Federal Register Vol. 81, No.4,

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 4 (January 7, 2016)

Page Range719-868
FR Document

81_FR_4
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
81 FR 775 - Farm Credit Administration Board; Sunshine Act; Regular MeetingPDF
81 FR 719 - Promoting Smart Gun TechnologyPDF
81 FR 815 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
81 FR 769 - Application for New Awards; High School Equivalency ProgramPDF
81 FR 763 - Application for New Awards; College Assistance Migrant ProgramPDF
81 FR 790 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Application for Travel Document, Form I-131; Revision of a Currently Approved CollectionPDF
81 FR 735 - Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe From the People's Republic of China: Rescission of Antidumping Administrative Review; 2014-2015PDF
81 FR 736 - Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative ReviewsPDF
81 FR 741 - Potassium Permanganate From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Expedited Fourth Sunset Review of the Antidumping Duty OrderPDF
81 FR 742 - Welded ASTM A-312 Stainless Steel Pipe From the Republic of Korea: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014PDF
81 FR 774 - Notice of Availability of Draft Guidelines for Human Exposure AssessmentPDF
81 FR 804 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, and Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Olympia, WAPDF
81 FR 810 - Notice of Inventory Completion: State Historical Society of North Dakota, Bismarck, NDPDF
81 FR 805 - Notice of Inventory Completion: University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Eugene, ORPDF
81 FR 802 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville, TNPDF
81 FR 806 - Notice of Inventory Completion: U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Washington, DC; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 809 - Notice of Inventory Completion: History Colorado (Formerly Colorado Historical Society), Denver, COPDF
81 FR 808 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Springdale, ARPDF
81 FR 798 - Notice of Inventory Completion: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, DCPDF
81 FR 786 - Regulatory Requirements for Hearing Aid Devices and Personal Sound Amplification Products; Draft Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff; Reopening of the Comment PeriodPDF
81 FR 784 - Streamlining Regulations for Good Manufacturing Practices for Hearing Aids; Public Workshop; Request for CommentsPDF
81 FR 867 - Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Reconfiguration of VA Black Hills Health Care System; Comment Period ExtensionPDF
81 FR 804 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Department of Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington, INPDF
81 FR 809 - Notice of Inventory Completion: U.S. Department of Agriculture, United States Forest Service, White River National Forest, Glenwood Springs, COPDF
81 FR 811 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, CTPDF
81 FR 758 - Agency Information Collection Activities Under OMB ReviewPDF
81 FR 800 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, CTPDF
81 FR 800 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Department of Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington, INPDF
81 FR 807 - Notice of Inventory Completion: University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HIPDF
81 FR 783 - Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 802 - Notice of Inventory Completion for Native American Human Remains and Associated Funerary Objects From Bernalillo, Cibola, and Socorro Counties, NM in the Control of the Cibola National Forest, United States Forest Service, Albuquerque, NM; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 799 - Notice of Inventory Completion: The American Museum of Natural History, New York, NYPDF
81 FR 815 - New Postal ProductPDF
81 FR 816 - New Postal ProductPDF
81 FR 848 - Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement on NJ Transitgrid Traction Power System in Hudson County, New JerseyPDF
81 FR 851 - Community Development Financial Institutions FundPDF
81 FR 850 - Connex Railroad LLC-Lease and Operation Exemption-Line of Buzzi Unicem USA in College Park, Ga.PDF
81 FR 733 - Establishing the Form and Manner With Which Security-Based Swap Data Repositories Must Make Security-Based Swap Data Available to the Commission; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 847 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Electronic Application for Immigration Visa and Alien RegistrationPDF
81 FR 761 - Public Meetings and Public Hearings Related to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Donlin Gold Mine Project, North of Crooked Creek, AlaskaPDF
81 FR 789 - Meeting: Homeland Security Advisory CouncilPDF
81 FR 775 - Rangers Renal Holdings LP; Analysis To Aid Public CommentPDF
81 FR 813 - Hearings of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy ProcedurePDF
81 FR 850 - Limitation on Claims Against a Proposed Public Transportation ProjectPDF
81 FR 759 - 36(b)(1) Arms Sales NotificationPDF
81 FR 780 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection: Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 791 - Endangered Species; Marine Mammals; Receipt of Applications for PermitPDF
81 FR 744 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Operation, Maintenance, and Repair of the Northeast Gateway Liquefied Natural Gas Port and the Algonquin Pipeline Lateral Facilities in Massachusetts BayPDF
81 FR 814 - Notice of Permit Applications Received Under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978PDF
81 FR 814 - Notice of Permits Issued Under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978PDF
81 FR 778 - ArcLight Energy Partners Fund VI, L.P.; Analysis To Aid Public CommentPDF
81 FR 744 - New England Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
81 FR 759 - Notice of Intent To Grant Exclusive Patent License to Schafer Aerospace; Albuquerque, NMPDF
81 FR 762 - Intent To Prepare an Integrated Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Reallocation of Flood Storage to Water Supply at Wright Patman Lake on the Sulphur River in Cass and Bowie, Counties in Northeast TexasPDF
81 FR 757 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Invention Promoters/Promotion Firms ComplaintsPDF
81 FR 734 - Notice of Petitions by Firms for Determination of Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment AssistancePDF
81 FR 756 - Interagency Working Group on the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments ActPDF
81 FR 793 - Notice of Realty Action: Competitive Sale of 39 Parcels of Public Land in Clark County, NVPDF
81 FR 796 - Notice of Proposed Withdrawal Extension and Notice of Public Meeting; MontanaPDF
81 FR 867 - Privacy Act of 1974: Computer Matching ProgramPDF
81 FR 763 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Private School Universe Survey (PSS) June 2016-May 2019PDF
81 FR 851 - Norfolk Southern Railway Company-Discontinuance of Service Exemption-in the City of St. Louis, Mo.PDF
81 FR 812 - A Centennial History of the United States International Trade CommissionPDF
81 FR 796 - Notice of Public Meeting, North Slope Science Initiative-Science Technical Advisory PanelPDF
81 FR 774 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
81 FR 820 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing of Amendment Nos. 1 and 2 and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment Nos. 1 and 2 Thereto, Amending Sections 312.03(b) and 312.04 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual To Exempt Early Stage Companies From Having To Obtain Shareholder Approval Before Issuing Shares for Cash to Related Parties, Affiliates of Related Parties or Entities in Which a Related Party Has a Substantial InterestPDF
81 FR 844 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Derivatives and Other Off-Balance Sheet Items Schedule Pursuant to FINRA Rule 4524 (Supplemental FOCUS Information)PDF
81 FR 834 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Series 9/10 Examination ProgramPDF
81 FR 826 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Depository Trust Company; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Postponing the Date for Retirement of Computer to Computer Facility Corporate Action Announcement Files, and Implementing a Fee Associated With Its UsePDF
81 FR 841 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 2 Thereto, To Amend the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc.PDF
81 FR 817 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Amend the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc.PDF
81 FR 831 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Amend the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc.PDF
81 FR 828 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Stock Clearing Corporation of Philadelphia; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Amend the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc.PDF
81 FR 838 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Boston Stock Exchange Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Amend the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc.PDF
81 FR 847 - Notice of Meeting of the International Telecommunication Advisory Committee and Preparations for Upcoming International Communications and Information Policy MeetingsPDF
81 FR 783 - Announcement of the Award of a Single-Source Program Expansion Supplement Grant to Heartland Human Care Services in Chicago, ILPDF
81 FR 727 - Prohibition Against Certain Flights in Specified Areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region (FIR)PDF
81 FR 721 - Prohibition Against Certain Flights in the Territory and Airspace of SomaliaPDF
81 FR 787 - Notice of Issuance of Final Determination Concerning Certain Intermodal ContainersPDF
81 FR 837 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 834 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 734 - Notice of the Specialty Crop Committee's Stakeholder Listening SessionPDF

Issue

81 4 Thursday, January 7, 2016 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department NOTICES Meetings: Specialty Crop Committee's Stakeholder Listening Session, 734 2015-33042 Army Army Department NOTICES Exclusive Patent Licenses: Schafer Aerospace; Albuquerque, NM, 759 2016-00024 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals Application for Grants to States, 783-784 2016-00054 Awards of Single-Source Program Expansion Supplement Grants: Heartland Human Care Services, Chicago, IL, 783 2015-33296 Commerce Commerce Department See

Economic Development Administration

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

Patent and Trademark Office

Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 758-759 2016-00058 Community Development Community Development Financial Institutions Fund NOTICES Funding Availability: Community Development Financial Institutions Bond Guarantee Program, 851-867 2016-00047 Defense Department Defense Department See

Army Department

See

Engineers Corps

NOTICES Arms Sales, 759-761 2016-00034
Economic Development Economic Development Administration NOTICES Trade Adjustment Assistance Eligibility; Petitions, 734-735 2016-00019 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Private School Universe Survey June 2016 - May 2019, 763 2016-00008 Application for New Awards: College Assistance Migrant Program, 763-768 2016-00083 High School Equivalency Program, 769-773 2016-00084 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Engineers Engineers Corps NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Proposed Donlin Gold Mine Project, North of Crooked Creek, AK; Public Hearing, 761-762 2016-00042 Proposed Reallocation of Flood Storage to Water Supply at Wright Patman Lake on the Sulphur River, Cass and Bowie, Counties, TX, 762-763 2016-00023 Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency NOTICES Draft Guidelines for Human Exposure Assessment, 774-775 2016-00077 Farm Credit Farm Credit Administration NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 775 2016-00200 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Prohibition Against Certain Flights in Specified Areas of the Sanaa Flight Information Region, 727-732 2015-33258 Prohibition Against Certain Flights in the Territory and Airspace of Somalia, 721-727 2015-33257 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Combined Filings, 774 2015-33318 Federal Trade Federal Trade Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 780-783 2016-00033 Proposed Consent Agreements: ArcLight Energy Partners Fund VI, LP, 778-780 2016-00028 Rangers Renal Holdings LP, 775-778 2016-00038 Federal Transit Federal Transit Administration NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: NJ Transitgrid Traction Power System, Hudson County, NJ, 848-850 2016-00048 Limitations on Claims Against Proposed Public Transportation Projects, 850 2016-00035 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Endangered Species; Marine Mammals Permit Applications, 791-793 2016-00032 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Guidance: Regulatory Requirements for Hearing Aid Devices and Personal Sound Amplification Products, 786-787 2016-00066 Meetings: Streamlining Regulations for Good Manufacturing Practices for Hearing Aids; Public Workshop, 784-786 2016-00065 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

Homeland Homeland Security Department See

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

NOTICES Meetings: Homeland Security Advisory Council, 789-790 2016-00041
Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe from the People's Republic of China, 735-736 2016-00081 Potassium Permanganate from the People's Republic of China, 741-742 2016-00079 Welded ASTM A-312 Stainless Steel Pipe from the Republic of Korea, 742-744 2016-00078 Initiations of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 736-741 2016-00080 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Centennial History of the United States International Trade Commission, 812-813 2016-00005 Judicial Conference Judicial Conference of the United States NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure; Cancellation, 813-814 2016-00037 Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Meetings: North Slope Science Initiative -- Science Technical Advisory Panel, 796 2016-00002 Public Land Orders: Montana; Proposed Withdrawal Extension and Meeting, 796-798 2016-00015 Realty Actions: Competitive Sale of 39 Parcels of Public Land in Clark County, NV, 793-796 2016-00016 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOTICES Meetings: Interagency Working Group on the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act; Webinars, 756-757 2016-00018 New England Fishery Management Council, 744 2016-00026 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities: Operation, Maintenance, and Repair of the Northeast Gateway Liquefied Natural Gas Port and the Algonquin Pipeline Lateral Facilities in Massachusetts Bay, 744-756 2016-00031 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Inventory Completions: American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, 799 2016-00052 Department of Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 800-801, 804 2016-00056 2016-00063 History Colorado (Formerly Colorado Historical Society), Denver, CO, 809 2016-00070 Native American Human Remains and Associated Funerary Objects from Bernalillo, Cibola, and Socorro Counties, NM, etc.; Correction, 802 2016-00053 Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 800, 811-812 2016-00057 2016-00061 Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Springdale, AR, 808-809 2016-00069 State Historical Society of North Dakota, Bismarck, ND, 810-811 2016-00074 Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville, TN, 802-803 2016-00072 Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, and Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Olympia, WA, 804-805 2016-00076 U.S. Department of Agriculture, United States Forest Service, White River National Forest, Glenwood Springs, CO, 809-810 2016-00062 U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Washington, DC; Correction, 806-807 2016-00071 U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, DC, 798-799 2016-00067 University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI, 807-808 2016-00055 University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Eugene, OR, 805-806 2016-00073 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Antarctic Conservation Act Permit Applications, 814 2016-00030 Antarctic Conservation Act Permits, 814-815 2016-00029 Patent Patent and Trademark Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Invention Promoters/Promotion Firms Complaints, 757-758 2016-00020 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 815 2016-00108 New Postal Products, 815-816 2016-00049 2016-00050 2016-00051 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS Smart Gun Technology; Promotion Efforts (Memorandum of January 4, 2016), 719-720 2016-00198 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission PROPOSED RULES Establishing the Form and Manner with which Security-Based Swap Data Repositories Must Make Security-Based Swap Data Available to the Commission; Correction, 733 2016-00044 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 834, 837-838 2015-33215 2015-33216 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Boston Stock Exchange Clearing Corp., 838-841 2015-33305 Depository Trust Co., 826-828 2015-33310 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., 844-847 2015-33312 NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc., 831-834 2015-33307 NASDAQ OMX PHLX, LLC, 841-844 2015-33309 NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC, 817-819 2015-33308 New York Stock Exchange, LLC, 820-826 2015-33313 Stock Clearing Corp. of Philadelphia, 828-831 2015-33306 State Department State Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Electronic Application for Immigration Visa and Alien Registration, 847-848 2016-00043 Meetings: International Telecommunication Advisory Committee, 847 2015-33299 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Discontinuance of Service Exemptions: Norfolk Southern Railway Co., St. Louis, MO, 851 2016-00006 Leases and Operation Exemptions: Connex Railroad, LLC; Line of Buzzi Unicem USA in College Park, GA, 850-851 2016-00046 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Transit Administration

See

Surface Transportation Board

Treasury Treasury Department See

Community Development Financial Institutions Fund

U.S. Citizenship U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for Travel Document, 790-791 2016-00082 Customs U.S. Customs and Border Protection NOTICES Final Determination of Country of Origin: Certain Intermodal Containers, 787-789 2015-33244 Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Reconfiguration of VA Black Hills Health Care System, 867 2016-00064 Privacy Act; Computer Matching Program, 867-868 2016-00010 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.

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81 4 Thursday, January 7, 2016 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 91 [Docket No.: FAA-2007-27602; Amdt. No. 91-339] RIN 2120-AK75 Prohibition Against Certain Flights in the Territory and Airspace of Somalia AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This action amends and expands a prohibition against certain flights in the territory and airspace of Somalia that applies to all United States (U.S.) air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of a U.S. airman certificate, except when such persons are operating a U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except when such operators are foreign air carriers. The prohibition is expanded by raising the minimum Flight Level (FL) for flight operations by such persons from FL200 to FL260. The FAA is taking this action because it has determined that there is an unacceptable risk to U.S. civil aviation operating in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260 resulting from terrorist and militant activity. The security situation in Somalia remains unstable. In response to this activity, the FAA published a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) on May 12, 2015, prohibiting U.S. civil flight operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260. The prohibition contained in the May 12, 2015 NOTAM was continued in a subsequent NOTAM issued on November 25, 2015 that used a new accountability code for NOTAMs that announce FAA flight advisories or prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation operations in airspace for which the FAA is not the air navigation service provider. This amendment incorporates the flight prohibition set forth in the November 25, 2015 NOTAM into the rule; revises the approval process for proposed operations sponsored by other U.S. Government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities to align with the approval processes established for other recently published flight prohibition rules and clarifies the FAA's expectations regarding requests for approval; adds information about requests for exemption; reorganizes the placement of the rule within the General Operating and Flight Rules; and makes technical corrections to the regulatory text. This final rule will remain in effect for two years.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on January 7, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For technical questions concerning this action, contact Michael Filippell, Air Transportation Division, AFS-220, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267-8166; email [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Executive Summary

The FAA has determined that there is an unacceptable risk to U.S. civil aviation operating in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260 resulting from terrorist and militant activity, as described in the Background section of this rule. This action incorporates into Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) No. 107, § 91.1613, the expanded flight prohibition for U.S. civil aviation detailed in the November 25, 2015, 2015 NOTAM (KICZ A0031/15). The revised prohibition applies to flight operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260 by all U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of a U.S. airman certificate, except when such persons are operating a U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except when such operators are foreign air carriers. Prior to this rulemaking action, SFAR No. 107 prohibited certain flight operations within the territory and airspace of Somalia below FL200 (former paragraph 2 of SFAR No. 107). However, it permitted flights departing from countries adjacent to Somalia whose climb performance would not permit them to operate above FL200 prior to entering Somali airspace, to operate at altitudes below FL200 while operating within Somalia to the extent necessary to permit them to climb above FL200, subject to the approval of, and in accordance with the conditions established by, the appropriate authorities of Somalia (former paragraph 2(b) of SFAR No. 107). This amendment no longer provides such exceptions for flights departing from adjacent countries and entering Somali airspace below FL260. This amendment also reformats the rule to meet current Federal Register requirements; moves the rule from the beginning of part 91 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to subpart M of that part; and revises the approval process for this SFAR for other U.S. Government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities to align with the approval process established for other recently published flight prohibition SFARs and clarifies the FAA's expectations regarding requests for approvals. It also adds information about requests for exemptions and makes technical corrections to the regulatory text.

II. Good Cause for Immediate Adoption

Section 553(b)(3)(B) of title 5, U.S. Code, authorizes agencies to dispense with notice and comment procedures for rules when the agency for “good cause” finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” In this instance, the FAA finds that notice and public comment to this immediately adopted final rule, as well as any delay in the effective date of this rule, are contrary to the public interest due to the immediate need to address the hazards to U.S. civil aviation that continue to exist in the territory and airspace of Somalia, as described in the Background section of this rule.

III. Authority for This Rulemaking

The FAA is responsible for the safety of flight in the U.S. and for the safety of U.S. civil operators, U.S.-registered civil aircraft, and U.S.-certificated airmen throughout the world. The FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in title 49, U.S. Code. Subtitle I, section 106(f), describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII of title 49, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. Section 40101(d)(1) provides that the Administrator shall consider in the public interest, among other matters, assigning, maintaining, and enhancing safety and security as the highest priorities in air commerce. Section 40105(b)(1)(A) requires the Administrator to exercise his authority consistently with the obligations of the U.S. Government under international agreements.

This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, subpart III, section 44701, General requirements. Under that section, the FAA is charged broadly with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing, among other things, regulations and minimum standards for practices, methods, and procedures that the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce and national security. This regulation is within the scope of that authority, because it prohibits the persons subject to paragraph (a) of Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) No. 107, § 91.1613, (formerly paragraph 1 of SFAR No. 107) from conducting flight operations at altitudes below FL 260 in the territory and airspace of Somalia due to the hazards to the safety of such persons' flight operations, as described in the Background section of this rule.

IV. Background

The FAA issued SFAR No. 107, effective March 30, 2007 (72 FR 16710, April 5, 2007), because it had aviation safety and national security concerns regarding the safety of U.S. civil flight operations in Somalia, as well as overflights of Somalia below FL200. On March 9, 2007, the fuselage of an IL-76 aircraft supporting the deployment of Ugandan peacekeeping forces to Somalia exploded and caught fire just above the landing gear while on final approach to Mogadishu International Airport (HCMM). There was evidence to support the possibility that the aircraft might have been struck by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) while 2.5-3 kilometers off the coast of Somalia at approximately 120 meters in altitude. The aircraft was able to land at Mogadishu, but was heavily damaged, although no serious injuries occurred to any crew or passengers. While there were conflicting accounts regarding the cause of the incident, the FAA believed at the time that the attack on the IL-76 was probably caused by an RPG. The FAA could not rule out the possibility that some individuals also had access to man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) that could be used against those persons covered by SFAR No. 107. In addition, on March 23, 2007, an IL-76 aircraft crashed after taking off from Mogadishu airport, killing all the passengers and crew. The aircraft brought engineers and parts to the IL-76 crippled in the March 9, 2007, incident. Although the cause of the crash was under investigation at the time SFAR No. 107 was issued, there was a possibility the IL-76 was downed by a MANPAD or RPG. These incidents occurred days after unknown individuals attacked the airport at Mogadishu with mortars, causing minimal damage. Consequently, the FAA determined that it was not safe for persons subject to SFAR No. 107 to overfly Somali territory below FL200 and that it was not in the United States' national security interests for such persons to engage in flight operations within the territory and airspace of Somalia below that altitude. Subsequent review of the IL-76 incidents later assessed that both attacks likely involved MANPADS.

The security situation in Somalia remains unstable. The FAA has continued to monitor hazards to U.S. civil aviation in the territory and airspace of Somalia and has determined that the risk from terrorist and militant activity now makes it unsafe for U.S. civil flights to operate in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260. On May 12, 2015, the FAA published NOTAM FDC 5/0120, which prohibited all U.S. civil flight operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260, due to an unacceptable risk to U.S. civil aviation operations at altitudes below FL260 from terrorist and militant activity. This NOTAM increased restrictions on U.S. civil aviation operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia beyond the restrictions contained in SFAR No. 107, which remained in effect.

On November 25, 2015, KICZ NOTAM A0031/15 replaced FDC NOTAM 5/0120 (A0018/15). The new NOTAM was published as the FAA transitioned from using Flight Data Center NOTAMs to the new KICZ accountability code for NOTAMS that announce FAA flight advisories or prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation operations in airspace for which the FAA is not the air navigation service provider. The details of the FAA's flight prohibition remained unchanged. This rule incorporates the expanded restrictions contained in the NOTAM into SFAR No. 107.

International civil air routes that transit Somali airspace and aircraft operating to and from Somali airports remain at risk from terrorist and militant groups potentially employing anti-aircraft weapons, including MANPADS, small-arms fire and indirect fire from mortars and rockets targeting airports. Some of these weapons have the capability to target aircraft upon approach and departure and at higher altitudes. The terrorist group al-Shabaab is active in Somalia and has demonstrated the capability and intent to target U.S. and Western interests. Al-Shabaab has conducted multiple attacks against civil aviation, including the previously mentioned attacks on two IL-76 aircraft in March 2007, likely using MANPADS. These attacks were part of the basis for the original SFAR. Al-Shabaab has also conducted ground assaults against Mogadishu International Airport (HCMM), the most recent of which occurred in December 2014. Attacks against aircraft in-flight or Somali airports can occur with little or no warning.

Given the uncertainty about when the above-described hazards to U.S. civil aviation will abate sufficiently to allow for safe U.S. civil aviation operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia below FL260, this amendment follows up on the November 25, 2015, NOTAM (KICZ A0031/15) by incorporating the flight prohibition contained in the NOTAM into the CFR. This amendment also places SFAR No. 107 in subpart M of part 91 in the new 14 CFR 91.1613.

The FAA will continue to actively evaluate the area to determine to what extent U.S. civil aviation may be able to safely operate therein. Adjustments to this SFAR may be appropriate if the risk to aviation safety and security changes. The FAA may amend or rescind this SFAR, as necessary, prior to its expiration date.

Additionally, the FAA is amending the approval process and approval conditions for SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613. The FAA believes that it has provided more streamlined approval processes for other U.S. government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities in more recent flight prohibition SFARs than the current SFAR No. 107 approval process would allow, and that an approval process similar to those adopted for recent SFARs may be instituted for SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613, while still addressing the risks to U.S. civil aviation in the territory and airspace of Somalia below FL260. The FAA is also clarifying its expectations regarding requests for approval and revising the approval conditions that will apply to operations authorized by other U.S. Government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities and approved by the FAA to streamline the approval conditions along the lines of the approval conditions contained in recent flight prohibition SFARs and to reflect the termination of statutory authorization for the FAA premium war risk insurance program. Section 102 of Division L of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235, December 16, 2014, inter alia, amended 49 U.S.C. 44302(f) and 44310(a) to specify the termination dates in those sections as December 11, 2014. The effect was to terminate coverage under FAA's premium war risk insurance program as of December 11, 2014. The FAA is also specifying special requirements for petitions for exemption from SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613.

Because the circumstances described herein warrant immediate action by the FAA, I find that notice and public comment under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) are impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Further, I find that good cause exists under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) for making this rule effective immediately upon issuance. I also find that this action is fully consistent with the obligations under 49 U.S.C. 40105 to ensure that I exercise my duties consistently with the obligations of the United States under international agreements.

V. Revised Approval Process Based on a Request From a Department, Agency, or Instrumentality of the United States Government

If a department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. Government determines that it has a critical need to engage any person covered under SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613, including a U.S. air carrier or a U.S. commercial operator, to conduct a charter to transport civilian or military passengers or cargo or other operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia below FL260, that department, agency, or instrumentality may request that the FAA approve persons covered under SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613, to conduct such operations. An approval request must be made directly by the requesting department, agency or instrumentality of the U.S. Government to the FAA's Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (AVS-1) in a letter signed by an appropriate senior official of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality. Requests for approval submitted to the FAA by anyone other than the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality will not be accepted and will not be processed. In addition, the senior official signing the letter requesting FAA approval on behalf of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality must be sufficiently highly placed within his or her organization to demonstrate that the senior leadership of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality supports the request for approval and is committed to taking all necessary steps to minimize operational risks to the proposed flights. The senior official must also be in a position to: (1) Attest to the accuracy of all representations made to the FAA in the request for approval and (2) ensure that any support from the requesting U.S. government department, agency, or instrumentality described in the request for approval is in fact brought to bear and is maintained over time. Unless justified by exigent circumstances, requests for approval must be submitted to the FAA no less than 30 calendar days before the date on which the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality wishes the proposed operations, if approved by the FAA, to commence.

The letter must be sent by the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality to the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (AVS-1), Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591. Electronic submissions are acceptable, and the requesting entity may request that the FAA notify it electronically as to whether the approval request is granted. If a requestor wishes to make an electronic submission to the FAA, the requestor should contact the Air Transportation Division, Flight Standards Service, at (202) 267-8166 to obtain the appropriate email address. A single letter may request approval from the FAA for multiple persons covered under SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613, and/or for multiple flight operations. To the extent known, the letter must identify the person(s) covered under the SFAR on whose behalf the U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality is seeking FAA approval, and it must describe—

• The proposed operation(s), including the nature of the mission being supported;

• The service to be provided by the person(s) covered by the SFAR;

• To the extent known, the specific locations in the territory and airspace of Somalia below FL260 where the proposed operation(s) will be conducted, including, but not limited to, the flight path and altitude of the aircraft while it is operating in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260 and the airports, airfields and/or landing zones at which the aircraft will take-off and land; and

• The method by which the department, agency, or instrumentality will provide, or how the operator will otherwise obtain, current threat information and an explanation of how the operator will integrate this information into all phases of the proposed operations (e.g., pre-mission planning and briefing, in-flight, and post-flight).

The request for approval must also include a list of operators with whom the U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality requesting FAA approval has a current contract(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s) (or with whom its prime contractor has a subcontract(s)) for specific flight operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260. Additional operators may be identified to the FAA at any time after the FAA approval is issued. However, all additional operators must be identified to, and obtain an Operations Specification (OpSpec) or Letter of Authorization (LOA), as appropriate, from, the FAA for operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260 before such operators commence such operations. The revised approval conditions discussed below will apply to any such additional operators. Updated lists should be sent to the email address to be obtained from the Air Transportation Division by calling (202) 267-8166.

If an approval request includes classified information, requestors may contact Aviation Safety Inspector Michael Filippell for instructions on submitting it to the FAA. His contact information is listed in the For Further Information Contact section of this final rule.

FAA approval of an operation under SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613, does not relieve persons subject to this SFAR of their responsibility to comply with all applicable FAA rules and regulations. Operators of civil aircraft must also comply with the conditions of their certificate, OpSpecs, and LOAs, as applicable. Operators must further comply with all rules and regulations of other U.S. Government departments and agencies that may apply to the proposed operations, including, but not limited to, the Transportation Security Regulations issued by the Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security.

Revised Approval Conditions

If the FAA approves the request, the FAA's Aviation Safety Organization (AVS) will send an approval letter to the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality informing it that the FAA's approval is subject to all of the following conditions:

(1) The approval will stipulate those procedures and conditions that limit, to the greatest degree possible, the risk to the operator, while still allowing the operator to achieve its operational objectives.

(2) Before any approval takes effect, the operator must submit to the FAA:

(a) A written release of the U.S. Government from all damages, claims, and liabilities, including without limitation legal fees and expenses; and

(b) the operator's agreement to indemnify the U.S. Government with respect to any and all third-party damages, claims, and liabilities, including without limitation legal fees and expenses, relating to any event arising from or related to the approved operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia below FL260.

(3) Other conditions that the FAA may specify, including those that may be imposed in OpSpecs or LOAs, as applicable.

The release and agreement to indemnify do not preclude an operator from raising a claim under an applicable non-premium war risk insurance policy issued by the FAA under chapter 443 of title 49, United States Code.

If the proposed operation or operations are approved, the FAA will issue an OpSpec or an LOA, as applicable, to the operator authorizing the operation or operations, and will notify the department, agency, or instrumentality that requested the FAA's approval of any additional conditions beyond those contained in the approval letter. The requesting department, agency, or instrumentality must have a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement (or its prime contractor must have a subcontract) with the person(s) described in paragraph (a) of this SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613 (formerly paragraph 1 of SFAR No. 107), on whose behalf the department, agency, or instrumentality requests FAA approval.

VI. Requests for Exemption

Any operations not conducted under an approval issued by the FAA through the approval process set forth previously must be conducted under an exemption from SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613. A request by any person covered under SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613, for an exemption must comply with 14 CFR part 11, and will require exceptional circumstances beyond those contemplated by the approval process set forth above. In addition to the information required by 14 CFR 11.81, at a minimum, the requestor must describe in its submission to the FAA—

• The proposed operation(s), including the nature of the operation;

• The service to be provided by the person(s) covered by the SFAR;

• The specific locations in the territory and airspace of Somalia below FL260 where the proposed operation(s) will be conducted, including, but not limited to, the flight path and altitude of the aircraft while it is operating in the territory and airspace of Somalia below FL260 and the airports, airfields and/or landing zones at which the aircraft will take-off and land; and

• The method by which the operator will obtain current threat information, and an explanation of how the operator will integrate this information into all phases of its proposed operations (e.g., the pre-mission planning and briefing, in-flight, and post-flight phases).

Additionally, the release and agreement to indemnify, as referred to above, will be required as a condition of any exemption that may be issued under SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613.

The FAA recognizes that operations that may be affected by SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613, including this amendment, may be planned for the governments of other countries with the support of the U.S. Government. While these operations will not be permitted through the approval process, the FAA will process exemption requests for such operations on an expedited basis and prior to any private exemption requests.

VII. Regulatory Notices and Analyses A. Regulatory Evaluation

Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic analyses. First, Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354), as codified in 5 U.S.C. 603 et seq., requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended, 19 U.S.C. Chapter 13, prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. standards, the Trade Agreements Act requires agencies to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4), as codified in 2 U.S.C. Chapter 25, requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA's analysis of the economic impacts of this final rule.

In conducting these analyses, FAA has determined that this final rule has benefits that justify its costs and is a “significant regulatory action” as defined in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, because it raises novel policy issues contemplated under that Executive Order. The rule is also “significant” as defined in DOT's Regulatory Policies and Procedures. The final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, will not create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States, and will not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments, or on the private sector by exceeding the threshold identified above.

Department of Transportation Order 2100.5 prescribes policies and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits a statement to that effect and the basis for it to be included in the preamble if a full regulatory evaluation of the costs and benefits is not prepared. Such a determination has been made for this final rule. The reasoning for this determination follows.

Due to the significant hazards to U.S. civil aviation described in the Background section of this rule, this rule incorporates into SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613, the prohibition of U.S. civil flights in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260 issued by the FAA in NOTAM FDC 5/0120 on May 12, 2015, and continued in KICZ NOTAM A0031/15, which was issued on November 25, 2015. Before the FAA issued the May 12, 2015, NOTAM, the FAA prohibited U.S. civil flights in the territory and airspace of Somalia below FL200, rather than below FL260. However, flights departing from countries adjacent to Somalia whose climb performance would not permit operation above FL200 prior to entering Somali airspace were permitted to operate at altitudes below FL200 within Somalia to the extent necessary to permit a climb above FL200, subject to the approval of, and in accordance with the conditions established by, the appropriate authorities of Somalia.

The fuel and time costs associated with increasing altitude from FL200 to FL260 before overflying Somalia are minimal per flight. Also minimal per flight are the fuel and time costs for persons subject to SFAR No. 107, § 91.1613, departing from countries adjacent to Somalia (Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Yemen), who are now required to be at altitudes at or above FL260 when entering Somali airspace. In addition, given the current hazards to U.S. civil aviation outlined in the Background section of this rule, the FAA believes there are very few U.S. operators who wish to overfly Somalia at altitudes below FL260. Consequently, the FAA estimates the costs of this rule to be minimal. These minimal costs are exceeded by the significant benefits of avoided deaths or property damage that would result from a U.S. operator's aircraft being shot down (or otherwise damaged) due to the hazards (described in the Background section of this final rule) to U.S. civil aviation in the territory and airspace of Somalia below FL260.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Determination

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) (RFA) establishes “as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given serious consideration.” The RFA covers a wide range of small entities, including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions.

Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA. However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. The certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be clear.

While there are a substantial number of United States operators who are small entities, the number of affected flights is expected to be few, and the required change in flight path and altitude would result in minimal additional time and operating expense. Therefore, as provided in section 605(b), the head of the FAA certifies that this rulemaking will not result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

C. International Trade Impact Assessment

The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended, prohibits Federal agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. Pursuant to this Act, the establishment of standards is not considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the United States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic objective, such as the protection of safety, and does not operate in a manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also requires consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards.

The FAA has assessed the effect of this final rule and determined that its purpose is to protect the safety of U.S. civil aviation from a hazard outside the U.S. Therefore, the rule is in compliance with the Trade Agreements Act.

D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more (in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate is deemed to be a “significant regulatory action.” The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value of $155.0 million in lieu of $100 million.

This final rule does not contain such a mandate. Therefore, the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply.

E. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. The FAA has determined that there is no new requirement for information collection associated with this immediately adopted final rule.

F. International Compatibility and Cooperation

In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices that correspond to this regulation.

G. Environmental Analysis

FAA Order 1050.1F identifies FAA actions that are categorically excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the categorical exclusion identified in paragraph 5-6.6f of this order and involves no extraordinary circumstances.

The FAA has reviewed the implementation of this SFAR and determined it is categorically excluded from further environmental review according to FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 5-6.6f. The FAA has examined possible extraordinary circumstances and determined that no such circumstances exist. After careful and thorough consideration of the action, the FAA finds that this Federal action does not require preparation of an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement in accordance with the requirements of NEPA, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, and FAA Order 1050.1F.

VI. Executive Order Determinations A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

The FAA has analyzed this immediately adopted final rule under the principles and criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has determined that this action would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, and, therefore, would not have Federalism implications.

B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

The FAA analyzed this immediately adopted final rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that it would not be a “significant energy action” under the executive order and would not be likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy.

C. Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation

Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation, (77 FR 26413, May 4, 2012) promotes international regulatory cooperation to meet shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues and to reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements. The FAA has analyzed this action under the policies and agency responsibilities of Executive Order 13609, and has determined that this action would have no effect on international regulatory cooperation.

VII. Additional Information A. Availability of Rulemaking Documents

An electronic copy of rulemaking documents may be obtained from the Internet by—

• Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);

• Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies or

• Accessing the Government Publishing Office's Web page at http://www.fdsys.gov.

Copies may also be obtained by sending a request (identified by amendment or docket number of this rulemaking) to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9677. Please identify the docket or amendment number of this rulemaking in your request.

Except for classified material, all documents the FAA considered in developing this rule, including economic analyses and technical reports, may be accessed from the Internet through the Federal eRulemaking Portal referenced above.

B. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) requires FAA to comply with small entity requests for information or advice about compliance with statutes and regulations within its jurisdiction. A small entity with questions regarding this document may contact its local FAA official, or the person listed under the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT heading at the beginning of the preamble. To find out more about SBREFA on the Internet, visit http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/sbre_act/.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 91

Air traffic control, Aircraft, Airmen, Airports, Aviation safety, Freight, Somalia.

The Amendment

In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends chapter I of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 91—GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES 1. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows: Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 1155, 40101, 40103, 40105, 40113, 40120, 44101, 44111, 44701, 44704, 44709, 44711, 44712, 44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 46306, 46315, 46316, 46504, 46506-46507, 47122, 47508, 47528-47531, 47534, articles 12 and 29 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (61 Stat. 1180), (126 Stat. 11).

Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 107—[Removed]
2. Remove Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 107 from part 91. 3. Add § 91.1613 to subpart M to read as follows:
§ 91.1613 Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 107—Prohibition Against Certain Flights in the Territory and Airspace of Somalia.

(a) Applicability. This Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) applies to the following persons:

(1) All U.S. air carriers and U.S. commercial operators;

(2) All persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except when such persons are operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and

(3) All operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier.

(b) Flight prohibition. Except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, no person described in paragraph (a) of this section may conduct flight operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below Flight Level (FL) 260. Overflights of Somalia may be conducted at or above FL260 subject to the approval of, and in accordance with the conditions established by, the appropriate authorities of Somalia.

(c) Permitted operations. This section does not prohibit persons described in paragraph (a) of this section from conducting flight operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260, provided that such flight operations are conducted under a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement with a department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. government (or under a subcontract between the prime contractor of the department, agency, or instrumentality, and the person described in paragraph (a) of this section) with the approval of the FAA or under an exemption issued by the FAA. The FAA will process requests for approval or exemption in a timely manner, with the order of preference being: First, for those operations in support of U.S. government-sponsored activities; second, for those operations in support of government-sponsored activities of a foreign country with the support of a U.S. government department, agency, or instrumentality; and third, for all other operations.

(d) Emergency situations. In an emergency that requires immediate decision and action for the safety of the flight, the pilot in command of an aircraft may deviate from this section to the extent required by that emergency. Except for U.S. air carriers and commercial operators that are subject to the requirements of 14 CFR part 119, 121, 125, or 135, each person who deviates from this section must, within 10 days of the deviation, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays, submit to the nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) a complete report of the operations of the aircraft involved in the deviation, including a description of the deviation and the reasons for it.

(e) Expiration. This SFAR will remain in effect until January 7, 2018. The FAA may amend, rescind, or extend this SFAR as necessary.

Issued in Washington, DC, under the authority of 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 40101(d)(1), 40105(b)(1)(A), and 44701(a)(5), on December 23, 2015. Michael P. Huerta, Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-33257 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 91 [Docket No.: FAA-2015-8672; Amdt. No. 91-340] RIN 2120-AK72 Prohibition Against Certain Flights in Specified Areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region (FIR) AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

On May 22, 2015, the FAA issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) prohibiting certain flight operations in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region (FIR) by all U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of a U.S. airman certificate, except when such persons are operating a U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except when such operators are foreign air carriers. The FAA found this action necessary to address the hazardous situation created by the risks to U.S. civil aviation from ongoing military operations, political instability, violence from competing armed groups, and the continuing terrorism threat from extremist elements associated with the fighting and instability in Yemen. The prohibition contained in the May 22, 2015 NOTAM was continued in a subsequent NOTAM issued on November 25, 2015 that used a new accountability code for NOTAMs that announce FAA flight advisories or prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation operations in airspace for which the FAA is not the air navigation service provider. This action incorporates the flight prohibition contained in the November 25, 2015, NOTAM into the Code of Federal Regulations.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on January 7, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For technical questions concerning this action, contact Michael Filippell, Air Transportation Division, AFS-220, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone 202-267-8166; email [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Executive Summary

This action prohibits flight operations in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, excluding that airspace east and southeast of a line drawn direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E) to NODMA (152603N 0533359E), then direct from NODMA to PAKER (115500N 0463500E), by all U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of a U.S. airman certificate, except when such persons are operating a U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except when such operators are foreign air carriers. The FAA finds this action necessary to prevent a hazard to persons and aircraft engaged in such flight operations.

II. Good Cause for Immediate Adoption

Section 553(b)(3)(B) of title 5, U.S. Code, authorizes agencies to dispense with notice and comment procedures for rules when the agency for “good cause” finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” In this instance, the FAA finds that notice and public comment to this immediately adopted final rule, as well as any delay in the effective date of this rule, are contrary to the public interest due to the immediate need to address the hazard to U.S. civil aviation that now exists in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, as described in the Background section of this rule.

III. Authority for This Rulemaking

The FAA is responsible for the safety of flight in the U.S. and the safety of U.S. civil operators, U.S.-registered civil aircraft, and U.S.-certificated airmen throughout the world. The FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in title 49, U.S. Code. Subtitle I, section 106(f), describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII of title 49, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. Section 40101(d)(1) provides that the Administrator shall consider in the public interest, among other matters, assigning, maintaining, and enhancing safety an security as the highest priorities in air commerce. Section 40105(b)(1)(A) requires the Administrator to exercise his authority consistently with the obligations of the U.S. Government under international agreements.

This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, subpart III, section 44701, General requirements. Under that section, the FAA is charged broadly with promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commere by prescribing, among other things, regulations and minimum standards for practices, methods, and procedures that the Administrator finds necessary for safety in air commerce an national security. This regulation is within the scope of that authority, because it prohibits the persons subject to paragraph (a) of Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) No. 115, § 91.1611, from conducting flight operations in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR due to the hazard to the safety of such persons' flight operations, as described in the Background section of this rule.

IV. Background

On March 26, 2015 (FDC 5/8051), the FAA issued a NOTAM prohibiting flight operations in the entire Sanaa (OYSC) FIR by all U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of a U.S. airman certificate, except when such persons were operating a U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except when such operators were foreign air carriers. The FAA took this action because it had determined that there was an unacceptable risk to U.S. civil aviation operating in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR due to the hazardous situation faced by U.S. civil aviation from ongoing military operations, political instability, violence from competing armed groups, and the continuing terrorism threat from extremist elements associated with the fighting and instability in Yemen.

After issuing the March 26, 2015, NOTAM, the FAA continued to monitor the risks to U.S. civil aviation in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR. On May 22, 2015, after evaluating available information regarding the safety of certain air traffic routes over the high seas in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, including B400, B403 and B404, given current military operations and other threats to U.S. civil aviation in the region, the FAA determined that U.S. civil aviation operations could operate safely in part of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR. The FAA issued a new NOTAM (FDC 5/5575), which allowed U.S. civil aviation operations to resume in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR. Specifically, the May 22, 2015, NOTAM permitted U.S. civil aviation operations to resume in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR in that airspace east and southeast of a line drawn direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E) to NODMA (152603N 0533359E), then direct from NODMA to PAKER (115500N 0463500E). However, the FAA continued to have serious concerns about the safety of U.S. civil aviation in the rest of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, as described in the remaining paragraphs of this Background section, and U.S. civil aviation operations in that airspace west and northwest of the line described in the preceding sentence remained prohibited.

On November 25, 2015, KICZ NOTAM A0036/15 replaced FDC NOTAM 5/5575 (A0019/15). The new NOTAM was published as the FAA transitioned from using Flight Data Center NOTAMs to the new KICZ accountability code for NOTAMS that announce FAA flight advisories or prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation operations in airspace for which the FAA is not the air navigation service provider. The details of the FAA's flight prohibition remained unchanged. This final rule incorporates the prohibition contained in the November 25, 2015, NOTAM into the Code of Federal Regulations.

The FAA has determined that there is an unacceptable risk to U.S. civil aviation operating in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, excluding that airspace east and southeast of a line drawn direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E) to NODMA (152603N 0533359E), then direct from NODMA to PAKER (115500N 0463500E), due to the hazardous situation faced by U.S. civil aviation from ongoing military operations, political instability, violence from competing armed groups, and the continuing terrorism threat from extremist elements associated with the fighting and instability in Yemen.

International civil air routes that transit the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR and aircraft operating to and from Yemeni airports are at risk from terrorist and militant groups potentially employing anti-aircraft weapons, including Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), small-arms fire, and indirect fire from mortars and rockets. Due to the fighting and instability, there is a risk of possible loss of state control over more advanced anti-aircraft weapons to terrorist and militant groups, and some of these weapons have the capability to target aircraft at higher altitudes and/or during approach and departure and have weapon ranges that could extend into the near off-shore areas along Yemen's coastline. U.S. civil aviation is also at risk from combat operations and other military-related activity associated with the fighting and instability. There is also an ongoing threat of terrorism. Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is active in Yemen and has demonstrated the capability and intent to target U.S. and Western aviation interests.

Attacks against aircraft in flight or Yemeni airports can occur with little or no warning. Various Yemeni airports have been attacked during the fighting, including Sanaa International Airport (OYSN) and Aden International Airport (OYAA), resulting in damage to airport facilities and temporary closure of the airports. In recent years, Sanaa International Airport (OYSN) has been shut down on numerous occasions due to indirect fire and threats of attack against the airport and aircraft at low altitudes during approach and/or departure.

There is also a risk to U.S. civil aviation from potential strategic SAM systems. Some of these air defense SAMs pose a threat to civil aviation out to 40 nautical miles and can reach altitudes above the normal cruising levels for civil air traffic. On March 28, 2015, a probable SAM missile was launched from the vicinity of Al Hudaydah, Yemen along the Red Sea.

Given the uncertainty about when the above-described hazards to U.S. civil aviation will abate sufficiently to allow for safe U.S. civil aviation operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, this new SFAR follows up on the November 25, 2015, NOTAM and incorporates the flight prohibition contained in the November 25, 2015, NOTAM into the Code of Federal Regulations.

The FAA will continue to actively evaluate the area to determine to what extent U.S. civil aviation may be able to safely operate therein. Adjustments to this SFAR may be appropriate if the risk to aviation safety and security changes. The FAA may amend or rescind this SFAR as necessary prior to its expiration date.

Because the circumstances described herein warrant immediate action by the FAA, I find that notice and public comment under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) are impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Further, I find that good cause exists under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) for making this rule effective immediately upon issuance. I also find that this action is fully consistent with the obligation under 49 U.S.C. 40105 to ensure that I exercise my duties consistently with the obligations of the United States under international agreements.

V. Approval Based on Authorization Request of an Agency of the United States Government

If a department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. Government determines that it has a critical need to engage any person covered under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, including a U.S. air carrier or a U.S. commercial operator, to conduct a charter to transport civilian or military passengers or cargo or other operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR, that department, agency, or instrumentality may request that the FAA approve persons covered under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, to conduct such operations. An approval request must be made directly by the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. Government to the FAA's Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (AVS-1) in a letter signed by an appropriate senior official of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality. Requests for approval submitted to the FAA by anyone other than the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality will not be accepted and will not be processed. In addition, the senior official signing the letter requesting FAA approval on behalf of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality must be sufficiently highly placed within his or her organization to demonstrate that the senior leadership of the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality supports the request for approval and is committed to taking all necessary steps to minimize operational risks to the proposed flights. The senior official must also be in a position to: (1) Attest to the accuracy of all representations made to the FAA in the request for approval and (2) ensure that any support from the requesting U.S. government department, agency, or instrumentality described in the request for approval is in fact brought to bear and is maintained over time. Unless justified by exigent circumstances, requests for approval must be submitted to the FAA no less than 30 calendar days before the date on which the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality wishes the proposed operations, if approved by the FAA, to commence.

The letter must be sent by the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality to the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (AVS-1), Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591. Electronic submissions are acceptable, and the requesting entity may request that the FAA notify it electronically as to whether the approval request is granted. If a requestor wishes to make an electronic submission to the FAA, the requestor should contact the Air Transportation Division, Flight Standards Service, at (202) 267-8166 to obtain the appropriate email address. A single letter may request approval from the FAA for multiple persons covered under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, and/or for multiple flight operations. To the extent known, the letter must identify the person(s) covered under the SFAR on whose behalf the U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality seeks FAA approval, and it must describe—

• The proposed operation(s), including the nature of the mission being supported;

• The service to be provided by the person(s) covered by the SFAR;

• To the extent known, the specific locations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR where the proposed operation(s) will be conducted, including, but not limited to, the flight path and altitude of the aircraft while operating in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR and the airports, airfields and/or landing zones at which the aircraft will take-off and land; and

• The method by which the department, agency, or instrumentality will provide, or how the operator will otherwise obtain, current threat information and an explanation of how the operator will integrate this information into all phases of the proposed operations (e.g., pre-mission planning and briefing, in-flight, and post-flight).

The request for approval must also include a list of operators with whom the U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality requesting FAA approval has a current contract(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s) (or with whom its prime contractor has a subcontract(s)) for specific flight operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR. Additional operators may be identified to the FAA at any time after the FAA approval is issued. However, all additional operators must be identified to the FAA, and must obtain the necessary operations specification (OpsSpec) or letter of authorization (LOA), as applicable, from the FAA, before such operators commence operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR. Updated lists should be sent to the email address to be obtained from the Air Transportation Division by calling (202) 267-8166.

If an approval request includes classified information, requestors may contact Aviation Safety Inspector Michael Filippell for instructions on submitting it to the FAA. His contact information is listed in the For Further Information Contact section of this final rule.

FAA approval of an operation under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, does not relieve persons subject to this SFAR of their responsibility to comply with all applicable FAA rules and regulations. Operators of civil aircraft must also comply with the conditions of their certificate, OpsSpecs, and LOAs, as applicable. Operators must further comply with all rules and regulations of other U.S. Government departments and agencies that may apply to the proposed operation, including, but not limited to, the Transportation Security Regulations issued by the Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security.

Approval Conditions

If the FAA approves the request, the FAA's Aviation Safety Organization (AVS) will send an approval letter to the requesting department, agency, or instrumentality informing it that the FAA's approval is subject to all of the following conditions:

(1) The approval will stipulate those procedures and conditions that limit, to the greatest degree possible, the risk to the operator, while still allowing the operator to achieve its operational objectives.

(2) Before any approval takes effect, the operator must submit to the FAA:

(a) A written release of the U.S. Government from all damages, claims, and liabilities, including without limitation legal fees and expenses, and

(b) The operator's agreement to indemnify the U.S. Government with respect to any and all third-party damages, claims, and liabilities, including without limitation legal fees and expenses, relating to any event arising from or related to the approved operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR; and

(3) Other conditions that the FAA may specify, including those that may be imposed in OpsSpecs or LOAs, as applicable.

The release and agreement to indemnify do not preclude an operator from raising a claim under an applicable non-premium war risk insurance policy issued by the FAA under chapter 443 of title 49, United States Code.

If the proposed operation or operations are approved, the FAA will issue an OpsSpec or an LOA, as applicable, to the operator authorizing the operation or operations, and will notify the department, agency, or instrumentality that requested the FAA's approval of any additional conditions beyond those contained in the approval letter. The requesting department, agency, or instrumentality must have a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement (or its prime contractor must have a subcontract) with the person(s) described in paragraph (a) of this SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, on whose behalf the department, agency, or instrumentality requests FAA approval.

VI. Requests for Exemption

Any operations not conducted under the approval process set forth previously must be conducted under an exemption from SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611. A request by any person covered under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, for an exemption must comply with 14 CFR part 11, and will require exceptional circumstances beyond those contemplated by the approval process set forth previously. In addition to the information required by 14 CFR 11.81, at a minimum, the requestor must describe in its submission to the FAA—

• The proposed operation(s), including the nature of the operation;

• The service to be provided by the person(s) covered by the SFAR;

• The specific locations in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR where the proposed operation(s) will be conducted, including, but not limited to, the flight path and altitude of the aircraft while operating in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR and the airports, airfields and/or landing zones at which the aircraft will take-off and land; and

• The method by which the operator will obtain current threat information, and an explanation of how the operator will integrate this information into all phases of its proposed operations (e.g., the pre-mission planning and briefing, in-flight, and post-flight phases).

Additionally, the release and agreement to indemnify, as referred to above, will be required as a condition of any exemption that may be issued under SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611.

The FAA recognizes that operations that may be affected by SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, may be planned for the governments of other countries with the support of the U.S. Government. While these operations will not be permitted through the approval process, the FAA will process exemption requests for such operations on an expedited basis and prior to any private exemption requests.

VII. Regulatory Notices and Analyses A. Regulatory Evaluation

Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic analyses. First, Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354), as codified in 5 U.S.C. 603 et seq., requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended, 19 U.S.C. Chapter 13, prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. standards, the Trade Agreements Act requires agencies to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4), as codified in 2 U.S.C. Chapter 25, requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with a base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA's analysis of the economic impacts of this final rule.

Department of Transportation (DOT) Order 2100.5 prescribes policies and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits a statement to that effect and the basis for it to be included in the preamble if a full regulatory evaluation of the cost and benefits is not prepared. Such a determination has been made for this final rule. The reasoning for this determination follows:

This SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, prohibits flight operations by persons described in paragraph (a) in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR due to the significant hazards to civil aviation described in the Background section of this rule. This regulation incorporates into the Code of Federal Regulations the prohibition on flight operations issued by the FAA in FDC NOTAM 5/5575 on May 22, 2015, and continued in KICZ NOTAM A0036/15, which was issued on November 25, 2015. An FAA review, conducted in April 2015, of 56 part 121, 121/135, 135, 125, 125M, and 91K operators that held an OpsSpec B450 for Yemen, with 49 responding, found just four operators that had overflown Yemen since January 1, 2015; two of the four operators overflew Yemen just once. None of the responding operators had flown into or out of Yemen since January 1, 2015. A search of FAA and Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) operations records in May 2015 showed no additional activity by U.S. civil operators in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR. Moreover, under this final rule, a U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality may apply on an operator's behalf for FAA approval to conduct operations under a contract or subcontract, grant, or cooperative agreement with that department, agency, or instrumentality. Accordingly, the FAA believes the incremental costs of this final rule will be minimal. These minimal costs will be exceeded by the benefits of avoiding the deaths or property damage that could result from a U.S. operator's aircraft being shot down (or otherwise damaged) while operating in the specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR.

In conducting these analyses, FAA has determined that this final rule is a “significant regulatory action,” as defined in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, because it raises novel policy issues contemplated under that executive order. The rule is also “significant” as defined in DOT's Regulatory Policies and Procedures. The final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, will not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade and will not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments, or on the private sector.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354, “RFA”), 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., establishes “as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given serious consideration.” The RFA covers a wide range of small entities, including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions.

Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA. However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. The certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be clear.

Based on the above-referenced FAA review and additional FAA check of FAA and BTS operations records, the FAA finds the rule will impose no more than minimal costs. Therefore, as provided in section 605(b), the head of the FAA certifies that this rulemaking will not result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

C. International Trade Impact Assessment

The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended, prohibits Federal agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. Pursuant to this Act, the establishment of standards is not considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the United States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic objective, such as the protection of safety, and does not operate in a manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also requires consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards.

The FAA has assessed the effect of this final rule and determined that its purpose is to protect U.S. civil aviation from a hazard outside the U.S. Therefore, the rule is in compliance with the Trade Agreements Act.

D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more (in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate is deemed to be a “significant regulatory action.” The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value of $155.0 million in lieu of $100 million.

This final rule does not contain such a mandate; therefore, the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply.

E. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. The FAA has determined that there is no new requirement for information collection associated with this final rule.

F. International Compatibility and Cooperation

In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices that correspond to this regulation.

G. Environmental Analysis

FAA Order 1050.1F identifies FAA actions that are categorically excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the categorical exclusion identified in paragraph 5-6.6f of this order and involves no extraordinary circumstances.

The FAA has reviewed the implementation of this SFAR and determined it is categorically excluded from further environmental review according to FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 5-6.6f. The FAA has examined possible extraordinary circumstances and determined that no such circumstances exist. After careful and thorough consideration of the action, the FAA finds that this Federal action does not require preparation of an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement in accordance with the requirements of NEPA, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, and FAA Order 1050.1F.

VIII. Executive Order Determinations A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

The FAA has analyzed this immediately adopted final rule under the principles and criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has determined that this action would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, and, therefore, would not have Federalism implications.

B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

The FAA analyzed this immediately adopted final rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that this rule would not be a “significant energy action” under the executive order and would not be likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy.

C. Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation

Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation, (77 FR 26413, May 4, 2012) promotes international regulatory cooperation to meet shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues and to reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements. The FAA has analyzed this action under the policies and agency responsibilities of Executive Order 13609, and has determined that this action would have no effect on international regulatory cooperation.

IX. Additional Information A. Availability of Rulemaking Documents

An electronic copy of rulemaking documents may be obtained from the Internet by—

• Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);

• Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies Web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies; or

• Accessing the Government Publishing Office's Web page at http://www.fdsys.gov.

Copies may also be obtained by sending a request (identified by amendment or docket number of this rulemaking) to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9677.

Except for classified material, all documents the FAA considered in developing this rule, including economic analyses and technical reports, may be accessed from the Internet through the Federal eRulemaking Portal referenced above.

B. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) requires FAA to comply with small entity requests for information or advice about compliance with statutes and regulations within its jurisdiction. A small entity with questions regarding this document may contact its local FAA official, or the person listed under the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT heading at the beginning of the preamble. To find out more about SBREFA on the Internet, visit http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/sbre_act/.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 91

Air traffic control, Aircraft, Airmen, Airports, Aviation safety, Freight, Yemen.

The Amendment

In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends chapter I of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

PART 91—GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES 1. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows: Authority:

49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 1155, 40101, 40103, 40105, 40113, 40120, 44101, 44111, 44701, 44704, 44709, 44711, 44712, 44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 46306, 46315, 46316, 46504, 46506-46507, 47122, 47508, 47528-47531, 47534, articles 12 and 29 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (61 Stat. 1180), (126 Stat. 11).

2. In part 91, subpart M, add § 91.1611 to read as follows:
§ 91.1611 Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 115—Prohibition Against Certain Flights in Specified Areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region (FIR).

(a) Applicability. This Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) applies to the following persons:

(1) All U.S. air carriers and U.S. commercial operators;

(2) All persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except when such persons are operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and

(3) All operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier.

(b) Flight prohibition. Except as provided in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, no person described in paragraph (a) of this section may conduct flight operations in the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region (FIR), excluding that airspace east and southeast of a line drawn direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E) to NODMA (152603N 0533359E), then direct from NODMA to PAKER (115500N 0463500E).

(c) Permitted operations. This section does not prohibit persons described in paragraph (a) of this section from conducting flight operations in the Sanaa (OYSC) FIR in that airspace west and northwest of a line drawn direct from KAPET (163322N 0530614E) to NODMA (152603N 0533359E), then direct from NODMA to PAKER (115500N 0463500E), provided that such flight operations are conducted under a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement with a department, agency, or instrumentality of the U.S. government (or under a subcontract between the prime contractor of the department, agency, or instrumentality, and the person subject to paragraph (a)), with the approval of the FAA, or under an exemption issued by the FAA. The FAA will process requests for approval or exemption in a timely manner, with the order of preference being: first, for those operations in support of U.S. government-sponsored activities; second, for those operations in support of government-sponsored activities of a foreign country with the support of a U.S. government department, agency, or instrumentality; and third, for all other operations.

(d) Emergency situations. In an emergency that requires immediate decision and action for the safety of the flight, the pilot in command of an aircraft may deviate from this section to the extent required by that emergency. Except for U.S. air carriers and commercial operators that are subject to the requirements of 14 CFR part 119, 121, 125, or 135, each person who deviates from this section must, within 10 days of the deviation, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays, submit to the nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) a complete report of the operations of the aircraft involved in the deviation, including a description of the deviation and the reasons for it.

(e) Expiration. This SFAR will remain in effect until January 7, 2018. The FAA may amend, rescind, or extend this SFAR as necessary.

Issued in Washington, DC, under the authority of 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 40101(d)(1), 40105(b)(1)(A), and 44701(a)(5), on December 24, 2015. Michael P. Huerta, Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-33258 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
81 4 Thursday, January 7, 2016 Proposed Rules SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 17 Part 240 [Release No. 34-76624A; File No. S7-26-15] RIN 3235-AL72 Establishing the Form and Manner With Which Security-Based Swap Data Repositories Must Make Security-Based Swap Data Available to the Commission; Correction AGENCY:

Securities and Exchange Commission.

ACTION:

Proposed rule; Correction.

SUMMARY:

The Securities and Exchange Commission published a Proposed Rule in the Federal Register on Wednesday, December 23, 2015 (FR Doc 2015-31703; 80 FR 79757) concerning, Establishing the Form and Manner with which Security-Based Swap Data Repositories Must Make Security-Based Swap Data Available to the Commission. The printed document contained omitted information in the signatory block.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Crystal Pemberton, Office of the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549, (202) 551-5423.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On page 79773, in the third column add the date of “December 11, 2015” to the signatory block.

Correction

In the Federal Register of Wednesday, December 23, 2015, FR Doc 2015-31703, on page 79773, under PART 240—GENERAL RULES AND REGULATIONS, SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934, in the third column, after § 240.13n-4 Duties and core principles of security-based swap data repository, the following signature date of “December 11, 2015” is corrected to read before the signatory block.

Brent J. Fields, Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2016-00044 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
81 4 Thursday, January 7, 2016 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Office of the Secretary Notice of the Specialty Crop Committee's Stakeholder Listening Session AGENCY:

Research, Education, and Economics, USDA.

ACTION:

Notice of stakeholder listening session.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App 2, and the Specialty Crop Competitiveness Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-465), the United States Department of Agriculture announces a stakeholder listening session of the Specialty Crop Committee, a subcommittee of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board.

DATES:

January 7, 2016 starting at 2:00 p.m. EST.

ADDRESSES:

The Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference, Room 105, Savannah International Trade and Convention Center, One International Drive, Savannah, Georgia 31402.

The public may file written comments by January 22, 2016, to: The National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board Office, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 332-A, Jamie L. Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-2255 or [email protected]

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michele Esch, Executive Director, National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board; telephone: (202) 720-8408; fax: (202) 720-6199; or email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Specialty Crop Committee was established in accordance with the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 under Title III, Section 303 of Public Law 108-465. This Committee is a permanent subcommittee of the National Agricultural Research Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board (the Board). The Committee's charge is to study the scope and effectiveness of research, extension, and economics programs affecting the specialty crop industry. The congressional legislation defines “specialty crops” as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and nursery crops (including floriculture).

In order to carry out its responsibilities effectively, the Committee is holding a stakeholder listening session. The listening session will elicit stakeholder input from industry and state representatives, national organizations and institutions, local producers, and other groups interested in the issues with which the Specialty Crop Committee is charged. This session will be an opportunity to share ideas on the specialty crop industry with members of USDA's Specialty Crop Committee, including: Measures designed to improve the efficiency, productivity, and profitability of specialty crop production in the United States; measures designed to improve competitiveness through research, extension, and economics programs affecting the specialty crop industry; and programs that would: Enhance quality and shelf-life, development of new crop protection tools, preventing foreign invasive pests and diseases, developing new and improved marketing tools, and enhancing food safety, improvement of mechanization of production practices, and enhancing irrigation techniques. Input received will help formulate recommendations from the Specialty Crop Committee to USDA.

Written comments by attendees and other interested stakeholders will be welcomed as additional public input by January 22, 2016. All verbal and written statements will become part of the official public record of the REE Advisory Board Office.

Done at Washington, DC, this 21st day of December 2015. Catherine Woteki, Under Secretary, Research, Education, and Economics, Chief Scientist, USDA.
[FR Doc. 2015-33042 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-03-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Economic Development Administration Notice of Petitions by Firms for Determination of Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance AGENCY:

Economic Development Administration, Department of Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice and opportunity for public comment.

Pursuant to Section 251 of the Trade Act 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2341 et seq.), the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has received petitions for certification of eligibility to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance from the firms listed below. Accordingly, EDA has initiated investigations to determine whether increased imports into the United States of articles like or directly competitive with those produced by each of these firms contributed importantly to the total or partial separation of the firm's workers, or threat thereof, and to a decrease in sales or production of each petitioning firm.

List of Petitions Received by EDA for Certification Eligibility To Apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance [12/11/2015 through 12/31/2015] Firm name Firm address Date
  • accepted for
  • investigation
  • Product(s)
    Grove Die Casting, LLC 1339 Industrial Park Drive, Union Grove, WI 53182 12/15/2015 The firm maufacturers aluminum die casting brackets and fixtures. EPE Corporation 645 Harvey Road, Manchester, NH 03103 12/29/2015 The firm is a contract manufacturer of custom products. The firm manufacturers, to customer specifications, printed circuits, electromechanical devices, flex circuits, electrical assemblies. Great Lakes Metal Finishing, Inc 1113 W. 18th Street, Erie, PA 16502 12/31/2015 The firm provides finishing services to the automotive, military, appliance, toy, and electronics industries.

    Any party having a substantial interest in these proceedings may request a public hearing on the matter. A written request for a hearing must be submitted to the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms Division, Room 71030, Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230, no later than ten (10) calendar days following publication of this notice.

    Please follow the requirements set forth in EDA's regulations at 13 CFR 315.9 for procedures to request a public hearing. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance official number and title for the program under which these petitions are submitted is 11.313, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms.

    Dated: December 31, 2015. Miriam Kearse, Lead Program Analyst.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00019 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-WH-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-910] Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe From the People's Republic of China: Rescission of Antidumping Administrative Review; 2014-2015 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (“the Department”) is rescinding the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on circular welded carbon quality steel pipe from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”) for the period July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: January 7, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Howard Smith or Cara Lofaro, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Enforcement & Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-5193 or (202) 482-5720, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On September 2, 2015, based on a timely request for review by Wheatland Tube Company (“Wheatland”), the Department published in the Federal Register a notice of initiation of an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on circular welded carbon quality steel pipe from the PRC with respect to 20 companies covering the period July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015.1 On December 1, 2015, Wheatland withdrew its request for an administrative review of all of the companies listed in its review request.

    1See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 53106 (September 2, 2015) (“Initiation Notice”).

    Rescission of Review

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), the Department will rescind an administrative review, in whole or in part, if the party that requested the review withdraws its request within 90 days of the publication of the notice of initiation of the requested review. In this case, Wheatland timely withdrew its review request by the 90-day deadline, and no other party requested an administrative review of the antidumping duty order. As a result, we are rescinding the administrative review of circular welded carbon quality steel pipe from the PRC for the period July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015.

    Assessment

    The Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. Because the Department is rescinding this administrative review in its entirety, the entries to which this administrative review pertained shall be assessed antidumping duties that are equal to the cash deposits of estimated antidumping duties required at the time of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(c)(1)(i). The Department intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions to CBP within 15 days after the publication of this notice.

    Notifications Notification to Importers

    This notice serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Department's presumption that reimbursement of the antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of doubled antidumping duties.

    Administrative Protective Orders

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

    Notification to Interested Parties

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and 19 CFR 351.213(d)(4).

    Dated: December 31, 2015. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00081 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (“the Department”) has received requests to conduct administrative reviews of various antidumping and countervailing duty orders and findings with November anniversary dates. The Department also received a request to defer the initiation of the administrative review for one antidumping duty order.

    In accordance with the Department's regulations, we are initiating those administrative reviews.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: January 7, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Brenda E. Waters, Office of AD/CVD Operations, Customs Liaison Unit, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, telephone: (202) 482-4735.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The Department has received timely requests, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.213(b), for administrative reviews of various antidumping and countervailing duty orders and findings with November anniversary dates. The Department also received a request to defer the initiation of the administrative review for the order on Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet and Strip.

    All deadlines for the submission of various types of information, certifications, or comments or actions by the Department discussed below refer to the number of calendar days from the applicable starting time.

    Request To Defer Review of the AD Order on Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet and Strip

    On December 17, 2015 the Department received a request to defer the initiation of the administrative review for the order on Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet and Strip from Tianjin Wanhua Co., Ltd. However, this request was filed untimely and did not follow the procedures outlined in 19 CFR 351.213(c)(1)-(2); accordingly, the Department is denying this request and will initiate this review as described in this notice.

    Notice of No Sales

    If a producer or exporter named in this notice of initiation had no exports, sales, or entries during the period of review (“POR”), it must notify the Department within 30 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. All submissions must be filed electronically at http://access.trade.gov in accordance with 19 CFR 351.303.1 Such submissions are subject to verification in accordance with section 782(i) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”). Further, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.303(f)(1)(i), a copy must be served on every party on the Department's service list.

    1See Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Electronic Filing Procedures; Administrative Protective Order Procedures, 76 FR 39263 (July 6, 2011).

    Respondent Selection

    In the event the Department limits the number of respondents for individual examination for administrative reviews initiated pursuant to requests made for the orders identified below, the Department intends to select respondents based on U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) data for U.S. imports during the period of review. We intend to place the CBP data on the record within five days of publication of the initiation notice and to make our decision regarding respondent selection within 30 days of publication of the initiation Federal Register notice. Comments regarding the CBP data and respondent selection should be submitted seven days after the placement of the CBP data on the record of this review. Parties wishing to submit rebuttal comments should submit those comments five days after the deadline for the initial comments.

    In the event the Department decides it is necessary to limit individual examination of respondents and conduct respondent selection under section 777A(c)(2) of the Act:

    In general, the Department has found that determinations concerning whether particular companies should be “collapsed” (i.e., treated as a single entity for purposes of calculating antidumping duty rates) require a substantial amount of detailed information and analysis, which often require follow-up questions and analysis. Accordingly, the Department will not conduct collapsing analyses at the respondent selection phase of this review and will not collapse companies at the respondent selection phase unless there has been a determination to collapse certain companies in a previous segment of this antidumping proceeding (i.e., investigation, administrative review, new shipper review or changed circumstances review). For any company subject to this review, if the Department determined, or continued to treat, that company as collapsed with others, the Department will assume that such companies continue to operate in the same manner and will collapse them for respondent selection purposes. Otherwise, the Department will not collapse companies for purposes of respondent selection. Parties are requested to (a) identify which companies subject to review previously were collapsed, and (b) provide a citation to the proceeding in which they were collapsed. Further, if companies are requested to complete the Quantity and Value (“Q&V”) Questionnaire for purposes of respondent selection, in general each company must report volume and value data separately for itself. Parties should not include data for any other party, even if they believe they should be treated as a single entity with that other party. If a company was collapsed with another company or companies in the most recently completed segment of this proceeding where the Department considered collapsing that entity, complete Q&V data for that collapsed entity must be submitted.

    Deadline for Withdrawal of Request for Administrative Review

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), a party that has requested a review may withdraw that request within 90 days of the date of publication of the notice of initiation of the requested review. The regulation provides that the Department may extend this time if it is reasonable to do so. In order to provide parties additional certainty with respect to when the Department will exercise its discretion to extend this 90-day deadline, interested parties are advised that the Department does not intend to extend the 90-day deadline unless the requestor demonstrates that an extraordinary circumstance has prevented it from submitting a timely withdrawal request. Determinations by the Department to extend the 90-day deadline will be made on a case-by-case basis.

    Separate Rates

    In proceedings involving non-market economy (“NME”) countries, the Department begins with a rebuttable presumption that all companies within the country are subject to government control and, thus, should be assigned a single antidumping duty deposit rate. It is the Department's policy to assign all exporters of merchandise subject to an administrative review in an NME country this single rate unless an exporter can demonstrate that it is sufficiently independent so as to be entitled to a separate rate.

    To establish whether a firm is sufficiently independent from government control of its export activities to be entitled to a separate rate, the Department analyzes each entity exporting the subject merchandise under a test arising from the Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Sparklers from the People's Republic of China, 56 FR 20588 (May 6, 1991), as amplified by Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Silicon Carbide from the People's Republic of China, 59 FR 22585 (May 2, 1994). In accordance with the separate rates criteria, the Department assigns separate rates to companies in NME cases only if respondents can demonstrate the absence of both de jure and de facto government control over export activities.

    All firms listed below that wish to qualify for separate rate status in the administrative reviews involving NME countries must complete, as appropriate, either a separate rate application or certification, as described below. For these administrative reviews, in order to demonstrate separate rate eligibility, the Department requires entities for whom a review was requested, that were assigned a separate rate in the most recent segment of this proceeding in which they participated, to certify that they continue to meet the criteria for obtaining a separate rate. The Separate Rate Certification form will be available on the Department's Web site at http://enforcement.trade.gov/nme/nme-sep-rate.html on the date of publication of this Federal Register notice. In responding to the certification, please follow the “Instructions for Filing the Certification” in the Separate Rate Certification. Separate Rate Certifications are due to the Department no later than 30 calendar days after publication of this Federal Register notice. The deadline and requirement for submitting a Certification applies equally to NME-owned firms, wholly foreign-owned firms, and foreign sellers who purchase and export subject merchandise to the United States.

    Entities that currently do not have a separate rate from a completed segment of the proceeding 2 should timely file a Separate Rate Application to demonstrate eligibility for a separate rate in this proceeding. In addition, companies that received a separate rate in a completed segment of the proceeding that have subsequently made changes, including, but not limited to, changes to corporate structure, acquisitions of new companies or facilities, or changes to their official company name 3 , should timely file a Separate Rate Application to demonstrate eligibility for a separate rate in this proceeding. The Separate Rate Status Application will be available on the Department's Web site at http://enforcement.trade.gov/nme/nme-sep-rate.html on the date of publication of this Federal Register notice. In responding to the Separate Rate Status Application, refer to the instructions contained in the application. Separate Rate Status Applications are due to the Department no later than 30 calendar days of publication of this Federal Register notice. The deadline and requirement for submitting a Separate Rate Status Application applies equally to NME-owned firms, wholly foreign-owned firms, and foreign sellers that purchase and export subject merchandise to the United States.

    2 Such entities include entities that have not participated in the proceeding, entities that were preliminarily granted a separate rate in any currently incomplete segment of the proceeding (e.g., an ongoing administrative review, new shipper review, etc.) and entities that lost their separate rate in the most recently completed segment of the proceeding in which they participated.

    3 Only changes to the official company name, rather than trade names, need to be addressed via a Separate Rate Application. Information regarding new trade names may be submitted via a Separate Rate Certification.

    For exporters and producers who submit a separate-rate status application or certification and subsequently are selected as mandatory respondents, these exporters and producers will no longer be eligible for separate rate status unless they respond to all parts of the questionnaire as mandatory respondents.

    Initiation of Reviews

    In accordance with 19 CFR 351.221(c)(1)(i), we are initiating administrative reviews of the following antidumping and countervailing duty orders and findings. We intend to issue the final results of these reviews not later than November 30, 2016.

    Period to be reviewed Antidumping Duty Proceedings Indonesia: Monosodium Glutamate A-560-826 5/8/14-10/31/15 PT Cheil Jedang Indonesia Mexico: Certain Circular Welded Non-Alloy Steel Pipe A-201-805 11/1/14-10/31/15 Burner Systems International Conduit, S.A. de C.V. Lamina y Placa Comercial, S.A. de C.V. Maquilacero S.A. de C.V. Mueller Comerical de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. Productos Laminados de Monterrey S.A. de C.V. Pytco, S.A. de C.V. Regiomontana de Perfiles y Tubos S.A. de C.V. Ternium Mexico, S.A. de C.V. Mexico: Seamless Refined Copper Pipe and Tube A-201-838 11/1/14-10/31/15 GD Affiliates S. de R.L. de C.V. IUSA, S.A. de C.V. Nacional de Cobre, S.A. de C.V. Mexico: Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar A-201-844 4/24/14—10/31/15 Deacero S.A. P.I. de C.V. Grupo Simec S.A.B. de C.V. and Orge S.A. de C.V. Republic of Korea: Certain Circular Welded Non-Alloy Steel Pipe A-580-809 11/1/14-10/31/15 AJU Besteel Husteel Co., Ltd. Hyundai HYSCO NEXTEEL SeAH Steel Corporation The People's Republic of China: Certain Cut-to-Length Carbon Steel Plate A-570-849 11/1/14-10/31/15 Fujitrans Corporation Guangzhou Metals and Minerals Imp. & Exp. Ltd. Guardian Shanghai Hong Kong Shengyu Trading Co., Ltd. Hong Kong Zhong Yuan Industrial Co., Ltd. Hunan Valin Xiangtan Iron and Steel Co., Ltd. Jiangyin Xingcheng Plastic Chemical Co., Ltd. Jiangyin Xingcheng Special Steel Works Co., Ltd. Ningbo Jiangdong Trusty Import and Export Co., Ltd. Shanghai Ruyi Import and Export Co., Ltd Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Co., Ltd. Shenzhen Wins Technology Co., Ltd. UBI Logistics China Limited Wuxi Philloy Machinery Co., Ltd. Wuyang Iron & Steel Co., Ltd. Xiamen C&D Paper & Pulp Co., Ltd. The People's Republic of China: Diamond Sawblades and Parts Thereof A-570-900 11/1/14-10/31/15 ASHINE Diamond Tools Co., Ltd. Bosun Tools Co., Ltd. Chengdu Huifeng Diamond Tools Co., Ltd. Danyang City Ou Di Ma Tools Co., Ltd. Danyang Hantronic Import & Export Co., Ltd. Danyang Huachang Diamond Tool Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Danyang Like Tools Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Danyang NYCL Tools Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Danyang Tsunda Diamond Tools Co., Ltd. Danyang Weiwang Tools Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Guilin Tebon Superhard Material Co., Ltd. Hangzhou Deer King Industrial and Trading Co., Ltd. Hangzhou Kingburg Import & Export Co., Ltd. Hebei XMF Tools Group Co., Ltd. Henan Huanghe Whirlwind Co., Ltd. Henan Huanghe Whirlwind International Co., Ltd. Husqvarna (Hebei) Co., Ltd. Huzhou Gu's Import & Export Co., Ltd. Jiangsu Fengtai Diamond Tool Manufacture Co., Ltd. Jiangsu Inter-China Group Corporation Jiangsu Youhe Tool Manufacturer Co., Ltd. Pujiang Talent Diamond Tools Co., Ltd. Qingdao Hyosung Diamond Tools Co., Ltd. Qingdao Shinhan Diamond Industrial Co., Ltd. Qingyuan Shangtai Diamond Tools Co., Ltd. Quanzhou Zhongzhi Diamond Tool Co., Ltd. Rizhao Hein Saw Co., Ltd. Saint-Gobain Abrasives (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. Shanghai Jingquan Industrial Trade Co., Ltd. Shanghai Starcraft Tools Company Limited Sino Tools Co., Ltd. Weihai Xiangguang Mechanical Industrial Co., Ltd. Wuhan Wanbang Laser Diamond Tools Co. Wuhan Wanbang Laser Diamond Tools Co., Ltd. Xiamen ZL Diamond Technology Co., Ltd. Zhejiang Wanli Tools Group Co., Ltd. The People's Republic of China: Fresh Garlic A-570-831 11/1/14-10/31/15 Anqiu Friend Food Co., Ltd. Hebei Golden Bird Trading Co. Ltd. Jinan Farmlady Trading Co., Ltd. Jining Alpha Food Co. Ltd. Jining Shengtai Fruits & Vegetables Co., Ltd. Jining Shunchang Import & Export Co., Ltd. Jining Yifa Garlic Produce Co., Ltd. Jining Yongjia Trade Co., Ltd. Jinxiang Chengda Import & Export Co., Ltd. Jinxiang Guihua Food Co., Ltd. Jinxiang Hejia Co., Ltd. Jinxiang Infarm Fruits & Vegetables Co., Ltd. Jinxiang Jimma Fruits Vegetables Products Co., Ltd. Jinxiang Richfar Fruits & Vegetables Co., Ltd. Jinxiang Tianma Freezing Storage Co., Ltd. Nanyang Nianfeng Food Co., Ltd. Qingdao Jia Shan Trade Co. Qingdao Lianghe International Trade Co., Ltd. Qingdao Maycarrier Import & Export Co., Ltd. Qingdao Ritai Food Co., Ltd. Qingdao Sea-Line International Trading Co., Ltd. Qingdao Tiantaixing Foods Co., Ltd. Qingdao Xintianfeng Foods Co., Ltd. Shandong Chenhe International Trading Co., Ltd. Shandong Helu International Trade Co. Ltd. Shandong Jinxiang Zhengyang Import & Export Co., Ltd. Shandong Libaqiang Shandong Longtai Fruits and Vegetables Co., Ltd. Shandong Zhifeng Foodstuffs Co., Ltd. Shenzhen Bainong Co., Ltd. Shenzhen Xinboda Industrial Co. Ltd. Shenzhen Yuting Foodstuff Co., Ltd. Shijiazhuang Goodman Trading Co., Ltd. Weifang Hong Qiao International Logistics Co., Ltd. Weifang Hongqiao International Logistics Co., Ltd. Weifang Naike Foodstuffs Co., Ltd. Weifang Shennong Foodstuff Co., Ltd. Weifang Wangyuan Food. Co., Ltd. Yantai Jinyan Trading, Inc. Zhengzhou Harmoni Spice Co., Ltd. Zhengzhou Xiwannian Food Co., Ltd. Zhong Lian Farming Product (Qingdao) Co., Ltd. The People's Republic of China: Lightweight Thermal Paper A-570-920 11/1/14-10/31/15 Jaan Huey Co. Ltd. Hanhong International Limited Shanghai Hanhong Paper Co., Ltd. The People's Republic of China: Monosodium Glutamate A-570-992 5/8/14-10/31/15 Baoji Fufeng Biotechnologies Co., Ltd. Bengbu Junyang Business Trade Co., Ltd. Blu Logistics (China) Co., Ltd. Bolltai International Co., Ltd Bonroy Group Limited Flourish International Group Limited Fujian Province Jianyang Wuyi MSG Co., Ltd Golden Banyan Foodstuffs Industry Co., Ltd Golden Bridge International, Inc. Grand Pavilion Holdings Limited Henan Lotus Flower Gourmet Powder Co. Hugo International Ltd. Jinan Yami Co., Ltd. K&S Industry Limited King Cheong Hong International Langfang Meihua Bio-Technology Co., Ltd. Liangshan Linghua Biotechnology Co., Ltd Lianyungang Twinkle Mai Best Comercio International Ltd. Meihua Group International Trading (Hong Kong) Limited Meihua Holdings Group Co., Ltd., Bazhou Branch Neimenggu Fufeng Biotechnologies Co., Ltd. Orient Express Container Co., Ltd. Qingdao Century Minghui Int'l Trade Qingdao Kaoyoung International Logistics Co., Ltd. Qingdao Tongyide Import & Export Co. S.D. Linghua M.S.G. Incorporated Co. Sakura Food Group Limited Shandong Linghua Monosodium Glutamate Incorporated Company Shandong Qilu Biotechnology Group Co. Shandong Shenghua Industry Co., Ltd Shanghai Totole Food Ltd. Tide International Company Limited Tokyo Mutual Trading Co., Ltd. Tongliao Meihua Biological Sci-Tech Co., Ltd. Xiamen Sungiven Import & Export Co., Ltd. Zhejiang Medicines & Health Zhejiang Tea Group Co., Ltd. The People's Republic of China: Polyethylene Terephthalate Film, Sheet and Strip A-570-924 11/1/14-10/31/15 Fuwei Films (Shandong) Co., Ltd. Shaoxing Xiangyu Green Packing Co., Ltd. Sichuan Dongfang Insulating Material Co., Ltd. Tianjin Wanhua Co., Ltd. The People's Republic of China: Seamless Refined Copper Pipe and Tube A-570-964 11/1/14—10/31/15 China Hailiang Metal Trading Foshan Hua Hong Copper Tube Co., Ltd. Golden Dragon Holding (Hong Kong) International Co., Ltd. Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group, Inc. Guilin Lijia Metals Co., Ltd. Hong Kong GD Trading Co., Ltd. Hong Kong Hailiang Metal Hong Kong Hailiang Metal Trading Limited Ningbo Jintian Copper Tube Co., Ltd. Shanghai Hailiang Copper Co., Ltd. Shanghai Hailiang Metal Trading Limited Sinochem Ningbo Ltd. Sinochem Ningbo Import & Export Co., Ltd. Taicang City Jinxin Copper Tube Co., Ltd. Zhejiang Hailiang Co., Ltd. Zhejiang Jiahe Pipes Inc. Zhejiang Naile Copper Co., Ltd. United Arab Emirates: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Film, Sheet and Strip A-520-803 11/1/14-10/31/15 Flex Middle East FZE JBK RAK LLC Countervailing Duty Proceedings The People's Republic of China: Chlorinated Isocyanuates C-570-991 2/4/14-12/31/14 Hebei Jiheng Chemical Co., Ltd. Heze Huayi Chemical Co. Ltd. Juancheng Kangtai Chemical Co. Ltd. Turkey: Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar C-489-819 9/15/14-12/31/14 3212041 Canada Inc. Acemar International Limited As Gaz Sinai ve Tibbi Azlar A.S. Asil Celik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. (also known as Asil Celik Sanayi ve Ticaret A S and/or Asil Celik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS) Colakoglu Dis Ticaret A.S. (also known as Colakoglu Disticaret AS) Colakoglu Metalurji A.S. Del Industrial Metals Duferco Investment Services SA Duferco Celik Ticaret Limited Ege Celik Endustrisi Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. Ekinciler Demir ve Celik Sanayi Anonim Sirketi Habas Sinai ve Tibbi Gazlar Istihsal Endustrisi A.S.4 (also known as Habas Sinai 199, Habas Sinai ve Tibbi Gazlar, and/or Habas Sinai ve Tibbi Gazlar Istihsal) Icdas Celik Eneji Tersane ve Ulasim Sanayi A.S. (also known as Icdas Celik Enerji Tersane, Icdas Celik Eneji Tersaneve Ulasim Sanayi A.S., Icdas Celik Enerji Tersane ve Ulasim, and/or Icdas Celik Enerji Tersane ve Ulasim Sanayi AS) Izmir Demir Celik Sanayi A.S. Kaptan Demir Celik Endustrisi ve Ticaret A.S. (also known as Kaptan Demir Celik Endustrisi, or Kaptan Demir Celik Industrisi ve Ti) Mettech Metalurji Madencilik Muhendislik Uretim Danismanlik ve Ticaret Limited Sirketi Ozkan Demir Celik Sanayi A.S. Tata Steel International (Hong Kong) Limited (also known as Tata Steel International (Hong Kong)) Tata Steel U Suspension Agreements

    None.

    4 Entries of merchandise produced and exported by Habas Sinai ve Tibbi Gazlar Istihsal Endustrisi A.S. are not subject to countervailing duties because the Department's final determination with respect to this producer/exporter combination was negative. See Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar From the Republic of Turkey: Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination Final Affirmative Critical Circumstances Determination, 79 FR 54963 at 54964 (Rebar Turkey Final Determination) (September 15, 2014). However, any entries of merchandise produced by any other entity and exported by Habas Sinai ve Tibbi Gazlar Istihsal Endustrisi A.S.or produced by Habas Sinai ve Tibbi Gazlar Istihsal Endustrisi A.S.and exported by another entity are subject to the order.

    Duty Absorption Reviews

    During any administrative review covering all or part of a period falling between the first and second or third and fourth anniversary of the publication of an antidumping duty order under 19 CFR 351.211 or a determination under 19 CFR 351.218(f)(4) to continue an order or suspended investigation (after sunset review), the Secretary, if requested by a domestic interested party within 30 days of the date of publication of the notice of initiation of the review, will determine, consistent with FAG Italia v. United States, 291 F.3d 806 (Fed Cir. 2002), as appropriate, whether antidumping duties have been absorbed by an exporter or producer subject to the review if the subject merchandise is sold in the United States through an importer that is affiliated with such exporter or producer. The request must include the name(s) of the exporter or producer for which the inquiry is requested.

    Gap Period Liquidation

    For the first administrative review of any order, there will be no assessment of antidumping or countervailing duties on entries of subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption during the relevant provisional-measures “gap” period, of the order, if such a gap period is applicable to the POR.

    Administrative Protective Orders and Letters of Appearance

    Interested parties must submit applications for disclosure under administrative protective orders in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305. On January 22, 2008, the Department published Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Documents Submission Procedures; APO Procedures, 73 FR 3634 (January 22, 2008). Those procedures apply to administrative reviews included in this notice of initiation. Parties wishing to participate in any of these administrative reviews should ensure that they meet the requirements of these procedures (e.g., the filing of separate letters of appearance as discussed at 19 CFR 351.103(d)).

    Revised Factual Information Requirements

    On April 10, 2013, the Department published Definition of Factual Information and Time Limits for Submission of Factual Information: Final Rule, 78 FR 21246 (April 10, 2013), which modified two regulations related to antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings: The definition of factual information (19 CFR 351.102(b)(21)), and the time limits for the submission of factual information (19 CFR 351.301). The final rule identifies five categories of factual information in 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21), which are summarized as follows: (i) Evidence submitted in response to questionnaires; (ii) evidence submitted in support of allegations; (iii) publicly available information to value factors under 19 CFR 351.408(c) or to measure the adequacy of remuneration under 19 CFR 351.511(a)(2); (iv) evidence placed on the record by the Department; and (v) evidence other than factual information described in (i)-(iv). The final rule requires any party, when submitting factual information, to specify under which subsection of 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) the information is being submitted and, if the information is submitted to rebut, clarify, or correct factual information already on the record, to provide an explanation identifying the information already on the record that the factual information seeks to rebut, clarify, or correct. The final rule also modified 19 CFR 351.301 so that, rather than providing general time limits, there are specific time limits based on the type of factual information being submitted. These modifications are effective for all segments initiated on or after May 10, 2013. Please review the final rule, available at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/2013/1304frn/2013-08227.txt, prior to submitting factual information in this segment.

    Any party submitting factual information in an antidumping duty or countervailing duty proceeding must certify to the accuracy and completeness of that information.5 Parties are hereby reminded that revised certification requirements are in effect for company/government officials as well as their representatives. All segments of any antidumping duty or countervailing duty proceedings initiated on or after August 16, 2013, should use the formats for the revised certifications provided at the end of the Final Rule. 6 The Department intends to reject factual submissions in any proceeding segments if the submitting party does not comply with applicable revised certification requirements.

    5See section 782(b) of the Act.

    6See Certification of Factual Information To Import Administration During Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 42678 (July 17, 2013) (“Final Rule”); see also the frequently asked questions regarding the Final Rule, available at http://enforcement.trade.gov/tlei/notices/factual_info_final_rule_FAQ_07172013.pdf.

    Revised Extension of Time Limits Regulation

    On September 20, 2013, the Department modified its regulation concerning the extension of time limits for submissions in antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings: Final Rule, 78 FR 57790 (September 20, 2013). The modification clarifies that parties may request an extension of time limits before a time limit established under Part 351 expires, or as otherwise specified by the Secretary. In general, an extension request will be considered untimely if it is filed after the time limit established under Part 351 expires. For submissions which are due from multiple parties simultaneously, an extension request will be considered untimely if it is filed after 10:00 a.m. on the due date. Examples include, but are not limited to: (1) Case and rebuttal briefs, filed pursuant to 19 CFR 351.309; (2) factual information to value factors under 19 CFR 351.408(c), or to measure the adequacy of remuneration under 19 CFR 351.511(a)(2), filed pursuant to 19 CFR 351.301(c)(3) and rebuttal, clarification and correction filed pursuant to 19 CFR 351.301(c)(3)(iv); (3) comments concerning the selection of a surrogate country and surrogate values and rebuttal; (4) comments concerning U.S. Customs and Border Protection data; and (5) quantity and value questionnaires. Under certain circumstances, the Department may elect to specify a different time limit by which extension requests will be considered untimely for submissions which are due from multiple parties simultaneously. In such a case, the Department will inform parties in the letter or memorandum setting forth the deadline (including a specified time) by which extension requests must be filed to be considered timely. This modification also requires that an extension request must be made in a separate, stand-alone submission, and clarifies the circumstances under which the Department will grant untimely-filed requests for the extension of time limits. These modifications are effective for all segments initiated on or after October 21, 2013. Please review the final rule, available at http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-09-20/html/2013-22853.htm, prior to submitting factual information in these segments.

    These initiations and this notice are in accordance with section 751(a) of the Act (19 U.S.C. 1675(a)) and 19 CFR 351.221(c)(1)(i).

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00080 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-001] Potassium Permanganate From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Expedited Fourth Sunset Review of the Antidumping Duty Order AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    As a result of this fourth sunset review, the Department of Commerce (“the Department”) finds that revocation of the antidumping duty order on potassium permanganate from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”) 1 would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping at the levels indicated in the “Final Results of Review” section of this notice.

    1See Antidumping Duty Order; Potassium Permanganate from The People's Republic of China, 49 FR 3897 (January 31, 1984).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: January 7, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Paul Walker, AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-0413.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    The Department published the antidumping duty order on potassium permanganate from the PRC on January 31, 1984.2 On September 1, 2015, the Department published a notice of initiation of the fourth sunset review of the antidumping duty order on potassium permanganate from the PRC pursuant to section 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the “Act”).3 On September 9, 2015, Carus Corporation (“Carus”), a U.S. producer of potassium permanganate, claiming interested party status under section 771(9)(C) of the Act, submitted its notice of intent to participate in this sunset review.4 On September 29, 2015, Carus submitted its Substantive Response within the 30-day deadline specified in 19 CFR 351.218(d)(3)(i). The Department did not receive a substantive response from any respondent interested party. As a result, pursuant to section 751(c)(3)(B) of the Act, and 19 CFR 351.218(e)(1)(ii)(C)(2), the Department conducted an expedited (120-day) sunset review of the antidumping duty order on potassium permanganate from the PRC.

    2Id.

    3See Initiation of Five-Year (“Sunset”) Review, 80 FR 52743 (September 1, 2015).

    4See Letter from the domestic interested party (September 9, 2015).

    Scope of the Order

    Imports covered by this order are shipments of potassium permanganate, an inorganic chemical produced in free-flowing, technical, and pharmaceutical grades. Potassium permanganate is currently classifiable under item 2841.61.00 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). Although the HTSUS item number is provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the merchandise remains dispositive.

    Analysis of Comments Received

    A complete discussion of all issues raised in this sunset review is available in the Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Expedited Fourth Sunset Review of the Antidumping Duty Order on Potassium Permanganate from the PRC (“Decision Memorandum”), dated concurrently with this notice. The issues discussed in the Decision Memorandum include the likelihood of continuation or recurrence of dumping and the magnitude of the margins of dumping likely to prevail if the order were to be revoked. The Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via the Enforcement and Compliance Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Services System (“ACCESS”). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov and to all parties in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Decision Memorandum can be accessed at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed Decision Memorandum and the electronic version of the Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Final Results of Review

    Pursuant to sections 751(c)(1) and 752(c)(1) and (3) of the Act, the Department determines that revocation of the antidumping duty order on potassium permanganate from the PRC would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping, and the magnitude of the margins of dumping likely to prevail is up to 128.94 percent.5

    5See Final Results of Expedited Sunset Review: Potassium Permanganate from the People's Republic of China; 64 FR 16907 (April 7, 1999); see also Potassium Permanganate from the People's Republic of China; Five-year (“Sunset”) Review of Antidumping Duty Order; Final Results, 70 FR 24520 (May 10, 2005); see also Potassium Permanganate from the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Expedited Sunset Review of Antidumping Duty Order, 75 FR 52509 (August 26, 2010).

    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 written notification of the return or destruction of APO materials, or conversion to judicial protective order, is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a violation which is subject to sanction.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    We are issuing and publishing the results and notice in accordance with sections 751(c), 752(c), and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00079 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-580-810] Welded ASTM A-312 Stainless Steel Pipe From the Republic of Korea: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    In response to requests from Petitioners and SeAH Steel Corporation (SeAH), the Department of Commerce (Department) is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on welded ASTM A-312 stainless steel pipe from Republic of Korea (Korea).1 The period of review (POR) is December 1, 2013, through November 30, 2014. The review covers two exporters and/or producers of the subject merchandise, SeAH and LS Metal Co., Ltd. (LS Metal). The Department preliminarily finds that SeAH and LS Metal sold subject merchandise at less than normal value during the POR. We invite interested parties to comment on these preliminary results.

    1 Petitioners are Bristol Metals LLC, Felker Brothers Corporation, and Outokumpu Stainless Pipe, Inc.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: January 7, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lingjun Wang, AD/CVD Operations, Office VII, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-2316.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Scope of the Order

    The merchandise subject to the antidumping duty order is welded austenitic stainless steel pipe that meets the standards and specifications set forth by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for the welded form of chromium-nickel pipe designated ASTM A-312. The merchandise covered by the scope of the orders also includes austenitic welded stainless steel pipes made according to the standards of other nations which are comparable to ASTM A-312.

    Imports of welded ASTM A-312 stainless steel pipe are currently classifiable under the following Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings: 7306.40.5005, 7306.40.5015, 7306.40.5040, 7306.40.5062, 7306.40.5064, and 7306.40.5085. Although these subheadings include both pipes and tubes, the scope of the antidumping duty order is limited to welded austenitic stainless steel pipes. The HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes. However, the written description of the scope of the orders is dispositive.2

    2See Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Results of the Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Welded ASTM A-312 Stainless Steel Pipe from the Republic of Korea; 2013-2014, dated concurrently with this notice for a full description of the scope of the order (Preliminary Decision Memorandum).

    Methodology

    The Department is conducting this review in accordance with section 751(a)(2) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). Constructed export price is calculated in accordance with section 772 of the Act. Normal value is calculated in accordance with section 773 of the Act. With respect to LS Metal, we relied on facts available,3 and, because it did not act to the best of its ability to respond to the Department's requests for information, we drew an adverse inference in selecting from among the facts otherwise available.4

    3See section 776(a) of the Act.

    4See section 776(b) of the Act.

    For a full description of the methodology underlying these preliminary results, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum, which is hereby adopted by this notice. A list of the topics discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum is attached as an appendix to this notice. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at https://access.trade.gov, and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the Department's main building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the internet at http://www.trade.gov/enforcement/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Preliminary Results of Review

    As a result of our review, we preliminarily determine the following weighted-average dumping margins for the period December 1, 2013, through November 30, 2014.

    Producer and/or exporter Margin
  • (percent)
  • SeAH Steel Corporation 2.58 LS Metal Co., Ltd 31.70
    Disclosure and Public Comment

    The Department intends to disclose the calculations performed in connection with these preliminary results within five days after the date of publication of this notice in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    Interested parties are invited to comment on the preliminary results of this review and may submit case briefs no later than 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. Rebuttal briefs, limited to issues raised in the case briefs, may be filed not later than five days after the date for filing case briefs.5 Parties who submit case briefs or rebuttal briefs in this review are encouraged to submit with each argument: (1) A statement of the issue; (2) a brief summary of the argument; and (3) a table of authorities.6 Executive summaries should be limited to five pages total, including footnotes.7 Case and rebuttal briefs should be filed using ACCESS.8 An electronically filed document must be received successfully in its entirety by ACCESS, by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the on which it is due.9

    5See 19 CFR 351.309(c) and (d).

    6See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2) and (d)(2).

    7Id.

    8See 19 CFR 351.303.

    9See 19 CFR 351.303(b)(1).

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.310(c), interested parties who wish to request a hearing must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice, filed electronically via ACCESS. Requests should contain: (1) The party's name, address and telephone number; (2) the number of participants; and (3) a list of issues parties intend to discuss. Issues raised in the hearing will be limited to those raised in the respective case and rebuttal briefs. If a request for a hearing is made, the Department intends to hold the hearing at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, at a date and time to be determined. See 19 CFR 351.310(d). Parties should confirm by telephone the date, time, and location of the hearing two days before the scheduled date.

    We intend to issue the final results of this administrative review within 120 days after the date of publication of this notice, unless otherwise extended.10

    10See section 751(a)(3)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213(h)(1).

    Assessment Rates

    Upon completion of this administrative review, the Department shall determine and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shall assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. If a respondent's weighted-average dumping margin is not zero or de minimis (i.e., less than 0.5 percent) in the final results of this review, we will calculate importer-specific ad valorem assessment rates on the basis of the ratio of the total amount of dumping calculated for an importer's examined sales and the total entered value of such sales in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1). Where an importer-specific ad valorem assessment rate is zero or de minimis, we will instruct CBP to liquidate the appropriate entries without regard to antidumping duties in accordance with 19 CFR 351.106(c)(2). If a respondent's weighted-average dumping margin is zero or de minimis in the final results of this review, we will instruct CBP to liquidate the appropriate entries without regard to antidumping duties in accordance with the Final Modification for Reviews. 11

    11See Antidumping Proceedings: Calculation of the Weighted-Average Dumping Margin and Assessment Rate in Certain Antidumping Proceedings: Final Modification, 77 FR 8101, 8102 (February 14, 2012) (Final Modification for Reviews) (“Where the weighted-average margin of dumping for the exporter is determined to be zero or de minimis, no antidumping duties will be assessed.”).

    The Department clarified its “automatic assessment” regulation on May 6, 2003.12 This clarification applies to entries of subject merchandise during the POR produced by a respondent for which it did not know its merchandise was destined for the United States. In such instances, we will instruct CBP to liquidate unreviewed entries at the all-others rate if there is no rate for the intermediate company(ies) involved in the transaction.

    12 For a full discussion of this clarification, see Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 68 FR 23954 (May 6, 2003) (Assessment Policy Notice).

    We intend to issue instructions to CBP 15 days after publication of the final results of this review.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the notice of final results of administrative review for all shipments of welded ASTM A-312 stainless steel pipe from Korea entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication as provided for by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) The cash deposit rate for the companies under review will be equal to the weighted-average dumping margin established in the final results of this review except if that rate is de minimis within the meaning of 19 CFR 351.106(c)(1), in which case the cash deposit rate will be zero; (2) for merchandise exported by manufacturers or exporters not covered in this review but covered in a prior segment of the proceeding, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the company-specific rate published for the most recently completed segment of this proceeding in which the manufacturer or exporter participated; (3) if the exporter is not a firm covered in this review, a prior review, or the less-than-fair-value investigation but the manufacturer is, then the cash deposit rate will be the rate established for the most recently completed segment of this proceeding for the manufacturer of the merchandise; and (4) if neither the exporter nor the manufacturer is a firm covered in this or any previously completed segment of this proceeding, then the cash deposit rate will be the “all-others” rate of 6.83 percent established in the less-than-fair-value investigation.13 These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    13See Antidumping Duty Order and Clarification of Final Determination: Certain Welded Stainless Steel Pipes From Korea, 57 FR 62301, 62302 (December 30, 1992).

    Notification to Importers

    This notice serves as a preliminary reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Department's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of doubled antidumping duties.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    These preliminary results of administrative review are issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213(h).

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum Summary Background Scope of the Order Discussion of Methodology A. Comparisons to Fair Value B. Date of Sale C. Product Comparisons D. Constructed Export Price E. SeAH's Alleged Affiliation With POSCO Based on Close Supplier Relationship F. Normal Value G. Cost of Production Analysis H. Calculation of Normal Value Based on Comparison Market Prices I. Currency Conversion J. Application of Facts Available and Use of Adverse Inferences Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2016-00078 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The New England Fishery Management Council's (Council) Risk Policy Working Group will meet to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Monday, January 11, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    Meeting address: The meeting will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 50 Ferncroft Road, Danvers, MA 01923; telephone: (978) 777-2500; fax: (978) 750-7991.

    Council address: New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council; telephone: (978) 465-0492.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Agenda

    The Risk Policy Working Group will discuss the implementation and application of the Council's Risk Policy across all Council-managed species; review updated matrix of “baseline conditions” for Council-managed species, i.e., how risk and uncertainty are currently addressed; discuss baseline conditions in the Atlantic herring fishery; review available information and begin to develop recommendations regarding the application of the Risk Policy in the Atlantic Herring FMP; discuss baseline conditions in the Atlantic sea scallop fishery; plan future work and address other business as necessary.

    Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may be discussed, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take final action to address the emergency.

    Special Accommodations

    This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Thomas A. Nies (see ADDRESSES) at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: January 4, 2016. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00026 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE267 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Operation, Maintenance, and Repair of the Northeast Gateway Liquefied Natural Gas Port and the Algonquin Pipeline Lateral Facilities in Massachusetts Bay AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; issuance of an incidental take authorization.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to the Northeast Gateway® Energy BridgeTM, L.P. (Northeast Gateway or NEG) and Algonquin Gas Transmission, L.L.C. (Algonquin) to take, by harassment, small numbers of 14 species of marine mammals incidental to operating, maintaining, and repairing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) port and the Algonquin Pipeline Lateral (Pipeline Lateral) facilities by NEG and Algonquin, in Massachusetts Bay, from December 23, 2015, through December 22, 2016.

    DATES:

    Effective December 23, 2015, through December 22, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of the original and revised application containing a list of the references used in this document, The Maritime Administration (MARAD), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) on the Northeast Gateway Energy Bridge LNG Deepwater Port license application, and other related documents are available for viewing at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm#applications.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Shane Guan, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A)(D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional taking of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review.

    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings 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.”

    Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA established an expedited process by which citizens of the U.S. can apply for a one-year authorization to incidentally take small numbers of marine mammals by harassment, provided that there is no potential for serious injury or mortality to result from the activity. Section 101(a)(5)(D) establishes a 45-day time limit for NMFS review of an application followed by a 30-day public notice and comment period on any proposed authorizations for the incidental harassment of marine mammals. Within 45 days of the close of the comment period, NMFS must either issue or deny the authorization.

    Summary of Request

    On June 9, 2015, NMFS received an application from Excelerate and Tetra Tech, on behalf of Northeast Gateway and Algonquin, for an authorization to take 14 species of marine mammals by Level B harassment incidental to operations, maintenance, and repair of an LNG port and the Pipeline Lateral facilities in Massachusetts Bay. They are: North Atlantic right whale, humpback whale, fin whale, sei whale, minke whale, long-finned pilot whale, Atlantic white-sided dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, short-beaked common dolphin, killer whale, Risso's dolphin, harbor porpoise, harbor seal, and gray seal. Since LNG Port and Pipeline Lateral operation, maintenance, and repair activities have the potential to take marine mammals, a marine mammal take authorization under the MMPA is warranted.

    NMFS first issued an IHA to Northeast Gateway and Algonquin to allow for the incidental harassment of small numbers of marine mammals resulting from the construction and operation of the NEG Port and the Algonquin Pipeline Lateral (72 FR 27077; May 14, 2007). Subsequently, NMFS issued five one-year IHAs for the take of marine mammals incidental to the operation of the NEG Port activity pursuant to section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA (73 FR 29485, May 21, 2008; 74 FR 45613, September 3, 2009; 75 FR 53672, September 1, 2010; and 76 FR 62778, October 11, 2011). On December 22, 2014, NMFS issued an IHA to NEG and Algonquin to take marine mammals incidental to the operations of the NEG Port as well as maintenance and repair activities (79 FR 78806, December 31, 2014). The current IHA expired on December 21, 2015.

    On November 20, 2015, NMFS published a Federal Register notice (80 FR 72688) for a proposed IHA for the incidental take of small number of 14 marine mammal species incidental to NEG and Algonquin's Port and Lateral Pipeline operations and maintenance and repair activities between December 22, 2015, and December 21, 2016. There has been no change regarding the proposed activities and monitoring and mitigation measures from the proposed IHA.

    Description of the Specified Activity

    The proposed NEG and Algonquin activities include the following:

    NEG Port Operations: The NEG Port operations involve docking of LNG vessels and regasification of LNG for delivery to shore. Noises generated during these activities, especially from the LNG vessel's dynamics positioning thrusters during docking, could result in takes of marine mammals in the Port vicinity by level B behavioral harassment.

    NEG Port Maintenance and Repair: Regular maintenance and occasional repair of the NEG Port are expected to occur throughout the NEG Port operation period. Machinery used during these activities generate noises that could result in takes of marine mammals in the Port vicinity by Level B behavioral harassment.

    Algonquin Pipeline Lateral Routine Operations and Maintenance: The Algonquin Pipeline Lateral that is used for gas delivery would be inspected regularly to ensure proper operations. The work would be done using support vessels operating in dynamic positioning mode. Noises generated from these activities could result in takes of marine mammals in the vicinity of Pipeline Lateral by Level B behavioral harassment.

    Unplanned Pipeline Repair Activities: Unplanned repair activities may be required from time to time at a location along the Algonquin Pipeline Lateral in west Massachusetts Bay, as shown in Figure 2.1 of the IHA application. The repair would involve the use of a dive vessel operating in dynamic positioning mode. Noise generated from this activity could result in takes of marine mammals in the vicinity of repair work by Level B behavioral harassment.

    An IHA was previously issued to NEG and Algonquin for this activity on December 22, 2014 (79 FR 78806; December 31, 2014), based on activities described on Excelerate and Tetra Tech's IHA application submitted in June 2014 and on the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (78 FR 69049; November 18, 2013). The latest IHA application submitted by Excelerate and Tetra Tech on October 9, 2015, contains the same information on project descriptions as described in the June 2014 IHA application. There is no change on the NEG and Algonquin's proposed LNG Port and Pipeline Lateral operations and maintenance and repair. Please refer to these documents for a detailed description of NEG and Algonquin's proposed LNG Port and Pipeline Lateral operations and maintenance and repair activities.

    Comments and Responses

    A notice of NMFS' proposal to issue an IHA to Northeast Gateway and Algonquin was published in the Federal Register notice on November 20, 2015 (80 FR 72688). The notice described Northeast Gateway and Algonquin's activities, the marine mammal species that may be affected by the activity, the anticipated effects on marine mammals, and the proposed monitoring, mitigation, and reporting measures.

    During the 30-day public comment period, NMFS received a comment letter from the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission), which is addressed here. NMFS also received one comment letter from a private citizen. However, the contents of that letter are not relevant to our determinations under the MMPA, and therefore they are not addressed here.

    Comment 1: The Commission recommends that NMFS issue the requested incidental harassment authorization, subject to inclusion of the proposed mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures.

    Response: NMFS concurs with the Commission's recommendation and has included the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures contained in the proposed authorization in the issued IHA.

    Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of the Specified Activities

    General information on the marine mammal species found in Massachusetts Bay can be found in Waring et al. (2014), which is available at the following URL: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/pdf/ao2013_tm228.pdf. Refer to that document for information on these species.

    Marine mammal species that potentially occur in the vicinity of the Northeast Gateway facility can be found in the IHA application and in the earlier Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (78 FR 69049; November 18, 2013). These species are summarized in Table 1 below.

    Table 1—Marine Mammal Species Potentially Present in Region of Activity Species ESA status MMPA status Abundance Range Occurrence North Atlantic right whale Endangered Depleted 465 N. Atlantic Occasional. Humpback whale Endangered Depleted 823 N. Atlantic Occasional. Fin whale Endangered Depleted 1618 N. Atlantic Occasional. Sei whale Endangered Depleted 357 N. Atlantic Occasional. Minke whale Not listed Non-depleted 20741 N. Atlantic Occasional. Long-finned pilot whale Not listed Non-depleted 21515 N. Atlantic Occasional. Atlantic white-sided dolphin Not listed Non-depleted 48819 N. Atlantic Occasional. Bottlenose dolphin Not listed Non-depleted 11548 N. Atlantic Uncommon. Common dolphin Not listed Non-depleted 173486 N. Atlantic Uncommon. Killer whale Not listed Non-depleted Unknown N. Atlantic Uncommon. Risso's dolphin Not listed Non-depleted 18250 N. Atlantic Uncommon. Harbor porpoise Not listed Non-depleted 79833 N. Atlantic Uncommon. Harbor Seal Not listed Non-depleted 75834 N. Atlantic Occasional. Gray seal Not listed Non-depleted Unknown N. Atlantic Occasional. Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals

    The underwater noise from NEG and Algonquin's LNG Port and Pipeline Lateral operations and maintenance and repair activities have the potential to result in behavioral harassment of marine mammal species and stocks in the vicinity of the action area. The Notice of Proposed IHA included a detailed discussion of the effects of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals, which is not repeated here. No instances of hearing threshold shifts, injury, serious injury, or mortality are expected as a result of these activities given that none of these activities general noises that are above the threshold to cause hearing impairment or injury.

    Potential Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat

    The primary potential impacts to marine mammals and other marine species are associated with elevated sound levels, but the project may also result in additional effects to marine mammal prey species and short-term marine mammal prey loss caused by water usage during LNG degasification. These potential effects are discussed in detail in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA and are not repeated here.

    Mitigation Measures

    In order to issue an incidental take authorization under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses. NMFS regulations require applicants for incidental take authorizations to include information about the availability and feasibility (economic and technological) of equipment, methods, and manner of conducting such activity or other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact upon the affected species or stocks, their habitat.

    For the NEG LNG Port operations and maintenance and repair activities, Excelerate and Tetra Tech worked with NMFS to develop mitigation measures to minimize the potential impacts to marine mammal populations in the project vicinity as a result of the LNG Port and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral operations and maintenance and repair activities. The primary purpose of these mitigation measures is to ensure that no marine mammal would be injured or killed by vessels transiting the LNG Port facility, and to minimize the intensity of noise exposure of marine mammals in the activity area. For the NEG Port and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral operations and maintenance and repair, the following mitigation measures are required.

    (a) General Marine Mammal Avoidance Measures

    All vessels shall utilize the International Maritime Organization (IMO)-approved Boston Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) on their approach to and departure from the NEG Port and/or the repair/maintenance area at the earliest practicable point of transit in order to avoid the risk of whale strikes.

    Upon entering the TSS and areas where North Atlantic right whales are known to occur, including the Great South Channel Seasonal Management Area (GSC-SMA) and the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS), the Energy Bridge Regasification Vessels (EBRVTM) shall go into “Heightened Awareness” as described below.

    (1) Prior to entering and navigating the modified TSS, the Master of the vessel shall:

    • Consult Navigational Telex (NAVTEX), NOAA Weather Radio, the NOAA Right Whale Sighting Advisory System (SAS) or other means to obtain current right whale sighting information as well as the most recent Cornell acoustic monitoring buoy data for the potential presence of marine mammals;

    • Post a look-out to visually monitor for the presence of marine mammals;

    • Provide the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) required 96-hour notification of an arriving EBRV to allow the NEG Port Manager to notify Cornell of vessel arrival.

    (2) The look-out shall concentrate his/her observation efforts within the 2-mile radius zone of influence (ZOI) from the maneuvering EBRV.

    (3) If marine mammal detection was reported by NAVTEX, NOAA Weather Radio, SAS and/or an acoustic monitoring buoy, the look-out shall concentrate visual monitoring efforts towards the areas of the most recent detection.

    (4) If the look-out (or any other member of the crew) visually detects a marine mammal within the 2-mile radius ZOI of a maneuvering EBRV, he/she will take the following actions:

    • The Officer-of-the-Watch shall be notified immediately; who shall then relay the sighting information to the Master of the vessel to ensure action(s) can be taken to avoid physical contact with marine mammals.

    • The sighting shall be recorded in the sighting log by the designated look-out.

    In accordance with 50 CFR 224.103(c), all vessels associated with NEG Port and Pipeline Lateral activities shall not approach closer than 500 yards (460 m) to a North Atlantic right whale and 100 yards (91 m) to other whales to the extent physically feasible given navigational constraints. In addition, when approaching and departing the project area, vessels shall be operated so as to remain at least 1 kilometer away from any visually-detected North Atlantic right whales.

    In response to active right whale sightings and active acoustic detections, and taking into account exceptional circumstances, EBRVs as well as repair and maintenance vessels shall take appropriate actions to minimize the risk of striking whales. Specifically, vessels shall:

    (1) Respond to active right whale sightings and/or Dynamic Management Areas (DMAs) reported on the Mandatory Ship Reporting (MSR) or SAS by concentrating monitoring efforts towards the area of most recent detection and reducing speed to 10 knots or less if the vessel is within the boundaries of a DMA or within the circular area centered on an area 8 nautical miles (nm) in radius from a sighting location;

    (2) Respond to active acoustic detections by concentrating monitoring efforts towards the area of most recent detection and reducing speed to 10 knots or less within an area 5 nm in radius centered on the detecting auto-detection buoy (AB); and

    (3) Respond to additional sightings made by the designated look-outs within a 2-mile radius of the vessel by slowing the vessel to 10 knots or less and concentrating monitoring efforts towards the area of most recent sighting.

    All vessels operated under NEG and Algonquin must follow the established specific speed restrictions when calling at the NEG Port. The specific speed restrictions required for all vessels (i.e., EBRVs and vessels associated with maintenance and repair) consist of the following:

    (1) Vessels shall reduce their maximum transit speed while in the TSS from 12 knots or less to 10 knots or less from March 1 to April 30 in all waters bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated below unless an emergency situation dictates for an alternate speed. This area shall hereafter be referred to as the Off Race Point Seasonal Management Area (ORP-SMA) and tracks NMFS regulations at 50 CFR 224.105:

    42°30′ N., 70°30′ W.; 41°40′ N., 69°57′ W.; 42°30′ N., 69°45′ W.; 42°12′ N., 70°15′ W.; 41°40′ N., 69°45′ W.; 42°12′ N., 70°30′ W.; 42°04.8′ N., 70°10′ W.; 42°30′ N., 70°30′ W.;

    (2) Vessels shall reduce their maximum transit speed while in the TSS to 10 knots or less unless an emergency situation dictates for an alternate speed from April 1 to July 31 in all waters bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated below. This area shall hereafter be referred to as the GSC-SMA and tracks NMFS regulations at 50 CFR 224.105:

    42°30′ N., 69°45′ W.; 41°40′ N., 69°45′ W.; 42°30′ N., 67°27′ W.; 42°30′ N., 69°45′ W.; 42°09′ N., 67°08.4′ W.; 41°00′ N., 69°05′ W.;

    (3) Vessels are not expected to transit the Cape Cod Bay or the Cape Cod Canal; however, in the event that transit through the Cape Cod Bay or the Cape Cod Canal is required, vessels shall reduce maximum transit speed to 10 knots or less from January 1 to May 15 in all waters in Cape Cod Bay, extending to all shorelines of Cape Cod Bay, with a northern boundary of 42°12′ N. latitude and the Cape Cod Canal. This area shall hereafter be referred to as the Cape Cod Bay Seasonal Management Area (CCB-SMA).

    (4) All Vessels transiting to and from the project area shall report their activities to the mandatory reporting Section of the USCG to remain apprised of North Atlantic right whale movements within the area. All vessels entering and exiting the MSRA shall report their activities to WHALESNORTH. Vessel operators shall contact the USCG by standard procedures promulgated through the Notice to Mariner system.

    (5) All Vessels greater than or equal to 300 gross tons (GT) shall maintain a speed of 10 knots or less, unless an emergency situation requires speeds greater than 10 knots.

    (6) All Vessels less than 300 GT traveling between the shore and the project area that are not generally restricted to 10 knots will contact the Mandatory Ship Reporting (MSR) system, the USCG, or the project site before leaving shore for reports of active DMAs and/or recent right whale sightings and, consistent with navigation safety, restrict speeds to 10 knots or less within 5 miles (8 kilometers) of any sighting location, when traveling in any of the seasonal management areas (SMAs) or when traveling in any active DMA.

    (b) NEG Port-Specific Operations

    In addition to the general marine mammal avoidance requirements identified above, vessels calling on the NEG Port must comply with the following additional requirements:

    (1) EBRVs shall travel at 10 knots maximum speed when transiting to/from the TSS or to/from the NEG Port/Pipeline Lateral area. For EBRVs, at 1.86 miles (3 km) from the NEG Port, speed will be reduced to 3 knots and to less than 1 knot at 1,640 ft (500 m) from the NEG buoys, unless an emergency situation dictates the need for an alternate speed.

    (2) EBRVs that are approaching or departing from the NEG Port and are within the Area to be Avoided (ATBA) surrounding the NEG Port, shall remain at least 1 km away from any visually-detected North Atlantic right whale and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from all other visually-detected whales unless an emergency situation requires that the vessel stay its course. During EBRV maneuvering, the Vessel Master shall designate at least one look-out to be exclusively and continuously monitoring for the presence of marine mammals at all times while the EBRV is approaching or departing from the NEG Port.

    (3) During NEG Port operations, in the event that a whale is visually observed within 1 km of the NEG Port or a confirmed acoustic detection is reported on either of the two ABs closest to the NEG Port (western-most in the TSS array), departing EBRVs shall delay their departure from the NEG Port, unless an emergency situation requires that departure is not delayed. This departure delay shall continue until either the observed whale has been visually (during daylight hours) confirmed as more than 1 km from the NEG Port or 30 minutes have passed without another confirmed detection either acoustically within the acoustic detection range of the two ABs closest to the NEG Port, or visually within 1 km from the NEG Port.

    Vessel captains shall focus on reducing dynamic positioning (DP) thruster power to the maximum extent practicable, taking into account vessel and Port safety, during the operation activities. Vessel captains will shut down thrusters whenever they are not needed.

    (c) Planned and Unplanned Maintenance and Repair Activities NEG Port

    (1) The Northeast Gateway shall conduct empirical source level measurements on all noise emitting construction equipment and all vessels that are involved in maintenance/repair work.

    (2) If DP systems are to be employed and/or activities will emit noise with a source level of 139 dB re 1 μPa at 1 m, activities shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements for DP systems listed above.

    (3) Northeast Gateway shall provide the NMFS Headquarters Office of the Protected Resources, NMFS Northeast Region Ship Strike Coordinator, and SBNMS with a minimum of 30 days' notice prior to any planned repair and/or maintenance activity. For any unplanned/emergency repair/maintenance activity, Northeast Gateway shall notify the agencies as soon as it determines that repair work must be conducted. Northeast Gateway shall continue to keep the agencies apprised of repair work plans as further details (e.g., the time, location, and nature of the repair) become available. A final notification shall be provided to agencies 72 hours prior to crews being deployed into the field.

    Pipeline Lateral

    (1) Pipeline maintenance/repair vessels less than 300 GT traveling between the shore and the maintenance/repair area that are not generally restricted to 10 knots shall contact the MSR system, the USCG, or the project site before leaving shore for reports of active DMAs and/or recent right whale sightings and, consistent with navigation safety, restrict speeds to 10 knots or less within 5 miles (8 km) of any sighting location, when travelling in any of the seasonal management areas (SMAs) as defined above.

    (2) Maintenance/repair vessels greater than 300 GT shall not exceed 10 knots, unless an emergency situation that requires speeds greater than 10 knots.

    (3) Planned maintenance and repair activities shall be restricted to the period between May 1 and November 30 when most of the majority of North Atlantic right whales are absent in the area.

    (4) Unplanned/emergency maintenance and repair activities shall be conducted utilizing anchor-moored dive vessel whenever operationally possible.

    (5) Algonquin shall also provide the NMFS Office of the Protected Resources, NMFS Northeast Region Ship Strike Coordinator, and SBNMS with a minimum of 30-day notice prior to any planned repair and/or maintenance activity. For any unplanned/emergency repair/maintenance activity, Northeast Gateway shall notify the agencies as soon as it determines that repair work must be conducted. Algonquin shall continue to keep the agencies apprised of repair work plans as further details (e.g., the time, location, and nature of the repair) become available. A final notification shall be provided to agencies 72 hours prior to crews being deployed into the field.

    (6) If DP systems are to be employed and/or activities will emit noise with a source level of 139 dB re 1 μPa at 1 m, activities shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements for DP systems listed in (5)(b)(ii).

    (7) In the event that a whale is visually observed within 0.5 mile (0.8 kilometers) of a repair or maintenance vessel, the vessel superintendent or on-deck supervisor shall be notified immediately. The vessel's crew shall be put on a heightened state of alert and the marine mammal shall be monitored constantly to determine if it is moving toward the repair or maintenance area.

    (8) Repair/maintenance vessel(s) must cease any movement and/or cease all activities that emit noises with source level of 139 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 meter or higher when a right whale is sighted within or approaching at 500 yards (457 meters) from the vessel. The source level of 139 dB corresponds to 120 dB received level at 500 yards (457 meters). Repair and maintenance work may resume after the marine mammal is positively reconfirmed outside the established zones (500 yards [457 meters]) or 30 minutes have passed without a redetection. Any vessels transiting the maintenance area, such as barges or tugs, must also maintain these separation distances.

    (9) Repair/maintenance vessel(s) must cease any movement and/or cease all activities that emit noises with source level of 139 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 meter or higher when a marine mammal other than a right whale is sighted within or approaching at 100 yards (91 meters) from the vessel. Repair and maintenance work may resume after the marine mammal is positively reconfirmed outside the established zones (100 yards [91 meters]) or 30 minutes have passed without a redetection. Any vessels transiting the maintenance area, such as barges or tugs, must also maintain these separation distances.

    (10) Algonquin and associated contractors shall also comply with the following:

    • Operations involving excessively noisy equipment (source level exceeding 139 dB re 1μPa @ 1 meter) shall “ramp-up” sound sources, allowing whales a chance to leave the area before sounds reach maximum levels. In addition, Northeast Gateway, Algonquin, and other associated contractors shall maintain equipment to manufacturers' specifications, including any sound-muffling devices or engine covers in order to minimize noise effects. Noisy construction equipment shall only be used as needed and equipment shall be turned off when not in operation.

    • Any material that has the potential to entangle marine mammals (e.g., anchor lines, cables, rope or other construction debris) shall only be deployed as needed and measures shall be taken to minimize the chance of entanglement.

    • For any material that has the potential to entangle marine mammals, such material shall be removed from the water immediately unless such action jeopardizes the safety of the vessel and crew as determined by the Captain of the vessel.

    • In the event that a marine mammal becomes entangled, the marine mammal coordinator and/or protected species observer (PSO) will notify NMFS (if outside the SBNMS), and SBNMS staff (if inside the SBNMS) immediately so that a rescue effort may be initiated.

    (11) All maintenance/repair activities shall be scheduled to occur between May 1 and November 30; however, in the event of unplanned/emergency repair work that cannot be scheduled during the preferred May through November work window, the following additional measures shall be followed for Pipeline Lateral maintenance and repair related activities between December and April:

    • Between December 1 and April 30, if on-board PSOs do not have at least 0.5-mile visibility, they shall call for a shutdown. At the time of shutdown, the use of thrusters must be minimized. If there are potential safety problems due to the shutdown, the captain will decide what operations can safely be shut down.

    • Prior to leaving the dock to begin transit, the barge shall contact one of the PSOs on watch to receive an update of sightings within the visual observation area. If the PSO has observed a North Atlantic right whale within 30 minutes of the transit start, the vessel shall hold for 30 minutes and again get a clearance to leave from the PSOs on board. PSOs shall assess whale activity and visual observation ability at the time of the transit request to clear the barge for release.

    • Transit route, destination, sea conditions and any marine mammal sightings/mitigation actions during watch shall be recorded in the log book. Any whale sightings within 1,000 meters of the vessel shall result in a high alert and slow speed of 4 knots or less and a sighting within 750 meters shall result in idle speed and/or ceasing all movement.

    • The material barges and tugs used in repair and maintenance shall transit from the operations dock to the work sites during daylight hours when possible provided the safety of the vessels is not compromised. Should transit at night be required, the maximum speed of the tug shall be 5 knots.

    • All repair vessels must maintain a speed of 10 knots or less during daylight hours. All vessels shall operate at 5 knots or less at all times within 5 km of the repair area.

    Acoustic Monitoring Related Activities

    Vessels associated with maintaining the AB network operating as part of the mitigation/monitoring protocols shall adhere to the following speed restrictions and marine mammal monitoring requirements.

    (1) In accordance with 50 CFR 224.103 (c), all vessels associated with NEG Port activities shall not approach closer than 500 yards (460 meters) to a North Atlantic right whale.

    (2) All vessels shall obtain the latest DMA or right whale sighting information via the NAVTEX, MSR, SAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or other available means prior to operations.

    Mitigation Conclusions

    NMFS has carefully evaluated these mitigation measures in the context of ensuring that NMFS prescribes the means of effecting the least practicable impact on the affected marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat. Our evaluation of potential measures included consideration of the following factors in relation to one another:

    • The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measure is expected to minimize adverse impacts to marine mammals.

    • The proven or likely efficacy of the specific measure to minimize adverse impacts as planned.

    • The practicability of the measure for applicant implementation.

    Any mitigation measure(s) prescribed by NMFS should be able to accomplish, have a reasonable likelihood of accomplishing (based on current science), or contribute to the accomplishment of one or more of the general goals listed below:

    (1) Avoidance or minimization of injury or death of marine mammals wherever possible (goals 2, 3, and 4 may contribute to this goal).

    (2) A reduction in the numbers of marine mammals (total number or number at biologically important time or location) exposed to received levels of pile driving and pile removal or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only).

    (3) A reduction in the intensity of exposures (either total number or number at biologically important time or location) to received levels of pile driving, or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to a, above, or to reducing the severity of harassment takes only).

    (4) Avoidance or minimization of adverse effects to marine mammal habitat, paying special attention to the food base, activities that block or limit passage to or from biologically important areas, permanent destruction of habitat, or temporary destruction/disturbance of habitat during a biologically important time.

    (5) For monitoring directly related to mitigation—an increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals, thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation.

    Based on our evaluation of the measures that include vessel speed reduction, noise level related shutdown measures, and ramping up procedures, NMFS has determined that the mitigation measures provide the means of effecting the least practicable impact on marine mammals species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance.

    Monitoring and Reporting Measures

    In order to issue an IHA for an activity, section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth “requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking.” The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104(a)(13) indicate that requests for IHAs must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the proposed action area.

    Monitoring measures prescribed by NMFS should accomplish one or more of the following general goals:

    (1) An increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals, both within the mitigation zone (thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation) and in general to generate more data to contribute to the analyses mentioned below;

    (2) An increase in our understanding of how many marine mammals are likely to be exposed to levels of pile driving that we associate with specific adverse effects, such as behavioral harassment, TTS, or PTS;

    (3) An increase in our understanding of how marine mammals respond to stimuli expected to result in take and how anticipated adverse effects on individuals (in different ways and to varying degrees) may impact the population, species, or stock (specifically through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival) through any of the following methods:

    Behavioral observations in the presence of stimuli compared to observations in the absence of stimuli (need to be able to accurately predict received level, distance from source, and other pertinent information);

    Physiological measurements in the presence of stimuli compared to observations in the absence of stimuli (need to be able to accurately predict received level, distance from source, and other pertinent information);

    Distribution and/or abundance comparisons in times or areas with concentrated stimuli versus times or areas without stimuli;

    (4) An increased knowledge of the affected species; and

    (5) An increase in our understanding of the effectiveness of certain mitigation and monitoring measures.

    Monitoring Measures (a) Vessel-Based Visual Monitoring

    Vessel-based monitoring for marine mammals shall be done by trained look-outs during NEG LNG Port and Pipeline Lateral operations and maintenance and repair activities. The observers shall monitor the occurrence of marine mammals near the vessels during LNG Port and Pipeline Lateral related activities. Lookout duties include watching for and identifying marine mammals; recording their numbers, distances, and reactions to the activities; and documenting “take by harassment.” The vessel look-outs assigned to visually monitor for the presence of marine mammals shall be provided with the following:

    (1) Recent NAVTEX, NOAA Weather Radio, SAS and/or acoustic monitoring buoy detection data;

    (2) Binoculars to support observations;

    (3) Marine mammal detection guide sheets; and

    (4) Sighting log.

    (b) NEG LNG Port Operations

    All individuals onboard the EBRVs responsible for the navigation duties and any other personnel that could be assigned to monitor for marine mammals shall receive training on marine mammal sighting/reporting and vessel strike avoidance measures.

    While an EBRV is navigating within the designated TSS, there shall be three people with look-out duties on or near the bridge of the ship including the Master, the Officer-of-the-Watch and the Helmsman-on-watch. In addition to the standard watch procedures, while the EBRV is transiting within the designated TSS, maneuvering within the ATBA, and/or while actively engaging in the use of thrusters, an additional look-out shall be designated to exclusively and continuously monitor for marine mammals.

    All sightings of marine mammals by the designated look-out, individuals posted to navigational look-out duties, and/or any other crew member while the EBRV is transiting within the TSS, maneuvering within the ATBA and/or when actively engaging in the use of thrusters, shall be immediately reported to the Officer-of-the-Watch who shall then alert the Master. The Master or Officer-of-the-Watch shall ensure the required reporting procedures are followed and the designated marine mammal look-out records all pertinent information relevant to the sighting.

    Visual sightings made by look-outs from the EBRVs shall be recorded using a standard sighting log form. Estimated locations shall be reported for each individual and/or group of individuals categorized by species when known. This data shall be entered into a database and a summary of monthly sighting activity shall be provided to NMFS. Estimates of take and copies of these log sheets shall also be included in the reports to NMFS.

    (c) Planned and Unplanned Maintenance and Repair

    Two qualified and NMFS-approved PSOs shall be assigned to each vessel that will use DP systems during maintenance and repair related activities. PSOs shall operate individually in designated shifts to accommodate adequate rest schedules. Additional PSOs shall be assigned to additional vessels if AB data indicates that sound levels exceed 120 dB re 1 µPa, further then 100 meters (328 feet) from these vessels.

    All PSOs shall receive NMFS-approved marine mammal observer training and be approved in advance by NMFS after review of their resume. All PSOs shall have direct field experience on marine mammal vessels and/or aerial surveys in the Atlantic Ocean/Gulf of Mexico.

    PSOs (one primary and one secondary) shall be responsible for visually locating marine mammals at the ocean's surface and, to the extent possible, identifying the species. The primary PSO shall act as the identification specialist and the secondary PSO will serve as data recorder and also assist with identification. Both PSOs shall have responsibility for monitoring for the presence of marine mammals and sea turtles. Specifically PSO's shall:

    (1) Monitor at all hours of the day, scanning the ocean surface by eye for a minimum of 40 minutes every hour.

    (2) Monitor the area where maintenance and repair work is conducted beginning at daybreak using 25x power binoculars and/or hand-held binoculars. Night vision devices must be provided as standard equipment for monitoring during low-light hours and at night.

    (3) Conduct general 360° visual monitoring during any given watch period and target scanning by the observer shall occur when alerted of a whale presence.

    (4) Alert the vessel superintendent or construction crew supervisor of visual detections within 2 miles (3.31 kilometers) immediately.

    (5) Record all sightings on marine mammal field sighting logs. Specifically, all data shall be entered at the time of observation, notes of activities will be kept, and a daily report prepared and attached to the daily field sighting log form. The basic reporting requirements include the following:

    • Beaufort sea state;

    • Wind speed;

    • Wind direction;

    • Temperature;

    • Precipitation;

    • Glare;

    • Percent cloud cover;

    • Number of animals;

    • Species;

    • Position;

    • Distance;

    • Behavior;

    • Direction of movement; and

    • Apparent reaction to construction activity.

    In the event that a whale is visually observed within the 2-mile (3.31 kilometers) zone of influence (ZOI) of a DP vessel or other construction vessel that has shown to emit noise with source level in excess of 139 dB re 1 µPa @ 1 m, the PSO will notify the repair/maintenance construction crew to minimize the use of thrusters until the animal has moved away, unless there are divers in the water or an ROV is deployed.

    (d) Acoustic Monitoring

    Northeast Gateway shall deploy 10 ABs within the Separation Zone of the TSS for the operational life of the Project. The ABs shall be used to detect a calling North Atlantic right whale an average of 5 nm from each AB. The AB system shall be the primary detection mechanism that alerts the EBRV Master to the occurrence of right whales, heightens EBRV awareness, and triggers necessary mitigation actions as described above. Northeast Gateway shall conduct short-term passive acoustic monitoring to document sound levels during:

    (1) The initial operational events in the 2015-2016 winter heating season;

    (2) Regular deliveries outside the winter heating season should such deliveries occur; and

    (3) Scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and repair activities.

    Northeast Gateway shall conduct long-term monitoring of the noise environment in Massachusetts Bay in the vicinity of the NEG Port and Pipeline Lateral using marine autonomous recording units (MARUs) when there is anticipated to be more than 5 LNG shipments in a 30-day period or over 20 shipments in a six-month period.

    The acoustic data collected shall be analyzed to document the seasonal occurrences and overall distributions of whales (primarily fin, humpback and right whales) within approximately 10 nm of the NEG Port and shall measure and document the noise “budget” of Massachusetts Bay so as to eventually assist in determining whether or not an overall increase in noise in the Bay associated with the Project might be having a potentially negative impact on marine mammals.

    Northeast Gateway shall make all acoustic data, including data previously collected by the MARUs during prior construction, operations, and maintenance and repair activities, available to NOAA. Data storage will be the responsibility of NOAA.

    (e) Acoustic Whale Detection and Response Plan NEG Port Operations

    (1) Ten ABs that have been deployed since 2007 shall be used to continuously screen the low-frequency acoustic environment (less than 1,000 Hertz) for right whale contact calls occurring within an approximately 5-nm radius from each buoy (the AB's detection range).

    (2) Once a confirmed detection is made, the Master of any EBRVs operating in the area will be alerted immediately.

    NEG Port and Pipeline Lateral Planned and Unplanned/Emergency Repair and Maintenance Activities

    (1) If the repair/maintenance work is located outside of the detectible range of the 10 project area ABs, Northeast Gateway and Algonquin shall consult with NOAA (NMFS and SBNMS) to determine if the work to be conducted warrants the temporary installation of an additional AB(s) to help detect and provide early warnings for potential occurrence of right whales in the vicinity of the repair area.

    (2) The number of ABs installed around the activity site shall be commensurate with the type and spatial extent of maintenance/repair work required, but must be sufficient to detect vocalizing right whales within the 120-dB impact zone.

    (3) Should acoustic monitoring be deemed necessary during a planned or unplanned/emergency repair and/or maintenance event, active monitoring for right whale calls shall begin 24 hours prior to the start of activities.

    (4) Source level data from the acoustic recording units deployed in the NEG Port and/or Pipeline Lateral maintenance and repair area shall be provided to NMFS.

    Reporting Measures

    (a) Throughout NEG Port and Pipeline Lateral operations, Northeast Gateway and Algonquin shall provide a monthly Monitoring Report. The Monitoring Report shall include:

    • Both copies of the raw visual EBRV lookout sighting information of marine mammals that occurred within 2 miles of the EBRV while the vessel transits within the TSS, maneuvers within the ATBA, and/or when actively engaging in the use of thrusters, and a summary of the data collected by the look-outs over each reporting period.

    • Copies of the raw PSO sightings information on marine mammals gathered during pipeline repair or maintenance activities. This visual sighting data shall then be correlated to periods of thruster activity to provide estimates of marine mammal takes (per species/species class) that took place during each reporting period.

    • Conclusion of any planned or unplanned/emergency repair and/or maintenance period, a report shall be submitted to NMFS summarizing the repair/maintenance activities, marine mammal sightings (both visual and acoustic), empirical source-level measurements taken during the repair work, and any mitigation measures taken.

    (b) During the maintenance and repair of NEG Port and Pipeline Lateral components, weekly status reports shall be provided to NOAA (both NMFS and SBNMS) using standardized reporting forms. The weekly reports shall include data collected for each distinct marine mammal species observed in the repair/maintenance area during the period that maintenance and repair activities were taking place. The weekly reports shall include the following information:

    • Location (in longitude and latitude coordinates), time, and the nature of the maintenance and repair activities;

    • Indication of whether a DP system was operated, and if so, the number of thrusters being used and the time and duration of DP operation;

    • Marine mammals observed in the area (number, species, age group, and initial behavior);

    • The distance of observed marine mammals from the maintenance and repair activities;

    • Changes, if any, in marine mammal behaviors during the observation;

    • A description of any mitigation measures (power-down, shutdown, etc.) implemented;

    • Weather condition (Beaufort sea state, wind speed, wind direction, ambient temperature, precipitation, and percent cloud cover etc.);

    • Condition of the observation (visibility and glare); and

    • Details of passive acoustic detections and any action taken in response to those detections.

    (c) Injured/Dead Protected Species Reporting

    In the unanticipated event that survey operations clearly cause the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by the proposed IHA, such as an injury (Level A harassment), serious injury or mortality (e.g., ship-strike, gear interaction, and/or entanglement), NEG and/or Algonquin shall immediately cease activities and immediately report the incident to the Supervisor of the Incidental Take Program, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS and the Northeast Regional Stranding Coordinators. The report must include the following information:

    • Time, date, and location (latitude/longitude) of the incident;

    • The name and type of vessel involved;

    • The vessel's speed during and leading up to the incident;

    • Description of the incident;

    • Status of all sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Water depth;

    • Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    • Description of marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    • The fate of the animal(s); and

    • Photographs or video footage of the animal (if equipment is available).

    Activities shall not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS shall work with NEG and/or Algonquin to determine what is necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) compliance. NEG and/or Algonquin may not resume their activities until notified by NMFS via letter, email, or telephone.

    In the event that NEG and/or Algonquin discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (i.e., in less than a moderate state of decomposition as described in the next paragraph), NEG and/or Algonquin will immediately (i.e., within 24 hours of the discovery) report the incident to the Supervisor of the Incidental Take Program, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the NMFS Northeast Stranding Coordinators. The report must include the same information identified above. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS will work with NEG and/or Algonquin to determine whether modifications in the activities are appropriate.

    In the event that NEG or Algonquin discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the activities authorized (if the IHA is issued) (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), NEG and/or Algonquin shall report the incident to the Supervisor of the Incidental Take Program, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the NMFS Northeast Stranding Coordinators, within 24 hours of the discovery. NEG and/or Algonquin shall provide photographs or video footage (if available) or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS and the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. NEG and/or Algonquin can continue its operations under such a case.

    Marine Mammal Monitoring Report From Previous IHA

    Prior marine mammal monitoring during NEG's LNG Port and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral operation, maintenance and repair activities and monthly marine mammal observation memorandums (NEG 2010; 2015) indicate that only a small number of marine mammals were observed during these activities. Only one LNG Port operation occurred within the dates of the previous IHA (December 22, 2014 through December 21, 2015) and no marine mammal was observed during the LNG Port operation period on December 31, 2014. No other NEG Port and Pipeline Lateral related activity occurred during this period.

    Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment

    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]. Only take by Level B harassment is anticipated as a result of NEG's operation and maintenance and repair activities. Anticipated take of marine mammals is associated with operation of dynamic positioning during the docking of the LNG vessels and positioning of maintenance and dive vessels, and by operations of certain machinery during maintenance and repair activities. The regasification process itself is an activity that does not rise to the level of taking, as the modeled source level for this activity is 108 dB. Certain species may have a behavioral reaction to the sound emitted during the activities. Hearing impairment is not anticipated. Additionally, vessel strikes are not anticipated, especially because of the speed restriction measures that are proposed that were described earlier in this document.

    The full suite of potential impacts to marine mammals from the types of stressors associated with the specified activity was described in detail in the “Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals” section found earlier in this document. The potential effects of sound from the proposed NEG and Algonquin LNG Port and Pipeline Lateral operations, maintenance and repair activities might include one or more of the following: Masking of natural sounds and behavioral disturbance (Richardson et al. 1995). The most common impact will likely be from behavioral disturbance, including avoidance of the ensonified area or changes in speed, direction, and/or diving profile of the animal. As discussed previously in this document, hearing impairment (TTS and PTS) is highly unlikely to occur based on low noise source levels from the proposed activities that would preclude marine mammals from being exposed to noise levels high enough to cause hearing impairment.

    For non-pulse sounds, such as those produced by operating dynamic positioning (DP) thruster during vessel docking and supporting underwater construction and repair activities and the operations of various machineries that produces non-pulse noises, NMFS uses the 120 dB (rms) re 1 μPa isopleth to indicate the onset of Level B harassment.

    NEG Port and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral Activities Acoustic Footprints I. NEG Port Operations

    For the purposes of understanding the noise footprint of operations at the NEG Port, measurements taken to capture operational noise (docking, undocking, regasification, and EBRV thruster use) during the 2006 Gulf of Mexico field event were taken at the source. Measurements taken during EBRV transit were normalized to a distance of 328 feet (100 meters) to serve as a basis for modeling sound propagation at the NEG Port site in Massachusetts Bay.

    Sound propagation calculations for operational activities were then completed at two positions in Massachusetts Bay to determine site-specific distances to the 120/160/180 dB isopleths:

    • Operations Position 1—Port (EBRV Operations): 70°36.261′ W. and 42°23.790′ N.

    • Operations Position 2—Boston TSS (EBRV Transit): 70°17.621′ W. and 42°17.539′ N.

    At each of these locations sound propagation calculations were performed to determine the noise footprint of the operation activity at each of the specified locations. Updated acoustic modeling was completed using Tetra Tech's underwater sound propagation program which utilizes a version of the publicly available Range Dependent Acoustic Model (RAM). Based on the U.S. Navy's Standard Split-Step Fourier Parabolic Equation, this modeling methodology considers range and depth along with a geo-referenced dataset to automatically retrieve the time of year information, bathymetry, and seafloor geoacoustic properties along the given propagation transects radiating from the sound source. The calculation methodology assumes that outgoing energy dominates over scattered energy, and computes the solution for the outgoing wave equation. An approximation is used to provide two-dimensional transmission loss values in range and depth, i.e., computation of the transmission loss as a function of range and depth within a given radial plane is carried out independently of neighboring radials, reflecting the assumption that sound propagation is predominantly away from the source. Transects were run along compass points at angular directions ranging from 0 to 360° in 5 degree increments. The received underwater sound levels at any location within the region of interest are computed from the 1/3-octave band source levels by subtracting the numerically modelled transmission loss at each 1/3-octave band center frequency and summing across all frequencies to obtain a broadband value. The resultant underwater sound pressure levels to the 120 dB isopleth is presented in Table 2.

    Table 2—Radii of 120-dB SPL Isopleths From NEG and Algonquin LNG Port and Pipeline Lateral Operations, Maintenance, and Repair Activities Activities Radius to
  • 120-dB zone
  • (m)
  • 120-dB ensonified area
  • (km2)
  • One EBRV docking procedure with support vessel 4,250 56.8 Barge/tug (pulling & pushing)/construction vessel/barge @mid-pipeline 3,500 40.7
    II. NEG Port Maintenance and Repair

    Modeling analysis conducted for the construction of the NEG Port concluded that the only underwater noise of critical concern during NEG Port construction would be from vessel noises such as turning screws, engine noise, noise of operating machinery, and thruster use. To confirm these modeled results and better understand the noise footprint associated with construction activities at the NEG Port, field measurements were taken of various construction activities during the 2007 NEG Port and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral Construction period. Measurements were taken and normalized as described to establish the “loudest” potential construction measurement event. One position within Massachusetts Bay was then used to determine site-specific distances to the 120/180 dB isopleths for NEG Port maintenance and repair activities:

    • Construction Position 1. Port: 70°36.261′ W. and 42°23.790′ N.

    Sound propagation calculations were performed to determine the noise footprint of the construction activity. The results showed that the estimated distance from the loudest source involved in construction activities fell to 120 dB re 1 µPa at a distance of 3,500 m.

    III. Algonquin Pipeline Lateral Operation and Maintenance Activities

    Modeling analysis conducted during the NEG Port and Pipeline Lateral construction concluded that the only underwater noise of critical concern during such activities would be from vessel noises such as turning screws, engine noise, noise of operating machinery, and thruster use. As with construction noise at the NEG Port, to confirm modeled results and better understand the noise footprint associated with construction activities along the Algonquin Pipeline Lateral, field measurements were taken of various construction activities during the 2007 NEG Port and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral construction period. Measurements were taken and normalized to establish the “loudest” potential construction measurement event. Two positions within Massachusetts Bay were then used to determine site-specific distances to the 120/160/180 dB isopleths:

    • Construction Position 2. PLEM: 70°46.755′ W. and 42°28.764′ N.

    • Construction Position 3. Mid-Pipeline: 70°40.842′ W. and 42°31.328′ N.

    Sound propagation calculations were performed to determine the noise footprint of the construction activity. The results of the distances to the 120-dB are shown in Table 2.

    The basis for Northeast Gateway and Algonquin's “take” estimate is the number of marine mammals that would be exposed to sound levels in excess of 120 dB, which is the threshold used by NMFS for non-pulse sounds. For the NEG LNG Port and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral operations and maintenance and repair activities, the take estimates are determined by multiplying the 120-dB ensonified area by local marine mammal density estimates, and then multiplying by the estimated dates such activities would occur during a year-long period. For the NEG Port operations, the 120-dB ensonified area is 56.8 km2 for a single visit during docking when running DP system. Although two EBRV docking with simultaneous DP system running was modeled, this situation would not occur in reality. For NEG Port and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral maintenance and repair activities, modeling based on the empirical measurements showed that the distance of the 120-dB radius is expected to be 3.5 km, making a maximum 120-dB ZOI of approximately 40.7 km2.

    Since the issuance of an IHA to NEG on December 19, 2014, there was only one LNG delivery at the NEG Port which occurred on December 31, 2014. NEG expects that when the Port is under full operation, it will receive up to 65 LNG shipments per year, and would require 14 days for NEG Port maintenance and up to 40 days for planned and unplanned Algonquin Pipeline Lateral maintenance and repair.

    Marine Mammal Take Estimates

    NMFS recognizes that baleen whale species other than North Atlantic right whales have been sighted in the project area from May to November. However, the occurrence and abundance of fin, humpback, and minke whales is not well documented within the project area. Nonetheless, NMFS uses the data on cetacean distribution within Massachusetts Bay, such as those published by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS 2006), to estimate potential takes of marine mammals species in the vicinity of project area.

    The NCCOS study used cetacean sightings from two sources: (1) The North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium (NARWC) sightings database held at the University of Rhode Island (Kenney, 2001); and (2) the Manomet Bird Observatory (MBO) database, held at NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). The NARWC data contained survey efforts and sightings data from ship and aerial surveys and opportunistic sources between 1970 and 2005. The main data contributors included: Cetacean and Turtles Assessment Program (CETAP), Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, PCCS, International Fund for Animal Welfare, NOAA's NEFSC, New England Aquarium, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the University of Rhode Island. A total of 653,725 km (406,293 mi) of survey track and 34,589 cetacean observations were provisionally selected for the NCCOS study in order to minimize bias from uneven allocation of survey effort in both time and space. The sightings-per-unit-effort (SPUE) was calculated for all cetacean species by month covering the southern Gulf of Maine study area, which also includes the project area (NCCOS, 2006).

    The MBO's Cetacean and Seabird Assessment Program (CSAP) was contracted from 1980 to 1988 by NMFS NEFSC to provide an assessment of the relative abundance and distribution of cetaceans, seabirds, and marine turtles in the shelf waters of the northeastern United States (MBO, 1987). The CSAP program was designed to be completely compatible with NMFS NEFSC databases so that marine mammal data could be compared directly with fisheries data throughout the time series during which both types of information were gathered. A total of 5,210 km (8,383 mi) of survey distance and 636 cetacean observations from the MBO data were included in the NCCOS analysis. Combined valid survey effort for the NCCOS studies included 567,955 km (913,840 mi) of survey track for small cetaceans (dolphins and porpoises) and 658,935 km (1,060,226 mi) for large cetaceans (whales) in the southern Gulf of Maine. The NCCOS study then combined these two data sets by extracting cetacean sighting records, updating database field names to match the NARWC database, creating geometry to represent survey tracklines and applying a set of data selection criteria designed to minimize uncertainty and bias in the data used.

    Owing to the comprehensiveness and total coverage of the NCCOS cetacean distribution and abundance study, NMFS calculated the estimated take number of marine mammals based on the most recent NCCOS report published in December 2006. A summary of seasonal cetacean distribution and abundance in the project area was provided in the 2013 Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (78 FR 69049; November 18, 2013). For a detailed description and calculation of the cetacean abundance data and SPUE, please refer to the NCCOS study (NCCOS, 2006). These data show that the relative abundance of North Atlantic right, fin, humpback, minke, sei, and pilot whales, and Atlantic white-sided dolphins for all seasons, as calculated by SPUE in number of animals per kilometer, is 0.0082, 0.0097, 0.0118, 0.0059, 0.0084, 0.0407, and 0.1314 n/km, respectively.

    In calculating the area density of these species from these linear density data, NMFS used 0.5 mi (0.825 km) as the hypothetical strip width (W). This strip width is based on the distance of visibility used in the NARWC data that was part of the NCCOS (2006) study. However, those surveys used a strip transect instead of a line transect methodology. Therefore, in order to obtain a strip width, one must divide the visibility or transect value in half. A 0.825 km hypothetical strip width was chosen for density calculation, which roughly equals to 0.5 mi as half the distance of the radius for visual monitoring. The hypothetical strip width used in the analysis is less than half of that derived from the NARWC data. Therefore, the analysis provided here is more protective in calculating marine mammal densities in the area. Based on this information, the area density (D) of these species in the project area can be obtained by the following formula:

    D = SPUE/2W

    where D is marine mammal density in the area, and W is the strip width. For example, the take calculation for the North Atlantic right whale is:

    0.0082/(2*0.825)*(65*56.8+14*40.7+40*40.7) = 29.

    Based on this calculation method, the estimated take numbers per year for North Atlantic right, fin, humpback, sei, minke, and pilot whales, and Atlantic white-sided dolphins by the NEG Port facility operations (maximum 65 visits per year), NEG Port maintenance and repair (up to 14 days per year), and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral operation and maintenance (up to 40 days per year), are 29, 35, 42, 30, 21, 145, and 469, respectively (Table 3). Since it is very likely that individual animals could be “taken” by harassment multiple times, these percentages are the upper boundary of the animal population that could be affected. The actual number of individual animals being exposed or taken would likely be far less. There is no danger of injury, death, or hearing impairment from the exposure to these noise levels.

    Table 3—Estimated Annual Takes of Marine Mammals From the NEG Port and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral Operations and Maintenance and Repair Activities in Massachusetts Bay Species Population/stock Number of takes % population Right whale Western Atlantic 29 6.29. Fin whale Western North Atlantic 35 2.14. Humpback whale Gulf of Maine 42 5.12. Sei whale Nova Scotia 30 8.40. Minke whale Canadian East Coast 21 0.10. Long-finned pilot whale Western North Atlantic 145 0.67. Atlantic white-sided dolphin Western North Atlantic 469 0.96. Bottlenose dolphin Western North Atlantic Southern Migratory 20 0.17. Short-beaked common dolphin Western North Atlantic 40 0.02. Risso's dolphin Western North Atlantic 40 0.22. Killer whale Western North Atlantic 10 Unknown.* Harbor porpoise Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy 20 0.03. Harbor seal Western North Atlantic 60 0.08. Gray seal Western North Atlantic 30 Unknown.* * Killer whale and gray seal abundance information is not available.

    In addition, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, killer whales, Risso's dolphins, harbor porpoises, harbor seals, and gray seals could also be taken by Level B harassment as a result of deepwater NEG Port and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral operations and maintenance and repair. Since these species are less likely to occur in the area, and there are no density estimates specific to this particular area, NMFS based their sighting occurrence in the vicinity of the project area (SBNMS 2015). Therefore, NMFS estimates that up to approximately 20 bottlenose dolphins, 40 short-beaked common dolphins, 40 Risso's dolphins, 10 killer whales, 20 harbor porpoises, 60 harbor seals, and 30 gray seals could be exposed to continuous noise at or above 120 dB re 1 µPa rms incidental to operations during the one year period of the IHA, respectively. Since no population/stock estimates for killer whale and gray seal is available, the percentage of estimated takes for these species is unknown. Nevertheless, since Massachusetts Bay represents only a small fraction of the western North Atlantic basin where these animals occur, NMFS considers that the takes of 10 killer whales and 30 gray seals represent a small fraction of the population and stocks of these species (Table 3).

    Analysis and Determinations Negligible Impact

    Negligible impact is “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” (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population-level effects). An estimate of the number of Level B harassment takes, alone, is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be “taken” through behavioral harassment, NMFS must consider other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (their intensity, duration, etc.), the context of any responses (critical reproductive time or location, migration, etc.), as well as the number and nature of estimated Level A harassment takes, the number of estimated mortalities, effects on habitat, and the status of the species.

    To avoid repetition, this discussion of our analysis applies to all the species and stocks listed in Table 3, given that the anticipated effects of NE Gateway LNG Port and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral operations, maintenance, and repair activities on marine mammals (taking into account the proposed mitigation) are expected to be relatively similar in nature. Where there are meaningful differences between species or stocks, or groups of species, in anticipated individual responses to activities, impact of expected take on the population due to differences in population status, or impacts on habitat, they are discussed below.

    No injuries or mortalities are anticipated to occur as a result of NE Gateway and Algonquin's proposed Port and Pipeline Lateral operations, maintenance, and repair activities, and none are authorized. Additionally, animals in the area are not expected to incur hearing impairment (i.e., TTS or PTS) or non-auditory physiological effects. The takes that are anticipated and authorized are expected to be limited to short-term Level B behavioral harassment. Effects on marine mammals are generally expected to be restricted to avoidance of a limited area around NEG's proposed activities and short-term changes in behavior, falling within the MMPA definition of “Level B harassment.” Mitigation measures, such as controlled vessel speed, dedicated marine mammal observers, and passive acoustic monitoring, will ensure that takes are within the level being analyzed. In all cases, the effects are expected to be short-term, with no lasting biological consequence.

    The area of the NEG and Algonquin's specified activities is a biologically important area (BIA) for feeding for the North Atlantic right whale in February to April, humpback whale in March to December, fin whale year-round, and minke whale in March to November (LaBrecque et al. 2015). The area is not a BIA for the other species. Although prior monitoring reports show that most of the LNG deliveries occur during late fall through the winter months between late November and January—and therefore, the actual impacts to the affected species from the NE Gateway's proposed operations would likely be much less than what this IHA covers— under full operational levels the Port will receive up to 65 LNG shipments per year, and would require 14 days for NEG Port maintenance and up to 40 days for planned and unplanned Algonquin Pipeline Lateral maintenance and repair, with LNG delivery throughout the year. Nevertheless, the maximum level of operations of the LNG Port during any given year represents a brief interruption of these marine mammal species within their BIAs in the Massachusetts Bay area. This is because the noise producing activities such as dynamic positioning engagement during docking is brief (30 minutes). In addition, the maintenance and repair activities produce less intense noises and would have much smaller ensonified zones in comparison to LNG vessel docking using dynamic thrusters. Furthermore, all these noise producing events are expected to be spaced farther apart with no overlapping, thus reducing the potential impacts to marine mammals within their BIAs. Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the proposed monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS finds that the total marine mammal take from NEG and Algonquin's proposed LNG Port and Pipeline Lateral operation, maintenance, and repair activities in Massachusetts Bay are not expected to have adversely affect the affected species or stocks through impacts on annual rates of recruitment or survival, and therefore will have a negligible impact on the affected marine mammal species or stocks.

    Small Numbers

    NMFS finds that small numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the populations of the affected species or stocks. The requested takes represent less than 8.4% of all populations or stocks for which NMFS was able to quantify the estimated percentage, and we have determined that a small fraction of affected killer whales and grey seal populations will be taken based on our qualitative assessments (see Marine Mammal Take Estimates above and Table 3 in this document). These take estimates represent the percentage of each species or stock that could be taken by Level B behavioral harassment. The numbers of marine mammals estimated to be taken are small proportions of the total populations of the affected species or stocks. In addition, the mitigation and monitoring measures (described previously in this document) prescribed in the IHA are expected to reduce even further any potential disturbance to marine mammals.

    Impact on Availability of Affected Species for Taking for Subsistence Uses

    There are no subsistence uses of marine mammals in the proposed project area; and, thus, no subsistence uses impacted by this action. Therefore, NMFS has determined that the total taking of affected species or stocks would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes.

    Endangered Species Act (ESA)

    Our November 18, 2013, Federal Register notice of the proposed IHA described the history and status of Endangered Species Act (ESA) compliance for the NE Gateway LNG facility (78 FR 69049). As explained in that notice, the biological opinions for construction and operation of the facility only analyzed impacts on ESA-listed species from activities under the initial construction period and during operations, and did not take into consideration potential impacts to marine mammals that could result from the subsequent LNG Port and Pipeline Lateral maintenance and repair activities. In addition, NEG also revealed that significantly more water usage and vessel operating air emissions are needed from what was originally evaluated for the LNG Port operation. NMFS Office of Protected Resources, Permits and Conservation Division, (PR1) initiated consultation with NMFS Greater Atlantic Region Fisheries Office under section 7 of the ESA on the proposed issuance of an IHA to NEG under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA for the proposed activities that include increased NEG Port and Algonquin Pipeline Lateral maintenance and repair and water usage for the LNG Port operations this activity. A Biological Opinion was issued on November 21, 2014, and concluded that the proposed action may adversely affect but is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of ESA-listed right, humpback, fin, and sei whales.

    NMFS' PR1 has determined that the activities described in here are the same as those analyzed in the November 21, 2014, Biological Opinion. Therefore, a new consultation is not required for issuance of this IHA.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    MARAD and the USCG released a Final EIS/Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Northeast Gateway Port and Pipeline Lateral. NMFS was a cooperating agency (as defined by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 1501.6)) in the preparation of the Draft and Final EISs. NMFS reviewed the Final EIS and adopted it on May 4, 2007. NMFS issued a separate Record of Decision for issuance of authorizations pursuant to section 101(a)(5) of the MMPA for the construction and operation of the Northeast Gateway's LNG Port Facility in Massachusetts Bay.

    We have reviewed the NEG's application for a renewed IHA for ongoing activities for 2015-16 and the 2014-15 monitoring report. Based on that review, we have determined that the proposed action is very similar to that considered in the previous IHA. In addition, no significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns have been identified. Thus, we have determined that the preparation of a new or supplemental NEPA document is not necessary.

    Authorization

    NMFS has issued an IHA to Northeast Gateway and Algonquin for conducting LNG Port facility and Pipeline Lateral operations and maintenance and repair activities in Massachusetts Bay, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated.

    Dated: January 4, 2016. Perry Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00031 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Interagency Working Group on the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act AGENCY:

    National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice, Webinars.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Ocean Service (NOS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) publishes this notice to announce town hall-style webinars to promote discussion between federal representatives and stakeholders on topics related to harmful algal blooms (HABs) and hypoxia occurring in the Great Lakes region. These webinars are being conducted in accordance with the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2014 (HABHRCA), which directs federal agencies to advance the understanding of HAB and hypoxia events, and to respond to, detect, predict, control, and mitigate these events to the greatest extent possible.

    Through these webinars, the Interagency Working Group on HABHRCA (IWG-HABHRCA) seeks to engage a wide range of stakeholders in the Great lakes region, including scientists, resource managers, agricultural producers, commercial and recreational fishermen, other industry interests, international and non-profit organizations, and the interested public.

    DATES:

    See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting dates.

    ADDRESSES:

    See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting web addresses.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Caitlin Gould ([email protected], 240-533-0290) or Stacey DeGrasse ([email protected], 240-402-1470)

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NOAA is publishing this notice to announce webinars designed to promote conversation between federal representatives and stakeholders on a number of topics related to HABs and hypoxia, which impact human and animal health, local and regional economies, and long-term national security. The IWG-HABHRCA will consult with stakeholders on topics that include:

    • Regional, Great Lakes-specific priorities for ecological, economic, and social research on the causes and impacts of HABs and hypoxia; need for improved monitoring and early warning; new approaches to improving scientific understanding, prediction and modeling, and socioeconomic analyses of these events; and mitigating causes and impacts of HABs and hypoxia;

    • Communication and information dissemination methods that state, tribal, local, and international governments and organizations may undertake to educate and inform the public concerning HABs and hypoxia in the Great Lakes; and

    • Perceived needs for handling Great Lakes HAB and hypoxia events, as well as an action strategy for managing future situations.

    The IWG-HABHRCA was established to coordinate and convene relevant federal agencies to discuss HAB and hypoxia events in the United States, and to develop reports and assessments regarding these issues. The webinars are designed to provide stakeholders with opportunities to discuss their concerns and needs regarding HABs and hypoxia in the Great Lakes, which will help Federal agencies develop and refine action strategies for addressing these issues. While the webinars are targeted, all are welcome to join.

    Stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments and questions in advance of and following each webinar, pertaining to the aforementioned topics or on other areas of concern or interest related to Great Lakes HABs and hypoxia. Electronic comments and questions may be submitted via email ([email protected]). Written comments may be submitted to Caitlin Gould at NOAA, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, SSMC-4, #8237, 1305 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

    Meeting dates:

    HAB and Hypoxia Experts, and Interested Parties—January 12, 2016, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. EST Interested Parties—January 13, 2016, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EST Interested Parties (as needed)—January 20, 2016, 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. EST

    The webinars will be available at the following addresses:

    HAB and Hypoxia Experts, and Interested Parties (January 12, 2016) ○ Go to https://fda.webex.com/fda/j.php?MTID=maf531d3ea4423d977d250e1a380cefeb ○ Password: Habsnhypoxia To view in other time zones or languages, please click the link: https://fda.webex.com/fda/j.php?MTID=m1b2d6b7e615eb38b9c819ea61dd1234e_

    ○ To join the teleconference only:

    Provide your number when you join the meeting to receive a call back.

    Alternatively, you can call one of the following numbers:

    • Local: 1-301-796-7777 • Toll free: 1-855-828-1770

    Follow the instructions that you hear on the phone. Your Cisco Unified MeetingPlace meeting ID: 747 264 241

    Interested Parties (January 13, 2016)

    Go to https://fda.webex.com/fda/j.php?MTID=m02cebb22a4ea27dc11127bdd7c3dd0bd_ ○ Password: Habsnhypoxia To view in other time zones or languages, please click the link: https://fda.webex.com/fda/j.php?MTID=md9740352f0c09cbb307b22be4dca5739_

    ○ To join the teleconference only:

    Provide your number when you join the meeting to receive a call back.

    Alternatively, you can call one of the following numbers:

    • Local: 1-301-796-7777 • Toll free: 1-855-828-1770 Follow the instructions that you hear on the phone. Your Cisco Unified MeetingPlace meeting ID: 740 105 257

    Interested Parties (as needed; January 20, 2016)

    Go to https://fda.webex.com/fda/j.php?MTID=m5a64b5f3a4c641c8f28973920401af14_ ○ Password: Habsnhypoxia To view in other time zones or languages, please click the link: https://fda.webex.com/fda/j.php?MTID=m238e1a978d950349a0af565190eb8267_ ○ To join the teleconference only: Provide your number when you join the meeting to receive a call back. Alternatively, you can call one of the following numbers: • Local: 1-301-796-7777 • Toll free: 1-855-828-1770 Follow the instructions that you hear on the phone. Your Cisco Unified MeetingPlace meeting ID: 744 840 269 Other Information: Persons wishing to attend the meeting online via the webinar must register in advance no later than 5 p.m. Eastern Time on the evening before each webinar, by sending an email to [email protected] The number of webinar connections available for the meetings is limited to 500 participants and will therefore be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The agenda for the webinars will include time for questions and answers or comments about the agencies' efforts in implementing HABHRCA. Other Information

    Paperwork Reduction Act: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any 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 displays a currently valid OMB Control Number.

    Glenn Boledovich, Chief, Policy and Constituent Affairs Division, Management and Budget Office, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00018 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-JE-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Patent and Trademark Office Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Invention Promoters/Promotion Firms Complaints

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) 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: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

    Title: Invention Promoters/Promotion Firms Complaints.

    OMB Control Number: 0651-0044.

    Form Number(s):

    • PTO/SB/2048

    Type of Request: Regular.

    Number of Respondents: 50.

    Average Hours per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take the public 15 minutes (0.25 hours) to gather the necessary information, prepare the form, and submit a complaint to the USPTO and 30 minutes (0.5 hours) for an invention promoter or promotion firm to prepare and submit a response to a complaint.

    Burden Hours: 17.5 burden hours annually.

    Cost Burden: $493.70.

    Needs and Uses: The Inventors' Rights Act of 1999 requires the USPTO to provide a forum for the publication of complaints concerning invention promoters and responses from invention promoters to those complaints. An individual may submit a complaint to the USPTO, which will then forward the complaint to the identified invention promoter for response. The complaints and responses are published on the USPTO Web site. The USPTO uses the information collected to comply with its statutory duty to publish the complaint along with any response from the invention promoter. The USPTO does not investigate these complaints or participate in any legal proceedings against invention promoters or promotion firms.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households; businesses or other for-profits; and not-for-profit institutions.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

    OMB Desk Officer: Nicholas A. Fraser, email: [email protected]

    Once submitted, the request will be publicly available in electronic format through reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Further information can be obtained by:

    Email: [email protected] Include “0651-0044 copy request” in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: Marcie Lovett, Records Management Division Director, Office of the Chief Information Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent on or before February 8, 2016 to Nicholas A. Fraser, OMB Desk Officer, via email to [email protected], or by fax to (202) 395-5167, marked to the attention of Nicholas A. Fraser.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Randy Hill, Director, Collaborative Services Division, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00020 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-16-P
    COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION Agency Information Collection Activities Under OMB Review AGENCY:

    Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (“PRA”), this notice announces that the Information Collection Request (“ICR”) abstracted below has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for review and comment. The ICR describes the nature of the information collection and its expected costs and burden.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments regarding the burden estimated or any other aspect of the information collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, may be submitted directly to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA)” in OMB, within 30 days of the notice's publication, by email at [email protected] Please identify the comments by OMB Control No. 3038-0094. Please provide the Commission with a copy of all submitted comments at the address listed below. Please refer to OMB Reference No. 3038-0094, found on http://reginfo.gov. Comments may also be mailed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503, or through the Agency's Web site at http://comments.cftc.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments through the Web site.

    Comments may also be mailed to: Christopher Kirkpatrick, Secretary of the Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street NW., Washington, DC 20581 or by Hand Deliver/Courier at the same address.

    A copy of the supporting statements for the collection of information discussed above may be obtained by visiting http://reginfo.gov. All comments must be submitted in English, or if not, accompanied by an English translation. Comments will be posted as received to http://www.cftc.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher Hower, Special Counsel, Division of Clearing and Risk, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, (202) 418-6703; email: [email protected], and refer to OMB Control No. 3038-0094.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Clearing Member Risk Management (OMB Control No. 3038-0094). This is a request for extension of a currently approved information collection.

    Abstract: Section 3(b) of the Commodity Exchange Act (“Act” or “CEA”) provides that one of the purposes of the Act is to ensure the financial integrity of all transactions subject to the Act and to avoid systemic risk. Section 8a(5) authorizes the Commission to promulgate such regulations that it believes are reasonably necessary to effectuate any of the provisions or to accomplish any of the purposes of the Act. Risk management systems are critical to the avoidance of systemic risks.

    Section 4s(j)(2) requires each Swap Dealer (“SD”) and Major Swap Participant (“MSP”) to have risk management systems adequate for managing its business. Section 4s(j)(4) requires each SD and MSP to have internal systems and procedures to perform any of the functions set forth in Section 4s.

    Section 4d requires FCMs to register with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“Commission”). It further requires Futures Commission Merchants (“FCMs”) to segregate customer funds. Section 4f requires FCMs to maintain certain levels of capital. Section 4g establishes reporting and recordkeeping requirements for FCMs.

    Pursuant to these provisions, the Commission adopted § 1.73 which applies to clearing members that are FCMs and § 23.609 which applies to clearing members that are SDs or MSPs. These provisions require these clearing members to have procedures to limit the financial risks they incur as a result of clearing trades and liquid resources to meet the obligations that arise. The regulations require clearing members to:

    (1) Establish credit and market risk-based limits based on position size, order size, margin requirements, or similar factors;

    (2) use automated means to screen orders for compliance with the risk-based limits;

    (3) monitor for adherence to the risk-based limits intra-day and overnight;

    (4) conduct stress tests of all positions in the proprietary account and all positions in any customer account that could pose material risk to the futures commission merchant at least once per week;

    (5) evaluate its ability to meet initial margin requirements at least once per week;

    (6) evaluate its ability to meet variation margin requirements in cash at least once per week;

    (7) evaluate its ability to liquidate the positions it clears in an orderly manner, and estimate the cost of the liquidation at least once per month; and

    (8) test all lines of credit at least once per quarter.

    Each of these items has been observed by Commission staff as an element of an existing sound risk management program at an SD, MSP, or FCM. The Commission regulations require each clearing member to establish written procedures to comply with this regulation and to keep records documenting its compliance. The information collection obligations imposed by the regulations are necessary to implement certain provisions of the CEA, including ensuring that registrants exercise effective risk management and for the efficient operation of trading venues among SDs, MSPs, and FCMs. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The Commission did not receive any comments on the 60-day Federal Register notice, 80 FR 65217, dated October 26, 2015.

    Burden Statement: The respondent burden for this collection is estimated to average 2 hours per response for an estimated annual burden of 504 hours per respondent. This estimate includes the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose, or provide information to or for a federal agency.

    Respondents/Affected Entities: Swap Dealers, Major Swap Participants, and Futures Commission Merchants.

    Estimated number of respondents: 240 (106 Swap Dealers and Major Swap Participants and 134 Futures Commission Merchants).1

    1 The 60-day notice indicated that there were 105 Swap Dealers and Major Swap Participants. There are 106 Swap Dealers and Major Swap Participants currently registered with the Commission.

    Estimated number of responses per respondent: 252.2

    2 The 60-day contained a typographical error, providing for 253 estimated number of responses, instead of the correct figure of 252.

    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 120,960 hours.

    Frequency of collection: As needed.

    There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection.

    Authority:

    44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

    Dated: January 4, 2016. Robert N. Sidman, Deputy Secretary of the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00058 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6351-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army Notice of Intent To Grant Exclusive Patent License to Schafer Aerospace; Albuquerque, NM AGENCY:

    Department of the Army, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Intent.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with 35 U.S.C. 209(e) and 37 CFR 404.7(a)(1)(i), the Department of the Army hereby gives notice of its intent to grant to Schafer Aerospace; a corporation having its principle place of business at 2309 Renard Place SE., Suite 300, Albuquerque, NM 87106, exclusive license in the field of fiber laser array systems with specific application in the areas of laser communication, beam aberration correction, Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR/LADAR), beam steering (random access) and precision pointing and tracking. The proposed license would be relative to the following:

    • U.S Patent Application Number 2014/0231618 entitled “Apparatus for Coherent Beam Combining in an Array of Laser Collimators”, Inventors Beresnev et al, Filing date September 27, 2013.

    • U.S Patent Application Number 2014/0241665 entitled “Light Beam Collimator Particularly Suitable for a Densely Packed Array”, Inventor Beresnev, Filing date February 28, 2013.

    • U.S Patent Application Number 2013/0342078 entitled “Apparatus and Method of Making a Multi-Layered Piezoelectric Actuator”, Inventor Beresnev, Filing Date August 27, 2013.

    DATES:

    The prospective exclusive license may be granted unless within fifteen (15) days from the date of this published notice, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory receives written objections including evidence and argument that establish that the grant of the license would not be consistent with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR 404.7. Competing applications completed and received by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory within fifteen (15) days from the date of this published notice will also be treated as objections to the grant of the contemplated exclusive license.

    Objections submitted in response to this notice will not be made available to the public for inspection and, to the extent permitted by law, will not be released under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send written objections to U.S. Army Research Laboratory Technology Transfer and Outreach Office, RDRL-DPT/Thomas Mulkern, Building 321 Room 110, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005-5425.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas Mulkern, (410) 278-0889, EMail: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    None.

    Brenda S. Bowen, Army Federal Register Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00024 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3710-08-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Transmittal No. 16-11] 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:

    Sarah A. Ragan or Heather N. Harwell, DSCA/LMO, (703) 604-1546/(703) 607-5339.

    The following is a copy of a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Transmittal 16-11 with attached Policy Justification.

    Dated: January 4, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. BILLING CODE 5001-06-P EN07JA16.000 Transmittal No. 16-11 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: Lithuania

    (ii) Total Estimated Value:

    Major Defense Equipment* $45.2 million Other $9.8 million Total $55.0 million

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

    Major Defense Equipment (MDE): Two-hundred and twenty (220) Javelin Missiles, Ten (10) Javelin Fly-to-Buy Missiles, Seventy-four (74) Javelin Command Launch Units (CLU).

    Also included are the following non-MDE items; U.S. Government technical assistance, above the line transportation cost, and other related elements of logistics and program support to include equipment purchased in prior related Foreign Military Sales cases. The estimated cost is $55 million.

    (iv) Military Department: Army

    (v) Prior Related Cases, if any: FMS Case: LH-B-UAN-$9.6M-JAN 02, LH-B-UAN, A06-$29.3M-SEP 14

    (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 Attached Annex.

    (viii) Date Report Delivered to Congress: 18 DEC 2015

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

    POLICY JUSTIFICATION Lithuania-Javelin Missile and Command Launch Units

    Lithuania has requested a possible sale of two-hundred and twenty (220) Javelin Missiles, ten (10) Javelin Fly-to-Buy Missiles, seventy-four (74) Javelin Command Launch Units (CLU), U.S. Government technical assistance, above the line transportation cost, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated value of MDE is $45.2 million. The overall total estimated value is $55 million.

    This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States. The sale of Javelins will provide additional opportunities for bilateral engagements and greater interoperability with U.S. and allied forces. Neighboring NATO Allies would view this procurement as a positive step towards ensuring regional stability. The proposed sale directly supports U.S. national security interests by bolstering the Lithuanian military's ability to effectively defend its border and effectively coordinate regional border security with its Baltic neighbors.

    The proposed sale of Javelins will provide Lithuania with increased capacity to meet its defensive needs. Supporting the Lithuanian Land Force's modernization also supports the fielding of forces better able to contribute to NATO operations in the future. Lithuania will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

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

    The prime contractors will be Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin Joint Venture of Orlando, Florida, and Tucson, Arizona. 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 Lithuania.

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

    Transmittal No. 16-11 Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended Annex Item No. vii

    (vii) Sensitivity of Technology:

    1. The Javelin Weapon System is a medium-range, man-portable, shoulder-launched, fire-and-forget, anti-armor system. Javelin uses fire-and-forget technology which allows the gunner to fire and immediately relocate or take cover. Other features include top attack and direct fire modes, an advanced tandem warhead and imaging infrared seeker, target lock-on before launch, and soft launch from enclosures. The Javelin missile also has a minimum smoke motor thus decreasing its detection on the battlefield. The Javelin Training System consists of the following training devices: The missile simulation round, the basic skills trainer and the field tactical trainer, Javelin Weapon Effects Simulator (JAVWES), and tripod.

    2. The Javelin Weapon System comprises two major tactical components, which include a reusable Command Launch Unit (CLU) and a round contained in a disposable launch tube assembly. The CLU incorporates an integrated day-night sight that provides a target engagement capability in adverse weather and countermeasure environments. The CLU may also be used in a stand-alone mode for battlefield surveillance and target detection. The CLU's thermal sight is a second generation Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) sensor operating in the 8-10 micron wavelength and has a 240 X 2 scanning array with a Dewar-coolant unit. To facilitate initial loading and subsequent updating of software, all on-board missile software is uploaded via the CLU after mating and prior to launch.

    3. The Javelin Missile System hardware and the documentation are UNCLASSIFIED. The missile software which resides in the CLU is considered sensitive. The sensitivity is primarily in the software programs which instruct the system how to operate in the presence of countermeasures. Programs are contained in the system in the form of microprocessors with Read Only Memory (ROM) maps, which do not provide the software program itself. The overall hardware is considered sensitive in that the modulation frequency and infrared wavelengths could be used in countermeasure development.

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

    5. A determination has been made that the recipient country can provide the same degree of protection for the sensitive technology being released as the U.S. Government. 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.

    6. All defense articles and services listed in this transmittal have been authorized for release and export to the Government of Lithuania.

    [FR Doc. 2016-00034 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-C
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers Public Meetings and Public Hearings Related to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Donlin Gold Mine Project, North of Crooked Creek, Alaska AGENCY:

    Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DOD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is providing notification of public meetings to obtain comment on the Draft EIS noted above to facilitate compliance with, in part, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is providing notification of Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) Section 810 Hearings related to the preliminary ANILCA 810 Findings contained in the above Draft EIS. Section 810 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act requires the BLM to evaluate the effects of plans presented in this Draft EIS on subsistence activities in the area of the proposed action and its alternatives, and to hold public hearings if it finds that any alternative may significantly restrict subsistence activities. The analysis of environmental consequences indicates the proposed action may significantly restrict subsistence in some portions of the proposed project area. Therefore, the BLM is holding public hearings on potential subsistence impacts in conjunction with the public meetings discussed below. BLM's preliminary ANILCA 810 Findings are contained in Appendix N of the Draft EIS.

    DATES:

    See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting dates.

    ADDRESSES:

    See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for meeting locations.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Keith Gordon, Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, CEPOA-RD-Gordon, P.O. Box 6898, JBER, AK, 99506-0898; via email at [email protected] or; at 907-753-5710. Or, Mr. Alan Bittner, Anchorage Field Manager, U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 907-267-1285.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Communities in which public meetings and hearings are scheduled are as follows (all communities are in Alaska):

    Aniak—January 20, 2016, Crooked Creek—January 21, 2016, Anchorage—January 28, 2016, Bethel—February 1, 2016, Akiak—February 2, 2016, Nunapitchuk—February 3, 2016, Quinhagak—February 16, 2016, McGrath—February 26, 2016, Holy Cross—March 30, 2016, Tyonek—To be determined, Lower Kalskag—To be determined. Please note that no preliminary 810 finding of potential substantial significant restriction of subsistence has been made for Holy Cross. An 810 Hearing will be held due to its proximity to the proposed project and the existing level of subsistence use information (mapping) available.

    Communities in which only public meetings are scheduled, as no preliminary 810 finding of potential substantial significant restriction of subsistence has been made, includes (all communities are in Alaska):

    Kipnuk—February 17, 2016, St. Mary's—March 1, 2016, Emmonak—March 2, 2016, Toksook Bay—March 15, 2016, Hooper Bay—March 16, 2016.

    Any changes to these dates and locations, as well as specific meeting and hearing locations and times in each community can be found at www.donlingoldeis.com.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. Shelia Newman, Deputy Division Chief, Regulatory Division.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00042 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720-58-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers Intent To Prepare an Integrated Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Reallocation of Flood Storage to Water Supply at Wright Patman Lake on the Sulphur River in Cass and Bowie, Counties in Northeast Texas AGENCY:

    Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Intent.

    SUMMARY:

    The study is being conducted under the authority contained in the 1958 Water Supply Act (Pub. L. 85-500), Section 301, as amended in 43 United States Code (U.S.C.) 390b and by the River and Harbor Flood Control Act of 1970 (Pub. L. 91-611), as amended, under Section 216 and under guidance provided in ER 1105-2-100. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will prepare an integrated Draft Feasibility Report and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that describes the results of investigations and analyses used to make determinations as to whether and/or what amount of flood storage might be reallocated to water supply to meet the needs of Region C and Region D. The Sulphur River Basin Authority (SRBA) is the non-federal sponsor to study the feasibility of reallocation (converting flood storage to water supply or raising the pool level) while protecting the City of Texarkana's water rights of 180,000 acre-feet (AF) per year. SRBA's sponsorship is for the study only. If reallocation is determined feasible and is pursued, the USACE will require a non-federal sponsor or sponsors for reallocation.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For questions regarding the Wright Patman Lake Reallocation Project Draft Feasibility Report, please contact Mr. Jodie Foster, Planning Lead, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regional Planning & Environmental Center, Plan Formulation Section, 819 Taylor Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102, (817) 886-1679, or via email at [email protected].

    For questions regarding the Wright Patman Lake Reallocation Project Draft EIS, please contact Ms. Melinda Fisher, Environmental Lead, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regional Planning & Environmental Center, NEPA & Cultural Resources Section, 1645 S. 101st E. Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74128, (918) 669-7502, or via email at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    1. Background. Wright Patman Lake is a USACE operated reservoir that encompasses approximately 30,000 surface acres of water and has the primary purposes of flood control and water conservation for the communities downstream of the dam. Wright Patman Lake is also a major water supply source for the cities of Texarkana (Texas and Arkansas) and the surrounding area. The City of Texarkana is the non-Federal sponsor for the existing water supply storage in Wright Patman Lake and holds a State of Texas water right for 180,000 acre-feet (AF) per year of raw water for diversion to municipal and industrial users. International Paper (IP), the largest single water user in the Sulphur River Basin and one of the region's major employers, has a long term contract with TWU for the provision of 118,000 AF of water for its industrial operations.

    Operational changes would be required with a reallocation of flood control storage to water supply and would produce effects on upstream and downstream flood patterns, recreational opportunities, water quality, and fish and wildlife habitat. In determining whether to reallocate storage within the reservoir and change operational regimes, the USACE must comply with requirements including but not limited to the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Clean Water Act.

    2. Proposed Action. The USACE is studying the feasibility of reallocating some flood control storage capacity in Wright Patman Lake for the purpose of water supply. The reallocation is needed to enable the SRBA to provide water to local and regional users for municipal and industrial uses in response to population growth in Region C which includes all or portions of 16 North Central Texas counties and the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

    3. Alternatives Considered. The USACE, working with the SRBA, has identified and conducted preliminary analysis on potential pool increases at Wright Patman Lake for further consideration during the study. These alternatives would consider alternative pool raises above the maximum monthly conservation elevation of Wright Patman Lake operating under the ultimate rule curve. These elevations considered in the preliminary study would be anticipated to have different levels of impacts on upstream and downstream flood patterns, recreational opportunities, water quality, vegetation and fish and wildlife habitat. The USACE's no action alternative would also be considered. Additional alternatives, which could include different storage volumes and varying operational regimes, could also be developed during the scoping and evaluation process.

    4. Scoping/Public Involvement. The USACE invites all affected Federal, State, and local agencies, affected Native American tribes, and other interested parties to participate in the NEPA process during development of the Draft Feasibility Report/Draft EIS. The public scoping process will provide information about the reallocation study to the public, serve as a mechanism to solicit agency and public input on alternatives and issues of concern, and ensure full and open participation in scoping and review of the Draft EIS. A public scoping meeting is being planned and will be scheduled in the January-March 2016 timeframe. The specific date and location of the meeting will be announced in news releases issued through the local news media, as well as on the USACE Fort Worth District's Web site under public notices (http://www.swf.usace.army.mil/). The meeting will be conducted in an informal setting designed to present information about the reallocation study and to answer questions and accept comments from the public. The USACE invites other Federal agencies, Native American Tribes, State and local agencies and officials, private organizations, and interested individuals to attend the scoping meeting and provide comments. Once completed, the Draft Feasibility Report/Draft EIS will be circulated for public review and comment. The USACE will issue a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register announcing the release of the Draft EIS for public comment as well as the date and time of a subsequent public review meeting regarding the Draft EIS through the local news media. Information on the Notice of Intent, Draft Feasibility Report/Draft EIS, public meeting dates and other important information related to the study will be available for review at USACE Web sites.

    Eric W. Verwers, Director, Regional Planning and Environmental Center.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00023 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720-58-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2016-ICCD-0001] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Private School Universe Survey (PSS) June 2016-May 2019 AGENCY:

    National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing a revision of an existing information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://www.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED-2016-ICCD-0001. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Room 2E103, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Kashka Kubzdela at (202) 245-7377.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Private School Universe Survey (PSS) June 2016-May 2019.

    OMB Control Number: 1850-0641.

    Type of Review: A revision of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 27,200.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 10,260.

    Abstract: The Private School Universe Survey (PSS) is conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to collect basic information from the universe of private elementary and secondary schools in the United States. The PSS is designed to gather biennial data on the total number of private schools, teachers, and students, along with a variety of related data, including: Religious orientation; grade-levels taught and size of school; length of school year and of school day; total student enrollment by gender (K-12); number of high school graduates; whether a school is single-sexed or coeducational; number of teachers employed; program emphasis; and existence and type of its kindergarten program. The PSS includes all schools that are not supported primarily by public funds, that provide classroom instruction for one or more of grades K-12 or comparable ungraded levels, and that have one or more teachers. No substantive changes have been made to the survey or its procedures since its last approved administration (OMB# 1850-0641 v.6-7). The PSS is also used to create a universe list of private schools for use as a sampling frame for NCES surveys of private schools. This request is to conduct the 2017-18 Private School Universe Survey (PSS) data collection and the 2017-18 and 2019-20 PSS frame-development activities.

    Dated: January 4, 2016. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00008 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Application for New Awards; College Assistance Migrant Program AGENCY:

    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    Overview Information College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP)

    Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2016.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.149A.

    Dates: Applications Available: January 7, 2016.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: March 7, 2016.

    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: May 6, 2016.

    Full Text of Announcement I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The purpose of CAMP is to provide academic and financial support to help migrant and seasonal farmworkers and members of their immediate family complete their first year of college and continue in postsecondary education.

    Priorities: This competition includes one competitive preference priority and two invitational priorities. In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(iv), the competitive preference priority is from section 418A(e) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) (20 U.S.C. 1070d-2(e)), and concerns the prior experience of grantees with expiring CAMP projects in implementing those projects. The first invitational priority is for applications that promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. The second invitational priority is for applications that propose to engage faith-based and community organizations in the delivery of services under this program.

    Competitive Preference Priority: For FY 2016 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, this priority is a competitive preference priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award up to 15 additional points to an application, depending on how well the applicant meets the competitive preference priority.

    This priority is:

    Prior Experience of Service Delivery (Up to 15 points)

    For applicants with an expiring CAMP project, the Secretary will consider the applicant's prior experience in implementing its expiring CAMP project, based on information contained in documents previously provided to the Department, such as annual performance reports, project evaluation reports, site visit reports, and the previously approved CAMP application.

    Under this competition, we also are particularly interested in applications that address the following invitational priorities.

    Invitational Priorities: For FY 2016, and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, these priorities are invitational priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1) we do not give an application that meets these invitational priorities a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.

    These priorities are:

    Invitational Priority 1—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (STEM)

    Projects that are designed to address one or more of the following priority areas:

    (a) Providing students with increased access to rigorous and engaging coursework in STEM.

    (b) Increasing the number and proportion of students prepared for postsecondary or graduate study and careers in STEM, with a specific focus on an increase in the number and proportion of students so prepared who are from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM careers, including minorities, individuals with disabilities, and women.

    Note:

    Applicants could, for example, propose providing students with increased access to coursework in STEM through such activities as mentoring, counseling, and tutoring in ways that motivate participants to pursue postsecondary education in the areas of STEM. Similarly, applicants could propose increasing the number and proportion of students prepared for postsecondary or graduate study and careers in STEM through activities such as referrals to STEM-oriented work-based learning experiences, exposure to academic programs and careers in STEM-related fields, and providing support services. These could include services to improve participants' academic skills and knowledge so that they may pursue studies and careers in STEM-related fields.

    Invitational Priority 2—Faith-Based and Community Organizations

    Applications that propose to engage faith-based and community organizations in the delivery of services under this program.

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1070d-2.

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 206. (e) The definitions of “migratory agricultural worker” in 34 CFR 200.81(d), “migratory child” in 34 CFR 200.81(e), and “migratory fisher” in 34 CFR 200.81(f). (f) The regulations in 20 CFR 669.110 and 669.320.

    Note:

    The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of higher education (IHEs) only.

    II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

    Estimated Available Funds: $5,407,472.

    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2017 from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

    Estimated Range of Awards: $180,000-$425,000.

    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $422,826.

    Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a CAMP award exceeding $425,000 for any of the five single budget periods of 12 months as reflected in the applicant's ED 524 Budget Form, Table A, submitted as a part of the project application.

    Minimum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a CAMP award that is less than $180,000 for any of the five single budget periods of 12 months as reflected in the applicant's ED 524 Budget Form, Table A, submitted as a part of the project application. Regardless of any other information in the application, the Department will interpret an ED 524 form that, in Part A, provides a blank budget summary for any of the five project years as the applicant's intent to seek “$0” for that year, and thus to not operate a project that year. Similarly, the Department will interpret any blank spaces on the ED 524 budget form as $0.

    Estimated Number of Awards: 5.

    Note:

    The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

    Project Period: Applicants must propose a project of 60 months (five years) in duration, and we will reject any application that does not do so as reflected on the applicant's ED 524 form, Table A, submitted as a part of the application. However, if an applicant receives an initial grant award, annual continuation funding is contingent upon availability of funds and the grantee having met minimum performance standards.

    III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: IHEs or private non-profit organizations (including faith-based organizations) that plan their projects in cooperation with an IHE and propose to operate the project with the facilities of the IHE.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching. However, consistent with 34 CFR 75.700, which requires an applicant to comply with its approved application, an applicant that proposes non-Federal matching funds and is awarded a grant must provide those funds for each year that the funds are proposed.

    3. Other: Projects funded under this competition must budget for a two-day Office of Migrant Education annual meeting for CAMP directors in the Washington, DC area during each year of the project period.

    IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: Emily Bank, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Migrant Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E338, Washington, DC 20202-6135. Telephone: (202) 453-6389 or by email: [email protected]

    To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: www.ed.gov/programs/camp/applicant.html.

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the program contact person listed in this section.

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this competition. Page Limit: The project narrative (Part IV of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. Panel readers will award points only for an applicant's response to a given selection criterion that is contained within the section of the application designated to address that particular selection criterion. Readers will not review, or award points for, a response to the selection criterion that is located in any other section of the application or the appendices. We will reject any project narrative that exceeds 25 pages or does not adhere to the following standards:

    • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.

    • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions. However, you may single space all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs. Charts, tables, figures, and graphs presented in the application narrative count toward the page limit.

    • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch) throughout the entire application package.

    • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font (including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will not be accepted. The 25-page limit for the project narrative does not apply to the cover sheet; the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract. However, the page limit does apply to all of the project narrative.

    Appendices must be limited to 20 pages and must include the following: Resumes, if applicable, and job descriptions of key personnel. Job descriptions must include duties and minimum qualifications. Items in the appendices will only be used by the program office; the items will not be read by reviewers.

    3. Submission Dates and Times:

    Applications Available: January 7, 2016.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: March 7, 2016.

    Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, please refer to Other Submission Requirements in section IV of this notice.

    We will not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

    Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact the person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.

    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: May 6, 2016.

    4. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this competition.

    5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and System for Award Management: To do business with the Department of Education, you must—

    a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);

    b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly the Central Contractor Registry), the Government's primary registrant database;

    c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and

    d. Maintain an active SAM registration with current information while your application is under review by the Department and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.

    You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet at the following Web site: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. A DUNS number can be created within one to two business days.

    If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a new TIN, please allow two to five weeks for your TIN to become active.

    The SAM registration process can take approximately seven business days, but may take upwards of several weeks, depending on the completeness and accuracy of the data you enter into the SAM database. Thus, if you think you might want to apply for Federal financial assistance under a program administered by the Department, please allow sufficient time to obtain and register your DUNS number and TIN. We strongly recommend that you register early.

    Note:

    Once your SAM registration is active, it may be 24 to 48 hours before you can access the information in, and submit an application through, Grants.gov.

    If you are currently registered with SAM, you may not need to make any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN associated with your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will need to update your registration annually. This may take three or more business days.

    Information about SAM is available at www.SAM.gov. To further assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in SAM or updating your existing SAM account, we have prepared a SAM.gov Tip Sheet, which you can find at: http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/sam-faqs.html.

    In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, you must (1) be designated by your organization as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined at the following Grants.gov Web page: www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html.

    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

    a. Electronic Submission of Applications

    Applications for grants under CAMP, CFDA number 84.149A, must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

    We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.

    You may access the electronic grant application for CAMP at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.149, not 84.149A).

    Please note the following:

    • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.

    • Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.

    • The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.

    • You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this competition to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 system home page at www.G5.gov. In addition, for specific guidance and procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov, please refer to the Grants.gov Web site at: www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/apply-for-grants.html.

    • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your application in paper format.

    • You must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: The Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.

    • You must upload any narrative sections and all other attachments to your application as files in read-only, non-modifiable Portable Document Format (PDF). Do not upload an interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, non-modifiable PDF (e.g., Word, Excel, WordPerfect, etc.) or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material. Please note that this could result in your application not being considered for funding because the material in question—for example, the project narrative—is critical to a meaningful review of your proposal. For that reason it is important to allow yourself adequate time to upload all material as PDF files. The Department will not convert material from other formats to PDF.

    • Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this notice.

    • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. This notification indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department. Grants.gov will also notify you automatically by email if your application met all the Grants.gov validation requirements or if there were any errors (such as submission of your application by someone other than a registered Authorized Organization Representative, or inclusion of an attachment with a file name that contains special characters). You will be given an opportunity to correct any errors and resubmit, but you must still meet the deadline for submission of applications.

    • Once your application is successfully validated by Grants.gov, the Department will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send you an email with a unique PR/Award number for your application.

    These emails do not mean that your application is without any disqualifying errors. While your application may have been successfully validated by Grants.gov, it must also meet the Department's application requirements as specified in this notice and in the application instructions. Disqualifying errors could include, for instance, failure to upload attachments in a read-only, non-modifiable PDF; failure to submit a required part of the application; or failure to meet applicant eligibility requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your submitted application has met all of the Department's requirements.

    • We may request that you provide us original signatures on forms at a later date.

    Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues with the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.

    If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.

    If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that the problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We will contact you after we determine whether your application will be accepted.

    Note:

    The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

    Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the Grants.gov system because—

    • You do not have access to the Internet; or

    • You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Grants.gov system;

    and

    • No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevents you from using the Internet to submit your application.

    If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.

    Address and mail or fax your statement to: Emily Bank, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E338, Washington, DC 20202-6135. FAX: (202) 205-0089.

    Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.

    b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail

    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: CFDA Number 84.149A, LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.

    You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:

    (1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.

    (2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.

    (3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.

    (4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

    If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

    (1) A private metered postmark.

    (2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.

    Note:

    The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.

    We will not consider applications postmarked after the application deadline date.

    c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery

    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: CFDA Number 84.149A, 550 12th Street SW., Room 7039, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

    The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

    Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:

    If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department—

    (1) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and

    (2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this notification within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

    V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are listed in the application package.

    2. Review and Selection Process: The Secretary will consider the need to provide an equitable geographic distribution of grants in selecting applications for awards, in accordance with section 418A of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1070d-2(g)). In addition, we remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.

    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary requires various assurances, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

    3. Risk Assessment and Special Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 3474.10, the Secretary may impose special conditions and, in appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

    VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, also.

    If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

    3. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).

    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multiyear award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.

    (c) Under 34 CFR 75.250(b), the Secretary may provide a grantee with additional funding for data collection analysis and reporting. In this case the Secretary establishes a data collection period.

    4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), the Department developed the following performance measures to evaluate the overall effectiveness of CAMP: (1) The percentage of CAMP participants completing the first academic year of their postsecondary program, and (2) the percentage of CAMP participants who, after completing the first academic year of college, continue their postsecondary education.

    Applicants must propose annual targets for these measures in their applications. The national target for GPRA measure 1 for FY 2016 is that 86 percent of CAMP participants will complete the first academic year of their postsecondary program. The national target for GPRA measure 2 for FY 2016 is that 85 percent of CAMP participants continue their postsecondary education after completing the first academic year of college. The national targets for subsequent years may be adjusted based on additional baseline data. The panel readers will score related selection criteria on the basis of how well an applicant addresses these GPRA measures. Therefore, applicants will want to consider how to demonstrate a sound capacity to provide reliable data on the GPRA measures, including the project's annual performance targets for addressing the GPRA performance measures, as is required by the Office of Management and Budget approved annual performance report that is included in the application package. All grantees will be required to submit, as part of their annual performance report, information with respect to these GPRA performance measures.

    5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: Whether a grantee has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, the performance targets in the grantee's approved application.

    In making a continuation award, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

    VII. Agency Contact

    For Further Information Contact: Emily Bank, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E338, Washington, DC 20202-6135. Telephone: (202) 453-6389 or by email: [email protected]

    If you use a TDD or TYY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    VIII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or PDF. To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Dated: January 4, 2016. Ann Whalen, Delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00083 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Application for New Awards; High School Equivalency Program AGENCY:

    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    Overview Information High School Equivalency Program (HEP)

    Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2016.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.141A.

    Dates: Applications Available: January 7, 2016.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: March 7, 2016.

    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: May 6, 2016.

    Full Text of Announcement I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The purposes of HEP are to help migrant and seasonal farmworkers and members of their immediate family: (1) Obtain a general education diploma that meets the guidelines for high school equivalency (HSE) established by the State in which the HEP project is conducted; and (2) gain employment or be placed in an institution of higher education (IHE) or other postsecondary education or training.

    Priorities: This competition includes one competitive preference priority and two invitational priorities. In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(iv), the competitive preference priority is from section 418A(e) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA) (20 U.S.C. 1070d-2(e)).

    Competitive Preference Priority: For FY 2016 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, this priority is a competitive preference priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award up to an additional 15 points to an application, depending on how well the application meets this priority.

    This priority is:

    Prior Experience of Service Delivery (Up to 15 Points)

    For applicants with an expiring HEP project, the Secretary will consider the applicant's prior experience in implementing its expiring HEP project, based on information contained in documents previously provided to the Department, such as annual performance reports, project evaluation reports, site visit reports, and the previously approved HEP application.

    Under this competition, we also are particularly interested in applications that address the following invitational priorities.

    Invitational Priorities: For FY 2016, and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, these priorities are invitational priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1) we do not give an application that meets these invitational priorities a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.

    These priorities are:

    Invitational Priority 1—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (STEM)

    Projects that are designed to address one or more of the following priority areas:

    (a) Providing students with increased access to rigorous and engaging coursework in STEM.

    (b) Increasing the opportunities for high-quality preparation of, or professional development for, teachers or other educators of STEM subjects.

    Note:

    Applicants could, for example, consider activities to better prepare program participants to transition into postsecondary education, such as preparing students to pass the sections of college entrance examinations in STEM-related subjects or providing mentoring, counseling, and tutoring services designed to motivate participants to pursue postsecondary education in STEM-related fields. Similarly, for the professional development priority area, applicants could propose activities to increase the opportunities for high-quality professional development for HSE instructors of STEM-related subjects that include, for example, training in intensive science teaching techniques presented by a professionally credentialed expert in science education.

    Invitational Priority 2—Faith-Based and Community Organizations

    Applications that propose to engage faith-based and community organizations in the delivery of services under this program.

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1070d-2.

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 206. (e) The definitions of “migratory agricultural worker” in 34 CFR 200.81(d), “migratory child” in 34 CFR 200.81(e), and “migratory fisher” in 34 CFR 200.81(f). (f) The regulations in 20 CFR 669.110 and 669.320.

    Note:

    The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to institutions of higher education (IHEs) only.

    II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

    Estimated Available Funds: $4,082,415.

    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2017 from the list of unfunded applications from this competition.

    Estimated Range of Awards: $180,000-$475,000.

    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $463,016.

    Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a HEP award exceeding $475,000 for any of the five single budget periods of 12 months as reflected in the applicant's ED 524 Budget Form, Table A, submitted as a part of the project application.

    Minimum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a HEP award that is less than $180,000 for any of the five single budget periods of 12 months as reflected in the applicant's ED 524 Budget Form, Table A, submitted as a part of the project application. Regardless of any other information in the application, the Department will interpret an ED 524 form that, in Part A, provides a blank budget summary for any of the five project years as the applicant's intent to seek “$0” for that year, and thus to not operate a project that year. Similarly, the Department will interpret any blank spaces on the ED 524 budget form as $0.

    Estimated Number of Awards: 9.

    Note:

    The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

    Project Period: Applicants must propose a project of 60 months (five years) in duration, and we will reject any application that does not do so as reflected on the applicant's ED 524 form, Table A, submitted as a part of the application. However, if an applicant receives an initial grant award, annual continuation funding is contingent upon availability of funds and the grantee having met minimum performance standards.

    III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: IHEs or private non-profit organizations (including faith-based organizations) that plan their projects in cooperation with an IHE and propose to operate some aspects of the project with the facilities of the IHE.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching. However, consistent with 34 CFR 75.700, which requires an applicant to comply with its approved application, an applicant that proposes non-Federal matching funds and is awarded a grant must provide those funds for each year that the funds are proposed.

    3. Other: Projects funded under this competition must budget for a two-day Office of Migrant Education annual meeting for HEP Directors in the Washington, DC area during each year of the project period.

    IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: Emily Bank, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Migrant Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E338, Washington, DC 20202-6135. Telephone: (202) 453-6389 or by email: [email protected]

    To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: www.ed.gov/programs/hep/applicant.html.

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    Individuals with disabilities can obtain a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the program contact person listed in this section.

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this competition.

    Page Limit: The project narrative (Part IV of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. Panel readers will award points only for an applicant's response to a given selection criterion that is contained within the section of the application designated to address that particular selection criterion. Readers will not review, or award points for, a response to the selection criterion that is located in any other section of the application or the appendices. We will reject any project narrative that exceeds 25 pages or does not adhere to the following standards:

    • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.

    • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions. However, you may single space all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs. Charts, tables, figures, and graphs presented in the application narrative count toward the page limit.

    • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch) throughout the entire application package.

    • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial. An application submitted in any other font (including Times Roman or Arial Narrow) will not be accepted. The 25-page limit for the project narrative does not apply to the cover sheet; the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract. However, the page limit does apply to all of the project narrative.

    Appendices must be limited to 20 pages and must include the following: Resumes, if applicable, and job descriptions of key personnel. Job descriptions must include duties and minimum qualifications. Items in the appendices will only be used by the program office; the items will not be read by reviewers.

    3. Submission Dates and Times:

    Applications Available: January 7, 2016.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: March 7, 2016.

    Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail or hand delivery if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, please refer to Other Submission Requirements in section IV of this notice.

    We will not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

    Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact the person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.

    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: May 6, 2016.

    4. Intergovernmental Review: This competition is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this competition.

    5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and System for Award Management: To do business with the Department of Education, you must—

    a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);

    b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly the Central Contractor Registry), the Government's primary registrant database;

    c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and

    d. Maintain an active SAM registration with current information while your application is under review by the Department and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.

    You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet at the following Web site: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. A DUNS number can be created within one to two business days.

    If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a new TIN, please allow two to five weeks for your TIN to become active.

    The SAM registration process can take approximately seven business days, but may take upwards of several weeks, depending on the completeness and accuracy of the data you enter into the SAM database. Thus, if you think you might want to apply for Federal financial assistance under a program administered by the Department, please allow sufficient time to obtain and register your DUNS number and TIN. We strongly recommend that you register early.

    Note:

    Once your SAM registration is active, it may be 24 to 48 hours before you can access the information in, and submit an application through, Grants.gov.

    If you are currently registered with SAM, you may not need to make any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN associated with your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will need to update your registration annually. This may take three or more business days.

    Information about SAM is available at www.SAM.gov. To further assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in SAM or updating your existing SAM account, we have prepared a SAM.gov Tip Sheet, which you can find at: http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/sam-faqs.html.

    In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, you must (1) be designated by your organization as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined at the following Grants.gov Web page: www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html.

    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

    a. Electronic Submission of Applications

    Applications for grants under HEP, CFDA number 84.141A, must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

    We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.

    You may access the electronic grant application for HEP at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.141, not 84.141A).

    Please note the following:

    • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.

    • Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.

    • The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.

    • You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this competition to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 system home page at www.G5.gov. In addition, for specific guidance and procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov, please refer to the Grants.gov Web site at: www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/apply-for-grants.html.

    • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your application in paper format.

    • You must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: The Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.

    • You must upload any narrative sections and all other attachments to your application as files in a read-only, non-modifiable Portable Document Format (PDF). Do not upload an interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, non-modifiable PDF (e.g., Word, Excel, WordPerfect, etc.) or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material. Please note that this could result in your application not being considered for funding because the material in question—for example, the project narrative—is critical to a meaningful review of your proposal. For that reason it is important to allow yourself adequate time to upload all material as PDF files. The Department will not convert material from other formats to PDF.

    • Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this notice.

    • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. This notification indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department. Grants.gov will also notify you automatically by email if your application met all the Grants.gov validation requirements or if there were any errors (such as submission of your application by someone other than a registered Authorized Organization Representative, or inclusion of an attachment with a file name that contains special characters). You will be given an opportunity to correct any errors and resubmit, but you must still meet the deadline for submission of applications.

    Once your application is successfully validated by Grants.gov, the Department will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send you an email with a unique PR/Award number for your application.

    These emails do not mean that your application is without any disqualifying errors. While your application may have been successfully validated by Grants.gov, it must also meet the Department's application requirements as specified in this notice and in the application instructions. Disqualifying errors could include, for instance, failure to upload attachments in a read-only, non-modifiable PDF; failure to submit a required part of the application; or failure to meet applicant eligibility requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your submitted application has met all of the Department's requirements.

    • We may request that you provide us original signatures on forms at a later date.

    Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues with the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.

    If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically or by hand delivery. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.

    If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that the problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We will contact you after we determine whether your application will be accepted.

    Note:

    The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

    Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the Grants.gov system because—

    • You do not have access to the Internet; or

    • You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Grants.gov system;

    and

    • No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevents you from using the Internet to submit your application.

    If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.

    Address and mail or fax your statement to: Emily Bank, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E338, Washington, DC 20202-6135. FAX: (202) 205-0089.

    Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail or hand delivery instructions described in this notice.

    b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail

    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: CFDA Number 84.141A, LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.

    You must show proof of mailing consisting of one of the following:

    (1) A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service postmark.

    (2) A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the U.S. Postal Service.

    (3) A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.

    (4) Any other proof of mailing acceptable to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

    If you mail your application through the U.S. Postal Service, we do not accept either of the following as proof of mailing:

    (1) A private metered postmark.

    (2) A mail receipt that is not dated by the U.S. Postal Service.

    Note:

    The U.S. Postal Service does not uniformly provide a dated postmark. Before relying on this method, you should check with your local post office.

    We will not consider applications postmarked after the application deadline date.

    c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery

    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: CFDA Number 84.141A, 550 12th Street SW., Room 7039, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260.

    The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.

    Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:

    If you mail or hand deliver your application to the Department—

    (1) You must indicate on the envelope and—if not provided by the Department—in Item 11 of the SF 424 the CFDA number, including suffix letter, if any, of the competition under which you are submitting your application; and

    (2) The Application Control Center will mail to you a notification of receipt of your grant application. If you do not receive this notification within 15 business days from the application deadline date, you should call the U.S. Department of Education Application Control Center at (202) 245-6288.

    V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from 34 CFR 75.210 and are listed in the application package.

    2. Review and Selection Process: The Secretary will consider the need to provide an equitable geographic distribution of grants in selecting applications for awards, in accordance with section 418A of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1070d-2(g)). In addition, we remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.

    In addition, in making a competitive grant award, the Secretary requires various assurances, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23).

    3. Risk Assessment and Special Conditions: Consistent with 2 CFR 200.205, before awarding grants under this competition the Department conducts a review of the risks posed by applicants. Under 2 CFR 3474.10, the Secretary may impose special conditions and, in appropriate circumstances, high-risk conditions on a grant if the applicant or grantee is not financially stable; has a history of unsatisfactory performance; has a financial or other management system that does not meet the standards in 2 CFR part 200, subpart D; has not fulfilled the conditions of a prior grant; or is otherwise not responsible.

    VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN); or we may send you an email containing a link to access an electronic version of your GAN. We may notify you informally, also.

    If your application is not evaluated or not selected for funding, we notify you.

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements: We identify administrative and national policy requirements in the application package and reference these and other requirements in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    We reference the regulations outlining the terms and conditions of an award in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice and include these and other specific conditions in the GAN. The GAN also incorporates your approved application as part of your binding commitments under the grant.

    3. Reporting: (a) If you apply for a grant under this competition, you must ensure that you have in place the necessary processes and systems to comply with the reporting requirements in 2 CFR part 170 should you receive funding under the competition. This does not apply if you have an exception under 2 CFR 170.110(b).

    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multiyear award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.

    (c) Under 34 CFR 75.250(b), the Secretary may provide a grantee with additional funding for data collection analysis and reporting. In this case the Secretary establishes a data collection period.

    4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), the Department developed the following performance measures to evaluate the overall effectiveness of HEP: (1) The percentage of HEP program participants exiting the program having received an HSE diploma (GPRA 1), and (2) the percentage of HSE diploma recipients who enter postsecondary education or training programs, upgraded employment, or the military (GPRA 2).

    Applicants must propose annual targets for these measures in their applications. The national target for GPRA measure 1 for FY 2016 is that 69 percent of HEP program participants exit the program having received an HSE credential. The national target for GPRA measure 2 for FY 2016 is that 80 percent of HEP HSE diploma recipients will enter postsecondary education or training programs, upgraded employment, or the military. The national targets for subsequent years may be adjusted based on additional baseline data. The panel readers will score related selection criteria on the basis of how well an applicant addresses these GPRA measures. Therefore, applicants will want to consider how to demonstrate a sound capacity to provide reliable data on the GPRA measures, including the project's annual performance targets for addressing the GPRA performance measures, as is required by the Office of Management and Budget approved annual performance report that is included in the application package. All grantees will be required to submit, as part of their annual performance report, information with respect to these GPRA performance measures.

    5. Continuation Awards: In making a continuation award under 34 CFR 75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: Whether a grantee has made substantial progress in achieving the goals and objectives of the project; whether the grantee has expended funds in a manner that is consistent with its approved application and budget; and, if the Secretary has established performance measurement requirements, the performance targets in the grantee's approved application.

    In making a continuation award, the Secretary also considers whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application, including those applicable to Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department (34 CFR 100.4, 104.5, 106.4, 108.8, and 110.23)

    VII. Agency Contact

    For Further Information Contact: Emily Bank, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E338, Washington, DC 20202-6135. Telephone: (202) 453-6389 or by email: [email protected].

    If you use a TDD or TYY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    VIII. Other Information

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document and a copy of the application package in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under For Further Information Contact in section VII of this notice.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or PDF. To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Dated: January 4, 2016. Ann Whalen, Delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00084 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-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: RP16-314-000.

    Applicants: Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Offer of Settlement [including Pro Forma sheets] and Petition for Approval of Settlement of Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC under RP16-314.

    Filed Date: 12/18/15.

    Accession Number: 20151218-5202.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/6/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-329-000.

    Applicants: Transwestern Pipeline Company, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Btu Provision to be effective 2/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20151230-5068.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-330-000.

    Applicants: Transwestern Pipeline Company, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Flow Control Provision to be effective 2/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20151230-5077.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-331-000.

    Applicants: Transwestern Pipeline Company, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: Baseline Filing Volume No. 1-A to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20151230-5087.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-332-000.

    Applicants: Transwestern Pipeline Company, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Update Non-Conforming Agreements List to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20151230-5089.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-333-000.

    Applicants: Iroquois Gas Transmission System, L.P.

    Description: § 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: 12/30/15 Negotiated Rates—MMGS Inc. (RTS) 7625-02 & -03 Amd 1 to be effective 12/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/30/15.

    Accession Number: 20151230-5097.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33318 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-ORD-2015-0684; FRL-9940-77-ORD] Notice of Availability of Draft Guidelines for Human Exposure Assessment AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability for public comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a 45-day public comment period for the External Review Draft of the “Guidelines for Human Exposure Assessment.” EPA is seeking public comment prior to external peer review. The document will undergo review during an expert peer review meeting, which will be convened, organized, and conducted by an independent contractor. The date and location of the peer review meeting will be announced in a subsequent Federal Register notice. All comments received in the docket by the closing date February 22, 2016 will be shared with the peer review panel for their consideration. Comments received after the close of the comment period may be considered by EPA when it finalizes the document. Members of the public may obtain the draft guidance at http://www.regulations.gov; or www.epa.gov/osa/guidelines-human-exposure-assessment or from Dr. Michael Broder via the contact information below.

    DATES:

    All comments received in the docket by February 22, 2016 will be shared with the external peer review panel for their consideration. Comments received beyond that time may be considered by EPA when it finalizes the document.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2015-0684 by one of the following methods:

    http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

    Email: [email protected]

    Mail: ORD Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460.

    Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), Room 3334, EPA West Building, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460, Attention Docket ID No EPA-HQ-ORD-2015-0684. Deliveries are only accepted from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. Special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2015-0684. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected by statute through http://www.regulations.gov or email. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA, without going through http://www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the http://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. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the ORD Docket, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. 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 ORD Docket is (202) 566-1752.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Michael Broder, Office of the Science Advisor, Mail Code 8105R, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number (202) 564-3393; fax number (202) 564-2070; or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The current guidance document for human exposure assessment, Guidelines for Exposure Assessment, was published in 1992, reflecting the state-of-the-science in the 1970s and 1980s. Since its publication, the field of exposure science has undergone significant transformation in methods and approaches, which EPA has incorporated into its policies and practices to better align with the current state-of-the-science. The 1992 guidelines are being updated to reflect the updated methods and approaches.

    The draft guidelines benefit from over two decades of experience with EPA assessments conducted by Agency programs under their respective authorities and constraints, and from input from external panels, including the National Academy of Sciences and EPA's Science Advisory Board. This draft document builds on topics covered in the 1992 exposure guidelines including planning and scoping for an assessment, data acquisition and use, modeling, and considerations of uncertainty in exposure assessment. It also includes new material on planning and conducting an observational human exposure measurement study and considerations of lifestages and sensitive populations in exposure assessments. These draft guidelines present the most current science used in EPA exposure assessments and incorporates information about the Agency's current policies.

    Dated: December 22, 2015. Thomas Burke, EPA Science Advisor.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00077 Filed 1-6-16; 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).

    DATES:

    Date and Time: The regular meeting of the Board will be held at the offices of the Farm Credit Administration in McLean, Virginia, on January 14, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. until such time as the Board concludes its business.

    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.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dale L. Aultman, Secretary to the Farm Credit Administration Board, (703) 883-4009, TTY (703) 883-4056.

    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 • December 10, 2015 B. New Business • Farmer Mac Investment Eligibility—Proposed Rule C. Reports • Auditor's Report on FCA FY 2015/2014 Financial Statements Closed Session* • Executive Meeting with Auditors Dated: January 5, 2016. Dale L. Aultman, Secretary, Farm Credit Administration Board.

    *Session Closed-Exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. Section 552b(c)(2).

    [FR Doc. 2016-00200 Filed 1-5-16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6705-01-P
    FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION [File No. 151-0215] Rangers Renal Holdings LP; Analysis To Aid Public Comment AGENCY:

    Federal Trade Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed Consent Agreement.

    SUMMARY:

    The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before January 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties may file a comment at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/rangersrenalconsent online or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write “Rangers Renal Holding, LP; US Renal Care, Inc.; Dialysis Parent, LLC; and Dialysis HoldCo, LLC.,—Consent Agreement; File No. 151-0215” on your comment and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/rangersrenalconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, write “Rangers Renal Holding, LP; US Renal Care, Inc.; Dialysis Parent, LLC; and Dialysis HoldCo, LLC.,—Consent Agreement; File No. 151-0215” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lisa De Marchi Sleigh, (202-326-2535), Bureau of Competition, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 2.34, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for December 30, 2015), on the World Wide Web, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/actions.shtm.

    You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to consider your comment, we must receive it on or before January 29, 2016. Write “Rangers Renal Holding, LP; US Renal Care, Inc.; Dialysis Parent, LLC; and Dialysis HoldCo, LLC.,—Consent Agreement; File No. 151-0215” on your comment. Your comment—including your name and your state—will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including, to the extent practicable, on the public Commission Web site, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm. As a matter of discretion, the Commission tries to remove individuals' home contact information from comments before placing them on the Commission Web site.

    Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive personal information, like anyone's Social Security number, date of birth, driver's license number or other state identification number or foreign country equivalent, passport number, financial account number, or credit or debit card number. You are also solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive health information, like medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, do not include any “[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information which . . . is privileged or confidential,” as discussed in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). In particular, do not include competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales statistics, inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing processes, or customer names.

    If you want the Commission to give your comment confidential treatment, you must file it in paper form, with a request for confidential treatment, and you have to follow the procedure explained in FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).1 Your comment will be kept confidential only if the FTC General Counsel, in his or her sole discretion, grants your request in accordance with the law and the public interest.

    1 In particular, the written request for confidential treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

    Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit your comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/rangersrenalconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov/#!home, you also may file a comment through that Web site.

    If you file your comment on paper, write “Rangers Renal Holding, LP; US Renal Care, Inc.; Dialysis Parent, LLC; and Dialysis HoldCo, LLC.,—Consent Agreement; File No. 151-0215” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.

    Visit the Commission Web site at http://www.ftc.gov to read this Notice and the news release describing it. The FTC Act and other laws that the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that it receives on or before January 29, 2016. You can find more information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, in the Commission's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.htm.

    Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order to Aid Public Comment

    The Federal Trade Commission (“Commission”) has accepted, subject to final approval, an Agreement Containing Consent Order (“Consent Agreement”) from Rangers Renal Holdings LP (“Rangers Holdings”), the parent of US Renal Care, Inc. (“USRC”), and Dialysis Holdco, LLC (“Dialysis Holdco”), the parent of Dialysis Newco, Inc. d/b/a DSI Renal (“DSI”). The purpose of the Consent Agreement is to remedy the anticompetitive effects resulting from Rangers Holdings' purchase of Dialysis Parent, LLC (“Dialysis Parent”). Dialysis Parent is the parent of Dialysis Holdco. Under the terms of the Consent Agreement, USRC is required to divest DSI's three dialysis clinics in Laredo, Texas.

    The Consent Agreement has been placed on the public record for 30 days to solicit comments from interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After 30 days, the Commission will again review the Consent Agreement and the comments received, and will decide whether it should withdraw from the Consent Agreement, modify it, or make final the Decision and Order (“Order”).

    The Transaction

    Pursuant to an agreement dated August 21, 2015, Rangers Holdings proposes to acquire all of the outstanding membership interest in Dialysis Holdco from Dialysis Parent in a transaction valued at approximately $640 million. Dialysis Parent is currently the sole owner of all membership interests in Dialysis Holdco. The Commission 's Complaint alleges that the proposed acquisition, if consummated, would violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 18, and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 45, by substantially lessening competition in one market—Laredo, Texas—for the provision of outpatient dialysis services.

    The Parties

    Privately owned and headquartered in Plano, Texas, USRC is the third-largest provider of outpatient dialysis services in the United States. USRC operates more than 200 outpatient dialysis clinics in 20 states and treats approximately 15,500 patients.

    DSI, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, is a privately held company and the sixth-largest provider of outpatient dialysis services in the United States. DSI operates 100 dialysis centers, providing dialysis services to approximately 7,500 patients in 22 states.

    The Relevant Product and Structure of the Markets

    Outpatient dialysis services is the relevant product market in which to assess the effects of the proposed transaction. For patients suffering from End Stage Renal Disease (“ESRD”), dialysis treatments are a life-sustaining therapy that replaces the function of the kidneys by removing toxins and excess fluid from the blood. Most ESRD patients receive dialysis treatment three times per week in sessions lasting between three and five hours. Kidney transplantation is the only alternative to dialysis for ESRD patients. However, the wait-time for donor kidneys—during which ESRD patients must receive dialysis treatments—can exceed five years. Additionally, many ESRD patients are not viable transplant candidates. As a result, ESRD patients have no alternative to dialysis treatments. ESRD patients who are not hospitalized must obtain dialysis treatments from outpatient dialysis clinics.

    Dialysis services are provided in local geographic markets limited by the distance ESRD patients are able to travel to receive treatments. ESRD patients are often very ill and suffer from multiple health problems, making travel further than 30 miles or 30 minutes very difficult. As a result, competition among dialysis clinics occurs at a local level, corresponding to metropolitan areas or subsets thereof. The exact contours of each market vary depending on traffic patterns, local geography, and the patient's proximity to the nearest center.

    Entry

    Entry into the outpatient dialysis services markets identified in the Commission's Complaint is not likely to occur in a timely manner at a level sufficient to deter or counteract the likely anticompetitive effects of the proposed transaction. The primary barrier to entry is the difficulty associated with locating nephrologists with established patient pools to serve as medical directors. By law, each dialysis clinic must have a nephrologist medical director. As a practical matter, medical directors are also essential to the success of a clinic because they are the primary source of referrals. In the relevant geographic market, there are few unencumbered nephrologists and few outside nephrologists willing to move into the area. These obstacles make entry in the affected market more challenging and less likely to avert the anticompetitive effects of the transaction.

    Effects of Acquisition

    The geographic market identified in the Complaint is highly concentrated. The proposed acquisition would cause the number of providers to drop from three to two in this market leaving USRC with a dominant position in Laredo, Texas. The post-acquisition HHI for this market exceeds 4000, and the change in HHI is more than 1200. The evidence shows that health insurance companies and other private payers who pay for dialysis services used by their members benefit from direct competition between USRC and DSI when negotiating rates charged by dialysis providers in this market. The high post-acquisition concentration level, along with the elimination of USRC's and DSI's head-to-head competition suggest the proposed combination likely would result in higher prices for outpatient dialysis services in this geographic market. In addition, the evidence shows that market participants compete for patients on a number of quality measures—including quality of facilities, wait times, operating hours, and location. Given the high post-acquisition concentration level, the proposed combination would likely result in diminished service and quality for patients in Laredo, Texas.

    The Consent Agreement

    The Consent Agreement remedies the proposed acquisition's anticompetitive effects in the Laredo, Texas market by requiring USRC to divest DSI's three outpatient dialysis clinics to Satellite Healthcare Inc. (“Satellite”).

    As part of these divestitures, USRC is required to obtain the agreement of the medical director affiliated with the divested clinics to continue providing physician services after the transfer of ownership to the buyer. Similarly, the Consent Agreement requires USRC to obtain the consent of all lessors necessary to assign the leases for the real property associated with the divested clinics to the buyer. These provisions ensure that the buyer will have the assets necessary to operate the divested clinics in a competitive manner.

    The Consent Agreement contains several additional provisions designed to ensure that the divestitures are successful. First, the Consent Agreement provides the buyer with the opportunity to interview and hire employees affiliated with the divested clinics and prevents USRC from offering these employees incentives to decline the buyer's offer of employment. This will ensure that the buyer has access to patient care and supervisory staff who are familiar with the clinics' patients and the local physicians. Second, the Consent Agreement prevents USRC from contracting with the medical director affiliated with the divested clinics for three years. This provides the buyer with sufficient time to build goodwill and a working relationship with its medical director before USRC can attempt to capitalize on DSI's prior relationship in soliciting his services. Third, to ensure continuity of patient care and records as the buyer implements its quality care, billing, and supply systems, the Consent Agreement requires USRC to provide transition services for a period up to 12 months. Firewalls and confidentiality agreements have been established to ensure that competitively sensitive information is not exchanged. Fourth, the Consent Agreement requires USRC to provide the buyer with a license to use USRC's policies, procedures, and medical protocols, as well as the option to obtain USRC's medical protocols, which will further enhance the buyer's ability to continue to care for patients in the clinics that will be divested. The Consent Agreement requires USRC to provide notice to the Commission prior to any acquisitions of dialysis clinics in the market addressed by the Consent Agreement in order to ensure that subsequent acquisitions do not adversely impact competition in that market or undermine the remedial goals of the proposed order. Finally, the Consent Agreement allows the Commission to appoint a monitor to oversee USRC's compliance with the Consent Agreement.

    The Commission is satisfied that Satellite is a qualified acquirer of the divested assets. Satellite is currently a significant operator of dialysis clinics, operating over 70 outpatient and home dialysis clinics since 1973.

    The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the Consent Agreement, and it is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the proposed Decision and Order or the Order to Maintain Assets, or to modify their terms in any way.

    By direction of the Commission.

    Donald S. Clark, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00038 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6750-01-P
    FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION [File No. 151 0149] ArcLight Energy Partners Fund VI, L.P.; Analysis To Aid Public Comment AGENCY:

    Federal Trade Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed consent agreement.

    SUMMARY:

    The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint and the terms of the consent orders—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before January 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties may file a comment at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/arclightgulfoilconsent online or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write “ArcLight Energy Partners Fund VI, L.P., Consent Agreement, File No. 151-0149” on your comment and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/arclightgulfoilconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, write “ArcLight Energy Partners Fund VI, L.P., Consent Agreement, File No. 151-0149” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jennifer Milici (202-326-2912), Bureau of Competition, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 2.34, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing consent orders to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for December 28, 2015), on the World Wide Web, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/actions.shtm.

    You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to consider your comment, we must receive it on or before January 27, 2016. Write “ArcLight Energy Partners Fund VI, L.P., Consent Agreement, File No. 151-0149” on your comment. Your comment—including your name and your state—will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including, to the extent practicable, on the public Commission Web site, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm. As a matter of discretion, the Commission tries to remove individuals' home contact information from comments before placing them on the Commission Web site.

    Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive personal information, like anyone's Social Security number, date of birth, driver's license number or other state identification number or foreign country equivalent, passport number, financial account number, or credit or debit card number. You are also solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive health information, like medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, do not include any “[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information which . . . is privileged or confidential,” as discussed in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). In particular, do not include competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales statistics, inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing processes, or customer names.

    If you want the Commission to give your comment confidential treatment, you must file it in paper form, with a request for confidential treatment, and you have to follow the procedure explained in FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).1 Your comment will be kept confidential only if the FTC General Counsel, in his or her sole discretion, grants your request in accordance with the law and the public interest.

    1 In particular, the written request for confidential treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

    Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit your comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/arclightgulfoilconsent by following the instructions on the web-based form. If this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov/#!home, you also may file a comment through that Web site.

    If you file your comment on paper, write “ArcLight Energy Partners Fund VI, L.P., Consent Agreement, File No. 151-0149” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.

    Visit the Commission Web site at http://www.ftc.gov to read this Notice and the news release describing it. The FTC Act and other laws that the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that it receives on or before January 27, 2016. You can find more information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, in the Commission's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.htm.

    Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Orders To Aid Public Comment Introduction

    The Federal Trade Commission (“Commission”) has accepted from ArcLight Energy Partners Fund VI, L.P. (“ArcLight”), subject to final approval, an Agreement Containing Consent Orders (“Consent Agreement”) designed to remedy the anticompetitive effects resulting from ArcLight's proposed acquisition of Gulf Oil Limited Partnership (“Gulf”) and related assets from Cumberland Farms, Inc. (“Cumberland”). Under the terms of the proposed Decision and Order (“Order”) contained in the Consent Agreement, ArcLight must divest four of Gulf's terminals located in Pennsylvania—in Mechanicsburg, Altoona, Pittston Township, and Williamsport—to Arc Logistics Partners, LP (“Arc Logistics”).

    The Consent Agreement has been placed on the public record for 30 days to solicit comments from interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After 30 days, the Commission will again review the Consent Agreement and the comments received, and will decide whether it should withdraw from the Consent Agreement, modify it, or make the Order final.

    The Parties

    ArcLight invests in energy infrastructure. Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Pyramid LLC, ArcLight owns and operates twelve light petroleum product (“LPP”) terminals in Pennsylvania. ArcLight uses its terminals to meet its own marketing needs and offers terminaling services to third parties for a fee.

    Cumberland, one of the largest convenience store operators in the country, operates a petroleum marketing, terminaling, and distribution business through its Gulf subsidiary. Gulf owns and operates twelve LPP terminals in the Northeast, including seven in Pennsylvania. Gulf also uses its terminals to meet its own marketing needs and provides terminaling services to third parties for a fee.

    The Proposed Acquisition

    Pursuant to two contingent Purchase and Sale Agreements dated May 15, 2015, ArcLight proposes to acquire Gulf, and certain other assets, from Cumberland (the “Acquisition”). The Commission's Complaint alleges that the Acquisition, if consummated, would violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 18, and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 45, by substantially lessening competition for gasoline and distillate terminaling services in relevant geographic markets within Pennsylvania.

    The Relevant Market

    Terminals are critical to the efficient distribution of LPPs. Transporting bulk quantities of LPPs via pipeline or marine vessel is significantly less expensive on a per gallon basis than trucking LPPs the same distance. Terminals serve as the delivery points on pipeline and marine routes and are capable of receiving bulk quantities of LPPs, holding LPPs in storage tanks, and loading smaller quantities of LPPs onto tanker trucks for local delivery. Tanker trucks pick up product from the terminals through specialized loading systems and transport LPPs to retail locations and end-use customers. Terminaling services include the off-loading, temporary storage, and dispensing of LPPs into trucks.

    The Commission's Complaint alleges that the relevant product markets within which to analyze the Acquisition are gasoline terminaling services and distillates terminaling services. Gasoline terminaling service customers can only use terminals that meet gasoline-specific environmental regulations. A terminal must have specialized equipment, including vapor recovery units and tanks with internal floating roofs, to offer gasoline terminaling services. While distillate terminaling customers may be able to use gasoline terminals, the reverse is not possible due to the more stringent regulatory requirements for the storage and handling of gasoline.

    The Commission's Complaint alleges three relevant geographic markets in Pennsylvania in which to assess the competitive effects of the Acquisition: (1) Altoona, which includes terminals in Altoona; (2) Scranton, which includes terminals in Pittston Township and Edwardsville; and (3) Harrisburg, which includes terminals in Northumberland, Williamsport, Mechanicsburg, and Highspire.

    The Acquisition would substantially increase concentration in relevant markets that are already highly concentrated. In the Altoona market, ArcLight and Gulf are the only firms that offer gasoline terminaling services, and two of three firms that offer distillate terminaling services. ArcLight and Gulf are two of only three firms that offer gasoline or distillate terminaling services in the Scranton market. In the Harrisburg market, ArcLight and Gulf are two of three firms that offer gasoline terminaling services, and two of four firms that offer distillate terminaling services.

    Effects of the Acquisition

    The Acquisition would substantially lessen competition for terminaling services in the relevant markets by enabling ArcLight to exercise market power unilaterally, and enhancing the likelihood of collusion or coordinated interaction among the few remaining terminaling services providers. Post-acquisition, ArcLight would be the sole firm offering gasoline terminaling services in Altoona. It would own most of the LPP storage capacity in each of the other relevant markets and would be able to raise terminaling service fees or reduce access to terminaling services unilaterally. The remaining firms have limited ability to accommodate additional throughput customers and would likely be unable to constrain ArcLight from exercising market power. To the extent the remaining firms could offer some limited constraint on ArcLight's ability to exercise market power unilaterally, they are unlikely to do so because the transaction would increase their incentives to coordinate tacitly with ArcLight.

    Entry Conditions

    Entry into the relevant markets would not be timely, likely, or sufficient to deter or counteract the anticompetitive effects arising from the Acquisition. Barriers to entry are significant and include high sunk costs associated with the construction of a new terminal, and the substantial amount of time required to design, build, and permit a new facility. ArcLight has significant excess capacity in the relevant markets, and this capacity would also discourage new entry.

    The Decision and Order

    The Order resolves the competitive concerns raised by the Acquisition by requiring that ArcLight divest Gulf's terminals in Altoona, Pittston Township, Mechanicsburg, and Williamsport. The Order requires ArcLight to divest to Arc Logistics, or another acquirer approved by the Commission, the four terminals and all associated assets, as well as enter into certain transitional arrangements necessary for the acquirer to become established and compete successfully in the relevant markets. ArcLight is required to divest the terminals within 20 days of closing the Acquisition.

    Arc Logistics is a publicly-traded logistics service provider principally engaged in the terminaling, storage, throughput, and transloading of crude oil and LPPs. The company owns twelve LPP terminals in several states, not including Pennsylvania. To ensure that the acquirer has sufficient throughput at the divested terminals while it negotiates contracts with new terminal customers, the Order requires ArcLight to enter a transitional throughput agreement with Arc Logistics, whereby ArcLight commits to throughput certain volumes at Arc Logistics' terminals for two years. The Order also requires ArcLight to supply Arc Logistics with renewable fuels, at Arc Logistics' request, for a period of five years, an option that will help Arc Logistics attract throughput customers. Finally, the Order requires ArcLight to let any customer in the relevant markets out of its terminaling service contract without penalty for a period of six months after the divestiture, allowing Arc Logistics to compete for those customers.

    The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the Consent Agreement, and it is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the Order or to modify its terms in any way.

    By direction of the Commission.

    Donald S. Clark, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00028 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6750-01-P
    FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection: Comment Request AGENCY:

    Federal Trade Commission (“Commission” or “FTC”).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The FTC plans to conduct a qualitative survey of consumers who recently purchased an automobile and financed that purchase through a dealer. Through a survey research firm, the FTC seeks to interview consumers about the consumer's experience in selecting, purchasing, and financing an automobile from a dealer. The interviews also will involve reviewing the consumer's documentation from the purchase and financing. This is the first of two notices required under the Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”) in which the FTC seeks public comments on its proposed consumer research in connection with Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) review of, and clearance for, the collection of information discussed herein.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties may file a comment online or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write “Auto Buyer Consumer Survey, Project No. P154800” on your comment, and file your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/autobuyersurveypra, by following the instructions on the web-based form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex J), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex J), Washington, DC 20024.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Carole Reynolds, 202-326-3230, or Teresa Kosmidis, 202-326-3216, Division of Financial Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Mail Stop-CC-10232, Washington, DC 20580.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    For many consumers, aside from housing costs, a car purchase is their most expensive financial transaction. With prices averaging more than $33,500 for a new vehicle and $20,000 for a used vehicle from a dealer, most consumers seek to finance the purchase of a new or used car.1 Consumers may seek financing from their local bank or credit union, as well as from the dealer selling the vehicle. Financing obtained at the dealership, whether it is provided by a third party or directly by the dealer, may provide benefits for many consumers, such as convenience, special manufacturer-sponsored programs, access to a variety of banks and financial entities, or access to credit otherwise unavailable to a buyer. Financing that is offered or arranged by dealers, however, can be a complicated, opaque process and potentially involve unfair or deceptive practices.

    1 In 2015, the average price of a new car sold in the U.S. is $33,560, according to Kelly Blue Book. See Kelly Blue Book, Average New Car Transaction Prices Rise Steadily, Up 2.6% in April 2015 (May 1, 2015), available at http://mediaroom.kbb.com/2015-05-01-New-Car-Transaction-Prices-Rise-Steadily-Up-2-6-Percent-in-April-2015-According-to-Kelley-Blue-Book. The average price of a used car is $20,057. See Used Car Prices Hold Up in Strong New-Vehicle Market), J.D. Power (Sept. 8, 2015), available at http://www.jdpower.com/cars/articles/used-cars/used-car-prices-hold-strong-new-vehicle-market. Used cars available from independent dealers and from “buy here pay here” dealers have been lower in price. For example, in 2014, over 42% of cars were sold at an average sales price of $5,000—$10,000 at independent dealers; the average cost of cars was $7,150 at “buy here pay here” dealers. See 2015 NIADA Used Car Industry Report, at 6 and 16, respectively, available at http://www.niada.com/publications.php.

    As the nation's consumer protection agency, the Commission is committed to protecting consumers in connection with auto-related transactions. The Commission has broad authority to protect consumers in this area. The agency enforces the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices by a wide variety of entities, including automobile dealers.2 Also pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act,3 the FTC is authorized to prescribe rules under Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) 4 with respect to unfair or deceptive acts or practices by motor vehicle dealers.5

    2 15 U.S.C. 45(a). The Commission also has enforcement authority over automobile dealers under various other statutes, including, for example, the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. 1601-1666j, and its implementing Regulation Z, 12 CFR 226, 12 CFR 1026; the Consumer Leasing Act, 15 U.S.C. 1667-1667f, and its implementing Regulation M, 12 CFR 213, 12 CFR 1013; the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C. 1691-1691f, and its implementing Regulation B, 12 CFR 202, 12 CFR 1002; the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, 15 U.S.C. 1693-1693r, and its implementing Regulation E, 12 CFR 205, 12 CFR 1005; and the privacy and safeguard provisions of the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act, 15 U.S.C. 6801-6809, and related privacy rule, 16 CFR 313, and safeguards rule, 16 CFR 314.

    3 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act § 1029, 12 U.S.C. 5519.

    4 5 U.S.C. 553.

    5See Dodd-Frank Act § 1029(d), 12 U.S.C. 5519(d). Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the term “motor vehicle dealer” refers to “any person or resident in the United States, or any territory of the United States, who (A) is licensed by a State, a territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia to engage in the sale of motor vehicles; and (B) takes title to, holds an ownership in, or takes physical custody of motor vehicles.” Id. at 1029(f)(2), 12 U.S.C. 5519(f)(2). The term “motor vehicle” includes, among other things, motorcycles, motor homes, recreational vehicle trailers, recreational boats and marine equipment, and other vehicles titled and sold through dealers. See id. at 1029(f)(1), 12 U.S.C. 5519(f)(1).

    In recent years, the FTC has been particularly active in enforcement and other initiatives related to automobile transactions. Since 2011, the FTC has brought more than twenty-five cases protecting consumers in this area, including a sweep of ten actions against automobile dealers for deceptive advertising, and a coordinated federal-state effort that yielded more than two hundred automobile actions for fraud, deception, and other illegal practices.6 In 2011, the FTC conducted three automobile “roundtables” around the country, where panelists from government, consumer advocacy groups, and industry discussed consumer protection issues related to sales, financing, and leasing practices involving automobiles; the Commission also sought and received public comments on these issues.7 Additionally, the FTC has produced many consumer education and business education materials related to automobile purchasing and financing.8

    6See Press Releases, FTC Announces Sweep Against 10 Auto Dealers (Jan. 9, 2014), available at http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/01/ftc-announces-sweep-against-10-auto-dealers; FTC Approves Final Consent Orders in Deceptive Auto Dealers' Ad Cases (May 6, 2014), available at http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/05/ftc-approves-final-consent-orders-deceptive-auto-dealers-ads and FTC, Multiple Law Enforcement Partners Announce Crackdown on Deception, Fraud in Auto Sales, Financing and Leasing (Mar. 26, 2015), available at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/03/ftc-multiple-law-enforcement-partners-announce-crackdown. See also https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/media-resources/consumer-finance/auto-marketplace.

    7See Press Release, FTC Continues To Seek Public Input On Consumer Issues in Motor Vehicle Sales, Financing and Leasing, available at http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2012/02/ftc-continues-seek-public-input-consumer-issues-motor-vehicle. See also Public Comments, #369: FTC Roundtables Will Address Consumer Issues in Motor Vehicle Financing and Leasing; FTC File No. P104811, available at https://www.ftc.gov/policy/public-comments/initiative-369.

    8See, e.g., Understanding Vehicle Financing (revised January 2014), produced in cooperation with the American Financial Services Education Foundation and the National Automobile Dealers Association, available at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0056-understanding-vehicle-financing; Lesley Fair, FTC, Operation Ruse Control: 6 tips if cars are up your alley (Mar. 26, 2015), available at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/business-blog/2015/03/operation-ruse-control-6-tips-if-cars-are-your-alley; Colleen Tressler, FTC, Check out the auto dealer and financing before you sign (Oct. 31, 2014), available at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/check-out-auto-dealer-and-financing-you-sign.

    The FTC's proposed survey will explore in more detail the experience of actual consumers who recently purchased and financed an automobile from a dealer.9 The survey is intended to inform the Commission about current consumer protections issues that may exist and that could be addressed through FTC action, including enforcement initiatives, rulemaking, or education.

    9 For purposes of this survey, “automobile” refers to cars, minivans, SUVs, and light trucks—all of which consumers commonly purchase and finance through automobile dealers. Depending on the consumers who participate in the survey, the dealers could potentially include: (1) Franchise dealers (e.g., that have franchises with automobile manufacturers and may offer consumers financing that is assigned to “captive” finance companies—subsidiaries owed by the manufacturers—or to other finance entities); (2) independent dealers (e.g., that do not have franchises with automobile manufacturers and may offer consumers financing that is assigned to finance entities that are not subsidiaries owned by the manufacturers but that may be an entity related to or associated with the dealer); and (3) “buy here pay here” dealers (e.g., a type of independent dealer that offers consumers in-house financing that the dealers usually retain, although some larger dealers may assign the financing to “buy here pay here” finance entities.

    II. The FTC's Proposed Study A. Study Description

    The FTC plans to conduct a qualitative survey of consumer experiences in recent purchases of automobiles that were financed through automobile dealers. The survey will involve an initial sample of five in-person consumer interviews to test the survey questionnaire, followed by in-person interviews of 40 consumers, with the option to interview 40 more, if the FTC deems the additional interviews likely to be helpful. For the initial 40 consumers, the FTC seeks to interview approximately 20 consumers who have “prime” credit scores and approximately 20 consumers who have “subprime” credit scores in order to learn about the consumer's experience with purchasing and financing in these two market segments.10 Generally, the sample group of consumers will be racially diverse and will include participants of both sexes. The FTC will use a survey research firm to locate the participants, conduct the survey, and write a brief methodological report, and other written report as requested by the FTC. The survey research firm will select the consumers from a pool of people who previously have indicated that they are willing to participate in surveys but who have not participated in any in-depth survey interviews in the past year. The firm will identify interview subjects who have purchased an automobile from a dealer in the previous six months and used financing offered or arranged by the dealer to make the purchase. The interview subject also must have kept the documentation (e.g., credit contract) he or she received as part of the purchase and financing. The consumer's credit score will be used in the survey; if survey participants do not have their credit score, the consumer may obtain it through services that provide this information or the contractor will obtain it for the consumer, with the consumer's permission. The interview subjects and their personal identifying information will be anonymized in material received by the FTC, and will be vigorously protected by the survey firm.11

    10 For example, Experian categorizes consumers with scores below 601 as subprime (either “subprime,” or “deep subprime”). See Experian, State of the Automotive Finance Market Third Quarter 2015 available at http://www.experian.com/automotive/automotive-credit-webinar.html.

    11 The survey firm will set up two secure databases for maintaining information about potential and selected survey participants. The firm will assign each consumer a random identification number (“random ID number”), and that information along with the consumer's identifying information will be maintained by the contractor in one database. The FTC will only have access to a second database that will include the random ID number with anonymized information about the consumers and redacted information regarding the consumers' purchase and finance documents. Thus, only redacted copies of purchase and finance documents will be maintained in the survey. The survey will utilize rigorous protections for privacy and security of consumer information.

    The survey research firm will conduct interviews lasting approximately 90 minutes with each consumer. The interviews will focus on, among other things:

    • The consumer's experience in shopping for and choosing an automobile;

    • the process of agreeing to a price for the automobile;

    • the process of trading in the consumer's old automobile, if applicable;

    • the consumer's experience in obtaining financing;

    • additional products or services the dealer may have offered;

    • contacts between the consumer and the dealer after the purchase; and

    • the consumer's overall perception of the purchase experience.

    The interviews will conclude by reviewing the consumer's documentation and exploring the consumer's understanding of that documentation. Participation in the survey will be voluntary. While the results will not be generalizable to the U.S. population, the Commission believes that they can provide useful insights into consumer understanding of the automobile purchasing and financing process at the dealership.

    B. PRA Burden Analysis

    Under the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521, federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” includes agency requests or requirements to submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. 44 U.S.C. 3502(3); 5 CFR 1320.3(c). The FTC seeks clearance for the automobile buyer study and the FTC's associated PRA burden estimates that follow.

    A. Estimated number of respondents: 170.

    B. Burden Hours: 351.5 hours.

    C. Labor Costs: Negligible.

    More specifically, staff estimates that the contractor's preliminary review of consumers to ascertain consumers for the survey would involve no more than 170 consumers (at most twice the maximum number of consumers—85 —that would be involved in the survey).

    The estimated hours are a total of the time for preliminary review, the pretest, the interviews, and obtaining credit scores. The preliminary review will include topics such as whether the consumer has recently purchased a car and has participated in a survey in the past year, as well as the consumer's self-identified race and origin. This review, done by phone, would require no more than 15 minutes per consumer, for 42.5 hours (170 respondents × 15 minutes). Staff also estimates that at most, each of the 170 consumers would take approximately 30 minutes to locate or ascertain whether they have their documentation and their credit score for the survey, for 85 hours. Thus, the preliminary review total would be 127.5 hours.

    Staff will pretest the questionnaire and interview materials with approximately five respondents to ensure that questions are easily understood. Staff estimates that each interview (including the documentation review) will take approximately 90 minutes, plus 60 minutes travel time to and from the survey. Allowing for an extra ten minutes for questions unique to the pretest, the pretest will total approximately 13.33 hours (5 respondents × 160 minutes each).

    Once the pretest is completed, the initial 40 interviews will take 100 hours (60 hours for the interviews plus 40 hours travel time to and from the survey). If an additional 40 consumers are interviewed, that will require an additional 100 hours, respectively. Thus, for the interviews of 80 consumers, staff estimates that 200 hours will be required (80 × 150 minutes each).

    Staff further estimates that approximately 75%, or 64, of the 85 survey participants (pretest and interviews) do not already have their credit score and will thus procure it through the contractor or services that provide this information. Staff estimates that 10 minutes per consumer will be required for this purpose, for a total of 10.67 hours (64 respondents × 10 minutes each).

    Thus, the FTC's survey will require 351.5 hours (127.5 hours for preliminary review + 13.33 hours for pretest + 200 hours for interviews + 10.67 hours for obtaining credit scores). The monetary cost per respondent should be negligible. The contractor will assist those consumers who seek the contractor's assistance in obtaining their credit score if the consumers do not have it. Alternatively, costs to obtain their credit score through other means should be nil or negligible. Increasingly, Web sites offer free credit scores; additionally, credit score information often is available to consumers through credit sources they already have, such as credit card or other credit statements, in some cases.

    The survey research firm may pay respondents a reasonable and customary financial incentive for participation. Participation will not require start up, capital, or labor expenditures by interview subjects.

    III. Request for Comment

    Under the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521, federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” means agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party.12 As required by Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, the FTC is providing this opportunity for public comment before requesting that OMB provide clearance for this matter.

    12 44 U.S.C. 3502(3); 5 CFR 132.3(c).

    Pursuant to Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, the FTC invites comments on:

    (1) Whether the reporting requirements are necessary, including whether the information will be practically useful; (2) the accuracy of our burden estimates, including whether the methodology and assumptions used are valid; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information.

    Additionally, the FTC seeks comments on the proposed survey methodology and specific issues or questions that should be included in the interview process.

    You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to consider your comment, we must receive it on or before March 7, 2016. Write “Auto Buyer Consumer Survey, Project No. P154800” on your comment. Your comment—including your name and your state—will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including to the extent practicable, on the public Commission Web site, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm. As a matter of discretion, the Commission tries to remove individuals' home contact information from comments before placing them on the Commission Web site.

    Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive personal information, like anyone's Social Security number, date of birth, driver's license number or other state identification number or foreign country equivalent, passport number, financial account number, or credit or debit card number. You are also solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive health information, like medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, do not include any “[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information which is obtained from any person and which is privileged or confidential,” as provided in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). In particular, do not include competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales statistics, inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing processes, or customer names.

    If you want the Commission to give your comment confidential treatment, you must file it in paper form, with a request for confidential treatment, and you have to follow the procedure explained in FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).13 Your comment will be kept confidential only if the FTC General Counsel grants your request in accordance with the law and the public interest.

    13 In particular, the written request for confidential treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

    Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit your comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/autobuyersurveypra, by following the instructions on the web-based form. When this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov/#!home, you also may file a comment through that Web site.

    If you prefer to file your comment on paper, write “Auto Buyer Consumer Survey, Project No. P154800” on your comment and on the envelope and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite CC-5610 (Annex J), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW., 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex J), Washington, DC 20024. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.

    Visit the Commission Web site at http://www.ftc.gov to read this Notice and the news release describing it. The FTC Act and other laws that the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that it receives on or before March 7, 2016. You can find more information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, in the Commission's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.htm.

    By direction of the Commission.

    Donald S. Clark, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00033 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6750-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families [CFDA Number: 93.598] Announcement of the Award of a Single-Source Program Expansion Supplement Grant to Heartland Human Care Services in Chicago, IL AGENCY:

    Office of Refugee Resettlement, ACF, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of the award of a single-source program expansion supplement to Heartland Human Care Services (HHCS) to support expanded services to foreign trafficking victims, potential trafficking victims, and certain family members.

    SUMMARY:

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) announces the award of a single-source program expansion supplement grant to Heartland Human Care Services in Chicago, Illinois, for a total of $144,822.

    The supplemental funding will ensure that clients' essential needs, such as housing, transportation, communication, food, and medical care, will be met.

    DATES:

    The period of support under these supplements is September 30, 2014 through September 29, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Maggie Wynne, Director, Division of Anti-Trafficking in Persons, Office of Refugee Resettlement, 901 D Street SW., Washington, DC 20024, Telephone (202) 401-4664. Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The National Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program (NHTVAP) provides funding for comprehensive case management services to victims of trafficking and certain family members on a per capita basis. The NHTVAP grantees help clients gain access to housing, employability services, mental health screening and therapy, medical care, and some legal services. During FY 2015, a grantee, Heartland Human Care Services (HHCS), served more clients than it had planned for in its budget for the year. Without the additional funding, HHCS would have to make significant cuts in services to current clients and limit the enrollment of new clients. With the supplemental funding, HHCS will be able to ensure that all of the clients' essential needs will be met.

    Statutory Authority: Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), as amended, Section 107(b)(1)(B), 22 U.S.C. 7105(b)(1)(B), authorizes funding for benefits and services to foreign victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons in the United States, potential victims of trafficking seeking HHS Certification, and certain family members.

    Christopher Beach, Senior Grants Policy Specialist, Office of Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33296 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-47-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment Request

    Proposed Projects: Application for Grants to States.

    Title: State Access and Visitation Grant Application.

    OMB No.: 0970-NEW.

    Description: The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) created the “Grants to States for Access and Visitation” program (AV grant program). Funding for the program began in FY 1997 with a capped, annual entitlement of $10 million. The statutory goal of the program is to provide funds to states that will enable them to provide services for the purpose of increasing noncustodial parent (NCP) access to and visitation with their children. State governors decide which state entity will be responsible for implementing the AV grant program in addition to determining who will be served, what services will be provided, and whether the services will be statewide or in local jurisdictions. The statute specifies certain activities which may be funded including: Voluntary and mandatory mediation, counseling, education, the development of parenting plans, supervised visitation, and the development of guidelines for visitation and alternative custody arrangements. Even though OCSE manages this program, the funding for the AV grant is separate from funding for federal and state administration of the Child Support program.

    Section 469B(e)(3) of the Social Security Act (Pub. L. 104-193) requires that each state receiving an AV grant award shall monitor, evaluate and report on such programs in accordance with regulations. Additionally, the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, states that there is an application requirement for Grants to States for Access and Visitation Programs (93.597). The application process will assist OCSE in complying with this requirement and will reflect a greater emphasis on program efficiency, coordination of services, and increased attention to family safety.

    The application will require states to submit a program plan, indicating how they anticipate spending their funds within the program statue and regulations. The applications will cover three fiscal years and any changes made to the plan during the three year period will require a notification of change to OCSE.

    OCSE will review the applications to ensure that planned services meet the requirements laid out in Section 469B(e)(3) of the Social Security Act (Pub. L. 104-193). This review will include monitoring of program compliance and the safe delivery of services. In addition to monitoring, the report will also assist in OCSE's ability to provide technical assistance to states that would like assistance.

    Respondents: Recipients of the Access & Visitation Grant (54 states and territories).

    Annual Burden Estimates Instrument Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden hours
  • per response
  • Total burden hours
    Fillable word document 54 1 10 540

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 540.

    In compliance with the requirements of Section 506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 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 the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., Washington, DC 20447, Attn: ACF Reports Clearance Officer. Email address: [email protected] All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection.

    The Department specifically requests comments 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) 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. Consideration will be given to comments and suggestions submitted within 60 days of this publication.

    Robert Sargis, Reports Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00054 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-4602] Streamlining Regulations for Good Manufacturing Practices for Hearing Aids; Public Workshop; Request for Comments AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public workshop; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the following public workshop entitled “Streamlining Regulations for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) for Hearing Aids.” The topic to be discussed is the appropriate level of good manufacturing practices (GMPs) regulation to ensure the safety and effectiveness of air-conduction hearing aid devices.

    DATES:

    The public workshop will be held on April 21, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Submit either electronic or written comments on the public workshop by May 19, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The public workshop will be held at FDA's White Oak Campus, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 31 Conference Center, the Great Room (Rm. 1503), Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002. Entrance for the public meeting participants (non-FDA employees) is through Building 1 where routine security check procedures will be performed. For parking and security information, please refer to http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/WorkingatFDA/BuildingsandFacilities/WhiteOakCampusInformation/ucm241740.htm.

    You may submit comments as follows:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to http://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Division of Dockets Management, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2015-N-4602 for “Streamlining Regulations for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) for Hearing Aids.” Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on http://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Division of Dockets Management. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/dockets/default.htm.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Srinivas Nandkumar, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Bldg. 66, Rm. 2436, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20993, 301-796-6480, FAX: 301-847-8126, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    Over 35 million people in the United States have some degree of hearing loss. However, it is estimated that only 20 percent of individuals who could benefit from hearing aids are using them. There are several well-recognized reasons or “barriers” causing underuse of hearing aids, including the high cost of these devices, the stigma associated with hearing aid use, and the fact that hearing aids do not restore hearing to normal the way that eyeglasses can correct visual problems. On October 26, 2015, the President's Council on Science and Technology (PCAST) issued a report in recognition of the substantial national public health problem of barriers to accessibility and affordability of hearing aids for Americans with “normal, age-related, progressive, mild-to-moderate hearing loss” and the underuse of these devices in the older American population. The report includes a number of recommendations regarding possible modifications to Federal Regulation of hearing aids by FDA and the Federal Trade Commission, which PCAST believes could “enhance the pace of innovation and level of competition, leading to rapid decrease in cost and improvement in capability, convenience, and use of assistive hearing devices” (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/PCAST/pcast_hearing_tech_letterreport_final2.pdf). Among these recommendations, PCAST recommended FDA exempt hearing aids indicated for bilateral, gradual onset, mild-to-moderate age-related hearing loss from the Quality System Regulation (QSReg) in its present form and “substitute compliance with standards for product quality and recordkeeping appropriate for the consumer electronics industry, developed by an appropriate third-party organization and approved by FDA.”

    II. Topics for Discussion at the Public Workshop

    In response to PCAST's recommendations outlined in this document, the workshop will discuss the current GMPs that are required under the QSReg and gather suggestions for an alternative model for quality verification. Invited speakers will discuss how the current regulations may be unsuitable for air-conduction hearing aids and may hinder innovation, reduce competition, and lead to increased cost and reduced use of these devices by Americans with age-related hearing loss. Additionally, the potential exemption of hearing aids from the QSReg, through use of alternative standards developed in collaboration with key stakeholders and standards development organizations, and recognized by FDA and recordkeeping to ensure product quality, will be discussed.

    Registration: Registration is free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Persons interested in attending this public workshop must register online by 4 p.m. on April 13, 2016. Early registration is recommended because facilities are limited and, therefore, FDA may limit the number of participants from each organization. If time and space permits, onsite registration on the day of the public workshop will be provided beginning at 7:30 a.m.

    If you need special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Susan Monahan, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Office of Communication and Education, 301-796-5661, [email protected] no later than April 7, 2016.

    To register for the public workshop, please visit FDA's Medical Devices News & Events—Workshops & Conferences calendar at http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/NewsEvents/WorkshopsConferences/default.htm. (Select this meeting/public workshop from the posted events list.) Please provide complete contact information for each attendee, including name, title, affiliation, email, and telephone number. Those without Internet access should contact Susan Monahan (contact for special accommodations) to register. Registrants will receive confirmation after they have been accepted. You will be notified if you are on a waiting list.

    Streaming Webcast of the Public Workshop: This public workshop will also be Webcast. The Webcast link will be available on the workshop Web page after April 14, 2016. Please visit FDA's Medical Devices News & Events—Workshops & Conferences calendar at http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/NewsEvents/WorkshopsConferences/default.htm. (Select this public workshop from the posted events list.) If you have never attended a Connect Pro event before, test your connection at https://collaboration.fda.gov/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm. To get a quick overview of the Connect Pro program, visit http://www.adobe.com/go/connectpro_overview. FDA has verified the Web site addresses in this document, as of the date this document publishes in the Federal Register, but Web sites are subject to change over time.

    Requests for Oral Presentations: This public workshop includes a public comment session and topic-focused sessions. During online registration, you may indicate if you wish to present during a public comment session or participate in a specific session, and which topics you wish to address. FDA has included general topics in this document. FDA will do its best to accommodate requests to make public comments. Individuals and organizations with common interests are urged to consolidate or coordinate their presentations, and request time for a joint presentation, or submit requests for designated representatives to participate in the focused sessions. Following the close of registration, FDA will determine the amount of time allotted to each presenter and the approximate time each oral presentation is to begin, and will select and notify participants by April 15, 2016. All requests to make oral presentations must be received by the close of registration on April 13, 2016, 4 p.m. If selected for presentation, any presentation materials must be emailed to Srinivas Nandkumar (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) no later than April 19, 2016. No commercial or promotional material will be permitted to be presented or distributed at the public workshop.

    FDA is holding this public workshop to obtain information on the appropriate level of good manufacturing practices for hearing aids. In order to permit the widest possible opportunity to obtain public comment, FDA is soliciting either electronic or written comments on all aspects of the public workshop topics. The deadline for submitting comments related to this public workshop is May 19, 2016.

    Transcripts: Please be advised that as soon as a transcript is available, it will be accessible at http://www.regulations.gov. It may be viewed at the Division of Dockets Management (see ADDRESSES). A transcript will also be available in either hardcopy or on CD-ROM, after submission of a Freedom of Information request. The Freedom of Information office address is available on the Agency's Web site at http://www.fda.gov. A link to the transcripts will also be available approximately 45 days after the public workshop on the Internet at http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/NewsEvents/WorkshopsConferences/default.htm. (Select this meeting/public workshop from the posted events list.)

    Dated: December 31, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00065 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2013-D-1295] Regulatory Requirements for Hearing Aid Devices and Personal Sound Amplification Products; Draft Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff; Reopening of the Comment Period AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice; reopening of the comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is reopening the comment period for the draft guidance entitled “Regulatory Requirements for Hearing Aid Devices and Personal Sound Amplification Products.” A notice of availability requesting comments on the draft guidance document appeared in the Federal Register of November 7, 2013. The Agency is reopening the comment period to receive updated comments and any new information.

    DATES:

    Although you can comment on any guidance at any time (see 21 CFR 10.115(g)(5)), to ensure that the Agency considers your comment of this draft guidance before it begins work on the final version of the guidance, submit either electronic or written comments on the draft guidance by May 6, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments as follows:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to http://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Division of Dockets Management, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2013-D-1295 for “Regulatory Requirements for Hearing Aid Devices and Personal Sound Amplification Products” draft guidance. Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on http://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Division of Dockets Management. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/dockets/default.htm.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    An electronic copy of the draft guidance document is available for download from the Internet. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for information on electronic access to the draft guidance. Submit written requests for a single hard copy of the draft guidance document entitled “Regulatory Requirements for Hearing Aid Devices and Personal Sound Amplification Products” to the Office of the Center Director, Guidance and Policy Development, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 5431, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002. Send one self-addressed adhesive label to assist that office in processing your request.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Eric Mann, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 2438, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-6460.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    In the Federal Register of November 7, 2013 (78 FR 66940), FDA published a notice of availability with a 90-day comment period to request comments on the draft guidance entitled “Regulatory Requirements for Hearing Aid Devices and Personal Sound Amplification Products.”

    Since issuance of the November 7, 2013, draft guidance entitled “Regulatory Requirements for Hearing Aid Devices and Personal Sound Amplification Products,” FDA has become aware of other efforts by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) regarding hearing aids and personal sound amplification products (PSAP). In order to allow FDA and other interested parties to consider the PCAST recommendations and information presented and discussed during the recent public IOM meetings on this issue, FDA is reopening the comment period. This will further allow FDA to ensure consistent interpretation, consistent application of relevant regulatory requirements, and adequate protection of the public health.

    FDA is reopening the comment period for 120 days. The Agency believes that a 120-day extension allows adequate time for interested parties to submit comments without significantly delaying finalizing the draft guidance on these important issues.

    II. Other Issues for Consideration

    FDA is soliciting comments on the availability, accessibility, and use of hearing aids and PSAPs for consumers with hearing impairment. Further, FDA requests interested parties to comment on the key issues and recommendations identified in the PCAST reporting, including: (1) The degree to which current FDA regulatory requirements may be acting as a barrier to hearing aid accessibility, affordability, and use of hearing aids; (2) the appropriateness of creating a “basic” category of hearing aids for consumers with “bilateral, gradual onset, mild-to-moderate age-related hearing loss” with appropriate labeling for over-the-counter sale; and (3) whether the benefits of expanded, over-the-counter access to hearing aids in this age-related hearing loss population outweigh the risks of forgoing the condition for sale (that the consumer may waive) that requires a medical evaluation to rule out treatable, potentially progressive causes of hearing loss.

    III. Electronic Access

    Persons interested in obtaining a copy of the draft guidance may do so by downloading an electronic copy from the Internet. A search capability for all Center for Devices and Radiological Health guidance documents is available at http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/GuidanceDocuments/default.htm. Guidance documents are also available at http://www.regulations.gov. Persons unable to download an electronic copy of “Regulatory Requirements for Hearing Aid Devices and Personal Sound Amplification Products” may send an email request to [email protected] to receive an electronic copy of the document. Please use the document number1832 to identify the guidance you are requesting.

    IV. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This draft guidance refers to previously approved collections of information found in FDA regulations. These collections of information are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information in 21 CFR part 801 have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0485, and the collections of information in 21 CFR part 807 subpart E have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0120.

    Dated: December 31, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00066 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection Notice of Issuance of Final Determination Concerning Certain Intermodal Containers AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of final determination.

    SUMMARY:

    This document provides notice that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has issued a final determination concerning the country of origin of certain intermodal containers. Based upon the facts presented, CBP has concluded that the country of origin of the intermodal containers is the country of origin of the imported panels for purposes of U.S. Government procurement.

    DATES:

    The final determination was issued on December 23, 2015. A copy of the final determination is attached. Any party-at-interest, as defined in 19 CFR 177.22(d), may seek judicial review of this final determination within February 8, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Teresa M. Frazier, Valuation and Special Programs Branch, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade (202) 325-0139.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given that on December 23, 2015, pursuant to subpart B of Part 177, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Regulations (19 CFR part 177, subpart B), CBP issued a final determination concerning the country of origin of certain intermodal containers, which may be offered to the U.S. Government under an undesignated government procurement contract. This final determination, HQ H267876, was issued under procedures set forth at 19 CFR part 177, subpart B, which implements Title III of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2511-18). In the final determination, CBP concluded that the processing in the United States does not result in a substantial transformation. Therefore, the country of origin of the intermodal containers is the country of origin of the imported panels for purposes of U.S. Government procurement for purposes of U.S. Government procurement.

    Section 177.29, CBP Regulations (19 CFR 177.29), provides that a notice of final determination shall be published in the Federal Register within 60 days of the date the final determination is issued. Section 177.30, CBP Regulations (19 CFR 177.30), provides that any party-at-interest, as defined in 19 CFR 177.22(d), may seek judicial review of a final determination within 30 days of publication of such determination in the Federal Register.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Myles B. Harmon, Acting Executive Director, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade. H267876 OT:RR:CTF:VS H267876 TMF CATEGORY: Country of Origin Michael G. McManus Duane Morris LLP 505 9th Street, N. W., Suite 1000 Washington, DC 20004-2166 Re: U.S. Government Procurement; Title III, Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (19 U.S.C. 2511); Substantial Transformation; Intermodal Shipping Containers Dear Mr. McManus:

    This is in response to your correspondence of July 29, 2015, supplemented by your letter of September 30, 2015, requesting a final determination on behalf of Sea Box, Inc. (“Sea Box”), pursuant to subpart B of part 177, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP” Regulations (19 CFR 177.21 et seq.). Under pertinent regulations, which implement Title II of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2511 et seq.), CBP issues country of origin advisory rulings and final determinations as to whether an article is, or would be a product of a designated country or instrumentality for the purpose of granting waivers of certain “Buy American” restrictions in U.S. law or practice for products offered for sale to the U.S. Government.

    This final determination concerns the country of origin of Sea Box shipping containers. We note that Sea Box, Inc. is a party-at-interest within the meaning of 19 CFR 177.22(d)(1) and is entitled to request this final determination. A meeting was held November 4, 2015.

    FACTS:

    You state that the subject containers are made in various sizes: 20 foot long; Bicon; Tricon and Quadcon. The 20′ shipping container is considered to be a standard unit in the shipping industry.

    1. Twenty Foot Shipping Containers

    You state that a 20 foot ISO 1 -compliant container has the following external measurements:

    1 International Organization for Standardization set standard sizes and manufacturing specifications for all containers.

    19′ 10.5″ in length with a tolerance of +0, −1/4 of an inch; 8.0′ in width with a tolerance of +0, −3/16 of an inch; 8.0′ in height with a tolerance of +0, −3/16 of an inch. The internal dimensions are: 19′4 11/64″ (L); 7′8 17/32″ (W); 7′4 3/16″ (H). The 20 foot container is comprised of corrugated steel sides and roofing which gives it a favorable strength to weight ratio; two sets of forklift “pockets” that permit forklifts to lift and move laden or unladen containers; wooden flooring tested to withstand 16,000 lbs. per square foot (144 square inches); 24 top and bottom wall tie down steel lashing rings each having a capacity of 4,000 lbs.; and two vents. The twenty foot containers weigh 5,000 lbs. each and can accommodate a payload of 47,910 lbs.

    2. Bicons

    You state that a Bicon is a shipping container that is approximately half the size of a 20 foot container and manufactured to precise dimensions such that when two are linked together by connecting couplers, they form a 20 foot equivalent unit (“TEU”) and may be transported as if the combination were a single 20 foot container. The ISO-compliant Bicon container has the following external dimensions: 9′9 3/4″ in length with a tolerance of +0, −3/16 of an inch; 8.0′ in width with a tolerance of +0, −3/16 of an inch; 8.0′ in height with a tolerance of +0, −3/16 of an inch. The internal dimensions are: 9′3 1/2″ (L); 7′8 17/32″ (W); 7′4 3/16″ (H). You state that the Bicon has similar features to the 20 foot unit, except that the Bicon only has one set of forklift “pockets” and uses several tie down steel lashings. You state that the Bicon has a weight of 2,900 lbs. and can accommodate a payload of 23,555 lbs., and has a storage capacity of 527 cubic feet.

    3. Tricons

    You state that a Tricon is approximately one-third the size of a 20 foot container and that it is manufactured to precise dimensions such that when three Tricons are linked together by connecting couplers, a TEU is formed and may be transported as if the combination was a single 20 foot container. The ISO-compliant Tricon container has the following external dimensions: 6′5 9/16″ in length with a tolerance of +0, −3/16 of an inch; 8.0′ in width with a tolerance of +0, −3/16 of an inch; 8.0′ in height with a tolerance of +0, −3/16 of an inch. The internal dimensions are: 6′3 25/64″ (L); 7′7 22/32″ (W); 7′5 9/64″ (H). You state that the Tricon has similar features to the 20 foot unit and the Bicon, except that instead of a wooden flooring, the Tricon has heavy duty steel flooring. You state the Tricon has a weight of 2,600 lbs. each laden and may accommodate a payload of 13,300 lbs., and has a storage capacity of 356 cubic feet.

    4. Quadcons

    You state that a Quadcon is approximately one-fourth the size of a twenty foot container and that it is manufactured to precise dimension such that when four Quadcons are linked together by connecting couplers, a TEU is formed and may be transported as if the combination were a single 20 foot container. The ISO-compliant Quadcon container has the following external dimensions: 4′9 7/16″ in length with a tolerance of +0, −3/16 of an inch; 8.0′ in width with a tolerance of +0, −3/16 of an inch; 8.0′ in height with a tolerance of +0, −3/16 of an inch. The internal dimensions are: 4′7 3/4″ (L); 7′6 9/16″ (W); 7′5″ (H). You state that the Quadcon has similar features to the Tricon, except that it also has swing doors on both sides for convenient access. You state the Quadcon has a weight of 2,300 lbs. each unladed and may accommodate a payload of 8,900 lbs., and has a storage capacity of 260 cubic feet.

    Manufacturing Process

    In your submission, you described Sea Box's manufacturing facilities to include a separate, free-standing, testing center with equipment capable of testing containers for ISO compliance to 1.8 times the maximum required load (which is equivalent to 846,720 lbs.). You advise that the manufacturing process requires the manipulation of large components to form a structurally sound container to its precise size in accordance with ISO specifications, allowing containers to be capable of transport by rail, truck and ship with uniform fitting on preexisting truck and rail support structures. You provided a list of the 43 components of the containers. We note that that the front wall panel, side wall panel, right-hand door, right-hand door gasket, left-hand door gasket, roof panel, floor panel, lashing rings, front corner post tie downs, and corner blocks, all originate from one foreign country. Connecting couplers, hand assembly restraint bar, tie-back, rivets nuts and bolts, hinges, amongst other components, originate from the U.S. You indicate that by using grinders and/or cutting wheels, the components are ground to bare steel where welding is required. Specifically, the floor sections, wall section, front and rear-end sections, and roof section are ground to bare steel where welding is required. Next, the components are loaded into the Jig and once the dimensional tolerances are verified and adjusted, the components are tacked and stich-welded together, vertical seams are welded, and all outside components are fully welded. If required, roof corner plates and floor gussets are welded, and door tieback hooks are welded. Next, pilot holes are drilled into the floor and steel cross-members and doors are secured. The container is then moved to the blast booth for painting with primer and a top coat. You indicate that the particular steel that is used in the roof and sides is not available in the U.S.

    You state that the containers must be capable of being stacked up to nine units high, with the base of a stack strong enough to support 470,400 static lbs. above a container (8 containers x 58,800 lbs. per container). You also state the container must be able to support a dynamic load taking into account a vessel's motion in conformity with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). You also advise that the containers must be CSC 2 certified at a CSC certified, manufacturer's facility that is preapproved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

    2 International Container Safety Convention concerning testing, inspection, approval and maintenance of shipping containers.

    ISSUE:

    Whether the intermodal containers are considered to be products of the United States for U.S. Government procurement purposes.

    LAW AND ANALYSIS:

    Pursuant to Subpart B of Part 177, 19 CFR 177.21 et seq., which implements Title III of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2511 et seq.), CBP issues country-of-origin advisory rulings and final determinations as to whether an article is a product of a designated country for the purpose of granting waivers of certain “Buy American” restrictions on U.S. Government procurement.

    In rendering final determinations for purposes of U.S. Government procurement, CBP applies the provisions of Subpart B of Part 177 consistent with the Federal Procurement Regulations. See 19 CFR 177.21. In this regard, CBP recognizes that the Federal Acquisition Regulations restrict the U.S. Government's purchase of products to U.S.-made or designated country end products for acquisitions subject to the Trade Agreements Act. See 48 CFR 25.403(c)(1). The Federal Acquisition Regulations define “U.S.-made end product” as “an article that is mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States or that is substantially transformed in the United States into a new and different article of commerce with name, character, or use distinct from that of the article or articles from which it was transformed.” See 48 C.F.R 25.003.

    An article is a product of a country or instrumentality only if (i) it is wholly the growth, product, or manufacture of that country or instrumentality, or (ii) in the case of an article which consists in whole or in part of materials from another country or instrumentality, it has been substantially transformed into a new and different article of commerce with a name, character, or use distinct from that of the article or articles from which it was so transformed. See also 19 CFR 177.22(a).

    In order to determine whether a substantial transformation occurs when components of various origins are assembled into completed products, CBP considers the totality of the circumstances and makes such determinations on a case-by-case basis. The country of origin of the item's components, extent of the processing that occurs within a country, and whether such processing renders a product with a new name, character, and use are primary considerations in such cases. Additionally, factors such as the resources expended on product design and development, the extent and nature of post-assembly inspection and testing procedures, and worker skill required during the actual manufacturing process will be considered when determining whether a substantial transformation has occurred. No one factor is determinative.

    Substantial transformation occurs when an article emerges from a process with a new name, character or use different from that possessed by the article prior to processing. A substantial transformation will not result from a minor manufacturing or combining process that leaves the identity of the article intact. See United States v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (1940). In determining whether the combining of parts or materials constitutes a substantial transformation, the determinative issue is the extent of operations performed and whether the parts lose their identity and become an integral part of the new article. See Belcrest Linens v. United States, 6 Ct. Int'l Trade 204, 573 F. Supp. 1149 (1983), aff'd, 741 F.2d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 1984).

    In Uniroyal, Inc. v. United States, the Court of International Trade held that no substantial transformation occurred because the attachment of a footwear upper from Indonesia to its outsole in the United States was a minor manufacturing or combining process which left the identity of the upper intact. Uniroyal, Inc. v. United States, 3 CIT 220, 224, 542 F. Supp. 1026, 1029 (1982), aff'd, 702 F.2d 1022 (Fed. Cir. 1983). The court found that the upper was readily recognizable as a distinct item apart from the outsole to which it was attached, it did not lose its identity in the manufacture of the finished shoe in the United States, and the upper did not undergo a physical change or a change in use. Also, under Uniroyal, the change in name from “upper” to “shoe” was not significant. The court concluded that the upper was the essence of the completed shoe, and was not substantially transformed.

    In National Hand Tool Corp. v. United States, 16 CIT 308 (1992), aff'd, 989 F.2d 1201 (Fed. Cir. 1993), the court considered sockets and flex handles which were either cold formed or hot forged into their final shape prior to importation, speeder handles which were reshaped by a power press after importation, and the grip of flex handles which were knurled in the U.S. The imported articles were heat treated, cleaned by sandblasting, tumbling, and/or chemical vibration before being electroplated. In certain instances, various components were assembled together which the court stated required some skill and dexterity. The court determined that the imported articles were not substantially transformed and that they remained products of Taiwan. In making its determination, the court focused on the fact that the components had been cold formed or hot forged “into their final shape before importation”, and that “the form of the components remained the same” after the assembly and heat treatment processes performed in the U.S.

    It is your position that the country of origin of the intermodal containers is the U.S. because your client's operations are “plainly complex and meaningful” in that every component loses its identity and becomes an integral part of the shipping container. You state that this process is more complex than processes found to effect a substantial transformation in certain past rulings, and you cite to Headquarters Ruling Letters (HQ) H248850, dated November 7, 2014; H259326, dated April 13, 2015; H192144, dated October 22, 2014; and H251592, dated June 24, 2014. You also state that the large scale industrial process that is employed to manipulate components weighing hundreds to thousands of pounds to manufacture a shipping container to narrow tolerances is surely a “complex operation requiring skilled workers.” You also advise that this “large scale industrial” manufacturing process requires skilled labor, special equipment, facilities, labor resources and in-process quality assurance techniques and precision subject to ISO specifications and rigorous CSC certification. You argue that the strict dimensional tolerances that are required for safety and to assure compliance with ISO and CSC standards for use in international commerce makes the process precise, expensive, complex and meaningful. We reviewed your submission and note that although the large scale assembly requires skilled labor for safety and compliance with certain ISO and CSC certification requirements, this does not result in a substantial transformation of the non-U.S. components. Rather, the container assembly is distinguishable from the aforementioned cases where CBP found substantial transformation.

    In H259326, the exoskeleton assistive walking device assembly consisted of hundreds of parts sourced from U.S. manufacturers, with the exception of three parts, all of which were assembled in the U.S. In H259326, CBP found the inclusion of the two of the three non-U.S. parts (a heat diffuser/shield, foot straps/binding) would be permanently attached to the finished devices such that they would “lose their separate identities and be subsumed into the finished exoskeleton,” thereby resulting in a substantial transformation when used in the manufacturer of the finished exoskeleton. However, in this case, the foreign-origin front, side and roof and floor panels are not subsumed into a complex device.

    Further, there is not complex assembly of the container like in H248850, dated November 7, 2014, in which CBP found a substantial transformation involving U.S. patented operations which consisted of bending of the HEX; brazing of various connections; and installing a control box which contained U.S. developed software. With the intermodal containers, although skilled workers are required to ensure safety and accuracy in accordance with ISO and CSC requirements, the grinding, welding and assembly processes essentially do not change the predetermined use of the panels, all of which originate from one foreign country. In regard to H251592, CBP determined that certain AIO cartridges assembled with toner powder from Japan, a cleaning unit from Thailand, and a development unit from China, were substantially transformed because the toner powder was found to be the most critical element of the AIO cartridge. As in Uniroyal, the essential character of the container is imparted by the foreign-origin roof, side and bottom panels, which, like National Handtool, are already formed in the final shape prior to importation. In H192144, CBP found imported coated, optical lenses underwent a double substantial transformation in a beneficiary country to meet the 35 percent value-content GSP requirement, which is not at issue here. Therefore, we do not find a substantial transformation in the manufacture of the subject intermodal containers.

    HOLDING:

    Based upon the specific facts of this case, we find that the imported panels are not substantially transformed as a result of the described operations performed in the United States. The country of origin of the intermodal containers for purposes of U.S. Government procurement is imparted by the roof, side and floor panels, which are of non-U.S. origin.

    Notice of this final determination will be given in the Federal Register, as required by 19 CFR 177.29. Any party-at-interest other than the party which requested this final determination may request, pursuant to 19 CFR 177.31, that CBP reexamine the matter anew and issue a new final determination. Pursuant to 19 CFR 177.30, any party-at-interest may, within 30 days of publication of the Federal Register Notice referenced above, seek judicial review of this final determination before the Court of International Trade.

    Sincerely, Myles B. Harmon, Acting Executive Director Regulations & Rulings Office of International Trade
    [FR Doc. 2015-33244 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY [Docket No. DHS-2015-0069] Meeting: Homeland Security Advisory Council AGENCY:

    The Office of Public Engagement, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of partially closed Federal Advisory Committee meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Homeland Security Advisory Council (“Council”) will meet in person on January 21, 2016. Members of the public may participate in person. The meeting will be partially closed to the public.

    DATES:

    The Council will meet Thursday, January 21, 2016, from 10:10 a.m. to 4:35 p.m. EST. The meeting will be open to the public from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST. Please note the meeting may close early if the Council has completed its business. The meeting will be closed to the public from 10:10 a.m. to 1:25 p.m. EST and 3:05 p.m. to 4:35 p.m. EST.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (“Wilson Center”), located at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20004. All visitors will be processed through the lobby of the Wilson Center. Written public comments prior to the meeting must be received by 5:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 18, 2016, and must be identified by Docket No. DHS-2015-0069. Written public comments after the meeting must be identified by Docket No. DHS-2015-0069 and may be submitted by one of the following methods:

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

    Email: [email protected] Include Docket No. DHS-2015-0069 in the subject line of the message.

    Fax: (202) 282-9207

    Mail: Homeland Security Advisory Council, Attention Mike Miron, Department of Homeland Security, Mailstop 0445, 245 Murray Lane SW., Washington, DC 20528.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the words “Department of Homeland Security” and “DHS-2015-0069,” the docket number for this action. Comments received will be posted without alteration at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read comments received by the Council, go to http://www.regulations.gov, search “DHS-2015-0069,” “Open Docket Folder” and provide your comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mike Miron at [email protected] or at (202) 447-3135.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice of this meeting is given under Section 10(a) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), Public Law 92-463 (5 U.S.C. Appendix), which requires each FACA committee meeting to be open to the public.

    The Council provides organizationally independent, strategic, timely, specific, actionable advice and recommendations to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on matters related to homeland security. The Council is comprised of leaders of local law enforcement, first responders, state and local government, the private sector, and academia.

    The Council will meet in an open session between 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. EST. The Council will swear in new members, receive reports from the CBP Integrity Advisory Panel and the DHS Grant Review Task Force, and receive verbal progress reports from the Cybersecurity Subcommittee and the Countering Violent Extremism Subcommittee.

    The Council will meet in a closed session from 10:10 a.m. to 1:25 p.m. and 3:05 p.m. to 4:35 p.m. EST to receive sensitive operational counterterrorism information from senior officials and information on current threats and security measures from the Cybersecurity Subcommittee and Countering Violent Extremism Subcommittee leadership.

    Basis for Partial Closure: In accordance with Section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has determined this meeting requires partial closure. The disclosure of the information relayed would be detrimental to the public interest for the following reasons:

    The Council will receive closed session briefings from senior officials and both the Cybersecurity Subcommittee and Countering Violent Extremism Subcommittees. The Council will receive operational counterterrorism updates on the current threat environment and security measures associated with countering such threats. The session is closed under 5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(7)(E) because disclosure of that information could reveal investigative techniques and procedures not generally available to the public, allowing terrorists and those with interests against the United States to circumvent the law and thwart the Department's strategic initiatives. These briefings will concern matters sensitive to homeland security within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(7)(E)and 552b(c)(9)(B). The session is closed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(9)(B) because disclosure of these techniques and procedures could frustrate the successful implementation of protective measures designed to keep our country safe.

    Participation: Members of the public will have until 5 p.m. EST on Monday, January 18, 2016, to register to attend the Council meeting on January 21, 2016. Due to limited availability of seating, admittance will be on a first-come first-serve basis. Participants interested in attending the meeting can contact Mike Miron at [email protected] or (202) 447-3135. You are required to provide your full legal name, date of birth, and company/agency affiliation. The public may access the facility via public transportation or use the public parking garages located near the Wilson Center. Wilson Center directions can be found at: http://wilsoncenter.org/directions. Members of the public will meet at 1:00 p.m. EST at the Wilson Center's main entrance for sign in and escorting to the meeting room for the public session. Late arrivals after 1:45 p.m. EST will not be permitted access to the facility.

    Facility Access: You are required to present a valid original government issued ID, to include a State Driver's License or Non-Driver's Identification Card, U.S. Government Common Access Card (CAC), Military Identification Card or Person Identification Verification Card; U.S. Passport, U.S. Border Crossing Card, Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Card; or Native American Tribal Document.

    Information of Services for Individuals with Disabilities: For information on facilities or services for individuals with disabilities, or to request special assistance at the meeting, contact Mike Miron at [email protected] or (202) 447-3135 as soon as possible.

    Dated: December 31, 2015. Sarah E. Morgenthau, Executive Director, Homeland Security Advisory Council, DHS.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00041 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-9M-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [OMB Control Number 1615-0013] Agency Information Collection Activities: Application for Travel Document, Form I-131; Revision of a Currently Approved Collection AGENCY:

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    60-Day Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment upon this proposed revision of a currently approved collection of information. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, the information collection notice is published in the Federal Register to obtain comments regarding the nature of the information collection, the categories of respondents, the estimated burden (i.e. the time, effort, and resources used by the respondents to respond), the estimated cost to the respondent, and the actual information collection instruments.

    DATES:

    Comments are encouraged and will be accepted for 60 days until March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    All submissions received must include the OMB Control Number 1615-0013 in the subject box, the agency name and Docket ID USCIS-2007-0045. To avoid duplicate submissions, please use only one of the following methods to submit comments:

    (1) Online. Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site at http://www.regulations.gov under e-Docket ID number USCIS-2007-0045;

    (2) Email. Submit comments to [email protected];

    (3) Mail. Submit written comments to DHS, USCIS, Office of Policy and Strategy, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2140.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    USCIS, Office of Policy and Strategy, Regulatory Coordination Division, Samantha Deshommes, Deputy Chief, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2140, telephone number 202-272-8377 (This is not a toll-free number. Comments are not accepted via telephone message). Please note contact information provided here is solely for questions regarding this notice. It is not for individual case status inquiries. Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check Case Status Online, available at the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments

    You may access the information collection instrument with instructions, or additional information by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal site at: http://www.regulations.gov and enter USCIS-2007-0045 in the search box. 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 consider limiting the amount of personal information that you provide in any voluntary submission you make to DHS. DHS may withhold information provided in comments from public viewing that it determines may impact the privacy of an individual or is offensive. For additional information, please read the Privacy Act notice that is available via the link in the footer of http://www.regulations.gov.

    Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies should address one or more of the following four points:

    (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, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, 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.

    Overview of This Information Collection

    (1) Type of Information Collection: Revision of a Currently Approved Collection.

    (2) Title of the Form/Collection: Application for Travel Document.

    (3) Agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the DHS sponsoring the collection: Form I-131; USCIS.

    (4) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond, as well as a brief abstract: Primary: Individuals or households. Certain aliens, principally permanent or conditional residents, refugees or asylees, applicants for adjustment of status, aliens in Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and aliens abroad seeking humanitarian parole, in need to apply for a travel document to lawfully enter or reenter the United States; eligible recipients of deferred action under childhood arrivals (DACA) may now request an advance parole documents based on humanitarian, educational and employment reasons. Lawful permanent residents may now file requests for travel permits (transportation letter or boarding foil.

    (5) An estimate of the total number of respondents and the amount of time estimated for an average respondent to respond: The estimated total number of respondents for the information collection I-131 is 501,590 and the estimated hour burden per response is 2 hours; 78,165 respondents providing biometrics at 1.17 hours; and 300,233 respondents providing passport-style photographs at .50 hours.

    (6) An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associated with the collection: The total estimated annual hour burden associated with this collection is 1,194,591 hours.

    (7) An estimate of the total public burden (in cost) associated with the collection: The estimated total annual cost burden associated with this collection of information is $150,469,790.

    Dated: January 4, 2016. Samantha Deshommes, Deputy Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00082 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-97-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [Docket No. FWS-HQ-IA-2015-0181; FXIA16710900000-156-FF09A30000] Endangered Species; Marine Mammals; Receipt of Applications for Permit AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of receipt of applications for permit.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, invite the public to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species, marine mammals, or both. With some exceptions, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) prohibit activities with listed species unless Federal authorization is acquired that allows such activities.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments or requests for documents on or before February 8, 2016. We must receive requests for marine mammal permit public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submitting Comments: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-HQ-IA-2015-0181.

    U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-HQ-IA-2015-0181; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

    When submitting comments, please indicate the name of the applicant and the PRT# you are commenting on. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section below for more information). Viewing Comments: Comments and materials we receive will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Management Authority, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; telephone 703-358-2095.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Brenda Tapia, (703) 358-2104 (telephone); (703) 358-2281 (fax); [email protected] (email).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Public Comment Procedures A. How do I request copies of applications or comment on submitted applications?

    Send your request for copies of applications or comments and materials concerning any of the applications to the contact listed under ADDRESSES. Please include the Federal Register notice publication date, the PRT-number, and the name of the applicant in your request or submission. We will not consider requests or comments sent to an email or address not listed under ADDRESSES. If you provide an email address in your request for copies of applications, we will attempt to respond to your request electronically.

    Please make your requests or comments as specific as possible. Please confine your comments to issues for which we seek comments in this notice, and explain the basis for your comments. Include sufficient information with your comments to allow us to authenticate any scientific or commercial data you include.

    The comments and recommendations that will be most useful and likely to influence agency decisions are: (1) Those supported by quantitative information or studies; and (2) Those that include citations to, and analyses of, the applicable laws and regulations. We will not consider or include in our administrative record comments we receive after the close of the comment period (see DATES) or comments delivered to an address other than those listed above (see ADDRESSES).

    B. May I review comments submitted by others?

    Comments, including names and street addresses of respondents, will be available for public review at the street address listed under ADDRESSES. The public may review documents and other information applicants have sent in support of the application unless our allowing viewing would violate the Privacy Act or Freedom of Information Act. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    II. Background

    To help us carry out our conservation responsibilities for affected species, and in consideration of section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), along with Executive Order 13576, “Delivering an Efficient, Effective, and Accountable Government,” and the President's Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies of January 21, 2009—Transparency and Open Government (74 FR 4685; January 26, 2009), which call on all Federal agencies to promote openness and transparency in Government by disclosing information to the public, we invite public comment on these permit applications before final action is taken. Under the MMPA, you may request a hearing on any MMPA application received. If you request a hearing, give specific reasons why a hearing would be appropriate. The holding of such a hearing is at the discretion of the Service Director.

    III. Permit Applications A. Endangered Species Applicant: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; PRT-10836A

    The applicant requests a renewal of their permit to obtain through interstate commerce fibroblast cell culture samples from bonobos (Pan paniscus), chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), gorillas (Gorilla gorilla), orangutans (Pongo spp.), gibbons (Hylobatidae), lemurs (Lemuridae), spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi frontatus and A. g. panamensis), Goeldi's marmoset (Callimico goeldii), red-capped mangabey (Cercocebus torquatus), L'Hoest's monkey (Cercopithecus lhoesti), aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis), lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx), drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus), proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), and Northern Plains gray langur (Semnopithecus entellus) and Francois' langur (Trachypithecus francoisi), and cottontop tamarin (Saguinus oedipus) from Coriell Institute, Camden, New Jersey, for the purpose of scientific research. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a 5-year period.

    Applicant: University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM; PRT-084874

    The applicant requests the renewal of the permit to export/re-export and re-import non-living museum specimens and non-living herbarium specimens of endangered and threatened species previously accessioned into the applicant's collection for scientific research. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a 5-year period.

    Applicant: Molecular Anthropology Laboratory, ASU, Tempe, AZ; PRT-094332

    The applicant requests a permit to import biological samples from common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) for the purpose of the survival of the species/scientific research. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a 5-year period.

    B. Endangered Marine Mammals and Marine Mammals Applicant: Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science, Seward, AK; PRT-73418B

    The applicant requests authorization to rescue, rehabilitate, and release northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) and walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) that are stranded along the Alaskan coast for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA and as per section 109(h)/112(c) of the MMPA. The request also includes authorization to humanely euthanize animals, such as when they are too ill or injured to recover, for the protection or welfare of the animals. This request is for a continuation of activities previously authorized under MA-837414. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a 5-year period.

    Concurrent with publishing this notice in the Federal Register, we are forwarding copies of the above applications to the Marine Mammal Commission and the Committee of Scientific Advisors for their review.

    Brenda Tapia, Program Analyst/Data Administrator, Branch of Permits, Division of Management Authority.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00032 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLNVS00560 L58530000 EU0000 241A; 14-08807; MO# 4500087351] Notice of Realty Action: Competitive Sale of 39 Parcels of Public Land in Clark County, NV AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposes to offer 39 parcels of public land totaling 608.57 acres in the Las Vegas Valley by competitive sale, at not less than the appraised fair market values (FMV). The BLM is proposing to offer the parcels for sale pursuant to the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1998 (SNPLMA), as amended. The sale will be subject to the applicable provisions of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) and BLM land sale regulations.

    DATES:

    Interested parties may submit written comments regarding the sale until February 22, 2016. The sale by sealed bid and oral public auction will occur on April 26, 2016, at Clark County Government Center, Clark County Commission Chambers, 500 South Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas, Nevada, NV 89155 at 10 a.m., Pacific Time (PT). The FMV for the parcels will be available 30 days prior to the sale. The BLM will start accepting sealed bids beginning April 12, 2016. Sealed bids must be received by the BLM, Las Vegas Field Office (LVFO) no later than 4:30 p.m. PT on April 21, 2016.

    The BLM will open sealed bids on the day of the sale just prior to the oral bidding.

    ADDRESSES:

    Mail written comments and submit sealed bids to the BLM LVFO, Assistant Field Manager, 4701 North Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89130.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Manuela Johnson by email: [email protected], or by telephone: 702-515-5224. General information on previous BLM public land sales can be found at: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/snplma/Land_Auctions.html. 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 BLM proposes to offer 39 parcels of public land in the southwest and southeast areas of the Las Vegas Valley. The subject public lands are legally described as:

    Mount Diablo Meridian, Nevada N-80692, 5.00 acres: T. 19 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 30, lot 22. N-80694, 5.00 acres: T. 19 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 30, E1/2NW1/4NE1/4SW1/4. N-80695, 5.00 acres: T. 19 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 30, W1/2SE1/4NE1/4SW1/4. N-92827, 20.00 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 12, W1/2NW1/4SE1/4. N-94200, 5.00 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 13, W1/2SE1/4NE1/4NE1/4. N-94201, 2.50 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 15, SE1/4NE1/4SW1/4SW1/4. N-94202, 5.00 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 15, SE1/4SW1/4NW1/4SE1/4, NE1/4NW1/4SW1/4SE1/4. N-94203, 2.50 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 15, SE1/4SE1/4SW1/4SE1/4. N-79533, 14.25 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 19, lots 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 32. N-79552, 10.00 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 19, S1/2NW1/4NE1/4SE1/4, N1/2SW1/4NE1/4SE1/4. N-94204, 47.50 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 19, E1/2NE1/4NE1/4SW1/4, SE1/4NE1/4SW1/4, N1/2SW1/4NE1/4SW1/4, SW1/4SW1/4NE1/4SW1/4, N1/2SE1/4SW1/4, N1/2SE1/4SE1/4SW1/4. N-84196, 15.57 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 19, lots 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66 and 67. N-79545, 2.50 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 19, SE1/4NW1/4SW1/4SE1/4. N-94205, 25.00 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 23, S1/2NE1/4NW1/4SW1/4, SE1/4NW1/4SW1/4, S1/2NW1/4NW1/4SW1/4, NW1/4SW1/4NW1/4SW1/4, SE1/4SW1/4NW1/4SW1/4. N-94206, 5.00 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 24, SW1/4NW1/4SE1/4NW1/4, SE1/4NE1/4SW1/4NW1/4. N-94207, 2.50 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 24, SW1/4NE1/4SE1/4SE1/4. N-94208, 5.00 acres: T. 22 S., R. 60 E., Sec. 26, E1/2NE1/4NE1/4SE1/4. N-94209, 1.25 acres: T. 22 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 30, E1/2NE1/4NE1/4SE1/4NE1/4. N-94210, 1.25 acres: T. 22 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 30, W1/2SE1/4NE1/4SE1/4NE1/4. N-94211, 2.50 acres: T. 22 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 30, E1/2NE1/4SE1/4SE1/4NE1/4, E1/2SE1/4SE1/4SE1/4NE1/4. N-94212, 2.50 acres: T. 22 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 30, SW1/4SE1/4NW1/4SE1/4. N-94213, 20.00 acres: T. 22 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 32, S1/2NW1/4NE1/4NW1/4, NE1/4NW1/4NW1/4, N1/2NW1/4NW1/4NW1/4. N-94214, 28.75 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 17, SW1/4NE1/4SE1/4, N1/2NW1/4SE1/4SE1/4, SE1/4NW1/4SE1/4, SE1/4SW1/4NW1/4SE1/4, E1/2NE1/4SW1/4NW1/4SE1/4. N-94215, 5.00 acres: T. 19 S., R. 59 E., Sec. 36, E1/2SW1/4NW1/4NW1/4. N-94216, 5.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61E., Sec. 8, N1/2NE1/4NE1/4SE1/4. N-94217, 5.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61E., Sec. 9, N1/2NE1/4NW1/4SW1/4. N-94218, 5.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61E., Sec. 9, S1/2NW1/4NW1/4SW1/4. N-94293, 105.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61E., Sec. 9, S1/2SW1/4SE1/4SE1/4, S1/2NE1/4SW1/4SE1/4, SE1/4SW1/4SE1/4, S1/2SW1/4SW1/4SE1/4, S1/2NE1/4SW1/4, SE1/4NW1/4SW1/4, S1/2NE1/4SE1/4SW1/4, S1/2SE1/4SE1/4SW1/4, S1/2SW1/4SE1/4SW1/4, E1/2SW1/4SW1/4, N1/2NW1/4SW1/4SW1/4, NW1/4SE1/4SW1/4. N-85668, 20.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 9, NW1/4NW1/4NE1/4, N1/2SW1/4NW1/4NE1/4, N1/2SE1/4NE1/4NW1/4. N-94219, 20.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 9, S1/2NE1/4NW1/4SE1/4, S1/2NW1/4NW1/4SE1/4, N1/2SE1/4NW1/4SE1/4, N1/2SW1/4NE1/4SE1/4. N-94224, 5.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 9, N1/2SE1/4SE1/4SE1/4. N-94220, 10.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 10, N1/2NE1/4NW1/4SW1/4, N1/2NW1/4NW1/4SW1/4. N-81969, 25.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 10, SW1/4SE1/4NW1/4, SE1/4SW1/4NW1/4, S1/2SW1/4SW1/4NW1/4. N-94221, 5.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 10, N1/2NW1/4SW1/4SW1/4. N-81970, 5.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 10, N1/2SW1/4SE1/4SW1/4. N-81978, 5.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 10, S1/2SE1/4SE1/4SW1/4. N-79699, 10.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 10, S1/2NE1/4NW1/4SE1/4, S1/2NW1/4NW1/4SE1/4. N-94222, 140.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 16, NW1/4NE1/4NE1/4, SE1/4NE1/4NE1/4, N1/2SW1/4NE1/4NE1/4, NE1/4NW1/4NE1/4, N1/2NW1/4NW1/4NE1/4, N1/2SE1/4NW1/4NE1/4, S1/2SW1/4NW1/4NE1/4, N1/2NE1/4SW1/4NE1/4, S1/2NW1/4SW1/4NE1/4, S1/2SE1/4SW1/4NE1/4, SW1/4SW1/4NE1/4, E1/2NE1/4NW1/4, S1/2NE1/4SE1/4NW1/4, SE1/4SE1/4NW1/4, S1/2NE1/4SW1/4NW1/4, S1/2NW1/4SW1/4NW1/4, S1/2SW1/4NW1/4. N-94223, 5.00 acres: T. 23 S., R. 61 E., Sec. 16, S1/2NE1/4NE1/4SE1/4. The areas described aggregate 608.57 acres.

    A sales matrix is available on the BLM Web site at http://www.blm.gov/snplma. The sales matrix provides information specific to each sale parcel such as legal description, physical location, encumbrances, acreage, and FMV. The FMV for each parcel will be available in the sales matrix as soon as approved by the BLM and no later than 30 days prior to the sale.

    This competitive sale is in conformance with the BLM Las Vegas Resource Management Plan and decision LD-1, approved by Record of Decision on October 5, 1998, and complies with Section 203 of FLPMA. The Las Vegas Valley Disposal Boundary Environmental Impact Statement analyzed the sale parcels and the Record of Decision on December 23, 2004 approved the suitability for the sale of these parcels. A parcel-specific Determination of National Environmental Policy Act Adequacy document numbered DOI-BLM-NV-S010-2015-0120-DNA was prepared in connection with this Notice of Realty Action.

    Submit comments on this sale Notice to the address in the ADDRESSES section. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including any personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. The BLM will also publish this Notice once a week for 3 consecutive weeks in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

    Sale procedures: Registration for oral bidding will begin at 8 a.m. PT and will end at 10 a.m. PT at the Clark County Government Center, Clark County Commission Chambers, 500 South Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89155, on the day of the sale, April 26, 2016. There will be no prior registration before the sale date. To participate in the competitive sale, all registered bidders must submit a bid guarantee deposit in the amount of $10,000 by certified check, postal money order, bank draft, or cashier's check made payable to the Department of the Interior-Bureau of Land Management on the day of the sale or submit the bid guarantee deposit along with the sealed bids. The public sale auction will be through sealed and oral bids. Sealed-bids will be opened and recorded on the day of the sale to determine the high bids among the qualified bids received. Sealed-bids above the FMV will set the starting point for oral bidding on a parcel. Parcels that receive no qualified sealed bids will begin at the established FMV. Bidders who are participating and attending the oral auction on the day of the sale are not required to submit a sealed-bid but may choose to do so.

    Sealed-bid envelopes must be clearly marked on the lower front left corner with the parcel number and name of the sale, for example: “N-XXXXX, 39-parcel SNPLMA Spring Sale 2016.” Sealed bids must include an amount not less than 20 percent of the total bid amount and the $10,000 bid guarantee noted above by certified check, postal money order, bank draft, or cashier's check made payable to the “Department of the Interior-Bureau of Land Management.” The bid guarantee and bid deposit may be combined into one form of deposit; the bidder must specify the amounts of the bid deposit and the bid guarantee. The BLM will not accept personal or company checks. The sealed-bid envelope must contain the 20 percent bid deposit, bid guarantee, and a completed and signed “Certificate of Eligibility” form stating the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the entity or person submitting the bid. Certificate of Eligibility and registration forms are available at the BLM LVFO at the address listed in the ADDRESSES section and on the BLM Web site at: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/snplma/Land_Auctions.html. Pursuant to 43 CFR 2711.3-1(c), if two or more sealed-bid envelopes containing valid bids of the same amount are received, oral bidding will start at the sealed-bid amount. If there are no oral bids on the parcel, the authorized officer will determine the winning bidder. Bids for less than the federally approved FMV will not be qualified. The highest qualifying bid for any parcel will be declared the high bid. The apparent high bidder must submit a deposit of not less than 20 percent of the successful bid by 3 p.m. PT on the day of the sale in the form of a certified check, postal money order, bank draft, or cashier's check made payable in U.S. dollars to the “Department of the Interior—Bureau of Land Management.” Funds must be delivered no later than 3 p.m. PT on the day of the sale to the BLM Collection Officers at the Clark County Government Center, Clark County Commission Chambers, 500 South Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89155. The BLM-LVFO will not accept any funds. The BLM will send the successful bidder(s) a high-bidder letter with detailed information for full payment.

    All funds submitted with unsuccessful bids will be returned to the bidders or their authorized representative upon presentation of an acceptable photo identification at the BLM-LVFO or by certified mail. The apparent high bidder may choose to apply the bid guarantee towards the required deposit. Failure to submit the deposit following the close of the sale under 43 CFR 2711.3-1(d) will result in forfeiture of the bid guarantee. If the successful bidder offers to purchase more than one parcel and fails to submit the 20 percent bid deposit resulting in default on any single parcel following the sale, the BLM will retain the $10,000 bid guarantee, and may cancel the sale of all the parcels to that bidder. If a high bidder is unable to consummate the transaction for any reason, the BLM may offer the parcel to the second highest bidder for their bid. If there are no acceptable bids, a parcel may remain available for sale at a future date in accordance with competitive sale procedures without further legal notice.

    Federal law requires that bidders must be: (1) A citizen of the United States 18 years of age or older; (2) A corporation subject to the laws of any State or of the United States; (3) A State, State instrumentality, or political subdivision authorized to hold property; or (4) An entity legally capable of conveying and holding lands or interests therein under the laws of the State of Nevada.

    Evidence of United States citizenship is a birth certificate, passport, or naturalization papers. Failure to submit the above requested documents to the BLM within 30 days from receipt of the high-bidder letter will result in cancellation of the sale and forfeiture of the bid deposit. Citizenship documents and Articles of Incorporation (as applicable) must be provided to the BLM-LVFO for each sale. The successful bidder is allowed 180 days from the date of the sale to submit the remainder of the full purchase price.

    According to SNPLMA as amended, Public Law 105-263 section 4(c), lands identified within the Las Vegas Valley Disposal Boundary are withdrawn from location and entry, under the mining laws and from operation under the mineral leasing and geothermal leasing laws until such time as the Secretary terminates the withdrawal or the lands are patented. Any subsequent applications will not be accepted, will not be considered as filed, and will be returned to the applicant. The segregative effect of this Notice terminates upon issuance of a patent or other document of conveyance to such lands.

    Terms and Conditions: All minerals for the sale parcels will be reserved to the United States. The patents will contain a mineral reservation to the United States for all minerals. The BLM refers interested parties to the regulation at 43 CFR 3601.71(b), which provides that the owner of the surface estate of lands with reserved Federal minerals may “use a minimal amount of mineral materials for personal use” within the boundaries of the surface estate without a sales contract or permit. The regulation provides that all other use, absent statutory or other express authority, requires a sales contract or permit. We also refer interested parties to the explanation of this regulatory language in the preamble to the final rule published in the Federal Register in 2001, which stated that minimal use “would not include large-scale use of mineral materials, even within the boundaries of the surface estate.” 66 FR 58894 (Nov. 23, 2001). Further explanation is contained in BLM Instruction Memorandum No. 2014-085 (April 23, 2014), available on BLM's Web site at http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/regulations/Instruction_Memos_and_Bulletins/national_instruction/2014/im_2014-085__unauthorized.html.

    The parcels are subject to limitations prescribed by law and regulation, and certain encumbrances in favor of third parties. Prior to patent issuance, a holder of any right-of-way (ROW) within the sale parcels will have the opportunity to amend the ROW for conversion to a new term, including perpetuity, if applicable, or conversion to an easement. The BLM will notify valid existing ROW holders of record of their ability to convert their compliant ROWs to perpetual ROWs or easement. In accordance with Federal regulations at 43 CFR 2807.15, once notified, each valid holder may apply for the conversion of their current authorization.

    The following numbered terms and conditions will appear on the conveyance documents for the sale parcels:

    1. All mineral deposits in the lands so patented, and to it, or persons authorized by it, the right to prospect for, mine, and remove such deposits from the same under applicable law and regulations to be established by the Secretary of the Interior are reserved to the United States, together with all necessary access and exit rights;

    2. A right-of-way is reserved for ditches and canals constructed by authority of the United States under the Act of August 30, 1890 (43 U.S.C. 945);

    3. The parcels are subject to valid existing rights;

    4. The parcels are subject to reservations for road, public utilities and flood control purposes, both existing and proposed, in accordance with the local governing entities' transportation plans; and

    5. An appropriate indemnification clause protecting the United States from claims arising out of the lessee's/patentee's use, occupancy, or occupations on the leased/patented lands.

    Pursuant to the requirements established by Section 120(h) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. 9620(h) (CERCLA), as amended, notice is hereby given that the lands have been examined and no evidence was found to indicate that any hazardous substances have been stored for 1 year or more, nor had any hazardous substances been disposed of or released on the subject property.

    No warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, is given by the United States as to the title, whether or to what extent the land may be developed, its physical condition, future uses, or any other circumstance or condition. The conveyance of a parcel will not be on a contingency basis. However, to the extent required by law, the parcel is subject to the requirements of Section 120(h) of the CERCLA.

    Unless the BLM authorized officer approved other satisfactory arrangements in advance, conveyance of title will be through escrow. Designation of the escrow agent will be through mutual agreement between the BLM and the prospective patentee, and costs of escrow will be borne by the prospective patentee.

    The BLM-LVFO must receive the request for escrow instructions prior to 30 days before the prospective patentee's scheduled closing date. There are no exceptions.

    All name changes and supporting documentation must be received at the BLM-LVFO 30 days from the date on the high-bidder letter by 4:30 p.m. PT. There are no exceptions. To submit a name change, the apparent high bidder must submit the name change in writing on the Certificate of Eligibility form to the BLM-LVFO.

    The remainder of the full bid price for the parcel must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. PT, within 180 days following the day of the sale. Payment must be submitted in the form of a certified check, postal money order, bank draft, cashier's check, or made available by electronic fund transfer made payable in U.S. dollars to the “Department of the Interior—Bureau of Land Management” to the BLM-LVFO. The BLM will not accept personal or company checks.

    Arrangements for electronic fund transfer to the BLM for payment of the balance due must be made a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the payment date. Failure to pay the full bid price prior to the expiration of the 180th day will disqualify the high bidder and cause the entire 20 percent bid deposit to be forfeited to the BLM. Forfeiture of the 20 percent bid deposit is in accordance with 43 CFR 2711.3-1(d). No exceptions will be made. The BLM cannot accept the remainder of the bid price after the 180th day of the sale date.

    The BLM will not sign any documents related to 1031 Exchange transactions. The timing for completion of such an exchange is the bidder's responsibility. The BLM cannot be a party to any 1031 Exchange.

    In accordance with 43 CFR 2711.3-1(f), within 30 days the BLM may accept or reject any or all offers to purchase, or withdraw any parcel of land or interest therein from sale if the BLM authorized officer determines consummation of the sale would be inconsistent with any law, or for other reasons as may be provided by applicable law or regulations. No contractual or other rights against the United States may accrue until the BLM officially accepts the offer to purchase and the full bid price is paid.

    The parcel may be subject to land use applications received prior to publication of this Notice if processing the application would have no adverse effect on the marketability of title, or the FMV of the parcel. Information concerning the sale, encumbrances of record, appraisals, reservations, procedures and conditions, CERCLA, and other environmental documents that may appear in the BLM public files for the proposed sale parcels are available for review during business hours, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday, at the BLM-LVFO, except during Federal holidays.

    In order to determine the FMV through appraisal, certain extraordinary assumptions and hypothetical conditions may have been made concerning the attributes and limitations of the lands and potential effects of local regulations and policies on potential future land uses. Through publication of this Notice, the BLM advises that these assumptions may not be endorsed or approved by units of local government.

    It is the buyer's responsibility to be aware of all applicable Federal, State, and local government laws, regulations and policies that may affect the subject lands, including any required dedication of lands for public uses. It is also the buyer's responsibility to be aware of existing or prospective uses of nearby properties. When conveyed out of Federal ownership, the lands will be subject to any applicable laws, regulations, and policies of the applicable local government for proposed future uses. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to be aware through due diligence of those laws, regulations, and policies, and to seek any required local approvals for future uses. Buyers should make themselves aware of any Federal or State law or regulation that may affect the future use of the property. Any land lacking access from a public road or highway will be conveyed as such, and future access acquisition will be the responsibility of the buyer.

    Any comments regarding the proposed sale will be reviewed by the BLM Nevada State Director or other authorized official of the Department of the Interior, who may sustain, vacate, or modify this realty action in response to such comments. In the absence of any comments, this realty action will become the final determination of the Department of the Interior.

    Authority:

    43 CFR 2711.1-2.

    Vanessa L. Hice, Assistant Field Manager, Division of Lands.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00016 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-HC-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [16X LLAK910000.L13100000. DB0000.LXSINSSI0000] Notice of Public Meeting, North Slope Science Initiative—Science Technical Advisory Panel AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management Alaska, North Slope Science Initiative, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the U.S. Department of the Interior, North Slope Science Initiative (NSSI)—Science Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) will meet as indicated below.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held February 8-10, 2016, in Fairbanks, Alaska. The meeting will be held in the International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 930 Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775. The meeting will begin on Monday, February 8, 2016, at 1:30 p.m., in Room 417. The meeting will continue in Room 501 on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 9-10, beginning at 8:30 a.m. each day. There will be an opportunity for public comment from 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 8. Depending on the number of persons wishing to comment and time available, the time for individual oral comments may be limited.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Denny Lassuy, Acting Director, North Slope Science Initiative, Bureau of Land Management, 222 W. Seventh Avenue, #13, Anchorage, AK 99513, (907) 271-4212 or email [email protected] Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, seven 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 NSSI STAP provides advice and recommendations to the NSSI Oversight Group regarding priority information needs for management decisions across the North Slope of Alaska. These priority information needs may include recommendations on inventory, monitoring, and research activities that contribute to informed resource management decisions. This meeting will include introductions of new appointees, review of STAP procedures, continued review of emerging issues, and application of North Slope Scenarios implications to inventory, monitoring and research priorities. Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation, transportation, or other reasonable accommodations, should contact the NSSI Director. The public may present written comments to the STAP through the NSSI Acting Director. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Bud C. Cribley, State Director.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00002 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-JA-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLMTM03000-L14400000.ET0000 16X1109AF; MTM 82330] Notice of Proposed Withdrawal Extension and Notice of Public Meeting; Montana AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management proposes to extend the duration of Public Land Order (PLO) No. 7254, as corrected, for an additional 20-year term. PLO No. 7254 withdrew 19,687 acres of public mineral estate in Toole and Liberty Counties, Montana, from location and entry under the United States mining law to provide enhanced protection of the unique resources within the Sweet Grass Hills Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and surrounding areas. The lands have been and will remain open to the mineral and geothermal leasing laws and mineral materials disposal under the Materials Act. The withdrawal created by PLO No. 7254 will expire on April 9, 2017, unless it is extended. This notice amends the land description in PLO No. 7254 and gives an opportunity to comment on the proposed action. This notice also announces the date, time, and location of the public meeting to be held in conjunction with the proposed extension.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by April 6, 2016. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will hold a public meeting in connection with the proposed withdrawal extension on February 10, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be sent to the BLM Havre Field Manager, 3990 HWY 2 West, Havre, Montana 59501.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Micah Lee, BLM Havre Field Office, 406-262-2851, or Debby Sorg, BLM Montana/Dakotas State Office, 406-896-5045. 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 either of the above individuals. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individuals. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The withdrawal created by PLO No. 7254 (62 FR 17633 (1997)), as corrected (62 FR 22964 (1997)), will expire April 9, 2017, unless it is extended, and is incorporated herein by reference. The BLM has filed an application requesting that the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management extend PLO No. 7254 for an additional 20-year term. PLO No. 7254 withdrew 19,687 acres of public mineral estate in Toole and Liberty Counties, Montana, from location and entry under the United States mining law, subject to valid existing rights. This notice amends the land description as the result of a resurvey due to the cancellation of mineral survey 3418. The public mineral estate withdrawn by PLO No. 7254 is now described as follows:

    Principal Meridian, Montana T. 37 N., R. 1 E., Sec. 1, lots 5 thru 8; Sec. 2, lots 5 and 6, and S1/2SE1/4; Sec. 11, E1/2NE1/4 and E1/2SE1/4; Sec. 12, lots 1 thru 8, S1/2NE1/4, and S1/2NW1/4; Sec. 13, lots 1 thru 5, W1/2NE1/4, NW1/4, N1/2SW1/4, SE1/4SW1/4, and W1/2SE1/4; Sec. 14, lots 1, 2, and 3, N1/2, SW1/4, and N1/2SE1/4; Sec. 15, E1/2NE1/4 and E1/2SE1/4; Sec. 22, E1/2NE1/4; Sec. 23, lot 1, E1/2NE1/4, SW1/4NE1/4, NW1/4, S1/2SW1/4, and SE1/4; Sec. 24, lots 1 thru 4, W1/2NE1/4, W1/2, and W1/2SE1/4; Sec. 25, lots 1 thru 10, SW1/4NE1/4, S1/2NW1/4, N1/2SW1/4, and NW1/4SE1/4; Sec. 26, E1/2NE1/4, N1/2NW1/4, and S1/2; Sec. 27, NE1/4NE1/4, S1/2NW1/4, NE1/4SW1/4, and NW1/4SE1/4; Sec. 34, NE1/4NE1/4; Sec. 35, NE1/4, E1/2NW1/4, and SW1/4NW1/4. T. 36 N., R. 2 E., Sec. 5, lot 4; Sec. 6, lots 1 and 2, and SW1/4NE1/4; Sec. 23, E1/2NE1/4 and N1/2SE1/4; Sec. 24, SW1/4NW1/4 and W1/2SW1/4; Sec. 25, SE1/4NE1/4 and E1/2SE1/4. T. 37 N., R. 2 E., Sec. 5, lot 8; Sec. 6, lots 6 thru 10; Sec. 7, lots 1 thru 4, and E1/2SW1/4; Sec. 17, W1/2SW1/4; Sec. 18, SW1/4NE1/4, E1/2SE1/4, and NW1/4SE1/4; Sec. 19, lots 2, 3, and 4, NE1/4NE1/4, SE1/4NW1/4, and NE1/4SW1/4; Sec. 20, NW1/4NE1/4 and N1/2NW1/4; Sec. 30, lots 1 thru 4, S1/2NE1/4, SE1/4NW1/4, E1/2SW1/4, and SE1/4; Sec. 31, lots 1, 2, and 3, NE1/4, E1/2NW1/4, NE1/4SW1/4, and N1/2SE1/4. T. 35 N., R. 3 E., Sec. 3, lot 4 and SW1/4NW1/4; Sec. 4, lots 1 and 2, and S1/2NE1/4. T. 36 N., R. 3 E., Sec. 7, lot 2, SW1/4NE1/4, SE1/4NW1/4, E1/2SW1/4, and NW1/4SE1/4; Sec. 9, NE1/4SW1/4 and SE1/4SE1/4; Sec. 10, S1/2SW1/4 and SW1/4SE1/4; Sec. 11, NW1/4SW1/4; Sec. 15, NW1/4, W1/2SW1/4, and SE1/4SW1/4; Sec. 17, lots 1 and 2, E1/2SW1/4, and SE1/4; Sec. 18, lots 5, 6, 11, and 12, and NW1/4NE1/4; Sec. 19, lots 3 and 4, E1/2SW1/4, and S1/2SE1/4; Sec. 20, E1/2NE1/4, NW1/4NE1/4, NE1/4NW1/4, W1/2SW1/4, and SE1/4SW1/4; Sec. 21, NE1/4, N1/2NW1/4, and S1/2SW1/4; Sec. 22, NW1/4; Sec. 28, W1/2NE1/4, E1/2NW1/4, NW1/4NW1/4, and SW1/4SW1/4; Sec. 29, W1/2NE1/4, W1/2, and SE1/4; Sec. 30, lots 1 and 2, N1/2NE1/4, SW1/4NE1/4, E1/2NW1/4, and SE1/4SE1/4; Sec. 31, lots 2 and 3, NE1/4NE1/4, and SW1/4SE1/4; Sec. 32, N1/2NE1/4, SE1/4NE1/4, N1/2NW1/4, SW1/4, W1/2SE1/4, and SE1/4SE1/4; Sec. 33, S1/2NE1/4, N1/2SE1/4, and SE1/4SE1/4; Sec. 34, NW1/4NE1/4, N1/2NW1/4, and SW1/4SW1/4. T. 35 N., R. 4 E., Sec. 2, lot 2, SW1/4NE1/4, E1/2SW1/4, and NW1/4SE1/4. T. 36 N., R. 4 E., Sec. 1, lots 1, 2, and 3, S1/2NE1/4, and NE1/4SE1/4; Sec. 9, SE1/4; Sec. 10, lots 3 and 4, and E1/2SW1/4; Sec. 24, lots 1 thru 4, N1/2NE1/4, SW1/4NE1/4, and NW1/4NW1/4; Sec. 25, lots 1 thru 6, NE1/4, SE1/4NW1/4, and N1/2SW1/4; Sec. 26, SE1/4NE1/4, E1/2SE1/4, and SW1/4SE1/4; Sec. 34, E1/2NE1/4 and SW1/4NE1/4; Sec. 35, E1/2NE1/4; Sec. 36, lots 1, 2, 3, and 5. T. 37 N., R. 4 E., Sec. 34, N1/2NE1/4, SW1/4NE1/4, and N1/2NW1/4; Sec. 35, NW1/4NW1/4. T. 35 N., R. 5 E., Sec. 5, lot 4, SW1/4NW1/4, and NE1/4SW1/4; Sec. 6, lots 1, 2, and 5, and SW1/4NE1/4. T. 36 N., R. 5 E., Sec. 3, lot 1 and NE1/4SE1/4; Sec. 4, W1/2SW1/4; Sec. 5, SW1/4SW1/4; Sec. 6, lot 6, NE1/4SW1/4, and SE1/4SE1/4; Sec. 7, lot 1, N1/2NE1/4, and NE1/4NW1/4; Sec. 8, E1/2NE1/4, NW1/4NE1/4, and W1/2NW1/4; Sec. 9, NW1/4NW1/4; Sec. 14, S1/2SW1/4; Sec. 18, N1/2NE1/4; Sec. 19, lots 1 thru 9, N1/2NE1/4, NE1/4NW1/4, SE1/4SW1/4, and SW1/4SE1/4; Sec. 20, lot 1, lots 5 thru 8, N1/2, and N1/2SE1/4; Sec. 21, N1/2NE1/4, SE1/4NE1/4, N1/2NW1/4, N1/2SW1/4, and SE1/4SE1/4; Sec. 22, W1/2NW1/4 and E1/2SE1/4; Sec. 23, W1/2NE1/4, SE1/4NE1/4, NE1/4NW1/4, S1/2SW1/4, and SW1/4SE1/4; Sec. 26, NW1/4NW1/4; Sec. 27, W1/2NW1/4, W1/2SW1/4, SE1/4SW1/4, and SW1/4SE1/4; Sec. 28, SE1/4NE1/4 and SE1/4; Sec. 29, lots 1 thru 5, lots 7 thru 10, SW1/4NW1/4, N1/2SW1/4, and SW1/4SW1/4; Sec. 30, lots 1 thru 4, E1/2, E1/2NW1/4, and E1/2SW1/4; Sec. 31, lots 1 thru 4, lot 6, E1/2, NE1/4NW1/4, and SE1/4SW1/4; Sec. 32, lots 1 thru 5, E1/2NE1/4, and SW1/4NE1/4; Sec. 34, N1/2NE1/4. T. 37 N., R. 5 E., Sec. 29, SE1/4SE1/4; Sec. 30, SE1/4SW1/4.

    The areas described aggregate 19,686.09 acres of public mineral estate in Toole and Liberty Counties.

    The purpose of the proposed extension is to continue to protect the unique resources within the Sweet Grass Hills ACEC and surrounding areas.

    The use of a right-of-way, interagency agreement, or cooperative agreement would not provide adequate protection.

    There are no suitable alternative sites available where the withdrawal would facilitate the protection necessary.

    No water rights will be needed to fulfill the purpose of the requested withdrawal extension.

    All persons who wish to submit comments, suggestions, or objections in connection with the proposed withdrawal extension may present their views in writing to the BLM Havre Field Manager by April 6, 2016, at the address above.

    Comments, including names and street addresses of respondents, will be available for public review at the Havre Field Office, 3990 HWY 2 West, Havre, Montana 59501, during regular business hours.

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask in your comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Notice is hereby given that a public meeting in connection with the proposed withdrawal extension will be held at the Chester Senior Center, 618 E. Adams Ave., Chester, Montana 59522 on February 10, 2016 from 3 to 5 p.m. The BLM will publish a notice of the time and place in at least one newspaper of general circulation no less than 30 days before the scheduled date of the meeting.

    This application will be processed in accordance with the regulations set forth in 43 CFR 2310.4.

    Peter A. McFadden, Chief, Branch of Realty, Lands, and Renewable Energy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00015 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-DN-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19846; PCU00RP14.R50000-PPWOCRDN0] Notice of Inventory Completion: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, DC AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs has completed an inventory of human remains, in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is no cultural affiliation between the human remains and any present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Anna Pardo, Museum Program Manager/NAGPRA Coordinator, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 12220 Sunrise Valley Drive, Room 6084, Reston, VA 20191, telephone (703) 390-6343, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains under the control of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Washington, DC, and in the physical custody of the Arizona State Museum, Tucson, AZ. The human remains were removed from areas around Pyramid Lake, Washoe County, NV.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3) and 43 CFR 10.11(d). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs professional staff in consultation with representatives of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada.

    History and Description of the Remains

    In 1959, human remains representing, at minimum, three individuals were removed from a site located on the Northwest corner of Pyramid Lake in Washoe County, NV, by F.A. Riddell (State of California Division of Beaches and Parks) and H. Norcross, and donated to the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. At the request of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, these human remains were transferred to the Arizona State Museum in 2013 for documentation and temporary custody. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    At an unknown date prior to 1955, human remains representing, at minimum, one individual were removed from a small cave in “Paul Bunyan's Corral” located on the east side of Pyramid Lake in Washoe County, NV. They were donated by M. Wheat to the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology in 1955. At the request of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, these human remains were transferred to the Arizona State Museum in 2013 for documentation and temporary custody. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    At an unknown date prior to 1922, human remains representing, at minimum, two individuals were removed from the east side of Pyramid Lake in Washoe County, NV, by Peterson Pancho and donated to the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology in 1922. At the request of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, these human remains were transferred to the Arizona State Museum in 2013 for documentation and temporary custody. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    At an unknown date prior to 1923, human remains representing, at minimum, five individuals were removed from south of Pyramid Lake in Washoe County, NV, by Peterson Pancho and donated to the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology in 1923. At the request of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, these human remains were transferred to the Arizona State Museum in 2013 for documentation and temporary custody. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    Determinations Made by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs

    Officials of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice are Native American based on physical characteristics including cranial and dental morphology.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of 11 individuals of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), a relationship of shared group identity cannot be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and any present-day Indian tribe.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (15), the land from which the Native American human remains were removed is the tribal land of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada.

    • Pursuant to 43 CFR 10.11(c)(1), the disposition of the human remains may be to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Anna Pardo, Museum Program Manager/NAGPRA Coordinator, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 12220 Sunrise Valley Drive, Room 6084, Reston, VA 20191, telephone (703) 390-6343, email [email protected], by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada, may proceed.

    The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs is responsible for notifying the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada, that this notice has been published.

    Dated: November 23, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00067 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19927; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: The American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The American Museum of Natural History has completed an inventory of human remains in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is no cultural affiliation between the human remains and any present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to the American Museum of Natural History. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to the American Museum of Natural History at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Nell Murphy, Director of Cultural Resources, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 10024, telephone (212) 769-5837, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains under the control of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY. The human remains were removed from San Juan County, WA.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3) and 43 CFR 10.11(d). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by the American Museum of Natural History professional staff in consultation with representatives of the Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation and the Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation (hereinafter referred to as “The Tribes”).

    History and Description of the Remains

    In an unknown year, human remains representing, at minimum, one individual were removed from the Jack Allen property, Waldron Island, San Juan County, WA. The human remains were collected by an unknown individual from the surface after ploughing. The human remains were identified as adult of indeterminate gender. The American Museum of Natural History accessioned these human remains as a gift from Miss June Wetherell Frame, in 1959. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    Determinations Made by the American Museum of Natural History

    Officials of the American Museum of Natural History have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice are Native American based on the presence of cranial deformation.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of one individual of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), a relationship of shared group identity cannot be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and any present-day Indian tribe.

    • According to final judgments of the Indian Claims Commission, the Court of Federal Claims, Treaties, Acts of Congress, and Executive Orders the land from which the Native American human remains were removed is the aboriginal land of The Tribes.

    • Pursuant to 43 CFR 10.11(c)(1), the disposition of the human remains may be to The Tribes.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Nell Murphy, Director of Cultural Resources, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, NY, NY 10024, 212-769-5837, email [email protected], by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to The Tribes may proceed.

    The American Museum of Natural History is responsible for notifying The Tribes that this notice has been published.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00052 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19931; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, CT AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Peabody Museum of Natural History has completed an inventory of human remains, in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is a cultural affiliation between the human remains and present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to the Peabody Museum of Natural History. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the lineal descendants, Indian tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to the Peabody Museum of Natural History at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Professor David Skelly, Director, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 208118, New Haven, CT 06520-8118, telephone (203) 432-3752.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains under the control of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven, CT. The human remains were removed from the Blue Earth Village Site (14-Po-0024), near Manhattan, Pottawatomie County, KS.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by Peabody Museum of Natural History professional staff in consultation with representatives of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma, the Delaware Tribe of Indians, the Kaw Nation, Oklahoma, and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan and Indiana.

    History and Description of the Remains

    In 1868, human remains representing, at minimum, one individual were removed from a cemetery at the Blue Earth Village Site (14-Po-0024), near Manhattan, Pottawatomie County, KS. The human remains were removed by Benjamin Mudge (the first state geologist of Kansas) who, in the same year, donated the human remains to the Peabody Museum of Natural History. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    According to historical documentation and archaeological evidence, the Kaw (Kanza) people lived at the Blue Earth Village from approximately 1757 to 1825. In 1846, the Kaw moved to Council Grove, Kansas and in 1873, the group was forcibly removed to Kay County, OK where they reside today as the Kaw Nation, Oklahoma.

    Determinations Made by the Peabody Museum of Natural History

    Officials of the Peabody Museum of Natural History have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of one individual of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), there is a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and the Kaw Nation, Oklahoma.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Professor David Skelly, Director, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 208118, New Haven, CT 06520-8118, telephone (203) 432-3752 by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Kaw Nation, Oklahoma may proceed.

    The Peabody Museum of Natural History is responsible for notifying the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma, the Delaware Tribe of Indians, Oklahoma, the Kaw Nation, Oklahoma, and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan and Indiana, and that this notice has been published.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00057 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19934; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: Department of Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Anthropology at Indiana University has completed an inventory of human remains in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is no cultural affiliation between the human remains and any present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to the Indiana University NAGPRA Office. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to the Indiana University NAGPRA Office at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Dr. Jayne-Leigh Thomas, NAGPRA Director, Indiana University, NAGPRA Office, Student Building 318, 701 E. Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405, telephone (812) 856-5315, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains under the control of the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. The human remains were removed from an unknown location along the Northwest Coast of the United States.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3) and 43 CFR 10.11(d). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by Indiana University professional staff in consultation with representatives of the Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe (previously listed as the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of the Muckleshoot Reservation, Washington), Nooksack Indian Tribe, Samish Indian Nation (previously listed as the Samish Indian Tribe, Washington), Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, Snoqualmie Indian Tribe (previously listed as the Snoqualmie Tribe, Washington), Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians of Washington (previously listed as the Stillaguamish Tribe of Washington), Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (previously listed as the Swinomish Indians of the Swinomish Reservation of Washington), the Tulalip Tribes of Washington (previously listed as the Tulalip Tribes of the Tulalip Reservation, Washington), and the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, hereafter referred to as “The Tribes”.

    History and Description of the Remains

    In July of 1941, human remains representing, at minimum, three individuals were removed from a “shell mound” at an unknown location in the “Northwest Coast”. This collection was transferred to Indiana University from the University of Chicago during the 1950s. The boxes containing the collection recorded the collection as having previously been located at the University of Washington. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    Notes accompanying this collection indicate that two of the individuals from this collection were excavated from a shell mound in July of 1941 by Tom Harmon. The geographic location is listed as “Northwest Coast.” The third individual from this collection is listed as having been excavated from the same shell mound in July of 1941 by Harry Smith. Extensive efforts have been made to collect information about Tom Harmon, who was a Road Commissioner in 1941; however, no further information has been found.

    During the 1940s, Harry Everett Smith gifted cultural objects to the Thomas Burke Museum Memorial of Natural History and Culture (Burke Museum) at the University of Washington, including objects Smith had collected from Skagit County. Harry Smith grew up in the Anacortes area of Skagit County, Washington State, and is known to have worked with the tribal communities in Skagit and Whatcom Counties in the late 1930s and early 1940s, recording their language and songs. Between 1942 and 1944 he studied anthropology at the University of Washington, focusing on Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest. Indiana University and the Burke Museum have concluded that by a preponderance of the evidence, `Harry Smith' who excavated the `shell mound' in 1941, and the Harry Smith who collected artifacts from Skagit County and worked with the University of Washington, are the same person. This conclusion is supported by the Burke Museum's accession records and other UW archival information.

    “Shell Mounds” or shell middens are archaeological sites common along the shorelines of the Northwest Coast including the northern Puget Sound region, where Skagit and Whatcom Counties are located. The shell middens of this area are between 200 and 4000 years old; both burials and isolated human remains are commonly found in these sites.

    Determinations Made by Indiana University

    Officials of Indiana University have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice are Native American based on osteological evidence and collection history.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of three individuals of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), a relationship of shared group identity cannot be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and any present-day Indian tribe.

    • According to final judgments of the Indian Claims Commission or the Court of Federal Claims, the land from which the Native American human remains removed is the aboriginal land of The Tribes.

    • On January 22, 1855, the Point Elliot Treaty was signed by representatives from The Tribes. The Point Elliot Treaty established an agreement between the United States Government and The Tribes for lands in western Washington. The lands around Anacortes, Washington from which the Native American human remains were removed were a part of the aboriginal lands ceded by the Point Elliot Treaty.

    • Pursuant to 43 CFR 10.11(c)(1), the disposition of the human remains may be to The Tribes.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Dr. Jayne-Leigh Thomas, NAGPRA Director, Indiana University, NAGPRA Office, Student Building 318, 701 E. Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405, telephone (812) 856-5315, email [email protected], by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe (previously listed as the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of the Muckleshoot Reservation, Washington), Nooksack Indian Tribe, Samish Indian Nation (previously listed as the Samish Indian Tribe, Washington), Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, Snoqualmie Indian Tribe (previously listed as the Snoqualmie Tribe, Washington), Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians of Washington (previously listed as the Stillaguamish Tribe of Washington), Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (previously listed as the Swinomish Indians of the Swinomish Reservation of Washington), the Tulalip Tribes of Washington (previously listed as the Tulalip Tribes of the Tulalip Reservation, Washington), and the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe may proceed.

    Indiana University is responsible for notifying The Tribes that this notice has been published.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00056 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19932; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion for Native American Human Remains and Associated Funerary Objects From Bernalillo, Cibola, and Socorro Counties, NM in the Control of the Cibola National Forest, United States Forest Service, Albuquerque, NM; Correction AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service, Cibola National Forest has corrected an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects, published in a Notice of Inventory Completion in the Federal Register on November 25, 1998. This notice corrects the minimum number of individuals and the number of associated funerary objects. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary objects should submit a written request to the USDA Forest Service, Southwestern Region. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains and associated funerary objects to the lineal descendants, Indian tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary objects should submit a written request with information in support of the request to the USDA Forest Service, Southwestern Region at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Dr. Frank E. Wozniak, NAGPRA Coordinator, Southwestern Region, USDA Forest Service, 333 Broadway Boulevard Southeast, Albuquerque, NM 87102, telephone (505) 842-3238, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the correction of an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects under the control of the USDA Forest Service, Cibola National Forest, Albuquerque, NM. The human remains and associated funerary objects were removed from Cibola County, NM.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains and associated funerary objects. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    This notice corrects the minimum number of individuals and the number of associated funerary objects published in a Notice of Inventory Completion in the Federal Register (63 FR 65218-65219). A re-inventory of archeological collections from NA 21566, NA 23177, and NA 23178 by the professional staff of the Department of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University discovered additional human remains and associated funerary objects in the collections from NA 23177 and NA 23178. Transfer of control of the items in this correction notice has not occurred.

    Correction

    In the Federal Register (63 FR, 65218), paragraph 3 is corrected by substituting the following paragraph:

    Between 1977 and 1979, human remains representing 32 individuals were recovered from sites NA 21566, NA 23177 and NA 23178 during legally authorized excavations conducted by J. Richard Ambler of Northern Arizona University. No known individuals were identified. The 68 associated funerary objects include ceramic vessels, pottery sherds and chipped stone.

    In the Federal Register (63 FR, 65219) paragraph 2, sentences 1 and 2 are corrected by substituting the following sentences:

    Based on the above mentioned information, officials of the USDA Forest Service have determined that, pursuant to 43 CFR 10.2(d)(1), the human remains listed above represent the physical remains of 32 individuals of Native American ancestry. Officials of the USDA Forest Service have also determined that, pursuant to 43 CFR 10.2(d)(2), the 68 objects listed above are reasonably believed to have been placed with or near individual human remains at the time of death or later as part of a death rite or ritual.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary objects should submit a written request with information in support of the request to: Dr. Frank E. Wozniak, NAGPRA Coordinator, Southwestern Region, USDA Forest Service, 333 Broadway Boulevard Southeast, Albuquerque, NM 87102, telephone (505) 842-3238, email [email protected], by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains and associated funerary objects to the Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico; the Hopi Tribe, Arizona; and the Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico may proceed.

    The Cibola National Forest is responsible for notifying the Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico; the Hopi Tribe, Arizona; and the Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico that this notice has been published.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00053 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19860; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville, TN AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Tennessee Valley Authority has completed an inventory of human remains in consultation with the appropriate federally recognized Indian tribes and has determined that there is no cultural affiliation between the human remains and any present-day federally recognized Indian tribes. Representatives of any federally recognized Indian tribe not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to TVA. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the federally recognized Indian tribe stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Representatives of any federally recognized Indian tribe not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Tennessee Valley Authority at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Dr. Thomas O. Maher, TVA, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, WT11D, Knoxville, TN 37902-1401, telephone (865) 632-7458, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given in accordance with Section 5 of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains under the control and possession of TVA. The human remains were removed from sites 1LI14 and 1LI37, in Limestone County, Alabama.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3) and 43 CFR 10.11(d). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by Tennessee Valley Authority professional staff in consultation with representatives of the Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma; Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas; Alabama Quassarte Tribal Town; Cherokee Nation; Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana; Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma; Kialegee Tribal Town; Poarch Band of Creeks (Previously listed as the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama); The Chickasaw Nation; The Muscogee (Creek) Nation; Thlopthlocco Tribal Town; United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma; Seminole Nation of Oklahoma; and the Shawnee Tribe.

    History and Description of the Remains

    In the 1950s, human remains representing, at minimum, one individual were collected by James Cambron, a resident of Decatur, Alabama from site 1LI14, in Limestone County, AL. The human remains were identified as a female between the ages of 20-24. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    On an unknown date, human remains representing, at minimum, one individual were removed from site 1L114, in Limestone County, AL. These human remains were located during a recent validation of the Tennessee Valley Authority NAGPRA cultural items stored at the University of Alabama. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    Archaeological site 1LI14 is located on the Tennessee River across from the mouth of Flint creek in Limestone County, Alabama. It is located on the pre-inundation right descending bank of the Tennessee River within the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge. The Alabama state site form describes this site as a truncated pyramidal mound and associated shell mound or village near Decatur, Alabama. The mound is 100 ft. from the river and is 135 ft. long by 80 ft. wide at the base and 90 ft. long by 60 ft. wide at the plateau. The long axis of the mound is parallel to the river. Tennessee Valley Authority purchased the land encompassing this site on June 4, 1935. Although not subject to excavation during the construction of the Wheeler Reservoir, this site is generally believed to have Middle Woodland through Mississippian occupations.

    In the 1950s, human remains representing, at minimum, one individual were collected by James Cambron from site 1L137 in Limestone County, AL. The human remains were identified as a 15-year-old of indeterminate gender. Lack of funerary objects makes chronology of these human remains uncertain. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    Archaeological site 1LI37 is 6.8 miles northeast of 1LI14 on Beaverdam Creek near Interstate 565. It is also within the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge. It was recorded in the Alabama site file in 1978. The University of Alabama recovered one reworked Early Archaic projectile point/knife during shovel testing of the site. An anvil-stone was also recovered. Available evidence suggests this site was occupied sometime during the Archaic period. Tennessee Valley Authority purchased the land intersecting this site on November 6, 1934.

    Determinations Made by the Tennessee Valley Authority

    Officials of the Tennessee Valley Authority have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice are Native American based on their presence in prehistoric archeological contexts.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of 3 individuals of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), a relationship of shared group identity cannot be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and any present-day Indian tribe.

    • According to final judgments of the Indian Claims Commission or the Court of Federal Claims, the land from which the Native American human remains were removed is the aboriginal land of the Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma. Furthermore, Limestone County was recognized as the aboriginal lands of the Chickasaw Nation in a ratified treaty between the United States and the Chickasaw dated September 20, 1816.

    • Pursuant to 43 CFR 10.11(c)(1)(ii), TVA has decided to transfer control of the culturally unidentifiable human remains to the Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Representatives of any federally recognized Indian tribe not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Dr. Thomas O. Maher, TVA, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, WT11D, Knoxville, TN 37902-1401, telephone (865) 632-7458, email [email protected], by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation may proceed.

    Tennessee Valley Authority is responsible for notifying the Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma; Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas; Alabama Quassarte Tribal Town; Cherokee Nation; Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana; Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma; Kialegee Tribal Town; Poarch Band of Creeks (Previously listed as the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama); The Chickasaw Nation; The Muscogee (Creek) Nation; Thlopthlocco Tribal Town; United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma; Seminole Nation of Oklahoma; and the Shawnee Tribe that this notice has been published.

    Dated: November 24, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00072 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19768; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: Department of Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Anthropology at Indiana University has completed an inventory of human remains in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is no cultural affiliation between the human remains and any present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to the Indiana University NAGPRA Office. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to the Indiana University NAGPRA Office at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Dr. Jayne-Leigh Thomas, NAGPRA Director, Indiana University, NAGPRA Office, Student Building 318, 701 E. Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, telephone (812) 856-5315, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains under the control of the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. The human remains were removed from near Anacortes, WA.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3) and 43 CFR 10.11(d). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by Indiana University professional staff in consultation with representatives of the Lummi Nation of the Lummi Reservation, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Nooksack Indian Tribe, Samish Indian Nation, Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians of Washington, Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation, Swinomish Indians of the Swinomish Reservation of Washington, the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, and the Upper Skagit Tribe (hereafter referred to as `The Tribes'.)

    History and Description of the Remains

    On an unknown date, human remains representing, at minimum, 1 individual were removed from an unknown location near Anacortes, Washington. This collection was transferred to Indiana University from the University of Chicago during the 1950s. The boxes are recorded as having been previously from the University of Washington; however efforts in collaboration with NAGPRA personnel at the University of Washington have failed to locate additional information regarding the collection's presence at the University of Washington and its subsequent transfer to the University of Chicago. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    Determinations Made by Indiana University

    Officials of Indiana University have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice are Native American based on osteological evidence and collection history.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of 1 individuals of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), a relationship of shared group identity cannot be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and any present-day Indian tribe.

    • According to final judgments of the Indian Claims Commission or the Court of Federal Claims, the land from which the Native American human remains removed is the aboriginal land of The Tribes.

    • On January 22, 1855, the Point Elliot Treaty was signed by representatives from The Tribes. The Point Elliot Treaty established an agreement between the United States Government and The Tribes for lands in western Washington. The lands around Anacortes, WA, from which the Native American human remains were removed were a part of the aboriginal lands ceded by the Point Elliot Treaty.

    • Pursuant to 43 CFR 10.11(c)(1), the disposition of the human remains may be to The Tribes.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Dr. Jayne-Leigh Thomas, NAGPRA Director, Indiana University, NAGPRA Office, Student Building 318, 701 E. Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405, telephone (812) 856-5315, email [email protected], by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to The Tribes may proceed.

    Indiana University is responsible for notifying The Tribes that this notice has been published.

    Dated: November 12, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00063 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19830; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, and Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Olympia, WA AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum (Burke Museum) and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (State Parks) have completed an inventory of human remains and an associated funerary object, in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and have determined that there is no cultural affiliation between the human remains and associated funerary object and any present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary object should submit a written request to the Burke Museum. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains and associated funerary object to the Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary object should submit a written request with information in support of the request to the Burke Museum at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Peter Lape, Burke Museum, University of Washington, Box 353010, Seattle, WA 98195, telephone (206) 685-3849x2, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains and associated funerary object under the control of the Burke Museum, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. The human remains and associated funerary object were probably removed from the northern Puget Sound region, WA.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3) and 43 CFR 10.11(d). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains and associated funerary object. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by the Burke Museum professional staff in consultation with representatives of Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation; Muckleshoot Indian Tribe (previously listed as the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of the Muckleshoot Reservation, Washington); Nooksack Indian Tribe; Samish Indian Nation (previously listed as the Samish Indian Tribe, Washington); Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe; Snoqualmie Indian Tribe (previously listed as the Snoqualmie Tribe, Washington); Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians of Washington (previously listed as the Stillaguamish Tribe of Washington); Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation; Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (previously listed as the Swinomish Indians of the Swinomish Reservation of Washington); Tulalip Tribes of Washington (previously listed as the Tulalip Tribes of the Tulalip Reservation, Washington); and Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, (hereafter referred to as “The Tribes”).

    History and Description of the Remains

    Prior to 1995, human remains representing, at minimum, one individual were probably removed from a shell midden in the northern Puget Sound region, WA, possibly from the 45-SK-7 archaeological site in Skagit County, WA. These human remains were identified in 1995 while completing an inventory for NAGPRA compliance. These human remains and associated funerary object were found in a box with a yellow Post-It note with “45-SK-7?” written on it. Also in the box were four human bones, one from King County and three from Siberia, identified by the catalog numbers written on them. While there is no known concrete documentation indicating the human remains were ever removed from 45-SK-7, human remains have been found in adjacent sites, and are commonly found in shell middens in the northern Puget Sound region. These human remains and funerary object are consistent with other burials from this area, therefor the Burke Museum feels these are most likely from that region. The Burke Museum is unable to make a cultural affiliation due to the lack of context and exact location information from which the burial was removed. Site 45-SK-7 is located on State Parks land. No known individuals were identified. The one associated funerary object is a lot of animal bone, shell and wood.

    Determinations Made by the Burke Museum

    Officials of the Burke Museum have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice are Native American based on osteological evidence and museum collecting and accessioning history.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of one individual of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(3)(A), the one lot of objects described in this notice is reasonably believed to have been placed with or near individual human remains at the time of death or later as part of the death rite or ceremony.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), a relationship of shared group identity cannot be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and associated funerary object and any present-day Indian tribe.

    • Treaties, Acts of Congress, or Executive Orders, indicate that the land from which the Native American human remains and associated funerary object were removed is the aboriginal land of The Tribes. The Treaty of Point Elliot was signed on January 22, 1855 by representatives from The Tribes whose ceded aboriginal land includes the northern Puget Sound region.

    • Pursuant to 43 CFR 10.11(c)(1), the disposition of the human remains and one associated funerary object may be to The Tribes.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary object should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Peter Lape, Burke Museum, University of Washington, Box 353010, Seattle, WA 98195, telephone (206) 685-3849x2, [email protected] February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains and associated funerary object to The Tribes may proceed.

    The Burke Museum is responsible for notifying The Tribes that this notice has been published.

    Dated: November 19, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00076 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19928; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Eugene, OR AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History has completed an inventory of human remains, in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is a cultural affiliation between the human remains and present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the lineal descendants, Indian tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary objects should submit a written request with information in support of the request to the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Dr. Pamela Endzweig, Director of Collections, Museum of Natural and Cultural History, 1224 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1224, telephone (541) 346-5120.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects under the control of the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Eugene, OR. The human remains and associated funerary objects were removed from Knik Arm, near Anchorage, AK.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History professional staff in consultation with representatives of the Knik Tribal Council, Alaska.

    History and Description of the Remains

    In 1966, human remains representing, at minimum, one individual were removed from the Fisher-Hong Site, about a mile south of the village of Knik, on the edge of an unnamed creek draining White Lake, Alaska, during legally authorized excavations by archeologists from the University of Oregon. No known individual was identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    Based on archeological context and skeletal morphology, the individual described above is determined to be Native American. Based on provenience, the Native American human remains are reasonably believed to be affiliated with the Knik Tribe. Historical documents, ethnographic sources, and oral history indicate that the Knik people have occupied Knik Arm since pre-contact times.

    Determinations Made by the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History

    Officials of the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of one individual of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), there is a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and the Knik Tribe, Alaska.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Dr. Pamela Endzweig, Director of Collections, University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, 1224 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1224, telephone (541) 346-5120, by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Knik Tribe, Alaska, may proceed.

    The University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History is responsible for notifying the Knik Tribe, Alaska, that this notice has been published.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00073 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19933; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Washington, DC; Correction AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The U. S. Department of Defense, Department of Navy has corrected an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects, published in a Notice of Inventory Completion in the Federal Register on March 31, 2014. This notice corrects the minimum number of individuals and the number of associated funerary objects repatriated to the Native Village of Barrow Inupiat Traditional Government.

    ADDRESSES:

    Susan S. Hughes, Department of the Navy, NAVFAC NW., 1101 Tautog Circle, Suite 102, Silverdale, WA 98315-1101, telephone (360) 396-0083, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the correction of an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects under the control of the Department of Defense. The human remains and associated funerary objects were removed from sites near Point Barrow in North Slope Borough, AK.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that had control of the Native American human remains and associated funerary objects. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    This notice corrects the minimum number of individuals and number of associated funerary objects published in a Notice of Inventory Completion in the Federal Register (79 FR 18058-18059, March 31, 2014). The transfer of these items to the Native Village of Barrow Traditional Government occurred on June 6, 2014. Because the Tribe intended to bury the individuals in their own separate coffins, the human remains were re-examined by a forensic anthropologist at the University of Alaska Museum of the North where they were temporarily stored prior to transfer, to separate the human remains into discrete burials. This resulted in a slight decrease in the number of individuals, from the originally stated 58 to 56 individuals. Concurrently, a comprehensive inventory of the associated funerary objects was made, leading to the discovery that three items of cultural patrimony had been included in the original inventory of associated funerary objects. As these are not considered associated funerary objects, the total number of associated funerary objects decreased from 124 to 121.

    Correction

    In the Federal Register (79 FR 18058-18059, March 31, 2014), paragraph 7, sentence 1 is corrected by substituting the following sentence:

    Between 1951 and 1953, human remains representing, at minimum 56 individuals were removed from the sites of Birnirk, Nunavah, Nuvuk, and other locations near Point Barrow in North Slope Borough, AK

    In the Federal Register (79 FR 18058-18059, March 31, 2014), paragraph 7, sentence 5 is corrected by substituting the following sentence:

    The 121 associated funerary objects include: 32 wooden objects (wound plugs, dish, dart or arrow shafts, drill shaft; scoop, whale effigy, sod pick handle, seal scratcher, paddles, and other objects); 24 ivory objects (needle case, kayak paddle, harpoon heads, lance point, pins, awl, handles, and other objects); 25 bone and tooth objects (harpoon heads, bow brace, ice pick, bola weights, trap components, weapon tips or points, worked bear canines, and other objects); 11 antler objects (bird dart heads, harpoon heads, and worked antler); 7 stone objects (burin, ground stone knife, whetstone, project point, hearthstone, and other stone objects); 4 objects made from skin, fur, or baleen (2 sewn sealskins, baleen effigy, bear fur), 2 marine shells, and 16 ceramic sherds.

    The U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Navy is responsible for notifying the Native Village of Barrow Inupiat Traditional Government that this notice has been published.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00071 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19769; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The University of Hawaii at Hilo has completed an inventory of human remains in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations and has determined that there is a cultural affiliation between the human remains and present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to the University of Hawaii at Hilo. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the lineal descendants, Indian tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to the University of Hawaii at Hilo at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Peter R. Mills, Department of Anthropology, Social Sciences Division, 200 W. Kawili Street, Hilo, HI 96720-4091.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains under the control of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI. The human remains were removed from Kamā'oa Pu'u'eo, Kaū District, Hawai'i Island, HI.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by the University of Hawaii at Hilo professional staff, in consultation with representatives of The Hawai'i Island Burial Council, Department of Hawaiian Homelands, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hui Malama i Nā Kūpuna o Hawai'i Nei, Aha Moku Advisory Committee, and the Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka'ū.

    History and Description of the Remains

    In the 1950s, human remains representing, at minimum, three individuals were removed from the Pu'u Ali'i Sand Dune Site (site H1) in Kamau'oa Pu'u'eo ahupua'a, in the district of Ka'ū, Hawai'i Island, State of Hawai'i, under the direction of Professor William Bonk at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. These human remains were identified in bags of midden deposit in the summer of 2014, which had been stored with the other excavated material from the site at University of Hawaii at Hilo until the present time. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    The Pu'u Ali'i Sand Dune site is a Native Hawaiian fishing village and cemetery dating to pre-European contact.

    Determinations Made by the University of Hawaii at Hilo

    Officials of the University of Hawaii at Hilo have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of three individuals of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), there is a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and Aha Moku Advisory Committee (Moku o Keawe), the Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka'ū, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Peter R. Mills, Department of Anthropology, Social Sciences Division, 200 W. Kawili Street, Hilo, HI 96720-4091, by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to Aha Moku Advisory Committee (Moku o Keawe), the Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka'ū, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs may proceed.

    The University of Hawaii at Hilo is responsible for notifying the The Hawai'i Island Burial Council, Department of Hawaiian Homelands, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Aha Moku Advisory Committee, and the Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka'ū that this notice has been published.

    Dated: December 11, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00055 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19926; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Springdale, AR AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History has completed an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is no cultural affiliation between the human remains and associated funerary objects and any present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary objects should submit a written request to the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary objects should submit a written request with information in support of the request to the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Carolyn Reno, Shiloh Museum of Ozark History 118 W. Johnson Avenue, Springdale, AR 72764, telephone (479) 750-8165, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects under the control of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Springdale, AR. The human remains and associated funerary objects were removed from a rock shelter on the Graham farm near Butler Ford, Benton County, AR, in 1923.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3) and 43 CFR 10.11(d). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History professional staff in consultation with representatives of The Osage Nation (previously listed as the Osage Tribe).

    History and Description of the Remains

    In 1923, human remains representing, at minimum, two individuals were removed from a rock shelter on the Graham farm near Butler Ford, Benton County, AR. The human remains were purchased by the Shiloh Museum as part of the William Guy Howard Collection of Native American and pre-historic materials in 1966. One set of human remains consists of a skull, femur, and sternum (cataloged as S-66-1-116-1 through 3). The skull of a dog (cataloged as S-66-1-116-4) is associated with the human remains. Another set of human remains consists of a skull and two femurs (cataloged as S-66-1-490 1 through 3). There is no lineal descendent or culturally affiliated contemporary Indian tribe that can be determined. No known individuals were identified. The one associated funerary object is the skull of a dog.

    Determinations Made by the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History

    Officials of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice are Native American based on determination of burial in a rock shelter.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of, at minimum, two individuals of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(3)(A), the dog skull described in this notice is reasonably believed to have been placed with or near individual human remains (S-66-1-116) at the time of death or later as part of the death rite or ceremony.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), a relationship of shared group identity cannot be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and associated funerary objects and any present-day Indian tribe.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(15), the land from which the Native American human remains and associated funerary object were removed is the tribal land of The Osage Nation (previously listed as the Osage Tribe).

    • According to final judgments of the Indian Claims Commission or the Court of Federal Claims, the land from which the Native American human remains and associated funerary objects were removed is the aboriginal land of The Osage Nation (previously listed as the Osage Tribe).

    • Treaties, Acts of Congress, or Executive Orders, indicate that the land from which the Native American human remains and associated funerary objects were removed is the aboriginal land of The Osage Nation (previously listed as the Osage Tribe).

    • Pursuant to 43 CFR 10.11(c)(1), the disposition of the human remains and associated funerary objects may be to The Osage Nation (previously listed as the Osage Tribe).

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains and associated funerary objects should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Carolyn Reno, Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, 118 W. Johnson Avenue, Springdale, AR 72764, telephone (479) 750-8165, email [email protected], by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains and associated funerary objects to The Osage Nation (previously listed as the Osage Tribe) may proceed.

    The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History is responsible for notifying The Osage Nation (previously listed as the Osage Tribe) that this notice has been published.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00069 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19772; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: History Colorado (Formerly Colorado Historical Society), Denver, CO AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    History Colorado has completed an inventory of human remains in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is a cultural affiliation between the human remains and present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to History Colorado. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the lineal descendants, Indian tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to History Colorado at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Sheila Goff, History Colorado, 1200 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203, telephone (303) 866-4531, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains under the control of History Colorado, Denver, CO. The human remains were removed from San Miguel Island, Channel Islands in Santa Barbara County, CA.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by History Colorado professional staff in consultation with representatives of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians of the Santa Ynez Reservation, California.

    History and Description of the Remains

    In 1913, human remains representing, at minimum, one individual were removed from San Miguel Island, Channel Islands, in Santa Barbara County, CA. Museum documentation does not list a specific site from which the human remains were removed. They were anonymously donated to the museum in 1930. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    Osteological analysis conducted at the Metropolitan State University Human Identification Laboratory concludes that the remains are of an adult female of Native American ancestry. Archaeological evidence and oral history indicate San Miguel Island is traditional territory of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians of the Santa Ynez Reservation, California. Historical and archaeological findings support the continuous occupation of the island by the Chumash dating back several thousand years, and their relocation to the mainland to Spanish missions by 19th century. In 1855, the Santa Ynez Reservation was created for the Chumash and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash was federally recognized in 1901.

    Determinations Made by History Colorado

    Officials of History Colorado have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of one individual of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), there is a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians of the Santa Ynez Reservation, California.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Sheila Goff, History Colorado, 1200 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203, (303) 866-4531, email [email protected] by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to may proceed.

    History Colorado is responsible for notifying the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians of the Santa Ynez Reservation, California that this notice has been published.

    Dated: November 12, 2015. Melanie O'Brien, Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00070 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19903; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: U.S. Department of Agriculture, United States Forest Service, White River National Forest, Glenwood Springs, CO AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service, White River National Forest, has completed an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects, in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is no cultural affiliation between the human remains and any present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organization. Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to White River National Forest. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains and associated funerary objects to the Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of the human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to White River National Forest at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Mr. Scott Fitzwilliams, The White River National Forest, 900 Grand Avenue, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601, telephone (970) 945-2521.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains in the control of the White River National Forest, Glenwood Springs, CO, and in the custody of the Anasazi Heritage Center, Dolores, CO.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3) and 43 CFR 10.11(d). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by the White River National Forest professional staff in consultation with representatives of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona; the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians of the Kaibab Indian Reservation, Arizona; the Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah; the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah; the Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico; the Southern Ute Indian Tribe of Southern Ute Reservation, Colorado; the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation, Utah; the Ute Mountain Tribe of the Ute Mountain Reservation, Colorado, New Mexico & Utah; and the Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation, New Mexico. Hereafter all tribes listed above are referred to as “The Consulted and Invited Tribes.”

    History and Description of the Remains

    In 1998, human remains representing, at minimum, two individuals were delivered by a private citizen to the White River National Forest office in Glenwood Springs, CO. The private citizen did not leave personal information but did indicate that the human remains may have originated from southeastern Utah. The human remains consisted of two largely intact crania, and one mandible, likely associated with one of the intact skulls. A separate plastic bag containing a soil matrix (presumably from the site(s) of discovery), three disassociated teeth, and one human bone fragment was also found in the box. It is unknown if the bone fragment(s) and the dissociated teeth were part of the two human skulls although both crania and the single mandible were missing teeth. A cursory anatomical examination revealed the human remains were Native American, one female and one male, both of adult age. The colorations of the individual crania, along with associated soils, suggested that they did not originate from the same site of discovery or excavation. No craniometric examinations were made of the human remains and no destructive (e.g., DNA) analyses were performed. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    Determinations Made by the White River National Forest, USDA:

    Officials of the White River National Forest have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice are Native American based on archeological context.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of, at minimum, two individuals of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), a relationship of shared group identity cannot be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and any present-day Indian tribe.

    • According to final judgments of the Indian Claims Commission, the lands from which the Native American human remains were likely removed from one the aboriginal lands of The Consulted and Invited Tribes.

    • Pursuant to 43 CFR 10.11(c)(1), the disposition of the human remains may be to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe of the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation, Colorado, New Mexico & Utah.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Mr. Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor, White River National Forest, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601, telephone (970) 945-3200, by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe of the Ute Mountain Reservation, Colorado, New Mexico & Utah may proceed.

    White River National Forest is responsible for notifying The Consulted and Invited Tribes that his notice has published.

    Dated: December 3, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00062 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19847; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: State Historical Society of North Dakota, Bismarck, ND AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The State Historical Society of North Dakota has completed an inventory of human remains, and in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, has determined that there is no cultural affiliation between the human remains and any present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request to the State Historical Society of North Dakota. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to the State Historical Society of North Dakota at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Wendi Murray, State Historical Society of North Dakota, 612 East Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck, ND 58505, telephone (701) 328-3506, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains under the control of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Bismarck, ND. The human remains were removed from Camp Grafton, Ramsey County, ND.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3) and 43 CFR 10.11(d). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by the State Historical Society of North Dakota professional staff in consultation with representatives of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana; Crow Tribe of Montana; Lower Sioux Indian Community in the State of Minnesota; Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Montana; Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota; Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota; Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North & South Dakota; Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota; and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota.

    History and Description of the Remains

    In 2003, human remains representing, at minimum, one individual, were removed from site 32RY147 on state land at Camp Grafton in Ramsey County, ND. The human remains (a toe bone) were recovered during a testing project undertaken by the Department of Anthropology, University of North Dakota for the North Dakota Army National Guard. The site, described in the final report as an artifact scatter, is located in the north-central portion of Camp Grafton North, Ramsey County, ND, on top of a densely forested hill. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present.

    No artifacts, burial mounds, or funerary structures suggesting the presence of a burial at or near the location were reported to exist at the site. The presence of ceramics and the recovery of a Besant-like projectile point fragment at the site suggest that it was probably occupied during the Woodland or Early Plains Village period (500 B.C.-A.D. 1300).

    Determinations Made by the State Historical Society of North Dakota

    Officials of the State Historical Society of North Dakota have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remain described in this notice is Native American based on the context of its recovery. They were recovered from a prehistoric Native American site, which also generated ceramic, lithic, and other artifacts consistent with prehistoric Native American occupation.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of one individual of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), a relationship of shared group identity cannot be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and any present-day Indian tribe.

    • According to final judgments of the Indian Claims Commission or the Court of Federal Claims, the land from which the Native American human remains were removed is the aboriginal land of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota, and the Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota.

    • Treaties, Acts of Congress, or Executive Orders, indicate that the land from which the Native American human remains were removed is the aboriginal land of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota and the Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota.

    • Pursuant to 43 CFR 10.11(c)(1), the disposition of the human remains may be to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota, and the Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of these human remains should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Wendi Murray, State Historical Society of North Dakota, 612 East Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck, ND 58505, telephone (701) 328-3506, email [email protected], by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remains to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota, and the Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota, may proceed.

    The State Historical Society of North Dakota is responsible for notifying the the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota, and the Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota that this notice has been published.

    Dated: November 23, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00074 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-WASO-NAGPRA-19930; PPWOCRADN0-PCU00RP14.R50000] Notice of Inventory Completion: Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, CT AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Peabody Museum of Natural History has completed an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects, in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, and has determined that there is a cultural affiliation between the human remain and associated funerary objects and present-day Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of the human remain and associated funerary objects should submit a written request to the Peabody Museum of Natural History. If no additional requestors come forward, transfer of control of the human remain and associated funerary objects to the lineal descendants, Indian tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.

    DATES:

    Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of the human remain and associated funerary objects should submit a written request with information in support of the request to the Peabody Museum of Natural History at the address in this notice by February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Professor David Skelly, Director, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 208118, New Haven, CT 06520-8118, telephone (203) 432-3752.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the completion of an inventory of human remains and associated funerary objects under the control of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, CT. The human remain and associated funerary objects were removed from Pine Island, Marshall County, AL.

    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American human remains and associated funerary objects. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

    Consultation

    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by the Peabody Museum of Natural History professional staff in consultation with representatives of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas; the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Oklahoma; the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma; the Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma; the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana; the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma; the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, Oklahoma; and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.

    History and Description of the Remains

    Prior to 1915, human remains representing, at minimum, one adult individual were removed from Pine Island in Marshall County, AL by John H. Gunter and donated to the Peabody Museum of Natural History. No known individuals were identified. The 82 associated funerary objects are one ceramic vessel fragment, parts of two flint-lock muskets, two lead balls, 65 brass tinklers, one lot of blue and white glass trade beads, two brass bells (variety Circarch), four ramrod thimbles, two metal springs, and three textile fragments.

    Historical and archeological documentation has identified the early inhabitants of the Guntersville Basin as the Koasati (as called by the English) or Kaskinampo (as called by the French), with the Cherokee moving into the region later in the 18th century. Archeological investigations on Pine Island in the late 1800s and again in the 1930s identified both proto-historic and historic occupations. The historic McKee Island Phase occupation dates to approximately A.D. 1650 to 1715. After 1715, it is believed the Koasati abandoned the island and moved south to the Coosa-Tallapoosa River junction. The associated funerary objects are consistent with the earlier historic McKee Island phase occupation of Pine Island by the Koasati. Historical, linguistic, and tribal evidence indicates that descendants of the Koasati are members of four federally recognized tribes: The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Oklahoma, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma.

    Determinations made by the Peabody Museum of Natural History

    Officials of the Peabody Museum of Natural History have determined that:

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(9), the human remains described in this notice represent the physical remains of one individual of Native American ancestry.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(3)(A), the 82 objects described in this notice are reasonably believed to have been placed with or near individual human remains at the time of death or later as part of the death rite or ceremony.

    • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), there is a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced between the Native American human remain and associated funerary objects and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas, the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Oklahoma, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma.

    Additional Requestors and Disposition

    Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to request transfer of control of the human remain and associated funerary objects should submit a written request with information in support of the request to Professor David Skelly, Director, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 208118, New Haven, CT 06520-8118, telephone (203) 432-3752, by February 8, 2016. After that date, if no additional requestors have come forward, transfer of control of the human remain and associated funerary objects to the Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas, the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Oklahoma, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation may proceed.

    The Peabody Museum of Natural History is responsible for notifying Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas; the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Oklahoma; the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma; the Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma; the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana; the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma; the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, Oklahoma; and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma that this notice has been published.

    Dated: December 8, 2015. Amberleigh Malone, Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00061 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
    INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION A Centennial History of the United States International Trade Commission AGENCY:

    International Trade Commission.

    ACTION:

    Call for submissions.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States International Trade Commission (“Commission”) is requesting submissions to form parts of a planned Centennial History of the United States International Trade Commission.

    DATES:

    Submissions will be accepted if:

    1. The author provides written notice to the Secretary to the Commission by January 29, 2016, of the intent to file a submission.

    2. The author files the submission by April 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Documents responsive to this notice should be filed with Lisa R. Barton, Secretary, preferably by electronic mail to [email protected] If electronic transmission is not available, documents can be mailed to the Secretary, United States International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20436.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lisa R. Barton, Secretary, telephone (202) 205-2000, United States International Trade Commission. Hearing-impaired individuals are advised that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the Commission's TDD terminal at (202) 205-1810. General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its Internet server at http://www.usitc.gov.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission was created by Public Law 64-271 enacted on September 8, 1916. The Commission is planning to commemorate the 100th anniversary of its founding by publishing a Centennial History of the agency.

    The Commission's strategic plan describes the agency in the following terms: “For decades, the Commission, an independent, nonpartisan agency, has fulfilled its mandate to provide Congress and the President with objective, thorough, and succinct analysis on the most critical trade issues of the day.” The Commission seeks to place the agency and its mandate for independence, lack of partisanship, and objectivity in its historical context. The Commission intends to focus on this mandate as a theme of the book.

    The book is planned to include the following chapters:

    Chapter 1. Introduction The agency and its mission 100 years on An independent, nonpartisan agency: A technical, not policy, mission aspects of independence (budget, litigation, etc.) The framework of the book; summary of chapters Chapter 2. The Creation of the Tariff Commission The perceived need for an agency President Wilson's initiative Communications between Administration and Congress Evolution of organic legislation The Tariff Commission opens its doors Chapter 3. Evolution of the Agency, 1917-2016 Early activities Debates over the number of Commissioners Tie-breaker provisions Debate over the strong Chairmanship Issues with Commissioner and Chairman appointments Old DC and NYC offices, new building, libraries Agency alumni strengthen the trade community Chapter 4. Tariff-Related Proceedings Tariffs before the creation of the Tariff Commission Early Tariff Commission activities Commission role in the drafting of the 1930, 1962 (TSUS), and 1988 (HTS) tariff schedules The Tariff Schedule of the United States The Harmonized Tariff Schedule World Customs Organization activities The 484(f) Committee Miscellaneous tariff bills Recommendations to the President updating the HTS Chapter 5. Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Investigations The problems of dumping and subsidization Antidumping and countervailing duty activities prior to the 1979 Act Practice from the 1979 Act to the Uruguay Round Implementation Act Practice since the URAA Litigation Chapter 6. Safeguards Development of the concept under domestic law (the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act and various extensions) Inclusion of the concept in international agreements (the GATT and WTO Safeguards Agreement and in bilateral free trade agreements) Commission investigations under executive orders and U.S. trade legislation (the 1951, 1962, 1974, 1988, and 1994 trade legislation) Three prominent cases—footwear (1968), autos (1980), and steel (2001) China safeguards The lack of cases in recent years Chapter 7. Intellectual Property Investigations The problem of unfair imports The first statute Section 337 Patent infringement Trademark infringement Non-IP investigations The evolution of the injury requirement The surge of investigations Presidential overrides; the Samsung/Apple case Selected recent developments: e.g., domestic industry, public interest Litigation Chapter 8. Industry and Economic Analysis for Congress Reports prepared for Congress vs. reports for the President Fact-finding investigations under the 1916 act and section 332 of the Tariff Act Fact-finding investigations under other authorities Economic modeling Chapter 9. Industry and Economic Analysis for the Executive Branch Role prior to World War II, war time role, and supporting role in trade negotiations Role in supporting STR and USTR with fact-finding reports and trade negotiation advice Chapter 10. Conclusion Summary of the book

    This table of contents is preliminary and has not yet been finalized. The Commission is willing to entertain suggestions from prospective authors for modifications to the table.

    The Commission is seeking authors to prepare chapters for the book (other than the Conclusion). Each submission for a chapter on one of the Commission's functions would need to address the following: Why Congress felt the need for legislation on the subject of the chapter (e.g., antidumping and countervailing duty determinations); why the Commission was selected to provide such determinations (such as the need for objectivity); and how the Commission has implemented the law. The Commission is willing to accept submissions that are a joint effort of two or more co-authors. Submissions should be consistent with the above-described mandate of non-partisanship and objectivity.

    Once filed, each submission will undergo an extensive review process. The Commission reserves the right to edit each submission for form, style, and content. The agency provides no guarantee that a submission will be published in the Centennial History. Publication of a chapter will not result in monetary remuneration.

    The Commission is considering convening a conference at which submissions for the Centennial History would be discussed. All authors whose contributions have been accepted for the book would have an opportunity to participate in the conference. In addition, authors whose contributions do not become part of the book may be permitted to participate. Their contributions would also be considered for inclusion in the proceedings of the conference.

    As stated above, a prospective author must provide written notice to the Commission by January 29, 2016, of the intent to file a submission. This intent to file must include the following information:

    1. Name(s) 2. Institutional Affiliation(s) 3. Status (e.g., doctoral student, Assistant Professor, practitioners) 4. Email address(es) 5. Mailing Address(es) 6. One (1) page single-spaced abstract of the chapter(s) in Microsoft Word format.

    Once the Commission has received the notices, each author will receive a packet including: A tentative offer to publish, a voluntary services agreement, and guidelines on editorial styles and compliance with section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

    By order of the Commission.

    Issued: January 4, 2016. William R. Bishop, Supervisory Hearings and Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00005 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7020-02-P
    JUDICIAL CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES Hearings of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure AGENCY:

    Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Judicial Conference of the United States.

    ACTION:

    Notice of cancellation of public hearing.

    SUMMARY:

    The following public hearing on proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure has been canceled: Bankruptcy Rules Hearing on January 29, 2016, in Pasadena, California. Announcements for this meeting were previously published in 80 FR 48120, 80 FR 50324 and 80 FR 51604.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rebecca A. Womeldorf, Rules Committee Secretary, Rules Committee Support Office, Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Washington, DC 20544, telephone (202) 502-1820.

    Dated: January 4, 2016. Rebecca A. Womeldorf, Rules Committee Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00037 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 2210-55-P
    NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION Notice of Permit Applications Received Under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978 AGENCY:

    National Science Foundation.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Permit Applications Received under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978, Public Law 95-541.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is required to publish a notice of permit applications received to conduct activities regulated under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978. NSF has published regulations under the Antarctic Conservation Act at title 45 part 671 of the Code of Federal Regulations. This is the required notice of permit applications received.

    DATES:

    Interested parties are invited to submit written data, comments, or views with respect to this permit application by February 8, 2016. This application may be inspected by interested parties at the Permit Office, address below.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be addressed to Permit Office, Room 755, Division of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nature McGinn, ACA Permit Officer, at the above address or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The National Science Foundation, as directed by the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978 (Pub. L. 95-541), as amended by the Antarctic Science, Tourism and Conservation Act of 1996, has developed regulations for the establishment of a permit system for various activities in Antarctica and designation of certain animals and certain geographic areas a requiring special protection. The regulations establish such a permit system to designate Antarctic Specially Protected Areas.

    Application Details 1. Applicant Permit Application: 2016-024

    Ari S. Friedlaender, Ph.D., Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon State University, Hatfield Marine Science Center, 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR 97365

    Activity for Which Permit is Requested

    Waste Permit. The applicant will conduct research around the Antarctic Peninsula to determine the ecological role of baleen whales. Recently developed sensor tags will be used to collect data on the underwater movement and behavior of the whales. Over time, the applicant will be able to determine how changes in the whales' behavior correspond to changes in sea ice, krill, and other critical aspects of the Antarctic marine ecosystem that are at risk from rapidly changing climates. The applicant will also collect skin and blubber biopsy samples to gain a better understanding of the identity, population structure, and health of the whales. The applicant will collaborate with Antarctic tour operators that will provide platforms to the applicant's research team in order to gather data during time periods that are undersampled. The applicant is seeking a waste permit to cover any accidental releases that may occur if the biopsy darts and/or tags are lost.

    Multi-sensor, suction cup tags. The tags contain electronic sensors that are contained in a syntactic foam housing (400g in weight). The tags also contain a VHF radio beacon that aids in tag retrieval via standard radio tracking equipment. The tags remain on whales for up to 24 hours via silicon suction cups. When they are shed, they float and are retrieved using radio telemetry tracking tools. The applicant's research team remains in visual or radio contact with the tag continuously while it is deployed and until it is recovered. While tag failure is rare, if the VHF transmitter fails the tag would likely remain floating until it became beach-cast. In the applicant's experience, VHF failure occurs rarely, less than 1% of all deployments. A lost tag would constitute waste in the form of 300 grams of syntactic foam, 100 grams of electronics and 20 grams of silicon suction cups. The research teams are comprised of experienced researchers with many years of field time. By employing personnel such as this, the applicant minimizes the risk of generating waste and losing any equipment due to human error.

    Biopsy darts. Biopsy sampling is done with a crossbow firing a floating dart, made of aluminum and carbon fiber, that bounces off the whale's body after extracting a tiny plug of tissue. The biopsy tips are a 40 mm stainless steel barrel. The bolts also contain a 5x2cm foam float that is used to aid in dart retrieval. The bolts are highly visible and remain at the surface for retrieval. The applicant will only collect samples when weather and light conditions are good and offer the best chance at retrieving the bolt. The applicant's research team generally takes samples at a range of 10-30 meters that allows them to maintain visual contact with the bolt when it is in the water. During biopsy sampling, the team has an observer whose job is to maintain visual contact with the bolt until retrieval. The applicant's research team has collected over 500 biopsy samples in Antarctica on various projects and has only failed to retrieve two bolts to date. When bolts are lost, it is likely that they would remain floating for some time unless the foam breaks in which case the bolt would likely sink quickly.

    Location

    Antarctic Peninsula

    Dates

    February 23, 2016 to April 30, 2020

    Nadene G. Kennedy, Polar Coordination Specialist, Division of Polar Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00030 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7555-01-P
    NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION Notice of Permits Issued Under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978 AGENCY:

    National Science Foundation.

    ACTION:

    Notice of permits issued under the Antarctic Conservation of 1978, Public Law 95-541.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is required to publish notice of permits issued under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978. This is the required notice.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nature McGinn, ACA Permit Officer, Division of Polar Programs, Rm. 755, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. Or by email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On October 6, 2015 the National Science Foundation published a notice in the Federal Register of a permit modification application received. The permit modification was issued on December 31, 2015 to:

    Ari Friedlaender Permit No. 2015-011 modification 1 Nadene G. Kennedy, Polar Coordination Specialist, Division of Polar Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00029 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7555-01-P
    POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket Nos. MC2016-50 and CP2016-65; Order No. 2923] New Postal Product AGENCY:

    Postal Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commission is noticing a recent Postal Service filing concerning the addition of Priority Mail Contract 173 to the competitive product list. This notice informs the public of the filing, invites public comment, and takes other administrative steps.

    DATES:

    Comments are due: January 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov. Those who cannot submit comments electronically should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by telephone for advice on filing alternatives.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David A. Trissell, General Counsel, at 202-789-6820.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Introduction II. Notice of Commission Action III. Ordering Paragraphs I. Introduction

    In accordance with 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq., the Postal Service filed a formal request and associated supporting information to add Priority Mail Contract 173 to the competitive product list.1

    1 Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 173 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing (Under Seal) of Unredacted Governors' Decision, Contract, and Supporting Data, December 22, 2015 (Request).

    The Postal Service contemporaneously filed a redacted contract related to the proposed new product under 39 U.S.C. 3632(b)(3) and 39 CFR 3015.5. Request, Attachment B.

    To support its Request, the Postal Service filed a copy of the contract, a copy of the Governors' Decision authorizing the product, proposed changes to the Mail Classification Schedule, a Statement of Supporting Justification, a certification of compliance with 39 U.S.C. 3633(a), and an application for non-public treatment of certain materials. It also filed supporting financial workpapers.

    II. Notice of Commission Action

    The Commission establishes Docket Nos. MC2016-50 and CP2016-65 to consider the Request pertaining to the proposed Priority Mail Contract 173 product and the related contract, respectively.

    The Commission invites comments on whether the Postal Service's filings in the captioned dockets are consistent with the policies of 39 U.S.C. 3632, 3633, or 3642, 39 CFR part 3015, and 39 CFR part 3020, subpart B. Comments are due no later than January 7, 2016. The public portions of these filings can be accessed via the Commission's Web site (http://www.prc.gov).

    The Commission appoints Kenneth R. Moeller to serve as Public Representative in these dockets.

    III. Ordering Paragraphs

    It is ordered:

    1. The Commission establishes Docket Nos. MC2016-50 and CP2016-65 to consider the matters raised in each docket.

    2. Pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 505, Kenneth R. Moeller is appointed to serve as an officer of the Commission to represent the interests of the general public in these proceedings (Public Representative).

    3. Comments are due no later than January 7, 2016.

    4. The Secretary shall arrange for publication of this order in the Federal Register.

    By the Commission.

    Stacy L. Ruble, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00051 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-FW-P
    POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meetings TIMES AND DATES:

    March 3, 2016, at 11 a.m.; June 2, 2016, at 11 a.m.; September 1, 2016, at 11: a.m.; December 1, 2016, at 11 a.m.

    PLACE:

    Commission hearing room, 901 New York Avenue NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20268-0001.

    STATUS:

    The Postal Regulatory Commission will hold public meetings to discuss the agenda items outlined below. Part of the meetings will be open to the public as well as audiocast, and the audiocast may be accessed via the Commission's Web site at http://www.prc.gov. Part of the meetings will be closed.

    MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED:

    The agenda for the Commission's March 3, 2016 meeting, June 2, 2016 meeting, September 1, 2016 meeting, and December 1, 2016 meeting include the items identified below.

    PORTIONS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC:

    1. Report from the Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations.

    2. Report from the Office of General Counsel.

    3. Report from the Office of Accountability and Compliance.

    4. Commissioners Vote to designate new Vice-Chairman of the Commission pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 502(e). (December 1, 2016 Meeting only)

    PORTIONS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC:

    5. Discussion of pending litigation.

    CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    David A. Trissell, General Counsel, Postal Regulatory Commission, 901 New York Avenue NW., Suite 200, Washington, DC 20268-0001, at 202-789-6820 (for agenda-related inquiries) and Stacy L. Ruble, Secretary of the Commission, at 202-789-6800 or [email protected] (for inquiries related to meeting location, changes in date or time of the meeting, access for handicapped or disabled persons, the audiocast, or similar matters). The Commission's Web site may also provide information on changes in the date or time of the meeting.

    By direction of the Commission.

    Stacy L. Ruble, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00108 Filed 1-5-16; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 7710-FW-P
    POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket Nos. MC2016-49 and CP2016-64; Order No. 2921] New Postal Product AGENCY:

    Postal Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commission is noticing a recent Postal Service filing concerning the addition of Priority Mail Contract 172 to the competitive product list. This notice informs the public of the filing, invites public comment, and takes other administrative steps.

    DATES:

    Comments are due: January 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov. Those who cannot submit comments electronically should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by telephone for advice on filing alternatives.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David A. Trissell, General Counsel, at 202-789-6820.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Introduction II. Notice of Commission Action III. Ordering Paragraphs I. Introduction

    In accordance with 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq., the Postal Service filed a formal request and associated supporting information to add Priority Mail Contract 172 to the competitive product list.1

    1 Request of the United States Postal Service to Add Priority Mail Contract 172 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing (Under Seal) of Unredacted Governors' Decision, Contract, and Supporting Data, December 22, 2015 (Request).

    The Postal Service contemporaneously filed a redacted contract related to the proposed new product under 39 U.S.C. 3632(b)(3) and 39 CFR 3015.5. Request, Attachment B.

    To support its Request, the Postal Service filed a copy of the contract, a copy of the Governors' Decision authorizing the product, proposed changes to the Mail Classification Schedule, a Statement of Supporting Justification, a certification of compliance with 39 U.S.C. 3633(a), and an application for non-public treatment of certain materials. It also filed supporting financial workpapers.

    II. Notice of Commission Action

    The Commission establishes Docket Nos. MC2016-49 and CP2016-64 to consider the Request pertaining to the proposed Priority Mail Contract 172 product and the related contract, respectively.

    The Commission invites comments on whether the Postal Service's filings in the captioned dockets are consistent with the policies of 39 U.S.C. 3632, 3633, or 3642, 39 CFR part 3015, and 39 CFR part 3020, subpart B. Comments are due no later than January 7, 2016. The public portions of these filings can be accessed via the Commission's Web site (http://www.prc.gov).

    The Commission appoints Curtis E. Kidd to serve as Public Representative in these dockets.

    III. Ordering Paragraphs

    It is ordered:

    1. The Commission establishes Docket Nos. MC2016-49 and CP2016-64 to consider the matters raised in each docket.

    2. Pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 505, Curtis E. Kidd is appointed to serve as an officer of the Commission to represent the interests of the general public in these proceedings (Public Representative).

    3. Comments are due no later than January 7, 2016.

    4. The Secretary shall arrange for publication of this order in the Federal Register.

    By the Commission.

    Stacy L. Ruble, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00049 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-FW-P
    POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket Nos. MC2016-51 and CP2016-66; Order No. 2922] New Postal Product AGENCY:

    Postal Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commission is noticing a recent Postal Service filing concerning the addition of First-Class Package Service Contract 40 to the competitive product list. This notice informs the public of the filing, invites public comment, and takes other administrative steps.

    DATES:

    Comments are due: January 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov. Those who cannot submit comments electronically should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by telephone for advice on filing alternatives.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David A. Trissell, General Counsel, at 202-789-6820.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents I. Introduction II. Notice of Commission Action III. Ordering Paragraphs I. Introduction

    In accordance with 39 U.S.C. 3642 and 39 CFR 3020.30 et seq., the Postal Service filed a formal request and associated supporting information to add First-Class Package Service Contract 40 to the competitive product list.1

    1 Request of the United States Postal Service to Add First-Class Package Service Contract 40 to Competitive Product List and Notice of Filing (Under Seal) of Unredacted Governors' Decision, Contract, and Supporting Data, December 22, 2015 (Request).

    The Postal Service contemporaneously filed a redacted contract related to the proposed new product under 39 U.S.C. 3632(b)(3) and 39 CFR 3015.5. Request, Attachment B.

    To support its Request, the Postal Service filed a copy of the contract, a copy of the Governors' Decision authorizing the product, proposed changes to the Mail Classification Schedule, a Statement of Supporting Justification, a certification of compliance with 39 U.S.C. 3633(a), and an application for non-public treatment of certain materials. It also filed supporting financial workpapers.

    II. Notice of Commission Action

    The Commission establishes Docket Nos. MC2016-51 and CP2016-66 to consider the Request pertaining to the proposed First-Class Package Service Contract 40 product and the related contract, respectively.

    The Commission invites comments on whether the Postal Service's filings in the captioned dockets are consistent with the policies of 39 U.S.C. 3632, 3633, or 3642, 39 CFR part 3015, and 39 CFR part 3020, subpart B. Comments are due no later than January 7, 2016. The public portions of these filings can be accessed via the Commission's Web site (http://www.prc.gov).

    The Commission appoints Curtis E. Kidd to serve as Public Representative in these dockets.

    III. Ordering Paragraphs

    It is ordered:

    1. The Commission establishes Docket Nos. MC2016-51 and CP2016-66 to consider the matters raised in each docket.

    2. Pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 505, Curtis E. Kidd is appointed to serve as an officer of the Commission to represent the interests of the general public in these proceedings (Public Representative).

    3. Comments are due no later than January 7, 2016.

    4. The Secretary shall arrange for publication of this order in the Federal Register.

    By the Commission.

    Stacy L. Ruble, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00050 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-FW-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76809; File No. SR-NASDAQ-2015-160] Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Amend the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc. December 31, 2015.

    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 December 21, 2015, 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 and II below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. On December 29, 2015, the Exchange filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposal.3 The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment No. 1, from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3 Amendment No. 1 amends and replaces the original filing in its entirety. In Amendment No. 1, the Exchange, among other things, clarified the operation of the current and proposed provisions of the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc. and how the proposed rule change would operate in conjunction with the Listing Rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market. See infra, note 5.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange is filing this proposed rule change with respect to amendments of the By-Laws (the “By-Laws”) of its parent corporation, Nasdaq, Inc. (“Nasdaq” or the “Company”), to revise the requirements regarding Director classifications. This Amendment No. 1 to SR-NASDAQ-2015-160 amends and replaces the original filing in its entirety. The proposed amendments will be implemented on a date designated by the Company following approval by the Commission. 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 Company is proposing amendments to certain provisions of its By-Laws that relate to Director 4 classifications.5 Specifically, the Company proposes to revise Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that it may, rather than shall, include at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors on its Board. In addition, the Company proposes to revise Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to clarify the procedures when a Director's classification changes between annual meetings of stockholders.

    4 “Director” means a member of the Company's Board of Directors. See Article I(j) of the By-Laws.

    5 The provisions of the Company's By-Laws that relate to Director classifications are completely distinct from the Listing Rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market. Therefore, the proposed amendments do not affect in any way the Company's obligation, as an issuer listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market, to comply with the Listing Rules, and the Company will continue to comply with the Listing Rules, including provisions relating to corporate governance, following the effectiveness of the proposed By-Law amendments.

    i. Section 4.3

    Currently, the Company's By-Laws require that all of the Company's Directors be classified as: (i) Industry Directors; 6 (ii) Non-Industry Directors,7 which are further classified as either Issuer Directors 8 or Public Directors; 9 or (iii) Staff Directors.10 Section 4.3 of the By-Laws includes composition requirements for the Board based on these classifications. Specifically, the number of Non-Industry Directors on the Board must equal or exceed the number of Industry Directors. In addition, the Board must include at least two Public Directors and at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors. Finally, the Board shall include no more than one Staff Director, unless the Board consists of ten or more Directors, in which case, the Board shall include no more than two Staff Directors.

    6 “Industry Director” or “Industry committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Directors) or committee member who (1) is, or within the last year was, or has an immediate family member who is, or within the last year was, a member of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (2) is, or within the last year was, employed by a member or a member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (3) has an immediate family member who is, or within the last year was, an executive officer of a member or a member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (4) has within the last year received from any member or member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary more than $100,000 per year in direct compensation, or received from such members or member organizations in the aggregate an amount of direct compensation that in any one year is more than 10 percent of the Director's annual gross compensation for such year, excluding in each case director and committee fees and pension or other forms of deferred compensation for prior service (provided such compensation is not contingent in any way on continued service); or (5) is affiliated, directly or indirectly, with a member or member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary. See Article I(m) of the By-Laws. A “Self-Regulatory Subsidiary” is any subsidiary of the Company that is a self-regulatory organization as defined under Section 3(a)(26) of the Act. See Article I(s) of the By-Laws. Currently, the term “Self-Regulatory Subsidiary” encompasses NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc. (“BX”), the Exchange, NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC (“Phlx”), Boston Stock Exchange Clearing Corporation (“BSECC”) and the Stock Clearing Corporation of Philadelphia (“SCCP”).

    7 “Non-Industry Director” or “Non-Industry committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Director) or committee member who is (1) a Public Director or Public committee member; (2) an Issuer Director or Issuer committee member; or (3) any other individual who would not be an Industry Director or Industry committee member. See Article I(q) of the By-Laws.

    8 “Issuer Director” or “Issuer committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Director) or committee member who is an officer or employee of an issuer of securities listed on a national securities exchange operated by any Self-Regulatory Subsidiary, excluding any Director or committee member who is a director of such an issuer but is not also an officer or employee of such an issuer. See Article I(o) of the By-Laws.

    9 “Public Director” or “Public committee member” means a Director or committee member who (1) is not an Industry Director or Industry committee member, (2) is not an Issuer Director or Issuer committee member, and (3) has no material business relationship with a member or member organization of a Self- Regulatory Subsidiary, the Company or its affiliates, or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. and its affiliates. See Article I(r) of the By-Laws.

    10 “Staff Director” means an officer of the Company that is serving as a Director. See Article I(t) of the By-Laws.

    The Company proposes to amend Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that the Board may, rather than shall, include one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors. With this change, the Company intends to give itself the option, but not the requirement, to include one or two Issuer Directors on its Board. Issuer Directors bring to the Board the perspective of an officer or employee of companies listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market. While the Company highly values the views of its listed companies, it does not believe that it is strictly necessary to have an Issuer Director on its own Board to represent those views. Within the overall governance structure of the Company and its subsidiaries, issues relating to listed companies are generally the province of NASDAQ and its Board of Directors, rather than the Company and its Board of Directors. The Company is a holding company for over 100 subsidiaries that provide both regulated and unregulated products and services across the globe, while NASDAQ is the Company subsidiary that, among other things, provides listing services on The NASDAQ Stock Market. The Company's Board generally focuses on the overall strategic direction of the Company, while NASDAQ's Board generally focuses on issues relevant specifically to The NASDAQ Stock Market, including issues affecting listed companies. Furthermore, NASDAQ's Board includes issuer representation, as required by its By-Laws.11 Finally, if the Company's Board ever does address issues relating to listed companies, its Directors are experienced and capable enough to handle those issues without specifically having an Issuer Director on the Board.12

    11See Article III, Section 2 of NASDAQ's By-Laws.

    12 Currently, three of the Company's eleven Directors are also directors of companies listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market or another national securities exchange. These Directors do not qualify as Issuer Directors because they are not specifically officers or employees of listed companies; however, as directors of such companies, they are familiar with corporate governance topics and other issues confronted by listed companies.

    Therefore, it is not strictly necessary to have an officer or employee of a listed company on the Company's Board of Directors, and accordingly, the Company proposes to amend its By-Laws to give itself the option, but not the requirement, to include an Issuer Director on its Board.

    ii. Section 4.7

    As required by Section 4.13(h)(iii) of the By-Laws, the Company's Corporate Secretary certifies to the Nominating & Governance Committee of the Company's Board on an annual basis the classification of each Director following a review of information relating to the classifications collected from the Directors. This certification usually occurs in connection with the Company's annual meeting of stockholders, and at the same time, Directors are elected to serve on various Board committees, all of which have compositional requirements relating to the classifications.13 However, Directors' classifications may change from time to time following the annual meeting due to various changes in personal circumstances (e.g., a retirement or job change). Directors are required to report to the Corporate Secretary any change in the information used as the basis of their classification.14

    13See Section 4.13 of the By-Laws.

    14See Section 4.13(h)(iii) of the By-Laws.

    Section 4.7 of the By-Laws addresses potential disqualifications of Directors due to a classification change. Under this section, the term of office of a Director shall terminate immediately upon a determination by the Board, by a majority vote of the remaining Directors, that: (a) The Director no longer satisfies the classification for which the Director was elected; and (b) the Director's continued service would violate the Board compositional requirements. Section 4.7 also states that if a Director position becomes vacant because of such disqualification, and the remaining term of office is not more than six months, the By-Laws do not require an immediate replacement.

    The Company has observed two potential weaknesses relating to the disqualification procedures as currently drafted. First, Section 4.7 of the By-Laws does not address a situation where a Director's classification has changed, but the Board believes that it is in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders for such Director to remain on the Board. Second, the By-Laws could be read to contemplate that the Company must immediately cure any deficiencies in Board or committee composition that may occur because of a change in a Director or committee member's classification because otherwise the Board would not meet all of the compositional requirements set forth in Section 4.3 of the By-Laws.15 It would be extremely disruptive to the Board, its committees and the Company to add, remove, disqualify or replace a Director between annual meetings of stockholders simply because the Director no longer has the same classification he or she had at the time of the annual meeting. In addition, the selection of nominees to the Company's Board is an extremely complex process, managed by the Board's Nominating & Governance Committee, that takes almost the full year between annual meetings of stockholders. The Nominating & Governance Committee considers possible candidates suggested by Board members, industry groups, stockholders, senior management and/or a third-party search firm engaged from time-to-time to assist in identifying and evaluating qualified candidates. In evaluating candidates for nomination to the Board, the Nominating & Governance Committee reviews the skills, qualifications, characteristics and experience desired for the Board as a whole and for its individual members, with the objective of having a Board that reflects diverse backgrounds and senior level experience in the areas of global business, finance, legal and regulatory, technology and marketing. The Nominating & Governance Committee evaluates each individual candidate in the context of the Board as a whole, with the objective of maintaining a group of Directors that can further the success of Nasdaq's business, while representing the interests of stockholders, employees and the communities in which the company operates. Because the nominee selection process is so long and complex, the Board cannot act quickly to replace a Director whose classification has changed, and it is not in the best interests of the Company's stockholders for the Board to be forced to take such an action when the Director otherwise provides valuable service to the Board.

    15But see Kurz v. Holbrook, 989 A.2d 140, 156-57 (Del.Ch. 2010) (holding that a by-law cannot disqualify a director who was duly qualified at the time of election during the middle of his or her term), rev'd on other grounds sub nom Crown EMAK P'ners, LLC v. Kurz, 992 A.2d 377 (Del. 2010); see also Klaassen v. Allegro Development Corp., 2013 WL 5739680, at *23 (Del. Ch. Oct. 11, 2013) (noting that director qualifications are applied at the front-end of the director's term when such director is elected and qualified), aff'd 106 A.3d 1035 (Del. 2014).

    The Company therefore proposes to amend Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to provide that the Board may elect to defer until the next annual meeting of stockholders a determination regarding a change in a Director's classification and such Director's continued service on the Board.16 Further, if the Board makes such an election, neither the Board nor any committee shall be deemed to be in violation of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws, which relates to Board composition, or Section 4.13 of the By-Laws, which relates to committee composition. This will give the Board the option to retain Directors whose classification has changed, but whose continued service is otherwise beneficial to the Board, the Company and its stockholders. This also will prevent the significant disruption that would occur if the Board had to replace a Director between annual meetings of stockholders and allow the Board to continue to make informed, deliberate decisions regarding Director nominees, rather than force it to act quickly in a way that is not in the best interest of the Company's stockholders.

    16 The intent of the amendment is to allow the Board a deferral until the next annual meeting when it can nominate a slate of directors with classifications sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws for election by the Company's stockholders. Assuming due election of the Board's nominees, the Board therefore will comply with Section 4.3 of the By-Laws immediately after the next annual meeting.

    2. Statutory Basis

    The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,17 in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,18 in particular, in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general to protect investors and the public interest.

    17 15 U.S.C. 78f(b).

    18 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(5).

    First, the Company is proposing an amendment to Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that it may, rather than shall, include at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors on its Board. The Exchange believes that this change will protect investors and the public interest by allowing the Company's Nominating & Governance Committee to select nominees for the Company's Board based on the overall strategic needs of the Board, the Company and its stockholders without forcing the Board to fill one slot with an officer or director of a listed company (i.e., an Issuer Director). The Exchange notes that the Company would still have the option to include Issuer Directors on the Board, and the Exchange believes the views of listed companies are well-represented on the Board without the explicit participation of an Issuer Director.19

    19See note 12, supra.

    Second, the Company is proposing an amendment to Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to provide that the Board may elect to defer until the next annual meeting of stockholders a determination regarding a change in a Director's classification and such Director's continued service on the Board. Further, if the Board makes such an election, neither the Board nor any committee shall be deemed to be in violation of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws, which relates to Board composition, or Section 4.13 of the By-Laws, which relates to committee composition. The Exchange believes that this change will protect investors and the public interest by clarifying the disqualification provisions in the Company's By-Laws, which are currently ambiguous. In addition, the change will prevent the significant disruption that would occur if the Board were forced to replace an otherwise valuable director between annual meetings.

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    Because the proposed rule change relates to the governance of the Company and not to the operations of the Exchange, 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.

    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

    Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period up to 90 days of such date (i) as the Commission may designate if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the Exchange consents, the Commission shall: (a) By order approve or disapprove such proposed rule change, or (b) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be 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-2015-160 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-NASDAQ-2015-160. 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 offices 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-2015-160, and should be submitted on or before January 28, 2016. For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.20

    20 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Jill M. Peterson, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33308 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76814; File No. SR-NYSE-2015-02] Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing of Amendment Nos. 1 and 2 and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment Nos. 1 and 2 Thereto, Amending Sections 312.03(b) and 312.04 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual To Exempt Early Stage Companies From Having To Obtain Shareholder Approval Before Issuing Shares for Cash to Related Parties, Affiliates of Related Parties or Entities in Which a Related Party Has a Substantial Interest December 31, 2015. I. Introduction

    New York Stock Exchange LLC (“NYSE” or the “Exchange”) filed on April 16, 2015, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) 1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 a proposed rule change to exempt early stage companies from having to obtain shareholder approval before issuing shares to related parties, affiliates of related parties, or entities in which a related party has a substantial interest. The proposed rule change was published for comment in the Federal Register on May 6, 2015.3 The Commission received no comment letters on the proposal. On June 18, 2015, the Commission designated a longer period for Commission action on the proposed rule change 4 and on August 4, 2015, initiated proceedings under Section 19(b)(2)(B) of the Act 5 to determine whether to approve or disapprove the proposed rule change.6 In response to the Order Instituting Proceedings, the Commission received a comment letter from the Exchange and Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change.7 The Commission also received a recommendation regarding the proposed rule change from the Office of the Investor Advocate (“OIAD”) 8 and a comment letter.9 On October 30, 2015, the Commission extended the time period for Commission action 10 and on November 12, 2015, the Exchange submitted a letter responding to the comments.11 On December 10, 2015, the Exchange filed Amendment No. 2 to the proposed rule change.12 This order approves the proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment Nos. 1 and 2.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 74849 (April 30, 2015), 80 FR 26118 (May 6, 2015) (“Notice”).

    4See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 75248 (June 18, 2015), 80 FR 36385 (June 24, 2015) (extending the time period for Commission action to August 4, 2015).

    5 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(2)(B).

    6See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 75599 (August 4, 2015), 80 FR 47979 (August 10, 2015) (“Order Instituting Proceedings”).

    7See letter to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission from Clare F. Saperstein, Associate General Counsel, New York Stock Exchange, dated August 31, 2015 (“NYSE Response Letter I”) and Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change dated August 31, 2015. In Amendment No. 1, the Exchange stated that it believed there was a potential ambiguity in the proposed rule language submitted as part of the original proposal. Amendment No. 1 amends the original proposed rule language to clarify that the proposed exemption from shareholder approval transactions involving the sale of stock for cash by an early stage company applies not only to a related party, as originally proposed, but also to a subsidiary, affiliate or other closely-related person of a related party; or any company or entity in which a related party has a substantial direct or indirect interest.

    8See Memorandum to the Commission from Rick. A. Fleming, Office of the Investor Advocate, Commission, dated October 16, 2015 (“OIAD Recommendation”). As discussed in more detail below, the Commission has carefully considered the OIAD Recommendation. The OIAD was established pursuant to Section 915 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub. L. 111-203, sec. 911, 124 Stat. 1376, 1822 (July 21, 2010) (the “Dodd-Frank Act”). The Dodd-Frank Act authorizes the Investor Advocate, among other things, to identify areas in which investors would benefit from changes in the regulations of the Commission or the rules of self-regulatory organizations and to propose to the Commission changes in the regulations or orders of the Commission that may be appropriate to promote the interests of investors.

    9See Public comment email from Suzanne Shatto, dated October 16, 2015 (“Shatto Letter”).

    10See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 76323 (October 30, 2015), 80 FR 68585 (November 5, 2015) (extending the time period for Commission action to December 31, 2015).

    11See letter to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission from Clare F. Saperstein, Associate General Counsel, New York Stock Exchange, dated November 12, 2015 (“NYSE Response Letter II”).

    12 In Amendment No. 2, the Exchange amended the proposed rule language to clarify that (i) an early stage company may not use the proposed exemption to fund an acquisition of stock or assets of another company that would otherwise require shareholder approval under Section 312.03(b) of the Listed Company Manual; (ii) any sale of a listed company's securities at a below-market price constitutes equity compensation under Section 303A.08 of the Manual and is therefore subject to the shareholder approval requirements under that rule; and (iii) shareholder approval of any issuance is required if any of the subparagraphs of Section 312.03 require such approval, notwithstanding the fact that the transaction does not require approval under Section 312.03(b) or one or more of the other subparagraphs. See also letter to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Commission from Martha Redding, Senior Counsel and Assistant Secretary, New York Stock Exchange, dated December 14, 2015 (“Amendment No. 2”).

    II. Description of the Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment Nos. 1 and 2

    The Exchange proposes to amend Sections 312.03(b) and 312.04 of the Listed Company Manual (“Manual”) to provide an exemption to an “early stage company” listed on the Exchange from having to obtain shareholder approval, under certain circumstances, before issuing shares of common stock, or securities convertible into or exercisable for common stock, to a (1) director, officer 13 or substantial security holder 14 of the company (“Related Party” or “Related Parties”), (2) subsidiary, affiliate or closely-related person of a Related Party or (3) company or entity in which a Related Party has a substantial direct or indirect interest (together, a “Proposed Exempted Party” or “Proposed Exempted Parties”).15 In particular, shareholder approval will no longer be required under Section 312.03(b) for an “early stage company,” before the issuance of shares for cash to a Proposed Exempted Party, provided that the company's audit committee or a comparable committee comprised solely of independent directors reviews and approves of all such transactions prior to their completion.16 Today, shareholder approval is required prior to the issuance of shares, among other things, where the number of shares to be issued to the Proposed Exempted Party exceeds either 1% of the number of shares of common stock or 1% of the voting power outstanding before the issuance (or 5% of the number of shares or voting power, if the Related Party is classified as such solely because it is a substantial security holder, and the issuance relates to a sale of stock for cash, at a price at least as great as each of the book and market value of the company's common stock).17 Shareholder approval is also required for issuances relating to 20% or more of the company's common stock, and prior to any issuance that will result in a change of control.18

    13 Section 312.04(h) of the Manual states that the term “officer” has the same meaning as defined by the Commission in Rule 16a-1(f) under the Act.

    14 Section 312.04(e) of the Manual states that an interest consisting of less than either 5% of the number of shares of common stock or 5% of the voting power outstanding of a company or entity shall not be considered a substantial interest or cause the holder of such an interest to be regarded as a substantial security holder.

    15 The Exchange seeks to permit early stage companies to sell up to 19.9% of their outstanding equity securities to the Proposed Exempted Parties “without undertaking the costly and time-consuming process of obtaining shareholder approval.” See NYSE Response Letter I, supra note 7.

    16 The Exchange believes that independent committee review and approval of Related Party transactions is an appropriate safeguard to protect shareholder interests because directors owe a fiduciary duty to their shareholders and can be held personally liable for any violation of that duty. See NYSE Response Letter I, supra note 7.

    17 The Exchange states that neither The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ”) nor NYSE MKT LLC (“NYSE MKT”) has a rule comparable to Section 312.03(b) requiring listed companies to obtain shareholder approval prior to 1% (or in certain cases 5%) share issuances in cash sales to a Proposed Exempted Party. See Notice, supra note 3, at 26120. Thus, the Exchange believes the proposed rule change is necessary to enable the Exchange to compete with NASDAQ for the listing of early stage companies. See id.

    18See Sections 312.03(c) and 312.03(d) of the Manual.

    In addition, the Exchange proposes to amend Section 312.03(b) to make clear that the proposed exemption will not be applicable to a sale of securities by a listed company to any person subject to the provisions of Section 312.03(b) in a transaction, or series of transactions, whose proceeds will be used to fund an acquisition of stock or assets of another company where such person has a direct or indirect interest in the company or assets to be acquired or in the consideration to be paid for such acquisition.19

    19See Amendment No. 2, supra note 12. The Exchange states that this amendment is intended to address concerns that a listed company may sell its securities to a Proposed Exempted Party and then use the proceeds to acquire stock or assets from a company in which that Proposed Exempted Party had a direct or indirect interest. See id. The Exchange believes that “permitting this sort of two-step transaction would enable companies to utilize the proposed exemption for acquisition transactions rather than capital raising and is inconsistent with the intended purpose of the exemption.” See id. See also NASDAQ Rule 5635 which requires shareholder approval when acquiring stock or assets of another company where an officer, director, or substantial security holder has a 5% (or collectively 10% or greater interest) directly or indirectly in the company or assets to be acquired and the outstanding common shares or voting power to be issued will increase by 5% or more.

    The Exchange also proposes to clarify in Section 312.03(b) that the sale of stock to a Related Party that is an employee, director or service provider is subject to the equity compensation rules in Section 303A.08 of the Manual.20 Accordingly, an early stage company will be unable to issue securities to a Related Party that is an employee, director or service provider, at a discount to the then-current market price, without complying with the shareholder approval requirements of Section 303A.08. Furthermore, the Exchange proposes to include a statement in Section 312.03(b) that shareholder approval is required if any of the subparagraphs of Section 312.03 require such approval, notwithstanding the fact that the transaction does not require approval under Section 312.03(b) or one or more of the other subparagraphs in Section 312.03.21 Therefore, the Exchange states that shareholder approval requirements of Sections 312.03(c) 22 and 312.03(d) 23 will still be applicable.24

    20 For example, a sale of stock by an early stage company to any of such Related Parties at a discount to the then market price will be treated as equity compensation under Section 303A.08 notwithstanding the exemption from shareholder approval provided under Section 312.03(b). Consequently, an early stage company will be required to either: (i) Obtain shareholder approval of such sale, or (ii) issue such shares under an equity compensation plan that had previously been approved by shareholders and for which shareholder approval under Section 303A.08 is not otherwise required.

    21See also Section 312.04(a) of the Manual.

    22 Section 312.03(c) of the Manual, with certain exceptions, requires shareholder approval of any issuance of securities in any transaction or related transactions relating to 20% or more of a listed company's stock before the issuance. When applying Section 312.03(c), the Exchange states that it reviews issuances to determine whether they are related and should be aggregated for purposes of the rule. See Notice, supra note 3, at 26120. The Exchange analyzes the relationship between separate stock issuances if they occur within a short period of time, are made to the same or related parties, or if there is a common use of proceeds. See id. The Exchange represents that it will engage in this analysis with respect to any series of sales made by an early stage company to a Related Party. See id. Moreover, should the Exchange determine that it is necessary to aggregate the series of sales and, as aggregated, the total number of shares sold exceeds 19.9% of the shares outstanding, shareholder approval will be required pursuant to Section 312.03(c). See id.

    23 Section 312.03(d) of the Manual requires shareholder approval prior to an issuance giving rise to a change of control.

    24See Notice, supra note 3, at 26119-20. The Commission notes, however, that Section 312.03(c)(2) of the Manual contains an exception for sales of common stock (or securities convertible into common stock) for cash in a “bona fide private financing,” as defined in Section 312.04(g), if certain requirements are met.

    The Exchange also proposes to amend Section 312.04 to include a definition of the term “early stage company.” 25 The Exchange proposes to define an early stage company as a company that has not reported revenues greater than $20 million in any two consecutive fiscal years since its incorporation.26 The Exchange represents that a company's annual financial statements prior to listing on the Exchange will also be considered when determining if the company should lose its early stage company designation.27

    25See proposed Section 312.04(k) of the Manual.

    26 A company that qualifies as an early stage company does not necessarily maintain such designation indefinitely and can lose its designation as an early stage company anytime it reports two consecutive fiscal years with revenues greater than $20 million each year. See Notice, supra note 3, at 26119. The Exchange believes that only a small number of currently listed companies will qualify under the proposed exemption from shareholder approval. See id. at 26120.

    27See Notice, supra note 3, at 26119, n.6. As an example, the Exchange states that if a company files an annual report with the Commission one year after listing on the Exchange and such annual report shows that the company has had revenues greater than $20 million in each of two consecutive years (even if one of those years was prior to listing on the Exchange), the company will lose its early stage company designation at that time. See id. Moreover, once the early stage company designation is lost, it cannot be regained if the subject company later reports reduced revenues. See id. at 26120.

    Lastly, the Exchange also proposes to delete obsolete text from Section 312.03 of the Manual related to a limited transition period that is no longer relevant.

    III. Summary of Comments Received

    As noted above, the Commission received a comment letter on the proposed rule change,28 the OIAD Recommendation,29 and two supplemental submissions from the Exchange.30 The OIAD and the comment letter each recommended that the Commission disapprove the proposed rule change.31

    28See supra note 9.

    29See supra note 8.

    30See supra notes 7 and 11.

    31See OIAD Recommendation, supra note 8, at 3; and Shatto Letter, supra note 9. The Shatto Letter stated that it concurred with the reasoning of the OIAD Recommendation and requested that the Exchange explain the “driving necessity that caused the NYSE to put forth [the] proposal.”

    A. Dilution of Economic and Ownership Interest

    OIAD expressed the view that the proposed rule change is inconsistent with investor protection because it could result in economic dilution of the value and ownership control of an existing shareholder's interest in an early stage company.32 OIAD reasoned that the proposed rule change could allow shares of an early stage company to be sold to substantial security holders at a discount to book or fair market value without shareholder approval unless the transaction exceeded twenty percent of outstanding shares or resulted in a change of control of the issuer.33 OIAD stated that “[w]hen new shares are sold at a discount from the greater of book or fair market value, it results in economic dilution” that “reduces the value of an existing shareholder's investment in the issuer.” 34

    32See OIAD Recommendation, supra note 8, at 7.

    33See id.

    34See id.

    In addition, OIAD highlighted that “all Related Parties . . . could obtain a significantly larger share of ownership control by paying the then-current market price for additional shares in a private transaction, without a vote of the existing shareholders.” 35 In effect, OIAD believed that such issuances result in an immediate transfer of value from existing shareholders to the new shareholder who injects a “less-than-proportionate share of capital into the business.” 36 Finally, OIAD also noted that current investors in these companies would face potential dilution of their voting interest in connection with issuances to Related Parties.37

    35See id.

    36See id. OIAD also stated that even if an infusion of capital into a company could be in an existing shareholder's long-term best interest, when the recipient of new shares is a Related Party, it creates a risk that the company may be engaging in a “sweetheart deal” that is motivated by a conflict of interest. See id. at 8. In such circumstances, the transaction creates a heightened risk of harm to existing shareholders, and therefore, such shareholders should be given the opportunity to evaluate the merits of the transaction and to vote on whether to approve it. See id.

    37See id.

    In response, the Exchange stated that OIAD's analysis failed to consider circumstances that make it “commercially reasonable to price private placement issuances at a discount to the then current market price.” 38 The Exchange stated that “a discount is commercially reasonable because investors in private placements are generally unable to resell the shares they purchase in the public market until either the end of the applicable Rule 144 holding period or such time as the company files and obtains effectiveness of a registration statement.” 39 In addition, the Exchange asserted that the resale limitations on restricted securities make them “riskier and more illiquid in the hands of the purchaser in a private placement and therefore less valuable.” 40 Accordingly, “it is generally necessary to sell shares in a private placement at a lower price than the prevailing public market price.” 41 Moreover, the Exchange stated that a discount in the sale of shares in a private placement should only be viewed as economically dilutive if there are other sources of capital available on better terms.42

    38See NYSE Response Letter II, supra note 11, at 1.

    39See id. at 1-2.

    40See id. at 2.

    41See id.

    42See id.

    The Exchange also noted that Section 312.03(d) of the Manual provides a “significant limitation” on any increase in the relative voting power of Related Parties by requiring shareholder approval of any share issuance that gives rise to a change of control.43 As a result, the Exchange represented that “the proposed exemption could never be used as a mechanism for obtaining overall control of a listed company without shareholder approval.” 44 Furthermore, the Exchange asserted that “the voting rights of existing shareholders are not being diluted in any unfair manner” because “investors in any private placement will receive voting rights on the same terms as all other shareholders.” 45

    43See id.

    44See id.

    45See id.

    B. Time-Sensitive Situations

    OIAD suggested that the Exchange's existing rules already provide a way for early stage companies to address time-sensitive situations without first obtaining shareholder approval.46 Specifically, OIAD identified Section 312.05 of the Manual as providing “NYSE-listed issuers assistance when the delay in securing shareholder approval would seriously jeopardize the financial viability of the enterprise.” 47

    46See OIAD Recommendation, supra note 8, at 8.

    47See id. Section 312.05 of the Manual provides that “[e]xceptions may be made to the shareholder approval policy in Para. 312.03 upon application to the Exchange when (1) the delay in securing stockholder approval would seriously jeopardize the financial viability of the enterprise and (2) reliance by the company on this exception is expressly approved by the Audit Committee of the Board.”

    In response, the Exchange stated that OIAD's suggested application of Section 312.05 is “inconsistent with the language and longstanding application of the limited exemption from obtaining shareholder approval.” 48 The Exchange stated that the intent and current application of Section 312.05 is only for circumstances where “a bankruptcy filing is the only realistic alternative” for a company.49 In other words, the exemption is “intended for use in a crisis” and not as a “useful tool to enable [e]arly [s]tage [c]ompanies to meet their ongoing capital needs.” 50 Furthermore, as “illustrative of the fact that the exemption is rarely a realistic option,” the Exchange highlighted the fact that it has not received a single financial distress exemption application in the last year.51

    48See NYSE Letter Response II, supra note 11, at 2.

    49See id.

    50See id.

    51See id.

    C. Audit Committee Approval

    OIAD stated that the audit committee (or a comparable committee of independent directors) approval requirement is not an adequate substitute for a shareholder vote on Related Party transactions,52 explaining that “[a]lthough the audit committee performs many critical functions that serve to protect the interests of investors, an audit committee will not always reach the same conclusion as shareholders regarding the best interest of the company.” 53 As a result, OIAD believed that certain corporate actions that significantly impact shareholders' interests should be subject to shareholder approval, similar to the standard for equity compensation plans.54 The Order Instituting Proceedings also raised questions about whether the audit committee would be an appropriate substitute for the approval of shareholders.55

    52See OIAD Recommendation, supra note 8, at 8.

    53See id.

    54See id. at 9.

    55See Order Instituting Proceedings, supra note 6, at 47978.

    In response, the Exchange stated that directors owe a fiduciary duty to the shareholders they represent and can be held personally liable for any violation of that duty.56 The Exchange further noted that independent directors are often well-positioned to evaluate related party transactions because of their knowledge of company affairs.57

    56See NYSE Response Letter I, supra note 7.

    57See id.

    D. Reduced Qualitative Standards for Listed Companies

    OIAD expressed concern that the proposal reflects a “race to the bottom” among the exchanges,58 believing that the Commission “should be encouraging the exchanges to enhance their standards, not devolve to the lowest common denominator because of competitive concerns.” 59 OIAD stated that investors have an expectation that listed companies on NYSE are subject to heightened qualitative listing standards.60 Given these public expectations, OIAD believed “it is inadvisable to create what could be considered a de facto second tier on the NYSE, with lower corporate governance standards for smaller companies,” 61 warning that this could lead to “significant investor confusion” about the listing standards on the Exchange because not all listed companies would have “the same standards of accountability.” 62

    58See OIAD Recommendation, supra note 8, at 9.

    59See id.

    60See id.

    61See id. at 9. Moreover, OIAD believed that the benefit to be afforded to a small subset of early stage company issuers listed on NYSE would be unreasonable when weighed against the possible investor confusion concerning corporate governance and shareholder rights on the Exchange. See id. at 10.

    62See id. at 9-10. OIAD also stated that the proposal “does not appear to take any meaningful steps to preclude likely investor confusion; for example, NYSE's Manual will not otherwise describe or highlight the proposed exception.” See id. at 10.

    In response, the Exchange stated that the concerns of creating a “de facto two-tier exchange” and “race to the bottom” are misplaced because only a limited number of companies would qualify for the proposed exemption.63 In addition, the Exchange emphasized that the proposal would only provide an exemption to early stage companies from shareholder approval for transactions that would also be exempt from shareholder approval under the exchange listing rules of NASDAQ and NYSE MKT.64

    63See NYSE Response Letter II, supra note 11, at 3-4.

    64See id. at 4. The Exchange also stated that early stage companies would remain subject to the shareholder approval requirement for private placements relating to more than 20% of their outstanding shares without regard to price. See id. Accordingly, “even if the proposal is approved, the Exchange's requirements would remain higher than those on other exchanges.” Id.

    Furthermore, in response to commenter concerns that the proposal would lead to investor confusion about which shareholder approval standards would apply to specific listed companies, the Exchange noted that all listing exchanges currently have exemptions in their corporate governance requirements that apply to different categories of issuers (e.g., controlled companies), so having a limited exemption in its rules for early stage companies would not be novel to investors. See id. The Exchange also asserted that, to alleviate concerns with respect to how investors would become aware that an early stage company qualifies for the proposed exemption, companies generally disclose the applicability of exemptions in their annual reports or proxy statements filed with the Commission. See id. Moreover, the Exchange stated that it believes early stage companies that were likely to avail themselves of the proposed exemption “should include disclosures in their SEC filings about that fact and the possible risks to investors.” See id. Given the limited nature of the exemption, the Exchange stated that a separate designation for early stage companies would be “confusing and would be unnecessary given the issuers' own disclosure obligations.” See id.

    E. Impact of Proposal on Efficiency, Competition, and Capital Formation

    OIAD stated that the Notice does not provide sufficient information for the Commission to evaluate the proposal's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation, under Section 3(f) of the Act,65 in particular highlighting that the Notice does not provide a “count or description of the current NYSE-listed companies that would qualify for the proposed exemption, nor is there a count or description of the larger universe of such companies listed on other exchanges or quoted over-the-counter.” 66 OIAD also stated that the Notice did not describe how many companies list (or delist) in a given year and how often, if ever, such companies accessed capital through private placements to Related Parties.67 OIAD further emphasized that there is no description of the cost imposed on companies seeking shareholder approval in those instances, or the suggestion that any of those companies experienced issues with the level of access to capital afforded by NYSE's listing standards.68 OIAD suggested that the Exchange obtain information regarding NASDAQ-listed companies that would qualify as early stage companies on the Exchange,69 asserting that “such information would allow for a data-driven and meaningful consideration of the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation.” 70

    65See OIAD Recommendation, supra note 8, at 10.

    66See id. at 10-11.

    67See id. at 11.

    68See id.

    69See id.

    70See id.

    In response, the Exchange provided data on the impact of the proposal. The Exchange stated that there are currently 21 listed companies (out of 2,133 operating companies listed on the Exchange) that would qualify as an early stage company under the proposal.71 Based on the data provided, the Exchange asserted that the impact of the proposal would be minimal as the number of early stage companies “is tiny both in absolute terms and as a percentage of listed companies (less than 1%).” 72 In addition, the Exchange highlighted from the data that the availability of the proposed exemption to early stage companies would typically be for a limited period.73 The Exchange also stated that it did not believe data on NASDAQ-listed companies would be “particularly helpful” given that “a large percentage of NASDAQ listed companies do not qualify for listing on the Exchange and that transfers between the two exchanges are relatively infrequent.” 74

    71See NYSE Response Letter II, supra note 11, at 3. The Exchange noted that many of these 21 companies do not have an extensive history of selling stock in private placements to fund their operations while listed on the Exchange. See id. Furthermore, the Exchange stated that 13 out of 15 companies that were designated as early stage companies a year ago that no longer qualify as such continue to be listed on the Exchange, while only five companies listed in the past year currently qualify as early stage companies. See id.

    72See id.

    73See id.

    74See id.

    In addition, the Exchange explained that the costs to comply with the proposed exemption will vary depending on the company and, among other things, the number and type of shareholders.75 Based on the Exchange's experience in the listing of early stage companies on its affiliated exchange, NYSE MKT, the Exchange stated that such listed companies are “frequently highly dependent on capital infusions from private placements in which management and significant shareholders participate to enable them to continue their operations until they reach the point of commercialization.” 76 The Exchange represented that these companies frequently raise capital in transactions that would have required shareholder approval under Section 312.03(b), but to which shareholder approval requirements are not applicable under NYSE MKT or NASDAQ rules.77 Furthermore, the Exchange stated that it believed that, “while the companies that would avail themselves of the proposed exemption would likely be very small, the alternative could be very significant to the survival and success of those that utilize it.” 78

    75See id.

    76See id. The Exchange stated that NYSE MKT lists many “R&D-focused biotech companies and exploration stage mining companies.” Id.

    77See id.

    78See id.

    IV. Discussion and Commission Findings

    After careful review, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange.79 In particular, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,80 which requires, among other things, that the rules of a national securities exchange be designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, 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; and are not designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, issuers, brokers, or dealers. The Commission recognizes that some commenters did not support the proposed rule change. The Commission, however, must approve a proposed rule change if it finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the applicable rules and regulations thereunder.81

    79 15 U.S.C. 78f(b). In approving this proposed rule change, the Commission has considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. See 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

    80 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(5).

    81 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(2)(C)(i).

    The development and enforcement of meaningful corporate governance listing standards for a national securities exchange is of substantial importance to financial markets and the investing public, especially given investor expectations regarding the nature of companies that have achieved an exchange listing for their securities. The corporate governance standards embodied in the listing standards of national securities exchanges, in particular, play an important role in assuring that exchange-listed companies observe good governance practices, including safeguarding the interests of shareholders with respect to certain potentially dilutive transactions.82 Commenters raised several concerns with the proposed rule change.

    82See, e.g., Securities Exchange Act Release No. 48108 (June 30, 2003), 68 FR 39995 (July 3, 2003) (approving equity compensation shareholder approval rules of both the NYSE and the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. n/k/a NASDAQ). See also Securities Exchange Act Release No. 58375 (August 18, 2008), 73 FR 49498 (August 21, 2008) (order approving registration of BATS Exchange, Inc. noting that qualitative listing requirements including shareholder approval rules are designed to ensure that companies trading on a national securities exchange will adequately protect the interest of public shareholders).

    As discussed above, OIAD noted that the proposed rule change could result in economic dilution of the value and ownership control of an existing shareholder's interest in an early stage company.83 OIAD expressed concern that the potential for a greater percentage of shares to be issued at a discount to substantial security holders, without a shareholder vote, could lead to harmful dilution of the economic value of existing shares.84 OIAD also expressed concern that the voting power of existing shareholders could be inappropriately diluted as a result of the proposal's increased flexibility to issue additional shares at fair market value to all Related Parties.85

    83See OIAD Recommendation, supra note 8, at 7. See also Shatto Letter, supra note 9, which stated that it concurred with the reasoning of the OIAD Recommendation. Therefore, the Commission notes that any discussion in this Order addressing the concerns raised in the OIAD Recommendation, by its terms, also applies to the Shatto Letter concerns.

    84See OIAD Recommendation, supra note 8, at 7.

    85See id.

    The Commission has carefully considered these and the other concerns expressed by the commenters. The Commission nevertheless finds, however, that the proposed rule change, on balance, is consistent with the Act, for the reasons set forth below.

    The Commission acknowledges that the proposed rule change, by expanding the circumstances under which an early stage company could issue additional stock without shareholder approval, raises concern that such companies could engage in transactions with a harmful dilutive impact on existing shareholders. In the Commission's view, however, the significant proposed limitations on the ability of early stage companies to engage in such transactions, together with the countervailing potential benefits to the ability of small issuers to efficiently raise capital, and to fair competition among the listing exchanges, sufficiently offset those risks. Because the proposal allows early stage companies the flexibility to meet their financing needs while still preserving significant shareholder rights afforded under the other provisions of Section 312.03, the Commission finds that the proposal is consistent with investor protection and the public interest.

    First, the Commission notes that the additional flexibility provided by the proposed rule change for early stage companies to issue additional stock without shareholder approval is limited by other important Exchange rules. For one, any discounted issuance of stock to an early stage company's officers or directors, or to a substantial security holder that is an employee or other service provider, would require shareholder approval under the Exchange's equity compensation rules.86 Shareholder approval also generally is required for an issuance of additional stock, even at fair market value, that is in excess of 20% of an issuer's outstanding shares.87

    86See Amendment No. 2, supra note 12.

    87 The Commission notes that Section 312.03(c)(2) of the Manual contains an exception for sales of common stock (or securities convertible into common stock) for cash in a “bona fide private financing,” as defined in Section 312.04(g), if certain requirements are met. These require, among other things, that the offering is priced at or above book or fair market value. See Section 312.03(c) of the Manual. Shareholder approval also would be required if the transaction would result in a change of control. See Section 312.03(d) of the Manual.

    In addition, the proposed rule change requires that, for all such transactions, the approval of the early stage company's audit committee, or a comparable committee comprised solely of independent directors, first be obtained. The Commission has long acknowledged the important role an independent Board committee has in protecting shareholders from potential conflicts of interest.88 The Commission agrees with the Exchange that an independent committee review and approval of these transactions is an appropriate safeguard to protect shareholder interests. As noted by the Exchange, the knowledge of independent directors of the company's business affairs, together with their fiduciary obligations to shareholders, make them well-positioned to effectively protect shareholder interests under these circumstances.89

    88 For example, the Commission stated in approving an NASD proposed rule change regarding related party transactions that “requiring an independent body of the board of directors to approve all related party transactions should help to protect investors because directors not related to management should be less likely to approve of related party transactions that could be detrimental to the interests of shareholders.” See Securities Act Release No. 48745 (November 1, 2003), 68 FR 64154, 64179 (November 12, 2003) (NASD and NYSE proposed rule change regarding corporate governance). See also Securities Act Release No. 9862 (July 1, 2015), 80 FR 38995 (July 8, 2015) (concept release on possible revisions to audit committee disclosures). See also Securities Act Release No. 8220 (April 9, 2003), 68 FR 18788 (April 16, 2003) (adopting Exchange Act Rule 10A-3 prohibiting national securities exchanges and national securities associations from listing any securities of an issuer that is not in compliance with the audit committee requirements mandated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002).

    89See NYSE Response Letter I, supra note 7.

    The Commission believes that an independent director committee is a proper forum, in executing its fiduciary duty, to review and approve these transactions and can appropriately protect shareholder interests. Additionally, the Commission notes that the Exchange, as a self-regulatory organization, is required, among other things, to enforce compliance with all Exchange rules, including its listing standards. To help the Exchange appropriately surveil its listed companies for compliance with the shareholder approval rules, under Section 703.01(A) of the Manual, listed companies are required to submit in writing, in advance of any issuance, a supplemental listing application to issue any additional shares of a listed security, including shares issued in a private transaction. Section 703.01(A) also requires that the company state whether shareholder approval is required under Exchange rules and, if so, when it was obtained. These provisions facilitate the monitoring of listed companies for compliance with the shareholder approval rules under the Manual and should aid the Exchange in monitoring compliance with the requirements for issuing private securities under the exemption, as well as whether shareholder approval is required under the change of control or equity compensation rules, among others.90 As provided by the Act, any future changes to exchange listing standards, including the shareholder approval provisions, will have to be submitted under Section 19(b) of the Act. The Commission will, of course, evaluate any future proposed rule changes to exchange listing standards for consistency with the requirements under the Act, including to ensure adequate investor protection for shareholders.

    90See Sections 312.03(d) and 303A.08 of the Manual.

    The Commission also believes that facilitating the ability of early stage companies to efficiently raise needed capital under the limited circumstances permitted by the proposed rule change is in the public interest. By definition, early stage companies are those that have not yet generated significant revenue from operations, and may therefore need to raise capital quickly in order to fund their ongoing operations. Allowing early stage companies to flexibly raise capital, subject to audit committee approval and the other limitations described above, but without the delays inherent in a shareholder vote, could improve the business prospects of such companies and ultimately inure to the benefit of shareholders.

    Further, the Commission recognizes that, as noted by the Exchange, the rules of other listing exchanges such as NASDAQ and NYSE MKT permit early stage companies similar flexibility in issuing additional stock without shareholder approval. While the Commission acknowledges OIAD's concern about a “race to the bottom” by the exchanges, the Commission also is cognizant of the fact that the exchanges operate in a highly competitive environment, including with respect to the listing of issuers. If the Commission were not to allow the Exchange to provide the same flexibility to listed companies offered by other listing markets, the Exchange Act goal of facilitating fair competition among the exchanges could be undermined. At the same time, investor protection might not materially improve, since early stage companies seeking the flexibility proposed by the Exchange simply may choose to list on NASDAQ or NYSE MKT.

    The Commission notes that, in determining to approve the Exchange's proposed rule change, the Commission has considered, under Section 3(f) of the Act, whether the action will promote efficiency, competition, and capital formation.91 The proposed rule change would allow early stage companies to more timely access the capital markets when they critically need funds. To the extent that the proposed rule change would make it easier for such companies to raise the needed capital and continue their operations, it would likely improve the allocation of capital thus enhancing efficiency. On the other hand, if the rule change is primarily used by Related Parties to more easily gain control of a company and in the process expropriate other (minority) shareholders, then the proposed rule change could have a negative effect on efficiency. Given that Section 312.03(d) of the Manual significantly limits any increase in the relative voting power of Related Parties by requiring shareholder approval of any share issuance that gives rise to a change of control, the proposed rule change is unlikely to lead to significant minority shareholder expropriation.

    91See 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

    By making it less costly for early stage companies to raise additional capital they need to continue their operations, the proposed rule change will promote capital formation. Allowing these companies to stay afloat and grow also increases the likelihood that they would raise more funds in the future, further enhancing capital formation. In addition, the proposed rule change could enhance competition by allowing NYSE to compete for the listing of these companies in a competitive environment that allows these companies to list on other markets such as NASDAQ or NYSE MKT. In conclusion, the Commission believes that the proposed rule change could promote efficiency, competition, and capital formation.

    Finally, the Commission acknowledges the important contributions that are being made by its Investor Advocate on a range of important policy matters, including those raised by individual proposed rule changes filed by the exchanges, such as the proposal that is the subject of this Order. While the Commission today determined that the NYSE's proposed rule change is consistent with the Act, the Commission encourages the Investor Advocate to continue bringing important matters to our attention, including identifying circumstances where incremental changes, while consistent with the Act, may be contributing to cumulative impacts that harm investors or impede fair and orderly markets. In this instance, the comments of the Investor Advocate prompted the Exchange to bolster the justification for its proposal, including through the provision of additional data, and to clarify its limited scope. As a result, the extent and quality of information available to the Commission in considering the proposed rule change was substantially enhanced, to the benefit of investors and all market participants. As our markets and regulatory structure continue to evolve, the views of the Investor Advocate will remain critical in helping the Commission further its mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitating capital formation.

    For the reasons discussed above, the Commission believes that the proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment Nos. 1 and 2, is consistent with the Act.92

    92 The Commission also finds that deleting obsolete language in Section 312.03 of the Manual, relating to the limited transition period described above, is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act.

    V. Solicitation of Comments

    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether this filing, as modified by whether Amendment Nos. 1 and 2, 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-2015-02 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-2015-02. 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 the 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-2015-02 and should be submitted on or before January 28, 2016. VI. Accelerated Approval of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment Nos. 1 and 2

    The Commission finds good cause, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act, to approve the proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment Nos. 1 and 2, prior to the 30th day after the date of publication of Amendment Nos. 1 and 2 in the Federal Register. As discussed above, Amendment No. 1 merely clarified that the proposed exemption from shareholder approval transactions involving the sale of stock for cash by an early stage company applies not only to a Related Party, as originally proposed, but also to a subsidiary, affiliate or other closely-related person of a Related Party; or any company or entity in which a Related Party has a substantial direct or indirect interest.93 Similarly, Amendment No. 2 clarified that (i) an early stage company may not use the proposed exemption to fund an acquisition of stock or assets of another company that would otherwise require shareholder approval under Section 312.03(b) of the Manual; (ii) any sale of a listed company's securities at a below-market price to an employee, director or service provider constitutes equity compensation under Section 303A.08 of the Manual and is therefore subject to the shareholder approval requirements under that rule; and (iii) shareholder approval of any issuance is required if any of the subparagraphs of Section 312.03 require such approval, notwithstanding the fact that the transaction does not require approval under Section 312.03(b) or one or more of the other subparagraphs.94 The Commission believes that these revisions provide greater clarity on the application of the proposal and remove uncertainty as to which transactions the Exchange proposes to exempt from shareholder approval under Section 312.03.

    93See supra note 7.

    94See Amendment No. 2, supra note 12.

    Accordingly, the Commission finds good cause for approving the proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment Nos. 1 and 2, on an accelerated basis, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act.

    VII. Conclusion

    It is therefore ordered, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act 95 that the proposed rule change (SR-NYSE-2015-02), as modified by Amendment Nos. 1 and 2, be, and hereby is, approved.

    95 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(2).

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.96

    96 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Jill M. Peterson, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33313 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76811; File No. SR-DTC-2015-013] Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Depository Trust Company; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Postponing the Date for Retirement of Computer to Computer Facility Corporate Action Announcement Files, and Implementing a Fee Associated With Its Use December 31, 2015.

    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 December 24, 2015, The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) 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 DTC. DTC filed the proposed rule change pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act 3 and Rules 19b-4(f)(2) and (f)(4) thereunder.4 The proposed rule change was 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).

    4 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(2) and (f)(4).

    I. Clearing Agency's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The proposed rule change consists of (i) the postponement of the date for the retirement of DTC's proprietary computer to computer facility (“CCF”) files for corporate action announcements (“CCF Announcement Files”) until further notice; and (ii) the implementation of a fee associated with the use of CCF Announcement Files.

    II. Clearing Agency's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, DTC 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. DTC has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

    (A) Clearing Agency's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose

    The proposed rule change would (i) postpone the date for the retirement of CCF Announcement Files until further notice, and (ii) implement a fee associated with the use of CCF Announcement Files, as described below.5

    5 Each term not otherwise defined herein has its respective meaning as set forth in the Rules, By-Laws and Organization Certificate of DTC (the “Rules”), available at http://www.dtcc.com/legal/rules-and-procedures.aspx and the Guide to the 2015 DTC Fee Schedule (“Fee Schedule”), available at http://www.dtcc.com/~/media/Files/Downloads/legal/fee-guides/dtcfeeguide.pdf?la=en.

    Background

    DTC handles essential aspects of processing corporate action 6 events by routinely receiving and distributing information to its Participants using CCF Announcement Files. There are three corporate action event groups for which CCF files are available: Distributions, Redemptions, and Reorganizations. Participants subscribe to the CCF files for each event group separately.

    6 Corporate actions processed by DTC include but are not limited to the restructuring of DTC-eligible securities resulting from mergers, acquisitions, and reverse splits. DTC performs corporate actions processing through its Mandatory and Voluntary Reorganization Services. See DTC Operational Arrangements (“OA”), available at http://www.dtcc.com/~/media/Files/Downloads/legal/issue-eligibility/eligibility/operational-arrangements.pdf.

    Postponement of the Date for Retirement

    Since 2011, DTC has informed Participants that CCF Announcement Files will be retired in 2015, and has been supporting Participant efforts to migrate to the ISO 20022 standard by providing a robust online learning center, hosting ISO specific monthly calls and offering a dedicated email box for client inquiries.7

    7See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 63886 (February 10, 2011), 76 FR 9070 (February 16, 2011) (File No. SR-DTC-2011-02); Securities Exchange Act Release No. 68114 (October 26, 2012), 77 FR 66497 (November 5, 2011) (File No. SR-DTC-2012-08).

    The use of the ISO 20022 standard reduces risk and improves transparency in the announcement and processing of corporate actions. ISO 20022 is a standard that provides the financial industry with a common language to capture business transactions and associated message flows. ISO 20022 is a business-model-based standard for the development of messages for the international financial services industry and can support different messaging syntaxes, including XML. In contrast, CCF files use proprietary function and activity codes which differ from the market standard codes. With the ISO 20022 standard, corporate action announcements are identified by a unique corporate action ID and are event based. ISO 20022 standard messages provide more data elements than the CCF files and they are available in near real-time throughout the day.

    Certain Participants nevertheless have inquired whether DTC could continue supporting CCF Announcement Files while they prepare to transition to the ISO 20022 standard, which is provided to Participants free of charge. Some Participants suggested that they were willing to pay for continued use of CCF Announcement Files while they prepare to migrate to ISO 20022 standard.

    In response to these Participant requests, with this proposed rule change, DTC would postpone the date for the retirement of CCF Announcement Files and implement a fee for a Participant's continued receipt of the CCF Announcement Files. A new retirement date would be announced, subject to a future proposed rule change and Important Notice issued by DTC.

    Implementation of a CCF File Fee

    To encourage full adoption of the ISO 20022 standard, DTC is proposing to implement a fee for each event group of CCF Announcement Files that a Participant receives (the “CCF File Fee”). The CCF File Fee would be $50,000 per event group, per twelve month period as set forth below for each event group (the “Fee Period”). The CCF File Fee would be charged to the Account of the Participant, upon the Participant's first receipt of CCF Announcement Files for a particular event group during the Fee Period. The CCF File Fee would cover all CCF Announcement Files within that event group during the Fee Period. In addition, once a Participant that is part of an Affiliated Family 8 is charged the CCF File Fee for a particular event group, the other Participants that are part of the Affiliated Family will not be charged the CCF File Fee for such event group during that Fee Period. The amount of the CCF File Fee is based on DTC's analysis of industry-standard pricing for equivalent data.

    8 An Affiliated Family means each Participant that controls or is controlled by another Participant and each Participant that is under the common control of any Person. For purposes of this definition, “control” means the direct or indirect ownership of more than 50% of the voting securities or other voting interests of any Person. Rule 1, supra note 1 [sic].

    DTC has communicated with its Participants about the CCF File Fee through several outreach efforts, including Important Notices 9 and customer surveys regarding the December 2015 date and the amount of the CCF File Fee. DTC did not receive any objections during its outreach.

    9See, e.g., Important Notice B#0354-15, available at http://dtcc.com/~/media/Files/pdf/2015/3/25/0354-15.pdf; Important Notice B# 1946-15, available at http://www.dtcc.com/globals/pdfs/2015/october/22/1946-15.

    Implementation Schedule

    DTC would implement the CFF File Fee in three phases, divided by event group. The timeline for the implementation of the fees would be as follows:

    • CCF Announcement Files for the Distributions event group would be subject to a CCF File Fee beginning on January 1, 2016. The Fee Period would run from January through December.10

    10 On December 30, 2015, staff of the Commission's Division of Trading and Markets had a conversation with DTC's legal counsel to confirm that the Fee Period for the Distributions event group would run from January 1 through December 31, as provided in the proposed rule text.

    • CCF Announcement Files for the Redemptions event group would be subject to a CCF File Fee beginning on July 1, 2016. The Fee Period would run from July through June.11

    11 On December 30, 2015, staff of the Commission's Division of Trading and Markets had a conversation with DTC's legal counsel to confirm that the Fee Period for the Redemptions event group would run from July 1 through June 30, as provided in the proposed rule text.

    • CCF Announcement Files for the Reorganizations event group would be subject to a CCF File Fee at a future date to be announced by Important Notice. The Fee Period would be announced by Important Notice.

    Implementation Date

    The proposed rule change would take effect on January 1, 2016.

    2. Statutory Basis

    Section 17(A)(b)(3)(F) of the Act, requires, inter alia, that DTC's Rules be designed to promote the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions.12 By postponing the date for the retirement of CCF Announcement Files until further notice, the proposed rule change would allow Participants to minimize potential business interruption by undertaking an orderly and organized migration from CCF files to the ISO 20022 standard. The proposed rule change thereby facilitates the transition to the ISO 20022 standard without disrupting the announcement of corporate actions and the clearance and settlement activities related thereto. In addition, by revising the Fee Schedule to implement a fee for Participants that continue to receive the CCF Announcement Files, the proposed rule change encourages efficiencies in communicating information about corporate action events and in Participants' transition to the industry-standard ISO 20022. Therefore, DTC believes that the proposed rule change would promote the prompt and accurate clearance and settlement of securities transactions and is consistent with the requirements of the Act, in particular Section 17(A)(b)(3)(F) of the Act, cited above.

    12 15 U.S.C. 78q-1(b)(3)(F).

    Section 17A(b)(3)(D) of the Act requires that DTC's Rules provide for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees, and other charges among its Participants.13 DTC believes that the proposed fee would be consistent with this provision because it would apply equally in accordance with Participant use of the CCF Announcement Files, and is therefore equitable, and is based on industry-standard pricing, and therefore, reasonable.

    13 15 U.S.C. 78q-1(b)(3)(D).

    (B) Clearing Agency's Statement on Burden on Competition

    DTC does not believe that the proposed rule change would have any impact, or impose any burden, on competition, because the postponement of the date for the retirement of CCF Announcement Files would apply equally to all Participants, and the proposed fee would apply equally in accordance with Participant use of the CCF Announcement Files.

    (C) Clearing Agency's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

    Written comments relating to the proposed rule change have not been solicited or received. DTC will notify the Commission of any written comments received by DTC.

    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 14 and subparagraphs (f)(2) and (f)(4) of Rule 19b-4 thereunder.15 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.

    14 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A).

    15 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(2) and (f)(4).

    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]v. Please include File Number SR-DTC-2015-013 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-DTC-2015-013. 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 the filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of DTC and on DTCC's Web site (http://dtcc.com/legal/sec-rule-filings.aspx). 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-DTC-2015-013 and should be submitted on or before January 28, 2016.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.16

    Jill M. Peterson, Assistant Secretary.

    16 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    [FR Doc. 2015-33310 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76807; File No. SR-SCCP-2015-02] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Stock Clearing Corporation of Philadelphia; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Amend the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc. December 31, 2015.

    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 December 21, 2015, Stock Clearing Corporation of Philadelphia (“SCCP”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by SCCP. On December 29, 2015, SCCP filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposal.3 The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment No. 1, from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3 Amendment No. 1 amends and replaces the original filing in its entirety. In Amendment No. 1, SCCP, among other things, clarified the operation of the current and proposed provisions of the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc. and how the proposed rule change would operate in conjunction with the Listing Rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market. See infra, note 5.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    SCCP is filing this proposed rule change with respect to amendments of the By-Laws (the “By-Laws”) of its parent corporation, Nasdaq, Inc. (“Nasdaq” or the “Company”), to revise the requirements regarding Director classifications. This Amendment No. 1 to SR-SCCP-2015-02 amends and replaces the original filing in its entirety. The proposed amendments will be implemented on a date designated by the Company following approval by the Commission. The text of the proposed rule change is available on SCCP's Web site at http://nasdaqomxphlx.cchwallstreet.com/nasdaqomxphlx/sccp/, at the principal office of SCCP, 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, SCCP 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. SCCP 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 Company is proposing amendments to certain provisions of its By-Laws that relate to Director 4 classifications.5 Specifically, the Company proposes to revise Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that it may, rather than shall, include at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors on its Board. In addition, the Company proposes to revise Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to clarify the procedures when a Director's classification changes between annual meetings of stockholders.

    4 “Director” means a member of the Company's Board of Directors. See Article I(j) of the By-Laws.

    5 The provisions of the Company's By-Laws that relate to Director classifications are completely distinct from the Listing Rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market. Therefore, the proposed amendments do not affect in any way the Company's obligation, as an issuer listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market, to comply with the Listing Rules, and the Company will continue to comply with the Listing Rules, including provisions relating to corporate governance, following the effectiveness of the proposed By-Law amendments.

    i. Section 4.3

    Currently, the Company's By-Laws require that all of the Company's Directors be classified as: (i) Industry Directors; 6 (ii) Non-Industry Directors,7 which are further classified as either Issuer Directors 8 or Public Directors; 9 or (iii) Staff Directors.10 Section 4.3 of the By-Laws includes composition requirements for the Board based on these classifications. Specifically, the number of Non-Industry Directors on the Board must equal or exceed the number of Industry Directors. In addition, the Board must include at least two Public Directors and at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors. Finally, the Board shall include no more than one Staff Director, unless the Board consists of ten or more Directors, in which case, the Board shall include no more than two Staff Directors.

    6 “Industry Director” or “Industry committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Directors) or committee member who (1) is, or within the last year was, or has an immediate family member who is, or within the last year was, a member of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (2) is, or within the last year was, employed by a member or a member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (3) has an immediate family member who is, or within the last year was, an executive officer of a member or a member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (4) has within the last year received from any member or member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary more than $100,000 per year in direct compensation, or received from such members or member organizations in the aggregate an amount of direct compensation that in any one year is more than 10 percent of the Director's annual gross compensation for such year, excluding in each case director and committee fees and pension or other forms of deferred compensation for prior service (provided such compensation is not contingent in any way on continued service); or (5) is affiliated, directly or indirectly, with a member or member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary. See Article I(m) of the By-Laws. A “Self-Regulatory Subsidiary” is any subsidiary of the Company that is a self-regulatory organization as defined under Section 3(a)(26) of the Act. See Article I(s) of the By-Laws. Currently, the term “Self-Regulatory Subsidiary” encompasses NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc. (“BX”), The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ”), NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC (“Phlx”), Boston Stock Exchange Clearing Corporation (“BSECC”) and SCCP.

    7 “Non-Industry Director” or “Non-Industry committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Director) or committee member who is (1) a Public Director or Public committee member; (2) an Issuer Director or Issuer committee member; or (3) any other individual who would not be an Industry Director or Industry committee member. See Article I(q) of the By-Laws.

    8 “Issuer Director” or “Issuer committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Director) or committee member who is an officer or employee of an issuer of securities listed on a national securities exchange operated by any Self-Regulatory Subsidiary, excluding any Director or committee member who is a director of such an issuer but is not also an officer or employee of such an issuer. See Article I(o) of the By-Laws.

    9 “Public Director” or “Public committee member” means a Director or committee member who (1) is not an Industry Director or Industry committee member, (2) is not an Issuer Director or Issuer committee member, and (3) has no material business relationship with a member or member organization of a Self- Regulatory Subsidiary, the Company or its affiliates, or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. and its affiliates. See Article I(r) of the By-Laws.

    10 “Staff Director” means an officer of the Company that is serving as a Director. See Article I(t) of the By-Laws.

    The Company proposes to amend Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that the Board may, rather than shall, include one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors. With this change, the Company intends to give itself the option, but not the requirement, to include one or two Issuer Directors on its Board. Issuer Directors bring to the Board the perspective of an officer or employee of companies listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market. While the Company highly values the views of its listed companies, it does not believe that it is strictly necessary to have an Issuer Director on its own Board to represent those views. Within the overall governance structure of the Company and its subsidiaries, issues relating to listed companies are generally the province of NASDAQ and its Board of Directors, rather than the Company and its Board of Directors. The Company is a holding company for over 100 subsidiaries that provide both regulated and unregulated products and services across the globe, while NASDAQ is the Company subsidiary that, among other things, provides listing services on The NASDAQ Stock Market. The Company's Board generally focuses on the overall strategic direction of the Company, while NASDAQ's Board generally focuses on issues relevant specifically to The NASDAQ Stock Market, including issues affecting listed companies. Furthermore, NASDAQ's Board includes issuer representation, as required by its By-Laws.11 Finally, if the Company's Board ever does address issues relating to listed companies, its Directors are experienced and capable enough to handle those issues without specifically having an Issuer Director on the Board.12

    11See Article III, Section 2 of NASDAQ's By-Laws.

    12 Currently, three of the Company's eleven Directors are also directors of companies listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market or another national securities exchange. These Directors do not qualify as Issuer Directors because they are not specifically officers or employees of listed companies; however, as directors of such companies, they are familiar with corporate governance topics and other issues confronted by listed companies.

    Therefore, it is not strictly necessary to have an officer or employee of a listed company on the Company's Board of Directors, and accordingly, the Company proposes to amend its By-Laws to give itself the option, but not the requirement, to include an Issuer Director on its Board.

    ii. Section 4.7

    As required by Section 4.13(h)(iii) of the By-Laws, the Company's Corporate Secretary certifies to the Nominating & Governance Committee of the Company's Board on an annual basis the classification of each Director following a review of information relating to the classifications collected from the Directors. This certification usually occurs in connection with the Company's annual meeting of stockholders, and at the same time, Directors are elected to serve on various Board committees, all of which have compositional requirements relating to the classifications.13 However, Directors' classifications may change from time to time following the annual meeting due to various changes in personal circumstances (e.g., a retirement or job change). Directors are required to report to the Corporate Secretary any change in the information used as the basis of their classification.14

    13See Section 4.13 of the By-Laws.

    14See Section 4.13(h)(iii) of the By-Laws.

    Section 4.7 of the By-Laws addresses potential disqualifications of Directors due to a classification change. Under this section, the term of office of a Director shall terminate immediately upon a determination by the Board, by a majority vote of the remaining Directors, that: (a) The Director no longer satisfies the classification for which the Director was elected; and (b) the Director's continued service would violate the Board compositional requirements. Section 4.7 also states that if a Director position becomes vacant because of such disqualification, and the remaining term of office is not more than six months, the By-Laws do not require an immediate replacement.

    The Company has observed two potential weaknesses relating to the disqualification procedures as currently drafted. First, Section 4.7 of the By-Laws does not address a situation where a Director's classification has changed, but the Board believes that it is in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders for such Director to remain on the Board. Second, the By-Laws could be read to contemplate that the Company must immediately cure any deficiencies in Board or committee composition that may occur because of a change in a Director or committee member's classification because otherwise the Board would not meet all of the compositional requirements set forth in Section 4.3 of the By-Laws.15 It would be extremely disruptive to the Board, its committees and the Company to add, remove, disqualify or replace a Director between annual meetings of stockholders simply because the Director no longer has the same classification he or she had at the time of the annual meeting. In addition, the selection of nominees to the Company's Board is an extremely complex process, managed by the Board's Nominating & Governance Committee, that takes almost the full year between annual meetings of stockholders. The Nominating & Governance Committee considers possible candidates suggested by Board members, industry groups, stockholders, senior management and/or a third-party search firm engaged from time-to-time to assist in identifying and evaluating qualified candidates. In evaluating candidates for nomination to the Board, the Nominating & Governance Committee reviews the skills, qualifications, characteristics and experience desired for the Board as a whole and for its individual members, with the objective of having a Board that reflects diverse backgrounds and senior level experience in the areas of global business, finance, legal and regulatory, technology and marketing. The Nominating & Governance Committee evaluates each individual candidate in the context of the Board as a whole, with the objective of maintaining a group of Directors that can further the success of Nasdaq's business, while representing the interests of stockholders, employees and the communities in which the company operates. Because the nominee selection process is so long and complex, the Board cannot act quickly to replace a Director whose classification has changed, and it is not in the best interests of the Company's stockholders for the Board to be forced to take such an action when the Director otherwise provides valuable service to the Board.

    15But see Kurz v. Holbrook, 989 A.2d 140, 156-57 (Del.Ch. 2010) (holding that a by-law cannot disqualify a director who was duly qualified at the time of election during the middle of his or her term), rev'd on other grounds sub nom Crown EMAK P'ners, LLC v. Kurz, 992 A.2d 377 (Del. 2010); see also Klaassen v. Allegro Development Corp., 2013 WL 5739680, at *23 (Del. Ch. Oct. 11, 2013) (noting that director qualifications are applied at the front-end of the director's term when such director is elected and qualified), aff'd 106 A.3d 1035 (Del. 2014).

    The Company therefore proposes to amend Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to provide that the Board may elect to defer until the next annual meeting of stockholders a determination regarding a change in a Director's classification and such Director's continued service on the Board.16 Further, if the Board makes such an election, neither the Board nor any committee shall be deemed to be in violation of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws, which relates to Board composition, or Section 4.13 of the By-Laws, which relates to committee composition. This will give the Board the option to retain Directors whose classification has changed, but whose continued service is otherwise beneficial to the Board, the Company and its stockholders. This also will prevent the significant disruption that would occur if the Board had to replace a Director between annual meetings of stockholders and allow the Board to continue to make informed, deliberate decisions regarding Director nominees, rather than force it to act quickly in a way that is not in the best interest of the Company's stockholders.

    16 The intent of the amendment is to allow the Board a deferral until the next annual meeting when it can nominate a slate of directors with classifications sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws for election by the Company's stockholders. Assuming due election of the Board's nominees, the Board therefore will comply with Section 4.3 of the By-Laws immediately after the next annual meeting.

    2. Statutory Basis

    SCCP believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 17A(b)(3)(C) of the Act,17 in that it assures a fair representation of shareholders and participants in the selection of directors and administration of its affairs. While the proposals relate to the organizational documents of the Company, rather than SCCP, SCCP is indirectly owned by the Company, and therefore, the Company's stockholders have an indirect stake in SCCP. In addition, the participants in SCCP, to the extent any exist, could purchase stock in the Company in the open market, just like any other stockholder.

    17 15 U.S.C. 78q-1(b)(3)(C).

    First, the Company is proposing an amendment to Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that it may, rather than shall, include at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors on its Board. SCCP believes that this change will assure a fair representation of shareholders and participants in the selection of directors and administration of its affairs by allowing the Company's Nominating & Governance Committee to select nominees for the Company's Board based on the overall strategic needs of the Board, the Company and its stockholders without forcing the Board to fill one slot with an officer or director of a listed company (i.e., an Issuer Director). SCCP notes that the Company would still have the option to include Issuer Directors on the Board, and SCCP believes the views of listed companies are well-represented on the Board without the explicit participation of an Issuer Director.18

    18See note 12, supra.

    Second, the Company is proposing an amendment to Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to provide that the Board may elect to defer until the next annual meeting of stockholders a determination regarding a change in a Director's classification and such Director's continued service on the Board. Further, if the Board makes such an election, neither the Board nor any committee shall be deemed to be in violation of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws, which relates to Board composition, or Section 4.13 of the By-Laws, which relates to committee composition. SCCP believes that this change will assure a fair representation of shareholders and participants in the selection of directors and administration of its affairs by clarifying the disqualification provisions in the Company's By-Laws, which are currently ambiguous. In addition, the change will prevent the significant disruption that would occur if the Board were forced to replace an otherwise valuable director between annual meetings.

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    Because the proposed rule change relates to the governance of the Company and not to the operations of SCCP, SCCP 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.

    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

    Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period up to 90 days of such date (i) as the Commission may designate if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which SCCP consents, the Commission shall: (a) By order approve or disapprove such proposed rule change, or (b) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be 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-SCCP-2015-02 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-SCCP-2015-02. 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 offices of SCCP. 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-SCCP-2015-02, and should be submitted on or before January 28, 2016.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.19

    19 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Jill M. Peterson, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33306 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76808; File No. SR-BX-2015-085] Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Amend the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc. December 31, 2015.

    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 December 21, 2015, NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc. (“BX” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. On December 29, 2015, the Exchange filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposal.3 The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment No. 1, from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3 Amendment No. 1 amends and replaces the original filing in its entirety. In Amendment No. 1, the Exchange, among other things, clarified the operation of the current and proposed provisions of the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc. and how the proposed rule change would operate in conjunction with the Listing Rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market. See infra, note 5.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange is filing this proposed rule change with respect to amendments of the By-Laws (the “By-Laws”) of its parent corporation, Nasdaq, Inc. (“Nasdaq” or the “Company”), to revise the requirements regarding Director classifications. This Amendment No. 1 to SR-BX-2015-085 amends and replaces the original filing in its entirety. The proposed amendments will be implemented on a date designated by the Company following approval by the Commission. The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at http://nasdaqomxbx.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 Company is proposing amendments to certain provisions of its By-Laws that relate to Director 4 classifications.5 Specifically, the Company proposes to revise Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that it may, rather than shall, include at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors on its Board. In addition, the Company proposes to revise Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to clarify the procedures when a Director's classification changes between annual meetings of stockholders.

    4 “Director” means a member of the Company's Board of Directors. See Article I(j) of the By-Laws.

    5 The provisions of the Company's By-Laws that relate to Director classifications are completely distinct from the Listing Rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market. Therefore, the proposed amendments do not affect in any way the Company's obligation, as an issuer listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market, to comply with the Listing Rules, and the Company will continue to comply with the Listing Rules, including provisions relating to corporate governance, following the effectiveness of the proposed By-Law amendments.

    i. Section 4.3

    Currently, the Company's By-Laws require that all of the Company's Directors be classified as: (i) Industry Directors; 6 (ii) Non-Industry Directors,7 which are further classified as either Issuer Directors 8 or Public Directors; 9 or (iii) Staff Directors.10 Section 4.3 of the By-Laws includes composition requirements for the Board based on these classifications. Specifically, the number of Non-Industry Directors on the Board must equal or exceed the number of Industry Directors. In addition, the Board must include at least two Public Directors and at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors. Finally, the Board shall include no more than one Staff Director, unless the Board consists of ten or more Directors, in which case, the Board shall include no more than two Staff Directors.

    6 “Industry Director” or “Industry committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Directors) or committee member who (1) is, or within the last year was, or has an immediate family member who is, or within the last year was, a member of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (2) is, or within the last year was, employed by a member or a member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (3) has an immediate family member who is, or within the last year was, an executive officer of a member or a member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (4) has within the last year received from any member or member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary more than $100,000 per year in direct compensation, or received from such members or member organizations in the aggregate an amount of direct compensation that in any one year is more than 10 percent of the Director's annual gross compensation for such year, excluding in each case director and committee fees and pension or other forms of deferred compensation for prior service (provided such compensation is not contingent in any way on continued service); or (5) is affiliated, directly or indirectly, with a member or member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary. See Article I(m) of the By-Laws. A “Self-Regulatory Subsidiary” is any subsidiary of the Company that is a self-regulatory organization as defined under Section 3(a)(26) of the Act. See Article I(s) of the By-Laws. Currently, the term “Self-Regulatory Subsidiary” encompasses the Exchange, The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ”), NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC (“Phlx”), Boston Stock Exchange Clearing Corporation (“BSECC”) and the Stock Clearing Corporation of Philadelphia (“SCCP”).

    7 “Non-Industry Director” or “Non-Industry committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Director) or committee member who is (1) a Public Director or Public committee member; (2) an Issuer Director or Issuer committee member; or (3) any other individual who would not be an Industry Director or Industry committee member. See Article I(q) of the By-Laws.

    8 “Issuer Director” or “Issuer committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Director) or committee member who is an officer or employee of an issuer of securities listed on a national securities exchange operated by any Self-Regulatory Subsidiary, excluding any Director or committee member who is a director of such an issuer but is not also an officer or employee of such an issuer. See Article I(o) of the By-Laws.

    9 “Public Director” or “Public committee member” means a Director or committee member who (1) is not an Industry Director or Industry committee member, (2) is not an Issuer Director or Issuer committee member, and (3) has no material business relationship with a member or member organization of a Self- Regulatory Subsidiary, the Company or its affiliates, or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. and its affiliates. See Article I(r) of the By-Laws.

    10 “Staff Director” means an officer of the Company that is serving as a Director. See Article I(t) of the By-Laws.

    The Company proposes to amend Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that the Board may, rather than shall, include one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors. With this change, the Company intends to give itself the option, but not the requirement, to include one or two Issuer Directors on its Board. Issuer Directors bring to the Board the perspective of an officer or employee of companies listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market. While the Company highly values the views of its listed companies, it does not believe that it is strictly necessary to have an Issuer Director on its own Board to represent those views. Within the overall governance structure of the Company and its subsidiaries, issues relating to listed companies are generally the province of NASDAQ and its Board of Directors, rather than the Company and its Board of Directors. The Company is a holding company for over 100 subsidiaries that provide both regulated and unregulated products and services across the globe, while NASDAQ is the Company subsidiary that, among other things, provides listing services on The NASDAQ Stock Market. The Company's Board generally focuses on the overall strategic direction of the Company, while NASDAQ's Board generally focuses on issues relevant specifically to The NASDAQ Stock Market, including issues affecting listed companies. Furthermore, NASDAQ's Board includes issuer representation, as required by its By-Laws.11 Finally, if the Company's Board ever does address issues relating to listed companies, its Directors are experienced and capable enough to handle those issues without specifically having an Issuer Director on the Board.12

    11See Article III, Section 2 of NASDAQ's By-Laws.

    12 Currently, three of the Company's eleven Directors are also directors of companies listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market or another national securities exchange. These Directors do not qualify as Issuer Directors because they are not specifically officers or employees of listed companies; however, as directors of such companies, they are familiar with corporate governance topics and other issues confronted by listed companies.

    Therefore, it is not strictly necessary to have an officer or employee of a listed company on the Company's Board of Directors, and accordingly, the Company proposes to amend its By-Laws to give itself the option, but not the requirement, to include an Issuer Director on its Board.

    ii. Section 4.7

    As required by Section 4.13(h)(iii) of the By-Laws, the Company's Corporate Secretary certifies to the Nominating & Governance Committee of the Company's Board on an annual basis the classification of each Director following a review of information relating to the classifications collected from the Directors. This certification usually occurs in connection with the Company's annual meeting of stockholders, and at the same time, Directors are elected to serve on various Board committees, all of which have compositional requirements relating to the classifications.13 However, Directors' classifications may change from time to time following the annual meeting due to various changes in personal circumstances (e.g., a retirement or job change). Directors are required to report to the Corporate Secretary any change in the information used as the basis of their classification.14

    13See Section 4.13 of the By-Laws.

    14See Section 4.13(h)(iii) of the By-Laws.

    Section 4.7 of the By-Laws addresses potential disqualifications of Directors due to a classification change. Under this section, the term of office of a Director shall terminate immediately upon a determination by the Board, by a majority vote of the remaining Directors, that: (a) The Director no longer satisfies the classification for which the Director was elected; and (b) the Director's continued service would violate the Board compositional requirements. Section 4.7 also states that if a Director position becomes vacant because of such disqualification, and the remaining term of office is not more than six months, the By-Laws do not require an immediate replacement.

    The Company has observed two potential weaknesses relating to the disqualification procedures as currently drafted. First, Section 4.7 of the By-Laws does not address a situation where a Director's classification has changed, but the Board believes that it is in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders for such Director to remain on the Board. Second, the By-Laws could be read to contemplate that the Company must immediately cure any deficiencies in Board or committee composition that may occur because of a change in a Director or committee member's classification because otherwise the Board would not meet all of the compositional requirements set forth in Section 4.3 of the By-Laws.15 It would be extremely disruptive to the Board, its committees and the Company to add, remove, disqualify or replace a Director between annual meetings of stockholders simply because the Director no longer has the same classification he or she had at the time of the annual meeting. In addition, the selection of nominees to the Company's Board is an extremely complex process, managed by the Board's Nominating & Governance Committee, that takes almost the full year between annual meetings of stockholders. The Nominating & Governance Committee considers possible candidates suggested by Board members, industry groups, stockholders, senior management and/or a third-party search firm engaged from time-to-time to assist in identifying and evaluating qualified candidates. In evaluating candidates for nomination to the Board, the Nominating & Governance Committee reviews the skills, qualifications, characteristics and experience desired for the Board as a whole and for its individual members, with the objective of having a Board that reflects diverse backgrounds and senior level experience in the areas of global business, finance, legal and regulatory, technology and marketing. The Nominating & Governance Committee evaluates each individual candidate in the context of the Board as a whole, with the objective of maintaining a group of Directors that can further the success of Nasdaq's business, while representing the interests of stockholders, employees and the communities in which the company operates. Because the nominee selection process is so long and complex, the Board cannot act quickly to replace a Director whose classification has changed, and it is not in the best interests of the Company's stockholders for the Board to be forced to take such an action when the Director otherwise provides valuable service to the Board.

    15But see Kurz v. Holbrook, 989 A.2d 140, 156-57 (Del.Ch. 2010) (holding that a by-law cannot disqualify a director who was duly qualified at the time of election during the middle of his or her term), rev'd on other grounds sub nom Crown EMAK P'ners, LLC v. Kurz, 992 A.2d 377 (Del. 2010); see also Klaassen v. Allegro Development Corp., 2013 WL 5739680, at *23 (Del. Ch. Oct. 11, 2013) (noting that director qualifications are applied at the front-end of the director's term when such director is elected and qualified), aff'd 106 A.3d 1035 (Del. 2014).

    The Company therefore proposes to amend Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to provide that the Board may elect to defer until the next annual meeting of stockholders a determination regarding a change in a Director's classification and such Director's continued service on the Board.16 Further, if the Board makes such an election, neither the Board nor any committee shall be deemed to be in violation of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws, which relates to Board composition, or Section 4.13 of the By-Laws, which relates to committee composition. This will give the Board the option to retain Directors whose classification has changed, but whose continued service is otherwise beneficial to the Board, the Company and its stockholders. This also will prevent the significant disruption that would occur if the Board had to replace a Director between annual meetings of stockholders and allow the Board to continue to make informed, deliberate decisions regarding Director nominees, rather than force it to act quickly in a way that is not in the best interest of the Company's stockholders.

    16 The intent of the amendment is to allow the Board a deferral until the next annual meeting when it can nominate a slate of directors with classifications sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws for election by the Company's stockholders. Assuming due election of the Board's nominees, the Board therefore will comply with Section 4.3 of the By-Laws immediately after the next annual meeting.

    2. Statutory Basis

    The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,17 in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,18 in particular, in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general to protect investors and the public interest.

    17 15 U.S.C. 78f(b).

    18 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(5).

    First, the Company is proposing an amendment to Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that it may, rather than shall, include at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors on its Board. The Exchange believes that this change will protect investors and the public interest by allowing the Company's Nominating & Governance Committee to select nominees for the Company's Board based on the overall strategic needs of the Board, the Company and its stockholders without forcing the Board to fill one slot with an officer or director of a listed company (i.e., an Issuer Director). The Exchange notes that the Company would still have the option to include Issuer Directors on the Board, and the Exchange believes the views of listed companies are well-represented on the Board without the explicit participation of an Issuer Director.19

    19See note 12, supra.

    Second, the Company is proposing an amendment to Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to provide that the Board may elect to defer until the next annual meeting of stockholders a determination regarding a change in a Director's classification and such Director's continued service on the Board. Further, if the Board makes such an election, neither the Board nor any committee shall be deemed to be in violation of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws, which relates to Board composition, or Section 4.13 of the By-Laws, which relates to committee composition. The Exchange believes that this change will protect investors and the public interest by clarifying the disqualification provisions in the Company's By-Laws, which are currently ambiguous. In addition, the change will prevent the significant disruption that would occur if the Board were forced to replace an otherwise valuable director between annual meetings.

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    Because the proposed rule change relates to the governance of the Company and not to the operations of the Exchange, 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.

    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

    Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period up to 90 days of such date (i) as the Commission may designate if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the Exchange consents, the Commission shall: (a) By order approve or disapprove such proposed rule change, or (b) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be 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-BX-2015-085 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-BX-2015-085. 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 offices 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-BX-2015-085, and should be submitted on or before January 28, 2016.

    20 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.20

    Jill M. Peterson, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33307 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [SEC File No. 270-363, OMB Control No. 3235-0413] Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request Upon Written Request, Copies Available From: Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of FOIA Services, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-2736. Extension: Rule 17Ad-16.

    Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) (`PRA”), the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) a request for approval of extension of the existing collection of information provided for in Rule 17Ad-16 (17 CFR 240.17Ad-16) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.).

    Rule 17Ad-16 requires a registered transfer agent to provide written notice to the appropriate qualified registered securities depository when assuming or terminating transfer agent services on behalf of an issuer or when changing its name or address. In addition, transfer agents that provide such notice shall maintain such notice for a period of at least two years in an easily accessible place. This rule addresses the problem of certificate transfer delays caused by transfer requests that are directed to the wrong transfer agent or the wrong address.

    We estimate that the transfer agent industry submits approximately 6,970 Rule 17Ad-16 notices to appropriate qualified registered securities depositories. The staff estimates that the average amount of time necessary to create and submit each notice is approximately 15 minutes per notice. Accordingly, the estimated total industry burden is 1,743 hours per year (15 minutes multiplied by 6,970 filed annually).

    Because the information needed by transfer agents to properly notify the appropriate registered securities depository is readily available to them and the report is simple and straightforward, the cost is relatively minimal. The average internal compliance cost to prepare and send a notice is approximately $7.50 (15 minutes at $30 per hour). This yields an industry-wide internal compliance cost estimate of $52,275 (6,970 notices multiplied by $7.50 per notice).

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information under the PRA unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    The public may view background documentation for this information collection at the following Web site: www.reginfo.gov. Comments should be directed to: (i) Desk Officer for the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10102, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503, or by sending an email to: [email protected]; and (ii) Pamela Dyson, Director/Chief Information Officer, Securities and Exchange Commission, c/o Remi Pavlik-Simon, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549, or by sending an email to: [email protected] Comments must be submitted to OMB within 30 days of this notice.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. Jill M. Peterson, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33215 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76812; File No. SR-FINRA-2015-058] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Series 9/10 Examination Program December 31, 2015.

    Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act” or “SEA”) 1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 notice is hereby given that on December 23, 2015, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by FINRA. FINRA has designated the proposed rule change as “constituting a stated policy, practice, or interpretation with respect to the meaning, administration, or enforcement of an existing rule” under Section 19(b)(3)(A)(i) of the Act 3 and Rule 19b-4(f)(1) thereunder,4 which renders the proposal effective upon receipt of this filing by the Commission The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(i).

    4 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(1).

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of the Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    FINRA is filing revisions to the content outline and selection specifications for the General Securities Sales Supervisor (Series 9/10) examination program.5 The proposed revisions update the material to reflect changes to the laws, rules and regulations covered by the examination and to incorporate the functions and associated tasks currently performed by a General Securities Sales Supervisor. In addition, FINRA is proposing to make changes to the format of the content outline. FINRA is not proposing any textual changes to the By-Laws, Schedules to the By-Laws or Rules of FINRA.

    5 FINRA also is proposing corresponding revisions to the Series 9/10 question bank. Based on instruction from SEC staff, FINRA is submitting this filing for immediate effectiveness pursuant to Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act and Rule 19b-4(f)(1) thereunder, and is not filing the question bank for review. See Letter to Alden S. Adkins, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, NASD Regulation, from Belinda Blaine, Associate Director, Division of Market Regulation, SEC, dated July 24, 2000. The question bank is available for SEC review.

    The revised content outline is attached.6 The Series 9/10 selection specifications have been submitted to the Commission under separate cover with a request for confidential treatment pursuant to SEA Rule 24b-2.7

    6 The Commission notes that the revised content outline is attached to the proposed rule change, and is available for viewing on FINRA's Web site. The content outline is not attached to this notice.

    7 17 CFR 240.24b-2.

    The text of [sic] the proposed rule change is available on FINRA's Web site at http://www.finra.org, at the principal office of FINRA and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, FINRA included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. FINRA has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

    A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose

    Section 15A(g)(3) of the Act 8 authorizes FINRA to prescribe standards of training, experience, and competence for persons associated with FINRA members. In accordance with that provision, FINRA has developed examinations that are designed to establish that persons associated with FINRA members have attained specified levels of competence and knowledge, consistent with applicable registration requirements under FINRA rules. FINRA periodically reviews the content of the examinations to determine whether revisions are necessary or appropriate in view of changes pertaining to the subject matter covered by the examinations.

    8 15 U.S.C. 78o-3(g)(3).

    NASD Rule 1022(g) states that members may register with FINRA an individual as a General Securities Sales Supervisor if the individual's supervisory responsibilities in the investment banking and securities business are limited solely to the securities sales activities of a member, including the training of sales and sales supervisory personnel and the maintenance of records of original entry and ledger accounts of the member required to be maintained in branch offices by SEC recordkeeping rules.9 A General Securities Sales Supervisor is precluded from performing any of the following activities: (1) Functioning in a principal capacity with responsibility over any area of business activity not stated above; (2) supervision of the origination and structuring of underwritings; (3) supervision of market making commitments; (4) supervision of the custody of firm or customer funds or securities for purposes of SEA Rule 15c3-3; or (5) supervision of overall compliance with financial responsibility rules for broker-dealers promulgated pursuant to the provisions of the Act. Further, a General Securities Sales Supervisor is not qualified to be included for purposes of the principal numerical requirements of NASD Rule 1021(e)(1).

    9 NASD Rule 1022(g) also includes additional requirements applicable to General Securities Sales Supervisors engaged in securities futures activities.

    To register as a General Securities Sales Supervisor, an individual must be registered pursuant to the NASD Rule 1030 Series as a General Securities Representative. In addition, the individual must pass the Series 9/10 examination.

    In consultation with a committee of industry representatives, FINRA recently undertook a review of the Series 9/10 examination program. As a result of this review, FINRA is proposing to make revisions to the content outline to reflect changes to the laws, rules and regulations covered by the examination and to incorporate the functions and associated tasks currently performed by a General Securities Sales Supervisor. FINRA also is proposing to make changes to the format of the content outline.

    Current Content Outline

    The current content outline is divided into six sections. The following are the six sections and the number of questions associated with each of the sections, denoted Section 1 through Section 6:

    1. Hiring, Qualifications, and Continuing Education, 9 questions;

    2. Supervision of Accounts and Sales Activities, 94 questions;

    3. Conduct of Associated Persons, 14 questions;

    4. Recordkeeping Requirements, 8 questions;

    5. Municipal Securities Regulation, 20 questions;

    6. Options Regulation, 55 questions.

    Each section also includes the applicable laws, rules and regulations associated with that section. The current content outline also includes a preface (addressing, among other things, the purpose, administration and scoring of the examination), sample questions and reference materials.

    Proposed Revisions

    FINRA is proposing to divide the content outline into two parts with eight major job functions that are performed by a General Securities Sales Supervisor. The following are the two parts each with four major job functions, denoted as Parts 1 and 2 with Function 1 through Function 4, respectively, with the associated number of questions:

    Part 1

    Function 1: Supervise Associated Persons and Personnel Management Activities, 28 questions;

    Function 2: Supervise the Opening and Maintenance of Customer Accounts, 49 questions;

    Function 3: Supervise Sales Practices and General Trading Activities, 52 questions;

    Function 4: Supervise Communications with the Public, 16 questions.

    Part 2

    Function 1: Supervise the Opening and Maintenance of Customer Options Accounts, 18 questions;

    Function 2: Supervise Sales Practices and General Options Trading Activities, 19 questions;

    Function 3: Supervise Options Communications, 5 questions;

    Function 4: Supervise Associated Persons and Personnel Management Activities, 13 questions.

    FINRA is proposing to adjust the number of questions assigned to each major job function to ensure that the overall examination better reflects the key tasks performed by a General Securities Sales Supervisor. The questions on the revised Series 9/10 examination will place greater emphasis on key tasks such as supervision of registered persons, sales practices and compliance.

    Each function also includes specific tasks describing activities associated with performing that function. In Part 1, there are five tasks (1.1-1.5) associated with Function 1; four tasks (2.1-2.4) associated with Function 2; five tasks (3.1-3.5) associated with Function 3; and four tasks (4.1-4.4) associated with Function 4. In Part 2, there are three tasks (1.1-1.3) associated with Function 1; four tasks (2.1-2.4) associated with Function 2; three tasks (3.1-3.3) associated with Function 3; and one task (4.1) associated with Function 4.10 By way of example, one such task (Task 4.2 in Part 1) is review retail communications and determine appropriate approval.11 Further, the content outline lists the knowledge required to perform each function and associated tasks (e.g., types of retail communications, required approvals).12 In addition, where applicable, the content outline lists the laws, rules and regulations a candidate is expected to know to perform each function and associated tasks. These include the applicable FINRA Rules (e.g., FINRA Rule 2210), MSRB Rules (e.g., MSRB Rule G-27(e)) and SEC rules (e.g., Rule 135a under the Securities Act of 1933).13 FINRA conducted a job analysis study of General Securities Sales Supervisors, which included the use of a survey, in developing each function and associated tasks and updating the required knowledge set forth in the revised content outline. The functions and associated tasks, which appear in the revised content outline for the first time, reflect the day-to-day activities of a General Securities Sales Supervisor.

    10See Exhibit 3a, Outline Pages 5-26.

    11See Exhibit 3a, Outline Page 17.

    12See Exhibit 3a, Outline Page 17.

    13See Exhibit 3a, Outline Page 17-18.

    As noted above, FINRA also is proposing to revise the content outline to reflect changes to the laws, rules and regulations covered by the examination. Among other revisions, FINRA is proposing to revise the content outline to reflect the adoption of rules in the consolidated FINRA rulebook (e.g., NASD Rule 2310 (Recommendations to Customers (Suitability)), NASD Rule 2212 (Telemarketing) and NASD Rule 3110 (Books and Records) were adopted as FINRA Rule 2111 (Suitability), FINRA Rule 3230 (Telemarketing) and FINRA Rule 4510 Series (Books and Records Requirements), respectively).14

    14See Rule Conversion Chart, available at http://www.finra.org/Industry/Regulation/FINRARules/p085560.

    FINRA is proposing similar changes to the Series 9/10 selection specifications and question bank.

    Finally, FINRA is proposing to make changes to the format of the content outline, including the preface, sample questions and reference materials. Among other changes, FINRA is proposing to: (1) Add a table of contents; 15 (2) provide more details regarding the purpose of the examination; 16 (3) provide more details on the application procedures; 17 (4) provide more details on the development and maintenance of the content outline and examination; 18 (5) explain that the passing scores are established by FINRA staff, in consultation with a committee of industry representatives, using a standard setting procedure, and that a statistical adjustment process known as equating is used in scoring exams; 19 and (6) note that each candidate will receive a report at the end of the test session, which will indicate a pass or fail status and include a score profile listing the candidate's performance on each major content area covered on the examination.20

    15See Exhibit 3a, Outline Page 1.

    16See Exhibit 3a, Outline Page 2.

    17See Exhibit 3a, Outline Page 2.

    18See Exhibit 3a, Outline Page 3.

    19See Exhibit 3a, Outline Page 4.

    20See Exhibit 3a, Outline Page 4.

    The number of questions on the Series 9/10 examination will remain at 200 multiple-choice questions (55 on the Series 9 and 145 on the Series 10).21 Candidates will have 90 minutes to complete the Series 9 exam and 240 minutes to complete the Series 10 exam. The passing score for the Series 9 is 70 percent and the passing score for the Series 10 is 70 percent. These are unchanged.

    21 Consistent with FINRA's practice of including “pretest” items on certain qualification examinations, which is designed to ensure that new examination items meet acceptable testing standards prior to use for scoring purposes, the examinations include 15 additional, unidentified pretest items that do not contribute towards the candidate's score. Therefore, the examination actually consists of 215 items, 200 of which are scored. The 15 pretest items are randomly distributed throughout the examination.

    Availability of Content Outline

    The current Series 9/10 content outline is available on FINRA's Web site, at www.finra.org/brokerqualifications/exams. The revised Series 9/10 content outline will replace the current content outline on FINRA's Web site.

    FINRA is filing the proposed rule change for immediate effectiveness. FINRA proposes to implement the revised Series 9/10 examination program on March 7, 2016. FINRA will announce the proposed rule change and the implementation date in a Regulatory Notice.

    2. Statutory Basis

    FINRA believes that the proposed revisions to the Series 9/10 examination program are consistent with the provisions of Section 15A(b)(6) of the Act,22 which requires, among other things, that FINRA rules must 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, and Section 15A(g)(3) of the Act,23 which authorizes FINRA to prescribe standards of training, experience, and competence for persons associated with FINRA members. FINRA believes that the proposed revisions will further these purposes by updating the examination program to reflect changes to the laws, rules and regulations covered by the examination and to incorporate the functions and associated tasks currently performed by a General Securities Sales Supervisor.

    22 15 U.S.C. 78o-3(b)(6).

    23 15 U.S.C. 78o-3(g)(3).

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    FINRA 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. The updated examination aligns with the functions and associated tasks currently performed by a General Securities Sales Supervisor and tests knowledge of the most current laws, rules, regulations and skills relevant to those functions and associated tasks. As such, the proposed revisions would make the examination more efficient and effective.

    C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

    Written comments were neither solicited nor 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) of the Act 24 and paragraph (f)(1) of Rule 19b-4 thereunder.25 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. If the Commission takes such action, the Commission shall institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule should be approved or disapproved.

    24 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A).

    25 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(1).

    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-FINRA-2015-058 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-FINRA-2015-058. 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 offices of FINRA. 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-FINRA-2015-058, and should be submitted on or before January 28, 2016.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.26

    26 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Jill M. Peterson, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33311 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [SEC File No. 270-247; OMB Control No. 3235-0259] Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request Upon Written Request Copies Available From: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of FOIA Services, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-2736. Reinstatement: Rule 19h-1

    Notice by a Self-Regulatory Organization of Proposed Admission to or Continuance in Membership or Participation or Association with a Member of Any Person Subject to a Statutory Disqualification, and Applications to the Commission for Relief Therefrom.

    Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) a request for approval of a reinstatement, with change, of a previously approved collection for which approval has expired—Rule 19h-1, Notice by a Self-Regulatory Organization of Proposed Admission to or Continuance in Membership or Participation or Association with a Member of Any Person Subject to a Statutory Disqualification, and Applications to the Commission for Relief Therefrom (17 CFR 240.19h-1).

    Rule 19h-1 (“Rule”) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) prescribes the form and content of notices and applications by self-regulatory organizations (“SROs”) regarding proposed admissions to, or continuances in, membership, participation or association with a member of any person subject to a statutory disqualification.

    The Commission uses the information provided in the submissions filed pursuant to Rule 19h-1 to review decisions of SROs to permit the entry into or continuance in the securities business of persons who have committed serious misconduct. The filings submitted pursuant to the Rule also permit inclusion of an application to the Commission for consent to associate with a member of an SRO notwithstanding a Commission order barring such association.

    The Commission reviews filings made pursuant to the Rule to ascertain whether it is in the public interest to permit the employment in the securities business of persons subject to a statutory disqualification. The filings contain information that is essential to the staff's review and ultimate determination on whether an association or employment is in the public interest and consistent with investor protection. Without these filings, persons subject to a statutory disqualification could reenter or continue employment in the securities business without the Commission's critical review of their character, ability to act as a fiduciary, and their employer's plan of supervision. The failure to collect and review this information could result in significant harm to the investing public.

    The Commission estimates the annual burden of responding to this collection of information is as follows.

    Burden Hours 19h-1(a)—Notice
  • of admission or
  • continuance
  • notwithstanding
  • a statutory
  • disqualification
  • 19h-1(a)(4)—
  • Notification of
  • proposed
  • admission or
  • continuance
  • pursuant to
  • an exception
  • from the notice
  • requirements
  • 19h-1(b)—
  • Preliminary
  • notifications
  • 19h-1(d)—
  • Application to
  • the Commission
  • for relief from
  • certain statutory
  • disqualifications
  • Estimated number of respondents = 20 20 20 20 Estimated number of annual responses per respondent = 11 9 28 5 Estimated annual reporting burden per response = 80 80 13 80
    Burden Hours Estimated total annual reporting burden = 17,600 (20 respondents × 11 annual responses per respondent × 80 hours per respondent) 14,400 (20 respondents × 9 annual responses per respondent × 80 hours per respondent) 7,280 (20 respondents × 28 annual responses per respondent × 13 hours per respondent) 8,000 (20 respondents × 5 annual responses per respondent × 80 hours per respondent).

    The Commission may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

    The public may view background documentation for this information collection at the following Web site, www.reginfo.gov. Persons submitting comments on the collection of information requirements should direct them to (i) the Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503, and (ii) Pamela Dyson, Director/Chief Information Officer, Securities and Exchange Commission, c/o Remi Pavlik-Simon, 100 F Street NE., Washington DC, 20549, or send an email to: [email protected] Comments should reference SEC File No. 270-247. Comments must be submitted to OMB within 30 days of this notice.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. Jill M. Peterson, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33216 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76806; File No. SR-BSECC-2015-002) Self-Regulatory Organizations; Boston Stock Exchange Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Amend the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc. December 31, 2015.

    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 December 21, 2015, Boston Stock Exchange Clearing Corporation (“BSECC”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by BSECC. On December 29, 2015, BSECC filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposal.3 The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment No. 1, from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3 Amendment No. 1 amends and replaces the original filing in its entirety. In Amendment No. 1, BSECC, among other things, clarified the operation of the current and proposed provisions of the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc. and how the proposed rule change would operate in conjunction with the Listing Rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market. See infra, note 5.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    BSECC is filing this proposed rule change with respect to amendments of the By-Laws (the “By-Laws”) of its parent corporation, Nasdaq, Inc. (“Nasdaq” or the “Company”), to revise the requirements regarding Director classifications. This Amendment No. 1 to SR-BSECC-2015-002 amends and replaces the original filing in its entirety. The proposed amendments will be implemented on a date designated by the Company following approval by the Commission. The text of the proposed rule change is available on BSECC's Web site at http://nasdaqomxbx.cchwallstreet.com, at the principal office of BSECC, 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, BSECC 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. BSECC 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 Company is proposing amendments to certain provisions of its By-Laws that relate to Director 4 classifications.5 Specifically, the Company proposes to revise Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that it may, rather than shall, include at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors on its Board. In addition, the Company proposes to revise Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to clarify the procedures when a Director's classification changes between annual meetings of stockholders.

    4 “Director” means a member of the Company's Board of Directors. See Article I(j) of the By-Laws.

    5 The provisions of the Company's By-Laws that relate to Director classifications are completely distinct from the Listing Rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market. Therefore, the proposed amendments do not affect in any way the Company's obligation, as an issuer listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market, to comply with the Listing Rules, and the Company will continue to comply with the Listing Rules, including provisions relating to corporate governance, following the effectiveness of the proposed By-Law amendments.

    i. Section 4.3

    Currently, the Company's By-Laws require that all of the Company's Directors be classified as: (i) Industry Directors; 6 (ii) Non-Industry Directors,7 which are further classified as either Issuer Directors 8 or Public Directors; 9 or (iii) Staff Directors.10 Section 4.3 of the By-Laws includes composition requirements for the Board based on these classifications. Specifically, the number of Non-Industry Directors on the Board must equal or exceed the number of Industry Directors. In addition, the Board must include at least two Public Directors and at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors. Finally, the Board shall include no more than one Staff Director, unless the Board consists of ten or more Directors, in which case, the Board shall include no more than two Staff Directors.

    6 “Industry Director” or “Industry committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Directors) or committee member who (1) is, or within the last year was, or has an immediate family member who is, or within the last year was, a member of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (2) is, or within the last year was, employed by a member or a member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (3) has an immediate family member who is, or within the last year was, an executive officer of a member or a member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (4) has within the last year received from any member or member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary more than $100,000 per year in direct compensation, or received from such members or member organizations in the aggregate an amount of direct compensation that in any one year is more than 10 percent of the Director's annual gross compensation for such year, excluding in each case director and committee fees and pension or other forms of deferred compensation for prior service (provided such compensation is not contingent in any way on continued service); or (5) is affiliated, directly or indirectly, with a member or member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary. See Article I(m) of the By-Laws. A “Self-Regulatory Subsidiary” is any subsidiary of the Company that is a self-regulatory organization as defined under Section 3(a)(26) of the Act. See Article I(s) of the By-Laws. Currently, the term “Self-Regulatory Subsidiary” encompasses NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc. (“BX”), The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ”), NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC (“Phlx”), BSECC and the Stock Clearing Corporation of Philadelphia (“SCCP”).

    7 “Non-Industry Director” or “Non-Industry committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Director) or committee member who is (1) a Public Director or Public committee member; (2) an Issuer Director or Issuer committee member; or (3) any other individual who would not be an Industry Director or Industry committee member. See Article I(q) of the By-Laws.

    8 “Issuer Director” or “Issuer committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Director) or committee member who is an officer or employee of an issuer of securities listed on a national securities exchange operated by any Self-Regulatory Subsidiary, excluding any Director or committee member who is a director of such an issuer but is not also an officer or employee of such an issuer. See Article I(o) of the By-Laws.

    9 “Public Director” or “Public committee member” means a Director or committee member who (1) is not an Industry Director or Industry committee member, (2) is not an Issuer Director or Issuer committee member, and (3) has no material business relationship with a member or member organization of a Self- Regulatory Subsidiary, the Company or its affiliates, or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. and its affiliates. See Article I(r) of the By-Laws.

    10 “Staff Director” means an officer of the Company that is serving as a Director. See Article I(t) of the By-Laws.

    The Company proposes to amend Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that the Board may, rather than shall, include one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors. With this change, the Company intends to give itself the option, but not the requirement, to include one or two Issuer Directors on its Board. Issuer Directors bring to the Board the perspective of an officer or employee of companies listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market. While the Company highly values the views of its listed companies, it does not believe that it is strictly necessary to have an Issuer Director on its own Board to represent those views. Within the overall governance structure of the Company and its subsidiaries, issues relating to listed companies are generally the province of NASDAQ and its Board of Directors, rather than the Company and its Board of Directors. The Company is a holding company for over 100 subsidiaries that provide both regulated and unregulated products and services across the globe, while NASDAQ is the Company subsidiary that, among other things, provides listing services on The NASDAQ Stock Market. The Company's Board generally focuses on the overall strategic direction of the Company, while NASDAQ's Board generally focuses on issues relevant specifically to The NASDAQ Stock Market, including issues affecting listed companies. Furthermore, NASDAQ's Board includes issuer representation, as required by its By-Laws.11 Finally, if the Company's Board ever does address issues relating to listed companies, its Directors are experienced and capable enough to handle those issues without specifically having an Issuer Director on the Board.12

    11See Article III, Section 2 of NASDAQ's By-Laws.

    12 Currently, three of the Company's eleven Directors are also directors of companies listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market or another national securities exchange. These Directors do not qualify as Issuer Directors because they are not specifically officers or employees of listed companies; however, as directors of such companies, they are familiar with corporate governance topics and other issues confronted by listed companies.

    Therefore, it is not strictly necessary to have an officer or employee of a listed company on the Company's Board of Directors, and accordingly, the Company proposes to amend its By-Laws to give itself the option, but not the requirement, to include an Issuer Director on its Board.

    ii. Section 4.7

    As required by Section 4.13(h)(iii) of the By-Laws, the Company's Corporate Secretary certifies to the Nominating & Governance Committee of the Company's Board on an annual basis the classification of each Director following a review of information relating to the classifications collected from the Directors. This certification usually occurs in connection with the Company's annual meeting of stockholders, and at the same time, Directors are elected to serve on various Board committees, all of which have compositional requirements relating to the classifications.13 However, Directors' classifications may change from time to time following the annual meeting due to various changes in personal circumstances (e.g., a retirement or job change). Directors are required to report to the Corporate Secretary any change in the information used as the basis of their classification.14

    13See Section 4.13 of the By-Laws.

    14See Section 4.13(h)(iii) of the By-Laws.

    Section 4.7 of the By-Laws addresses potential disqualifications of Directors due to a classification change. Under this section, the term of office of a Director shall terminate immediately upon a determination by the Board, by a majority vote of the remaining Directors, that: (a) The Director no longer satisfies the classification for which the Director was elected; and (b) the Director's continued service would violate the Board compositional requirements. Section 4.7 also states that if a Director position becomes vacant because of such disqualification, and the remaining term of office is not more than six months, the By-Laws do not require an immediate replacement.

    The Company has observed two potential weaknesses relating to the disqualification procedures as currently drafted. First, Section 4.7 of the By-Laws does not address a situation where a Director's classification has changed, but the Board believes that it is in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders for such Director to remain on the Board. Second, the By-Laws could be read to contemplate that the Company must immediately cure any deficiencies in Board or committee composition that may occur because of a change in a Director or committee member's classification because otherwise the Board would not meet all of the compositional requirements set forth in Section 4.3 of the By-Laws.15 It would be extremely disruptive to the Board, its committees and the Company to add, remove, disqualify or replace a Director between annual meetings of stockholders simply because the Director no longer has the same classification he or she had at the time of the annual meeting. In addition, the selection of nominees to the Company's Board is an extremely complex process, managed by the Board's Nominating & Governance Committee, that takes almost the full year between annual meetings of stockholders. The Nominating & Governance Committee considers possible candidates suggested by Board members, industry groups, stockholders, senior management and/or a third-party search firm engaged from time-to-time to assist in identifying and evaluating qualified candidates. In evaluating candidates for nomination to the Board, the Nominating & Governance Committee reviews the skills, qualifications, characteristics and experience desired for the Board as a whole and for its individual members, with the objective of having a Board that reflects diverse backgrounds and senior level experience in the areas of global business, finance, legal and regulatory, technology and marketing. The Nominating & Governance Committee evaluates each individual candidate in the context of the Board as a whole, with the objective of maintaining a group of Directors that can further the success of Nasdaq's business, while representing the interests of stockholders, employees and the communities in which the company operates. Because the nominee selection process is so long and complex, the Board cannot act quickly to replace a Director whose classification has changed, and it is not in the best interests of the Company's stockholders for the Board to be forced to take such an action when the Director otherwise provides valuable service to the Board.

    15But see Kurz v. Holbrook, 989 A.2d 140, 156-57 (Del.Ch. 2010) (holding that a by-law cannot disqualify a director who was duly qualified at the time of election during the middle of his or her term), rev'd on other grounds sub nom Crown EMAK P'ners, LLC v. Kurz, 992 A.2d 377 (Del. 2010); see also Klaassen v. Allegro Development Corp., 2013 WL 5739680, at *23 (Del. Ch. Oct. 11, 2013) (noting that director qualifications are applied at the front-end of the director's term when such director is elected and qualified), aff'd 106 A.3d 1035 (Del. 2014).

    The Company therefore proposes to amend Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to provide that the Board may elect to defer until the next annual meeting of stockholders a determination regarding a change in a Director's classification and such Director's continued service on the Board.16 Further, if the Board makes such an election, neither the Board nor any committee shall be deemed to be in violation of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws, which relates to Board composition, or Section 4.13 of the By-Laws, which relates to committee composition. This will give the Board the option to retain Directors whose classification has changed, but whose continued service is otherwise beneficial to the Board, the Company and its stockholders. This also will prevent the significant disruption that would occur if the Board had to replace a Director between annual meetings of stockholders and allow the Board to continue to make informed, deliberate decisions regarding Director nominees, rather than force it to act quickly in a way that is not in the best interest of the Company's stockholders.

    16 The intent of the amendment is to allow the Board a deferral until the next annual meeting when it can nominate a slate of directors with classifications sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws for election by the Company's stockholders. Assuming due election of the Board's nominees, the Board therefore will comply with Section 4.3 of the By-Laws immediately after the next annual meeting.

    2. Statutory Basis

    BSECC believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 17A(b)(3)(C) of the Act,17 in that it assures a fair representation of shareholders and participants in the selection of directors and administration of its affairs. While the proposals relate to the organizational documents of the Company, rather than BSECC, BSECC is indirectly owned by the Company, and therefore, the Company's stockholders have an indirect stake in BSECC. In addition, the participants in BSECC, to the extent any exist, could purchase stock in the Company in the open market, just like any other stockholder.

    17 15 U.S.C. 78q-1(b)(3)(C).

    First, the Company is proposing an amendment to Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that it may, rather than shall, include at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors on its Board. BSECC believes that this change will assure a fair representation of shareholders and participants in the selection of directors and administration of its affairs by allowing the Company's Nominating & Governance Committee to select nominees for the Company's Board based on the overall strategic needs of the Board, the Company and its stockholders without forcing the Board to fill one slot with an officer or director of a listed company (i.e., an Issuer Director). BSECC notes that the Company would still have the option to include Issuer Directors on the Board, and BSECC believes the views of listed companies are well-represented on the Board without the explicit participation of an Issuer Director.18

    18See note 12, supra.

    Second, the Company is proposing an amendment to Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to provide that the Board may elect to defer until the next annual meeting of stockholders a determination regarding a change in a Director's classification and such Director's continued service on the Board. Further, if the Board makes such an election, neither the Board nor any committee shall be deemed to be in violation of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws, which relates to Board composition, or Section 4.13 of the By-Laws, which relates to committee composition. BSECC believes that this change will assure a fair representation of shareholders and participants in the selection of directors and administration of its affairs by clarifying the disqualification provisions in the Company's By-Laws, which are currently ambiguous. In addition, the change will prevent the significant disruption that would occur if the Board were forced to replace an otherwise valuable director between annual meetings.

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    Because the proposed rule change relates to the governance of the Company and not to the operations of BSECC, BSECC 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.

    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

    Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period up to 90 days of such date (i) as the Commission may designate if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which BSECC consents, the Commission shall: (a) By order approve or disapprove such proposed rule change, or (b) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be 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-BSECC-2015-002 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-BSECC-2015-002. 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 offices of BSECC. 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-BSECC-2015-002, and should be submitted on or before January 28, 2016.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.19

    19 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Jill M. Peterson, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33305 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76810; File No. SR-Phlx-2015-113] Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 2 Thereto, To Amend the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc. December 31, 2015.

    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 December 21, 2015, NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC (“Phlx” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. On December 29, 2015, the Exchange filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposal.3 On December 30, 2015, the Exchange filed Amendment No. 2 to the proposal.4 The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change, as modified by Amendment No. 2, from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3 On December 30, 2015, the Exchange withdrew Amendment No. 1.

    4 Amendment No. 2 amends and replaces the original filing in its entirety. In Amendment No. 2, the Exchange, among other things, clarified the operation of the current and proposed provisions of the By-Laws of Nasdaq, Inc. and how the proposed rule change would operate in conjunction with the Listing Rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market. See infra, note 7.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange is filing this proposed rule change with respect to amendments of the By-Laws (the “By-Laws”) of its parent corporation, Nasdaq, Inc. (“Nasdaq” or the “Company”), to revise the requirements regarding Director classifications. This Amendment No. 2 to SR-Phlx-2015-113 amends and replaces the original filing in its entirety.5 The proposed amendments will be implemented on a date designated by the Company following approval by the Commission. The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at http://nasdaqomxphlx.cchwallstreet.com, at the principal office of the Exchange, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    5 Amendment No. 1 to SR-Phlx-2015-113 was filed on December 29, 2015 and subsequently withdrawn on December 30, 2015.

    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 Company is proposing amendments to certain provisions of its By-Laws that relate to Director 6 classifications.7 Specifically, the Company proposes to revise Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that it may, rather than shall, include at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors on its Board. In addition, the Company proposes to revise Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to clarify the procedures when a Director's classification changes between annual meetings of stockholders.

    6 “Director” means a member of the Company's Board of Directors. See Article I(j) of the By-Laws.

    7 The provisions of the Company's By-Laws that relate to Director classifications are completely distinct from the Listing Rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market. Therefore, the proposed amendments do not affect in any way the Company's obligation, as an issuer listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market, to comply with the Listing Rules, and the Company will continue to comply with the Listing Rules, including provisions relating to corporate governance, following the effectiveness of the proposed By-Law amendments.

    i. Section 4.3

    Currently, the Company's By-Laws require that all of the Company's Directors be classified as: (i) Industry Directors; 8 (ii) Non-Industry Directors,9 which are further classified as either Issuer Directors 10 or Public Directors; 11 or (iii) Staff Directors.12 Section 4.3 of the By-Laws includes composition requirements for the Board based on these classifications. Specifically, the number of Non-Industry Directors on the Board must equal or exceed the number of Industry Directors. In addition, the Board must include at least two Public Directors and at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors. Finally, the Board shall include no more than one Staff Director, unless the Board consists of ten or more Directors, in which case, the Board shall include no more than two Staff Directors.

    8 “Industry Director” or “Industry committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Directors) or committee member who (1) is, or within the last year was, or has an immediate family member who is, or within the last year was, a member of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (2) is, or within the last year was, employed by a member or a member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (3) has an immediate family member who is, or within the last year was, an executive officer of a member or a member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary; (4) has within the last year received from any member or member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary more than $100,000 per year in direct compensation, or received from such members or member organizations in the aggregate an amount of direct compensation that in any one year is more than 10 percent of the Director's annual gross compensation for such year, excluding in each case director and committee fees and pension or other forms of deferred compensation for prior service (provided such compensation is not contingent in any way on continued service); or (5) is affiliated, directly or indirectly, with a member or member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary. See Article I(m) of the By-Laws. A “Self-Regulatory Subsidiary” is any subsidiary of the Company that is a self-regulatory organization as defined under Section 3(a)(26) of the Act. See Article I(s) of the By-Laws. Currently, the term “Self-Regulatory Subsidiary” encompasses NASDAQ OMX BX, Inc. (“BX”), The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ”), the Exchange, Boston Stock Exchange Clearing Corporation (“BSECC”) and the Stock Clearing Corporation of Philadelphia (“SCCP”).

    9 “Non-Industry Director” or “Non-Industry committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Director) or committee member who is (1) a Public Director or Public committee member; (2) an Issuer Director or Issuer committee member; or (3) any other individual who would not be an Industry Director or Industry committee member. See Article I(q) of the By-Laws.

    10 “Issuer Director” or “Issuer committee member” means a Director (excluding any Staff Director) or committee member who is an officer or employee of an issuer of securities listed on a national securities exchange operated by any Self-Regulatory Subsidiary, excluding any Director or committee member who is a director of such an issuer but is not also an officer or employee of such an issuer. See Article I(o) of the By-Laws.

    11 “Public Director” or “Public committee member” means a Director or committee member who (1) is not an Industry Director or Industry committee member, (2) is not an Issuer Director or Issuer committee member, and (3) has no material business relationship with a member or member organization of a Self-Regulatory Subsidiary, the Company or its affiliates, or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. and its affiliates. See Article I(r) of the By-Laws.

    12 “Staff Director” means an officer of the Company that is serving as a Director. See Article I(t) of the By-Laws.

    The Company proposes to amend Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that the Board may, rather than shall, include one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors. With this change, the Company intends to give itself the option, but not the requirement, to include one or two Issuer Directors on its Board. Issuer Directors bring to the Board the perspective of an officer or employee of companies listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market. While the Company highly values the views of its listed companies, it does not believe that it is strictly necessary to have an Issuer Director on its own Board to represent those views. Within the overall governance structure of the Company and its subsidiaries, issues relating to listed companies are generally the province of NASDAQ and its Board of Directors, rather than the Company and its Board of Directors. The Company is a holding company for over 100 subsidiaries that provide both regulated and unregulated products and services across the globe, while NASDAQ is the Company subsidiary that, among other things, provides listing services on The NASDAQ Stock Market. The Company's Board generally focuses on the overall strategic direction of the Company, while NASDAQ's Board generally focuses on issues relevant specifically to The NASDAQ Stock Market, including issues affecting listed companies. Furthermore, NASDAQ's Board includes issuer representation, as required by its By-Laws.13 Finally, if the Company's Board ever does address issues relating to listed companies, its Directors are experienced and capable enough to handle those issues without specifically having an Issuer Director on the Board.14

    13See Article III, Section 2 of NASDAQ's By-Laws.

    14 Currently, three of the Company's eleven Directors are also directors of companies listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market or another national securities exchange. These Directors do not qualify as Issuer Directors because they are not specifically officers or employees of listed companies; however, as directors of such companies, they are familiar with corporate governance topics and other issues confronted by listed companies.

    Therefore, it is not strictly necessary to have an officer or employee of a listed company on the Company's Board of Directors, and accordingly, the Company proposes to amend its By-Laws to give itself the option, but not the requirement, to include an Issuer Director on its Board.

    ii. Section 4.7

    As required by Section 4.13(h)(iii) of the By-Laws, the Company's Corporate Secretary certifies to the Nominating & Governance Committee of the Company's Board on an annual basis the classification of each Director following a review of information relating to the classifications collected from the Directors. This certification usually occurs in connection with the Company's annual meeting of stockholders, and at the same time, Directors are elected to serve on various Board committees, all of which have compositional requirements relating to the classifications.15 However, Directors' classifications may change from time to time following the annual meeting due to various changes in personal circumstances (e.g., a retirement or job change). Directors are required to report to the Corporate Secretary any change in the information used as the basis of their classification.16

    15See Section 4.13 of the By-Laws.

    16See Section 4.13(h)(iii) of the By-Laws.

    Section 4.7 of the By-Laws addresses potential disqualifications of Directors due to a classification change. Under this section, the term of office of a Director shall terminate immediately upon a determination by the Board, by a majority vote of the remaining Directors, that: (a) The Director no longer satisfies the classification for which the Director was elected; and (b) the Director's continued service would violate the Board compositional requirements. Section 4.7 also states that if a Director position becomes vacant because of such disqualification, and the remaining term of office is not more than six months, the By-Laws do not require an immediate replacement.

    The Company has observed two potential weaknesses relating to the disqualification procedures as currently drafted. First, Section 4.7 of the By-Laws does not address a situation where a Director's classification has changed, but the Board believes that it is in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders for such Director to remain on the Board. Second, the By-Laws could be read to contemplate that the Company must immediately cure any deficiencies in Board or committee composition that may occur because of a change in a Director or committee member's classification because otherwise the Board would not meet all of the compositional requirements set forth in Section 4.3 of the By-Laws.17 It would be extremely disruptive to the Board, its committees and the Company to add, remove, disqualify or replace a Director between annual meetings of stockholders simply because the Director no longer has the same classification he or she had at the time of the annual meeting. In addition, the selection of nominees to the Company's Board is an extremely complex process, managed by the Board's Nominating & Governance Committee, that takes almost the full year between annual meetings of stockholders. The Nominating & Governance Committee considers possible candidates suggested by Board members, industry groups, stockholders, senior management and/or a third-party search firm engaged from time-to-time to assist in identifying and evaluating qualified candidates. In evaluating candidates for nomination to the Board, the Nominating & Governance Committee reviews the skills, qualifications, characteristics and experience desired for the Board as a whole and for its individual members, with the objective of having a Board that reflects diverse backgrounds and senior level experience in the areas of global business, finance, legal and regulatory, technology and marketing. The Nominating & Governance Committee evaluates each individual candidate in the context of the Board as a whole, with the objective of maintaining a group of Directors that can further the success of Nasdaq's business, while representing the interests of stockholders, employees and the communities in which the company operates. Because the nominee selection process is so long and complex, the Board cannot act quickly to replace a Director whose classification has changed, and it is not in the best interests of the Company's stockholders for the Board to be forced to take such an action when the Director otherwise provides valuable service to the Board.

    17But see Kurz v. Holbrook, 989 A.2d 140, 156-57 (Del.Ch. 2010) (holding that a by-law cannot disqualify a director who was duly qualified at the time of election during the middle of his or her term), rev'd on other grounds sub nom Crown EMAK P'ners, LLC v. Kurz, 992 A.2d 377 (Del. 2010); see also Klaassen v. Allegro Development Corp., 2013 WL 5739680, at *23 (Del. Ch. Oct. 11, 2013) (noting that director qualifications are applied at the front-end of the director's term when such director is elected and qualified), aff'd 106 A.3d 1035 (Del. 2014).

    The Company therefore proposes to amend Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to provide that the Board may elect to defer until the next annual meeting of stockholders a determination regarding a change in a Director's classification and such Director's continued service on the Board.18 Further, if the Board makes such an election, neither the Board nor any committee shall be deemed to be in violation of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws, which relates to Board composition, or Section 4.13 of the By-Laws, which relates to committee composition. This will give the Board the option to retain Directors whose classification has changed, but whose continued service is otherwise beneficial to the Board, the Company and its stockholders. This also will prevent the significant disruption that would occur if the Board had to replace a Director between annual meetings of stockholders and allow the Board to continue to make informed, deliberate decisions regarding Director nominees, rather than force it to act quickly in a way that is not in the best interest of the Company's stockholders.

    18 The intent of the amendment is to allow the Board a deferral until the next annual meeting when it can nominate a slate of directors with classifications sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws for election by the Company's stockholders. Assuming due election of the Board's nominees, the Board therefore will comply with Section 4.3 of the By-Laws immediately after the next annual meeting.

    2. Statutory Basis

    The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,19 in general, and furthers the objectives of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act,20 in particular, in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general to protect investors and the public interest.

    19 15 U.S.C. 78f(b).

    20 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(5).

    First, the Company is proposing an amendment to Section 4.3 of the By-Laws to state that it may, rather than shall, include at least one, but no more than two, Issuer Directors on its Board. The Exchange believes that this change will protect investors and the public interest by allowing the Company's Nominating & Governance Committee to select nominees for the Company's Board based on the overall strategic needs of the Board, the Company and its stockholders without forcing the Board to fill one slot with an officer or director of a listed company (i.e., an Issuer Director). The Exchange notes that the Company would still have the option to include Issuer Directors on the Board, and the Exchange believes the views of listed companies are well-represented on the Board without the explicit participation of an Issuer Director.21

    21See note 14, supra.

    Second, the Company is proposing an amendment to Section 4.7 of the By-Laws to provide that the Board may elect to defer until the next annual meeting of stockholders a determination regarding a change in a Director's classification and such Director's continued service on the Board. Further, if the Board makes such an election, neither the Board nor any committee shall be deemed to be in violation of Section 4.3 of the By-Laws, which relates to Board composition, or Section 4.13 of the By-Laws, which relates to committee composition. The Exchange believes that this change will protect investors and the public interest by clarifying the disqualification provisions in the Company's By-Laws, which are currently ambiguous. In addition, the change will prevent the significant disruption that would occur if the Board were forced to replace an otherwise valuable director between annual meetings.

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    Because the proposed rule change relates to the governance of the Company and not to the operations of the Exchange, 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.

    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

    Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period up to 90 days of such date (i) as the Commission may designate if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the Exchange consents, the Commission shall: (a) By order approve or disapprove such proposed rule change, or (b) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be disapproved.

    IV. Solicitation of Comments

    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Comments

    • Use the Commission's Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or

    • Send an email to [email protected] Please include File Number SR-Phlx-2015-113 on the subject line.

    Paper Comments

    • Send paper comments in triplicate to Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

    All submissions should refer to File Number SR-Phlx-2015-113. 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 offices of the Exchange. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-Phlx-2015-113, and should be submitted on or before January 28, 2016.

    22 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.22

    Jill M. Peterson, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33309 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76813; File No. SR-FINRA-2015-059] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Derivatives and Other Off-Balance Sheet Items Schedule Pursuant to FINRA Rule 4524 (Supplemental FOCUS Information) December 31, 2015.

    Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act” or “SEA”) 1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 notice is hereby given that on December 23, 2015, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which items have been substantially prepared by FINRA. 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

    FINRA is proposing to amend the instructions to the Derivatives and Other Off-Balance Sheet Items Schedule (“OBS”) pursuant to FINRA Rule 4524 (Supplemental FOCUS Information) to expand the application of the OBS to certain non-carrying/non-clearing firms that have significant amounts of off-balance sheet obligations. The proposed rule change does not propose amendments to existing rule text.

    The text of the proposed rule change is available on FINRA's Web site at http://www.finra.org, at the principal office of FINRA and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, FINRA included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. FINRA has prepared summaries, set forth in sections IIA, IIB, and IIC 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

    FINRA Rule 4524 requires each firm, as FINRA shall designate, to file such additional financial or operational schedules or reports as FINRA may deem necessary or appropriate for the protection of investors or in the public interest as a supplement to the FOCUS Report.3 In February 2013, the SEC approved FINRA's adoption, pursuant to FINRA Rule 4524, of the OBS as a supplement to the FOCUS report.4 The OBS captures important information that is not otherwise reported on firms' balance sheets and requires all firms that carry customer accounts or self-clear or clear transactions for others (referred to, collectively, as “carrying or clearing firms”) to file with FINRA the OBS within 22 business days of the end of each calendar quarter, unless a carrying or clearing firm meets the de minimis exception set forth in the instructions to the OBS.5

    3See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 66364 (February 9, 2012), 77 FR 8938 (February 15, 2012) (Order Approving File No. SR-FINRA-2011-064). FINRA Rule 4524 also provides that FINRA will specify the content of additional schedules or reports, their format, and the timing and the frequency of such supplemental filings in a Regulatory Notice (or similar communication), the content of which FINRA will file with the Commission pursuant to Section 19(b) of the Act.

    4See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 68832 (February 5, 2013), 78 FR 9754 (February 11, 2013) (Order Approving File No. SR-FINRA-2012-050). Carrying or clearing firms were required to file with FINRA their initial OBS on or before July 31, 2013, to disclose off-balance sheet information as of June 30, 2013. See Regulatory Notice 13-10 (March 2013) (Supplemental FOCUS Information).

    5 The de minimis exception relieves a carrying or clearing firm from filing the OBS for the reporting period if the aggregate of all gross amounts of off-balance sheet items is less than 10 percent of the firm's excess net capital on the last day of the reporting period. For purposes of the OBS, as well as the proposed amendments to the OBS, the term “excess net capital” means net capital reduced by the greater of the minimum dollar net capital requirement or two percent of combined aggregate debit items as shown in the Formula for Reserve Requirements pursuant to SEA Rule 15c3-3. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 68832 (February 5, 2013), 78 FR 9754, 9755 (February 11, 2013) (Order Approving File No. SR-FINRA-2012-050).

    Pursuant to FINRA Rule 4524, the proposed rule change would amend the instructions to the OBS to expand its application beyond carrying or clearing firms to include firms that neither carry customer accounts nor clear transactions (referred to, collectively, as “non-clearing firms”) that have, pursuant to SEA Rule 15c3-1,6 a minimum dollar net capital requirement equal to or greater than $100,000, and at least $10 million in reportable items pursuant to the OBS. As discussed in more detail below, FINRA believes this proposed expansion is necessary to effectively examine for compliance with, and enforce, its rules on capital adequacy. The proposed rule change does not otherwise change the OBS or its instructions, including the de minimis exception. Accordingly, consistent with the current OBS, any firm (i.e., either a carrying or clearing firm or a non-clearing firm) that meets the de minimis exception need not file the OBS for the reporting period.7 Further, under the proposed rule change, as under the current OBS, any firm that is required to file the OBS must do so as of the last day of a reporting period within 22 business days of the end of each calendar quarter.

    6See 17 CFR 240.15c3-1 (Net Capital Requirements for Brokers or Dealers). SEA Rule 15c3-1(a)(2)(iii) requires a “dealer” (as defined in SEA Rule 15c3-1(a)(2)(iii)) to maintain net capital of not less than $100,000.

    7 However, a firm that claims the de minimis exception must affirmatively indicate through the eFOCUS system that no filing is required for the reporting period. See Regulatory Notice 13-10 (March 2013) (Supplemental FOCUS Information).

    When FINRA proposed the OBS, FINRA noted the need, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, to obtain more comprehensive and consistent information regarding carrying or clearing firms' off-balance sheet assets, liabilities and other commitments.8 By requiring carrying or clearing firms to report their gross exposures in financing transactions (e.g., reverse repos, repos and other transactions that are otherwise netted under generally accepted accounting principles, reverse repos and repos to maturity and collateral swap transactions), interests in and exposure to variable interest entities, non-regular way settlement transactions (including to-be-announced or TBA 9 securities and delayed delivery/settlement transactions), underwriting and other financing commitments, and gross notional amounts in centrally cleared and non-centrally cleared derivative transactions on the OBS, FINRA has been able to more effectively monitor on an ongoing basis the potential impact that such off-balance sheet activities may have on carrying or clearing firms' net capital, leverage and liquidity, and their ability to fulfill their customer protection obligations.

    8See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 68270 (November 20, 2012), 77 FR 70860 (November 27, 2012) (Notice of Filing File No. SR-FINRA-2012-050).

    9 FINRA Rule 6710(u) defines “TBA” to mean a transaction in an Agency Pass-Through Mortgage-Backed Security (“MBS”) or a Small Business Administration (“SBA”)-Backed Asset-Backed Security (“ABS”) where the parties agree that the seller will deliver to the buyer a pool or pools of a specified face amount and meeting certain other criteria but the specific pool or pools to be delivered at settlement is not specified at the Time of Execution, and includes TBA transactions for good delivery and TBA transactions not for good delivery. Agency Pass-Through MBS and SBA-Backed ABS are defined under FINRA Rule 6710(v) and FINRA Rule 6710(bb), respectively. The term “Time of Execution” is defined under FINRA Rule 6710(d).

    Since the OBS became effective, however, FINRA has observed considerable principal trading activities of some non-clearing firms. In particular, through its efforts to establish margin requirements for the TBA market 10 and subsequent examinations of firms' margining practices related to all securities transactions with extended settlement dates, FINRA has become aware of non-clearing firms with both material TBA transactions as well as other types of securities transactions with extended settlement dates. In the case of TBA transactions, non-clearing firms may have entered into a Master Securities Forward Transaction Agreement (“MSFTA”) 11 with their clients and are principal to the TBA transactions. In the case of other transactions with extended settlement dates cleared through a clearing firm, non-clearing firms are principal to the trades and financially responsible to the clearing firms for any losses that may result from clients' failures to complete the transactions on the date of settlement. Therefore, these transactions may present significant financial exposure for non-clearing firms. FINRA is concerned about firms appropriately monitoring their financial exposure and applying capital charges for these transactions as required for compliance with SEA Rule 15c3-1.12 Further, such transactions are not reported on non-clearing firms' balance sheets, making it difficult to monitor their compliance with capital requirements.

    10See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 76148 (October 14, 2015), 80 FR 63603 (October 20, 2015) (Notice of Filing File No. SR-FINRA-2015-036).

    11 The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”) developed, and subsequently updated, in coordination with the Treasury Market Practices Group (“TMPG”), the MSFTA as a standard industry template for forward and other delayed delivery transactions involving mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities. See, e.g., SIFMA Guidance Notes to the Master Securities Forward Transaction Agreement (December 2012), available at: http://www.sifma.org/services/standard-forms-and-documentation/mra,-gmra,-msla-and-msftas/.

    12 17 CFR 240.15c3-1.

    As a result of these concerns, and to ensure that all firms with significant derivative and off-balance sheet positions report these positions to FINRA on a consistent and regular basis, FINRA is proposing to expand the reporting requirements of the OBS to non-clearing firms that have a minimum dollar net capital requirement equal to or greater than $100,000, and at least $10 million in reportable items pursuant to the OBS. The current de minimis exception would remain available to any firm that conducts limited off-balance sheet activity.13

    13See supra note 5.

    If the Commission approves the proposed rule change, FINRA will announce the implementation date (i.e., the first quarterly reporting period for newly affected firms 14 ) in a Regulatory Notice to be published no later than 60 days following Commission approval of the proposed rule change. The implementation date will be no later than 210 days following Commission approval of the proposed rule change.

    14 Carrying or clearing firms that are currently subject to the OBS's reporting requirements would not be impacted by the proposed rule change and shall continue to file on a quarterly basis, as required, without interruption.

    2. Statutory Basis

    FINRA believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of Section 15A(b)(6) of the Act,15 which requires, among other things, that FINRA rules must 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. FINRA believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act because expanding the reporting requirements of the OBS to the proposed non-clearing firms would permit FINRA to assess effectively on an ongoing basis the potential impact off-balance sheet activities may have on these firms' net capital, leverage and liquidity, and ability to fulfill obligations to other members and counterparties. FINRA also expects that impacted non-clearing firms, as well as their correspondent clearing firms, would benefit from increased awareness of their open trade exposures, which may reduce their potential for losses, encourage better counterparty risk management and promote firms' financial stability. The proposed rule change is also consistent with Section 712(b)(3)(B) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in that it is necessary to enable FINRA to more effectively examine for compliance with, and enforce, its rules on capital adequacy.16

    15 15 U.S.C. 78o-3(b)(6).

    16 Public Law 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010).

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    FINRA 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. FINRA has carefully crafted the proposed rule change to achieve its intended and necessary regulatory purpose while minimizing the burden on firms.

    Economic Impact Assessment

    The purpose of the proposal is to ensure that all firms with significant derivative and off-balance sheet positions report these positions to FINRA on a consistent and regular basis. Specifically, the proposal extends the reporting requirement to non-clearing firms that have a minimum dollar net capital requirement equal to or greater than $100,000, and at least $10 million in reportable items pursuant to the OBS. The primary anticipated net benefit of the proposal is better insights into the size and nature of firms' open exposures in TBA and other extended settlement transactions or other off-balance sheet exposures. This information would enable FINRA to more efficiently monitor on an ongoing basis the financial condition of member firms, including firms' compliance with capital adequacy rules. FINRA also expects that impacted non-clearing firms, as well as their correspondent clearing firms, would benefit from increased awareness of their open trade exposures, which may reduce their potential for losses. Accordingly, FINRA's experience suggests that firms may apply better counterparty risk management practices as a result of extending the OBS to the additional firms.

    FINRA estimates that approximately 100 additional firms will be required to file the OBS under the proposal, though the actual number will fluctuate as off-balance sheet items and excess net capital vary depending on firms' reporting figures. However, the filing of the OBS is not expected to have significant compliance costs for the newly affected firms and will not impact member firms currently required to file the OBS.17 The information required for proposed newly affected firms to complete the OBS should be accessible to firms due to firms' obligations to maintain books and records and to take applicable capital charges in relation to off-balance sheet transactions. Further, FINRA understands that correspondent clearing firms typically provide non-clearing firms with information on all open trades or provide non-clearing firms with ready access to such information, either of which could serve as a potential source for the required information for non-clearing firms. Finally, as discussed above, for those firms that conduct limited off-balance sheet activity, the proposed amended OBS retains the de minimis exception for each reporting period.18

    17 For example, in discussions with non-clearing firms regarding the proposal, several firms estimated that it would take no more than a few hours per quarter and cost $5,000 to $10,000 per year to file the OBS.

    18See supra note 5.

    The proposal will ensure that all firms with significant off-balance sheet obligations are required to report them in a consistent manner. Further, the reporting requirement is expected to create positive externalities as firms that currently do not report this information will be able to better monitor and manage their counterparty exposures, better manage their participation in off-balance sheet activities and maintain sufficient net capital to support such transactions. To the extent that member firms reduce their off-balance sheet activities as a result of this rule, impacted customers may incur search costs as they replace their broker counterparties.

    A potential significant benefit of the proposal may arise from enhanced monitoring of systemic risk that is caused by the interconnectedness of firms through significant counterparty exposure and likelihood of correlated defaults in the financial industry. This enhanced monitoring of systemic risk should also benefit clearing firms as counterparty risk is partially mitigated for these firms as a result of better monitoring of financial exposures created by these transactions. There is academic evidence that banking systems may be less prone to crises if more comprehensive financial reporting regimes are in effect, even when the reporting is only to the regulator.19

    19 Solomon A. Tadesse, The Economic Value of Regulated Disclosure: Evidence from the Banking Sector, 25 J. Acct. & Pub. Pol'y 32-70 (2006).

    FINRA considered alternative thresholds, such as extending the OBS reporting requirements to non-clearing firms with less than $10 million in reportable items, when developing the proposed rule change. In connection with this proposal, FINRA identified 334 firms that currently do not file the OBS with open exposure in TBA and other extended settlement transactions totaling approximately $93.3 billion.20 FINRA reviewed their aggregate exposures in TBA and other extended settlement transactions and found that the majority of these firms (227 firms) had open exposures of less than $10 million, totaling approximately $363 million, and that the level of firms' exposures dropped off significantly below the $10 million threshold. In this regard, of the non-clearing firms identified to have less than $10 million in TBA and other extended settlement exposure, the vast majority of those (204 firms) had exposure of less than $5 million, totaling approximately $206 million. Accordingly, the firms with open TBA and other extended settlement transactions of less than $10 million collectively account for less than 1% of the total aggregate open TBA and other extended settlement transactions of the non-clearing firms identified. FINRA does not believe that the purpose of the proposed rule change is furthered by requiring firms with relatively immaterial levels of this type of exposure to file the OBS. Therefore, FINRA believes that extending the reporting requirements to non-clearing firms meeting the chosen criteria—that is, those with a minimum dollar net capital requirement equal to or greater than $100,000 (the required minimum dollar net capital for dealers under SEA Rule 15c3-1(a)(2)(iii) 21 ) and at least $10 million in reportable items—will capture those non-clearing firms with the most significant amounts of off-balance sheet exposure and possible risk to other members and counterparties.

    20 To assess the potential size of TBA and other extended settlement transactions of non-clearing firms, FINRA conducted a survey of some of the largest correspondent clearing firms. The figures represented are only approximate and represent identified non-clearing firms' exposures as of a specific date. As exposures in TBA and other extended settlement trades vary from month to month, the actual number of firms falling into these categories will change, as will the number of firms required to file the OBS on any given month.

    21See supra note 6.

    C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

    Written comments were neither solicited nor received.

    III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

    Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period (i) as the Commission may designate up to 90 days of such date if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the self-regulatory organization consents, the Commission will:

    (A) By order approve or disapprove such proposed rule change, or

    (B) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be 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-FINRA-2015-059 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-FINRA-2015-059. 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 a.m. and 3 p.m. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of FINRA. 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-FINRA-2015-059 and should be submitted on or before January 28, 2016.

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.22

    22 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    Jill M. Peterson, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33312 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF STATE [Public Notice: 9399] Notice of Meeting of the International Telecommunication Advisory Committee and Preparations for Upcoming International Communications and Information Policy Meetings

    This notice announces a meeting of the Department of State's International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) to review the activities of the Department of State in recent international meetings on international communications and information policy and preview upcoming similar activities. The ITAC will meet on January 21, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. EST at: 1300 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20005. The ITAC will review the results of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 2015 Radio Assembly and the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference and World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) +10 review.

    The ITAC will also discuss the ITU World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly 2016 (WTSA 16) taking place in the fourth quarter of 2016, including positions on study program restructuring and leadership. The WTSA, the quadrennial assembly of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), will consider the reports of the ITU-T Study Groups, approve the sector's program of

    work, decide the Study Group structure, and appoint chairmen and vice-chairmen. At the ITAC meeting, we invite comment from the public on U.S. priorities for WTSA 16.

    The meeting will also highlight preparations for the ITU Council meeting taking place from 25 May to 2 June 2016 and related ITU Council Working Groups. The Council acts as the governing body between plenipotentiary conferences.

    Attendance at this meeting is open to the public as seating capacity allows. The public will have an opportunity to provide comments at this meeting at the invitation of the chair. Further details on this ITAC meeting will be announced on the Department of State's email list, [email protected] Use of the ITAC list is limited to meeting announcements and confirmations, distribution of agendas and other relevant meeting documents. The Department welcomes any U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident to remain on or join the ITAC listserv by providing his or her name, email address, and the company, organization, or community that he or she is representing, if any.

    Persons wishing to request reasonable accommodation for the meeting should contact [email protected] or [email protected] not later than January 13, 2016. Requests made after that time will be considered, but might not be able to be fulfilled.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

    Please contact Franz Zichy at 202-647-5778, [email protected].

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Julie N. Zoller, Senior Deputy Coordinator, International Communications and Information Policy, U.S. State Department.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33299 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF STATE [Public Notice: 9400] 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Electronic Application for Immigration Visa and Alien Registration ACTION:

    Notice of request for public comment and submission to OMB of proposed collection of information.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of State has submitted the information collection described below to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 we are requesting comments on this collection from all interested individuals and organizations. The purpose of this Notice is to allow 30 days for public comment.

    DATES:

    Submit comments directly to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) up to February 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct comments to the Department of State Desk Officer in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). You may submit comments by the following methods:

    Email: [email protected] You must include the DS form number, information collection title, and the OMB control number in the subject line of your message.

    Fax: 202-395-5806. Attention: Desk Officer for Department of State.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Direct requests for additional information regarding the collection listed in this notice, including requests for copies of the proposed collection instrument and supporting documents, to Taylor Mauck, who may be reached at 202-485-7635 or at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title of Information Collection: Electronic Application for Immigration Visa and Alien Registration.

    OMB Control Number: 1405-0185.

    Type of Request: Extension of a Currently Approved Collection.

    Originating Office: CA/VO/L/R.

    Form Number: DS-0260.

    Respondents: Immigrant Visa Applicants.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 581,642.

    Estimated Number of Responses: 581,642.

    Average Time per Response: 2 hours.

    Total Estimated Burden Time: 1,163,284.

    Frequency: Once per respondent.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to Obtain a Benefit.

    We are soliciting public comments to permit the Department to:

    • Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is necessary for the proper functions of the Department.

    • Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the time and cost burden for this proposed collection, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used.

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected.

    • Minimize the reporting burden on those who are to respond, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Please note that comments submitted in response to this Notice are public record. Before including any detailed personal information, you should be aware that your comments as submitted, including your personal information, will be available for public review.

    Abstract of proposed collection:

    Form DS-260 will be used to elicit information to determine the eligibility of aliens applying for immigrant visas.

    Methodology:

    The DS-260 will be submitted electronically to the Department via the Internet. The applicant will be instructed to print a confirmation page containing a 2-D bar code record locator, which will be scanned at the time of processing. Applicants who submit the electronic application will no longer submit paper-based applications to the Department.

    Dated: December 18, 2015. Ed Ramotowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of State.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00043 Filed 1-6-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement on NJ Transitgrid Traction Power System in Hudson County, New Jersey AGENCY:

    Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

    SUMMARY:

    The FTA, as the federal lead agency, and the New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ TRANSIT), as joint lead agency, are planning to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the NJ TRANSITGRID TRACTION POWER SYSTEM, which will provide a reliable electric power generation system (called a microgrid) to provide electricity to operate trains on a portion of the NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak rail systems, including some sections of the Northeast Corridor and Morris & Essex line, and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail System. The microgrid, which is needed to enhance the resiliency of the public transportation system, will also provide electricity for some signal power and tunnel ventilation, pumping, and lighting on the Main Line and Northeast Corridor. NJ TRANSITGRID consists of two projects with independent utility from each other: The TRACTION POWER SYSTEM and the DISTRIBUTED GENERATION SOLUTIONS, which will provide power to train and bus stations and other transportation facilities in northeastern New Jersey with sustainable energy sources such as fuel cells, photovoltaic panels, and combined heat and power units. The EIS, which will be prepared only for the NJ TRANSITGRID TRACTION POWER SYSTEM, will be in accordance with Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and FTA regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as well as expedited project delivery provisions of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). DISTRIBUTED GENERATIONS SOLUTIONS is a project with independent utility from the TRACTION POWER SYSTEM and will progress in a separate process to comply with NEPA and MAP-21.

    DATES:

    Written comments on the scope of the EIS should be sent to Mr. Nick Marton or Mr. Chris Jeter by February 29, 2016. A public scoping meeting will be held on February 3, 2016 between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the location indicated under ADDRESSES below.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments on the scope of the EIS should be sent to: Mr. Nick Marton, Project Manager, NJ TRANSIT, River Line Office, 800 Le