or Services under Consideration for Purchase: The Government of the Republic of Korea has requested the sale and installation of AN/AAQ-24(V) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) systems on up to four (4) A-330 Multi-Role Tanker and Transport (MRTT) aircraft. Each LAIRCM system consists of three (3) Guardian Laser Terminal Assemblies (GLTA), six (6) Ultra-Violet Missile Warning System (UVMWS) Sensors AN/AAR-54, one (1) LAIRCM System Processor Replacements (LSPR), one (1) Control Indicator Unit Replacement (CIUR), one (1) Smart Card Assembly (SCA), one (1) High Capacity Card (HHC), and a User Data Memory (UDM) card.

    Major Defense Equipment (MDE):

    Twenty-six (26) GLTA AN/AAQ-24(V) (12 + 14 spares)

    Twelve (12) LSPR AN/AAQ-24(V) (4 + 8 spares)

    Fifty-four (54) UVMWS Sensors AN/AAR-54 (24 + 30 spares)

    Non-MDE include:

    CIURs, SCAs, HHCs, UDM cards, initial spares and repair parts, consumables, support equipment, technical data, engineering change proposals, minor modifications, publications, Field Service Representatives' (FSRs), repair and return, depot maintenance, training and training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, U.S. Government and contractor representative support, Group A and B installation support, flight test and certification, selective availability anti-spoofing module (SAASM) Global Positioning System, and other related elements of logistics support.

    (iv) Military Department: Air Force

    (v) Prior Related Cases, if any: None

    (vi) Sales Commission, Fee, etc., Paid, Offered, or Agreed to be Paid: None

    (vii) Sensitivity of Technology Contained in the Defense Article or Defense Services Proposed to be Sold: See Annex Attached.

    (viii) Date Report Delivered to Congress: November 16, 2016

    * as defined in Section 47(6) of the Arms Export Control Act.

    POLICY JUSTIFICATION Republic of Korea—Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) System

    The Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) has requested the sale and installation of AN/AAQ- 24(V) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) systems for up to four (4) A-330 Multi-Role Tanker and Transport (MRTT) aircraft. Each LAIRCM system consists of the following major defense equipment (MDE): three (3) Guardian Laser Terminal Assemblies (GLTA), six (6) Ultra-Violet Missile Warning System (UVMWS) Sensors AN/AAR-54, one (1) LAIRCM System Processor Replacement (LSPR), one (l) Control Indicator Unit Replacement (CIUR), one (1) Smart Card Assembly (SCA), one (1) High Capacity Card (HCC), and User Data Memory (UDM) card. The sale includes spares bringing the MDE total to twenty-six (26) GLTAs, twelve (12) LSPRs, and fifty-four (54) UVMWS Sensors AN/AAR-54.

    The sale also includes the following non-MDE items: CIURs, SCAs, HHCs, UDM Cards, initial spares and repair parts, consumables, support equipment, technical data, engineering change proposals, minor modifications, publications, Field Service Representatives' (FSRs), repair and return, depot maintenance, training and training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, U.S. Government and contractor representative support, Group A and B installation support, flight test and certification, selective availability anti-spoofing module (SAASM) Global Positioning System, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $141 million.

    The ROK is procuring the LAIRCM system to defend and protect its future aerial refueling and troop transport capabilities. This helps the ROK Air Force become more capable of sustaining and projecting air power across large distances and transporting its forces and fighter aircraft for both operational and training missions with less reliance on foreign partners, such as the United States. The ROK will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

    This proposed sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the United States. The ROK is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and a key partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in that region. It is vital to U.S. national interests to assist our Korean ally in developing and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability. This sale increases the ROK's capability to participate in Pacific regional security operations and improves its national security posture as a key U.S. ally.

    The proposed sale of this equipment and support does not affect the basic military balance in the region.

    This sale includes provisions for one (1) FSR to live in Korea for up to two years. Implementation of this proposed sale requires multiple temporary trips to Korea involving U.S. Government or contractor representatives over a period of up to six (6) years for program execution, delivery, technical support, and training.

    The principal contractor is Northrop Grumman Corporation, Rolling Meadows, IL. At this time, there are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

    There is no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

    Transmittal No. 16-43 Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act Annex Item No. vii

    (vii) Sensitivity of Technology:

    1. The AN/AAQ-24(V) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) is a self contained, directed energy countermeasures system designed to protect aircraft from infrared guided surface-to-air missiles. The system features digital technology and micro-miniature solid state electronics. The system operates in all conditions, detecting incoming missiles and jamming infrared-seeker equipped missiles with aimed bursts of laser energy. The LAIRCM system consists of multiple Ultra-Violet Missile Warning System (UVMWS) Sensors AN/AAR-54, Guardian Laser Turret Assembly (GLTA), LAIRCM System Processor Replacement (LSPR), Control Indicator Unit Replacement (CIUR), and a classified High Capacity Card (HCC), and User Data Memory (UDM) card. The HCC is loaded into the CIUR prior to flight. When the classified HCC is not in use, it is removed from the CIUR and placed in onboard secure storage. LAIRCM Line Replaceable Unit (LRU) hardware is classified SECRET when the HCC is inserted into the CIUR. LAIRCM system software, including Operational Flight Program is classified SECRET. Technical data and documentation to be provided are UNCLASSIFIED.

    a. The set of UVMWS Sensor units (AN/AAR-54) are mounted on the aircraft exterior to provide omni-directional protection. The UVMWS detects the rocket plume of missiles and sends appropriate data signals to the LSPR for processing. The LSPR analyzes the data from each UVMWS Sensor and automatically deploys the appropriate countermeasure via the GLTA. The CIUR displays the incoming threat.

    b. The AN/AAR-54 UVMWS Sensor warns of threat missile approach by detecting radiation associated with the rocket motor. The AN/AAR-54 is a small, lightweight, passive, electro-optic, threat warning device used to detect surface-to-air missiles fired at helicopters and low-flying fixed-wing aircraft and automatically provide countermeasures, as well as audio and visual warning messages to the aircrew. The basic system consists of multiple UVMWS Sensor units, three (3) GLTAs, a LSPR, and a CIUR. The set of UVMWS units (each A-330 MRTT has six (6)) are mounted on the aircraft exterior to provide omni-directional protection. Hardware is UNCLASSIFIED. Software is SECRET. Technical data and documentation to be provided are UNCLASSIFIED.

    2. If a technologically advanced adversary were to obtain knowledge of the specific hardware and software elements, the information could be used to develop countermeasures or equivalent systems which might reduce system effectiveness or be used in the development of a system with similar or advanced capabilities.

    3. This sale is necessary in furtherance of the U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives outlined in the Policy justification. Moreover, the benefits to be derived from this sale, as outlined in the Policy Justification, outweigh the potential damage that could result if the sensitive technology were revealed to unauthorized persons.

    4. All defense articles and services listed in this transmittal are authorized for release and export to the Government of the Republic of Korea.

    [FR Doc. 2016-29392 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Transmittal No. 16-53] 36(b)(1) Arms Sales Notification AGENCY:

    Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing the unclassified text of a section 36(b)(1) arms sales notification. This is published to fulfill the requirements of section 155 of Public Law 104-164 dated July 21, 1996.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Pam Young, DSCA/SE&E-RAN, (703) 697-9107.

    The following is a copy of a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Transmittal 16-53 with attached Policy Justification and Sensitivity of Technology.

    Dated: December 2, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. EN08DE16.001 Transmittal No. 16-53 Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended

    (i) Prospective Purchaser: United Kingdom.

    (ii) Total Estimated Value:

    Major Defense Equipment * $780 million Other $220 million TOTAL $1.00 billion

    (iii) Description and Quantity or Quantities of Articles or Services under Consideration for Purchase:

    Major Defense Equipment (MDE):

    Twenty-six (26) Certifiable Predator B Remotely Piloted Aircraft (16 with option for additional 10)

    Twelve (12) Advanced Ground Control Stations (GCSs) (8 with option for additional 4)

    Four (4) New Launch and Recovery Element GCSs

    Four (4) Upgrades to existing Blk 15 Launch and Recovery Element GCSs (2 with option for additional 2)

    Twenty-five (25) Multi-spectral Targeting Systems (12 + 2 spares, with option for additional 10 + 1 spare)

    Twenty-five (25) AN/APY-8 Lynx IIe Block 20A Synthetic Aperture Radar and Ground Moving Target Indicators (SAR/GMTI) (12 + 2 spares, with option for additional 10 + 1 spare)

    Eighty-six (86) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Guidance Units (EGIs) (3 per aircraft) (48 + 5 spares, with option for additional 30 + 3 spares)

    Non-MDE include:

    Non-MDE items include: communications equipment, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) equipment, weapons installation kits, and TPE331-10YGD engines. In addition, the package provides a unique and common spares package, support equipment, U.S. Air Force technical orders, country specific technical orders, Contractor Logistics Support for two (optional three) years, contractor provided aircraft components, spares, and accessories, training, and other related elements of logistical and program support.

    (iv) Military Department: Air Force (X6-D-SAC).

    (v) Sales Commission, Fee, etc., Paid, Offered, or Agreed to be Paid: None.

    (vi) Sensitivity of Technology Contained in the Defense Article or Defense Services Proposed to be Sold: See Annex Attached.

    (vii) Date Report Delivered to Congress: November 16, 2016.

    * as defined in Section 47(6) of the Arms Export Control Act.

    POLICY JUSTIFICATION United Kingdom—Certifiable Predator B Remotely Piloted Aircraft

    The United Kingdom (UK) requested a possible sale of up to twenty-six (26) Certifiable Predator B Remotely Piloted Aircraft (16 with option for additional 10); twelve (12) Advanced Ground Control Stations (GCSs) (8 with option for additional 4); four (4) New Launch and Recovery Element GCSs; four (4) Upgrades to existing Blk 15 Launch and Recovery Element GCSs (2 with option for additional 2); twenty-five (25) Multi-spectral Targeting Systems (12 + 2 spares, with option for additional 10 + 1 spare); twenty-five (25) AN/APY-8 Lynx IIe Block 20A Synthetic Aperture Radar and Ground Moving Target Indicators (SAR/GMTI) (12+ 2 spares, with option for additional 10 + 1 spare); Eighty-six (86) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Guidance Units (EGIs) (3 per aircraft) (48 + 5 spares, with option for additional 30 + 3 spares). This sale also includes communications equipment, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) equipment; weapons installation kits; TPE331-10YGD engines; unique and common spares package; support equipment; U.S. Air Force technical orders; country specific technical orders; Contractor Logistics Support for two (optional three) years; contractor provided aircraft components, spares, and accessories; personnel training; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated program cost is $1.0 billion.

    The UK is a close ally and an important partner on critical foreign policy and defense issues. The proposed sale will enhance U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by enhancing the UK's capabilities to provide national defense and contribute to NATO and coalition operations.

    This sale will improve the UK's ability to meet current and future threats by providing improved Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) coverage that enhances homeland security, promotes increased battlefield situational awareness, augments combat search and rescue, and provides ground troop support. The Certifiable Predator B will also be used to support the UK's armed forces and coalition forces engaged in current and future peacekeeping, peace-enforcing, counter-insurgent, and counterterrorism operations. The UK already operates armed remotely piloted aircraft, the MQ-9 Reaper, and will have no difficulty transitioning to the Certifiable Predator B.

    The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

    The principal contractors will be General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. in San Diego, California. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

    Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the UK.

    There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

    Transmittal No. 16-53 Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act Annex Item No. vii

    (vii) Sensitivity of Technology:

    1. The Certifiable Predator B (CPB) Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) is a weapons-capable aircraft designed for medium to high altitude-long endurance Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Target Acquisition, and Strike missions. Protector (formerly known as Scavenger) represents the CPB as modified to a UK-specific configuration which includes the design, development and integration of a UK-specific weapons installation kit for employment of UK-produced weapons (Paveway IV and Brimstone II). Building upon the legacy of Predator B's proven success, CPB/Protector provides up to 40 hours endurance, speeds up to 220 knots true air speed (KTAS) and a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet. The system is designed to be controlled by two operators within an Advanced Ground Control Station (AGCS). The AGCS is designed to emulate a reconnaissance aircraft cockpit, giving users extensive means to operate both the aircraft and sensors. CPB/Protector is able to operate using a direct Line-of-Sight (LOS) datalink or can be operated Beyond Line-of-Sight (BLOS) using satellite communications (SATCOM). The design enables unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) control to be handed off between multiple AGCSs thus allowing remote-split operations and centralized mission control with other assets. The CPB/Protector system can be deployed from a single site that supports launch, recovery, mission control, and maintenance. The system also supports remote-split operations where launch, recovery, and maintenance occur at a Forward Operating Base and mission control is conducted from another geographically separated location, or Main Operating Base (MOB).

    2. The United Kingdom CPB/Protector system includes the following components.

    a. A secure Advanced CGCS with workstations that allow operators to control and monitor the aircraft, as well as record and exploit downlinked payload data.

    b. The unclassified General Atomics AN/APY-8 Block 20 Lynx Ile Synthetic Aperture Radar and Ground Moving Target Indicator (SAR/GMTI) system provides an all-weather surveillance, tracking and targeting capability. The AN/APY-8 Block 20 operates in the Ku band, using an offset-fed dish antenna mounted on a three-axis stabilized gimbal. It has a large field of regard, produces a strip map and can image up to a l0km wide swath. Swaths from multiple passes can be combined for wide-area surveillance.

    c. The Raytheon Multi-spectral Targeting System with Laser Target Designator (LTD) and multi-use Electro-Optical (EO)/lnfra-Red (IR) sensor provides long-range surveillance, high-altitude target acquisition, tracking, and range-finding with capabilities up to and including high definition color TV, high definition short-wave IR, medium-wave IR, and long wave IR sensors.

    d. The weapons installation kit enables the integration of UK-produced munitions (Paveway IV and Brimstone II) onto the Protector platform. The integration of these munitions requires specialized non-recurring engineering work which will be performed by the platform OEM in the United States.

    3. If a technologically advanced adversary were to obtain knowledge of the specific hardware or software in this proposed sale, any information gleaned from exploitation of hardware, publications and software could be used to develop countermeasures (electronic, infrared, or other types) as well as offensive and defensive counter-tactics and allow an adversary to exploit those vulnerabilities during combat.

    4. A determination has been made that the recipient country can provide substantially the same degree of protection for the sensitive technology being released as the US Government. This sale is necessary in furtherance of the U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives outlined in the Policy Justification.

    5. All defense articles and services listed in this transmittal have been authorized for release and export to the United Kingdom.

    [FR Doc. 2016-29393 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DOD-2016-OS-0110] Manual for Courts-Martial; Publication of Supplementary Materials AGENCY:

    Joint Service Committee on Military Justice (JSC), Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Publication of Discussion (Supplementary Materials) accompanying the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2012 ed.) (MCM).

    SUMMARY:

    The JSC hereby publishes Supplementary Materials accompanying the MCM as amended by Executive Orders 13643, 13669, 13696, 13730, and 13740. These changes have not been coordinated within the Department of Defense under DoD Directive 5500.1, “Preparation, Processing and Coordinating Legislation, Executive Orders, Proclamations, Views Letters and Testimony,” June 15, 2007, and do not constitute the official position of the Department of Defense, the Military Departments, or any other Government agency. These Supplementary Materials have been approved by the JSC and the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, and shall be applied in conjunction with the rule with which they are associated. The Discussion is effective insofar as the Rules it supplements are effective, but may not be applied earlier than the date of publication in the Federal Register.

    DATES:

    This Discussion is effective as of December 8, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Major Harlye S.M. Carlton, USMC, (703) 963-9299 or [email protected] The JSC Web site is located at: http://jsc.defense.gov.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Discussion to Part IV of the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States, is amended as follows:

    (a) The Discussion immediately after paragraph 60.c.(6)(a) is amended to read as follows:

    “Clauses 1 and 2 are theories of liability that must be expressly alleged in a specification so that the accused will be given notice as to which clause or clauses to defend against. The words “to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces” encompass both paragraph c.(2)(a), prejudice to good order and discipline, and paragraph c.(2)(b), breach of custom of the Service. A generic sample specification is provided below:

    In that ____ (personal jurisdiction data), did (at/on board location), on or about ____ 20__, (commit elements of Article 134 clause 1 or 2 offense), and that said conduct (was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces) (and) (was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces).

    If clauses 1 and 2 are alleged together in the terminal element, the word “and” should be used to separate them. Any clause not proven beyond a reasonable doubt should be excepted from the specification at findings. See R.C.M. 918(a)(1). See also Appendix 23 of this Manual, Art. 79. Although using the conjunctive “and” to connect the two theories of liability is recommended, a specification connecting the two theories with the disjunctive “or” is sufficient to provide the accused reasonable notice of the charge against him. See Appendix 23 of this Manual, Art. 134.

    Lesser included offenses are defined and explained under Article 79; however, in 2010, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces examined Article 79 and clarified the legal test for lesser included offenses. See United States v. Jones, 68 M.J. 465 (C.A.A.F. 2010). Under Jones, an offense under Article 79 is “necessarily included” in the offense charged only if the elements of the lesser offense are a subset of the elements of the greater offense alleged. 68 M.J. at 472; see also discussion following paragraph 3b(1)(c) in this part and the related analysis in Appendix 23 of this Manual. Practitioners should carefully consider lesser included offenses using the elements test in conformity with Jones. See paragraph 3b(4) in Appendix 23 of this Manual. If it is uncertain whether an Article 134 offense is included within a charged offense, the government may plead in the alternative or, with the consent of the accused, the government may amend the charge sheet. Jones, 68 M.J. at 472-73 (referring to R.C.M. 603(d) for amending a charge sheet).”

    Dated: December 2, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29384 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION Sunshine Act Notice of Public Meeting Agenda DATE AND TIME:

    Thursday, December 15, 2016 (10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.—EDT).

    PLACE:

    1335 East West Highway (First Floor Conference Room) Silver Spring, MD 20910.

    AGENDA:

    Commissioners will meet to provide an initial de-brief on the 2016 election and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the EAC's Testing and Certification Program. Commissioners will discuss the 2016 election with a panel of state and local election administrators, and a panel representing the perspectives of military and overseas voters, voters with disabilities and other election administration interest groups. Commissioners will hear from a panel to discuss the past ten years of EAC Testing and Certification of voting systems. Voting system manufacturers will discuss the evolution of the program from their perspective; a state certification official will provide insight into how EAC certification assists the states in their unique certification roles, and EAC program staff will provide their thoughts on ten years in the certification business.

    STATUS:

    This meeting will be open to the public.

    PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION:

    Bryan Whitener, Telephone: (301) 563-3961.

    Bryan Whitener, Director of Communications and Clearinghouse, U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29592 Filed 12-6-16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6820-KF-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER17-423-000] Rubicon NYP Corp; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Rubicon NYP Corp`s application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is December 20, 2016.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29418 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER15-13-007.

    Applicants: Transource Wisconsin, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Transource Wisconsin Protocols Compliance Filing to be effective 12/1/2014.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5169

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-427-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 1266R4 Kansas Municipal Energy Agency NITSA and NOA to be effective 2/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5156.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-428-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Missouri River Energy Services Member Formula Rate (Vermillion) to be effective 2/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5178.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-429-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Fourth Amendment of SGIA for Western Antelope Dry Ranch Project to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5195.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-430-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellations for Service Agreements for Deactivated Units to be effective 9/1/2013.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5196.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-431-000.

    Applicants: Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: November 2016 Western Interconnection Agreement Biannual Filing to be effective 2/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5204.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-432-000.

    Applicants: Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: November 2016 Western WDT Service Agreement Biannual Filing to be effective 2/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5207.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-433-000.

    Applicants: Eagle Point Power Generation LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective 1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5275.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-434-000.

    Applicants: Alcoa Power Generating Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Transmission Svc Agmt for Native Load Customer—APGI (Long Sault) & Alcoa to be effective 11/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5284.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-435-000.

    Applicants: Alcoa Power Generating Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Transmission Svc Agmt for Native Load Customer—APGI (Tapoco) & Arconic to be effective 11/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5285.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-436-000.

    Applicants: Marcus Hook Energy, L.P.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Notice of Succession to be effective 11/21/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5307.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-437-000.

    Applicants: Marcus Hook 50, L.P.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Notice of Succession to be effective 11/21/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5308.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29415 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP11-1591-000.

    Applicants: Golden Pass Pipeline LLC.

    Description: Report Filing: 2016 Annual Report of Penalty Revenue and Costs.

    Filed Date: 11/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20161129-5208.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-196-000.

    Applicants: Millennium Pipeline Company, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Out-of-Cycle RAM 2016 to be effective 1/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20161123-5045.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/5/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-197-000.

    Applicants: Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: DCP—2016 Section 4 General Rate Case to be effective 1/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20161123-5060.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/5/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-198-000.

    Applicants: Cameron Interstate Pipeline, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing Cameron Interstate Pipeline Annual Adjustment of Fuel Retainage Percentage to be effective 1/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20161123-5108.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/5/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-199-000.

    Applicants: Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing Annual Cash-Out Activity Report 2016.

    Filed Date: 11/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20161128-5075.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-200-000.

    Applicants: Guardian Pipeline, L.L.C.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Expiration of Negotiated Rate Agreements to be effective 12/31/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20161128-5197.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-201-000.

    Applicants: Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: City of Sullivan to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20161128-5199.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-202-000.

    Applicants: Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: City of Bethany to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20161128-5201.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-203-000.

    Applicants: Questar Pipeline, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Annual FGRP Report for 2017 for Questar Pipeline, LLC to be effective 1/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20161128-5229.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-204-000.

    Applicants: Pine Needle LNG Company, LLC.

    Description: Petition for Approval of a Negotiated Stipulation and Agreement [including Pro Forma sheets] of Pine Needle LNG Company, LLC.

    Filed Date: 11/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20161128-5266.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-205-000.

    Applicants: Texas Eastern Transmission, LP.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Non-conforming Agreement—PSEG Power 400241 to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20161129-5061.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-206-000.

    Applicants: Southern Natural Gas Company, L.L.C.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: SCRM Filing Nov 2016 to be effective 1/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20161129-5063.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-207-000.

    Applicants: MarkWest Pioneer, L.L.C.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Quarterly FRP Filing to be effective 1/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20161129-5077.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-208-000.

    Applicants: Iroquois Gas Transmission System, L.P.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: 11/29/16. Negotiated Rates—Cargill Incorporated (HUB) 3085-89 to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20161129-5118.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-209-000.

    Applicants: El Paso Natural Gas Company, L.L.C.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Annual Fuel and L&U Filing to be effective 1/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20161129-5120.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-210-000.

    Applicants: Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Exhibit B update—delete contracts, rearrange point volumes to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20161129-5154.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-211-000.

    Applicants: El Paso Natural Gas Company, L.L.C.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Negotiated Rate Agreement Update (SRP 2016) to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20161129-5258.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-212-000.

    Applicants: Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.

    Description: Compliance filing Cashout Report 2015-2016 to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 11/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20161129-5272.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP17-213-000.

    Applicants: Northwest Pipeline LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Leap Year Rate Removal—2016 to be effective 1/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20161129-5274.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29417 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER17-424-000] Footprint Power Salem Harbor Development LP; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Footprint Power Salem Harbor Development LP`s application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is December 20, 2016.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29419 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC16-173-000.

    Applicants: The Dayton Power and Light Company, AES Ohio Generation, LLC.

    Description: Response of The Dayton Power and Light Company and AES Ohio Generation, LLC to Deficiency Letter of Nov. 8, 2016.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5241.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: EC17-41-000.

    Applicants: American Falls Solar, LLC, American Falls Solar II, LLC.

    Description: Application of American Falls Solar, LLC and American Falls Solar, II LLC, for Authorization under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act and Requests for Confidential Treatment, Expedited Consideration, and Waivers.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5423.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1213-002.

    Applicants: New York Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: Amendment to BTM:NG compliance filing to be effective 12/13/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5404.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-213-001.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: 2016-12-01_Amendment to Module D Clean-up filing to be effective 12/28/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5350.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-246-001.

    Applicants: Dynegy Oakland, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Deferral of Commission Action to Permit Ongoing Settlement Discussions to be effective 12/31/9998.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5126.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-428-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Offer of Settlement of Southwest Power Pool, Inc., on behalf of Missouri River Energy Services and member Vermillion Light & Power.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5430.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-436-001; ER17-437-001; ER11-4634-002.

    Applicants: Marcus Hook Energy, L.P., Marcus Hook 50, L.P., Hazleton Generation LLC.

    Description: Notice of Change in Status of Marcus Hook Energy, L.P., et al.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5437.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-466-000.

    Applicants: Louisville Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: EKPC NITSA Amendments to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5364.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-467-000.

    Applicants: New York Independent System Operator, Inc., Consolidated Edison Company of New York.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 205 filing re: LGIA (SA 2310) among the NYISO, Con Edison, and Cricket Valley to be effective 11/16/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5365.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-468-000.

    Applicants: Ohio Valley Electric Corporation.

    Description: Compliance filing: Amendment to Attachments J, K and P Tariff Records to be effective 10/14/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5389.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-469-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Midwest Energy Formula Rate Revisions to be effective 1/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5402.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-470-000.

    Applicants: San Diego Gas & Electric Company.

    Description: Fourth Annual Informational Filing [Cycle 4] of Fourth Transmission Owner Rate Formula rate mechanism of San Diego Gas & Electric Company.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5434.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 2, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29421 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP17-19-000] Valley Crossing Pipeline, LLC; Notice of Application

    Take notice that on November 21, 2016, Valley Crossing Pipeline, LLC (Valley Crossing), 5400 Westheimer Court, Houston, Texas 77056, filed an application in Docket No. CP17-19-000 under section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA), and Part 153 of the Commission's regulations requesting authorization to site, construct, and operate new natural gas facilities to import/export natural gas between the United States to the Republic of Mexico at a point on the International Boundary in Texas state waters (Border Crossing Project), all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection. The facilities will consist of a segment of 42-in-diameter pipe that extends 1,000 feet in the Gulf of Mexico in Texas state waters to the International Boundary between the United States and Mexico. The filing is available for review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission's Web site 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, (886) 208-3676 or TYY, (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions concerning this application may be directed to Lisa A. Connolly, General Manager, Rates and Certificates Department, Valley Crossing Pipeline, LLC, 5400 Westheimer Court, Houston, TX 77056; by calling (713) 627-4102; by faxing (304) 357-5947; or by emailing [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 seven copies of filings made in the proceeding with the Commission and must mail a copy to the applicant and to every other party. 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 7 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    Comment Date: December 23, 2016. Dated: December 2, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29423 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #2

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER11-3697-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: Informational Filing of Notice of Revision to Formula Transmission Rate Annual Update of Southern California Edison Company.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5418.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER12-1436-011; ER10-2329-008; ER10-2740-010; ER10-2742-009; ER10-3099-017; ER10-3143-018; ER10-3169-011; ER10-3300-014; ER12-1260-010; ER13-1488-008; ER13-1793-008; ER14-152-006; ER14-153-006; ER14-154-006; ER16-517-001.

    Applicants: Eagle Point Power Generation LLC, Elgin Energy Center, LLC, Gibson City Energy Center, LLC, Grand Tower Energy Center, LLC, Hazle Spindle, LLC, La Paloma Generating Company, LLC, Michigan Power Limited Partnership, Quantum Pasco Power, LP, RC Cape May Holdings, LLC, Rocky Road Power, LLC, Sabine Cogen, LP, Shelby County Energy Center, LLC, Tilton Energy LLC, Vineland Energy, LLC, Stephentown Spindle, LLC.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of the Rockland Sellers.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5427.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-426-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Offer of Settlement of Southwest Power Pool, Inc., on behalf of Missouri River Energy Services and member Denison Municipal Utilities.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5420.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-460-000.

    Applicants: Elgin Energy Center, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective 1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5188.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-461-000.

    Applicants: Michigan Power Limited Partnership.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective 1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5189.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-462-000.

    Applicants: Tilton Energy LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective 1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5197.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-463-000.

    Applicants: Rocky Road Power, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective 1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5208.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-464-000.

    Applicants: New England Power Pool Participants Committee.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Dec 2016 Membership Filing to be effective 11/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5212.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-465-000.

    Applicants: Appalachian Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: OATT—Revise Attachment K, TCC and TNC Rate Update to be effective 12/31/9998.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5244.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following qualifying facility filings:

    Docket Numbers: QF17-244-000.

    Applicants: Allegheny Solar 1, LLC.

    Description: Refund Report of Allegheny Solar 1, LLC under QF17-244.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5245.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 1, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29420 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #2

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC17-42-000.

    Applicants: 96WI 8ME, LLC.

    Description: Application for Authorization for Disposition of Jurisdictional Facilities and Request for Expedited Action of 96WI 8ME, LLC.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5247.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-2249-005.

    Applicants: Portland General Electric Company.

    Description: Third Supplement to June 30, 2016 Triennial Market Power Analysis in the Northwest Region for Portland General Electric Company.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5250.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-228-002.

    Applicants: King Forest Industries, Inc.

    Description: Report Filing: Supplemental Information MBR Application to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5211.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-471-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: First Revised ISA No. 3255; Queue No. W4-073 to be effective 11/2/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5159.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-472-000.

    Applicants: ISO New England Inc., New England Power Pool.

    Description: ISO New England Inc., et al. submits Installed Capacity Requirement, Hydro Quebec Interconnection Capability Credits and Related Values for the 2017/2018, 2018/2019 & 2019/2020 Annual Reconfiguration Auctions.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5449.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-473-000.

    Applicants: Southwestern Public Service Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: NM Coops Operating Proc No. 2 to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5169.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-474-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of New Mexico.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Modification to TCIA between PNM and Western Interconnect LLC to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5174.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-475-000.

    Applicants: CED Ducor Solar 1, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Co-Tenancy and Common Facilities Agreement Filing to be effective 12/2/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5192.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-476-000.

    Applicants: CED Ducor Solar 2, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Co-Tenancy and Common Facilities Agreement Filing to be effective 12/2/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5228.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-477-000.

    Applicants: CED Ducor Solar 3, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Co-Tenancy and Common Facilities Agreement Filing to be effective 12/2/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5232.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-478-000.

    Applicants: Mankato Energy Center, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Mankato Tariff Amendment Filing to be effective 12/3/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5241.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-479-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., Virginia Electric and Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: VEPCO submits revisions to Att. H-16A re Acquisition of Gainesville-Wheeler Line to be effective 2/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5255.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-480-000.

    Applicants: CED Ducor Solar 4, LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Co-Tenancy and Common Facilities Agreement Filing to be effective 12/2/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5269.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-481-000.

    Applicants: CPV Maryland, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Reactive Rate Schedule to be effective 2/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5277.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-482-000.

    Applicants: BREG Aggregator LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Market-Based Authorization Tariff BREG Aggregator LLC to be effective 1/31/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/2/16.

    Accession Number: 20161202-5291.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/23/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 2, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29422 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER17-228-002.

    Applicants: King Forest Industries, Inc.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: 2nd Amended MBR Filing to be effective12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5000.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-438-000.

    Applicants: Alcoa Power Generating Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Transmission Svc Agmt for Native Load Customer—APGI (Long Sault) & Arconic to be effective 11/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5315.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-439-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., ITC Midwest LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2016-11-30_SA 1925 ITC Midwest-Interstate Power and Light 3rd Rev. DTIA to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5320.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-440-000.

    Applicants: Alpaca Energy LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Alpaca Reactive Supply Service Filing to be effective 2/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5322.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-441-000.

    Applicants: Black Hills Power, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Powder River Energy Corporation Rate Modification in Joint Tariff to be effective 1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5324.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-442-000.

    Applicants: La Paloma Generating Company, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5328.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-443-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of New Mexico.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: PNM's Certificate of Concurrence with Arizona Public Service Company's RS 284 to be effective 10/31/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5330.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-444-000.

    Applicants: Milan Energy LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Milan Energy Reactive Supply Service Filing to be effective 2/1/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5331.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-445-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of New Mexico.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Modifications to NITSA/NOA between PNM and Jicarilla Apache Nation to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5336.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-446-000.

    Applicants: New York Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: NYISO 205 tariff filing re: Capacity exports from certain New York localities to be effective 1/29/2017.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5342.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-447-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of New Mexico.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Modifications to Contract P0695 between PNM and Western to be effective 12/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5355.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-448-000.

    Applicants: Quantum Pasco Power, LP.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5006.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-449-000.

    Applicants: RC Cape May Holdings, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5008.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-450-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of Service Agreement No. 4529, Queue No. AA2-180 to be effective 11/27/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5100.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-451-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of Service Agreement No. 3574, Queue No. Y1-034 to be effective 8/6/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5103.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-452-000.

    Applicants: Gibson City Energy Center, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5117.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-453-000.

    Applicants: Grand Tower Energy Center, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5120.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-454-000.

    Applicants: Hazle Spindle, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5126.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-455-000.

    Applicants: Stephentown Spindle, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5130.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-456-000.

    Applicants: Vineland Energy LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5133.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-457-000.

    Applicants: Shelby County Energy Center, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5164.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-458-000.

    Applicants: Sabine Cogen, LP.

    Description: Compliance filing: Revised MBR Tariff to be effective1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 12/1/16.

    Accession Number: 20161201-5173.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER17-459-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of New Mexico.

    Description: Notice of Cancellation of Rate Schedule No. 152 of Public Service Company of New Mexico.

    Filed Date: 11/30/16.

    Accession Number: 20161130-5421.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 12/21/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 1, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29416 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0268; FRL-9956-19-OAR] Final Revision to the PAG Manual: Protective Action Guides and Planning Guidance for Radiological Incidents AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of document availability.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its mission to protect human health and the environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes protective action guides to help federal, state, local and tribal emergency response officials make radiation protection decisions during emergencies. The EPA, in coordination with a multi-agency working group within the Federal Radiological Preparedness Coordinating Committee (FRPCC), has made final updates to the 1992 Manual of Protective Action Guides and Protective Actions for Nuclear Incidents, referred to as “The 1992 PAG Manual” (EPA 400-R-92-001, May 1992).

    The updated guidance in the revised PAG Manual: Protective Action Guides and Planning Guidance for Radiological Incidents (“PAG Manual” hereafter) applies the protective action guides (PAGs) to incidents other than nuclear power plant accidents, updates the radiation dosimetry and dose calculations based on current science and incorporates late phase guidance. The final revisions incorporate input from public comments received in 2013 and include clarifications based on those comments. The Agency plans to finalize drinking water guidance after incorporating public comments on a proposal published in June 2016. The intention is to add it as a section in the Intermediate Phase chapter of the PAG Manual and reissue the PAG Manual once complete. The final revision of the PAG Manual is available at www.regulations.gov.

    DATES:

    The PAG Manual is available for use upon publication of this Notice in the Federal Register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sara DeCair, Radiation Protection Division, Center for Radiological Emergency Management, Mail Code 6608T, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 343-9108; fax number: (202) 343-2304; Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    A. How can I get copies of the PAG Manual and supporting information?

    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. [EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0268; FRL-9707-2]. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air and Radiation Docket in the EPA Docket Center, (EPA/DC) EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20004. The EPA Docket Center Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744 and the telephone number for the Air and Radiation Docket is (202) 566-1742. In accordance with EPA regulations at 40 CFR part 2 and in accordance with normal EPA docket procedures, if copies of any docket materials are requested, a reasonable fee may be charged for photocopying.

    Electronic access: The PAG Manual in electronic form suitable for printing, as well as related guidelines and further information, can be found on the PAGs Web page at http://www.epa.gov/radiation/protective-action-guides-pags.

    B. What authority does the EPA have to provide Protective Action Guidance?

    The historical and legal basis of the EPA's role in the PAG Manual begins with Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970, in which the Administrator of the EPA assumed functions of the Federal Radiation Council (FRC), including the charge to “. . . advise the President with respect to radiation matters, directly or indirectly affecting health, including guidance for all federal agencies in the formulation of radiation standards and in the establishment and execution of programs of cooperation with states.” (Reorg. Plan No. 3 of 1970, sec. 2(a)(7), 6(a)(2); § 274.h of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (AEA), codified at 42 U.S.C. 2021(h)). Recognizing this role, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) directed the EPA in their Radiological Emergency Planning and Preparedness Regulations to “establish Protective Action Guides (PAGs) for all aspects of radiological emergency planning in coordination with appropriate federal agencies.” (44 CFR 351.22(a)). FEMA also tasked the EPA with preparing “guidance for state and local governments on implementing PAGs, including recommendations on protective actions which can be taken to mitigate the potential radiation dose to the population.” (44 CFR 351.22(b)). All of this information was to “be presented in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) `Manual of Protective Action Guides and Protective Actions for Nuclear Incidents.' ” (44 CFR 351.22(b)).

    Additionally, section 2021(h) charged the Administrator with performing “such other functions as the President may assign to him [or her] by Executive order.” Executive Order 12656 states that the Administrator shall “[d]evelop, for national security emergencies, guidance on acceptable emergency levels of nuclear radiation. . . .” (Executive Order No. 12656, sec.1601(2)). The EPA's role in PAGs development was reaffirmed by the National Response Framework, Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex of June 2008.

    C. What is the PAG Manual: Protective Action Guides and Planning Guidance for Radiological Incidents?

    The PAG Manual provides federal, state and local emergency management officials with guidance for responding to radiological emergencies. A protective action guide (PAG) is the projected dose to an individual from a release of radioactive material at which a specific protective action to reduce or avoid that dose is recommended. Emergency management officials use PAGs for making decisions regarding actions to protect the public from exposure to radiation during an emergency. Such actions include, but are not limited to, evacuation, shelter-in-place, temporary relocation, and food restrictions.

    Development of the PAGs was based on the following essential principles, which also apply to the selection of any protective action during an incident—

    • Prevent acute effects,

    • Balance protection with other important factors and ensure that actions result in more benefit than harm,

    • Reduce risk of chronic effects.

    The PAG Manual is not a legally binding regulation or standard and does not supersede any environmental laws. This guidance does not address or impact site cleanups occurring under other statutory authorities such as the EPA's Superfund program, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) decommissioning program, or other federal or state cleanup programs. As indicated by the use of non-mandatory language such as “may,” “should” and “can,” the PAG Manual only provides recommendations and does not confer any legal rights or impose any legally binding requirements upon any member of the public, states or any federal agency. Rather, the PAG Manual recommends projected radiation doses at which specific actions may be warranted in order to reduce or avoid that dose. The PAG Manual is designed to provide flexibility to be more or less restrictive as deemed appropriate by decision makers based on the unique characteristics of the incident and the local situation.

    D. How did EPA respond to public comments on the 2013 PAG Manual revision?

    The proposed updates to the 1992 PAG Manual, published for public comment and interim use in 2013, were developed by a multi-agency Subcommittee of the Federal Radiological Preparedness Coordinating Committee (FRPCC) and published by the EPA with concurrence from the Department of Energy (DOE); the Department of Defense (DoD); the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC); the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); and the Department of Labor (DOL).

    The Agency received about 5,000 comments from members of the public, state and local emergency response and health organizations, industry associations, and from national and international radiation protection organizations. In response to comments received, questions raised in comments and issues identified about implementing the updated PAG Manual, the EPA made a number of changes to the PAG Manual, as described below.

    The EPA received comments and questions on the potassium iodide (KI) PAG from state radiation protection agencies and from industry organizations. In response, planning considerations were clarified regarding the lower FDA KI PAG in combination with deleting the thyroid-based evacuation threshold. The EPA added a Table (Table 2.2) with more details on the KI PAG; and also worked with the FDA to include a simplified approach to implementing this PAG and provided reference for the reader to the FDA's published guide. More explanation was included regarding the thyroid-based (organ-based) evacuation thresholds being deleted. This was done for simplicity and because modern dose projection tools now do a much better job of accounting for all-pathway exposures.

    The EPA received many comments from PAG technical users suggesting terminology improvements and requesting more information about how the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC)—the federal government lead for these calculations during radiological emergencies—provides calculation methods and tables of derived levels. Additional language is provided on the tables of derived values for implementing the PAGs. Specifically, clarifying text on FRMAC methods and dose factor terminology was added. Definitions for incident phases and several concepts around dose projection were also clarified.

    The Agency received comments from state emergency management and radiation protection agencies, as well as federal agencies, requesting the inclusion of language from the 1992 PAG Manual Appendices in the revised PAG Manual. This text, focusing on the rationale and basis for setting early and intermediate phase PAGs, has been added to the revised PAG Manual. The 2013 proposal included this information only by reference, but the revised PAG Manual will serve the emergency response community better by providing a summarized description of the basis for setting PAGs directly in the new publication. The 1992 PAG Manual Appendices are still available online in a word-searchable format, for reference.

    The EPA received limited, but important, comments on the worker protection section of the proposed Manual, requesting updates to reflect more recent publications on worker safety. These comments were considered by the EPA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the NRC; changes were made to ensure consistency with the latest worker safety guidelines from other agencies.

    Some commenters expressed concern over the removal of the 5 rem over 50 years Relocation PAG. Therefore, explanation about the removal of that PAG was expanded, adding language to better explain the deletion. The decision was made in order to eliminate confusion with long-term remediation timeframes and long-term cleanup goals.

    The EPA received a number of comments, largely from environmental organizations, expressing concern about whether the PAGs are safe enough, and whether children and sensitive subpopulations are considered adequately. There is an abundant conservatism built into the derivation of the PAGs, and into the assumptions used to generate derived response levels, to ensure that the PAGs are appropriate emergency guides for all members of the public, including sensitive subpopulations. The Agency provided additional explanation in the revised Manual about the basis for the PAGs and how PAG levels are set. A discussion of the conservatism that has been built into the early and intermediate phase PAGs was also added to the Manual.

    Some commenters expressed concerns that PAGs would weaken environmental standards and regulations. Environmental regulations or standards are legal limits designed to prevent health effects from everyday exposure to low levels of radiation over long periods. The PAG levels are guidance for emergency situations; they do not supplant any standards or regulations, nor do they affect the stringency or enforcement of any standards or regulations. The PAG levels are intended to be used only in an emergency when radiation levels have already exceeded environmental standards and could be high enough to cause health effects unless protective actions are taken. The PAG levels trigger public safety measures to minimize or avoid radiation exposures during an emergency.

    The EPA also received some comments suggesting that the U.S. should rely solely on existing environmental standards and that PAGs are not needed. PAG levels do not replace environmental standards, and environmental standards do not fulfill the role of the PAGs. PAGs are used only during emergency situations when radiation levels are already exceeding environmental standards and could become high enough to cause adverse health effects unless protective action is taken. During a radiological emergency, the PAGs are designed to prevent adverse health effects by triggering public safety measures—protective actions, such as evacuation—and minimizing unnecessary exposures. The PAGs are set at a level where the health risk from radiation exposure that could be avoided with protective action outweighs the risk associated with taking the safety measures, e.g., traffic accidents, trips and falls or anxiety associated with dislocation or the separation of family members.

    Finally, the EPA received comments requesting edits to clarify, reword or reorder language in the PAG Manual. Based on those comments, a number of editorial changes were made to improve both the clarity and readability of the Manual.

    E. What is the timeframe for implementation of this PAG Manual?

    Emergency management and radiation protection organizations that use the PAGs in their emergency plans are encouraged to incorporate this updated guidance as soon as possible. This may entail training, as well as updating plans and procedures. Outreach and technical training will be conducted by the EPA, the FRMAC and interagency partners on the PAG Subcommittee.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) expects certain organizations associated with nuclear power plant operations to use the PAG Manual in developing their emergency management plans. The FEMA plans to begin using the new PAG Manual during their evaluation of offsite response organizations around nuclear power facilities twelve months after the publication of this Notice in the Federal Register.

    For further information and related guidelines, see the PAGs Web page: http://www.epa.gov/radiation/protective-action-guides-pags.

    Dated: December 1, 2016. Gina McCarthy, Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29439 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-9956-29-OW] National Lakes Assessment 2012 Final Report AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces the availability of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) final report on the National Lakes Assessment 2012. The NLA describes the results of the nationwide probabilistic survey that was conducted in the summer of 2012 by EPA and its state, tribal, and federal partners. The NLA report includes information on how the survey was implemented, what the findings are on a national scale, and future actions and challenges. The NLA Web site also includes findings at the ecoregional scale and allows users to explore additional results using a new interactive dashboard.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amina Pollard, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds, Office of Water, Washington DC. Phone: 202-566-2360; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. General Information

    The National Lakes Assessment 2012: A Collaborative Survey of Lakes in the United States is the second report assessing the condition of the nation's lakes. The NLA is one of a series of National Aquatic Resource Surveys, a national-scale monitoring program designed to produce statistically-valid assessments that answer critical questions about the condition of waters in the United States. The key goals of the NLA report are to describe the ecological and recreational condition of the nation's lakes, how those conditions are changing, and the key stressors affecting those waters. Using a statistical survey design, 1,038 sites were selected at random to represent the condition of the larger population of lakes across the lower 48 states including natural lakes and manmade reservoirs.

    The NLA finds that 40% of the nation's lakes have excessive levels of phosphorus. Compared to other measures, nutrient pollution is the most widespread stressor in the NLA and can contribute to algal blooms and affect recreational opportunities in lakes. Using a new biological measure, the NLA finds that 31% of lakes have degraded benthic macroinvertebrate communities. The report has undergone peer, state/tribal and EPA review.

    A. How can I get copies of the NLA 2012 and other related information?

    You may view and download the final report from EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/national-aquatic-resource-surveys/nla.

    Dated: December 2, 2016. Joel Beauvais, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Water.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29440 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION Farm Credit Administration Board; Sunshine Act; Regular Meeting AGENCY:

    Farm Credit Administration.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the Government in the Sunshine Act, of the regular meeting of the Farm Credit Administration Board (Board).

    DATE AND TIME:

    The regular meeting of the Board will be held at the offices of the Farm Credit Administration in McLean, Virginia, on December 8, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. until such time as the Board concludes its business.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dale L. Aultman, Secretary to the Farm Credit Administration Board, (703) 883-4009, TTY (703) 883-4056.

    ADDRESSES:

    Farm Credit Administration, 1501 Farm Credit Drive, McLean, Virginia 22102-5090. Submit attendance requests via email to [email protected] See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for further information about attendance requests.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Parts of this meeting of the Board will be open to the public (limited space available), and parts will be closed to the public. Please send an email to [email protected] at least 24 hours before the meeting. In your email include: Name, postal address, entity you are representing (if applicable), and telephone number. You will receive an email confirmation from us. Please be prepared to show a photo identification when you arrive. If you need assistance for accessibility reasons, or if you have any questions, contact Dale L. Aultman, Secretary to the Farm Credit Administration Board, at (703) 883-4009. The matters to be considered at the meeting are:

    Open Session A. Approval of Minutes • November 10, 2016 B. Reports • Quarterly Report on Economic Conditions and FCS Conditions • Semiannual Report on Office of Examination Operations Closed Session *

    * Session Closed-Exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. Section 552b(c)(8) and (9).

    • Office of Examination Quarterly Report Dated: December 6, 2016. Dale L. Aultman, Secretary, Farm Credit Administration Board.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29491 Filed 12-6-16; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6705-01-P
    FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION Performance Review Board; Establishment of Members AGENCY:

    Federal Maritime Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given of the names of the members of the Performance Review Board.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    William “Todd” Cole, Director Office of Human Resources, Federal Maritime Commission, 800 North Capitol Street NW., Washington, DC 20573.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Sec. 4314(c) (1) through (5) of title 5, U.S.C., requires each agency to establish, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management, one or more performance review boards. The board shall review and evaluate the initial appraisal of a senior executive's performance by the supervisor, along with any recommendations to the appointing authority relative to the performance of the senior executive.

    THE MEMBERS OF THE PERFORMANCE REVIEW BOARD ARE: 1. Rebecca F. Dye, Commissioner 2. Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr., Commissioner 3. Michael A. Khouri, Commissioner 4. William P. Doyle, Commissioner 5. Clay G. Guthridge, Chief Administrative Law Judge 6. Erin M. Wirth, Administrative Law Judge 7. Florence A. Carr, Director, Bureau of Trade Analysis 8. Rebecca A. Fenneman, Director, Office of Consumer Affairs & Dispute Resolution Services 9. Karen V. Gregory, Managing Director 10. Peter J. King, Director, Assistant Managing Director 11. Sandra L. Kusumoto, Director, Bureau of Certification and Licensing 12. Mary T. Hoang, Chief of Staff 13. Tyler J. Wood, General Counsel Rachel E. Dickon, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29383 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6731-AA-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Scientific Information Request on Short and Long Term Outcomes After Bariatric Therapies in the Medicare Population AGENCY:

    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), HHS.

    ACTION:

    Request for Scientific Information Submissions.

    SUMMARY:

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is seeking scientific information submissions to inform our review of Short and Long Term Outcomes after Bariatric Therapies in the Medicare Population, which is currently being conducted by the AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPC) Programs. Access to published and unpublished pertinent scientific information will improve the quality of this review. AHRQ is conducting this systematic review pursuant to Section 902(a) of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. 299a(a).

    DATES:

    Submission Deadline on or before January 9, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Email submissions: [email protected]

    Print submissions:

    Mailing Address: Portland VA Research Foundation, Scientific Resource Center, ATTN: Scientific Information Packet Coordinator, P.O. Box 69539, Portland, OR 97239 Shipping Address (FedEx, UPS, etc.): Portland VA Research Foundation, Scientific Resource Center, ATTN: Scientific Information Packet Coordinator, 3710 SW., U.S. Veterans Hospital Road, Mail Code: R&D 71, Portland, OR 97239
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ryan McKenna, Telephone: 503-220-8262 ext. 51723 or Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has commissioned the Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPC) Programs to complete a review of the evidence for Short and Long Term Outcomes after Bariatric Therapies in the Medicare Population.

    The EPC Program is dedicated to identifying as many studies as possible that are relevant to the questions for each of its reviews. In order to do so, we are supplementing the usual manual and electronic database searches of the literature by requesting information from the public (e.g., details of studies conducted). We are looking for studies that report on Short and Long Term Outcomes after Bariatric Therapies in the Medicare Population, including those that describe adverse events. The entire research protocol, including the key questions, is also available online at: http://www.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/research/findings/ta/topicrefinement/bariatric-surgery-protocol.pdf.

    This notice is to notify the public that the EPC Program would find the following information on Short and Long Term Outcomes after Bariatric Therapies in the Medicare Population helpful:

    A list of completed studies that your organization has sponsored for this indication. In the list, please indicate whether results are available on ClinicalTrials.gov along with the ClinicalTrials.gov trial number.

    For completed studies that do not have results on ClinicalTrials.gov, please provide a summary, including the following elements: Study number, study period, design, methodology, indication and diagnosis, proper use instructions, inclusion and exclusion criteria, primary and secondary outcomes, baseline characteristics, number of patients screened/eligible/enrolled/lost to follow-up/withdrawn/analyzed, effectiveness/efficacy, and safety results.

    A list of ongoing studies that your organization has sponsored for this indication. In the list, please provide the ClinicalTrials.gov trial number or, if the trial is not registered, the protocol for the study including a study number, the study period, design, methodology, indication and diagnosis, proper use instructions, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and primary and secondary outcomes.

    Description of whether the above studies constitute all Phase II and above clinical trials sponsored by your organization for this indication and an index outlining the relevant information in each submitted file.

    Your contribution will be very beneficial to the EPC Program. The contents of all submissions will be made available to the public upon request. Materials submitted must be publicly available or can be made public. Materials that are considered confidential; marketing materials; study types not included in the review; or information on indications not included in the review cannot be used by the EPC Program. This is a voluntary request for information, and all costs for complying with this request must be borne by the submitter.

    The draft of this review will be posted on AHRQ's EPC Program Web site and available for public comment for a period of 4 weeks. If you would like to be notified when the draft is posted, please sign up for the email list at: https://subscriptions.ahrq.gov/accounts/USAHRQ/subscriber/new?topic_id=USAHRQ_18.

    The systematic review will answer the following questions. This information is provided as background. AHRQ is not requesting that the public provide answers to these questions. The entire research protocol, is available online at: http://www.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/research/findings/ta/topicrefinement/bariatric-surgery-protocol.pdf.

    KQ 1: What are the theorized mechanisms of action of bariatric procedures on weight loss and on type 2 diabetes in the Medicare population?

    KQ 2: In studies that are applicable to the Medicare population and enroll patients who have undergone bariatric therapy, what are

    I. the characteristics and indications of the patients including descriptives of age, BMI, and comorbid conditions

    II. the characteristics of the interventions, including the bariatric procedures themselves as well as pre- and/or post-surgical surgical work-ups (e.g., psychiatric evaluations, behavioral and nutritional counseling)

    III. the outcomes that have been measured, including peri-operative (i.e., 90 days or less after bariatric surgery), short-term (2 years or less from surgery), mid-term (more than 2 but 5 or less years), and long-term (more than 5 years after surgery) outcomes?

    KQ 3:

    I. In Medicare-eligible patients, what is the effect of different bariatric therapies (contrasted between them or vs. non-bariatric therapies) on weight outcomes (including failure to achieve at least minimal weight loss)?

    II. What patient—(KQ2 I) and intervention-level characteristics (KQ2 II) modify the effect of bariatric therapies on weight outcomes (including failure to achieve at least minimal weight loss)?

    III. In Medicare-eligible patients who have undergone bariatric therapy, what is the frequency and the predictors of failing to achieve at least minimal weight loss?

    KQ 4:

    I. In Medicare-eligible patients, what is the comparative effectiveness and safety of different bariatric interventions (contrasted between them or vs. non-bariatric interventions) with respect to the outcomes in KQ2 III?

    II. What patient—(KQ2 I) and intervention-level (KQ2 II) characteristics modify the effect of the bariatric therapies on the outcomes in KQ2 III?

    KQ 5:

    I. In Medicare-eligible patients who have undergone bariatric therapy, what is the association between weight outcomes and eligible short- and long-term outcomes (other than weight outcomes)?

    II. In Medicare-eligible patients, what proportion of the bariatric intervention effect on eligible short- and long-term outcomes (other than weight outcomes) is accounted for by changes in weight outcomes?

    PICOTS (Population, Intervention, Comparator, Outcome, Timing, Setting)

    Population: Medicare-eligible population to include those age 65 and older and the disabled.

    Interventions: Bariatric treatments including anatomic alteration, FDA-approved device placements, open surgical procedures, as well as laparoscopic and endoscopic procedures

    I. Surgical bariatric therapies A. Adjustable gastric banding (AGB) 1. LAP-band, pars flaccida technique 2. LAP-band, perigastric technique 3. Swedish-band (also known as REALIZE-band), pars flaccida technique 4. Swedish-band (also known as REALIZE-band), pars flaccida technique, single bolus filling 5. Gastroplasties B. Horizontal banded gastroplasty C. Vertical banded gastroplasty D. Endoluminal vertical gastroplasty 1. Sleeve gastrectomy 2. Gastric plication (also referred to as gastric greater curvature plication or gastric imbrication) 3. Jejunoileal bypass 4. Biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) E. Biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) with RYGB (BPD-RYGB) F. BPD with duodenal switch (BPD-DS) 1. Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) 2. Mini-gastric bypass 3. Single Anastomosis Duodeno-Ileostomy (SADI) 4. Vagal blockade 5. Omentum removal (omentectomy) 6. Gastric stimulation (also referred to as gastric pacing) 7. Mucosal ablation II. Endoscopic bariatric therapies A. Space-occupying endoscopic bariatric therapies 1. Intragastric balloons B. Nonballoon devices 1. Aspiration therapy 2. Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty 3. Endoscopic gastrointestinal bypass devices C. Duodenojejunal bypass sleeve D. Gastroduodenojejunal bypass sleeve 1. Duodenal mucosal resurfacing 2. Self-assembling magnets for endoscopy

    Comparisons: Comparisons of interest include comparisons between different surgical interventions, or between surgical and non-surgical interventions

    Outcomes: Outcomes will be classified as peri-operative (i.e., 90 days or less after bariatric surgery), short-term (2 years or less from surgery), mid-term (more than 2 but 5 or less years), and long-term (more than 5 years after surgery). The following outcome categories are of interest:

    I. Mortality II. Weight loss III. Reoperations/need for revisional bariatric surgery IV. Postoperative complications including mortality V. Metabolic/diabetes-related outcomes A. Correction of glucose tolerance, including elimination of all medications with Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) <6 B. Diabetes: New onset diabetes; treatment of diabetes; diabetic complications (microvascular disease, kidney disease, retinopathy) C. Hypoglycemic-like syndromes such as nesidioblastosis, post-gastric surgery hypoglycemia, and dumping syndrome D. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and/or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) VI. Reflux VII. Cardiovascular outcomes A. Myocardial infarction B. Stroke C. Hypertension VIII. Respiratory disease A. Asthma B. COPD IX. Orthopedic outcomes A. Fractures B. Falls C. Osteoporosis/bone-mineral density (DEXA, DEEG) X. Sleep apnea including the discontinuation of CPAP or BiPAP XI. Incidence of specific cancers (breast, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, esophageal adenocarcinoma, gall bladder cancer, and renal cell cancer) XII. Nutritional deficiencies including zinc, iron, thiamine, and vitamin D, and associated disorders such as neuropathy and bone disease XIII. Renal function as measured by creatinine clearance or urinary albumin excretion XIV. Compliance to follow-up XV. Mental health outcomes. Incidence of suicide and suicide attempts A. Incidence of depression B. Alcohol addiction after surgery/Substance abuse C. Psychiatric hospitalizations D. Anxiety E. Panic disorder F. Borderline personality disorder G. PTSD H. Bipolar disorder XVI. Function and quality of life (validated measurements only), e.g., i. Cognitive functioning A. Sexual functioning B. Ability to participate in an exercise program C. Ability to return to work D. Physical performance test pain (joint pain, joint aches) E. Regular daily activities F. Polypharmacy G. Admission to a skilled-nurse facility XVII. Access to plastic surgery XVIII. Readmissions/rehospitalizations Timing: No time limit Setting: Any Sharon B. Arnold, AHRQ Deputy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29408 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4160-90-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [30Day-17-0770] Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act Review

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has submitted the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The notice for the proposed information collection is published to obtain comments from the public and affected agencies.

    Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies concerning the proposed collection of information are encouraged. Your comments should address any of the following: (a) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) Evaluate the accuracy of the agencies estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses; and (e) Assess information collection costs.

    To request additional information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the information collection plan and instruments, call (404) 639-7570 or send an email to [email protected] Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the items contained in this notice should be directed to the Attention: CDC Desk Officer, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503 or by fax to (202) 395-5806. Written comments should be received within 30 days of this notice.

    Proposed Project

    National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System ((NHBS), OMB Control No. 0920-0770, exp. 03/31/2017)—Revision—National Center for HIV, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Background and Brief Description

    The CDC currently sponsors the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) System. The system is designed to describe and monitor the HIV risk behaviors, HIV seroprevalence and incidence, and HIV prevention experiences of persons at highest risk for HIV infection in the United States. NHBS awardees are state and local health departments that provide HIV-related services, conduct NHBS interviews, and submit non-identifiable information to CDC. To be eligible for NHBS funding, a health department must serve one of the 30 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in the U.S. with high HIV prevalence. Twenty-two (22) programs receive NHBS funding and technical assistance from CDC at this time. Burden estimates are based on current availability of funds and recruitment targets for 22 CDC-funded NHBS awardees. If additional funding is received to support the participation of additional sites, CDC will submit a Change Request to make the appropriate adjustments to the total estimated annualized burden.

    Information collection is based on rotating annual “cycles” of surveillance with three populations: Men who have sex with men (MSM), injecting drug users (IDUs), and heterosexuals at increased risk of HIV (HET). Screening interviews and specialized behavioral assessment interviews are conducted once every three years with each population: MSM in year 1, IDU in year 2, and HET in year 3. The target number of annual interviews for each NHBS-funded awardee is 500. Due to differences in the risk characteristics of the MSM, IDU and HET groups, the behavioral assessment is customized for each group. In addition, an HIV test and pre-test counseling session are offered to all persons who participate in an NHBS interview.

    The surveillance system is focused on behaviors directly related to HIV transmission and those that are amenable to intervention through prevention programs. Information collected through the NHBS System allows CDC to: (a) Describe the prevalence of and trends in risk behaviors; (b) describe the prevalence of and trends in HIV testing and HIV infection; (c) describe the prevalence of and trends in use of HIV prevention services; and (d) identify met and unmet needs for HIV prevention services in order to inform health departments, community-based organizations, community planning groups and other stakeholders. No other federal agency systematically collects this type of information from persons at risk for HIV infection.

    Venue-based sampling methods are used to identify respondents for the MSM information collection cycle and respondent-driven sampling methods are used to identify respondents for the IDU cycle and the HET cycle. Consistent with these methods, persons who participate in the IDU and HET interviews may be trained to recruit additional respondents. Each person who serves as a peer recruiter will be asked to participate in a short debriefing interview.

    CDC requests OMB approval to continue information collection for three years, with revisions. Selected questions in the eligibility screener and the behavioral assessment interview instruments will be updated to improve usability and data quality, and new questions will be added to provide measures of high priority emerging issues including pre-exposure prophylaxis, treatment as prevention, and opioid use and abuse. Lower priority questions and repetitive content will be deleted in order to manage project cost and respondent burden. There are no changes to the estimated burden per response for any information collection instrument. However, total burden will decrease due to a reduction in the number of health departments funded to participate in the NHBS System (from 25 to 22). Compared to the previous period of OMB approval, this will reduce the total estimated number of interviews for each cycle from 12,500 (4,167 annualized) to 11,000 (3,667 annualized).

    Information collected through the NHBS has a substantial impact on the design and delivery of targeted prevention programs aimed at reducing new HIV infections and evaluating progress towards national public health goals. Participation is voluntary and there is no cost to respondents other than their time. The total estimated annualized burden hours are 8,735.

    Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Type of respondent Form name Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per respondent
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • (in hr)
  • Persons Screened Eligibility Screener 13,142 1 5/60 Eligible Participants Behavioral Assessment for MSM 3,667 1 30/60 Behavioral Assessment for IDU 3,667 1 54/60 Behavioral Assessment for HET 3,667 1 39/60 Peer Recruiters Recruiter Debriefing 3,667 1 2/60
    Leroy A. Richardson, Chief, Information Collection Review Office, Office of Scientific Integrity, Office of the Associate Director for Science, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29399 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [60Day-17-0904; Docket No. CDC-2016-0117] Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations AGENCY:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    ACTION:

    Notice with comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as part of its continuing effort to reduce public burden and maximize the utility of government information, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. This notice invites comment on a proposed revision of the “SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study,” a national multi-center study aimed at understanding more about diabetes among children and young adults in the United States.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before February 6, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CDC-2016-0117 by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: Leroy A. Richardson, Information Collection Review Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE., MS-D74, Atlanta, Georgia 30329.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket Number. All relevant comments received will be posted without change to Regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to Regulations.gov.

    Please note: All public comment should be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking portal (regulations.gov) or by U.S. mail to the address listed above.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the information collection plan and instruments, contact the Information Collection Review Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE., MS-D74, Atlanta, Georgia 30329; phone: 404-639-7570; Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. In addition, the PRA also requires Federal agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each new proposed collection, each proposed extension of existing collection of information, and each reinstatement of previously approved information collection before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, we are publishing this notice of a proposed data collection as described below.

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and (e) estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide information. Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time needed to review instructions; to develop, acquire, install and utilize technology and systems for the purpose of collecting, validating and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; to train personnel and to be able to respond to a collection of information, to search data sources, to complete and review the collection of information; and to transmit or otherwise disclose the information.

    Proposed Project

    SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study (OMB Control No. 0920-0904, Expires 8/31/2017)—Revision—National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Background and Brief Description

    Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases among children in the United States. When diabetes strikes during childhood, it is routinely assumed to be type 1, or juvenile-onset, diabetes. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) develops when the body's immune system destroys pancreatic cells that make the hormone insulin. Type 2 diabetes begins when the body develops a resistance to insulin and no longer uses it properly. As the need for insulin rises, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce sufficient amounts of insulin to regulate blood sugar. Reports of increasing frequency of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in youth have been among the most concerning aspects of the evolving diabetes epidemic. In response to this growing public health concern, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study.

    The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study began in 2000 as a multi-center, epidemiological study, conducted in six geographically dispersed Study Centers that reflected the racial and ethnic diversity of the U.S. Phases 1 (2000-2005) and 2 (2005-2010) produced estimates of the prevalence and incidence of diabetes among youth age <20 years, according to diabetes type, age, sex, and race/ethnicity, and characterized selected acute and chronic complications of diabetes and their risk factors, as well as the quality of life and quality of health care. Phase 3 (2010-2015) built upon the activities in Phase 1 and 2 and added a cohort component to collect information on estimate the prevalence and incidence of risk factors and complications, including chronic microvascular (retinopathy, nephropathy, and autonomic neuropathy) and selected markers of macrovascular complications (hypertension, arterial stiffness) of diabetes.

    SEARCH Phase 4 (2015-2020) continues the activities of the SEARCH Registry Study via cooperative agreements with the clinical sites, data coordinating center and CDC. Respondents will be youth <20 years of age who have been diagnosed with diabetes. Information will be collected from the study participants by five clinical sites and transmitted to the Coordinating Center for the study, each funded through a cooperative agreement. Information collection will support a case registry that can be used to estimate the incidence and prevalence of diabetes in youth in the U.S. The registry study will continue to collect information from participants related to diabetes diagnosis and will ask participants identified with incident diabetes in 2016 to complete an in-person study examination. CDC is no longer funding the cohort component of the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study.

    SEARCH Phase 3 identified an average of 1,361 incident cases of diabetes among youth under 20 years each year of the study and completed an average of 1,088 participant surveys each year (80% participation rate among registry study participants).

    Respondents will be the Population-based Diabetes in Youth (SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Phase 4) study participants. The information collection will include:

    1. Incident diabetes cases:

    • Collection of information on newly diagnosed incident diabetes cases in youth age <20 years. CDC estimates that each clinical site will identify and register an average of 302 to 303 cases per year, for a total of 1,511 cases across all sites. There are no changes for the Medication Inventory Form. The Initial Participant Survey form has been revised to eliminate questions that were not useful to the researchers and to improve readability and understanding for the participants. The overall burden for the form has not changed. The total estimated annualized burden for this information collection is 378 hours.

    • Physical exam and specimen collection for the 2016 incident cases. CDC estimates that each clinical site will identify and register 1,511 cases during this incident year. Of these cases, CDC anticipants 80% will complete the Initial Participant Survey and be invited for an in-person visit. Of those, we anticipate a 65 to 70% response rate and complete 823 in-person visits. The Physical Exam Form has not changed. There was a change to the Specimen Collection Form since a spot urine will no longer be collected. The total estimated annualized burden for this information collection is 1,371 hours.

    2. Prevalent diabetes cases:

    • Collection of information on prevalent cases of diagnosed diabetes among youth <20 years. CDC estimates that the clinical sites will identify 776 cases. The items collected for each case include an Initial Participant Survey. The total estimated annualized burden for this information collection is 130 hours. This is a new data collection instrument.

    The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study was initially approved with 4,248 annualized burden hours. In this Revision, we request approval for 1,878 annualized burden hours (a net reduction of 2,369 annualized burden hours). The estimated annualized burden per participant respondent is reduced by 3.2 hours since the CDC is no longer funding the cohort component. The total annualized burden for this study is 1,878.

    There are no costs to respondents other than their time.

    Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Type of respondents Form name Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per respondent
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • Total burden (in hours)
    Incident cases Medical Inventory
  • Initial Participant Survey
  • 1,511
  • 1,511
  • 1
  • 1
  • 5/60
  • 10/60
  • 126
  • 252
  • Incident cases in 2016 who complete the survey Physical exam
  • Specimen collection
  • 823
  • 823
  • 1
  • 1
  • 80/60
  • 20/60
  • 1,097
  • 274
  • Prevalent cases Initial Participant Survey 776 1 10/60 129 Total 1,878
    Leroy A. Richardson, Chief, Information Collection Review Office, Office of Scientific Integrity, Office of the Associate Director for Science, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29428 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC-2016-0090; Docket Number NIOSH 288-A] A Performance Test Protocol for Closed System Transfer Devices Used During Pharmacy Compounding and Administration of Hazardous Drugs; Extension of Comment Period AGENCY:

    National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    ACTION:

    Notice and extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    On September 15, 2016 the Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published a notice in the Federal Register [81 FR 63482] announcing a public meeting and request for public comment on a draft testing protocol. Written comments were to be received by December 7, 2016. In response to a request from interested parties, NIOSH has extended the comment period until June 7, 2017. The longer timeframe will allow companies to acquire the proposed challenge agents and test their CSTDs with the proposed universal CSTD performance test protocol.

    DATES:

    NIOSH is extending the comment period on the document published September 15, 2016 [81 FR 63482]. Electronic or written comments must be received by June 7, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Deborah V. Hirst, NIOSH, Alice Hamilton Laboratories, 1090 Tusculum Avenue, MS-R-5, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226, telephone (513) 841-4141 (not a toll free number), Email: [email protected]

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by CDC-2016-0090 and Docket Number NIOSH 288-A, by either of the following two methods:

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

    Mail: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH Docket Office, 1090 Tusculum Avenue, MS C-34, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226-1998.

    Dated: December 5, 2016. Frank Hearl, Chief of Staff, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29411 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-19-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    Title: Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES).

    OMB No.: 0970-0151.

    Description: The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is proposing to collect data for a new round of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES). Featuring a new “Core Plus” study design, FACES will provide data on a set of key indicators, including information for performance measures. The design allows for more rapid and frequent data reporting (Core studies) and serves as a vehicle for studying more complex issues and topics in greater detail and with increased efficiency (Plus studies).

    The FACES Core study will assess the school readiness skills of Head Start children, survey their parents, and ask their Head Start teachers to rate children's social and emotional skills.

    In addition, FACES will include observations in Head Start classrooms, and program director, center director, and teacher surveys. FACES Plus studies include additional survey content of policy or programmatic interest, and may include additional programs or respondents beyond those participating in the Core FACES study.

    Previous notices provided the opportunity for public comment on the proposed Head Start program recruitment and center selection process (FR V.78, pg.75569 12/12/2013; FR V.79, pg.8461 02/12/2014), the child-level data collection in fall 2014 and spring 2015 (FR V. 79, pg. 11445 02/28/2014; FR V. 79; pg. 27620 5/14/2014), the program- and classroom-level spring 2015 data collection activities (FR v.79; pg. 73077 12/09/2014), the American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (AI/AN FACES) child-level data collection activities in fall 2015 and spring 2016 (FR V. 80, pg. 30250 08/07/2015) and AI/AN FACES program- and classroom-level spring 2016 data collection activities (FR V. 80, pg 70231 11/13/2015).

    This 30-day notice describes the planned additional data collection activities for FACES program- and classroom-level data collection in spring 2017. Spring 2017 data collection includes site visits to 360 centers in 180 Head Start programs. As in spring 2015, for the Core study teachers, program directors, and center directors will each complete surveys, approximately 25 to 30 minutes in length. Two Plus studies are planned related to program functioning for spring 2017. First, program and center directors in all 180 programs (and 360 centers) will complete a 5-minute survey on how programs are planning for implementing the new Head Start program performance standards. Second, all 720 teachers will complete a survey on program functioning, initially piloted in spring 2015.

    The purpose of the Core data collection is to support the 2007 reauthorization of the Head Start program (Pub. L. 110-134), which calls for periodic assessments of Head Start's quality and effectiveness. As additional information collection activities are fully developed, in a manner consistent with the description provided in the 60-day notice (79 FR 11445) and prior to use, we will submit these materials for a 30-day public comment period under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    Respondents: Head Start teachers and Head Start directors.

    Annual Burden Estimates—Current Information Collection Request Instrument Total
  • number of
  • respondents
  • Annual
  • number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden hour
  • per response
  • Estimated
  • annual
  • burden
  • hours
  • Classroom sampling form from Head Start staff 360 120 1 0.17 20 Head Start core teacher survey 720 240 1 0.50 120 Head Start core program director survey 180 60 1 0.50 30 Head Start core center director survey 360 120 1 0.42 50 Early care and education administrators survey for Plus study (Head Start Program Performance Standards) 540 180 1 0.08 14 Early care and education providers survey for Plus study (5E—Early Ed) 720 240 1 0.17 41 Total 275

    Additional Information: Copies of the proposed collection may be obtained by writing to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 330 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20201, Attn: OPRE Reports Clearance Officer. All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection. Email address: [email protected]

    OMB Comment: OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent directly to the following: Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project, Fax: [email protected], Attn: Desk Officer for the Administration for Children and Families.

    Mary Jones, ACF/OPRE Reports Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29373 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Submission for OMB Review; Comment Requested

    Title: RPG National Cross-Site Evaluation and Evaluation Technical Assistance.

    OMB No.: 0970-0444.

    Description: The Children's Bureau within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seeks a renewal of clearance to collect information for the Regional Partnership Grants to Increase the Well-being of and to Improve Permanency Outcomes for Children Affected by Substance Abuse Cross-Site Evaluation and Evaluation-Related Technical Assistance and Data Collection Support for Regional Partnership Grant Program Round Three Sites or “RPG” projects. Under RPG, the Children's Bureau has issued 21 grants to organizations such as child welfare or substance abuse treatment providers or family court systems to develop interagency collaborations and integration of programs, activities, and services designed to increase well-being, improve permanency, and enhance the safety of children who are in an out-of-home placement or are at risk of being placed in out-of-home care as a result of a parent's or caretaker's substance use dependence. The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (Pub. L. 112-34) includes a targeted grants program (section 437(f) of the Social Security Act) that directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to reserve a specified portion of the appropriation for these Regional Partnership Grants, to be used to improve the well-being of children affected by substance abuse. The overall objective of the Cross-Site Evaluation and Technical Assistance projects (the RPG Cross-Site Evaluation) is to plan, develop, and implement a rigorous national cross-site evaluation of the RPG Grant Program, provide legislatively-mandated performance measurement, furnish evaluation-related technical assistance to the grantees in order to improve the quality and rigor of their local evaluations, and support their participation in the cross-site evaluation. The project will evaluate the programs and activities conducted through the RPG Program. The evaluation is being undertaken by the Children's Bureau and its contractor Mathematica Policy Research. The evaluation is being implemented by Mathematica Policy Research and its subcontractors, WRMA, Inc., and Synergy Enterprises.

    The RPG Cross-Site Evaluation includes the following components:

    1. Implementation and Partnership Study. The RPG cross-site implementation and partnership study will contribute to building the knowledge base about effective implementation strategies by examining the process of implementation in the 21 RPG projects, with a focus on factors shown in the research literature to be associated with quality implementation of evidence-based programs. This component of the study describes the RPG projects' target populations, selected interventions and their fit with the target populations, inputs to implementation, and actual services provided (including dosage, duration, content, adherence to curricula, and participant responsiveness). It examines the key attributes of the regional partnerships that grantees develop (for example, partnerships among child welfare and substance abuse treatment providers, social services, and family courts). It describes the characteristics and roles of the partner organizations, the extent of coordination and collaboration, and their potential to sustain the partnerships after the grant ends. Key data collection activities of the implementation and partnership study are: (1) Conducting site visits during which researchers interview RPG program directors, managers, supervisors, and frontline staff who work directly with families; (2) administering a survey to frontline staff involved in providing direct services to children, adults, and families; (3) asking grantees to provide information about implementation and their partnerships as part of their federally required semi-annual progress reports; (4) obtaining service use data from grantees, enrollment date and demographics of enrollees, exit date and reason, and service participation, which are entered into a web-based system operated by Mathematica Policy Research and its subcontractors; and (5) administering a survey to representatives of the partner organizations.

    2. Outcomes Study. The goal of the outcomes study is to describe the changes that occur in children and families who participate in the RPG programs. This study will describe participant outcomes in five domains: (1) Child well-being, (2) family functioning/stability, (3) adult recovery from substance use disorder, (4) child permanency, and (5) child safety. Two main types of outcome data will be used—both of which are being collected by RPG grantees: (1) Administrative child welfare and adult substance abuse treatment records and (2) standardized instruments administered to the parents and/or caregivers. The Children's Bureau is requiring grantees to obtain and report specified administrative records, and to use a prescribed set of standardized instruments. Grantees will provide these data to the cross-site evaluation team twice a year by uploading them to a data system operated by Mathematica Policy Research and its subcontractors.

    3. Impact Study. The goal of the impact study is to assess the impact of the RPG interventions on child, adult, and family outcomes by comparing outcomes for people enrolled in RPG services to those in comparison groups, such as people who do not receive RPG services or receive only a subset of the services. The impact study will use demographic and outcome data on both program (treatment) and comparison groups from a subset of grantees with appropriate local evaluation designs such as randomized controlled trials or strong quasi-experimental designs; 5 of the 21 grantees have such designs. Site-specific impacts will be estimated for these seven grantees. Aggregated impact estimates will be created by pooling impact estimates across appropriate sites to obtain a more powerful summary of the effectiveness of RPG interventions.

    In addition to conducting local evaluations and participating in the RPG Cross-Site Evaluation, the RPG grantees are legislatively required to report performance indicators aligned with their proposed program strategies and activities. A key strategy of the RPG Cross-Site Evaluation is to minimize burden on the grantees by ensuring that the cross-site evaluation, which includes all grantees in a study that collects data to report on implementation, the partnerships, and participant characteristics and outcomes, fully meets the need for performance reporting. Thus, rather than collecting separate evaluation and performance indicator data, the grantees need only participate in the cross-site evaluation. In addition, using the standardized instruments that the Children's Bureau has specified will ensure that grantees have valid and reliable data on child and family outcomes for their local evaluations. The inclusion of an impact study conducted on a subset of grantees with rigorous designs will also provide the Children's Bureau, Congress, grantees, providers, and researchers with information about the effectiveness of RPG programs.

    A 60-day Federal Register Notice was published for this study on June 24, 2016. This 30-day Federal Register Notice covers the following data collection activities: (1) The site visits with grantees; (2) the web-based survey of frontline staff who provide direct services to children, adults, and families, and their supervisors; (3) the semi-annual progress reports; (4) enrollment and service data provided by grantees; (5) the web-based survey of grantee partners; and (6) outcome data provided by grantees.

    Respondents. Respondents include grantee staff or contractors (such as local evaluators) and partner staff. Specific types of respondents and the expected number per data collection effort are noted in the burden table below.

    Annual burden estimates. The following instruments are proposed for public comment under this 30-day Federal Register Notice. Burden for all components is annualized over three years.

    RPG Cross-Site Evaluation Annualized Burden Estimates Data collection activity Total number of respondents Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden hours
  • per response
  • (in hours)
  • Estimatedtotal burden hours Total annual burden hours
    Implementation and Partnership Study Program director individual interview 4 1 2 8 2.67 Program manager/supervisor group interview 36 1 2 72 24 Program manager/supervisor individual interviews 24 1 1 24 8 Frontline staff individual interviews 24 1 1 24 8 Semi-annual progress reports 21 6 16.5 2,079 693 Case enrollment data 63 90 0.25 1,417.5 472.5 Service log entries 126 2,340 0.05 14,742 4,914 Staff survey 80 1 0.42 33.6 11.2 Partner survey 80 1 0.33 26.4 8.8 Data Entry for Outcomes Study Administrative Data: Obtain access to administrative data 21 2 18 378 126 Report administrative data 21 6 144 18,144 6,048 Standardized instruments: Enter data into local database 21 6 112.5 14,175 4,725 Review records and submit 21 6 100 12,600 4,200 Additional Data Entry for Impact Study Data entry for comparison study sites (7 grantees) 5 1 .25 1,085 361.6 Estimated Total Burden Hours 21,602.77

    In compliance with the requirements of Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Children's Bureau within the Administration for Children and Families is soliciting public comment on the specific aspects of the information collection described above. Copies of the proposed collection of information can be obtained and comments may be forwarded by writing to Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, 330 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20416, Attn: ACF Reports Clearance Officer. Email address: [email protected] All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection.

    OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent directly to the following: Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project, Email: [email protected], Attn: Desk Officer for the Administration of Children and Families.

    Robert Sargis, Reports Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29406 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Privacy Act of 1974; Notice To Establish an Exempt System of Records AGENCY:

    National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    ACTION:

    Notice to establish an exempt system of records.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposes to establish a new system of records, to be numbered and titled: SORN 09-25-0225 “NIH Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Records, HHS/NIH/OD/OER,” which will be related to, but separate from, the system of records covered in SORN 09-25-0036 “NIH Extramural Awards and Chartered Advisory Committee (IMPAC II), Contract Information (DCIS), and Cooperative Agreement Information, HHS/NIH.” The new system of records will cover records used by NIH throughout the research and development award lifecycle, from application to scientific peer review, post-award monitoring, and close-out.

    Elsewhere in today's Federal Register, NIH has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to exempt confidential source-identifying material in the new system of records (i.e., material that would inappropriately reveal the identities of referees who provide letters of recommendation and peer reviewers who provide written evaluative input and recommendations to NIH about particular funding applications under an express promise by the government that their identities in association with the written work products they authored and provided to the government will be kept confidential) from certain requirements of the Privacy Act, specifically, from the provisions pertaining to providing an accounting of disclosures, access and amendment and notification. The exemptions and the promises of confidentiality are necessary to protect the integrity of NIH extramural peer review and award processes and ensure that NIH efforts to obtain accurate and objective assessments and evaluations of funding applications from referees and peer reviewers is not hindered. The exemptions will become effective when NIH publishes a Final Rule, which will not occur until the 60-day comment period provided in the NPRM has expired and any comments received on the NPRM (or on this System of Records Notice) have been addressed.

    DATES:

    The comment period for this System of Records Notice (SORN) is co-extensive with the 60-day comment period provided in the NPRM; i.e., written comments on the SORN should be submitted within 60 days from today's publication date. The new system, including the routine uses and the exemptions, will become effective when NIH publishes a Final Rule, which will not occur until the 60-day comment period provided in the NPRM has expired and any comments received on the NPRM (or on this SORN) have been addressed.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by the Privacy Act System of Records Number (09-25-0225), by any of the following methods: Email: [email protected] and include PA SOR number (09-25-0225) in the subject line of the message. Phone: (301) 402-6201. Fax: (301) 402-0169. Mail or hand-delivery: NIH Privacy Act Officer, Office of Management Assessment, National Institutes of Health, 6011 Executive Boulevard, Suite 601, MSC 7669, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Comments received will be available for public inspection at this same address from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Please call 301-496-4606 for an appointment.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    NIH Privacy Act Officer, Office of Management Assessment (OMA), Office of the Director (OD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), 6011 Executive Boulevard, Suite 601, MSC 7669, Rockville, Maryland 20852, or telephone (301) 402-6201.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background on the NIH Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Records System

    The new system of records established in this Notice, “NIH Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Records, HHS/NIH/OD/OER” (hereinafter referred to as the “NIH eRA Records” system), will cover records used throughout the research and development award lifecycle, including pre-award stages of application submission, scientific peer review, award processing, post-award monitoring, and close-out. Many of the records in the system will contain information about more than one individual or type of individual (e.g., applicants, awardees, faculty members of applicant and awardee entities, application reviewers). By design, any of the records can be (and in practice will be) retrieved using the name or other personal identifier of any of the individuals whose information is contained in the records, to the extent required to help ensure that award proceedings are carried out by the NIH in accordance with all applicable federal statutes and regulations.

    The eRA information technology (IT) system associated with this system of records is an HHS-designated Center of Excellence, and is used as a grants management line of business system by other federal agencies to manage their award records. Records pertaining to awards of other agencies in the eRA IT system are not covered under SORN 09-25-0225, but would be covered under SORN(s) those agencies publish, if their records require a SORN.

    II. The Privacy Act

    The Privacy Act governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of certain information about individuals by agencies of the Federal Government.

    A System of Records (SOR) is a group of any records under the control of a Federal agency from which information about an individual is retrieved by the individual's name or other personal identifier. The Privacy Act requires each agency to publish in the Federal Register notice of the existence and character of each SOR that the agency maintains. The System of Records Notice (SORN) identifies or describes the laws authorizing the system to be maintained; the types and sources of records in the system; the categories of individuals to whom the records pertain; the purposes for which the records are used within the agency; the routine uses for which a record maybe disclosed to parties outside the agency without the individual's prior, written consent; agency policies and procedures for safeguarding, storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of the records; the procedures for an individual to follow to make notification, access, and amendment requests to the System Manager; and whether the SOR is exempt from certain Privacy Act requirements.

    Dated: September 29, 2016. Alfred C. Johnson, Acting Deputy Director for Management, NIH. System Number: 09-25-0225 SYSTEM NAME:

    Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Records, HHS/NIH/OD/OER.

    SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:

    Unclassified.

    SYSTEM LOCATION:

    Records will be located at:

    • The Office of Extramural Research (OER), Office of the Director (OD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Building 1, Room 144, 1 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892; and

    • any Federal Records Center where records from this system of records are archived and stored.

    CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE SYSTEM:

    The records contained within this system will pertain to the following categories of individuals:

    1. Applicants for or Awardees of biomedical and behavioral research and development, training, career development, or loan repayment grant awards; cooperative agreement awards; and research and development contract awards;

    2. Individuals who are named in applications, or awards; or individuals named on NIH intramural projects; e.g., program directors, key personnel, trainees, collaborators, consultants;

    3. Peer Reviewers who review and provide evaluative input to the government about particular applications, in records such as reviewer critiques, preliminary or final individual overall impact/priority scores, and/or assignment of peer reviewers to an application;

    4. Referees who, in association with a particular trainee application, supply a reference or letter of recommendation for an applicant;

    5. Individual awardees and sub-awardees who are required to report inventions, patents, and utilization of subject invention(s) associated with NIH awards; and

    6. Academic medical faculty, medical students and resident physicians (e.g., faculty of Association of American Medical Colleges of member institutions).

    CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

    This system will include a variety of pre-award and award management records that contain information needed to process applications and manage grant awards across the award lifecycle. Listed below are the categories of individuals mentioned above, matched with pre-award and award management records collected about them.

    1. Applicants for or Awardees of awards—pre-award and award management (awardees) information;

    2. Individuals named in applications, or awards—pre-award and award management (awardees) information;

    3. Referees—pre-award information;

    4. Peer Reviewers—pre-award information;

    5. Individuals required to report inventions, etc.—award management information; and,

    6. Academic medical faculty, medical students and resident physicians—award management information.

    Pre-award information includes the (1) application and related materials, and (2) documents related to the composition and function of chartered advisory committees (i.e., rosters). A record may consist of name, institution address, professional degree, demographic information, education and employment records and identifiers used by eRA Commons (i.e., user name and an IMPAC II system-assigned, unique personal identification number).

    Award management information consists of materials submitted in support of an award such as (1) recommendation letters; (2) peer review related information such as application scores, reviewer critiques, summary statements and express promises of confidentiality of any information concerning applications, scores, or critiques; (3) financial information such as obligated award amounts and awardee financial reports; (4) financial conflict of interest records; (5) inventions, utilization data, patent applications, and patents; (6) publications or other scholarly products reported as associated with awards; (7) reports related to management of awards; and (8) records and reports related to data querying, reporting, tracking, compliance, evaluation, audit, and communications activities. For the academic medical faculty category, records are used to support special studies, including research and policy evaluations and to complete biomedical workforce statistical reports and include (1) faculty name, (2) employing institution and institutional address; (3) degree and year obtained; (4) demographic information; (5) field of study; (6) appointment information; and (7) employment history. For the purpose of peer review, the eRA system contains limited information on loan repayment applications (which are managed through a different System of Records, NIH SORN 09-25-0165, Division of Loan Repayment Records) and research and development contract award information for purposes of complying with statutory requirements related to research and development awards at NIH such as reporting on the inclusion of minorities, women, and children in clinical research; obtaining approval for foreign grant components from the Department of State; and to satisfy research conditions, and disease categorization reporting requirements.

    AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

    The legal authority to operate and maintain this Privacy Act records system is 42 U.S.C. 217a, 241, 242, 248, 281, 282, 284, 284a, 285, 285b, 285c, 285d, 285e, 285f, 285g, 285h, 285i, 285j, 285k, 285l, 285m, 285n, 285o, 285p, 285q, 285r, 285s, 285t, 286, 287, 287b, 287c-21, 287d, 288, 35 U.S.C. 200-212, 48 CFR Subpart 15.3 and 37 CFR 401.1-16.

    PURPOSE:

    Records about individuals will be used within the agency for these purposes:

    1. To support NIH award programs and related processes, including (1) application preparation, receipt, referral, and assignment; (2) initial peer and council reviews; (3) award processing, funding, monitoring, and close-out; and (4) data querying, reporting, tracking, compliance, evaluation, audit, and communications.

    2. To track individual trainees who receive support from NIH through grants such as fellowship or career awards or who are supported through institutional training grant awards. Included are individuals in training for research and development supported in an investigator's laboratory which has an NIH-funded award (e.g., R01); these trainees are defined as “closely associated trainees”.

    3. To communicate matters related to agency award programs with (1) applicant organizations, including associated systems or system providers; (2) applicant persons such as the authorized institutional representatives, principal investigator(s), trainees, or foreign collaborators; (3) peer reviewers; or (4) other entities such as Congress; federal departments or agencies, non-federal agencies or entities, or the general public.

    4. To monitor the operation of review and award processes to detect and deal appropriately with any instances of real or apparent inequities.

    5. To provide mandated and other requested reports to Congress and in compliance with statutory, regulatory, and policy requirements.

    6. To maintain communication with former fellows and trainees who have incurred a payback obligation through the National Research Service Award Program and other federal research training programs.

    7. To maintain official administrative files of agency-funded research programs.

    8. To manage research portfolios.

    9. To document inventions, patents, and utilization data and protect the government's right to patents made with NIH support.

    ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:

    Records about an individual may be disclosed from this system of records to the following parties outside HHS, without the individual's prior written consent, for the following purposes:

    1. To a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to a written inquiry from the congressional office made at the written request of the individual.

    2. To the Department of Justice (DOJ) or to a court or other adjudicative body when:

    • HHS or any component thereof or participating agencies; or

    • any employee of HHS or participating agencies in the employee's official capacity; or

    • any employee of HHS agencies in the employee's individual capacity where the DOJ, HHS, or the participating agency has agreed to represent the employee; or

    • the United States,

    is a party to litigation or has a direct and substantial interest in the proceeding and the disclosure of such records is deemed by the agency to be relevant and necessary to the proceeding; provided, however, that in each case, it has been determined that the disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records were collected.

    3. When a record on its face, or in combination with other records, indicates a violation or potential violation of law, whether civil, criminal or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or particular program statute, or by regulation, rule, or order issued pursuant thereto, disclosure may be made to the appropriate public authority, whether federal, foreign, state, local, tribal, or otherwise responsible for enforcing, investigating, or prosecuting the violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, rule, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto, if the information disclosed is relevant to the enforcement, regulatory, investigative, or prosecutorial responsibility of the receiving entity.

    4. To appropriate federal agencies and HHS contractors, grantees, consultants, or volunteers who have been engaged by HHS to assist in the accomplishment of an HHS function relating to the purposes of this system of records and that need to have access to the records in order to assist HHS in performing the activity. Any contractor will be required to comply with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.

    5. To appropriate federal agencies and HHS contractors with a need to know the information for the purpose of assisting agency efforts to respond to a suspected or confirmed breach of the security or confidentiality of information maintained in this system of records, if the information disclosed is relevant and necessary for that assistance.

    6. To a party for a research purpose when NIH: (A) Has determined that the use or disclosure does not violate legal or policy limitations under which the record was provided, collected, or obtained; (B) has determined that the research purpose (1) cannot be reasonably accomplished unless the record is provided in individually identifiable form, and (2) warrants the risk to the privacy of the individual; (C) has required the recipient to (1) establish reasonable administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to prevent unauthorized use or disclosure of the record, (2) remove or destroy the information that identifies the individual at the earliest time at which removal or destruction can be accomplished consistent with the purpose of the research project, unless the recipient has presented adequate justification of the research, and (3) makes no further use or disclosure of the record except when required by law, and reports results of the research in de-identified or aggregate form; and (D) has secured a written statement attesting to the recipient's understanding of and willingness to abide by these provisions (i.e., signed data access agreement for system data) in which the data may relate to reports of the composition of biomedical and/or research and development workforce; authors of publications attributable to federally-funded awards; information made available through third-party systems as permitted by applicants or awardees for agency awards; information related to agency research integrity investigations; or award payment information reported to federal databases.

    7. A record from this system may be disclosed to a federal, foreign, state, local, tribal or other public authority of the fact that this system of records contains information relevant to the hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance or retention of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance or retention of a license, grant or other benefit. The other agency or licensing organization may then make a request supported by the written consent of the individual for further information if it so chooses. HHS will not make an initial disclosure unless the information has been determined to be sufficiently reliable to support a referral to another office within the agency or to another federal agency for criminal, civil, administrative, personnel, or regulatory action.

    8. To qualified experts not within the definition of agency employees as prescribed in agency regulations or policies to obtain their opinions on applications for grants, CRADAs, inventions, or other awards as a part of the peer review process.

    9. To the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), General Services Administration (GSA), or other federal government agencies pursuant to records management inspections conducted under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.

    NIH may also disclose information about an individual, without the individual's prior written consent, from this system of records to parties outside HHS for any of the purposes authorized directly in the Privacy Act at 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(2) and (b)(4)-(11).

    POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORING, RETRIEVING, ACCESSING, SAFEGUARDING, RETAINING, AND DISPOSING OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM: STORAGE:

    Records are stored in various electronic media and paper form, and maintained under secure conditions in areas with limited and/or controlled access. Only authorized users whose official duties require the use of this information will have regular access to the records in this system. In accordance with established NIH, HHS and other federal security requirements, policies, and controls, records may also be located, maintained and accessed from secure servers wherever feasible or located on approved portable/mobile devices designed to hold any kind of digital data including, but not limited to laptops, tablets, PDAs, USB drives, media cards, portable hard drives, smartphones, optical storage (CDs and DVDs), and/or other mobile storage devices. Records are stored on portable/mobile storage devices only for valid business purposes and with prior approval.

    RETRIEVABILITY:

    Records are retrieved by the name or other personal identifier (e.g., Commons user ID) of a subject individual.

    ACCESSIBILITY:

    Authorized Users:

    Access is strictly limited according to the principle of least privilege which means giving a user only those privileges which are essential to that user's work.

    SAFEGUARDS:

    Measures to prevent unauthorized disclosures are implemented as appropriate for each location or form of storage and for the types of records maintained. Safeguards conform to the HHS Information Security and Privacy Program, http://www.hhs.gov/ocio/securityprivacy/index.html. Site(s) implement personnel and procedural safeguards such as the following:

    Administrative Safeguards:

    Controls to ensure proper protection of information and information technology systems include, but are not limited to, the completion of a Security Assessment and Authorization (SA&A) package and a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) and mandatory completion of annual NIH Information Security and Privacy Awareness training or comparable specific in-kind training offered by participating agencies that has been reviewed and accepted by the NIH eRA Information Systems Security Officer (ISSO). The SA&A package consists of a Security Categorization, e-Authentication Risk Assessment, System Security Plan, evidence of Security Control Testing, Plan of Action and Milestones, Contingency Plan, and evidence of Contingency Plan Testing. When the design, development, or operation of a system of records on individuals is required to accomplish an agency function, the applicable Privacy Act Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clauses are inserted in solicitations and contracts.

    Physical Safeguards:

    Controls to secure the data and protect paper and electronic records, buildings, and related infrastructure against threats associated with their physical environment include, but are not limited to, the use of the HHS Employee ID and/or badge number and NIH key cards, security guards, cipher locks, biometrics, and closed-circuit TV. Paper records are secured under conditions that require at least two locks to access, such as in locked file cabinets that are contained in locked offices or facilities. Electronic media are kept on secure servers or computer systems.

    Technical Safeguards:

    Controls executed by the computer system are employed to minimize the possibility of unauthorized access, use, or dissemination of the data in the system. They include, but are not limited to user identification, password protection, firewalls, virtual private network, encryption, intrusion detection system, common access cards, smart cards, biometrics and public key infrastructure.

    Alleged or Confirmed Security Incidents:

    The NIH will report and take action to remediate security incidents involving the unauthorized access or disclosure of personally identifiable and sensitive information according to applicable law, regulations, OMB guidance, HHS and NIH policies.

    RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

    Records are retained and disposed of in accordance with the NIH Records Control Schedule contained in NIH Manual Chapter 1743, “Keeping and Destroying Records,” which provides these disposition periods:

    • Item E-0001 (DAA-0443-2013-0004-0001)—Official case files of construction, renovation, endowment and similar grants.

    Disposition: Temporary. Cut off annually following completion of final grant-related activity that represents closing of the case file (e.g., project period ended). Destroy 20 years after cut-off;

    • Item E-0002 (DAA-0443-2013-0004-0002)—Official case files of funded grants, unfunded grants, and award applications, appeals and litigation records.

    Disposition: Temporary. Cut off annually following completion of final grant-related activity that represents closing of the case file (e.g., end of project period, completed final peer review, litigation or appeal proceeding concluded). Destroy 10 years after cut-off;

    • Item E-0003 (DAA-0443-2013-0004-0003)—Animal welfare assurance files.

    Disposition: Temporary. Cut off annually following closing of the case file. Destroy 4 years after cut-off; and,

    • Item E-0004 (DAA-0443-2013-0004-0004)—Extramural program and grants management oversight records.

    Disposition: Temporary. Cut off annually. Destroy 3 years after cut-off.

    Refer to the NIH Manual Chapter for specific retention and disposition instructions: http://www1.od.nih.gov/oma/manualchapters/management/1743.

    SYSTEM MANAGER AND ADDRESS:

    OER Privacy Coordinator, Office of Extramural Research (OER), Office of the Director (OD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), 1 Center Drive, Room 144, Bethesda, MD 20814.

    NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:

    Certain material will be exempt from notification; however, consideration will be given to all notification requests addressed to the System Manager. Any individual who wants to know whether this system of records contains a record about him or her must make a written request to the System Manager identified above. The requester should provide either a notarization of the request or a written certification that the requester is who he or she claims to be and understands that the knowing and willful request of a record pertaining to an individual under false pretenses is a criminal offense under the Privacy Act, subject to a five thousand dollar fine. The request should include the requester's full name and address, and should also include the following information, if known: The approximate date(s) the information was collected, the type(s) of information collected, and the office(s) or official(s) responsible for the collection of information.

    RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURE:

    Certain material will be exempt from access; however, consideration will be given to all access requests addressed to the System Manager. To request access to a record about you, write to the System Manager identified above, and provide the information described under “Notification Procedure”. Individuals may also request an accounting of disclosures that have been made of their records, if any.

    CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURE (REDRESS):

    Certain material will be exempt from amendment; however, consideration will be given to all amendment requests addressed to the System Manager. To contest information in a record about you, write to the System Manager identified above, reasonably identify the record and specify the information being contested, state the corrective action sought and the reason(s) for requesting the correction, and provide supporting information. The right to contest records is limited to information that is factually inaccurate, incomplete, irrelevant, or untimely (obsolete).

    RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

    Information in records retrieved by a particular individual's identifier will be obtained directly from that individual or from other individuals and entities named in, contacted about, or involved in processing the records, including applicant institutions; NIH and customer agency acquisition personnel; educational, trainee and awardee institutions; and third parties that provide references or recommendations concerning the subject individual.

    SYSTEM EXEMPTED FROM CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE PRIVACY ACT:

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), the following subset of records in this system of records qualifies as investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal contracts, and will be exempted from the Privacy Act requirements pertaining to providing an accounting of disclosures, access and amendment, and notification (5 U.S.C. 552a (c)(3) and (d)):

    Material that would inappropriately reveal the identities of referees who provide letters of recommendation and peer reviewers who provide written evaluative input and recommendations to NIH about particular funding applications under an express promise by the government that their identities in association with the written work products they authored and provided to the government will be kept confidential; this includes only material that would reveal a particular referee or peer reviewer as the author of a specific work product (e.g., reference or recommendation letters, reviewer critiques, preliminary or final individual overall impact/priority scores, and/or assignment of peer reviewers to an application and other evaluative materials and data compiled by NIH/OER); it includes not only an author's name but any content that could enable the author to be identified from context.

    The exemptions will be effective upon publication of a final rule in the Federal Register, promulgating the exemptions as an amendment to HHS' Privacy Act regulations at 45 CFR 5b.11. To the extent that records in System No. 09-25-0225 are retrieved by personal identifiers for individuals other than referees and peer reviewers (for example, individual funding applicants, and other individuals who are the subject of assessment or evaluation), the exemptions will enable the agency to prevent, when appropriate, those individual record subjects from having access to, and other rights under the Privacy Act with respect to, the above-described confidential source-identifying material in the records.

    [FR Doc. 2016-29059 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Customs and Border Protection Approval of Petrospect, Inc., as a Commercial Gauger AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of approval of Petrospect, Inc. as a commercial gauger.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to CBP regulations, that Petrospect, Inc. has been approved to gauge petroleum and certain petroleum products for customs purposes for the next three years as of June 10, 2016.

    DATES:

    Effective Dates: The approval of Petrospect, Inc. as commercial gauger became effective on June 10, 2016. The next triennial inspection date will be scheduled for June 2019.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Approved Gauger and Accredited Laboratories Manager, Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite 1500N, Washington, DC 20229, tel. 202-344-1060.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given pursuant to 19 CFR 151.13, that Petrospect, Inc., 499 N. Nimitz Highway, Pier 21, Honolulu, HI 96817, has been approved to gauge petroleum and certain petroleum products for customs purposes, in accordance with the provisions of 19 CFR 151.13. Petrospect, Inc. is approved for the following gauging procedures for petroleum and certain petroleum products from the American Petroleum Institute (API):

    API chapters Title 3 Tank Gauging. 7 Temperature Determination. 8 Sampling. 11 Physical Properties Data. 12 Calculations. 17 Marine Measurement.

    Anyone wishing to employ this entity to conduct gauger services should request and receive written assurances from the entity that it is approved by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to conduct the specific gauger service requested. Alternatively, inquiries regarding the specific gauger service this entity is approved to perform may be directed to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling (202) 344-1060. The inquiry may also be sent to [email protected] Please reference the Web site listed below for a complete listing of CBP approved gaugers and accredited laboratories. http://www.cbp.gov/about/labs-scientific/commercial-gaugers-and-laboratories.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Ira S. Reese, Executive Director, Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29402 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4291-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2016-0001] Virginia; Amendment No. 3 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice amends the notice of a major disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Virginia (FEMA-4291-DR), dated November 2, 2016, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: November 17, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The notice of a major disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Virginia is hereby amended to include the following areas among those areas determined to have been adversely affected by the event declared a major disaster by the President in his declaration of November 2, 2016.

    The independent city of Hampton for Individual Assistance.

    The independent cities of Portsmouth and Suffolk for Individual Assistance (already designated for Public Assistance).

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050 Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.
    W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29378 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4287-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2016-0001] Kansas; Amendment No. 2 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice amends the notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of Kansas (FEMA-4287-DR), dated October 20, 2016, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: November 21, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of Kansas is hereby amended to include the following area among those areas determined to have been adversely affected by the event declared a major disaster by the President in his declaration of October 20, 2016.

    Woodson County for Public Assistance.

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050 Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.
    W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29377 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4285-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2016-0001] North Carolina; Amendment No. 15 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice amends the notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of North Carolina (FEMA-4285-DR), dated October 10, 2016, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: November 21, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of North Carolina is hereby amended to include the following areas among those areas determined to have been adversely affected by the event declared a major disaster by the President in his declaration of October 10, 2016.

    Montgomery County for Public Assistance, including direct federal assistance.

    Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Harnett, Hertford, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Moore, Northampton, Onslow, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Tyrrell, Washington, Wayne, and Wilson Counties for Public assistance [Categories C-G] (already designated for Individual Assistance and assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures [Categories A and B], including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program).

    New Hanover and Pamlico Counties for Public Assistance [Categories C-G] (already designated for assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures [Categories A and B], including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program).

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050 Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.
    W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29376 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID: FEMA-2016-0032; OMB No. 1660-0107] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Customer Satisfaction Surveys AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on a revision of a currently approved information collection. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice seeks comments concerning the collection of Public Assistance customer satisfaction survey responses and information for assessment and improvement of the delivery of disaster assistance to States, Local and Tribal governments, and eligible non-profit organizations.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before February 6, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    To avoid duplicate submissions to the docket, please use only one of the following means to submit comments:

    (1) Online. Submit comments at www.regulations.gov under Docket ID FEMA-2016-0032. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    (2) Mail. Submit written comments to Docket Manager, Office of Chief Counsel, DHS/FEMA, 500 C Street SW., 8NE, Washington, DC 20472-3100.

    All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket ID. Regardless of the method used for submitting comments or material, all submissions will be posted, without change, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, and will include any personal information you provide. Therefore, submitting this information makes it public. You may wish to read the Privacy Act notice that is available via the link in the footer of www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kristin Brooks, Statistician, Customer Survey Analysis Section, Reporting and Analytics Division, Recovery Directorate, at (940) 891-8579 or kristin.broo[email protected] You may contact the Records Management Division for copies of the proposed collection of information at email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This collection is in accordance with Executive Orders 12862 and 13571 requiring all Federal agencies to survey customers to determine the kind and quality of services they want and their level of satisfaction with existing services. The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) requires Federal agencies to set missions and goals and to measure agency performance against them. See Public Law 103-62, 107 Stat 285 (1993). The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 requires quarterly performance assessments of government programs for the purposes of assessing agency performance and improvement. See Public Law 111-352, 124 Stat 3875 (2011). The Federal Emergency Management Agency fulfills these requirements by collecting customer satisfaction program information through surveys of States, Local and Tribal governments, and eligible non-profit organizations.

    Collection of Information

    Title: FEMA Public Assistance Customer Satisfaction Surveys.

    Type of Information Collection: Revision of a currently approved information collection.

    OMB Number: 1660-0107.

    FEMA Forms: FEMA Form 519-0-32, Public Assistance Initial Customer Satisfaction Survey (Telephone); FEMA Form 519-0-33, Public Assistance Initial Customer Satisfaction Survey (Internet); FEMA Form 519-0-34, Public Assistance Assessment Customer Satisfaction Survey (Telephone); FEMA Form 519-0-35, Public Assistance Assessment Customer Satisfaction Survey (Internet).

    Abstract: Federal agencies are required to survey their customers to determine the kind and quality of services customers want and their level of satisfaction with those services. FEMA managers use the survey results to measure performance against standards for performance and customer service, measure achievement of strategic planning objectives, and generally gauge and make improvements to disaster service that increase customer satisfaction.

    Affected Public: Not-for-profit institutions, State, Local, or Tribal government.

    Number of Respondents: 7,804.

    Number of Responses: 7,804.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 2,293.

    Estimated Cost: The estimated annual cost to respondents for the hour burden is $150,116.19. There are no annual costs to respondents' operations and maintenance costs for technical services. The annual costs to respondents' for Non-Labor Cost (expenditures on training, travel and other resources) is $11,664.00. There are no annual start-up or capital costs. The cost to the Federal Government is $697,526.37.

    Comments

    Comments may be submitted as indicated in the ADDRESSES caption above. Comments are solicited to (a) evaluate whether the proposed data collection is necessary for the proper performance of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Richard W. Mattison, Records Management Program Chief, Mission Support, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29380 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4290-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2016-0001] Minnesota; Amendment No. 1 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice amends the notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of Minnesota (FEMA-4290-DR), dated November 2, 2016, and related determinations.

    Effective Dates:

    November 29, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of Minnesota is hereby amended to include the Individual Assistance program for the following areas among those areas determined to have been adversely affected by the event declared a major disaster by the President in his declaration of November 2, 2016.

    Hennepin County for Individual Assistance.

    Blue Earth, Freeborn, Le Sueur, Rice, Steele, and Waseca Counties for Individual Assistance (already designated for Public Assistance.)

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050 Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.
    W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29379 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Office of the Secretary [Docket No. DHS-2016-0074] Privacy Act of 1974; Department of Homeland Security/United States Coast Guard—031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records AGENCY:

    Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Privacy Act System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of Homeland Security proposes to establish a new Department of Homeland Security system of records titled, “Department of Homeland Security/United States Coast Guard—031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records.” This system of records allows the Department of Homeland Security/United States Coast Guard to collect and maintain records related to maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, and the determinations supporting enforcement action taken by the United States Coast Guard. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security is issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to exempt this system of records from certain provisions of the Privacy Act, elsewhere in the Federal Register. This newly established system will be included in the Department of Homeland Security's inventory of record systems.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before January 9, 2017. This new system will be effective January 9, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-2016-0074 by one of the following methods:

    Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Fax: 202-343-4010.

    Mail: Jonathan R. Cantor, Acting Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528-0655.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this rulemaking. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, please visit http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For general questions, please contact: Marilyn Scott-Perez (202-475-3515), Privacy Officer, Commandant (CG-61), United States Coast Guard, Mail Stop 7710, Washington, DC 20593. For privacy questions, please contact: Jonathan R. Cantor, (202) 343-1717, Acting Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528-0655.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) United States Coast Guard proposes to establish a new DHS system of records titled, “DHS/United States Coast Guard-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records.”

    The collection and maintenance of this information will allow the DHS/USCG to collect and maintain records regarding maritime law enforcement, security, marine safety, and environmental protection activities. USCG Law Enforcement consists of certain records that were formerly covered under the DHS/USCG-013 Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) system of records. These records are being moved under ULE to maintain USCG law enforcement and case-related data in one repository. In addition to the transfer of this law enforcement data out from under MISLE to ULE, this notice also serves to inform that USCG Biometrics at Sea System records, which are collected under the purpose and identified authorities cited herein, are maintained in the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT)—the DHS biometric repository maintained by the DHS Office of Biometric Identity Management. Separately and elsewhere in the Federal Register, the remaining portions of the records covered under MISLE will be republished under two new systems of records: The Vessel Identification System and the Merchant Vessel Documentation System. The MISLE SORN will be retired upon the publication of all three new systems of records.

    USCG Law Enforcement may contain information on persons who come into contact with USCG through its law enforcement, safety, and environmental protection activities, including vessel and facility owners, operators, crew, employees, passengers, and other persons associated with a USCG law enforcement or environmental protection activity or having an interest in the subject vessel or facility involved or identified in the respective case file. Consistent with the authority being enforced, ULE collects and maintains in case files both biographic and, as appropriate, references to biometric records obtained from individuals and persons, as well as identifying information relating to ownership, registry, and location of vessels and facilities.

    Consistent with DHS's information-sharing mission, information stored in the DHS/USCG-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records may be shared with other DHS components that have a need to know the information to carry out their national security, law enforcement, immigration, intelligence, or other homeland security functions. In addition, information may be shared with appropriate federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, foreign, or international government agencies consistent with the routine uses set forth in this system of records notice.

    Additionally, DHS is issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to exempt this system of records from certain provisions of the Privacy Act elsewhere in the Federal Register. This newly established system will be included in DHS's inventory of record systems.

    II. Privacy Act

    The Privacy Act embodies fair information practice principles in a statutory framework governing the means by which Federal Government agencies collect, maintain, use, and disseminate individuals' records. The Privacy Act applies to information that is maintained in a “system of records.” A “system of records” is a group of any records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by the name of an individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual. In the Privacy Act, an individual is defined to encompass U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. As a matter of policy, DHS extends administrative Privacy Act protections to all individuals when systems of records maintain information on U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and visitors.

    Below is the description of the DHS/USCG-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records.

    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(r), DHS has provided a report of this system of records to the Office of Management and Budget and to Congress.

    System of Records

    Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/USCG-31

    System name:

    DHS/USCG-031 USCG Law Enforcement (ULE) System of Records.

    Security classification:

    Sensitive but Unclassified.

    System location:

    Records are maintained at the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Headquarters in Washington, DC, USCG Operations Systems Center (OSC) in Kearneysville, WV, and other field locations. Records collected from the USCG Biometrics at Sea System (BASS) are maintained at the DHS Office of Biometric Identity Management in Washington, DC. The Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) System is the information technology (IT) repository for marine safety, security, environmental protection, and law enforcement records. The Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) is the IT repository for USCG BASS records.

    Categories of individuals covered by the system:

    Individuals with established relationship(s) or associations to maritime vessels or marine transportation facilities that are the subject of enforcement or compliance activities regulated by the USCG. This may include:

    • Vessel owners or operator;

    • Charterers;

    • Masters;

    • Crew members;

    • Vessel or boat agents;

    • Mortgagees;

    • Lien claimants;

    • Vessel builders;

    • Transportation facility owners, managers, or employees;

    • Individuals who own, operate, or represent marine transportation companies; and

    • Other individuals come into contact with the USCG as part of an enforcement or compliance activity.

    Categories of records in the system:

    The following information may appear in case files, reports, investigations, and other documents (either physical or electronic) maintained by USCG relating to an enforcement or compliance activity:

    • Name of individual, vessel, or facility;

    • Home and work address;

    • Home, work, and mobile phone numbers;

    • Facility number;

    • Involved party identification number;

    • Social Security number (SSN);

    • Driver license number;

    • Alien Registration Number (A-Number);

    • Military identification number;

    • U.S. Coast Guard license number;

    • Foreign seaman's booklet number;

    • Resident alien number;

    • Merchant mariners license or documentation number;

    • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);

    • Casualty case number;

    • Pollution incident case number;

    • Date of incident;

    • Civil penalty case number;

    • Biometric information, which may include:

    ○ Photographs and digital images,

    ○ Height,

    ○ Weight,

    ○ Eye color,

    ○ Hair color,

    ○ Fingerprints, and

    ○ Irises.Videos;

    • Vessel or boat registration data;

    • Port visits;

    • Vessel or boat inspection data;

    • Vessel or boat documentation data;

    • Port Safety boarding;

    • Casualties;

    • Pollution incidents, civil violations (as applicable), and associated information (data pertaining to people or organizations associated with the subject vessels);

    • Information on marine transportation facilities including:

    ○ Name,

    ○ Identification number,

    ○ Location,

    ○ Commodities handled,

    ○ Equipment certificates,

    ○ Approvals,

    ○ Inspection reports,

    ○ Pollution incidents, and

    ○ Casualties.

    ○ Violations of U.S. laws and data pertaining to people or organizations associated with those facilities;

    • For owners, operators, agents, and crew members;

    • Statements submitted by USCG personnel relating to boarding;

    • Investigations as a result of a pollution and/or casualty incident, as well as any violations of United States law, along with civil penalty actions taken as a result of such violations. Such reports could contain names of passengers on vessels, as well as witnesses to such violations; and

    • Narratives, reports, and documents by USCG personnel describing their activities on vessels and within facilities, including incident reports, violations of laws, and international treaties

    Authority for maintenance of the system:

    14 U.S.C 89a, 93(a) and (c), 632; 16 U.S.C 1431; 33 U.S.C 1223; 33 U.S.C. 1228; 46 U.S.C. 3717; 46 U.S.C. 12119, 12501-502.

    Purpose(s):

    The purpose of this system is to collect and maintain USCG case records and other reported information relating to the safety, security, law enforcement, environmental, and compliance activities of vessels, facilities, organizations engaged in marine transportation, and related persons.

    Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses:

    In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act, all or a portion of the records or information contained in this system may be disclosed outside DHS as a routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    A. To the Department of Justice (DOJ), including Offices of the U.S. Attorneys, or other Federal agency conducting litigation or in proceedings before any court, adjudicative, or administrative body, when it is relevant or necessary to the litigation and one of the following is a party to the litigation or has an interest in such litigation:

    1. DHS or any component thereof;

    2. Any employee or former employee of DHS in his/her official capacity;

    3. Any employee or former employee of DHS in his/her individual capacity when DOJ or DHS has agreed to represent the employee; or

    4. The U.S. or any agency thereof.

    B. To a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to an inquiry from that congressional office made at the request of the individual to whom the record pertains.

    C. To the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) or General Services Administration pursuant to records management inspections being conducted under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.

    D. To an agency or organization for the purpose of performing audit or oversight operations as authorized by law, but only such information as is necessary and relevant to such audit or oversight function.

    E. To appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when:

    1. DHS suspects or has confirmed that the security or confidentiality of information in the system of records has been compromised;

    2. DHS has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise, there is a risk of identity theft or fraud, harm to economic or property interests, harm to an individual, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by DHS or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and

    3. The disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with DHS's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    F. To contractors and their agents, grantees, experts, consultants, and others performing or working on a contract, service, grant, cooperative agreement, or other assignment for DHS, when necessary to accomplish an agency function related to this system of records. Individuals provided information under this routine use are subject to the same Privacy Act requirements and limitations on disclosure as are applicable to DHS officers and employees.

    G. To an appropriate federal, state, tribal, local, international, or foreign law enforcement agency or other appropriate authority charged with investigating or prosecuting a violation or enforcing or implementing a law, rule, regulation, or order, when a record, either on its face or in conjunction with other information, indicates a violation or potential violation of law, which includes criminal, civil, or regulatory violations and such disclosure is proper and consistent with the official duties of the person making the disclosure.

    H. To federal and state safety enforcement agencies, including, but not limited to, the Maritime Administration and National Transportation Safety Board, U.S. Department of Transportation, to access historical data that may assist in safety investigations and improve transportation safety.

    I. To federal, state, and local environmental agencies, including, but not limited to, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to access historical data that may improve compliance with U.S. laws relating to environmental protection.

    J. To the U.S. Department of Defense and related entities, including, but not limited to, the Military Sealift Command and U.S. Navy, to access data on safety information regarding vessels chartered by those agencies.

    K. To the International Maritime Organization or intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, or foreign governments in order to conduct joint investigations, operations, and inspections;

    L. To federal, state, or local agencies with which the U.S. Coast Guard has a Memorandum of Understanding, Memorandum of Agreement, or Inspection and Certification Agreement pertaining to Marine Safety, Maritime Security, Maritime Law Enforcement, and Marine Environmental Protection activities.

    M. To the news media and the public, with the approval of the Chief Privacy Officer in consultation with counsel, when there exists a legitimate public interest in the disclosure of the information, when disclosure is necessary to preserve confidence in the integrity of DHS, or is necessary to demonstrate the accountability of DHS's officers, employees, or individuals covered by the system, except to the extent it is determined that release of the specific information in the context of a particular case would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies:

    None.

    Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system: Storage:

    DHS/USCG stores records in this system electronically or on paper in secure facilities in a locked drawer behind a locked door. The records may be stored on magnetic disc, tape, and digital media.

    Retrievability:

    Records may be retrieved by name of individual, vessel, or facility, facility number, involved party identification number, SSN, TIN, driver license number, (A-Number), military identification number, U.S. Coast Guard license number, cellular number, foreign seaman's booklet number, resident alien number, merchant mariners license or documentation number, person or organization name, casualty case number, pollution incident case number, date of incident, civil penalty case number, USCG unit entering data, or incident location.

    Biometric records associated with case files or reports may be retrieved from IDENT by reference to the applicable Organization/Unit/Subunit designations for the Biometrics-at-Sea-System.

    Safeguards:

    DHS/USCG safeguards records in this system according to applicable rules and policies, including all applicable DHS automated systems security and access policies. USCG has imposed strict controls to minimize the risk of compromising the information that is being stored. Access to the computer system containing the records in this system is limited to those individuals who have a need to know the information for the performance of their official duties and who have appropriate clearances or permissions.

    Retention and disposal:

    Records are retained in accordance with National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) schedule N1-026-05-15 approved July 7, 2005. Most of the records in this system are retained indefinitely by NARA; however law enforcement boarding activities are retained for three years. A copy of this system has been transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration permanent records collection. Updates of system information are transferred to NARA every 5 years. All system hardware and data is stored at OSC, Kearneysville, WV. Backups are performed daily. Copies of backups are stored at an off-site location.

    System Manager and address:

    Commandant (CG-633), United States Coast Guard, Mail Stop 7710, Washington, DC 20593; Commandant (BSX), United States Coast Guard, Mail Stop 7501, Washington, DC 20593; Director, United States Coast Guard, National Vessel Documentation Center, 792 T J Jackson Drive, Falling Waters, WV 25419; IDENT Program Management Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

    Notification procedure:

    The Secretary of Homeland Security has exempted this system from the notification, access, and amendment procedures of the Privacy Act because it is a law enforcement system. However, DHS/USCG will consider individual requests to determine whether or not information may be released. Thus, individuals seeking notification of and access to any record contained in this system of records, or seeking to contest its content, may submit a request in writing to the Chief Privacy Officer and Commandant (CG-611), United States Coast Guard, whose contact information can be found at http://www.dhs.gov/foia under “Contacts.” If an individual believes more than one component maintains Privacy Act records concerning him or her, the individual may submit the request to the Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528-0655.

    When seeking records about yourself from this system of records or any other Departmental system of records, your request must conform with the Privacy Act regulations set forth in 6 CFR part 5. You must first verify your identity, meaning that you must provide your full name, current address, and date and place of birth. You must sign your request, and your signature must either be notarized or submitted under 28 U.S.C. 1746, a law that permits statements to be made under penalty of perjury as a substitute for notarization. While no specific form is required, you may obtain forms for this purpose from the Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer, http://www.dhs.gov/foia or 1-866-431-0486. In addition, you should:

    • Explain why you believe the Department would have information on you;

    • Identify which component(s) of the Department you believe may have the information about you;

    • Specify when you believe the records would have been created; and

    • Provide any other information that will help the FOIA staff determine which DHS component agency may have responsive records;

    If your request is seeking records pertaining to another living individual, you must include a statement from that individual certifying his/her agreement for you to access his/her records.

    Without the above information, the component(s) may not be able to conduct an effective search, and your request may be denied due to lack of specificity or lack of compliance with applicable regulations.

    Record access procedures:

    See “Notification procedure” above.

    Contesting record procedures:

    See “Notification procedure” above.

    Record source categories:

    Records are obtained from USCG boardings, USCG inspections, USCG investigations, USCG documentation offices, and vessel notice of arrival reports in the course of normal routine business. This information is gathered from the owners, operators, crew members, agents, passengers, witnesses, other government agencies, and USCG personnel. In addition records or record identifiers are ingested from other DHS and Federal systems, including IDENT, Vessel Identification System (VIS), Merchant Vessel Documentation System (MVDS), and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

    Exemptions claimed for the system:

    The Secretary of Homeland Security, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), has exempted this system from the following provisions of the Privacy Act: 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3-4), (d), (e)(1-3), (e)(5), (e)(8), and (g). Additionally, the Secretary of Homeland Security, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) has exempted this system from the following provisions of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (e)(4)(H), (e)(4)(I), and (f).

    When this system receives a record from another system exempted in that source system under 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), DHS will claim the same exemptions for those records that are claimed for the original primary systems of records from which they originated and claims any additional exemptions set forth here.

    Dated: December 1, 2016. Jonathan R. Cantor, Acting Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29341 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. 5914-N-03] 60 Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: American Healthy Homes Survey II AGENCY:

    Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The proposed information collection requirement concerning an American Healthy Homes Survey II in homes across the country will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act. The Department is soliciting public comments on the subject proposal.

    DATES:

    Comments Due Date: February 6, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this proposal. Comments should refer to the proposal by name and/or OMB Control Number and should be sent to: Ms. Ashley Mack, Reports Liaison Officer, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 8236, Washington, DC 20410.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Peter Ashley, (202) 402-7595 (this is not a toll-free number), or [email protected], for copies of the proposed information collection instruments and other available documents electronically or on paper.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department is submitting the proposed information collection to OMB for review, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, (44 U.S.C. chapter 35, as amended).

    This Notice is soliciting comments from members of the public and affected agencies concerning the proposed collection of information to: (1) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (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; including through the use of appropriate automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Title of Proposal: American Healthy Homes Survey II.

    OMB Control Number: Pending.

    Need for the Information and Proposed Use: Lead is a highly toxic heavy metal that adversely affects virtually every organ system in the body. Young children are particularly susceptible to its effects, with nervous system development and lower IQ the most serious. Lead poisoning remains one of the top childhood environmental health problems today. The most current national survey of young children's blood lead levels, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2007-2010), shows that about 535,000 young children have elevated blood lead levels (Note: The CDC changed to a lower “reference value” of 5 μg/dl to define an elevated blood lead level (EBLL) in 2012, increasing the number of children to be considered as having an EBLL, including for this analysis.) The most common source of lead exposure for children today is deteriorating lead paint in older housing and the contaminated dust and soil it generates. The National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing (NSLAH), conducted by HUD and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in 1998-2000, estimated that 37.9 million homes had lead-based paint and 24.0 million homes had significant lead-based paint hazards; the American Healthy Homes Survey (AHHS I, 2005-6), conducted by HUD and the Environmental Protection Agency, found that 37.1 million homes had lead-based paint, and that 23.2 million homes had significant lead-based paint hazards.

    With the more recent of these surveys being over a decade old, new information is needed to identify the extent of progress toward achieving the goal of the President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children of eliminating lead paint hazards in housing where children under six live, and help target control strategies toward achieving the goal.

    Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease characterized by episodes of airway inflammation and narrowing. It is generally accepted that asthma results from the interaction between genetic susceptibility and environmental exposures. Exposure to indoor allergy-producing substances (allergens) is believed to play an important role in the development and exacerbation of asthma. NSLAH (1998-2000) found that most U.S. homes had detectable levels of dust mite allergen associated with allergic sensitization and asthma. AHHS I (2005-2006) found allergens, pesticides and mold in homes nationwide. Dust mite, dog and cat allergen levels at and above the allergen concentration threshold level that can result in the development of allergic sensitivity or asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals were widespread in housing. Mouse and cockroach allergens were also found. This AHHS II will collect allergy-related samples only for pesticide and mold analyses.

    Such airborne chemicals as carbon monoxide, airborne particulate matter, and formaldehyde, such chemicals on surfaces as pesticides, and such unintentional injury factors as housing conditions associated with falls, fires and poisons, are known to have adverse health or safety effects. National residential prevalence estimates for these factors are generally unavailable, limiting the ability of HUD and other agencies to develop data-driven control strategies.

    Results from this survey will provide current information needed for regulatory and policy decisions and enable an assessment of progress in making the U.S. housing stock safe.

    This information will be used to revise policy and guidance targeting the housing with the greatest needs for evaluation and control of lead and additional housing-related safety and health hazards.

    Agency Form Number: None.

    Members of Affected Public: Homeowners and rental housing tenants.

    Total Burden Estimate (First Year):

    Number of respondents: 600.

    Frequency of response: 1.

    Hours per response: 4.0.

    Total Estimated Burden Hours: 2,400.

    Status of the Proposed Information Collection: New request.

    Dated: December 2, 2016. Jon L. Gant, Director, Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29447 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management. [LLES960000 L14400000.BJ0000] Eastern States: Filing of Plat of Survey; Mississippi AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will file the plat of survey of the lands described below in the BLM-Eastern States office in Washington, District of Columbia, 30 calendar days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Bureau of Land Management—Eastern States, 20 M Street SE., Washington, District of Columbia 20003, Attn: Dominica Van Koten. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The survey was requested by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

    The lands surveyed are:

    Choctaw Meridian, Mississippi T. 7 N., R. 10 E.

    The dependent resurvey and subdivision of Section 8, 9, and 17 in Township 7 North, Range 10 East, of the Choctaw Meridian, in the State of Mississippi, and was accepted August 31, 2016.

    Copies of the described plat will be placed in the open file. It will be available to the public as a matter of information.

    If a protest is received against the survey, as shown on the plat, prior to the date of the official filing, the filing will be postponed pending our consideration of the protest.

    The plat will not be officially filed until the day after the protest is accepted or dismissed and has become final, including decisions on appeals.

    Dated: December 2, 2016. Dominica Van Koten, Chief Cadastral Surveyor.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29405 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-GJ-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-SER-CALO-22427; PPSESEROC3, PPMPSASIY.YP0000] Final Environmental Impact Statement Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan for Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Park Service (NPS) announces the availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Management Plan (Plan), Cape Lookout National Seashore (Seashore), North Carolina.

    DATES:

    The NPS will execute the Record of Decision (ROD) no sooner than 30 days following publication by the Environmental Protection Agency of its Notice of Availability of the Final EIS in the Federal Register.

    ADDRESSES:

    An electronic copy of the Plan/Final EIS will be available for public review at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/calo. A limited number of hard copies will be available at Park Headquarters, 131 Charles St., Harkers Island, North Carolina 28531.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Patrick Kenney, Superintendent, Cape Lookout National Seashore,131 Charles St., Harkers Island, North Carolina 28531; phone 252-728-2250 extension 3014.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C 4332(2)(C), the Plan/Final EIS evaluates the impacts of four alternatives for designation of ORV routes and resource management, as well as one alternative that would prohibit ORV use, described as follows:

    Alternative A • the no action alternative • continues current levels of ORV use with no numerical limit • continues species management measures from the Seashore's Interim Species Management Plan/Environmental Assessment (EA) Alternative B • designates specific ORV routes and areas similar to alternative A • establishes vehicle permits with no numerical limit • continues species management measures from the Seashore's Interim Species Management Plan/EA • establishes seasonal night driving restrictions • phases out high-performance sport model and two stroke all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility vehicles (UTVs) • creates an adaptive management strategy Alternative C • the NPS preferred alternative • designates specific ORV routes and areas • creates additional pedestrian-only areas • establishes a vehicle permit program that would maintain ORV use at their highest current levels of 6200 vehicles per year • phases out high-performance sport model and two stroke ATVs and UTVs • continues species management measures from the Seashore's Interim Species Management Plan/EA • establishes seasonal night driving restrictions on the beach with slightly expanded hours on the back route from 5am to 6am and 9pm to 10pm • creates an adaptive management strategy Alternative D • designates specific ORV routes and areas • creates additional pedestrian-only areas compared to alternative C • establishes a vehicle permit program that would maintain ORV use at average current levels, based on 5500 vehicles per year, minus 8% to reflect additional closure areas • phases out all ATVs while allowing non-sport UTVs with seasonal use restrictions • continues species management measures from the Seashore's Interim Species Management Plan/EA while increasing some resource buffers • establishes seasonal night driving restrictions • creates an adaptive management strategy Alternative E • prohibits private, recreational ORV use • continuation of species protection measures as appropriate

    Executive Order 11644, issued in 1972 and amended by Executive Order 11989 in 1977, states that Federal agencies allowing ORV use must designate the specific areas and trails on public lands on which the use of ORVs may be permitted, and areas in which the use of ORVs may not be permitted. NPS policy requires that areas and trails that are designated for ORV use must be established based upon the protection of the resources of the public lands, promotion of the safety of all users of those lands, and minimization of conflicts among the various uses of those lands. 36 CFR 4.10 requires that “Routes and areas designated for off-road motor vehicle use shall be promulgated as special regulations.” In addition, such routes and areas may only be designated in national recreation areas, national seashores, national lakeshores and national preserves.

    The Final EIS responds to, and incorporates, agency and public comments received on the Draft EIS, including comments on night driving restrictions, vehicle permit durations and numerical limits, pedestrian-only areas, species management and closures, infrastructure improvements to the back route, and consistency of closure dates. The Draft EIS was available for public review and comment for 60 days from May 23, 2014, through July 21, 2014, then extended another 60 days to September 19, 2014. During the comment period, 1,146 pieces of correspondence were received; 268 of these were form letters. In total, 2,423 comments were received. Alternative E is the environmentally preferable alternative and alternative C is the NPS preferred alternative.

    Dated: November 30, 2016. Ed Buskirk, Associate Regional Director, Administration, Southeast Region.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29426 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-52-P
    INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public Interest AGENCY:

    U.S. International Trade Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has received a complaint entitled Certain Arrowheads with Arcuate Blades and Components Thereof, DN 3185. The Commission is soliciting comments on any public interest issues raised by the complaint or complainant's filing under § 210.8(b) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 210.8(b)).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-2000. The public version of the complaint can be accessed on the Commission's Electronic Document Information System (EDIS) at https://edis.usitc.gov, and will be available for inspection during official business hours (8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.) in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-2000.

    General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its Internet server at United States International Trade Commission (USITC) at https://www.usitc.gov. The public record for this investigation may be viewed on the Commission's Electronic Document Information System (EDIS) at https://edis.usitc.gov. Hearing-impaired persons are advised that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the Commission's TDD terminal on (202) 205-1810.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission has received a complaint and a submission pursuant to § 210.8(b) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure filed on behalf of Flying Arrow Archery, LLC, Inc. on December 2, 2016. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1337) in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain arrowheads with arcuate blades and components thereof. The complaint names as respondents Alice of China; Dongguan hong Song hardware alma iao of China; Huntingsky of China; mengbao of China; Jianfeng Mao of China; In-Sail Sandum Precision Industry (China) Co. Ltd. of China; Arthur Sifuentes of Spring, TX; Taotao (IT60) of China; Wanyuxue of China; Wei Ran of China; YanDong of China; and Zhou Yang of China. The complainant requests that the Commission issue a general exclusion order, cease and desist orders and impose a bond upon respondents' alleged infringing articles during the 60-day Presidential review period pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1337(j).

    Proposed respondents, other interested parties, and members of the public are invited to file comments, not to exceed five (5) pages in length, inclusive of attachments, on any public interest issues raised by the complaint or § 210.8(b) filing. Comments should address whether issuance of the relief specifically requested by the complainant in this investigation would affect the public health and welfare in the United States, competitive conditions in the United States economy, the production of like or directly competitive articles in the United States, or United States consumers.

    In particular, the Commission is interested in comments that:

    (i) Explain how the articles potentially subject to the requested remedial orders are used in the United States;

    (ii) identify any public health, safety, or welfare concerns in the United States relating to the requested remedial orders;

    (iii) identify like or directly competitive articles that complainant, its licensees, or third parties make in the United States which could replace the subject articles if they were to be excluded;

    (iv) indicate whether complainant, complainant's licensees, and/or third party suppliers have the capacity to replace the volume of articles potentially subject to the requested exclusion order and/or a cease and desist order within a commercially reasonable time; and

    (v) explain how the requested remedial orders would impact United States consumers.

    Written submissions must be filed no later than by close of business, eight calendar days after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. There will be further opportunities for comment on the public interest after the issuance of any final initial determination in this investigation.

    Persons filing written submissions must file the original document electronically on or before the deadlines stated above and submit 8 true paper copies to the Office of the Secretary by noon the next day pursuant to § 210.4(f) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 210.4(f)). Submissions should refer to the docket number (“Docket No. 3185”) in a prominent place on the cover page and/or the first page. (See Handbook for Electronic Filing Procedures, Electronic Filing Procedures).1 Persons with questions regarding filing should contact the Secretary (202-205-2000).

    1 Handbook for Electronic Filing Procedures: https://www.usitc.gov/documents/handbook_on_filing_procedures.pdf.

    Any person desiring to submit a document to the Commission in confidence must request confidential treatment. All such requests should be directed to the Secretary to the Commission and must include a full statement of the reasons why the Commission should grant such treatment. See 19 CFR 201.6. Documents for which confidential treatment by the Commission is properly sought will be treated accordingly. All such requests should be directed to the Secretary to the Commission and must include a full statement of the reasons why the Commission should grant such treatment. See 19 CFR 201.6. Documents for which confidential treatment by the Commission is properly sought will be treated accordingly. All information, including confidential business information and documents for which confidential treatment is properly sought, submitted to the Commission for purposes of this Investigation may be disclosed to and used: (i) By the Commission, its employees and Offices, and contract personnel (a) for developing or maintaining the records of this or a related proceeding, or (b) in internal investigations, audits, reviews, and evaluations relating to the programs, personnel, and operations of the Commission including under 5 U.S.C. Appendix 3; or (ii) by U.S. government employees and contract personnel,2 solely for cybersecurity purposes. All nonconfidential written submissions will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Secretary and on EDIS.3

    2 All contract personnel will sign appropriate nondisclosure agreements.

    3 Electronic Document Information System (EDIS): http://edis.usitc.gov.

    This action is taken under the authority of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1337), and of §§ 201.10 and 210.8(c) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 201.10, 210.8(c)).

    By order of the Commission.

    Dated: December 2, 2016. Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29396 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7020-02-P
    INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [Investigation No. 337-TA-1032] Certain Single-Molecule Nucleic Acid Sequencing Systems and Reagents, Consumables, and Software for Use With Same; Institution of Investigation AGENCY:

    U.S. International Trade Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that a complaint was filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission on November 2, 2016, under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, on behalf of Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. of Menlo Park, California. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 based upon the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain single-molecule nucleic acid sequencing systems and reagents, consumables, and software for use with same by reason of infringement of certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 9,404,146 (“the '146 patent”). The complaint further alleges that an industry in the United States exists as required by subsection (a)(2) of section 337.

    The complainant requests that the Commission institute an investigation and, after the investigation, issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders.

    ADDRESSES:

    The complaint, except for any confidential information contained therein, is available for inspection during official business hours (8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.) in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Room 112, Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205-2000. Hearing impaired individuals are advised that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the Commission's TDD terminal on (202) 205-1810. Persons with mobility impairments who will need special assistance in gaining access to the Commission should contact the Office of the Secretary at (202) 205-2000. General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its internet server at https://www.usitc.gov. The public record for this investigation may be viewed on the Commission's electronic docket (EDIS) at https://edis.usitc.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    The Office of Unfair Import Investigations, U.S. International Trade Commission, telephone (202) 205-2560.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authority: The authority for institution of this investigation is contained in section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and in section 210.10 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure, 19 CFR 210.10 (2016).

    Scope of investigation: Having considered the complaint, the U.S. International Trade Commission, on December 2, 2016, ordered that

    (1) Pursuant to subsection (b) of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, an investigation be instituted to determine whether there is a violation of subsection (a)(1)(B) of section 337 in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, or the sale within the United States after importation of certain single-molecule nucleic acid sequencing systems and reagents, consumables, and software for use with same by reason of infringement of one or more of claims 1, 5-7, 10, 14, 16-21, and 23-25 of the '146 patent, and whether an industry in the United States exists as required by subsection (a)(2) of section 337;

    (2) Pursuant to Commission Rule 210.50(b)(1), 19 CFR 210.50(b)(1), the presiding administrative law judge shall take evidence or other information and hear arguments from the parties and other interested persons with respect to the public interest in this investigation, as appropriate, and provide the Commission with findings of fact and a recommended determination on this issue, which shall be limited to the statutory public interest factors set forth in 19 U.S.C. 1337(d)(1), (f)(1), (g)(1);

    (3) For the purpose of the investigation so instituted, the following are hereby named as parties upon which this notice of investigation shall be served:

    (a) The complainant is:

    Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc., 1380 Willow Park Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025

    (b) The respondents are the following entities alleged to be in violation of section 337, and are the parties upon which the complaint is to be served:

    Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd., Edmund Cartwright House, 4 Robert Robinson Avenue, Oxford Science Park, Oxford, OX4 4GA, United Kingdom Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Inc., 1 Kendall Square, Building 200, Cambridge, MA 02139 Metrichor, Ltd., Edmund Cartwright House, 4 Robert Robinson Avenue, Oxford Science Park, Oxford, OX4 4GA, United Kingdom

    (c) The Office of Unfair Import Investigations, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Suite 401, Washington, DC 20436; and

    (4) For the investigation so instituted, the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. International Trade Commission, shall designate the presiding Administrative Law Judge.

    Responses to the complaint and the notice of investigation must be submitted by the named respondents in accordance with section 210.13 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure, 19 CFR 210.13. Pursuant to 19 CFR 201.16(e) and 210.13(a), such responses will be considered by the Commission if received not later than 20 days after the date of service by the Commission of the complaint and the notice of investigation. Extensions of time for submitting responses to the complaint and the notice of investigation will not be granted unless good cause therefor is shown.

    Failure of a respondent to file a timely response to each allegation in the complaint and in this notice may be deemed to constitute a waiver of the right to appear and contest the allegations of the complaint and this notice, and to authorize the administrative law judge and the Commission, without further notice to the respondent, to find the facts to be as alleged in the complaint and this notice and to enter an initial determination and a final determination containing such findings, and may result in the issuance of an exclusion order or a cease and desist order or both directed against the respondent.

    Issued: December 2, 2016.

    By order of the Commission.

    Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29403 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7020-02-P
    INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [Investigation Nos. 731-TA-1174-1175 (Review)] Seamless Refined Copper Pipe and Tube From China and Mexico; Determination

    On the basis of the record 1 developed in these subject five-year reviews, the United States International Trade Commission (“Commission”) determines, pursuant to the Tariff Act of 1930 (“the Act”), that revocation of the antidumping duty orders on seamless refined copper pipe and tube from China and Mexico would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury to an industry in the United States within a reasonably foreseeable time.

    1 The record is defined in sec. 207.2(f) of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (19 CFR 207.2(f)).

    Background

    The Commission, pursuant to section 751(c) of the Act (19 U.S.C. 1675(c)), instituted these reviews on October 1, 2015 (80 FR 59186) and determined on January 4, 2016 that it would conduct full reviews (81 FR 1967, January 14, 2016). Notice of the scheduling of the Commission's reviews and of a public hearing to be held in connection therewith was given by posting copies of the notice in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, Washington, DC, and by publishing the notice in the Federal Register on June 23, 2016 (81 FR 40922). The hearing was held in Washington, DC, on October 11, 2016, and all persons who requested the opportunity were permitted to appear in person or by counsel.

    The Commission made these determinations pursuant to section 751(c) of the Act (19 U.S.C. 1675(c)). It completed and filed its determinations in these reviews on December 2, 2016. The views of the Commission are contained in USITC Publication 4650 (November 2016), entitled Seamless Refined Copper Pipe and Tube from China and Mexico: Investigation Nos. 731-TA-1174-1175 (Review).

    Issued: December 5, 2016.

    By order of the Commission.

    Lisa R. Barton, Secretary to the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29414 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7020-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

    On December 2, 2016, the Department of Justice lodged a proposed Consent Decree with the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming in the lawsuit entitled United States v. Jim's Water Service, Inc., Civil Action No. 16-cv-296-S.

    The United States filed this action under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The complaint seeks injunctive relief, mitigation, and a civil penalty for failure to comply with an Administrative Order (“AO) issued to the Defendant by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2008. The AO was aimed at redressing conditions endangering wildlife at the Defendant's commercial oilfield waste disposal facility known as the Werner Facility in Converse County, Wyoming. In return for a covenant not to sue, the Defendant is obligated under the Consent Decree to take measures to prevent future endangering conditions at the Werner Facility; to implement a mitigation project at Burlington Lake in Gillette, Wyoming consisting of construction of an artificial island to enhance nesting and bird habitat; and to pay a civil penalty of $90,000.

    The publication of this notice opens a period for public comment on the Consent Decree. Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and should refer to United States v. Jim's Water Service, Inc., D.J. Ref. No. 90-7-1-10446. All comments must be submitted no later than thirty (30) days after the publication date of this notice. Comments may be submitted either by email or by mail:

    To submit comments: Send them to: By e-mail [email protected] By mail Assistant Attorney General, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    Under section 7003(d) of RCRA, a commenter may request an opportunity for a public meeting in the affected area.

    During the public comment period, the Consent Decree may be examined and downloaded at this Justice Department Web site: https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees. We will provide a paper copy of the Consent Decree upon written request and payment of reproduction costs. Please mail your request and payment to: Consent Decree Library, U.S. DOJ—ENRD, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, DC 20044-7611.

    Please enclose a check or money order for $10.25 (25 cents per page reproduction cost) payable to the United States Treasury.

    Robert Brook, Assistant Section Chief, Environmental Enforcement Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29397 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Occupational Safety and Health Administration [Docket No. OSHA-2009-0025] Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.: Grant of Expansion of Recognition AGENCY:

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In this notice, OSHA announces its final decision to expand the scope of recognition for Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).

    DATES:

    The expansion of the scope of recognition becomes effective on December 8, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Information regarding this notice is available from the following sources:

    Press inquiries: Contact Mr. Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA Office of Communications, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-3647, Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-1999; email: [email protected]

    General and technical information: Contact Mr. Kevin Robinson, Director, Office of Technical Programs and Coordination Activities, Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-3655, Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-2110; email: [email protected] OSHA's Web page includes information about the NRTL Program (see http://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/nrtl/index.html).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Notice of Final Decision

    OSHA hereby gives notice of the expansion of the scope of recognition of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL), as an NRTL. UL's expansion covers the addition of twenty-five test standards to its scope of recognition.

    OSHA recognition of an NRTL signifies that the organization meets the requirements specified by 29 CFR 1910.7. Recognition is an acknowledgment that the organization can perform independent safety testing and certification of the specific products covered within its scope of recognition and is not a delegation or grant of government authority. As a result of recognition, employers may use products properly approved by the NRTL to meet OSHA standards that require testing and certification of the products.

    The Agency processes applications by an NRTL for initial recognition, or for expansion or renewal of this recognition, following requirements in Appendix A to 29 CFR 1910.7. This appendix requires that the Agency publish two notices in the Federal Register in processing an application. In the first notice, OSHA announces the application and provides its preliminary finding and, in the second notice, the Agency provides its final decision on the application. These notices set forth the NRTL's scope of recognition or modifications of that scope. OSHA maintains an informational Web page for each NRTL that details its scope of recognition. These pages are available from the Agency's Web site at http://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/nrtl/index.html.

    UL submitted an application, dated June 30, 2015, (OSHA-2009-0025-0017) to expand its recognition to include twenty-five additional test standards. OSHA staff performed a detailed analysis of the application packet and reviewed other pertinent information. OSHA performed an on-site review in relation to this application on April 4-5, 2016.

    OSHA published the preliminary notice announcing UL's expansion application in the Federal Register on September 14, 2016 (81 FR 63229). The Agency requested comments by September 29, 2016, but it received no comments in response to this notice. OSHA now is proceeding with this final notice to grant expansion of UL's scope of recognition.

    To obtain or review copies of all public documents pertaining to the UL's application, go to www.regulations.gov or contact the Docket Office, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-2625, Washington, DC 20210. Docket No. OSHA-2009-0025 contains all materials in the record concerning UL's recognition.

    II. Final Decision and Order

    OSHA staff examined UL's expansion application, its capability to meet the requirements of the test standards, and other pertinent information. Based on its review of this evidence, OSHA finds that UL meets the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.7 for expansion of its recognition, subject to the conditions listed below. OSHA, therefore, is proceeding with this final notice to grant UL's scope of recognition. OSHA limits the expansion of UL's recognition to testing and certification of products for demonstration of conformance to the test standards listed in Table 1 below.

    Table 1—List Appropriate Test Standards for Inclusion in UL's NRTL Scope of Recognition Test standard Test standard title ISA 60079-0 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 0: Equipment—General Requirements. ISA 60079-1 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 1: Equipment Protection by Flameproof Enclosures “d”. ISA 60079-2 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 2: Equipment Protection by Flameproof Enclosures “p”. ISA 60079-5 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 5: Equipment Protection by Powder Filling “q”. ISA 60079-6 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 6: Equipment Protection by Oil Immersion “o”. ISA 60079-7 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 7: Equipment Protection by Increased Safety “e”. ISA 60079-11 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 11: Equipment Protection by Intrinsic Safety “i”. ISA 60079-15 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 15: Equipment Protection by Type of Protection “n”. ISA 60079-18 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 18: Equipment Protection by Encapsulation “m”. ISA 60079-26 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 26: Equipment for Use in Class I, Zone 0 Hazardous (Classified) Locations. ISA 60079-28 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 28: Protection of Equipment and Transmission Systems Using Optical Radiation, Edition 1.1. ISA 60079-31 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 31: Equipment Dust Ignition Protection by Enclosure “t”. ISA 61241-0 Electrical Apparatus for Use in Zone 20, Zone 21 and Zone 22 Hazardous (Classified) Locations—General Requirements. ISA 61241-1 Electrical Apparatus for Use in Zone 21 and Zone 22 Hazardous (Classified) Locations—Protection by Enclosures “tD”. ISA 61241-2 Electrical Apparatus for Use in Zone 21 and Zone 22 Hazardous (Classified) Locations—Protection by Pressurization “pD”. ISA 61241-11 Electrical Apparatus for Use in Zone 20, Zone 21 and Zone 22 Hazardous (Classified) Locations—Protection by Intrinsic Safety “iD”. ISA 61241-18 Electrical Apparatus for Use in Zone 20, Zone 21 and Zone 22 Hazardous (Classified) Locations—Protection by Encapsulation “mD”. ANSI/UL 60079-0 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 0: Equipment—General Requirements. ANSI/UL 60079-1 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 1: Equipment Protection by Flameproof Enclosures “d”. ANSI/UL 60079-5 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 5: Equipment Protection by Powder Filling “q”. ANSI/UL 60079-6 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 6: Equipment Protection by Oil Immersion “o”. ANSI/UL 60079-7 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 7: Equipment Protection by Increased Safety “o”. ANSI/UL 60079-11 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 11: Equipment Protection by Intrinsic Safety “i”. ANSI/UL 60079-15 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 15: Equipment Protection by Type of Protection “n”. ANSI/UL 60079-18 Explosive Atmospheres—Part 18: Equipment Protection by Encapsulation “m”.

    OSHA's recognition of any NRTL for a particular test standard is limited to equipment or materials for which OSHA standards require third-party testing and certification before using them in the workplace. Consequently, if a test standard also covers any products for which OSHA does not require such testing and certification, an NRTL's scope of recognition does not include these products.

    The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) may approve the test standards listed above as American National Standards. However, for convenience, we may use the designation of the standards-developing organization for the standard as opposed to the ANSI designation. Under the NRTL Program's policy (see OSHA Instruction CPL 1-0.3, Appendix C, paragraph XIV), any NRTL recognized for a particular test standard may use either the proprietary version of the test standard or the ANSI version of that standard. Contact ANSI to determine whether a test standard is currently ANSI-approved.

    A. Conditions

    In addition to those conditions already required by 29 CFR 1910.7, UL must abide by the following conditions of the recognition:

    1. UL must inform OSHA as soon as possible, in writing, of any change of ownership, facilities, or key personnel, and of any major change in its operations as an NRTL, and provide details of the change(s);

    2. UL must meet all the terms of its recognition and comply with all OSHA policies pertaining to this recognition; and

    3. UL must continue to meet the requirements for recognition, including all previously published conditions on UL's scope of recognition, in all areas for which it has recognition.

    Pursuant to the authority in 29 CFR 1910.7, OSHA hereby expands the scope of recognition of UL, subject to the limitation and conditions specified above.

    III. Authority and Signature

    David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, authorized the preparation of this notice. Accordingly, the Agency is issuing this notice pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 657(g)(2), Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912, Jan. 25, 2012), and 29 CFR 1910.7.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on December 2, 2016. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29437 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-26-P
    OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET Office of Federal Procurement Policy Anti-Trafficking Risk Management Best Practices & Mitigation Considerations Guidance AGENCY:

    Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget.

    ACTION:

    Notice; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is seeking comment on a draft memorandum that it has developed in coordination with the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Labor (DOL), as Co-Chairs of the Procurement and Supply Chains Committee of the Senior Policy Operating Group of the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (the “SPOG Committee”), to address anti-trafficking risk management best practices and mitigation considerations. This guidance is designed to help an agency determine if a contractor is taking adequate steps to meet its anti-trafficking responsibilities under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

    DATES:

    Interested parties should submit comments in writing to the address below on or before January 9, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Via email: [email protected] Facsimile: 202-395-5105

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite “Proposed Memo on Anti- Trafficking” in all correspondence.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Porter Glock, Office of Federal Procurement Policy at 202-395-3145 or [email protected]

    Availability: Copies of the draft memorandum may be obtained at the OMB home page at https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/procurement.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Executive Order 13627, Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts, and Title XVII of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2013, Ending Trafficking in Government Contracting, established requirements for government contracts to prevent trafficking in persons. As a result, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council amended the FAR to implement these requirements.

    The co-chairs of the SPOG Committee, OMB, DOS, and DOL (“Co-Chairs”), expect contractors to be proactive and forthcoming in their efforts to address and reduce the risk of human trafficking in their operations and supply chains. At the same time, OMB, State, and DOL recognize that not all contractors are similarly situated and some, such as those with large supply chains, may face more challenges than others in meeting their responsibilities. In addition, not all risks are equal in their impact. To this end, the Co-Chairs developed a set of best practices and mitigation considerations to help contracting officers determine if a contractor is taking adequate steps to meet its anti-trafficking responsibilities under the FAR. In addition, to promote clarity and consistency in the implementation of anti-trafficking requirements, the Co-Chairs also developed responses to a number of frequently asked questions posed by stakeholders following the publication of the final FAR rule.

    The Co-Chairs encourage feedback on the draft guidance. Comments are especially welcome on identified best practices and mitigating steps as well as any additional information that may be relevant to helping a contracting officer determine if an existing Federal contractor who reports a trafficking incident has taken reasonable actions or if a prospective contractor is able to address trafficking challenges where the agency is planning an acquisition in an environment that is at high risk of trafficking.

    This draft memorandum is another step in an ongoing effort to provide tools to the federal acquisition community—both contracting officers and contractors—to ensure the effective implementation of E.O. 13627 and the NDAA. These tools include (i) an interactive online platform, www.ResponsibleSourcingTool.org, which enables federal contractors and other entities to visualize human trafficking risks by location, industry sector, and commodity, (ii) online training for both contractors and government acquisition officers on the FAR changes to address the strengthened trafficking requirements for federal contracts, and (iii) additional rulemaking to help ensure contractors fully understand what is expected of them to be in compliance with the prohibition on charging employees and potential employees recruitment fees.

    Lesley A. Field, Acting Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29434 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET Public Availability of Fiscal Year 2014 and Fiscal Year 2015 Agency Inventories Under the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act AGENCY:

    Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public availability of agency inventories of activities that are not inherently governmental and of activities that are inherently governmental.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act, Public Law 105-270, requires agencies to develop inventories each year of activities performed by their employees that are not inherently governmental functions. The FAIR Act further requires OMB to review the inventories in consultation with the agencies. Once that review is complete, agencies are required to make the list available to the public and OMB must publish a notice of public availability in the Federal Register. In accordance with the FAIR Act, OMB is publishing this notice to announce the availability of inventories for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 and FY 2015 from the agencies listed below. These inventories identify activities that are not inherently governmental and those activities that are inherently governmental. If an agency has not yet posted its inventory on its Web site, the agency's point of contact should be able to assist.

    As provided in the FAIR Act, interested parties who disagree with the agency's initial judgment may challenge the inclusion or the omission of an activity on the list of activities that are not inherently governmental within 30 working days of this Notice and, if not satisfied with this review, may appeal to a higher level within the agency.

    Shaun Donovan, Director. Attachment: FAIR Act Release FY 2014 and FY 2015 Agency Point of contact Email Telephone Web site Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Act Agencies 1. Department of Commerce Virna Winters [email protected] 202-482-3483 www.commerce.gov. 2. Department of Defense Sara Streff
  • Warren Champ
  • [email protected]
  • [email protected]
  • 571-372-6843
  • 703-699-5418
  • www.acq.osd.mil.
  • http://w.dodig.mil.
  • 3. Department of Education AnMarie Lippert [email protected] 202-538-5816 http://www.ed.gov. 4. Department of Energy Jeff Davis [email protected] 202-287-1877 http://energy.gov. 5. Department of Health and Human Services William Kim [email protected] 202-205-1341 http://www.hhs.gov/. 6. Department of Homeland Security Kelly Lorick [email protected] 202-447-0831 www.dhs.gov. 7. Department of Housing and Urban Development Richard Robinson [email protected] 202-402-3896 http://portal.hud.gov. 8. Department of the Interior Samantha Marx [email protected] 202-513-0699 www.doi.gov. 9. Department of Justice Neil Ryder [email protected] 202-616-5499 http://w.justice.gov/. 10. Department of Labor Tanisha Bynum-Frazier [email protected] 202-693-4546 www.dol.gov. 11. Department of State Barry Thomas [email protected] 202-485-7190 http://www.state.gov. 12. Department of Transportation Diane Morrison [email protected] 202-366-4960 www.dot.gov. 13. Department of the Treasury Jim Sullivan [email protected] 202-622-9395 http://www.treasury.gov/. 14. Department of Veterans Affairs Julie Plush [email protected] 202-297-2166 http://www.va.gov. 15. Environmental Protection Agency Jennifer Cranford [email protected] 202-564-0798 www.epa.gov. 16. General Services Administration James Summers [email protected] 202-322-0453 www.gsa.gov. 17. National Aeronautics and Space Administration Jeff Cullen [email protected] 202-358-1463 http://www.nasa.gov/. 18. National Science Foundation Kurtis Shank [email protected] 703-292-2261 www.nsf.gov. 19. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Joe Schmidt [email protected] 301-287-0938 www.nrc.gov. 20. Office of Personnel Management Greg Blaszko [email protected] 215-861-3051 http://www.opm.gov/. 21. Small Business Administration Paul Marshall [email protected] 202-205-6240 www.sba.gov. 22. Social Security Administration Lauren Morton [email protected] 410-966-6127 www.socialsecurity.gov. 23. United States Agency for International Development Nancy Sanders [email protected] 202-712-4236 www.usaid.gov. 24. United States Department of Agriculture Joe Ware [email protected] 202-690-5407 http://www.usda.gov. Non-CFO Act Agencies 1. Broadcasting Board of Governors Chris Luer [email protected] 202-203-4608 www.bbg.gov. 2. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Sonda Owens [email protected] 202-418-5182 www.cftc.gov. 3. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Roland Jacob [email protected] 202-435-9625 www.consumerfinance.gov. 4. Consumer Product Safety Commission Barbara Denny [email protected] 301-504-7246 http://www.cpsc.gov. 5. Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia Paul Girardo [email protected] 202-220-5718 www.csosa.gov. 6. Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board Mark Welch [email protected] 202-694-7043 http://www.dnfsb.gov. 7. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Arlethia Munroe [email protected] 202-663-4340 http://www.eeoc.gov. 8. Farm Credit Administration Veronica McCain [email protected] 703-883-4031 www.fca.gov. 9. Federal Communications Commission Tom Green [email protected] 202-418-0116 www.fcc.gov. 10. Federal Election Commission Gilbert Ford [email protected] 202-694-1216 www.fec.gov. 11. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Nicole Yates [email protected] 202-502-6327 www.ferc.gov. 12. Federal Housing Financing Agency Bruce Crippin [email protected] 202-649-3070 www.fhfa.gov. 13. Federal Labor Relations Authority Sarah Whittle Spooner [email protected] 202-218-7791 http://www.flra.gov. 14. Federal Maritime Commission Kathleen Keys [email protected] 202-523-5788 www.fmc.gov. 15. Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service Paul Voight [email protected] 202-606-5464 www.fmcs.gov. 16. Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Sandra Byers [email protected] 202-864-8664 http://www.frtib.gov/. 17. Federal Trade Commission Michelle Thornton [email protected] 202-393-0301 http://www.ftc.gov. 18. Holocaust Memorial Museum Helen Shepherd [email protected] 202-488-0400 x396 http://www.ushmm.org. 19. International Trade Commission Debra Bridge [email protected] 202-205-2004 www.usitc.gov. 20. Merit Systems Protection Board Kevin Nash [email protected] 202-653-6772 x4407 www.mspb.gov. 21. National Archives and Records Administration Susan Ashtianie [email protected] 301-837-1490 www.archives.gov. 22. National Endowment for the Arts Ned Read [email protected] 202-682-5782 www.arts.gov. 23. National Endowment for the Humanities Robert Straughter [email protected] 202-606-8237 www.neh.gov. 24. National Labor Relations Board Marsha Porter [email protected] 202-273-3726 http://www.nlrb.gov. 25. National Transportation Safety Board Lisa Kleiner [email protected] 202-314-6462 www.ntsb.gov. 26. Office of Management and Budget Amanda Kepko [email protected] 202-395-4844 www.whitehouse.gov. 27. Office of Special Counsel Edward Snyder [email protected] 202-254-3648 http://www.osc.gov/. 28. Office of the United States Trade Representative Deborah Tidwell [email protected] 202-395-9410 https://ustr.gov/. 29. Peace Corps Amanda Miesionczek [email protected] 202-509-6533 www.peacecorps.gov. 30. Railroad Retirement Board Keith Earley [email protected] 312-751-4990 www.rrb.gov. 31. Securities and Exchange Commission Victoria Stevenson [email protected] 202-551-4178 www.sec.gov. 32. Selective Service System Jennise Magruder [email protected] 703-605-4024 www.sss.gov.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29433 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION Information Security Oversight Office [NARA-2017-010] State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Policy Advisory Committee (SLTPS-PAC) AGENCY:

    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of advisory committee meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app 2) and implementing regulation 41 CFR 101-6, NARA announces the following committee meeting.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held January 25, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EDT.

    ADDRESSES:

    National Archives and Records Administration, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Jefferson Room, Washington, DC 20408.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Robert J. Skwirot, Senior Program Analyst, by mail at Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO); National Archives and Records Administration; 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20408, by telephone at 202.357.5398, or by email at [email protected] Contact ISOO at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of this meeting is to discuss matters relating to the Classified National Security Information Program for State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Entities. The meeting will be open to the public. However, due to space limitations and access procedures, you must submit the name and telephone number of individuals planning to attend to ISOO no later than Friday, January 18, 2017. ISOO will provide additional instructions for accessing the meeting's location.

    Patrice Little Murray, Committee Management Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29398 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7515-01-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [NRC-2016-0246] Withdrawal of Regulatory Guides 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5 AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Regulatory Guides 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5; withdrawal.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is withdrawing three regulatory guides (RGs): RG 1.3, Revision 2, “Assumptions Used for Evaluating the Potential Radiological Consequences of a Loss of Coolant Accident for Boiling Water Reactors,” dated June 1974; RG 1.4, Revision 2, “Assumptions Used for Evaluating the Potential Radiological Consequences of a Loss of Coolant Accident for Pressurized Water Reactors,” dated June 1974; and RG 1.5 (Safety Guide 5), “Assumptions Used for Evaluating the Potential Radiological Consequences of a Steam Line Break Accident for Boiling Water Reactors,” dated March 1971. These three RGs are being withdrawn because the guidance contained in them has been superseded and is now incorporated into RG 1.183, “Alternative Radiological Source Terms for Evaluating Design Basis Accidents at Nuclear Power Reactors,” and RG 1.195, “Methods and Assumptions for Evaluating Radiological Consequences of Design Basis Accidents at Light-Water Nuclear Power Reactors.”

    DATES:

    The effective date of the withdrawal of RGs 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5 is December 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2016-0246 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this document using any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2016-0246. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: [email protected] For technical questions, contact the individuals listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.

    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected] The ADAMS accession number for each document referenced in this document (if that document is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is referenced. The withdrawal notices for RGs 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5 are available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML16210A319.

    NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Parillo, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, telephone: 301-415-1344; email [email protected]; or Mark Orr, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research, telephone: 301-415-6003; email: [email protected] Both are staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Regulatory guides may be withdrawn by the NRC when their guidance no longer provides useful information, or is superseded by technological innovations, congressional actions, or other events. The withdrawal of an RG should be thought of as the final revision of the guide.

    The NRC is withdrawing RG 1.3, Revision 2, “Assumptions Used for Evaluating the Potential Radiological Consequences of a Loss of Coolant Accident for Boiling Water Reactors,” dated June 1974 (ADAMS Accession No. ML16215A353); RG 1.4, Revision 2, “Assumptions Used for Evaluating the Potential Radiological Consequences of a Loss of Coolant Accident for Pressurized Water Reactors,” dated June 1974 (ADAMS Accession No. ML16215A351); and RG 1.5 (Safety Guide 5), “Assumptions Used for Evaluating the Potential Radiological Consequences of a Steam Line Break Accident for Boiling Water Reactors,” dated March 1971 (ADAMS Accession No. ML16215A352).

    The NRC is withdrawing these three RGs because the guidance contained in them has been superseded by more current guidance which has been incorporated into RG 1.183, “Alternative Radiological Source Terms for Evaluating Design Basis Accidents at Nuclear Power Reactors,” (ADAMS Accession No. ML003716792), and RG 1.195, “Methods and Assumptions for Evaluating Radiological Consequences of Design Basis Accidents at Light-Water Nuclear Power Reactors,” (ADAMS Accession No. ML031490640). The information in RG 1.183 provides guidance for new and existing light-water reactor (LWR) plants that have adopted the alternative source term (AST), and RG 1.195 provides guidance for those LWR plants that have not adopted the AST.

    The withdrawal of RGs 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5 does not alter any prior or existing NRC licensing approval or the acceptability of licensee commitments to these RGs. Although RGs 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5 are withdrawn, current licensees may continue to use them, and withdrawal does not affect any existing licenses or agreements. However, by withdrawing RGs 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5, the NRC no longer approves for use the guidance in these RGs in future requests or applications for NRC licensing actions.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd day of December, 2016.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Thomas H. Boyce, Chief, Regulatory Guidance and Generic Issues Branch, Division of Engineering, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29407 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [NRC-2015-0203] Instructions for Recording and Reporting Occupational Radiation Dose Data AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Regulatory guide; issuance.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing Revision 3 to Regulatory Guide (RG) 8.7, “Instructions for Recording and Reporting Occupational Radiation Dose Data.” Regulatory Guide 8.7 describes methods that the staff of NRC considers acceptable for licensees to use for the preparation, retention, and reporting of records of occupational radiation doses. Revision 3 addresses changes to applicable NRC regulations and related staff practices since Revision 2 was issued in November 2005. Revision 3 includes changes in the process a licensee needs to follow in order to monitor occupational exposure, determine prior doses, record monitoring results, and report the results, when required. In addition, Revision 3 references revised versions of NRC Form 4, “Cumulative Occupational Dose History,” and NRC Form 5, “Occupational Dose Record for a Monitoring Period.” The revised forms, which are already available, should be used by NRC licensees beginning in January 2017.

    DATES:

    Revision 3 to RG 8.7 is available on December 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2015-0203 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may obtain publically-available information related to this document using any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0203. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: [email protected] For technical questions, contact the individuals listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.

    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Document collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected] The ADAMS accession number for each document referenced in this document (if that document is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is referenced. Revision 3 to RG 8.7 and the regulatory analysis may be found in ADAMS under Accession Nos. ML16054A170 and ML15169A219, respectively.

    NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

    Regulatory guides are not copyrighted, and NRC approval is not required to reproduce them.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Terry Brock, telephone: 301-415-1793; email: Te[email protected] or Harriet Karagiannis, telephone: 301-415-2493; email: [email protected] Both are staff of the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Discussion

    The NRC is issuing a revision to an existing guide in the NRC's “Regulatory Guide” series. This series was developed to describe and make available to the public information regarding methods that are acceptable to the NRC staff for implementing specific parts of the agency's regulations, techniques that the NRC staff uses in evaluating specific issues or postulated events, and data that the NRC staff needs in its review of applications for permits and licenses.

    Proposed Revision 3 of RG 8.7 was issued with a temporary identification of Draft Regulatory Guide DG-8030 and is available under ADAMS Accession No. ML15169A218. The NRC published DG-8030 for public comment on August 28, 2015 (80 FR 52345). The public comment period closed on October 27, 2015. The NRC received one set of comments from an industry association and those comments and the NRC staff's responses are available under ADAMS Accession No. ML16060A392. In a related action, the NRC requested public comments on its proposed revisions to Form 5, “Occupational Dose Record for a Monitoring Period” on June 19, 2012 (77 FR 36583). The public comment period closed on July 20, 2012. The NRC received four sets of comments from industry and those comments and the NRC staff's responses are available under ADAMS Accession No. ML16308A071.

    Revision 3 of RG 8.7 addresses changes identified since Revision 2 was issued in November 2005. In particular, the regulations in 10 CFR 20.1201(c) concerning the measurement of external exposure by either deep-dose equivalent or effective dose equivalent (for external exposures) (EDEX), and the regulations in 10 CFR 20.1003 and 10 CFR 50.2 regarding the definition of the “total effective dose equivalent” (TEDE), were amended and became effective on January 3, 2008 (72 FR 68043; December 4, 2007). As a result of the revised definition of TEDE, the NRC staff developed the additional acronym EDEX and this term was included in the revised NRC Forms 4 and 5 that were updated in April 2015. Revision 3 of RG 8.7 references the revised versions of NRC Forms 4 and 5, as well as detailed instructions for completing these forms. The acronym EDEX and the term “total organ dose equivalent” are included in the revised forms to be consistent with current NRC practice.

    II. Use of Revised NRC Forms 4 and 5

    The new NRC Form 4, “Cumulative Occupational Dose History (04-2015),” or its electronic equivalent, is available for use by NRC licensees to record an individual's cumulative occupational dose history. NRC licensees may also continue to use the old NRC Form 4, “Cumulative Occupational Dose History (10/2001),” until December 31, 2016. All NRC licensees should use the new NRC Form 4 or its equivalent beginning January 1, 2017.

    The new NRC Form 5, “Occupational Dose Record for a Monitoring Period (04-2015),” or its electronic equivalent, is available for use by NRC licensees to record the occupational dose for any monitoring period beginning on or after January 1, 2016. NRC licensees may also continue to use the old NRC Form 5, “Occupational Dose Record for a Monitoring Period (10/2001),” for any monitoring period beginning on or before December 31, 2016. All NRC licensees should use the new NRC Form 5 or its equivalent, for any monitoring period beginning on or after January 1, 2017. Both forms are available online through the NRC Library on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections.

    III. Congressional Review Act

    This RG is a rule as defined in the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801-808). However, the Office of Management and Budget has not found it to be a major rule as defined in the Congressional Review Act.

    IV. Backfitting

    This RG addresses compliance with the NRC's requirements in 10 CFR part 20 to record and report an individual's cumulative occupational dose history and the occupational dose received by an individual for a specific monitoring period. The NRC regards these requirements as constituting information collection and reporting requirements. The NRC has long taken the position that information collection and reporting requirements are not subject to the NRC's backfitting and issue finality regulations in 10 CFR 50.109, 10 CFR 70.76, 10 CFR 72.62, 10 CFR 76.76, and 10 CFR part 52 (e.g., “Material Control and Accounting Methods,” December 23, 2002 (67 FR 78130); and “Regulatory Improvements to the Nuclear Materials Management and Safeguards System,” June 9, 2008 (73 FR 32453)). Therefore, the NRC has determined that its backfitting and issue finality regulations do not apply to this RG because the RG does not include any provisions within the scope of matters covered by the backfitting provisions in 10 CFR parts 50, 70, or 72, or the issue finality provisions of 10 CFR part 52.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd day of December 2016.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Thomas H. Boyce, Chief, Regulatory Guidance and Generic Issues Branch, Division of Engineering, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29391 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket Nos. CP2014-4; CP2015-53; MC2017-26 and CP2017-51; MC2017-27 and CP2017-52; MC2017-28 and CP2017-53; MC2017-29 and CP2017-54; MC2017-30 and CP2017-55; MC2017-31 and CP2017-56; MC2017-32 and CP2017-57; MC2017-33 and CP2017-58; MC2017-34 and CP2017-59] New Postal Products AGENCY:

    Postal Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commission is noticing recent Postal Service filings for the Commission's consideration concerning negotiated service agreements. This notice informs the public of the filing, invites public comment, and takes other administrative steps.

    DATES:

    Comments are due: December 12, 2016 (Comment due date applies to Docket Nos. CP2014-4; Docket No. CP2015-53; Docket Nos. MC2017-26 and CP2017-51; Docket Nos. MC2017-27 and CP2017-52; Docket Nos. MC2017-28 and CP2017-53); December 13, 2016 (Comment due date applies to Docket Nos. MC2017-29 and CP2017-54; Docket Nos. MC2017-30 and CP2017-55; Docket Nos. MC2017-31 and CP2017-56; Docket Nos. MC2017-32 and CP2017-57); and December 14, 2016 (Comment due date applies to Docket Nos. MC2017-33 and CP2017-58; Docket Nos. MC2017-34 and CP2017-59).

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov. Those who cannot submit comments electronically should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by telephone for advice on filing alternatives.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David A. Trissell, General Counsel, at 202-789-6820.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents I. Introduction II. Docketed Proceeding(s) I. Introduction

    The Commission gives notice that the Postal Service filed request(s) for the Commission to consider matters related to negotiated service agreement(s). The request(s) may propose the addition or removal of a negotiated service agreement from the market dominant or the competitive product list, or the modification of an existing product currently appearing on the market dominant or the competitive product list.

    Section II identifies the docket number(s) associated with each Postal Service request, the title of each Postal Service request, the request's acceptance date, and the authority cited by the Postal Service for each request. For each request, the Commission appoints an officer of the Commission to represent the interests of the general public in the proceeding, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 505 (Public Representative). Section II also establishes comment deadline(s) pertaining to each request.

    The public portions of the Postal Service's request(s) can be accessed via the Commission's Web site (http://www.prc.gov). Non-public portions of the Postal Service's request(s), if any, can be accessed through compliance with the requirements of 39 CFR 3007.40.

    The Commission invites comments on whether the Postal Service's request(s) in the captioned docket(s) are consistent with the policies of title 39. For request(s) that the Postal Service states concern market dominant product(s), applicable statutory and regulatory requirements include 39 U.S.C. 3622, 39 U.S.C. 3642, 39 CFR part 3010, and 39 CFR part 3020, subpart B. For request(s) that the Postal Service states concern competitive product(s), applicable statutory and regulatory requirements include 39 U.S.C. 3632, 39 U.S.C. 3633, 39 U.S.C. 3642, 39 CFR part 3015, and 39 CFR part 3020, subpart B. Comment deadline(s) for each request appear in section II.

    II. Docketed Proceeding(s)

    1. Docket No(s).: CP2014-4; Filing Title: Notice of United States Postal Service of Change in Prices Pursuant to Amendment to Parcel Return Service Contract 5; Filing Acceptance Date: December 2, 2016; Filing Authority: 39 CFR 3015.5; Public Representative: Gregory Stanton; Comments Due: December 12, 2016.

    2. Docket No(s).: CP2015-53; Filing Title: Notice of United States Postal Service of Change in Prices Pursuant to Amendment to Parcel Return Service Contract 6; Filing Acceptance Date: December 2, 2016; Filing Authority: 39 CFR 3015.5; Public Representative: Gregory Stanton; Comments Due: December 12, 2016.

    3. Docket No(s).: MC2017-26 and CP2017-51; Filing Title: Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 259 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing (Under Seal) of Unredacted Governors' Decision, Contract, and Supporting Data; Filing Acceptance Date: December 2, 2016; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Erin Mahagan; Comments Due: December 12, 2016.

    4. Docket No(s).: MC2017-27 and CP2017-52; Filing Title: Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 260 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing (Under Seal) of Unredacted Governors' Decision, Contract, and Supporting Data; Filing Acceptance Date: December 2, 2016; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Erin Mahagan; Comments Due: December 12, 2016.

    5. Docket No(s).: MC2017-28 and CP2017-53; Filing Title: Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 261 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing (Under Seal) of Unredacted Governors' Decision, Contract, and Supporting Data; Filing Acceptance Date: December 2, 2016; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Erin Mahagan; Comments Due: December 12, 2016.

    6. Docket No(s).: MC2017-29 and CP2017-54; Filing Title: Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 262 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing (Under Seal) of Unredacted Governors' Decision, Contract, and Supporting Data; Filing Acceptance Date: December 2, 2016; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Helen Fonda; Comments Due: December 13, 2016.

    7. Docket No(s).: MC2017-30 and CP2017-55; Filing Title: Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 263 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing (Under Seal) of Unredacted Governors' Decision, Contract, and Supporting Data; Filing Acceptance Date: December 2, 2016; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Helen Fonda; Comments Due: December 13, 2016.

    8. Docket No(s).: MC2017-31 and CP2017-56; Filing Title: Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 264 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing (Under Seal) of Unredacted Governors' Decision, Contract, and Supporting Data; Filing Acceptance Date: December 2, 2016; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Jennaca D. Upperman; Comments Due: December 13, 2016.

    9. Docket No(s).: MC2017-32 and CP2017-57; Filing Title: Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 265 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing (Under Seal) of Unredacted Governors' Decision, Contract, and Supporting Data; Filing Acceptance Date: December 2, 2016; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Jennaca D. Upperman; Comments Due: December 13, 2016.

    10. Docket No(s).: MC2017-33 and CP2017-58; Filing Title: Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail & First-Class Package Service Contract 14 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing (Under Seal) of Unredacted Governors' Decision, Contract, and Supporting Data; Filing Acceptance Date: December 2, 2016; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Lyudmila Y. Bzhilyanskaya; Comments Due: December 14, 2016.

    11. Docket No(s).: MC2017-34 and CP2017-59; Filing Title: Request of the United States Postal Service to Add First-Class Package Service Contract 67 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing (Under Seal) of Unredacted Governors' Decision, Contract, and Supporting Data; Filing Acceptance Date: December 2, 2016; Filing Authority: 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq.; Public Representative: Lyudmila Y. Bzhilyanskaya; Comments Due: December 14, 2016.

    This notice will be published in the Federal Register.

    Stacy L. Ruble, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29425 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-FW-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-79457; File No. SR-BatsBZX-2016-79] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Bats BZX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Make Non-Substantive Changes to the Equity Options Fee Schedule December 2, 2016.

    Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”),1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 notice is hereby given that on November 29, 2016, Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. (the “Exchange” or “BZX”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Exchange has designated the proposed rule change as one establishing or changing a member due, fee, or other charge imposed by the Exchange under Section 19(b)(3)(A)(ii) of the Act 3 and Rule 19b-4(f)(2) thereunder,4 which renders the proposed rule change effective upon filing with the Commission. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(ii).

    4 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(2).

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of the Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange filed a proposal to make certain non-substantive and clarifying changes to the fee schedule applicable to Members 5 and non-members of the Exchange pursuant to Exchange Rules 15.1(a) and (c).

    5 A Member is defined as “any registered broker or dealer that has been admitted to membership in the Exchange.” See Exchange Rule 1.5(n).

    The text of the proposed rule change is available at the Exchange's Web site at www.batstrading.com, at the principal office of the Exchange, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, the Exchange included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in Sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant parts of such statements.

    A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose

    The Exchange proposes to modify its fee schedule applicable to the Exchange's equity options platform (“BZX Options”) to make certain clarifying and non-substantive changes to its fee schedule in order to improve formatting, eliminate certain redundancies, increase overall readability, and provide users with straightforward descriptions to augment overall comprehensibility and usability of the existing fee schedule. The Exchange notes that these changes are purely clerical and do not substantively amend any fee or rebate, nor do they alter the manner in which the Exchange assesses fees or calculates rebates. The proposed changes are simply intended to provide greater transparency to market participants regarding how the Exchange assesses fees and calculates rebates. Specifically, the Exchange proposes to:

    • Alphabetize defined terms under the “Definitions” section; 6

    6 The Exchange does not proposes to alphabetize the definitions under the Market Data section of its fee schedule as those terms are generally grouped with similar terms.

    • amend criteria for Tier 3 under footnote 5 to add a zero after 2.5% to ensure that it is represented to the hundredths decimal point, like all other percentages included in the fee schedule;

    • ensure each tier requiring multiple criteria is conjoined using “; and” to clarify that all of a tier's criteria must be satisfied to receive the applicable rate;

    • amend the title of the column setting forth each tier's rate to simply state “Fee Per Contract to Remove”, “Fee Per Contract to Add” or “Rebate Per Contract to Add” as applicable. Renaming these column is intended to clearly indicate whether the footnote provides a fee and/or a rebate, and whether that enhanced pricing applies to orders which add or remove liquidity. In renaming these columns, the Exchange also proposes to remove certain other descriptive language as such language is redundant and set forth in the tier's title and list of its applicable fee codes;

    • amend the name under first column of the tiers listed under footnotes 1, 3, 4, 5, 12, and 13 to simply state “Tier 1”, Tier 2” etc. as the deleted language is redundant with the respective tier's title or with the description of the tier's criteria;

    • replace the phrase “equal to or greater than” and “greater than or equal to” with “≥” in all required criteria cells under footnotes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13; and

    • amend the NBBO Setter Tier under footnote 4 to specify at the top of the footnote that the additional rebates provided by the tier are only applicable to orders that establish a new National Best Bid or Offer (“NBBO”) and to delete such language from each tier's criteria.

    2. Statutory Basis

    The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder that are applicable to a national securities exchange, and, in particular, with the requirements of Section 6 of the Act.7 Specifically, the Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with Sections 6(b)(4) of the Act,8 in that it provides for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees and other charges among members and other persons using any facility or system which the Exchange operates or controls. The Exchange believes that the proposed changes are reasonable and equitable because they are intended to simplify the Exchange's fee schedule and provide greater transparency to market participants regarding how the Exchange assesses fees and calculates rebates. The Exchange notes that these changes are purely clerical and do not substantively amend any fee or rebate, nor do they alter the manner in which the Exchange assesses fees or calculates rebates. The Exchange also believes that the proposal is non-discriminatory because it applies uniformly to all Members. Finally, the Exchange believes that the proposed changes will make the fee schedule clearer and eliminate potential investor confusion, thereby removing impediments to and perfecting the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, protecting investors and the public interest.

    7 15 U.S.C. 78f.

    8 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(4).

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will result in any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act, as amended. To the contrary, the Exchange believes that the proposed rule change will not impose any burden on competition as the changes are purely clerical and do not amend any fee or rebate.

    C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

    The Exchange has not solicited, and does not intend to solicit, comments on this proposed rule change. The Exchange has not received any written comments from members or other interested parties.

    III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

    The foregoing rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act 9 and paragraph (f) of Rule 19b-4 thereunder.10 At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission summarily may temporarily suspend such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

    9 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A).

    10 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f).

    IV. Solicitation of Comments

    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Comments

    • Use the Commission's Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or

    • Send an email to [email protected]. Please include File Number SR-BatsBZX-2016-79 on the subject line.

    Paper Comments

    • Send paper comments in triplicate to Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

    All submissions should refer to File Number SR-BatsBZX-2016-79. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549 on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-BatsBZX-2016-79, and should be submitted on or before December 29, 2016.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.11

    11 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Eduardo A. Aleman, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29387 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-79458; File No. SR-NYSE-2016-69] Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending Chapter Nine of the NYSE Listed Company Manual December 2, 2016.

    Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) 1 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) 2 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,3 notice is hereby given that, on November 23, 2016, New York Stock Exchange LLC (“NYSE” or the “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the self-regulatory organization. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 15 U.S.C. 78a.

    3 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange proposes to amend Chapter Nine of the NYSE Listed Company Manual (the “Manual”) to amend certain of its listing fee provisions. The proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at www.nyse.com, at the principal office of the Exchange, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, the self-regulatory organization included statements concerning the purpose of, and basis for, the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of those statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant parts of such statements.

    A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and the Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose

    The Exchange proposes to amend Chapter Nine of the Manual to amend certain of its listing fee provisions. The amended fees will take effect in the 2017 calendar year. The following are the proposed fee increases:

    • The fee per share charged in connection with the initial listing of a new class of equity securities will be increased from $0.0032 per share to $0.004 per share.

    • The minimum initial listing fee in connection with a new class of equity securities will be increased from $125,000 to $150,000 and the maximum fee will be increased from $250,000 to $295,000.

    • A number of categories of securities are currently billed an annual fee of $0.001025 per share. This rate will be increased to $0.00105 per share.4

    4 The affected securities are as follows: Primary class of common shares (including Equity Investment Tracking Stock); each additional class of common shares (including tracking stock); primary class of preferred stock (if no class of common shares is listed); each additional class of preferred stock (whether primary class is common stock or preferred stock); each class of warrants; structured products listed under Section 902.05; and short-term securities.

    • The minimum annual fee applicable to the primary class of common shares (including Equity Investment Tracking Stock) or the primary class of preferred stock (if no class of common shares is listed) will be increased from $52,500 to $59,500.

    • The minimum annual fee applicable to structured products listed under Section 902.05 and short-term securities listed under Section 902.06 (except for warrants to purchase equity securities) will be increased from $15,000 to $20,000.

    • The initial and annual listing fees for debt listed under Section 102.03 and 103.05 of NYSE equity issuers and affiliated companies will each be increased from $15,000 to $20,000.

    • The initial and annual listing fees for debt listed under Section 102.03 and 103.05 of companies other than NYSE equity issuers and affiliated companies will each be increased from $15,000 to $40,000.5

    5 Domestic debt of issuers not subject to registration under the Act is exempt from all listing fees.

    • The initial and annual listing fees for securities (including short-term securities) that list under the debt standard in Section 703.19 and trade on NYSE Bonds will each be increased from $15,000 to $20,000.

    As described below, the Exchange proposes to make the aforementioned fee increases to better reflect the Exchange's costs related to listing equity securities and the corresponding value of such listing to issuers.

    The Exchange also proposes to remove a number of references throughout Chapter Nine to fees that are no longer applicable as they were superseded by new few [sic] rates specified in the rule text and to delete other obsolete rule text

    2. Statutory Basis

    The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,6 in general, and furthers the objectives of Sections 6(b)(4) 7 of the Act, in particular, in that it is designed to provide for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees, and other charges and is not designed to permit unfair discrimination among its members and issuers and other persons using its facilities. The Exchange also believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act, in particular in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in regulating, clearing, settling, processing information with respect to, and facilitating transactions in securities, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest.

    6 15 U.S.C. 78f(b).

    7 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(4).

    The Exchange believes that it is reasonable to amend Chapter Nine of the Manual to increase the various listing fees as set forth above because the resulting fees would better reflect the Exchange's costs related to such listing and the resulting value that that such listings provide to the issuers. In that regard, the Exchange notes that it has incurred increased expenses as it continues to improve and increase the services it provides to listed companies. These improvements include the development and roll-out of a new interactive web-based platform designed to improve communication between the Exchange and listed companies and significant capital improvements to the Exchange's facility at 11 Wall Street to create state-of-the-art conference facilities to be used by listed companies. The Exchange believes that the proposed fee increases are equitably allocated because the per share fee increase will be the same for all issuers on the Exchange. Therefore, the proposed fee increases will not be unfairly discriminatory towards any individual issuer. The Exchange believes it is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act to apply different fees to bonds of companies that do not have their equity securities listed on the NYSE than to companies with NYSE-listed equity securities and their affiliates, as there is a greater regulatory and administrative burden associated with listing bonds of companies with which the Exchange does not otherwise have a regulatory or listing relationship.

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. The proposed rule change is designed to ensure that the fees charged by the Exchange accurately reflect the services provided and benefits realized by listed companies. The market for listing services is extremely competitive. Each listing exchange has a different fee schedule that applies to issuers seeking to list securities on its exchange. Issuers have the option to list their securities on these alternative venues based on the fees charged and the value provided by each listing. Because issuers have a choice to list their securities on a different national securities exchange, the Exchange does not believe that the proposed fee changes impose a burden on competition.

    C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

    No written comments were solicited or received with respect to the proposed rule change.

    III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

    The foregoing rule change is effective upon filing pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) 8 of the Act and subparagraph (f)(2) of Rule 19b-4 9 thereunder, because it establishes a due, fee, or other charge imposed by the Exchange.

    8 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A).

    9 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(2).

    At any time within 60 days of the filing of such proposed rule change, the Commission summarily may temporarily suspend such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. If the Commission takes such action, the Commission shall institute proceedings under Section 19(b)(2)(B) 10 of the Act to determine whether the proposed rule change should be approved or disapproved.

    10 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(2)(B).

    IV. Solicitation of Comments

    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Comments

    • Use the Commission's Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or

    • Send an email to [email protected] Please include File Number SR-NYSE-2016-69 on the subject line.

    Paper Comments

    • Send paper comments in triplicate to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

    All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NYSE-2016-69. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549 on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NYSE-2016-69, and should be submitted on or before December 29, 2016

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.11

    11 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Eduardo A. Aleman, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29389 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-79456; File No. SR-NASDAQ-2016-162] Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Exchange's Transaction Fees at Rule 7047 December 2, 2016.

    Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 notice is hereby given that, on November 21, 2016, The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange proposes to amend the Exchange's data fees at Rule 7047 to: (i) Reduce the enterprise license fee for Nasdaq Basic from $350,000 to $100,000 per month for broker-dealers distributing Nasdaq Basic to Non-Professional and Professional Subscribers with whom the broker-dealer has a brokerage relationship; and (ii) eliminate a requirement that broker-dealers purchase other products—specifically, Nasdaq Last Sale and Nasdaq TotalView/OpenView—to qualify for the license. The Exchange also proposes a number of conforming changes: (1) To clarify which Subscribers may receive the data; (2) to limit the use of the data by Professional Subscribers; and (3) to specify that each electronic system used to distribute data under the enterprise license must be separately approved. The proposal is described in further detail below.

    These amendments are effective upon filing.

    The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at http://nasdaq.cchwallstreet.com, at the principal office of the Exchange, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, the Exchange included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

    A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose

    The purpose of the proposed rule change is to: (i) Reduce the enterprise license fee for Nasdaq Basic from $350,000 to $100,000 per month for broker-dealers distributing Nasdaq Basic to Professional and Non-Professional Subscribers with whom the broker-dealer has a brokerage relationship; and (ii) eliminate the requirement that broker-dealers purchase other products—specifically, Nasdaq Last Sale and Nasdaq TotalView/OpenView—to qualify for the license. To clarify how to apply the proposed fee reduction, the Exchange is also proposing language specifying that Subscribers must be natural persons; limiting use of the data by Professional Subscribers to their brokerage relationships with the broker-dealer; and requiring that each electronic system used to distribute data from the enterprise license be separately approved by the Exchange.

    Current Nasdaq Basic Enterprise License

    Nasdaq Basic provides best bid and offer and last sale information from the Nasdaq Market Center and from the FINRA/Nasdaq Trade Reporting Facility (“FINRA/NASDAQ TRF”). Data is taken from three sources, which may be purchased individually or in combination: (i) Nasdaq Basic for Nasdaq, which contains the best bid and offer on the Nasdaq Market Center and last sale trade reports for Nasdaq and the FINRA/Nasdaq TRF for Nasdaq-listed stocks; (ii) Nasdaq Basic for NYSE, which contains the best bid and offer on the Nasdaq Market Center and last sale trade reports for Nasdaq and the FINRA/Nasdaq TRF for NYSE-listed stocks; and (iii) Nasdaq Basic for NYSE MKT, which contains the best bid and offer on the Nasdaq Market Center and last sale trade reports for Nasdaq and the FINRA/Nasdaq TRF for stocks listed on NYSE MKT and other listing venues whose quotes and trade reports are disseminated on Tape B.

    Nasdaq Basic may be purchased through per-subscriber monthly charges, per-query fees, or, for broker-dealers, monthly enterprise licenses. These monthly enterprise licenses are available in two types: An internal license for Professional Subscribers, and a license for Non-Professional and Professional Subscribers with whom the broker-dealer has a brokerage relationship.

    The second type of license, for Professional and Non-Professional Subscribers in a brokerage relationship with the broker-dealer, is currently available for $350,000 per month. To qualify for this license, the broker-dealer must also: (i) Distribute Nasdaq Last Sale for Nasdaq or Nasdaq Last Sale for NYSE/NYSE MKT via an internet-based electronic system approved by Nasdaq pursuant to Rule 7039(b)(2)(B), at a level that allows it to qualify for the fee cap provided for in Rule 7039(b); (ii) distribute Nasdaq TotalView or Nasdaq OpenView data under an enterprise license pursuant to Rule 7023(c)(1); and (iii) pay the Distributor Fee for Nasdaq Basic under paragraph [sic] (c)(1) or for Nasdaq Last Sale under Rule 7039(c). The electronic system used to distribute Nasdaq Basic must be approved by Nasdaq, and the broker-dealer must report the number of Subscribers at least once per calendar year.

    Proposed Changes

    The Exchange proposes: (i) Reducing the enterprise license fee for Nasdaq Basic from $350,000 to $100,000 per month for broker-dealers distributing Nasdaq Basic to Non-Professional and Professional Subscribers with whom the broker-dealer has a brokerage relationship; and (ii) eliminating the two requirements that the purchaser distribute Nasdaq Last Sale for Nasdaq or Nasdaq Last Sale for NYSE/NYSE MKT at a level that allows it to qualify for the fee cap provided for in Rule 7039(b), and distribute Nasdaq TotalView or Nasdaq OpenView data under an enterprise license pursuant to Rule 7023(c)(1). The proposed changes will promote the use of Nasdaq Basic by lowering its cost to investors and broadening the scope of its distribution to the investing public.

    The Exchange also proposes three conforming changes to clarify how to apply the proposed fee reduction.

    First, although the term “Professional Subscribers” is defined elsewhere in the rule to include legal entities that are not natural persons, the enterprise license set forth under Rule 7047(b)(5) may not be used to provide information to any business or other entity that is not a natural person. This is a clarification of current practice.

    Second, Professional Subscribers may use the data obtained through this license only in the context of the brokerage relationship between the Professional Subscriber and the broker-dealer, and may not use such data within the scope of any professional engagement or registration identified in Rule 7047(d)(3)(A). Specifically, a Professional Subscriber may not use that data in his or her capacity as a person who is: (i) Registered or qualified in any capacity with the Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, any state securities agency, or any securities exchange or association; (ii) engaged as an `investment adviser' as that term is defined in Section 201(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (whether or not registered or qualified under that Act); or (iii) employed by a bank or other organization exempt from registration under federal or state securities laws to perform functions that would require registration or qualification if such functions were performed for an organization not so exempt.3 Professional Subscribers who use Nasdaq Basic in the course of their professional duties will be charged for such usage as appropriate, based on the service(s) used. This clarifying language does not change current practice.

    3 The phrase “any commodities or futures contract market or association” has been deleted from this summary of Rule 7047(d)(3)(A) as unduly repetitive. Only natural persons may be Subscribers under this rule. A “commodities or futures contract market or association” is not a natural person, and therefore is not eligible to receive information under this rule.

    Third, if more than one electronic system is used to distribute information under this license, each such system must be separately approved by the Exchange. In addition, the approved electronic systems may be used to distribute information to any customer eligible to receive such information under this rule. Prior language limiting distribution to employees of the broker-dealer is deleted. Language is also added to clarify that the broker-dealer must pay for any Nasdaq Last Sale data distributed under Rule 7039(c), if the broker-dealer elects to distribute such data. None of these proposed modifications represent a change from current practice.

    The enterprise license fee is entirely optional, in that it applies only to broker-dealers that opt to distribute Nasdaq Basic to Professional and Non-Professional Subscribers as described herein.4 It does not impact or raise the cost of any other Nasdaq product, and in fact serves to decrease the cost of Nasdaq Basic in instances where a broker-dealer elects to purchase this license.

    4 Nasdaq notes, moreover, that no broker-dealer may provide, in a context in which a trading or order-routing decision can be implemented, a display of any information with respect to quotations for or transactions in an NMS stock without also providing, in an equivalent manner, a consolidated display for such stock. 17 CFR 242.603(c).

    2. Statutory Basis

    The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,5 in general, and furthers the objectives of Sections 6(b)(4) and 6(b)(5) of the Act,6 in particular, in that it provides for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees and other charges among members and issuers and other persons using any facility, and is not designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, issuers, brokers, or dealers.

    5 15 U.S.C. 78f(b).

    6 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(4) and (5).

    The Commission and the courts have repeatedly expressed their preference for competition over regulatory intervention in determining prices, products, and services in the securities markets. In Regulation NMS, while adopting a series of steps to improve the current market model, the Commission highlighted the importance of market forces in determining prices and SRO revenues, and also recognized that current regulation of the market system “has been remarkably successful in promoting market competition in its broader forms that are most important to investors and listed companies.” 7

    7 Securities Exchange Act Release No. 51808 (June 9, 2005), 70 FR 37496, 37499 (June 29, 2005) (“Regulation NMS Adopting Release”).

    Likewise, in NetCoalition v. Securities and Exchange Commission8 (“NetCoalition”) the D.C. Circuit upheld the Commission's use of a market-based approach in evaluating the fairness of market data fees against a challenge claiming that Congress mandated a cost-based approach.9 As the court emphasized, the Commission “intended in Regulation NMS that `market forces, rather than regulatory requirements' play a role in determining the market data . . . to be made available to investors and at what cost.” 10

    8NetCoalition v. SEC, 615 F.3d 525 (D.C. Cir. 2010).

    9See NetCoalition, at 534-535.

    10Id. at 537.

    Further, “[n]o one disputes that competition for order flow is `fierce.' . . . As the SEC explained, `[i]n the U.S. national market system, buyers and sellers of securities, and the broker-dealers that act as their order-routing agents, have a wide range of choices of where to route orders for execution'; [and] `no exchange can afford to take its market share percentages for granted' because `no exchange possesses a monopoly, regulatory or otherwise, in the execution of order flow from broker dealers' . . . .” 11

    11Id. at 539 (quoting Securities Exchange Act Release No. 59039 (December 2, 2008), 73 FR 74770, 74782-83 (December 9, 2008) (SR-NYSEArca-2006-21)).

    The Exchange believes that the proposed fee reduction and the elimination of conditions to qualify for the Nasdaq Basic enterprise license under Rule 7047(b)(5) is reasonable. The proposed changes will benefit the investing public by lowering the cost and increasing the availability of information in the marketplace. Moreover, the fees for Nasdaq Basic, like all proprietary data fees, are constrained by the Exchange's need to compete for order flow, and are subject to competition from other products and among broker-dealers for customers.

    The Exchange believes that the proposed fee reduction is an equitable allocation and is not unfairly discriminatory because the Exchange will apply the same fee to all similarly situated broker-dealers. Moreover, by allocating the fee reduction to broker-dealers that distribute the product widely among customers, the change will assist in promoting a wider distribution of information to the investing public.

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. In terms of inter-market competition, the Exchange notes that it operates in a highly competitive market in which market participants can readily favor competing venues if they deem fee levels at a particular venue to be excessive, or rebate opportunities available at other venues to be more favorable. In such an environment, the Exchange must continually adjust its fees to remain competitive with other exchanges and with alternative trading systems that have been exempted from compliance with the statutory standards applicable to exchanges. Because competitors are free to modify their own fees in response, and because market participants may readily adjust their order routing practices, the Exchange believes that the degree to which fee changes in this market may impose any burden on competition is extremely limited.

    The proposed change will: (i) Reduce the enterprise license fee for Nasdaq Basic from $350,000 to $100,000 per month for broker-dealers distributing Nasdaq Basic to Non-Professional and Professional Subscribers with whom the broker-dealer has a brokerage relationship; and (ii) eliminate the requirement that broker-dealers purchase other products—specifically, Last Sale for Nasdaq or Last Sale for NYSE/NYSE MKT, and TotalView or OpenView—to qualify for the license. This will reduce the cost of Nasdaq Basic to investors, resulting in information becoming more widely available to the investing public.

    As illustrated by the proposed fee reduction, market forces constrain fees for Nasdaq Basic. This occurs in three distinct respects. First, all fees related to Nasdaq Basic are constrained by competition among exchanges and other entities attracting order flow. Firms make decisions regarding Nasdaq Basic and other proprietary data based on the total cost of interacting with the Exchange, and order flow would be harmed by the supracompetitive pricing of any proprietary data product. Second, the price of Nasdaq Basic is constrained by the existence of multiple substitutes that are offered, or may be offered, by entities that offer proprietary or non-proprietary data. The proposed price reduction itself provides evidence of the need to maintain low prices in a competitive marketplace. Third, competition among broker-dealers for customers will further constrain the cost of a Nasdaq Basic enterprise license.

    Competition for Order Flow

    Fees related to Nasdaq Basic are constrained by competition among exchanges and other entities seeking to attract order flow. Order flow is the “life blood” of the exchanges. Broker-dealers currently have numerous alternative venues for their order flow, including thirteen self-regulatory organization (“SRO”) markets, as well as internalizing broker-dealers (“BDs”) and various forms of alternative trading systems (“ATSs”), including dark pools and electronic communication networks (“ECNs”). Each SRO market competes to produce transaction reports via trade executions, and two FINRA-regulated Trade Reporting Facilities (“TRFs”) compete to attract internalized transaction reports. The existence of fierce competition for order flow implies a high degree of price sensitivity on the part of BDs, which may readily reduce costs by directing orders toward the lowest-cost trading venues.

    The level of competition and contestability in the market for order flow is demonstrated by the numerous examples of entrants that swiftly grew into some of the largest electronic trading platforms and proprietary data producers: Archipelago, Bloomberg Tradebook, Island, RediBook, Attain, TracECN, BATS Trading and BATS/Direct Edge. A proliferation of dark pools and other ATSs operate profitably with fragmentary shares of consolidated market volume. For a variety of reasons, competition from new entrants, especially for order execution, has increased dramatically over the last decade.

    Each SRO, TRF, ATS, and BD that competes for order flow is permitted to produce proprietary data products. Many currently do or have announced plans to do so, including NYSE, NYSE Amex, NYSE Arca, BATS, and IEX. This is because Regulation NMS deregulated the market for proprietary data. While BDs had previously published their proprietary data individually, Regulation NMS encourages market data vendors and BDs to produce proprietary products cooperatively in a manner never before possible. Order routers and market data vendors can facilitate production of proprietary data products for single or multiple BDs. The potential sources of proprietary products are virtually limitless.

    The markets for order flow and proprietary data are inextricably linked: a trading platform cannot generate market information unless it receives trade orders. As a result, the competition for order flow constrains the prices that platforms can charge for proprietary data products. Firms make decisions on how much and what types of data to consume based on the total cost of interacting with Nasdaq and other exchanges. Data fees are but one factor in a total platform analysis. If the cost of the product exceeds its expected value, the broker-dealer will choose not to buy it. A supracompetitive increase in the fees charged for either transactions or proprietary data has the potential to impair revenues from both products. In this manner, the competition for order flow will constrain prices for proprietary data products, including charges relating to Nasdaq Basic.

    Substitute Products

    The price of data derived from Nasdaq Basic is constrained by the existence of multiple substitutes offered by numerous entities, including both proprietary data offered by other SROs or other entities, and non-proprietary data disseminated by Securities Information Processors (“SIPs”).

    The information provided through Nasdaq Basic is a subset of the best bid and offer and last sale data provided by the SIPs. The “core” data disseminated by the SIP consists of best-price quotations and last sale information from all markets in U.S.-listed equities; Nasdaq Basic provides best bid and offer and last sale information for all U.S. exchange-listed stocks based on trade reports from the Nasdaq Market Center and the FINRA/Nasdaq Trade Reporting Facility. Many customers that purchase SIP data do not also purchase Nasdaq Basic because they are closely related products. In cases where customers buy both products, they may shift the extent to which they purchase one or the other based on price changes. The SIP constrains the price of Nasdaq Basic because no purchaser would pay an excessive price for Nasdaq Basic when similar data is also available from the SIP.

    Proprietary data sold by other exchanges also constrain the price of Nasdaq Basic. NYSE and BATS, like Nasdaq, sell proprietary non-core data that include best bid and offer and last sale data. Customers do not typically purchase proprietary best bid and offer and last sale data from multiple exchanges. Other proprietary data products constrain the price of Nasdaq Basic because no customer would pay an excessive price for Nasdaq Basic when substitute data is available from other proprietary sources.

    Competition Among Broker-Dealers for Customers

    The enterprise license at issue is sold for use by the customers of a broker-dealer. There is no legal or regulatory requirement that such customers have direct access to data feeds containing best bid and offer or last sale information through Nasdaq Basic. If the price of the enterprise license were to be set above competitive levels, the broker-dealer purchasing that license would be at a competitive disadvantage relative to broker-dealers purchasing an alternative product as well as broker-dealers not purchasing any comparable product at all. As such, the broker-dealer at a competitive disadvantage would either purchase a substitute or forego the product altogether. The competition among broker-dealers for customers thereby provides yet another check on the price for Nasdaq Basic.

    In summary, the proposed rule change lowers the cost of Nasdaq Basic and broadens its availability to the investing public. Market forces constrain the Nasdaq Basic enterprise license through competition for order flow, competition from substitute products, and in the competition among broker-dealers for customers. For these reasons, the Exchange has provided a substantial basis demonstrating that the fee is equitable, fair, reasonable, and not unreasonably discriminatory, and therefore consistent with and in furtherance of the purposes of the Exchange Act.

    C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

    No written comments were either solicited or received.

    III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

    The foregoing rule change has become effective pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A)(ii) of the Act.12

    12 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(ii).

    At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission summarily may temporarily suspend such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is: (i) Necessary or appropriate in the public interest; (ii) for the protection of investors; or (iii) otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. If the Commission takes such action, the Commission shall institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule should be approved or disapproved.

    IV. Solicitation of Comments

    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Comments

    • Use the Commission's Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or

    • Send an email to [email protected] Please include File Number SR-NASDAQ-2016-162 on the subject line.

    Paper Comments

    • Send paper comments in triplicate to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

    All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NASDAQ-2016-162. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549 on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NASDAQ-2016-162, and should be submitted on or before December 29, 2016.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.13

    13 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Eduardo A. Aleman, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29386 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-79455; File No. SR-FINRA-2016-033] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rule 12400 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes and Rule 13400 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Industry Disputes Relating To Broadening Chairperson Eligibility in Arbitration December 2, 2016. I. Introduction

    On August 18, 2016, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) 1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 a proposed rule change to amend Rules 12400 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes (“Customer Code”) and Rule 13400 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Industry Disputes (“Industry Code” and, together with the Customer Code, “Codes”).3 The proposed rule change would allow an attorney arbitrator to qualify for the chairperson roster if he or she completes chairperson training and serves as an arbitrator through award on at least one arbitration. The Codes currently require that an attorney must serve as arbitrator through award on at least two arbitrations in order to qualify for the chairperson roster.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3See File No. SR-FINRA-2016-033.

    The proposed rule change was published for comment in the Federal Register on September 6, 2016.4 The public comment period closed on September 27, 2016. The Commission received five (5) comment letters on the proposed amendments.5 On October 14, 2016, FINRA extended the time period in which the Commission must approve the proposed rule change, disapprove the proposed rule change, or institute proceedings to determine whether to approve or disapprove the proposed rule change to December 5, 2016.6 On November 22, 2016, FINRA responded to the comment letters received in response to the Notice.7 This order approves the proposed rule change.

    4See Exchange Act Release No. 78729 (Aug. 30, 2016); 81 FR 61288 (Sept. 6, 2016) (“Notice”).

    5See Letters from Steven B. Caruso, Esq., Maddox Hargett Caruso, P.C. (Aug. 31, 2016) (“Caruso Letter”); Ryan K. Bakhtiari, Aidikoff, Uhl and Bakhtiari (Sept. 9, 2016) (“Bakhtiari Letter”); Hugh Berkson, President, Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (“PIABA”) (Sept. 23, 2016) (“PIABA Letter”); Nicole Iannarone, Asst. Clinical Professor, and Geoffrey R. Hafer, Student Intern, Investor Advocacy Clinic, Georgia State University College of Law (“GSU”) (Sept. 26, 2016) (“GSU Letter”); and David T. Bellaire, Esq., Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Financial Services Institute (“FSI”) (Sept. 27, 2016) (“FSI Letter”). The comment letters are available on FINRA's Web site at http://www.finra.org, at the principal office of FINRA, at the Commission's Web site at https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-finra-2016-033/finra2016033.shtml, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    6See Letter from Margo A. Hassan, Associate Chief Counsel, FINRA, to Lourdes Gonzalez, Assistant Chief Counsel—Sales Practices, Division of Trading and Markets, Securities and Exchange Commission, dated October 14, 2016.

    7See Letter from Margo A. Hassan, Associate Chief Counsel, FINRA, to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Securities and Exchange the Commission, dated November 22, 2016 (“FINRA Letter”). The FINRA Letter is available on FINRA's Web site at http://www.finra.org, at the principal office of FINRA, at the Commission's Web site at https://www.sec.gov/comments/sr-finra-2016-033/finra2016033.shtml, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    II. Description of the Proposed Rule Change 8

    8 The subsequent description of the proposed rule change is substantially excerpted from FINRA's description in the Notice. See Notice, 81 FR at 61288-61289.

    Background

    FINRA arbitrators possess the broad authority to “interpret and determine the applicability of all provisions under the Code[s]. Such interpretations are final and binding upon the parties.” 9 To facilitate the fair administration of proceedings in the FINRA forum, arbitrators must possess sufficient qualifications and participate in appropriate training 10 —particularly where an arbitrator presides over the proceeding as chairperson, with the authority to, among other things, direct witness appearances, order the production of documents and information, and set deadlines in a given case.11

    9See FINRA Rules 12409 (Jurisdiction of Panel and Authority to Interpret the Code) and 13413 (Jurisdiction of Panel and Authority to Interpret the Code).

    10See Notice, 81 FR 61289.

    11See FINRA Office of Dispute Resolution Arbitrator's Guide (Oct. 2016), at page 31, available at http://www.finra.org/sites/default/files/arbitrators-ref-guide.pdf.

    FINRA maintains a roster of non-public arbitrators,12 public arbitrators,13 and arbitrators who are eligible to serve as chairperson in each of its 71 hearing locations.14 FINRA employs its computerized Neutral List Selection System to randomly generate lists of potential arbitrators for each proceeding from these rosters.15 The parties then select their arbitrators through a process of striking and ranking the names on the list generated by the Neutral List Selection System.16

    12 For the definition of “non-public arbitrator,” see FINRA Rules 12100(p) and 13100(p).

    13 For the definition of “public arbitrator,” see FINRA Rules 12100(u) and 13100(u).

    14See FINRA Rules 12400(b) and 13400(b).

    15See FINRA Rules 12400(a) and 13400(a).

    16Id.

    The Codes provide that arbitrators are eligible for the chairperson roster if they have completed chairperson training provided by FINRA and:

    • Have a law degree and are a member of a bar of at least one jurisdiction, and have served as an arbitrator through award on at least two arbitrations administered by a self-regulatory organization in which hearings were held; or

    • Have served as an arbitrator through award on at least three arbitrations administered by a self-regulatory organization in which hearings were held.17

    17See FINRA Rules 12400(c) and 13400(c).

    Additionally, in customer disputes, chairpersons must be public arbitrators.18

    18See FINRA Rule 12400(c).

    In February 2015, the Commission approved a proposal by FINRA to amend its definition of “public arbitrator,” 19 The amended definition took effect in June 2015,20 resulting in the reclassification of approximately 13.8 percent of public arbitrators as non-public arbitrators, and the rendering of 2.6 percent of its public arbitrator roster as temporarily disqualified or ineligible for service.21 Many of the arbitrators who were reclassified or disqualified had been chair-qualified prior to the amendment.22 Currently, FINRA's rosters contain approximately 6,750 arbitrators, of which 3,060 are currently classified as public. Of those classified as public arbitrators, approximately 1,000 are deemed chair-qualified.23

    19See Exchange Act Release No. 74383 (Feb. 26, 2015), 80 FR 11695 (Mar. 4, 2015) (Order Approving Filing No. SR-FINRA-2014-028) (in part narrowing the public arbitrator definition by adding disqualifications relating to, among other things, affiliations with the securities industry concerning an arbitrator's family member or place of employment).

    20See Notice, 81 FR 61288.

    21See id.

    22See id.

    23See id.

    FINRA contends that forum users have complained about the diminished availability of public chairpersons after the amendment to the public arbitrator definition. FINRA also states that forum users have complained of scheduling difficulties and additional costs associated with traveling chairpersons (i.e., public chairpersons that FINRA asks to travel to other hearing locations to expand the roster of available public chairpersons for a given location), as well as out-of-town arbitrators' lack of familiarity with local venue customs and procedures.24 Moreover, FINRA states that it has had limited success in enrolling new public chairpersons, and that the need for public chairpersons could potentially surpass the availability of public chairpersons who meet the qualifications under the existing Codes.25

    24See id.

    25See id.

    Proposed Rule Change

    FINRA is proposing to amend the eligibility requirements under the Codes for arbitrators who seek to qualify as chairpersons. The amendment would allow an attorney arbitrator to qualify for the chairperson roster if he or she completes chairperson training and serves as an arbitrator through award on at least one arbitration administered by a self-regulatory organization where hearings are held, instead of two arbitrations (as is currently required). FINRA is also proposing to replace the bullets in Rules 12400 and 13400 with numbers for ease of citation.

    FINRA states that reducing the case experience requirement for would-be arbitrators from two arbitrations to one arbitration could add more than 270 attorney arbitrators across 59 of its 71 hearing locations, potentially resulting in a nearly 30 percent increase in the number of arbitrators who might be eligible to serve as public chairpersons once they take chairperson training.26 FINRA also believes that the proposed rule change would increase the availability of local chairpersons for forum users, lowering instances in which chairpersons must travel, and ameliorating parties' concerns regarding out-of-town arbitrators.27

    26See id. at 61289.

    27See id.

    III. Summary of Comments and FINRA's Response

    The Commission received five (5) comment letters on the proposed rule change,28 and a response letter from FINRA.29 Three commenters supported the amendment,30 and two generally supported the amendment while advocating for further action.31 FINRA's response to commenters' concerns and suggestions are incorporated below.

    28See supra note 5.

    29See supra note 7.

    30See Caruso Letter, Bakhtiari Letter, and FSI Letter.

    31See PIABA Letter and GSU Letter.

    Comment Letters in Support of the Proposal

    As noted above, three commenters supported FINRA's proposed amendments to the Codes. One commenter stated that the proposal would “be a fair, equitable and reasonable approach that would facilitate the increased appointment of local chairpersons to arbitration panels and, at the same time, would reduce the necessity for the appointment of out-of-state chairpersons.” 32 A second commenter supported the proposed amendment on the ground that it “would significantly increase the available number of arbitrators included on the Chair roster and represents an important step towards increasing the probability of drawing local chairpersons in suburban or remote hearing locations.” 33 A third commenter supported the proposal based on its belief that the requirement of a law degree and participation in one arbitration through award are reasonable criteria for a public chair.34

    32See Caruso Letter.

    33See Bakhtiari Letter.

    34See FSI Letter.

    Supportive Comment Letters Recommending Modifications to the Proposal

    Two comment letters recommended modifications to the proposal, while generally expressing support for the proposal. One commenter stated that investors would “benefit from a larger pool of qualified public chairpersons” and generally supported the proposed rule as “a positive step in regards to increasing the number of arbitrators in proposed chair pools[.]” 35 Another commenter stated that it “applaud[s] FINRA's decision to expand the public arbitrator chair pool[.]” 36 However, both commenters raised additional concerns and suggestions for the proposed amendment.

    35See PIABA Letter.

    36See GSU Letter.

    • Enhancing Transparency of the Arbitrator Selection Process

    One commenter advocated for greater transparency regarding arbitrators' backgrounds and qualifications, as well as greater transparency in the arbitrator selection process generally in order to improve investor confidence in FINRA arbitrators.37 According to this commenter, FINRA's current disclosure system, which provides information regarding arbitrators' education, employment history and potential conflicts, is insufficient to eliminate the appearance of impropriety and bias.38

    37See PIABA Letter.

    38Id.

    In response, FINRA stated that it produces a disclosure report reflecting the prior employment, educational history, and previous arbitration awards for every potential arbitrator during the appointment process.39 FINRA also requires arbitrators to either certify the accuracy of the information in the disclosure report or update the report when they are appointed to a case.40 In addition, FINRA reminds arbitrators on a quarterly basis to review their disclosure reports and revise them as needed. Moreover, FINRA stated that it is revising its disclosure reporting system to alert parties of the last time the arbitrator certified the accuracy of the information contained therein.41

    39See FINRA Letter.

    40Id.

    41Id.

    • Use of Out-of-Town Arbitrators and Recruitment Initiatives

    One commenter stated that the overall reduction in the number of eligible chairpersons has reduced the pool of local chairpersons, and caused FINRA to ask non-local chairpersons to travel to multiple hearing locations.42 This commenter believes that the use of non-local arbitrators has resulted in inconvenience, delay, and additional costs to parties, and has led to a decrease in customer awards because of non-local arbitrators' purported bias in favor of the industry.43 For these reasons, the commenter suggested that, to the extent possible, FINRA should eliminate the use of non-local arbitrators and increase the size of regional pools—especially where out-of-state arbitrators regularly appear on public and chair-qualified ranking lists.44

    42See PIABA Letter.

    43See id.

    44See id.

    In its response, FINRA stated that it uses arbitrators in neighboring hearing locations “to ensure an effective ratio of available arbitrators to open cases in each location[.]” 45 For example, “as an interim measure, FINRA took steps to bolster the pool of arbitrators in smaller hearing locations that were impacted by the amended public arbitrator definition by asking chairs from larger hearing locations . . . if they would be willing to serve[.]” 46 FINRA also stated, however, that it agrees that it should increase the size of its public arbitrator pool, and stated that it has been “actively recruiting new arbitrators, paying particular attention to locations with the greatest need.” 47

    45See FINRA Letter.

    46Id.

    47Id.

    • Additional Chairperson Training and Mentorship

    One commenter expressed the concern that the proposed rule change might sacrifice chairperson quality at the expense of chairperson quantity, as “quality pools are paramount to a fair and equitable arbitration proceeding, as well as the public investors' confidence in the overall arbitration process.” 48 The commenter therefore recommended, in part, that FINRA adopt a “Chairperson Mentor program” to increase the quality of chair-qualified arbitrators.49

    48See PIABA Letter.

    49Id.

    Another commenter similarly asserted that, by expanding chairperson eligibility, the proposed rule change would reduce arbitrators' exposure to live proceedings prior to serving as a chair.50 To address this reduction in experience, the commenter proposed that FINRA “include in the Office of Dispute Resolution Chairperson Training a module or section that specifically addresses the procedural and substantive issues that regularly arise in live arbitration proceedings.” 51 Alternatively, the commenter proposed that FINRA require arbitrators to observe a live or mock proceeding before becoming eligible to serve as a public chair.52

    50See GSU Letter.

    51Id.

    52Id.

    In response, FINRA stated that, earlier this year, it implemented a chairperson mentorship program to facilitate interaction between new chairpersons and experienced chairpersons.53 In addition, in November 2016, FINRA provided arbitrators access to online workshops that address issues chairpersons regularly encounter.54 Moreover, FINRA stated that it regularly invites qualified arbitrators to complete chairperson training.55

    53See FINRA Letter.

    54Id.

    55Id.

    • Simplifying the Arbitrator Application Process

    One commenter expressed concern that the arbitrator application process is “burdensome and intimidating and surely drives away many potential arbitrators which further weakens the number and quality of arbitrators available in the FINRA system.” 56 Accordingly, PIABA suggested that FINRA simplify the arbitrator application process.57

    56See PIABA Letter.

    57Id.

    FINRA responded that, in 2017, it plans to replace the “time-consuming” “Securities Disputes Experience” section of the arbitrator application with a section that allows applicants to explain their securities disputes expertise and skills in narrative form.58 FINRA believes that this change will simplify the arbitrator application process.59

    58See FINRA Letter.

    59Id.

    • Revisiting the “Public Arbitrator” Definition

    One commenter cited the 2015 amendments to the definition of “Public Arbitrator” as a significant contributor to the reduction in the chairperson roster overall and disproportionately for claimants with smaller claims.60 For instance, GSU stated that there are only 40 chair-qualified arbitrators in its primary hearing location, Atlanta.61 The commenter thus recommended that FINRA revisit the 2015 amendments to the public arbitrator definition as a means for increasing the chairperson roster.

    60See GSU Letter.

    61Id.

    In response, FINRA stated that it had revisited the 2015 amendments to the arbitrator definitions and determined not to change the public arbitrator definition, as FINRA deemed it important for public arbitrators to have no significant affiliation with the financial industry.62 However, FINRA noted that a gap exists between the public and non-public arbitrator definitions, which excludes otherwise qualified individuals from service as arbitrators—often because of family or co-workers' affiliations.63 According to FINRA, in September 2016, its Board of Governors authorized FINRA to file with the Commission proposed amendments to Rules 12100 and 13100 of the Codes to revise the non-public arbitrator definition.64 These amendments would define a non-public arbitrator as a person who is otherwise qualified to serve as an arbitrator, and is disqualified from classification as a public arbitrator.65 By closing this gap, FINRA asserted that it could expand its roster of available arbitrators.66

    62See FINRA Letter.

    63Id.

    64Id.

    65Id.

    66Id.

    IV. Discussion and Commission Findings

    The Commission has carefully considered the proposal, the comments received, and FINRA's response to the comments. Based on its review of the record, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Exchange Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities association.67 In particular, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 15A(b)(6) of the Exchange Act,68 which requires, among other things, that FINRA's rules be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest.

    67 In approving the proposed rule change, the Commission has also considered its impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. See 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

    68 15 U.S.C. 78o-3(b)(6).

    As discussed above, the proposal would amend Rules 12400 and 13400 of the Codes to allow an attorney arbitrator to qualify for the chairperson roster if he or she completes chairperson training and serves as an arbitrator through award on at least one arbitration administered by a self-regulatory organization where hearings are held, instead of two arbitrations (as is currently required). It would also replace the bullets in Rules 12400 and 13400 with numbers for ease of citation.

    The Commission has considered the five (5) comment letters received on the proposed rule change,69 along with FINRA's response to the comments.70 The Commission acknowledges the supportive commenters' positions that the proposal would “be a fair, equitable and reasonable approach that would facilitate the increased appointment of local chairpersons to arbitration panels,” 71 that it “would significantly increase the available number of arbitrators included on the Chair roster and represents an important step towards increasing the probability of drawing local chairpersons in suburban or remote hearing locations,” 72 and that the requirement of a law degree and participation in one arbitration through award are reasonable criteria for a public chair.73 However, the Commission also acknowledges commenters' concerns and recommended modifications to the proposal.74 These concerns and modifications are discussed below.

    69See supra note 5.

    70See supra note 7.

    71See Caruso Letter.

    72See Bakhtiari Letter.

    73See FSI Letter.

    74See PIABA Letter and GSU Letter.

    • Enhancing Transparency of the Arbitrator Selection Process

    The Commission acknowledges the commenter's concern that FINRA's current disclosure system does not always eliminate the appearance of impropriety and bias in the FINRA arbitration forum, and agrees that transparency in the arbitrator selection process improves investor confidence in FINRA arbitrators.75 However, the Commission believes that FINRA's disclosure reporting system provides parties with a basis on which to identify potential arbitrator conflicts and biases. Moreover, the Commission believes that by reminding arbitrators to update their disclosure reports, and notifying parties of the last date an arbitrator certified the accuracy of the disclosure report, FINRA will further help ensure that parties have up-to-date information on which to base their arbitrator selections.

    75See PIABA Letter.

    • Use of Out-of-Town Arbitrators and Recruitment Initiatives

    The Commission acknowledges the commenter's concerns regarding the inconvenience, delay, and additional costs caused by the use of non-local arbitrators.76 However, given the reported insufficient levels of local chairpersons in certain hearing locations,77 the Commission does not believe it is feasible or practical to eliminate the use of non-local arbitrators, as the commenter suggested.78 Instead, the Commission acknowledges the necessity of FINRA's policy of asking public chairs from larger, geographically proximate hearing locations to serve as chairpersons in regions with insufficient levels of local qualified chairpersons. The Commission additionally supports FINRA's increased arbitrator recruitment efforts, and anticipates that such efforts will eventually result in a broader, more diverse pool of arbitrator candidates.

    76Id.

    77See FINRA Letter.

    78See PIABA Letter.

    • Additional Chairperson Training and Mentorship

    With regard to commenters' concerns that the proposed amendment might decrease the quality and experience of arbitrator chairpersons at the expense of increasing the quantity of chairpersons, the Commission acknowledges their recommendation that a mentor program or additional trainings should be provided to chairpersons.79 The Commission generally believes that FINRA's implementation of a chairperson mentorship program, as well as its increased provision of and focus on arbitrator trainings should effectively address the commenters' concerns.

    79See PIABA Letter and GSU Letter.

    • Simplifying the Arbitrator Application Process

    The Commission acknowledges the concern expressed regarding FINRA's purportedly burdensome and intimidating arbitrator application process, and the potential deterrent effect the process might have on would-be arbitrator applicants.80 However, the Commission believes that a rigorous application process is necessary to verify the qualifications of arbitrator candidates. Furthermore, the Commission expects that FINRA's use of a narrative application section where applicants can explain their securities disputes expertise and skills will simplify the arbitrator application process without degrading the value of the elicited information, thereby addressing the commenter's concern.

    80See PIABA Letter.

    • Revisiting the “Public Arbitrator” Definition

    The Commission acknowledges the commenter's suggestion that FINRA reconsider the 2015 amendments to the public arbitrator definition in an effort to combat the resulting reduction in the chairperson roster.81 However, at the time the Commission approved the 2015 amendments to the public arbitrator definition, the Commission determined that the approach proposed by FINRA was appropriate and designed to protect investors and the public interest, consistent with Section 15A(b)(6) of the Exchange Act and the rules and regulations thereunder.82 Accordingly, the Commission also gives due regard to FINRA's decision not to amend the definition of public arbitrator at this time.83 Nevertheless, the Commission will give appropriate consideration to any proposed amendments to FINRA Rules 12100 and 13100 to revise the non-public arbitrator definition to eliminate any gaps in the Codes' arbitrator classifications that could expand its roster of available arbitrators.

    81See GSU Letter.

    82See 80 FR 11695 at 11704-11705.

    83See FINRA Letter.

    Taking into consideration the comments and FINRA's responses, the Commission finds that the proposal is consistent with the Exchange Act. Specifically, the Commission believes that the proposal will help protect investors and the public interest by, among other things, broadening the roster of available arbitrator chairpersons, while preserving the quality of arbitrators who would serve as chairpersons. Furthermore, the Commission believes that FINRA's responses, as discussed in more detail above, appropriately addressed commenters' concerns and adequately explained FINRA's reasons for declining to modify its proposal. Accordingly, the Commission believes that the approach proposed by FINRA is appropriate and designed to protect investors and the public interest, consistent with Section 15A(b)(6) of the Exchange Act and the rules and regulations thereunder.

    V. Conclusion

    It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Exchange Act,84 that the proposed rule change (SR-FINRA-2016-033) be, and hereby is, approved.

    84 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(2).

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.85

    85 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Eduardo A. Aleman, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29385 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION [Disaster Declaration #14997 and #14998] Minnesota Disaster #MN-00059 AGENCY:

    U.S. Small Business Administration.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This is a Notice of the Presidential declaration of a major disaster for the State of Minnesota (FEMA-4290-DR), dated 11/29/2016.

    Incident: Severe Storms and Flooding.

    Incident Period: 09/21/2016 through 09/24/2016.

    Effective Date: 11/29/2016.

    Physical Loan Application Deadline Date: 01/30/2017.

    Economic Injury (EIDL) Loan Application Deadline Date: 08/29/2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit completed loan applications to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    A. Escobar, Office of Disaster Assistance, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 3rd Street SW., Suite 6050, Washington, DC 20416.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given that as a result of the President's major disaster declaration on 11/29/2016, applications for disaster loans may be filed at the address listed above or other locally announced locations.

    The following areas have been determined to be adversely affected by the disaster:

    Primary Counties (Physical Damage and Economic Injury Loans): Blue Earth, Freeborn, Hennepin, Le Sueur, Rice, Steele, Waseca. Contiguous Counties (Economic Injury Loans Only): Minnesota: Anoka, Brown, Carver, Dakota, Dodge, Faribault, Goodhue, Martin, Mower, Nicollet, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Watonwan, Wright. Iowa: Winnebago, Worth.

    The Interest Rates are:

    Percent For Physical Damage: Homeowners With Credit Available Elsewhere 3.125 Homeowners Without Credit Available Elsewhere 1.563 Businesses With Credit Available Elsewhere 6.250 Businesses Without Credit Available Elsewhere 4.000 Non-Profit Organizations With Credit Available Elsewhere 2.625 NON-Profit Organizations Without Credit Available Elsewhere 2.625 For Economic Injury: Businesses & Small Agricultural Cooperatives Without Credit Available Elsewhere 4.000 NON-Profit Organizations Without Credit Available Elsewhere 2.625

    The number assigned to this disaster for physical damage is 14997B and for economic injury is 149980.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 59008) James E. Rivera, Associate Administrator for Disaster Assistance.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29382 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8025-01-P
    SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION Surrender of License of Small Business Investment Company

    Pursuant to the authority granted to the United States Small Business Administration under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, as amended, under Section 309 of the Act and Section 107.1900 of the Small Business Administration Rules and Regulations (13 CFR 107.1900) to function as a small business investment company under the Small Business Investment Company License No. 04/04-0304 issued to White Oak SBIC Fund, L.P., said license is hereby declared null and void.

    United States Small Business Administration.

    Mark Walsh, Associate Administrator for Investment and Innovation.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29381 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8025-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF STATE [Public Notice: 9808] Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in the Heart of Europe” Exhibition SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given of the following determinations: Pursuant to the authority vested in me by the Act of October 19, 1965 (79 Stat. 985; 22 U.S.C. 2459), E.O. 12047 of March 27, 1978, the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (112 Stat. 2681, et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 6501 note, et seq.), Delegation of Authority No. 234 of October 1, 1999, Delegation of Authority No. 236-3 of August 28, 2000 (and, as appropriate, Delegation of Authority No. 257 of April 15, 2003), I hereby determine that the objects to be included in the exhibition “Shakespeare in Prague: Imagining the Bard in the Heart of Europe,” imported from abroad for temporary exhibition within the United States, are of cultural significance. The objects are imported pursuant to a loan agreement with the foreign owner or custodian. I also determine that the exhibition or display of the exhibit objects at the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio, from on or about February 10, 2017, until on or about May 21, 2017, at the University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas, from on or about July 10, 2017, until on or about September 30, 2017, and at possible additional exhibitions or venues yet to be determined, is in the national interest. I have ordered that Public Notice of these Determinations be published in the Federal Register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information, including a list of the imported objects, contact the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State (telephone: 202-632-6471; email: [email protected]). The mailing address is U.S. Department of State, L/PD, SA-5, Suite 5H03, Washington, DC 20522-0505.

    Mark Taplin, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29401 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710-05-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration Type Certificates 3A2 and A-772 AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Request for information on holder of Type Certificates (TCs) prior to FAA declaring TCs abandoned.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice requests that the current holder(s) (or their heirs) of TCs 3A2 and A-772 come forward and identify themselves; otherwise, the FAA will declare the TCs as abandoned. This notice is issued in accordance with § 302 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012,1 partially codified as Title 49 of the United States Code (49 U.S.C.) § 44704(a)(5).

    1 Public Law 112-95.

    DATES:

    We must receive all correspondence by June 6, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Send all correspondence on this issue via certified mail to: Federal Aviation Administration, Anchorage Aircraft Certification Office, 222 W 7th Avenue, MS 14, Anchorage, AK 99513. ATTN: Della Swartz, ACE-115N. All letters must be signed. You may also contact Ms. Swartz by phone at (907) 271-2672 or electronically at: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The FAA has received a third party request for the release of data for TCs 3A2 and A-772 under the provisions of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 5 U.S.C. 552. The FAA cannot release the requested data under FOIA without the permission of the TC holders. The TC holders last listed on the certificate records are Airlift International, Inc., in Miami, FL for TC 3A2 and Flying Tiger Line, Inc., in Burbank, CA for TC A-772. The FAA has been unsuccessful in contacting the holders of record by telephone, email, and/or certified mail. There has been no activity with the TC holders for more than three years.

    Information Requested

    If you are the owners, or heirs, or a transferee of these TCs or have any knowledge regarding who may now hold TCs 3A2 or A-772, please contact Della Swartz using a method described in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACTof this notice. If you are the owner of TCs 3A2 or A-772, you must provide a notarized copy of your Government issued identification (ID) with a letter and background establishing your ownership of the TCs and/or relationship as the heir to the deceased holder of the TC (if that is the case).

    Conclusion

    If we do not receive any response by June 6, 2017, we will consider TCs 3A2 and A-772 abandoned and we will proceed with the release of the requested data.

    Kelly Broadway, Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29432 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Highway Administration Environmental Impact Statement: Rockingham County, New Hampshire AGENCY:

    Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Revised notice of intent.

    SUMMARY:

    The FHWA is issuing this revised notice to advise the public that a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) will be prepared for a proposed highway project in the Towns of Derry and Londonderry, in Rockingham County, New Hampshire.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Jamie Sikora, New Hampshire Division, Federal Highway Administration, 53 Pleasant Street, Suite 2200, Concord, New Hampshire 03301, Telephone: (603) 410-4870. Mr. Keith Cota, Chief Project Manager, New Hampshire Department of Transportation, 7 Hazen Drive, Concord, New Hampshire 03302-0483, Telephone: (603) 271-1615. Mr. David Caron, Town Administrator, Town of Derry, 14 Manning Street, Derry, New Hampshire 03038, Telephone: (603) 432-6100. Mr. Kevin Smith, Town Manager, Town of Londonderry, 268B Mammoth Road, Londonderry, New Hampshire 03053, Telephone: (603) 432-1100 x111.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    FHWA, in cooperation with the Towns of Derry and Londonderry (the Towns) and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT), is advancing an updated environmental study for the I-93 Exit 4A Project. The purpose of the proposed project is to reduce congestion and improve safety along NH Route 102, from I-93 easterly through downtown Derry and to promote economic vitality in the Derry/Londonderry area.

    Planning for the Project began in 1985 and a Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register on June 12, 1998 (Vol. 63 No. 113). A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was completed in 2007 and a Notice of Availability published on August 3, 2007 (EIS No. 20070317). A Public Hearing on the DEIS was held on September 12, 2007. Project development was subsequently delayed for several years. In October 2015, the Governor's Office directed NHDOT to accelerate the Exit 4A Project, and the Project was incorporated in the state's Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan for 2017-2026. Pursuant to 40 CFR 1502.9(c) and 23 CFR 771.129, SDEIS will provide an up-to-date assessment of the environmental effects of the proposed project and reasonable alternatives that considers updated information regarding traffic, socioeconomic projections, land development proposals in the project area, and changes in environmental resources and regulatory requirements. After completion of the SDEIS, FHWA will complete the environmental review process by issuing a Combined Final EIS (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD).

    The Preferred Alternative identified in the 2007 DEIS consisted of a new diamond interchange on I-93 in the Town of Londonderry, approximately one mile north of Exit 4. The new diamond interchange would provide access to the east side of I-93. A 1-mile connector roadway would be built on new alignment from the interchange to Folsom Road, near the intersection of North High Street and Madden Road, in the Town of Derry. Folsom Road, and subsequently Tsienneto Road, would be upgraded, and the intersections would be improved. In addition to the Preferred Alternative, the SDEIS will evaluate the same range of alternatives assessed in the 2007 DEIS, which included alternative interchange locations, connector road alignments, upgrades to NH 102 and the No Build Alternative.

    To provide an update on the status of the proposed project and environmental review process, a public information meeting was held in Derry, New Hampshire on September 26, 2016. Additionally, once the SDEIS is complete in 2017, the document will be distributed to government agencies, posted on the project Web site, and made available at multiple locations throughout the project area for public viewing. During the 45 day SDEIS public comment period, a public hearing will be held providing the public with an opportunity to review and comment on the SDEIS.

    Comments and suggestions are invited from all interested parties to ensure that the full range of issues related to this proposed action are addressed and all significant issues are identified. Comments or questions concerning this proposed action should be directed to the FHWA or NHDOT at the addresses provided above or submitted via the project Web site at http://i93exit4a.com/.

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, Highway Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities apply to this program.) Issued on: November 30, 2016. Patrick A. Bauer, Division Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, Concord, New Hampshire.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29413 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA-2011-0368; FMCSA-2011-0381; FMCSA-2013-0192; FMCSA-2013-0193] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes AGENCY:

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of final disposition.

    SUMMARY:

    FMCSA announces its decision to renew exemptions of 99 individuals from its prohibition in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) against persons with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) from operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce. The exemptions enable these individuals with ITDM to continue to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

    DATES:

    Each group of renewed exemptions was effective on the dates stated in the discussions below and will expire on the dates stated in the discussions below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Christine A. Hydock, Chief, Medical Programs Division, 202-366-4001, [email protected], FMCSA, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W64-224, Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have questions regarding viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    1. Electronic Access

    You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document Management System (FDMS) at: http://www.regulations.gov.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov and/or Room W12-140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to http://www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at http://www.dot.gov/privacy.

    II. Background

    On March 16, 2016, FMCSA published a notice announcing its decision to renew exemptions for 99 individuals from the insulin-treated diabetes mellitus prohibition in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3) to operate a CMV in interstate commerce and requested comments from the public (80 FR 14210). The public comment period ended on April 15, 2016, and no comments were received. As stated in the previous notice, FMCSA has evaluated the eligibility of these applicants and determined that renewing these exemptions would achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved by complying with the current regulation 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3). The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding diabetes found in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3) states that a person is physically qualified to drive a CMV if that person has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus currently requiring insulin for control.

    III. Discussion of Comments

    FMCSA received no comments in this preceding.

    IV. Conclusion

    Based upon its evaluation of the 99 renewal exemption applications and that no comments were received, FMCSA confirms its decision to exempt the following drivers from the rule prohibiting drivers with ITDM from driving CMVs in interstate commerce in 49 CFR 391.64(3):

    As of March 5, 2016, and in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, the following 41 individuals have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the rule prohibiting drivers with ITDM from driving CMVs in interstate commerce. (78 FR 79062; 79 FR 12567):

    David E. Ames (IL) Michael R. Boland (IL) Christopher D. Burks (MA) Larry D. Burton (IL) Anthony D. Chrisley (CA) Henry Collins (MO) John B. Conway Jr. (NC) James V. Davidson Jr. (UT) Michael A. De La Torree (CA) Corrado DePalma (NJ) Douglas E. Emey (IN) William C. Flom (IA) Brian A. Griep (IA) George E. Hagey (IL) Ronnie Harrington (MS) Andrew P. Hines (OH) Arlyn D. Holtrop (IA) Stephan P. Hyre (OH) Aaron C. Kaplan (CA) Sigmund E. Keller (NY) Derl T. Martin (MO) Waymond E. Mayfield (MO) Senad Mehmedovic (KY) Ronald E. Mullard (AL) Justin C. Orr (CA) Kevin L. Otto (OH) Larry H. Painter (PA) Robert K. Patterson (IA) Albert M. Purdy (PA) Adam Razny (MO) Thomas F. Scanlon (NJ) Harrison G. Simmons (MO) Scott A. Stout (FL) Walter D. Strang, IV (CT) Mark A. Torres (MA) Eric A. Vernon (IA) Marvin L. Vonk (IA) Kelly J. Walstad (MN) John R. Wappes (OH) Ray C. Williams (CT) Rickey A. Wulf (IA)

    The drivers were included in Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0193. Their exemptions are effective as of March 5, 2016 and will expire on March 5, 2018.

    As of March 7, 2016, and in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, the following 45 individuals, have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the rule prohibiting drivers with ITDM from driving CMVs in interstate commerce (77 FR 3549; 77 FR 13685; 78 FR 78479; 79 FR 13086):

    Chad E. Anger (WI) Willie V. Apodaca (NM) Edward Blake (GA) Dorin D. Blodgett (IN) Jerry A. Campbell (OH) Brian M. Chase (VA) Phillip Covel (NE) Nicholas P. Dube (RI) James W. Dusing (MN) Manuel Elizondo (TX) Michael K. Farris (IN) Menino Fernandes (IL) Craig J. Gadley, Sr. (NY) Daniel C. Grove Jr. (PA) Mary F. Guilfoy (IN) Jeffrey M. Halida (WI) James M. Hatcher (MS) Matthew E. Hay (TX) Edward S. Ionescu (IL) Jeffrey P. James (AR) Tracy N. Jenkins (DE) Gregory A. King (NC) Matthew R. Linehan (NY) Cory A. Meadows (OH) Ashun R. Merritt (GA) Herbert A. Morton (CA) Colby A. Nutter (VA) Jayrome B. Rimolde (MN) Gale Roland (PA) Larry A. Sanders (MD) John L. Scherette (WA) Kelly T. Scholl (MN) James P. Shurkus (NH) Gregory G. Sisco (IA) Travers L. Stephens (GA) Brittany K. Tomasko (CA) Joel L. Topping (NV) Daren Warren (NY) Alan T. Whalen (NY) Thomas L. Whitley (IN) Randall S. Williams (PA) Charles J. Wirth (WI) Tomme J. Wirth (IA) Joshua C. Wyse (OH) Rowland P. Yee (HI)

    The drivers were included in Docket Nos. FMCSA-2011-0368; FMCSA-2013-0192. Their exemptions are effective as of March 7, 2016 and will expire on March 7, 2018.

    As of March 23, 2016, and in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, the following 13 individuals have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the rule prohibiting drivers with ITDM from driving CMVs in interstate commerce. (77 FR 5870; 77 FR 17116):

    Roger L. Arcand, Jr. (MA) Marsha M. Colberg (WA) Robert D. Crissinger (MN) Scott W. Forsyth, Jr. (CO) Fritz D. Gregory (UT) Anthony P. Kesselring (FL) Don R. Kivi (ND) Vincent Ligotti (NY) Michael R. Miller (PA) Jack L. Phippen (WI) Richard A. Purk (CA0) Bryan E. Quick (VA) Jack A. Tidey (AR)

    The drivers were included in Docket No. FMCSA-2011-0381. Their exemptions are effective as of March 23, 2016 and will expire on March 23, 2018.

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315, each exemption will be valid for two years from the effective date unless revoked earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be revoked if the following occurs: (1) The person fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was maintained prior to being granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315.

    Issued on: November 25, 2016. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29410 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA-2009-0289; FMCSA-2009-0290; FMCSA-2011-0300; FMCSA-2013-0190; FMCSA-2013-0191] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes AGENCY:

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of final disposition.

    SUMMARY:

    FMCSA announces its decision to renew exemptions of 107 individuals from its prohibition in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) against persons with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) from operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce. The exemptions enable these individuals with ITDM to continue to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

    DATES:

    Each group of renewed exemptions was effective on the dates stated in the discussions below and will expire on the dates stated in the discussions below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Christine A. Hydock, Chief, Medical Programs Division, 202-366-4001, [email protected], FMCSA, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W64-224, Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have questions regarding viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Electronic Access

    You may see all the comments online through the Federal Document Management System (FDMS) at: http://www.regulations.gov.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to http://www.regulations.gov and/or Room W12-140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to http://www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at http://www.dot.gov/privacy.

    II. Background

    On December 30, 2015, FMCSA published a notice announcing its decision to renew exemptions for 107 individuals from the insulin-treated diabetes mellitus prohibition in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3) to operate a CMV in interstate commerce and requested comments from the public (80 FR 81667). The public comment period ended on January 29, 2016 and no comments were received.

    As stated in the previous notice, FMCSA has evaluated the eligibility of these applicants and determined that renewing these exemptions would achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved by complying with the current regulation 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3).

    The physical qualification standard for drivers regarding diabetes found in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3) states that a person is physically qualified to drive a CMV if that person has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus currently requiring insulin for control.

    III. Discussion of Comments

    FMCSA received no comments in this preceding.

    IV. Conclusion

    Based upon its evaluation of the 107 renewal exemption applications and that no comments were received, FMCSA announces its decision to exempt the following drivers from the rule prohibiting drivers with ITDM from driving CMVs in interstate commerce in 49 CFR 391.64(3):

    As of January 5, 2016, the following 20 individuals have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the rule prohibiting drivers with ITDM from driving CMVs in interstate commerce (76 FR 71112; 77 FR 532; 80 FR 81667):

    Mark A. Aspden (MA) Rodney C. Backus (NY) Gary L. Breitenbach (SC) Gerald R. Curran (PA) Matthew G. Denisov (NC) Shawn K. Fleming (PA) Steven W. Gerling (IA) Jackie D. Greenlee (MO) Gregory L. Horton (GA) Justin W. Jackson (OK) David T. Kylander (MO) Kevin A. Perdue (MD) Michael E. Pleak (IN) Sarah M. Powell (NM) James G. Rahn (IA) Christopher C. Stephenson (KS) Ward A. Stone (WI) Todd J. Timmerman (WI) Richard L. White (MS) Paul A. Wright (NY)

    The drivers were included in Docket No. FMCSA-2011-0300. Their exemptions are effective as of January 5, 2016 and will expire on January 5, 2018.

    As of January 11, 2016, the following 24 individuals have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the rule prohibiting drivers with ITDM from driving CMVs in interstate commerce (74 FR 55890; 75 FR 1449; 80 FR 81667):

    Eric M. Butz (OH) Rita A. Cefaratti (CT) Gerald F. Crowley (NY) Scott J. Denham (MN) Larry E. Dickerson (GA) Lance W. Essex (OH) David E. Ginter (PA) William H. Goebel (IA) Joseph L. Gray III (PA) Ryan R. Harris (IA) Carroll J. Hartsell (WV) Keith M. Huels (AZ) Daniel R. Jackson (PA) Curtis W. Keelin, Jr. (WY) Patrick J. Krueger (WI) Tammy Lynn F. Manuel (SC) Francisco J. Martinez (MA) Andrew W. Myer (NE) Chad A. Nelson (UT) David W. Olson (AZ) Mark E. Pascoe (WI) Terry L. Riddell (IN) Roger L. Summerfield (WI) Jimmy P. Wright (TX)

    The drivers were included in Docket No. FMCSA-2009-0289. Their exemptions are effective as of January 11, 2016 and will expire on January 11, 2018.

    As of January 23, 2016, the following 13 individuals have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the rule prohibiting drivers with ITDM from driving CMVs in interstate commerce (78 FR 65034; 79 FR 3917; 80 FR 81667):

    Clair H. Gilmore (WA) Michael Kollos (MN) Daniel T. Lindahl (WI) James F. McSweeney (NH) Eric W. Miller (IN) William J. Rodgers (PA) Mark A. Rosenau (MN) Daniel B. Shaw (FL) John C. Thomas (IN) Richard Wasko (FL) Douglas E. Wilhoit (PA) Richard A. Wilk (OH) Thomas A. Young (TX)

    The drivers were included in Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0190. Their exemptions are effective as of January 23, 2016 and will expire on January 23, 2018.

    As of January 28, 2016, the following 25 individuals have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the rule prohibiting drivers with ITDM from driving CMVs in interstate commerce (74 FR 65836; 75 FR 4622; 80 FR 81667):

    Bob A. Bauer (WI) Michael P. Berger (ND) William D. Blosch (GA) Victor M. Brunner (WI) Tom L. Cooley (KS) Wallace E. Crouse, Jr. (MA) Robert G. Dohman, Jr. (ND) Danny E. Edmondson (GA) Andrew C. Everett (AZ) Wendell G. Fordham (GA) Eugene G. Friedman (NJ) Donald W. Hansen (ND) Joseph S. Hernandez (NM) Jordan T. Johnston (IN) Jere W. Kirkpatrick (OH) Kyle A. Leach (NE) Robert J. Lewis, Jr. (VT) Stacy R. Oberholzer (PA) Michael S. Ogle (GA) Walter L. Patrick (TN) Clifford A. Peters (IL) Richard L. Piercefield, Sr. (MI) Kevin A. Roginski (PA) Bruce M. Stockton (MO) Todd R. Vickers (MD)

    The drivers were included in Docket No. FMCSA-2009-0290. Their exemptions are effective as of January 28, 2016 and will expire on January 28, 2018.

    As of January 29, 2016, the following 25 individuals have satisfied the renewal conditions for obtaining an exemption from the rule prohibiting drivers with ITDM from driving CMVs in interstate commerce (78 FR 68139; 79 FR 4807; 80 FR 81667):

    Dylan J. Bryan (IL) Robert A. Collins (NJ) Fred J. Combs (OH) Edward C. DeFrancesco (CT) Terrance J. Dusharm (MN) Jonathan Eggers (MN) Gilbert N. Fugate (IN) Scott C. Garbiel (ME) Charles D. Grant (GA) William F. Hamann (KY) Jerry J. Klosterman (OH) Joseph E. Kolb (NY) Matthew D. Lee (VA) Craig A. Lemponen (OH) Matthew P. Ludwig (NY) Keith B. Masters (NH) Eli J. Meekhof (MI) Jeffrey A. Olson (IA) Marvin H. Patterson III (SC) Brandon C. Rhinehart (MD) Donald R. Sine, Jr. (WV) Dennis E. Taunton (ID) Phillip A. Trent (VA) Deborah D. Watson (MI) Ronnie C. Webb (MT)

    The drivers were included in Docket No. FMCSA-2013-0191. Their exemptions are effective as of January 29, 2016 and will expire on January 29, 2018.

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315, each exemption will be valid for two years from the effective date unless revoked earlier by FMCSA. The exemption will be revoked if the following occurs: (1) The person fails to comply with the terms and conditions of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of safety than was maintained prior to being granted; or (3) continuation of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives of 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315.

    Issued on: November 25, 2016. Larry W. Minor, Associate Administrator for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29409 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA-2016-0028; Notice 2] Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Grant of petition.

    SUMMARY:

    Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen), has determined that certain model year (MY) 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible passenger cars do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 110, Tire Selection and Rims and Motor Home/Recreation Vehicle Trailer Load Carrying Capacity Information for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or Less. Volkswagen filed a defect report dated February 23, 2016. Volkswagen then petitioned NHTSA on March 15, 2016, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.

    ADDRESSES:

    For further information on this decision please contact Kerrin Bressant, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-1110.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Overview

    Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen), has determined that certain model year (MY) 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible passenger cars do not fully comply with paragraph S4.3(d) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 110, Tire Selection and Rims and Motor Home/Recreation Vehicle Trailer Load Carrying Capacity Information for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or Less. Volkswagen filed a report dated February 23, 2016, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Volkswagen also petitioned NHTSA on March 15, 2016, under 49 CFR part 556 for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the rule implementing those provisions at 49 CFR part 556, Volkswagen has petitioned for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.

    The notice of receipt of Volkswagen's petition was published, with a 30-day public comment period, on June 14, 2016 in the Federal Register (81 FR 38772). No comments were received. To view the petition and all supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to locate docket number “NHTSA-2016-0028.”

    II. Vehicles Involved

    Affected are approximately 325 MY 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible passenger vehicles that were manufactured between June 18, 2015, and November 9, 2015.

    III. Noncompliance

    Volkswagen stated that the subject vehicles have a Tire Placard Label that is misprinted with an incorrect tire size as compared to the tires the vehicle was equipped with and therefore does not fully conform to paragraph S4.3(d) of FMVSS No. 110.

    IV. Rule Text

    Paragraph S4.3(d) of FMVSS No. 110 requires, in pertinent part:

    S4.3 Placard. Each vehicle, except for a trailer or incomplete vehicle, shall show the information specified in S4.3 (a) through (g), and may show, at the manufacturer's option, the information specified in S4.3 (h) through (i), on a placard permanently affixed to the driver's side B-pillar . . .

    (d) Tire size designation, indicated by the headings “size” or “original tire size” or “original size,” and “spare tire” or “spare,” for the tires installed at the time of the first purchase for purposes other than resale. For full size spare tires, the statement “see above” may, at the manufacturer's option replace the tire size designation. If no spare tire is provided, the word “none” must replace the tire size designation.

    V. Summary of Volkswagen's Petition

    Volkswagen described the subject noncompliance and stated its belief that the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:

    (1) Volkswagen stated that the condition described (tire placard with an incorrect label size on it) would not adversely affect the tire and loading capability of the vehicle.

    (2) Volkswagen stated that the loading and combined weight information was printed correctly on both versions of the Tire Placard Label.

    NHTSA's Decision:

    NHTSA's Analysis: The intent of FMVSS No. 110 is to ensure that vehicles are equipped with tires appropriate to handle maximum vehicle loads and prevent overloading. Utilizing the ETRTO Tire and Rim Association Manual of 2016, NHTSA has confirmed that the incorrectly listed size tires would still have a load capacity sufficient to support the listed weight limitation of occupants and cargo which is printed on the Vehicle Placard label. Both the installed original equipment manufacturer (OEM) tires on the vehicle and the installation of the incorrect sized tires listed on the subject vehicle's vehicle placard (tire and loading information label) when inflated to the label's recommended cold inflation pressure are appropriate to handle the vehicle maximum loads. Consequently, the subject noncompliance should not cause any unsafe conditions associated with the incorrect tire size listed on the Vehicle Placard label. Therefore, NHTSA agrees with Volkswagen that the incorrect tire size listed on the Vehicle Placard label does not have any adverse safety implications.

    NHTSA's Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds that Volkswagen has met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 110 noncompliance in the affected vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Volkswagen's petition is hereby granted and Volkswagen is consequently exempted from the obligation of providing notification of, and a free remedy for, that noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.

    NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, this decision only applies to the subject vehicles that Volkswagen no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, the granting of this petition does not relieve vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant vehicles under their control after Volkswagen notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

    Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: Delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8.

    Jeffrey M. Giuseppe, Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2016-29375 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-59-P
    81 236 Thursday, December 8, 2016 Presidential Documents Title 3— The President Executive Order 13751 of December 5, 2016 Safeguarding the Nation From the Impacts of Invasive Species By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and to ensure the faithful execution of the laws of the United States of America, including the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990, (16 U.S.C. 4701 et seq.), the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), the Lacey Act, as amended (18 U.S.C. 42, 16 U.S.C. 3371-3378 et seq.), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the Noxious Weed Control and Eradication Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 7781 et seq.), and other pertinent statutes, to prevent the introduction of invasive species and provide for their control, and to minimize the economic, plant, animal, ecological, and human health impacts that invasive species cause, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to prevent the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species, as well as to eradicate and control populations of invasive species that are established. Invasive species pose threats to prosperity, security, and quality of life. They have negative impacts on the environment and natural resources, agriculture and food production systems, water resources, human, animal, and plant health, infrastructure, the economy, energy, cultural resources, and military readiness. Every year, invasive species cost the United States billions of dollars in economic losses and other damages. Of substantial growing concern are invasive species that are or may be vectors, reservoirs, and causative agents of disease, which threaten human, animal, and plant health. The introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species create the potential for serious public health impacts, especially when considered in the context of changing climate conditions. Climate change influences the establishment, spread, and impacts of invasive species. Executive Order 13112 of February 3, 1999 (Invasive Species), called upon executive departments and agencies to take steps to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species, and to support efforts to eradicate and control invasive species that are established. Executive Order 13112 also created a coordinating body—the Invasive Species Council, also referred to as the National Invasive Species Council—to oversee implementation of the order, encourage proactive planning and action, develop recommendations for international cooperation, and take other steps to improve the Federal response to invasive species. Past efforts at preventing, eradicating, and controlling invasive species demonstrated that collaboration across Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial government; stakeholders; and the private sector is critical to minimizing the spread of invasive species and that coordinated action is necessary to protect the assets and security of the United States. This order amends Executive Order 13112 and directs actions to continue coordinated Federal prevention and control efforts related to invasive species. This order maintains the National Invasive Species Council (Council) and the Invasive Species Advisory Committee; expands the membership of the Council; clarifies the operations of the Council; incorporates considerations of human and environmental health, climate change, technological innovation, and other emerging priorities into Federal efforts to address invasive species; and strengthens coordinated, cost-efficient Federal action. Sec. 2. Definitions. Section 1 of Executive Order 13112 is amended to read as follows:

    “Section 1. Definitions. (a) ‘Control’ means containing, suppressing, or reducing populations of invasive species.

    (b) ‘Eradication’ means the removal or destruction of an entire population of invasive species.

    (c) ‘Federal agency’ means an executive department or agency, but does not include independent establishments as defined by 5 U.S.C. 104.

    (d) ‘Introduction’ means, as a result of human activity, the intentional or unintentional escape, release, dissemination, or placement of an organism into an ecosystem to which it is not native.

    (e) ‘Invasive species’ means, with regard to a particular ecosystem, a non-native organism whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human, animal, or plant health.

    (f) ‘Non-native species’ or ‘alien species’ means, with respect to a particular ecosystem, an organism, including its seeds, eggs, spores, or other biological material capable of propagating that species, that occurs outside of its natural range.

    (g) ‘Pathway’ means the mechanisms and processes by which non-native species are moved, intentionally or unintentionally, into a new ecosystem.

    (h) ‘Prevention’ means the action of stopping invasive species from being introduced or spreading into a new ecosystem.

    (i) ‘United States’ means the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, all possessions, and the territorial sea of the United States as defined by Presidential Proclamation 5928 of December 27, 1988.”

    Sec. 3. Federal Agency Duties. Section 2 of Executive Order 13112 is amended to read as follows:

    “Sec. 2. Federal Agency Duties. (a) Each Federal agency for which that agency's actions may affect the introduction, establishment, or spread of invasive species shall, to the extent practicable and permitted by law,

    (1) identify such agency actions; (2) subject to the availability of appropriations, and within administrative, budgetary, and jurisdictional limits, use relevant agency programs and authorities to: (i) prevent the introduction, establishment, and spread of invasive species; (ii) detect and respond rapidly to eradicate or control populations of invasive species in a manner that is cost-effective and minimizes human, animal, plant, and environmental health risks; (iii) monitor invasive species populations accurately and reliably; (iv) provide for the restoration of native species, ecosystems, and other assets that have been impacted by invasive species; (v) conduct research on invasive species and develop and apply technologies to prevent their introduction, and provide for environmentally sound methods of eradication and control of invasive species; (vi) promote public education and action on invasive species, their pathways, and ways to address them, with an emphasis on prevention, and early detection and rapid response; (vii) assess and strengthen, as appropriate, policy and regulatory frameworks pertaining to the prevention, eradication, and control of invasive species and address regulatory gaps, inconsistencies, and conflicts; (viii) coordinate with and complement similar efforts of States, territories, federally recognized American Indian tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, Native Hawaiians, local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector; and (ix) in consultation with the Department of State and with other agencies as appropriate, coordinate with foreign governments to prevent the movement and minimize the impacts of invasive species; and (3) refrain from authorizing, funding, or implementing actions that are likely to cause or promote the introduction, establishment, or spread of invasive species in the United States unless, pursuant to guidelines that it has prescribed, the agency has determined and made public its determination that the benefits of such actions clearly outweigh the potential harm caused by invasive species; and that all feasible and prudent measures to minimize risk of harm will be taken in conjunction with the actions.

    (c) Federal agencies shall pursue the duties set forth in this section in coordination, to the extent practicable, with other member agencies of the Council and staff, consistent with the National Invasive Species Council Management Plan, and in cooperation with State, local, tribal, and territorial governments, and stakeholders, as appropriate, and in consultation with the Department of State when Federal agencies are working with international organizations and foreign nations.

    (d) Federal agencies that are members of the Council, and Federal interagency bodies working on issues relevant to the prevention, eradication, and control of invasive species, shall provide the Council with annual information on actions taken that implement these duties and identify barriers to advancing priority actions.

    (e) To the extent practicable, Federal agencies shall also expand the use of new and existing technologies and practices; develop, share, and utilize similar metrics and standards, methodologies, and databases and, where relevant, platforms for monitoring invasive species; and, facilitate the interoperability of information systems, open data, data analytics, predictive modeling, and data reporting necessary to inform timely, science-based decision making.

    Sec. 4. Emerging Priorities. Federal agencies that are members of the Council and Federal interagency bodies working on issues relevant to the prevention, eradication, and control of invasive species shall take emerging priorities into consideration, including:

    (a) Federal agencies shall consider the potential public health and safety impacts of invasive species, especially those species that are vectors, reservoirs, and causative agents of disease. The Department of Health and Human Services, in coordination and consultation with relevant agencies as appropriate, shall within 1 year of this order, and as requested by the Council thereafter, provide the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Council a report on public health impacts associated with invasive species. That report shall describe the disease, injury, immunologic, and safety impacts associated with invasive species, including any direct and indirect impacts on low-income, minority, and tribal communities.

    (b) Federal agencies shall consider the impacts of climate change when working on issues relevant to the prevention, eradication, and control of invasive species, including in research and monitoring efforts, and integrate invasive species into Federal climate change coordinating frameworks and initiatives.

    (c) Federal agencies shall consider opportunities to apply innovative science and technology when addressing the duties identified in section 2 of Executive Order 13112, as amended, including, but not limited to, promoting open data and data analytics; harnessing technological advances in remote sensing technologies, molecular tools, cloud computing, and predictive analytics; and using tools such as challenge prizes, citizen science, and crowdsourcing.

    Sec. 5. National Invasive Species Council. Section 3 of Executive Order 13112 is amended to read as follows:

    “Sec. 3. National Invasive Species Council. (a) A National Invasive Species Council (Council) is hereby established. The mission of the Council is to provide the vision and leadership to coordinate, sustain, and expand Federal efforts to safeguard the interests of the United States through the prevention, eradication, and control of invasive species, and through the restoration of ecosystems and other assets impacted by invasive species.

    (b) The Council's membership shall be composed of the following officials, who may designate a senior-level representative to perform the functions of the member:

    (i) Secretary of State; (ii) Secretary of the Treasury; (iii) Secretary of Defense; (iv) Secretary of the Interior; (v) Secretary of Agriculture; (vi) Secretary of Commerce; (vii) Secretary of Health and Human Services; (viii) Secretary of Transportation; (ix) Secretary of Homeland Security; (x) Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; (xi) Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; (xii) Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development; (xiii) United States Trade Representative; (xiv) Director or Chair of the following components of the Executive Office of the President: the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of Management and Budget; and (xv) Officials from such other departments, agencies, offices, or entities as the agencies set forth above, by consensus, deem appropriate.

    (c) The Council shall be co-chaired by the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary), the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of Commerce, who shall meet quarterly or more frequently if needed, and who may designate a senior-level representative to perform the functions of the Co-Chair. The Council shall meet no less than once each year. The Secretary of the Interior shall, after consultation with the Co-Chairs, appoint an Executive Director of the Council to oversee a staff that supports the duties of the Council. Within 1 year of the date of this order, the Co-Chairs of the Council shall, with consensus of its members, complete a charter, which shall include any administrative policies and processes necessary to ensure the Council can satisfy the functions and responsibilities described in this order.

    (d) The Secretary of the Interior shall maintain the current Invasive Species Advisory Committee established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App., to provide information and advice for consideration by the Council. The Secretary shall, after consultation with other members of the Council, appoint members of the advisory committee who represent diverse stakeholders and who have expertise to advise the Council.

    (e) Administration of the Council. The Department of the Interior shall provide funding and administrative support for the Council and the advisory committee consistent with existing authorities. To the extent permitted by law, including the Economy Act, and within existing appropriations, participating agencies may detail staff to the Department of the Interior to support the Council's efforts.”

    Sec. 6. Duties of the National Invasive Species Council. Section 4 of Executive Order 13112 is amended to read as follows:

    “Sec. 4. Duties of the National Invasive Species Council. The Council shall provide national leadership regarding invasive species and shall:

    (a) with regard to the implementation of this order, work to ensure that the Federal agency and interagency activities concerning invasive species are coordinated, complementary, cost-efficient, and effective;

    (b) undertake a National Invasive Species Assessment in coordination with the U.S. Global Change Research Program's periodic national assessment, that evaluates the impact of invasive species on major U.S. assets, including food security, water resources, infrastructure, the environment, human, animal, and plant health, natural resources, cultural identity and resources, and military readiness, from ecological, social, and economic perspectives;

    (c) advance national incident response, data collection, and rapid reporting capacities that build on existing frameworks and programs and strengthen early detection of and rapid response to invasive species, including those that are vectors, reservoirs, or causative agents of disease;

    (d) publish an assessment by 2020 that identifies the most pressing scientific, technical, and programmatic coordination challenges to the Federal Government's capacity to prevent the introduction of invasive species, and that incorporate recommendations and priority actions to overcome these challenges into the National Invasive Species Council Management Plan, as appropriate;

    (e) support and encourage the development of new technologies and practices, and promote the use of existing technologies and practices, to prevent, eradicate, and control invasive species, including those that are vectors, reservoirs, and causative agents of disease;

    (f) convene annually to discuss and coordinate interagency priorities and report annually on activities and budget requirements for programs that contribute directly to the implementation of this order; and

    (g) publish a National Invasive Species Council Management Plan as set forth in section 5 of this order.”

    Sec. 7. National Invasive Species Council Management Plan. Section 5 of Executive Order 13112 is amended to read as follows:

    “Sec. 5. National Invasive Species Council Management Plan. (a) By December 31, 2019, the Council shall publish a National Invasive Species Council Management Plan (Management Plan), which shall, among other priorities identified by the Council, include actions to further the implementation of the duties of the National Invasive Species Council.

    (b) The Management Plan shall recommend strategies to:

    (1) provide institutional leadership and priority setting; (2) achieve effective interagency coordination and cost-efficiency; (3) raise awareness and motivate action, including through the promotion of appropriate transparency, community-level consultation, and stakeholder outreach concerning the benefits and risks to human, animal, or plant health when controlling or eradicating an invasive species; (4) remove institutional and policy barriers; (5) assess and strengthen capacities; and (6) foster scientific, technical, and programmatic innovation.

    (c) The Council shall evaluate the effectiveness of the Management Plan implementation and update the Plan every 3 years. The Council shall provide an annual report of its achievements to the public.

    (d) Council members may complement the Management Plan with invasive species policies and plans specific to their respective agency's roles, responsibilities, and authorities.”

    Sec. 8. Actions of the Department of State and Department of Defense. Section 6(d) of Executive Order 13112 is amended to read as follows:

    “(d) The duties of section 3(a)(2) and section 3(a)(3) of this order shall not apply to any action of the Department of State if the Secretary of State finds that exemption from such requirements is necessary for foreign policy, readiness, or national security reasons. The duties of section 3(a)(2) and section 3(a)(3) of this order shall not apply to any action of the Department of Defense if the Secretary of Defense finds that exemption from such requirements is necessary for foreign policy, readiness, or national security reasons.”

    Sec. 9. Obligations of the Department of Health and Human Services. A new section 6(e) of Executive Order 13112 is added to read as follows:

    “(e) The requirements of this order do not affect the obligations of the Department of Health and Human Services under the Public Health Service Act or the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.”

    Sec. 10. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (1) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or (2) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

    (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

    (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

    OB#1.EPS THE WHITE HOUSE, December 5, 2016. [FR Doc. 2016-29519 Filed 12-7-16; 8:45 am] Billing code 3295-F7-P
    81 236 Thursday, December 8, 2016 Rules and Regulations Part II Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 49 CFR Parts 380, 383, and 384 Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators; Final Rule DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 49 CFR Parts 380, 383, and 384 [FMCSA-2007-27748] RIN 2126-AB66 Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators AGENCY:

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    FMCSA establishes new minimum training standards for certain individuals applying for their commercial driver's license (CDL) for the first time; an upgrade of their CDL (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL); or a hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S) endorsement for the first time. These individuals are subject to the entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements and must complete a prescribed program of instruction provided by an entity that is listed on FMCSA's Training Provider Registry (TPR). FMCSA will submit training certification information to State driver licensing agencies (SDLAs), who may only administer CDL skills tests to applicants for the Class A and B CDL, and/or the P or S endorsements, or knowledge test for the H endorsement, after verifying the certification information is present in the driver's record.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective February 6, 2017. The compliance date for this rule is February 7, 2020. Comments sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the collection of information must be received by OMB on or before January 9, 2017.

    Petitions for Reconsideration of this final rule must be submitted to the FMCSA Administrator no later than January 9, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Richard Clemente, Driver and Carrier Operations (MC-PSD) Division, FMCSA, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001, by telephone at 202-366-4325, or by email at [email protected]. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Services, telephone (202) 366-9826.

    For comments on the Privacy Analysis in this Rulemaking, contact FMCSA's Privacy Officer: Shannon DiMartino, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001 or by telephone at 202-366-1577.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This final rule responds to a Congressional mandate imposed under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The rule is based in part on consensus recommendations from the Agency's Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC), a negotiated rulemaking committee that held a series of meetings between February and May 2015.

    This Final Rule is organized as follows:

    I. Rulemaking Documents A. Availability of Rulemaking Documents B. Privacy Act II. Executive Summary A. Purpose and Summary of the Entry-Level Driver Training Rule B. Summary of Major Provisions C. Benefits and Costs III. Abbreviations and Acronyms IV. Legal Basis for the Rulemaking V. Background VI. March 7, 2016, Proposed Rule VII. Discussion of Comments and Responses on the NPRM 1. Applicability of the ELDT Requirements 2. ELDT Requirements for CDL Applicants Obtaining a CLP Before the Compliance Date of the Final Rule 3. ELDT Requirements for CDL Applicants Obtaining a CLP After the Compliance Date of the Final Rule 4. ELDT Requirements for Driver-Trainees Who Obtain ELDT After the Compliance Date of the Final Rule 5. Impact of the NPRM on ELDT Requirements Imposed by the States 6. Application of ELDT Requirements to CMV Drivers Operating in Intrastate and Interstate Commerce 7. Definition of Training Provider 8. Definition of “Range” 9. Can BTW-range and BTW-public road training be obtained from separate training providers? 10. Small Training Entities 11. Required Minimum Number of BTW Hours 12. Minimum Number of Theory Hours 13. Clock vs. Academic Hours 14. Duplication Between CLP Knowledge Test and Theory Training 15. Core Curricula—Class A and Class B CDLs a. Night Driving/Operation b. Substitution of Simulators for BTW Training 16. Manual v. Automatic Transmission—Class A and B Curricula Requirements 17. Class C CDL Curriculum 18. Passenger Endorsement Training 19. School Bus Endorsement Training 20. Hazardous Materials Endorsement Training 21. Refresher Training 22. Training Requirements for Driver-Trainees Obtaining Multiple CDL Credentials 23. Training Materials 24. Sequence of ELDT 25. ELDT Instructor Qualifications a. BTW Instructors—Level of CMV Driving or Instruction Experience b. Theory Instructors—Level of CMV Driving or Instruction Experience c. Additional Instructor Qualification Issues 26. BTW Instructors' CMV Driving History 27. “De-Certification” of ELDT Instructors 28. Self-Certification of Training Providers 29. Training Provider Identification Form and Related Information Requirements 30. Timeframe to Electronically Transmit ELDT Certification Information 31. FMCSA's Transmittal of ELDT Certification and Related Information Requirements a. Separate Training Providers 32. Audits, Investigations, and Documentation Requirements—FMCSA's “Authorized Representative” 33. Involuntary Removal From the TPR—Due Process 34. Scheduling the State-Administered CDL Skills Test 35. Third-Party Skills Testers—Verification of ELDT Certification 36. Compliance Date for ELDT Requirements 37. Bond Requirements for Training Providers 38. Executive Order 13045—Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks VIII. Discussion of Comments and Responses on the Analysis IX. Section-by-Section Explanation of Changes From the NPRM X. Section-by-Section Summary XI. Regulatory Analyses A. E.O. 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures as Supplemented by E.O. 13563) B. Regulatory Flexibility Act C. Assistance for Small Entities D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 E. Paperwork Reduction Act F. E.O. 13132 (Federalism) G. E.O. 12988 (Civil Justice Reform) H. E.O. 13045 (Protection of Children) I. E.O. 12630 (Taking of Private Property) J. Privacy K. E.O. 12372 (Intergovernmental Review) L. E.O. 13211 (Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use) M. E.O. 13175 (Indian Tribal Governments) N. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (Technical Standards) O. Environment (NEPA, CAA, E.O.12898 Environmental Justice) I. Rulemaking Documents A. Availability of Rulemaking Documents

    For access to docket FMCSA-2007-27748 to read background documents and comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time, or to Docket Services at U.S. Department of Transportation, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    B. Privacy Act

    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments on the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy.

    II. Executive Summary A. Purpose and Summary of the Entry-Level Driver Training Rule

    FMCSA believes this final rule enhances the safety of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operations on our Nation's highways by establishing a minimum standard for ELDT and increasing the number of drivers who receive ELDT. It replaces existing mandatory training requirements for entry-level operators of CMVs in interstate and intrastate operations required to possess a CDL. The minimum training standards established in today's rule are for certain individuals applying for a CDL for the first time, an upgrade of their CDL1 (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL), or a hazardous materials, passenger, or school bus endorsement for the first time. These individuals are subject to the ELDT requirements and must complete a prescribed program of instruction provided by an entity listed on FMCSA's Training Provider Registry (TPR).

    1 Group A vehicles include all large, combination vehicles, usually tractor/trailers. Group B vehicles include both large straight trucks and buses.

    FMCSA's legal authority for this rulemaking is derived from the Motor Carrier Act of 1935, the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA), and MAP-21.

    B. Summary of Major Provisions

    The rule primarily revises 49 CFR part 380, Special Training Requirements. It requires an individual who must complete certain CDL skills test requirements, defined as an “Entry-Level Driver,” to receive mandatory training. The rule applies to persons who drive, or intend to drive, CMVs in either interstate or intrastate commerce. Military drivers, farmers, and firefighters who are generally excepted from the CDL requirements in part 383 are also excepted from this rule.

    The rule establishes Class A and Class B CDL core curricula and training curricula including passenger (P); school bus (S); and hazardous materials (H) endorsements. The core and endorsement curricula generally are subdivided into theory (knowledge) and behind-the-wheel (BTW) (range and public road) segments. There is no minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the theory portions of any of the individual curricula. However, training providers must provide instruction in all elements of the applicable theory curriculum and driver-trainees must receive an overall score of at least 80 percent on the theory assessment.

    The BTW curricula for the Class A and Class B CDL, comprised of range and public road segments, include discrete maneuvers which each driver-trainee must proficiently demonstrate to the satisfaction of the training instructor. There is no minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the BTW elements of the core or endorsement curricula. The training provider must not issue the training certificate unless the driver-trainee demonstrates proficiency in performing all required BTW skills. Providers must submit electronic notification to FMCSA that an individual completed the required training; the Agency will provide that information to the SDLAs through the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS).

    This rule applies to entities that train entry-level drivers, also referred to herein as driver-trainees. Training providers must, at a minimum, provide instruction in a training curriculum that meets all the standards established in today's rule and must also meet other eligibility requirements in order to be listed on FMCSA's TPR. Training providers must also attest that they meet the specified requirements, and in the event of an FMCSA audit or investigation of the provider, must supply documentation to verify their compliance. The final rule also makes conforming changes to parts 383 and 384 of the FMCSRs.

    The compliance date for this rule is three years after the effective date of the final rule. This three-year period provides the States with sufficient time to pass necessary implementing legislation and to modify their information systems to begin recording the CDL applicant's compliance with ELDT requirements. This phase-in period also allows time for CMV driver training entities to develop and begin offering training programs that meet the eligibility requirements for listing on the TPR.

    C. Benefits and Costs

    Entry-level drivers, motor carriers, training providers, SDLAs, and the Federal Government will incur costs for compliance and implementation. The costs of the final rule include tuition expenses, the opportunity cost of time while in training, compliance audit costs, and costs associated with the implementation and monitoring of the TPR. As shown in Table 1, FMCSA estimates that the 10-year cost of the final rule will total $3.66 billion on an undiscounted basis, $3.23 billion discounted at 3 percent, and $2.76 billion discounted at 7 percent (all in 2014 dollars). Values in Table 1 are rounded to the nearest million.

    Table 1—Total Cost of the Final Rule [In millions of 2014$] Year Undiscounted Entry-level drivers Motor
  • carriers
  • Training
  • providers
  • SDLAs Federal
  • government
  • Total (a) Discounted Discounted at 3% Discounted at 7%
    2020 $324 $20 $9 $56 $6 $415 $415 $415 2021 326 20 6 0 1 353 343 330 2022 328 20 7 0 1 356 336 311 2023 330 20 6 0 1 357 327 291 2024 331 20 7 0 1 359 319 274 2025 333 20 6 0 1 360 311 257 2026 335 20 7 0 1 363 304 242 2027 337 20 6 0 1 364 296 227 2028 339 21 7 0 1 368 291 214 2029 341 21 6 0 1 369 283 201 Total 3,324 202 67 56 15 3,664 3,225 2,762 Annualized 366 367 368 Notes: (a) Total cost values may not equal the sum of the components due to rounding (the totals shown in this column are the rounded sum of unrounded components).

    The costs of this final rule specifically attributable to the S (school bus) endorsement training requirement were evaluated separately in the RIA, because, while Section 32304 of MAP-21 mandates training for entry-level drivers who wish to obtain a CDL or a P or H endorsement, the statute is silent with respect to the S endorsement. Inclusion of the S endorsement training requirement increases the total cost of the rule by only approximately 0.82 percent. On an annualized basis at a 7 percent discount rate, this equates to an increase in the total cost of the rule from $365 million to $368 million. Details of these comparative analyses of the costs of the rule and the reasons for this relatively small change in costs resulting from the inclusion of the S endorsement training requirement are presented in Section 3 of the RIA.

    This final rule will result in benefits to CMV operators, the transportation industry, the traveling public, and the environment. FMCSA estimated benefits in two broad categories: Safety benefits and non-safety benefits. Training related to the performance of complex tasks may improve performance; in the context of the training required by this final rule, improvement in task performance constitutes adoption of safer driving practices that the Agency believes will reduce the frequency and severity of crashes, thereby resulting in safer roadways for all. The training related to fuel efficient driving practices that will be taught under the `speed management' and `space management' sections of the curriculum reduce fuel consumption and consequently lower environmental impacts associated with carbon dioxide emissions. As discussed in Section 4.1.1 of the RIA for today's rule, FMCSA does not believe that the training in fuel efficient driving practices addressed by this rule will contribute to measurably longer trip times, as the curricula focus on factors such as maintaining safe distances between vehicles and avoiding hard acceleration and braking, rather than reducing vehicle speed. The Agency therefore assumes in its analysis that these fuel efficient driving practices will not contribute to measurably longer trip times.

    Safer driving and better-informed drivers will reduce maintenance and repair costs. Table 2 below presents the directly quantifiable benefits that FMCSA projects will result from this final rule (all in 2014 dollars, values rounded to the nearest million). Due to wide ranges of estimates in studies relevant to the quantified benefits of the rule and the lack of studies that specifically focus on the curricula prescribed by this rule,2 the Agency presents benefits estimated under alternate benefit scenarios in Table 3 and Table 4. These alternate scenarios are derived from the low and high benefit cases (see sensitivity analyses in Sections 4.1.1 through 4.1.3 of the RIA) in which the fuel savings, CO2 emissions reductions, and maintenance and repair cost savings are 50 percent lower (low benefits case) and 50 percent greater (high benefits case) than the central estimates that the Agency relied on in developing the values presented in Table 2. Further discussion of the low and high benefits cases is reserved to the RIA for the final rule.

    2 As described in Sections 4.1.1 through 4.1.3 of the RIA, the Agency identified a variety of relevant studies related to each of the quantified benefits. With particular respect to the estimated fuel and CO2 savings the Agency was unable to identify any studies that perfectly align with the curricula of this rule.

    Table 2—Total Quantifiable Benefits of the Final Rule [Central case, in millions of 2014$] Year Undiscounted Value of fuel savings Value of CO2 reduction (a) Maintenance and repair cost savings Total (b) Discounted Discounted at 3% Discounted at 7% 2020 $89 $15 $13 $117 $117 $117 2021 151 26 22 198 192 186 2022 186 31 26 243 229 214 2023 190 32 27 248 227 206 2024 194 32 27 253 225 197 2025 197 33 27 257 222 188 2026 202 34 28 263 220 181 2027 205 34 28 266 217 172 2028 207 35 28 270 214 165 2029 211 35 28 274 210 157 Total 1,830 306 253 2,389 2,073 1,783 Annualized 239 236 237 Notes: (a) The monetized benefits associated with reduced CO2 emissions are discounted at the 3% discount rate in both the “discounted at 3%” and “discounted at 7%” columns in this table. This is in keeping with the guidance of the Interagency Working Group that developed the OMB guidance on monetizing CO2 reductions, and is consistent with past DOT and EPA practices. Further details on the monetization of CO2 reductions are presented in Section 4.1.2 of the RIA. (b) Total benefit values may not equal the sum of the components due to rounding (the totals shown in this column are the rounded sum of unrounded components). Table 3—Total Quantifiable Benefits of the Final Rule [Low benefits case, in millions of 2014$] Year Undiscounted Value of fuel savings Value of CO2 reduction (a) Maintenance and repair cost savings Total (b) Discounted Discounted at 3% Discounted at 7% 2020 $44 $8 $6 $58 $58 $58 2021 75 13 11 99 96 93 2022 93 16 13 121 114 107 2023 95 16 13 124 114 103 2024 97 16 13 127 112 99 2025 99 17 14 129 111 94 2026 101 17 14 131 110 90 2027 102 17 14 133 108 86 2028 104 17 14 135 107 82 2029 106 17 14 137 105 78 Total 915 153 127 1,195 1,036 891 Annualized 119 118 119 Notes: (a) The monetized benefits associated with reduced CO2 emissions are discounted at the 3% discount rate in both the “discounted at 3%” and “discounted at 7%” columns in this table. This is in keeping with the guidance of the Interagency Working Group that developed the OMB guidance on monetizing CO2 reductions, and is consistent with past DOT and EPA practices. Further details on the monetization of CO2 reductions are presented in Section 4.1.2 of the RIA. (b) Total benefit values may not equal the sum of the components due to rounding (the totals shown in this column are the rounded sum of unrounded components). Table 4—Total Quantifiable Benefits of the Final Rule [High benefits case, in millions of 2014$] Year Undiscounted Value of fuel savings Value of CO2 reduction (a) Maintenance and repair cost savings Total (b) Discounted Discounted at 3% Discounted at 7% 2020 $133 $23 $19 $175 $175 $175 2021 226 38 32 295 287 278 2022 278 47 38 363 343 321 2023 285 48 39 371 340 308 2024 291 49 40 379 337 295 2025 296 50 40 385 332 282 2026 302 50 41 393 329 271 2027 307 51 41 399 324 258 2028 311 52 41 405 320 246 2029 316 52 42 410 314 235 Total 2,745 459 372 3,576 3,100 2,668 Annualized 358 353 355 Notes: (a) The monetized benefits associated with reduced CO2 emissions are discounted at the 3% discount rate in both the “discounted at 3%” and “discounted at 7%” columns in this table. This is in keeping with the guidance of the Interagency Working Group that developed the OMB guidance on monetizing CO2 reductions, and is consistent with past DOT and EPA practices. Further details on the monetization of CO2 reductions are presented in Section 4.1.2 of the RIA. (b) Total benefit values may not equal the sum of the components due to rounding (the totals shown in this column are the rounded sum of unrounded components).

    While FMCSA believes that this final rule will at minimum achieve cost-neutrality, the net of quantified costs and benefits (presented in Table 5 below) results in an annualized net cost of $131 million at a 7 percent discount rate. This estimate is based only on quantifiable costs and benefits (central case) attributable to this rule. Safety benefits are assessed separately via a threshold analysis discussed in detail in Section 4.2 of the RIA.

    Table 5—Net Cost of the Final Rule (Central Case), Absent Quantifiable Safety Benefits [In millions of 2014$] Year 3%
  • Discount
  • rate
  • 7%
  • Discount
  • rate
  • 2020 $298 $298 2021 151 144 2022 107 97 2023 100 85 2024 94 77 2025 89 69 2026 84 61 2027 79 55 2028 77 49 2029 73 44 Total 1,152 979 Annualized 131 131

    The lack of data directly linking training to improvements in safety outcomes, such as reduced crash frequency or severity, posed a challenge to the Agency. Discussion regarding the efforts undertaken by FMCSA and its partners in the negotiated rulemaking process to estimate such a quantitative link is presented in Section 4.2 of the RIA. In the NPRM, the Agency again requested any additional data on the safety benefits of requiring ELDT, but did not receive any information that could be used to reliably quantify safety benefits associated with pre-CDL driver training.

    In the absence of a clear link between training and safety, FMCSA followed the guidance of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in its Circular A-4 to perform a threshold analysis to determine the degree of safety benefits that will need to occur as a consequence of this final rule in order for the rule to achieve cost-neutrality.3 As presented and discussed in detail in Section 4.2 of the RIA, the central estimate of this analysis is that a 3.61 percent improvement in safety performance (that is, a 3.61 percent reduction in the frequency of crashes involving those entry-level drivers who would receive additional pre-CDL training as a result of this final rule during the period for which the benefits of training are estimated to remain intact) is necessary to offset the $131 million (annualized at 7 percent) net cost of this final rule.4 Note that under the low and high benefits cases presented in Table 3 and Table 4, the net cost of this final rule ranges from $13 million to $250 million (annualized at 7 percent), suggesting the improvement in safety performance necessary to offset the rule's costs may be as low as 0.36 percent and as high as 6.89 percent (see Section 4.2 of the RIA for the final rule for further detail).

    3 Office of Management and Budget. CircularA-4. Regulatory Analysis. September 17, 2003. Available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a004_a-4/ (accessed July 25, 2016).

    4 Some commenters to the RIA that was performed for the NPRM for this rule incorrectly interpreted the breakeven percentage reduction in crashes estimated here as being relative to all CMV crashes industry-wide, rather than being relative to only to the much smaller sub-set of crashes involving entry-level drivers that are affected by the rule. Note that with respect to the magnitude of the reduction in the frequency of all crashes involving large trucks and buses that the annual average crash reductions presented in Table 6 represent, the Agency notes that there were an estimated total 3,649 fatal, 93,000 injury, and 379,000 PDO crashes in 2014 (see U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 2016 Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics, May 2016, pages 33 and 34, available at: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/59000/59100/59189/2016_Pocket_Guide_to_Large_Truck_and_Bus_Statistics.pdf (accessed July 1, 2016)). Therefore, viewed in this manner, based on the annual average number of crash reductions necessary for this final rule to achieve cost-neutrality (shown in the second row from the bottom of Table 6), this equates to a reduction of only 0.14% of fatal, 0.11% of injury, and 0.11% of PDO crashes, respectively (relative to calendar year 2014). These percentage reductions are calculated as follows: Fatal = 5 ÷ 3,649; Injury = 102 ÷ 93,000; PDO = 432 ÷ 379,000. It should be re-emphasized, however, that this view of the data taken by some of the commenters is incorrect, and that the breakeven percentage reduction in crashes estimated here is relative to only the much smaller sub-set of crashes involving entry-level drivers that are affected by the rule.

    Table 6 below presents the projected number of crash reductions involving entry-level drivers that must occur under the central case in each of the 10 years following this final rule's implementation and in the aggregate, in order to offset the net cost ($131 million annualized at 7 percent). It is the sum of the monetized value of all columns of Table 6—not the sum of the monetized value of any individual column—that results in cost-neutrality.

    Table 6—Crash Reductions Involving Entry-Level Drivers, by Type, Necessary To Achieve Cost-Neutrality [For the Central Case] Year Number of fatal crashes Number of
  • injury crashes
  • Number of property
  • damage only (PDO) crashes
  • 2020 3 54 231 2021 4 91 386 2022 5 109 463 2023 5 109 463 2024 5 109 463 2025 5 109 463 2026 5 109 463 2027 5 109 463 2028 5 109 463 2029 5 109 463 Annual Average (a) 5 102 432 Total (b) 49 1,016 4,319 Notes: (a) Rounded to the nearest whole number. (b) The individual values shown may not sum to the totals shown due to rounding.
    III. Abbreviations and Acronyms Full name Abbreviation or
  • acronym
  • Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Advocates Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ANPRM American Association for Justice AAJ American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators AAMVA American Bus Association ABA American Public Power Association APPA American Transportation Research Institute ATRI American Trucking Associations ATA Americans with Disabilities Act ADA Anti-lock Braking Systems ABS Assessing the Adequacy of Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Training Adequacy Report Associated General Contractors AGC Association American of Railroads AAR Behind the wheel BTW California Department of Motor Vehicles CA DMV Clean Air Act CAA Code of Federal Regulations CFR Commercial Driver's License CDL Commercial Driver's License Information System CDLIS Commercial Learner's Permit CLP Commercial Motor Vehicle CMV Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 CMVSA Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance CVSA Commercial Vehicle Training Association CVTA Delaware Department of Education DDE Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles DE DMV Delaware Motor Transport Association DMTA Delaware Technical Community College DTCC Director, Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle Safety Standards Director Driver and Vehicle Services Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Minnesota Driver Holdings, LLC Driver Holdings Edison Electrical Institute EEI Entry-Level Driver Training ELDT Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee ELDTAC Executive Order E.O. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations FMCSRs Gross Vehicle Weight Rating GVWR Hazardous Materials HM Hazardous Materials Endorsement H Hazardous Materials Safety Permit HMSP Hours of Service HOS International Union of Operating Engineers IUOE Iowa Department of Transportation Iowa Iowa Motor Truck Association IMTA Minnesota Chauffeured Limousine Association MCLA Model Motorcoach Curriculum MMC Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 MCSA Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee MCSAC Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act MAP-21 National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools NAPFTDS National Association of Small Trucking Companies NASTC National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services NASDPTS National Council of Farmer Cooperatives NCFC National Environmental Policy Act NEPA National Feed and Grain Association NFGA National Governors' Association NGA National Ground Water Association NGWA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA National Limousine Association NLA National Motor Freight Traffic Association NMFTA National Propane Gas Association NPGA National School Transportation Association NSTA Natural Rural Electric Cooperative Association NRECA New York Association for Pupil Transportation NYAPT New York Department of Motor Vehicles NY DMV North Dakota Motor Carriers Association NDMCA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking NPRM Office of Management and Budget OMB Oregon Department of Transportation ODOT Out-of-service OOS Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Inc. OOIDA Petroleum Marketers Association of America PMAA Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration PHMSA Privacy Impact Assessment PIA Professional Truck Driver Institute PTDI Property Damage Only PDO Regulatory Impact Analysis RIA State Driver Licensing Agency SDLA State of Michigan, Bureau of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Programs, Department of State Michigan State of Utah, Department of Public Safety Utah State of Washington Department of Licensing Washington Training Provider Registry TPR United Motorcoach Association UMA United Parcel Service UPS United States Code U.S.C. United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit D.C. Circuit United States Department of Education ED United States Department of Transportation DOT Virage Simulation Virage Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Virginia Virginia Trucking Association VTA Werner Enterprises Werner West Virginia Trucking Association WVTA
    IV. Legal Basis for the Rulemaking

    This rule is based on the authority of the Motor Carrier Act of 1935, the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984, and the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA), as described below. It also implements section 32304 of MAP-21, requiring the establishment of minimum driver training standards for certain individuals required to hold a CDL. The NPRM preceding this final rule reflected the recommendations of FMCSA's ELDTAC, comprised of 25 industry stakeholders and FMCSA, convened through a negotiated rulemaking in 2015, as discussed below. Today's rule retains a number of those recommendations.

    The Motor Carrier Act of 1935, codified at 49 U.S.C. 31502(b), provides that “The Secretary of Transportation may prescribe requirements for—(1) qualifications and maximum hours of service of employees of, and safety of operation and equipment of, a motor carrier; and (2) qualifications and maximum hours of service of employees of, and standards of equipment of, a motor private carrier, when needed to promote safety of operation.” This rule improves the “safety of operation” of entry-level “employees” who operate CMVs, as defined in 49 CFR 383.5, by enhancing the training they receive before obtaining or upgrading a CDL.

    The Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 (MCSA), codified at 49 U.S.C. 31136(a), provides concurrent authority to regulate drivers, motor carriers, and vehicle equipment. It requires the Secretary of Transportation to prescribe regulations for CMV safety to ensure that (1) CMVs are maintained, equipped, loaded, and operated safely; (2) responsibilities imposed on CMV drivers do not impair their ability to operate the vehicles safely; (3) drivers' physical condition is adequate to operate the vehicles safely; (4) the operation of CMVs does not have a deleterious effect on drivers' physical condition; and (5) CMV drivers are not coerced by a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary to operate a CMV in violation of regulations promulgated under this section, or chapter 51 or chapter 313 of this title (49 U.S.C. 31136(a)). This rule is based specifically on 49 U.S.C. 31136(a)(1), requiring regulations to ensure that CMVs are “operated safely,” and secondarily on section 31136(a)(2), requiring that regulations ensure that “the responsibilities imposed on operators of commercial motor vehicles do not impair their ability to operate the vehicles safely.” The rule enhances the training of entry-level drivers to further ensure that they operate CMVs safely and meet the operational responsibilities imposed on them.

    This rule does not directly address medical standards for drivers (section 31136(a)(3)) or possible physical effects caused by driving CMVs (section 31136(a)(4)). However, to the extent that the various curricula in today's rule address FMCSA's medical requirements for CMV drivers, section 31136(a)(3), has been considered and addressed. FMCSA does not anticipate that drivers will be coerced (section 31136(a)(5)) as a result of this rulemaking. However, we note that the theory training curricula for Class A and B CDLs include a unit addressing the right of an employee to question the safety practices of an employer without incurring the risk of losing a job or being subject to reprisal simply for stating a safety concern. Driver-trainees will also be instructed in procedures for reporting to FMCSA incidents of coercion from motor carriers, shippers, receivers, or transportation intermediaries.

    CMVSA provides, among other things, that the Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe regulations on minimum standards for testing and ensuring the fitness of an individual operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) (49 U.S.C. 31305(a)). The requirement of today's rule that States test only those entry-level CDL applicants who have completed the requisite training falls within the “minimum standards for testing” authorized by the CMVSA. The training requirement itself, as described below, was created by section 32304 of MAP-21.

    MAP-21 requires DOT to regulate ELDT (Pub. L. 112-141, section 32304, 126 Stat. 405, 791 (July 6, 2012)). MAP-21 modified 49 U.S.C. 31305 by adding paragraph (c), which requires FMCSA to issue ELDT regulations. The regulations must address the knowledge and skills necessary for safe operation of a CMV that must be acquired before obtaining a CDL for the first time or upgrading from one class of CDL to another. MAP-21 also requires that training apply to CMV operators seeking passenger or hazardous materials endorsements (49 U.S.C. 31305(c)(1) and (2)). Although the statute specifically requires that the regulations address both classroom and behind the wheel (BTW) instruction, MAP-21 otherwise allows FMCSA broad discretion to define the training methodology, standards, and curriculum necessary to satisfy the ELDT mandate.

    MAP-21 clearly establishes the scope of operations to be covered by this rule by requiring that ELDT regulations apply to individuals operating CMVs in both interstate and intrastate commerce. The ELDT requirements are codified in section 31305 of Title 49 of the U.S. Code, and the definition of a CMV in section 31301(4) therefore applies to ELDT. The definition of “commerce” in section 31301(2) covers both interstate commerce (paragraph A) and intrastate commerce (paragraph B). ELDT, as a CDL-related mandate, therefore applies to both interstate and intrastate commerce.

    The final rule includes a school bus (S) endorsement curriculum, as proposed in the NPRM. Although MAP-21 did not specifically mandate training for this endorsement, the current FMCSRs require that an applicant for the S endorsement must pass the knowledge and skills test for a passenger vehicle (P) endorsement (49 CFR 383.123(a)(1)). FMCSA believes that because Congress recognized the importance of entry-level training in the operation of passenger vehicles by including the P endorsement within the scope of the MAP-21 mandate, the inclusion of the S endorsement training curriculum in the final rule is consistent with that mandate.

    Before prescribing any regulations, FMCSA must consider their “costs and benefits” (49 U.S.C. 31136(c)(2)(A) and 31502(d)). Those factors are addressed in the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) associated with this rulemaking and are summarized above.

    V. Background Regulatory History

    On March 7, 2016, FMCSA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators, in the Federal Register (81 FR 11944). FMCSA received 338 submissions during the NPRM public comment period. FMCSA and its predecessor agency, the Federal Highway Administration, Office of Motor Carriers, have previously addressed the issue of CMV driver training. The regulatory and legal history of these efforts is summarized in the table below.

    Timeline of Regulatory and Judicial Actions Related to Entry-Level Driver Training Title Type of action Citation, date Synopsis Model Curriculum for Training Tractor-Trailer Drivers Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Recommendations 1985 The Model Curriculum provided suggestions and recommendations for training providers covering curriculum, facilities, vehicles, instructor qualifications hiring practices, graduation requirements, and student placement. Commercial Motor Vehicles: Training for All Entry Level Drivers ANPRM by FHWA June 21, 1993; 58 FR 33874 The ANPRM asked 13 questions pertaining to the adequacy of training standards, curriculum requirements, the requirements for obtaining a CDL, the definition of “entry-level driver” training, training pass rates, and costs. Assessing the Adequacy of Commercial Motor Vehicle Training FHWA Report 1995 It concluded, among other things, that effective ELDT needs to include BTW instruction. Relief from Unlawfully Withheld Agency Action, In re Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways Court Action November 2002 Sought an order directing the DOT to promulgate various regulations, including one establishing ELDT. Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators FMCSA's NPRM August 15, 2003; 68 FR 48863 FMCSA proposed standards for mandatory training requirements for entry-level operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) who are required to hold or obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL). FMCSA's Final Rule May 21, 2004; 69 FR 29384 The final rule included the four training elements proposed in the NPRM: driver medical qualification and drug and alcohol testing; driver hours of service limits; driver wellness; and whistleblower protections. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Court Action 429 F.3d 1136 (D.C. Cir., December 2, 2005) The Court held that the 2004 final rule was arbitrary and capricious because FMCSA ignored the finding of the Adequacy Report that BTW training was necessary and remanded the rule to the Agency for further consideration. The Court did not vacate the 2004 final rule. Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators FMCSA's NPRM December 26, 2007; 72 FR 73226 FMCSA proposed regulations requiring both classroom and BTW training from an accredited institution or program. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) Congressional Action July 6, 2012; Public Law No. 112-141, § 32304, 126 Stat. 405, 791 MAP-21 requires DOT to regulate ELDT. Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor VehicleOperators FMCSA's Withdrawal Notice September 19, 2013; 78 FR 57585 Based on a number of considerations, FMCSA withdrew its December 26, 2007, NPRM that proposed new ELDT standards for individuals applying for a commercial driver's license to operate CMVs in interstate commerce. ELDT Negotiated Rulemaking FMCSA's Public Notices August 19, 2014; 79 FR 49044 FMCSA formally announced that it was considering addressing the rulemaking mandated by MAP-21 through a negotiated rulemaking. December 10, 2014; 79 FR 73274 FMCSA also stated its intention to finish the negotiated rulemaking process in the first half of 2015, followed by publication of an NPRM the same year and a final ELDT rule in 2016. February 12, 2015; 80 FR 7814 The Agency published a Federal Register notice listing the ELDTAC members as required by the Negotiated Rulemaking Act. Public Meetings February-May 2015 The ELDTAC met for a series of six two-day meetings to produce a consensus agreement, which formed the basis for the NPRM. In Re Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways vs. Anthony Foxx, Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, et al Court Action September 18, 2014; No. 14-1183, D.C. Circuit (2014)
  • March 10, 2015
  • FMCSA and DOT are sued in a mandamus action requesting that the D.C. Circuit order the Agency to publish a proposed rule on ELDT in 60 days and a final rule within 120 days of the Court's order.
  • The court ordered that the petition for writ of mandamus be held in abeyance pending a further order of the court to permit the DOT to issue final regulations pursuant to MAP-21.
  • Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators FMCSA's NPRM March 7, 2016; 81 FR 11944 Based on the consensus findings of the Entry-Level Driver Advisory Committee, FMCSA proposed new training standards for certain individuals applying for their initial CDL; an upgrade of their CDL (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL); or a hazardous materials, passenger, or school bus endorsement; and a “refresher” training curriculum.
    VI. March 7, 2016, Proposed Rule

    MAP-21 mandated that the FMCSA issue regulations to establish minimum entry-level training requirements for interstate and intrastate applicants obtaining a CDL for the first time, CDL holders seeking license upgrades, and those seeking passenger (P) or hazardous materials (H) endorsements. In response to that statutory mandate, the Agency published an NPRM, “Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators,” on March 7, 2016. In the NPRM, FMCSA proposed the ELDTAC's consensus recommendations “to the maximum extent possible consistent with its legal obligations” as required under the Negotiated Rulemaking Act(5 U.S.C. 563(a)(7)).

    The proposed regulations addressed the knowledge and/or skills training required for entry-level CMV drivers. Additionally, the NPRM outlined new eligibility standards that training providers must meet to deliver ELDT. Finally, while not specifically required by MAP-21, the NPRM reflected the ELDTAC's consensus that training should also be required for applicants seeking a school bus (S) endorsement and for CDL holders disqualified for safety-related CMV driving violations (refresher training).

    The proposed rule generally applied to those individuals who obtain a CDL (or a CDL upgrade or endorsement) on or after the compliance date of the final rule and did not otherwise amend substantive CDL requirements in 49 CFR parts 383 and 384. The NPRM identified specific categories of drivers excluded from the rule, based on current exceptions in part 383.

    The proposed rule also applied to entities that train CDL applicants. Such providers would, at a minimum, provide instruction in accordance with a training curriculum that meets all FMCSA standards as set forth in the NPRM. Under the NPRM, training providers would attest to their compliance with the eligibility requirements set forth in proposed subpart G of part 380. These proposed requirements addressed the following areas: Course administration; instructional personnel qualifications; training vehicles; training facilities (e.g., classroom and range); curricula; and proficiency assessment of driver-trainees. Training providers meeting these proposed requirements would be eligible for listing on FMCSA's Training Provider Registry (TPR) and would also be required to meet the criteria for continued listing on the TPR. The NPRM proposed that training providers would, at FMCSA's request, be required to supply specified documentary evidence to verify their compliance with the TPR eligibility requirements.

    The NPRM described factors that would justify FMCSA's removal of a training entity from the TPR, setting forth procedures the Agency would follow before removing an entity from the TPR. The NPRM also proposed procedures that training providers would follow in order to challenge a proposed removal and to apply for reinstatement to the TPR following involuntary removal.

    The NPRM proposed that training providers would electronically notify the TPR by the close of the next business day after driver-trainees completed training. The submission of this documentation would ensure that each individual received the required training from a provider listed on the TPR prior to taking the State-administered CDL skills test for the Class A or B CDL and/or the passenger or school bus endorsement, or the knowledge test for the hazardous materials endorsement.

    The NPRM proposed core curricula for Class A CDL and Class B CDL applicants; curricula for the P, S, and H endorsements; and a “refresher” training curriculum. The proposed core curricula for Class A and Class B CDL training programs, as well as the P and S curricula, were subdivided into theory and BTW (range and public road) components. The H endorsement training curriculum was proposed as theory-only training because there is no CDL skills test currently required for those seeking an H endorsement. The NPRM did not propose that any minimum number of hours be spent by driver-trainees in completing the theory portions of any of the individual curricula, though training providers must cover all elements of the applicable curriculum and trainees must achieve an overall score of at least 80 percent on the written theory assessment.

    The NPRM proposed that a minimum number of BTW hours be required for the Class A and Class B curricula. Class A applicants would be required to complete at least 30 hours of BTW training, while Class B applicants would need to complete a minimum of 15 hours BTW. The NPRM did not propose that driver-trainees spend any minimum number of hours to complete the BTW portion of the P or S curriculum. The preamble to the proposed rule stated that, for BTW training, “[a]ll required driving maneuvers must be performed to the satisfaction of the instructor . . .” As proposed, a CDL holder disqualified from operating a CMV due to safety-related violations would need to complete refresher training requirements before applying for reinstatement of his/her CDL. Similar to the other proposed curricula, the refresher curriculum included both theory and BTW components; however, the NPRM did not propose that a minimum number of hours be required to complete any portion of the refresher curriculum. The Agency proposed that SDLAs issue limited CDL privileges for persons seeking to become reinstated, solely for the purpose of allowing the driver to complete the BTW portion of the refresher curriculum.

    The proposed compliance date for this rule was three years after the effective date of the final rule. The Agency believed the three-year phase-in period would give the States enough time to (1) pass implementing legislation and/or regulations as necessary; (2) modify their information systems to begin recording the training provider's certification information into CDLIS and onto the driver's CDL record; and (3) begin making that information available to other States through CDLIS. The three-year phase-in period would also allow ample time for the CMV driver training industry to develop and begin offering training programs that meet the requirements for listing on the TPR.

    VII. Discussion of Comments and Responses on the NPRM

    There were 338 submissions on the proposed rule, 190 of which provided substantive comments. In addition to private citizens, the following types of entities commented on the proposed rule: Academic institutions, agriculture industry, motor carriers, CMV driver trainers, electric utilities, professional associations, owner/operators, safety advocacy groups, State DMVs and other governmental entities, school bus operations, and trade associations.

    Commenters generally supporting the proposed rule endorsed setting minimum standards, which they said would improve road safety and reduce crashes involving CMVs. While a number of commenters asserted that over the long term, entry-level driver training would result in greater highway safety and efficiencies and savings for the industry, none of those comments included quantitative data to support that assertion.

    Commenters generally opposing the NPRM made several arguments. The most frequent assertions were that an entry-level driver training program would exacerbate a commercial driver shortage (especially for school bus drivers), that an ELDT rule was unnecessary because carrier-based or other existing training regimens already work, that FMCSA had no data to support the proposed requirements, and that FMCSA exaggerated savings or underestimated costs of the ELDT proposal.

    1. Applicability of the ELDT Requirements

    The ELDT requirements proposed in the NPRM pertain to drivers who meet the definition of “entry-level driver” in § 380.605 and who intend to drive CMVs in interstate and/or intrastate commerce. As proposed, drivers holding a valid Class A or Class B CDL or a P, S, or H endorsement issued before the compliance date of the final rule would not be subject to ELDT requirements. Under the NPRM, the following categories of drivers, who are currently excepted or may, at the State's discretion, be excepted from CDL requirements, would also be excepted from the ELDT requirements: (1) Drivers excepted from the CDL requirements under § 383.3(c), (d), and (h), which includes individuals who operate CMVs for military purposes, farmers, firefighters, emergency response vehicle drivers and drivers removing snow and ice, and drivers of “covered farm vehicles”; (2) drivers applying for a restricted CDL under § 383.3 (e) through (g); and (3) veterans with military experience who meet the requirements and conditions of § 383.77.

    Comments: FMCSA received numerous comments from various industry segments requesting exceptions from the ELDT final rule. Comments filed jointly by the American Public Power Association (APPA), the Edison Electrical Institute (EEI), and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) requested that FMCSA exclude electric utility drivers from the ELDT requirements. These commenters stated that driving represents a small proportion of a utility worker's daily responsibilities and that electric utility drivers have excellent safety records.

    The Association of American Railroads (AAR) commented that several of the proposed training standards should not apply to railroad employees required to hold a CDL. For example, AAR stated that FMCSA should not require railroad employees who hold CDLs for their duties to demonstrate skills such as alley dock backing or other skills that are not necessary for the performance of their specific job functions. The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen also requested an exception for railroad employees who hold CDLs. An individual commenter requested that truck repair technicians be able to obtain a “special” CDL because they normally travel only short distances to repair facilities.

    FMCSA received a large number of comments from the custom harvester industry requesting an exception from the ELDT rule. The commenters generally cited the following arguments in support of their request. First, custom harvesters hire and train seasonal CDL drivers, most of whom do not already have a CDL. Consequently, the custom harvester typically provides training to enable the driver to obtain a CDL. Because many entry-level drivers in the custom harvester industry cannot afford training costs and other CDL-related expenses, the employer must directly pay for, or absorb the cost of, providing CDL-related training. Custom harvester employers therefore believed that the ELDT training requirements would impose additional costs on them.

    Second, the custom harvester industry argued that because the CMV testing and licensing standards in certain foreign jurisdictions do not meet the CDL testing standards established in part 383, a temporary worker who holds an H2-A visa must obtain a non-domiciled CDL. Non-domiciled CDLs are valid only for the length of the holder's work visa, which is normally six to eleven months. Commenters felt it was unfair for them to incur the cost of training drivers who obtain a CDL that is valid only for the length of their employment in the United States, and for whom they usually have to pay transportation expenses to and from the United States.

    Third, custom harvester industry commenters asserted that they have a strong driver safety record in the United States. The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) noted that agricultural services “present a lower risk relative to other types of commercial vehicle operations due to the nature of agricultural production and the way trucks and application equipment are used.” NCFC specifically cited less traffic congestion in rural areas and fewer total miles driven than the “general commercial trucking industry.” NCFC requested that FMCSA therefore grant recognition for “existing training programs, previous driving experience, and current industry practices for non-accredited entry-level driver classroom and behind-the-wheel training requirements for farm-related industries.”

    The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) supported the proposed exception for holders of valid CDLs issued before the compliance date of the final rule, as provided in § 380.603(b), but noted that the language “except as otherwise specifically provided” is very unclear.

    FMCSA Response: The ELDT requirements established in today's rule are aligned with the existing CDL requirements in part 383. The final rule does not create any new exceptions. Therefore, any individual who is currently excepted from taking a skills test in order to obtain a Class A or Class B CDL or a P or S endorsement would not be subject to the final rule.

    FMCSA acknowledges the concerns raised by the custom harvest industry and others who believe that the specialized nature of their industries makes mandated ELDT unnecessary or unduly burdensome. In response, FMCSA emphasizes that any entity or employer currently providing training would be eligible for listing on the TPR, as long as the applicable minimum curricula and instructor requirements set forth in today's rule are met. Additional costs for such providers would include online registration for the TPR, which the Agency estimates will be minimal (see RIA for discussion of these costs). In addition, as noted in the NPRM and elsewhere in this preamble, today's rule does not impose any new Federal accreditation requirements on either classroom or BTW training providers.

    Further, the fact that CDL applicants in a specific industry expect to perform job functions that are more limited than the scope of the required curricula, or who may be expected to travel relatively short distances in the course of their employment, is not a valid basis for exception from ELDT requirements. Entry-level drivers obtaining a Class A or B CDL or a P, S, or H endorsement for the first time are presumed competent to safely operate the type of CMV for which they have received a license. Accordingly, CDL holders should be capable of operating the vehicle in appropriate settings and circumstances, which may go beyond the specific purpose or employment for which they initially obtained the CDL or endorsement. Regardless of an applicant's intentions at the time he or she obtains a CDL or endorsement, the individual is in fact credentialed to operate a range of CMVs falling within the CDL class of license or endorsement received. Therefore, based on the current CDL program, it is reasonable for FMCSA to require these individuals to receive training commensurate with the CMV driving credentials they hold.

    Additionally, FMCSA notes that it would be virtually impossible to implement and enforce exemptions from the ELDT requirements in today's rule based either on the driver's industry or anticipated use of a CMV for which a CDL or endorsement is required.

    The Agency also notes that the training requirements established in today's rule are generally imposed on a one-time-only basis. This also holds true for non-domiciled CDL holders; once they complete training for the non-domiciled CDL class or endorsement, they would not be required to repeat that same training upon their return to the United States in subsequent years. Therefore, H2-A workers in the custom harvest industry would need to complete the applicable ELDT requirements only once. In addition, because the final rule permits driver-trainees to obtain theory and BTW training from separate providers, absent a conflicting State requirement, foreign workers can complete the theory portion of the training online in order to reduce ELDT related costs.

    Finally, as proposed, the ELDT requirements do not apply to individuals holding a valid CDL or a P, S, or H endorsement issued before the compliance date of the final rule. Due to other changes in the final rule discussed below, FMCSA deletes the language “except as otherwise specifically provided” from § 380.603(b).

    2. ELDT Requirements for CDL Applicants Obtaining a CLP Before the Compliance Date of the Final Rule

    As proposed, § 380.603(c)(1) required that individuals who obtain a CLP before the compliance date of the final rule would not be subject to ELDT requirements if they obtain a CDL within 360 days of obtaining a CLP. Therefore, under the NPRM, CLP holders who fail to obtain a CDL within the 360-day time frame would be required to complete ELDT before taking the required State-administered skills test.

    Comments: The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (NY DMV) commented that “360 days is too limited and problematic” because the States regulate how long a driver may wait from expiration of the original CLP before renewing that CLP. Because a CLP holder does not necessarily renew the CLP exactly on the date of expiration, the period of time from the original CLP issuance date to the expiration date of the renewed CLP may be longer than 360 days. The ODOT asked that the 360-day limit be changed to one year. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (Virginia), noting that “a CLP (original and renewal) could potentially be issued for a period of 390 plus days based on Virginia's 30-day grace period,” requested that the period be for the full duration of the CLP instead of 360 days.

    FMCSA Response: The Agency based the proposed 360-day time period on current CLP requirements, which state that the CLP must be valid for no more than 180 days from the date of issuance; States may renew the CLP for an additional 180 days without requiring the applicant to retake applicable knowledge tests (§ 383.25(c)). However, the comments illustrate that, in practice, the requirements related to CLP renewal vary among the States, thereby resulting in an amount of time between the date of initial CLP issuance and the expiration date of the renewed CLP that may be longer than 360 days. Accordingly, FMCSA revises the language in § 380.603(c)(1) to state that individuals who obtain a CLP before the compliance date of the final rule are not subject to ELDT requirements as long as they obtain a CDL before the expiration date of the CLP or renewed CLP. Any CLP holder who fails to obtain the CDL within that period would be subject to the ELDT requirements established in the final rule. The Agency believes this approach provides sufficient flexibility for the States.

    In addition, under revised § 380.603(c)(1), CLPs with endorsements are included within the scope of this exception. Accordingly, any applicant who obtains a P or S endorsement on his or her CLP before the compliance date of the final rule is not required to complete the P or S endorsement training curriculum if the applicant receives the endorsement before the initial or renewed CLP expires.

    This requirement would not apply to individuals seeking the H endorsement, who are not required to take a skills test, and therefore do not need to obtain a CLP. Unlike the P and S endorsements, the H endorsement is not linked to any specific class or type of vehicle. Accordingly, applicants for the H endorsement will already hold a Class A or B CDL, or will be concurrently obtaining a Class A or B CDL at the time they apply for the H endorsement, or intend to transport hazardous materials in a vehicle for which a Class A or B CDL is not required (e.g., a pick-up truck).

    3. ELDT Requirements for CDL Applicants Obtaining a CLP After the Compliance Date of the Final Rule

    The NPRM proposed that individuals obtaining a CLP on or after the compliance date of the final rule must comply with applicable ELDT requirements. The Agency received no comments on this requirement and it is retained, as proposed, in § 380.603(c)(2).

    4. ELDT Requirements for Driver-Trainees Who Obtain ELDT After the Compliance Date of the Final Rule

    The NPRM proposed that, except for driver-trainees seeking the H endorsement, driver-trainees must complete the theory and skills portion of the training within 360 days (§ 383.71(a)(4)).

    Comments: AAMVA requested “clarification on whether satisfactory completion before the 360 day expiration is based on the date of completion of the [theory] portion of the curriculum, the completion of the behind-the-wheel portion of the training, successful completion of the skills test, or the issuance of the CDL.”

    FMCSA Response: The proposed requirement that theory and BTW training be taken within a defined period of time reflects the ELDTAC's concern that, given the integrated nature of the training, waiting too long to complete both portions of the curriculum may diminish the overall value of the training experience. The Agency retains that concept in the final rule. However, for clarity and consistency, we changed the applicable time period from 360 days to one year and moved the provision from part 383 to part 380. Accordingly, under new § 380.603(c)(3), on or after the compliance date of the final rule, individuals who take ELDT related to the Class A or Class B CDL, or the S and/or P endorsement, must complete both portions of the training (theory and BTW) within one year of completing the first portion. As discussed below, today's rule does not require that theory and BTW training be taken in a particular sequence.

    5. Impact of the NPRM on ELDT Requirements Imposed by the States

    The NPRM proposed minimum training standards for entry-level CMV drivers, minimum qualification requirements for individuals providing theory and/or BTW instruction, and minimum eligibility requirements for training providers.

    Comments: Several comments addressed differences between the NPRM and existing State requirements related to ELDT. The State of Washington Department of Licensing (Washington) commented that its minimum commercial driver training requirements, adopted in 2009, include more required hours for entry-level drivers than the NPRM, and urged FMCSA “to adopt requirements with greater hours that are more comparable to our state's requirements.” The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) commented that “FMCSA should consider ways to grandfather existing State programs that meet or exceed the proposed high training standards to continue in place, particularly within the school bus industry.”

    The State of Michigan, Bureau of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Programs, Department of State (Michigan), recommended that the final rule require that theory/classroom training be coordinated with BTW training, adding that “[i]f not required by the rule, States should be allowed to require such coordination.” Michigan also noted that, because “some States do not presently allow the use of online training courses for driver education,” the final rule should not require that States accept online training.

    A commenter representing the Driver and Vehicle Services Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (Minnesota) noted that “Minnesota's licensed CDL behind-the-wheel instructor qualifications refer to hours of experience, by a showing of 3,000 hours within the last five years operating the class of vehicle for which instruction will be provided.” Also discussing the NPRM's requirements for BTW instructors, Virginia requested that “the proposed language be revised to indicate these are minimum requirements so that States have flexibility in requiring additional criteria.”

    FMCSA Response: Today's rule implements MAP-21's mandate that FMCSA establish minimum entry-level training requirements for individuals who operate CMVs in intrastate and interstate commerce for which a specified class of CDL or endorsement is required. The rule amends the current entry-level driver training requirements in 49 CFR part 380, the training section of the CDL regulations. The CDL program does not have preemptive effect. In order to remain eligible to receive certain Federal aid highway funds pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 31314, States must adopt regulations that comply substantially with the requirements of the CDL program. Today's rule generally does not replace or otherwise supersede State-based ELDT requirements that exceed these minimum Federal standards when an entry-level driver obtains training in that State. The Agency believes that Congress, by expressly requiring that the Secretary establish minimum training requirements for entry-level CMV drivers, intended this result.

    In order to comply with the requirements of today's rule, entry-level drivers must obtain BTW and/or theory training from a provider listed on the TPR. Under the final rule, the BTW portion of the required training must be completed before the applicant can take the State-administered skills test, except for H endorsement applicants, who must complete the H endorsement theory curriculum before taking the State-administered knowledge test.

    The question of which, if any, additional State-based ELDT-related requirements apply to the applicant will be determined by where he or she obtains their BTW and/or theory training for the Class A or Class B CDL and/or the P, S, or H endorsements.

    The Agency anticipates that most driver-trainees will obtain ELDT in their State of domicile. Under the final rule, driver-trainees who obtain BTW and/or theory training in their State of domicile are subject to any additional ELDT requirements that State imposes on CDL applicants.

    For example, if a State requires that entry-level drivers complete a CDL training program with a prescribed minimum number of BTW hours, a driver-trainee who is domiciled there and obtains BTW training there, must comply with that requirement in order to take the State-administered the skills test. Similarly, driver-trainees who take theory training in their State of domicile would be required to comply with any State-based requirements applicable to theory training. Therefore, if a driver-trainee's State of domicile prohibits online CDL-related theory training, the individual would be required to obtain theory training in a classroom or other “live” setting permitted by the State. In these examples, the applicant's State of domicile is both the training State and the licensing State.

    However, the final rule does not prohibit driver-trainees from obtaining training outside their State of domicile, if they so choose. Under § 383.79, which currently permits a non-domicile State to administer CDL skills testing to an applicant who has taken training in that State, but is to be licensed in his or her State of domicile, requires the applicant's licensing State to accept the results of that skills testing. This could occur, for example, if the applicant's prospective employer provided the training in a State other than the applicant's State of domicile. Under today's rule, any ELDT requirements that may exist in the licensing State (i.e., the applicant's State of domicile) would not be applicable to the driver-trainee who obtained skills training outside that State, even if the he or she returns to the licensing State to take the skills test (as permitted under § 383.79). Consequently, an applicant's State of domicile must issue a CDL to him or her, even if the BTW training requirements imposed by the training State do not conform with those in the State of domicile, as long as the applicant obtained the training from a provider listed on the TPR.

    Driver-trainees who elect to obtain theory training outside their State of domicile would also be subject to any additional theory training requirements imposed on CDL applicants by the training State. Accordingly, driver-trainees, when selecting a training provider, will need to understand the specific State-based ELDT requirements (if any) where they intend to obtain either type of training. FMCSA notes that the final rule does not require that driver-trainees obtain theory training prior to taking the State-administered knowledge test (except for H endorsement applicants), nor does it require that driver-trainees obtain theory training in the same State where they intend to take the State-administered knowledge test for any CDL license class or endorsement covered by the rule.

    The minimum standards in today's rule also apply to ELDT providers and instructors. Training providers must meet and continue to comply with eligibility requirements, set forth in §§ 380.703 and 719 of the final rule, including utilizing qualified theory and BTW instructors. In order to be eligible for listing on the TPR, training providers must also comply with applicable State requirements in each State where in-person training is conducted, and must utilize theory and/or BTW instructors who comply with applicable qualification requirements in each State where in-person training is conducted. The Agency notes that, just as States may impose additional requirements on entry-level drivers who obtain training in their State, the final rule also permits States to impose requirements beyond the training or instructor/provider qualification standards adopted today.

    For example, States are free to require that ELDT instructors in their State have more years of experience operating the class of vehicle for which instruction will be provided than the two-year minimum established in the final rule. States would also be free to add ELDT instructor qualifications, such as a required level of vocational or academic education (neither of which is required by today's final rule); or to impose additional bases for disqualification of training instructors. In these situations, training providers must comply with the additional requirements imposed in their respective States in order to meet the TPR eligibility requirement set forth in § 380.703(a)(5)(i).

    In today's rule, the only exception to this requirement is for training providers who provide theory training exclusively online. While online content must be prepared and delivered by instructors meeting the qualification requirements of the final rule, the provider is not required to utilize instructors complying with State-based theory instructor qualifications. As explained below in the discussion of the definition of “theory instructor,” online providers cannot reasonably be expected to require that their theory instructors comply with multiple, and potentially conflicting, qualification requirements in any State where the online training might be taken.

    As our discussion of these hypothetical examples illustrates, the purpose of this final rule is to establish a floor, not a ceiling, by requiring, at a minimum, that entry-level CMV drivers demonstrate proficiency in the applicable theory and BTW curricula established today. The Agency believes that, to the extent practicable, and consistent with Congressional intent, the final rule allows States the flexibility to impose additional ELDT requirements on driver-trainees who obtain training in their State and on training providers and instructors who deliver training in their State. That said, we are aware that questions concerning the relationship between Federal and State ELDT requirements will inevitably arise, and the Agency will provide additional post-rule guidance to address those issues, as necessary.

    6. Application of ELDT Requirements to CMV Drivers Operating in Intrastate and Interstate Commerce

    As proposed, ELDT requirements apply to all entry-level drivers operating CMVs in intrastate and interstate commerce, subject to the limited exceptions noted above.

    Comments: The State of South Dakota suggested a less burdensome option requiring training only for drivers who will be operating CMVs in interstate commerce. South Dakota stated the training would be a burden, and in some cases would prevent children from getting to school, citizens from receiving fuel for heat, grain elevator/co-op businesses from providing services to farmers, and public transit services (especially in rural areas) from finding drivers.

    FMCSA Response: The Agency does not believe that today's rule will unduly burden intrastate commerce. In any event, FMCSA has no legal authority to exclude intrastate CMV drivers from the final rule. As noted in the Legal Basis for the Rulemaking, MAP-21 requires that ELDT regulations, as a CDL-related mandate, apply to prospective CDL holders operating in either intrastate or interstate commerce. Accordingly, the scope of operations covered by the final rule is unchanged from the NPRM.

    7. Definition of Training Provider

    The NPRM defined “training provider” as “an entity that is listed on the FMCSA TPR, as required by subpart G of this part.” In the preamble, the Agency noted that training providers could be training schools, educational institutions, motor carriers providing “in-house” training to current or prospective employees, local governments, or school districts.

    Comments: The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) acknowledged the preamble's reference to the fact that motor carriers offering in-house training to entry-level drivers could be eligible for listing on the TPR. NMFTA noted, however, that the NPRM did not “expressly acknowledge the right of motor carriers to continue offering training under the new regulatory scheme” and requested that the Agency do so in the final rule. The Associated General Contractors also requested that the rule “be expanded to include a listing of the types of entities that can offer training programs and include in-house providers.”

    FMCSA Response: FMCSA intends that any entity meeting the eligibility requirements established in subpart G of today's rule can be listed on the TPR and thus be qualified to provide ELDT that would satisfy the rule's requirements. In order to clarify our intent, in the final rule, we amend the definition of “training provider” in § 380.605 to specifically identify types of entities that may be eligible for listing on the TPR. The Agency included, as examples, training schools, educational institutions, rural electric cooperatives, motor carriers, State/local governments, school districts, joint labor management programs, owner-operators, and individuals, in this definition. In addition, FMCSA notes that eligible providers may provide training either on a “for-hire” or “not-for-hire” basis. Examples include motor carriers who provide ELDT at no cost to current or prospective employees, independent training schools charging tuition, and individuals who train family or friends (either at no cost or for a fee). We note that this list of entities which could potentially qualify for TPR listing is not exclusive. Our purpose in amending the definition of “training provider” in today's rule is to identify specific examples of potentially eligible entities. We emphasize, however, that any training provider meeting the eligibility requirements could be qualified to provide ELDT in accordance with the final rule, regardless of whether they fall within a category specifically identified in § 380.605. Additional descriptive information on the various types of training providers covered by the final rule are addressed in the TPR registration instructions accompanying this rule.

    8. Definition of “Range”

    In the NPRM, FMCSA said a range was “an area that must be free of obstructions, enables the driver to maneuver safely and free from interference from other vehicles and hazards, and has adequate sight lines.”

    Comments: Several commenters asked whether the proposed definition of “range” would permit small and mid-sized entities to conduct BTW range training in their yards. One commenter noted that it is neither practical nor cost effective for smaller trucking companies to set up or rent a practice driving range. OOIDA supported the proposed definition because the flexibility to conduct range training in any suitable location meeting the definitional requirements is “especially critical to small business truckers who would be able to utilize these areas for training.” Vincennes University (VU) noted that the NPRM includes references to both “range” and “driving range” and asked whether the two terms are interchangeable.

    FMCSA Response: In today's rule, FMCSA retains the definition of “range” as proposed in the NPRM. This definition gives training providers the flexibility to conduct BTW range training in any area that meets the three basic requirements outlined in the NPRM. Accordingly, this approach does not require that any training provider maintain its own designated range for BTW training. As discussed in the NPRM, the ELDTAC took into account the impact of the rule on smaller training providers by proposing a definition of “range” that does not require any training provider to maintain or rent a private facility or space in which to conduct BTW range training. Under this definition, range training could be conducted in public areas, such as a mall or office building parking lot during “off” hours. It is up to the training provider to ensure that the required elements, such as sufficient space in which to safely maneuver the CMV, are met. However, if a training provider chooses to conduct range training in a publicly accessible area, all CLP requirements apply. Finally, in order to avoid confusion, the Agency deletes the term “driving range” from the regulatory text of the final rule. The relevant term, as defined in § 380.605, is “range.”

    9. Can BTW-range and BTW-public road training be obtained from separate training providers?

    As proposed, training in the theory and BTW portions of the curricula may be delivered by different training providers, as long as each provider is listed on the TPR. The NPRM was silent on whether the range and public road portions of the Class A and B curricula could be delivered by different providers.

    Comments: An individual commenter asked whether the range and public road portion of the BTW training could be obtained from different training providers. The commenter stated that this approach would be helpful to “some BTW providers who will struggle to secure a range that meets FMCSA requirements, but could easily deliver the public road portion of the training.”

    FMCSA Response: While today's rule does permit BTW (range and public road) and theory training to be obtained from separate training providers, FMCSA believes it is necessary that driver-trainees receive both the range and public road portions of BTW training from the same provider. FMCSA clarifies this requirement in the final rule. The reason is that meaningful instruction in the range and public road portions of BTW training requires that the provider be able to assess the driver-trainee's skill proficiency in the two settings and to adjust the amount of time or emphasis spent on the range or public road maneuvers accordingly. This integrated approach to BTW instruction permits the training provider to obtain a complete picture of the individual driver-trainee's abilities when operating CMVs for which a Class A or Class B CDL is required.

    Further, in the case of BTW training for the S and P endorsements, the range and public road portions are not set out separately as they are for the Class A and B CDL core curricula. Instead, they are combined into a single BTW (range and public road) curriculum, effectively requiring that the BTW training be obtained from one provider.

    Finally, as noted above in the discussion of the definition of “range,” training providers are not required to maintain or rent a private range in order to conduct BTW training. Publicly accessible areas can be used for this purpose, as long as the area affords sufficient space in which the required range maneuvers can be performed safely and other basic requirements are met.

    10. Small Training Entities

    The NPRM proposed that training providers who train, or expect to train, three or fewer entry-level drivers per year be exempt from two requirements