Federal Register Vol. 81, No.41,

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 41 (March 2, 2016)

Page Range10755-11090
FR Document

81_FR_41
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
81 FR 11089 - Delegation of Certain Authorities and Assignment of Certain Functions Under the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015PDF
81 FR 10923 - Sundhine Act Cancellation Notice-OPIC's March 9, 2016 Annual Public HearingPDF
81 FR 10861 - Sunshine Act NoticePDF
81 FR 10880 - Tribal HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program Awards, Fiscal Year 2015PDF
81 FR 10881 - Announcement of Funding Awards for HUD's Fiscal Year 2015 Community Compass Technical Assistance and Capacity BuildingPDF
81 FR 10853 - Request for Information: Clean Energy Investment CenterPDF
81 FR 10878 - Determination and Declaration Regarding Emergency Use of in Vitro Diagnostic Tests for Detection of Zika Virus and/or Diagnosis of Zika Virus InfectionPDF
81 FR 10920 - Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 3 and 4PDF
81 FR 10887 - Indian Child Welfare Act; Designated Tribal Agents for Service of NoticePDF
81 FR 10859 - Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; Brownfields Program-Accomplishment Reporting (Renewal)PDF
81 FR 10822 - Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles-Phase 2-Notice of Data AvailabilityPDF
81 FR 10827 - Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling of Covered Commodities: Notice of Request for Revision of a Currently Approved Information CollectionPDF
81 FR 10955 - Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Department of Transportation's Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects (FASTLANE Grants) for Fiscal Year 2016PDF
81 FR 10755 - Removal of Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling Requirements for Beef and Pork Muscle Cuts, Ground Beef, and Ground PorkPDF
81 FR 10829 - Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee Public MeetingPDF
81 FR 10951 - In the Matter of the Review of the Designation of Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (and Other Aliases) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization Pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality ActPDF
81 FR 10856 - Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; Collection of Information on Anaerobic Digestion Facilities Processing Wasted Food To Support EPA's Sustainable Food Management ProgramsPDF
81 FR 10829 - Authorization of Production Activity, Foreign-Trade Subzone 125D, ASA Electronics, LLC, (Motor Vehicle Audio-Visual Products), Elkhart, IndianaPDF
81 FR 10920 - Request for Comments on Data Center Optimization InitiativePDF
81 FR 10776 - Alpha-[2,4,6-Tris[1-(phenyl)ethyl]phenyl]-Omega-hydroxy poly(oxyethylene) poly(oxypropylene) copolymer; Tolerance ExemptionPDF
81 FR 10771 - Penoxsulam; Pesticide TolerancesPDF
81 FR 10857 - Premanufacture Notice for a Certain New Chemical; Extension of Review PeriodPDF
81 FR 10923 - New Postal ProductPDF
81 FR 10846 - Applications for New Awards; Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions ProgramPDF
81 FR 10863 - Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel (SEP): Initial ReviewPDF
81 FR 10862 - Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel (SEP): Initial ReviewPDF
81 FR 10862 - Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory CommitteePDF
81 FR 10865 - Board of Scientific Counselors, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, (BSC, OPHPR)PDF
81 FR 10865 - Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (BSC, NCEH/ATSDR)PDF
81 FR 10863 - Subcommittee on Procedures Review (SPR), Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (ABRWH or the Advisory Board), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)PDF
81 FR 10860 - Notice of Agreements FiledPDF
81 FR 10913 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Prohibited Transaction Class Exemptions for Multiple Employer Plans and Multiple Employer Apprenticeship Plans-PTE 1976-1, PTE 1977-10, PTE 1978-6PDF
81 FR 10912 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Solicitation of Nominations for the Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child LaborPDF
81 FR 10858 - Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products; Notice of Second Public MeetingPDF
81 FR 10866 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 10910 - Notice of Proposed Withdrawal Extension and Opportunity for Public Meeting; WashingtonPDF
81 FR 10951 - Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's Request for Positive Train Control Safety Plan Approval and System CertificationPDF
81 FR 10870 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Medical Device Reporting: Manufacturer, Importer, User Facility, and Distributor ReportingPDF
81 FR 10871 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Reporting Associated With New Animal Drug ApplicationsPDF
81 FR 10871 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Electronic User Fee Payment Request FormsPDF
81 FR 10882 - Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, San Luis Obispo County, CA: Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan/Environmental AssessmentPDF
81 FR 10863 - Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act ReviewPDF
81 FR 10867 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Animation in Direct-to-Consumer AdvertisingPDF
81 FR 10954 - Petition for Exemption From the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; General Motors CorporationPDF
81 FR 10952 - Reports, Forms, and Recordkeeping RequirementsPDF
81 FR 10883 - Draft Environmental Assessment on a Proposed Right-of-Way Permit Application for Pipelines Crossing Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, Brazoria County, TXPDF
81 FR 10884 - Endangered Species; Marine Mammals; Receipt of Applications for PermitPDF
81 FR 10843 - Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal BuildingsPDF
81 FR 10843 - Information Collection; Submission for OMB Review, Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 10911 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Application To Transport Interstate or Temporarily Export Certain National Firearms Act (NFA) Firearms (ATF F 5320.20)PDF
81 FR 10845 - Meeting of the Secretary of the Navy Advisory PanelPDF
81 FR 10765 - Applicants for VA Memorialization BenefitsPDF
81 FR 10764 - Vet CentersPDF
81 FR 10885 - Draft Environmental Assessment for the Candidate Conservation Agreement With Assurances for Fishers in the Klamath, Cascade, and Sierra Nevada MountainsPDF
81 FR 10909 - Notice of Public Meeting for the Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory CouncilPDF
81 FR 10829 - Deschutes and Ochoco Resource Advisory CommitteePDF
81 FR 10820 - Safety Zone; Misery Challenge, Manchester Bay, Manchester, MAPDF
81 FR 10830 - Guidelines for Assessing Marine Mammal StocksPDF
81 FR 10845 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Evaluation of Effectiveness of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) ProgramPDF
81 FR 10875 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection: Public Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 10877 - National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 10910 - Notice of Invitation to Participate; Coal Exploration License Application UTU-91102, Sevier County, UTPDF
81 FR 11056 - ONC Health IT Certification Program: Enhanced Oversight and AccountabilityPDF
81 FR 10873 - National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program; List of Petitions ReceivedPDF
81 FR 10874 - Statement of Organization, Functions and Delegations of AuthorityPDF
81 FR 10939 - Order Granting Limited Exemptions From Exchange Act Section 11(d), Exchange Act Rules 10b-10, 10b-17, and 11d1-2, and Rules 101 and 102 of Regulation M to Eaton Vance ETMF Trust, Eaton Vance NextShares Trust II, Eaton Vance Balanced NextShares, and Other Exchange-Traded Managed Funds Pursuant to Exchange Act Section 36, Exchange Act Rules 10b-10(f) and 10b-17(b)(2), and Rules 101(d) and 102(e) of Regulation MPDF
81 FR 10917 - TUV SUD America Inc.: Grant of Expansion of RecognitionPDF
81 FR 10914 - Quality Auditing Institute, Ltd.: Grant of Expansion of Recognition and Modification to the List of Appropriate NRTL Program Test StandardsPDF
81 FR 10918 - Walking and Working Surfaces Standard for General Industry; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of the Information Collection (Paperwork) RequirementsPDF
81 FR 10915 - Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Standard for General Industry; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of the Information Collection (Paperwork) RequirementsPDF
81 FR 10965 - Proposed Information Collection (Application for Accrued Amounts Due a Deceased Beneficiary, VA Form 21P-601); Activity: Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 10964 - Agency Information Collection: Request for Certificate of Veteran Status Activity Under OMB ReviewPDF
81 FR 10924 - PowerShares Exchange-Traded Fund Trust, et al.; Notice of ApplicationPDF
81 FR 10761 - Harmonization of Airworthiness Standards-Fire Extinguishers and Class B and F Cargo Compartments; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 10946 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Nasdaq Rule 7018PDF
81 FR 10943 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending Rule 7.44P Retail Liquidity ProgramPDF
81 FR 10935 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Order Approving a Proposed Rule Change To Implement Additional Price Protections in the Opening ProcessPDF
81 FR 10949 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ICE Clear Europe Limited; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Additions to Permitted CoverPDF
81 FR 10925 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Listing and Trading of the Shares of the First Trust Alternative Absolute Return Strategy ETF of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund VIIPDF
81 FR 10933 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Rule 5745PDF
81 FR 10937 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ISE Gemini, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Correct the Text of ISE Gemini Rule 306PDF
81 FR 10945 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BOX Options Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Make Non-Controversial and Clerical Amendments to Its RulesPDF
81 FR 10845 - Notice of Intent To Grant Exclusive License of the United States Patent No. 7,495,767 Issued February 24, 2009 Entitled: Digital Optical Method (DOMTMPDF
81 FR 10844 - Army Education Advisory Subcommittee Meeting NoticePDF
81 FR 10842 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 10952 - Limitation on Claims Against Proposed Public Transportation ProjectsPDF
81 FR 10861 - Information Collection; Indirect Cost RatesPDF
81 FR 10828 - Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on General PrinciplesPDF
81 FR 10762 - Safety Zone; Newtown Creek, Queens, NYPDF
81 FR 10877 - Meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant BacteriaPDF
81 FR 10879 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for Review; Information Collection Request for the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Technology Acceptance and Evaluation SurveyPDF
81 FR 10780 - Approval of American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Code CasesPDF
81 FR 10968 - Assistance to States for the Education of Children With Disabilities; Preschool Grants for Children With DisabilitiesPDF
81 FR 10798 - Covered Broker-Dealer Provisions Under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection ActPDF
81 FR 11000 - Environmental Policies and ProceduresPDF

Issue

81 41 Wednesday, March 2, 2016 Contents Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service RULES Removal of Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling Requirements: Beef and Pork Muscle Cuts, Ground Beef, and Ground Pork, 10755-10761 2016-04609 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling of Covered Commodities, 10827 2016-04611 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

See

Farm Service Agency

See

Food Safety and Inspection Service

See

Forest Service

See

Rural Business-Cooperative Service

See

Rural Housing Service

See

Rural Utilities Service

RULES Environmental Policies and Procedures, 11000-11053 2016-03433
Army Army Department NOTICES Exclusive License Approvals: Patent No. 7,495,767—Digital Optical Method (DOMTM) and System for Determining Opacity, 10845 2016-04494 Meetings: Army Education Advisory Subcommittee, 10844-10845 2016-04492 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 10863-10865 2016-04570 Meetings: Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 10865 2016-04588 Board of Scientific Counselors, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, 10865-10866 2016-04589 Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee, 10862-10863 2016-04590 Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel, 10862-10863 2016-04591 2016-04592 Subcommittee on Procedures Review, Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Cancelation, 10863 2016-04587 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Evaluation of the Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative, 10866-10867 2016-04582 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Safety Zones: Newtown Creek, Queens, NY, 10762-10764 2016-04474 PROPOSED RULES Safety Zones: Misery Challenge, Manchester Bay, Manchester, MA, 10820-10822 2016-04540 Commerce Commerce Department See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Corporation Corporation for National and Community Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 10843 2016-04556 Council Environmental Council on Environmental Quality NOTICES Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings, 10843-10844 2016-04563 Defense Department Defense Department See

Army Department

See

Navy Department

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Indirect Cost Rates, 10861-10862 2016-04485
Education Department Education Department PROPOSED RULES Assistance to States for the Education of Children with Disabilities: Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities, 10968-10998 2016-03938 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Evaluation of Effectiveness of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Program, 10845-10846 2016-04536 Applications for New Awards: Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions Program, 10846-10853 2016-04593 Energy Department Energy Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Clean Energy Investment Center, 10853-10856 2016-04625 Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Pesticide Tolerances: Penoxsulam, 10771-10776 2016-04598 Tolerance Exemptions: Alpha-[2,4,6-Tris[1-(phenyl)ethyl]phenyl]-Omega-hydroxy poly(oxyethylene) poly(oxypropylene) copolymer, 10776-10779 2016-04599 PROPOSED RULES Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards: Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles Phase 2, 10822-10826 2016-04613 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Anaerobic Digestion Facilities Processing Wasted Food to Support EPA's Sustainable Food Management Programs, 10856-10857 2016-04603 Brownfields Program—Accomplishment Reporting, 10859-10860 2016-04615 Meetings: Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products, 10858-10859 2016-04583 Premanufacture for a Certain New Chemical; Extension of Review Period, 10857-10858 2016-04597 Farm Service Farm Service Agency RULES Environmental Policies and Procedures, 11000-11053 2016-03433 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Harmonization of Airworthiness Standards: Fire Extinguishers and Class B and F Cargo Compartments; Correction, 10761-10762 2016-04508 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation PROPOSED RULES Covered Broker-Dealer Provisions under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 10798-10820 2016-03874 Federal Maritime Federal Maritime Commission NOTICES Agreements Filed, 10860-10861 2016-04586 Federal Mine Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 10861 2016-04650 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's Request: Positive Train Control Safety Plan Approval and System Certification, 10951 2016-04580 Federal Transit Federal Transit Administration NOTICES Limitation on Claims Against Proposed Public Transportation Projects, 10952 2016-04486 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for Fishers in the Klamath, Cascade, and Sierra Nevada Mountains, 10885-10887 2016-04550 Guadalupe-Niponmo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, San Luis Obispo County, CA., 10882-10883 2016-04571 Right-of-Way Permit Application for Pipelines Crossing Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, Brazoria County, TX, 10883-10884 2016-04566 Permits: Endangered Species; Marine Mammals, 10884-10885 2016-04565 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Animation in Direct-to-Consumer Advertising, 10867-10870 2016-04569 Electronic User Fee Payment Request Forms, 10871 2016-04574 Medical Device Reporting: Manufacturer, Importer, User Facility, and Distributor Reporting, 10870 2016-04576 Reporting Associated with New Animal Drug Applications, 10871-10873 2016-04575 Food Safety Food Safety and Inspection Service NOTICES Meetings: Codex Alimentarius Commission Committee on General Principles, 10828-10829 2016-04481 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Authorization of Production Activity; Foreign-Trade Subzone 125D: ASA Electronics, LLC Elkhart, IN, 10829 2016-04602 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Meetings: Deschutes and Ochoco Resource Advisory Committee, 10829 2016-04548 General Services General Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Indirect Cost Rates, 10861-10862 2016-04485 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

Health Resources and Services Administration

PROPOSED RULES ONC Health IT Certification Program: Enhanced Oversight and Accountability, 11056-11085 2016-04531 NOTICES Emergency Use of In Vitro Diagnostic Tests for Detection of Zika Virus and/or Diagnosis of Zika Virus Infection, 10878-10879 2016-04624 Meetings: Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, 10877-10878 2016-04473
Health Resources Health Resources and Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 10875-10877 2016-04535 Meetings: National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps, 10877 2016-04534 National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Petitions, 10873-10874 2016-04530 Statements of Organization, Functions and Delegations of Authority, 10874-10875 2016-04529 Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 10879-10880 2016-04471
Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES HUD's Fiscal Year 2015 Community Compass Technical Assistance and Capacity Building; Funding Awards, 10881 2016-04626 Tribal HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program Awards, Fiscal Year 2015, 10880-10881 2016-04627 Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Indian Child Welfare Act: Designated Tribal Agents for Service of Notice, 10887-10909 2016-04619 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Meetings: Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee, 10829-10830 2016-04607 Justice Department Justice Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application to Transport Interstate or Temporarily Export Certain National Firearms Act Firearms, 10911-10912 2016-04555 Labor Department Labor Department See

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Prohibited Transaction Class Exemptions for Multiple Employer Plans and Multiple Employer Apprenticeship Plans, 10913-10914 2016-04585 Solicitation of Nominations for the Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor, 10912-10913 2016-04584
Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES License Applications: Coal Exploration License Application UTU-91102, Sevier County, UT, 10910 2016-04532 Meetings: Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council, 10909-10910 2016-04549 Public Land Orders: Proposed Withdrawal Extension and Opportunity for Public Meeting; Washington, 10910-10911 2016-04581 Management Management and Budget Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Data Center Optimization Initiative, 10920 2016-04601 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Indirect Cost Rates, 10861-10862 2016-04485 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration PROPOSED RULES Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards: Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles—Phase 2, 10822-10826 2016-04613 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 10952-10953 2016-04567 Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standards; Exemption Petitions: General Motors Corp., 10954-10955 2016-04568 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 10842 2016-04488 Guidelines for Assessing Marine Mammal Stocks, 10830-10842 2016-04537 Navy Navy Department NOTICES Meetings: Secretary of the Navy Advisory Panel, 10845 2016-04554 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Approval of American Society of Mechanical Engineers Code Cases, 10780-10798 2016-04355 NOTICES License Amendment Applications: Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 3 and 4, 10920-10923 2016-04620 Occupational Safety Health Adm Occupational Safety and Health Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Personal Protective Equipment Standard for General Industry, 10915-10917 2016-04523 Walking and Working Surfaces Standard for General Industry, 10918-10920 2016-04524 List of Appropriate Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory Program Test Standards: Quality Auditing Institute, Ltd.; Expansion of Recognition and Modification, 10914-10915 2016-04525 Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories: TUV SUD America Inc.; Expansion of Recognition, 10917-10918 2016-04526 Overseas Overseas Private Investment Corporation NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act; Cancellation, 10923 2016-04657 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 10923-10924 2016-04594 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents EXECUTIVE ORDERS Trade: Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015; Delegation of Authorities and Assignment of Functions (EO 13720), 11087-11090 2016-04770 Rural Business Rural Business-Cooperative Service RULES Environmental Policies and Procedures, 11000-11053 2016-03433 Rural Housing Service Rural Housing Service RULES Environmental Policies and Procedures, 11000-11053 2016-03433 Rural Utilities Rural Utilities Service RULES Environmental Policies and Procedures, 11000-11053 2016-03433 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission PROPOSED RULES Covered Broker-Dealer Provisions under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 10798-10820 2016-03874 NOTICES Applications: PowerShares Exchange-Traded Fund Trust, et al., 10924-10925 2016-04509 Orders: Limited Exemptions to Eaton Vance ETMF Trust, Eaton Vance NextShares Trust II, et al., 10939-10943 2016-04527 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: BOX Options Exchange, LLC, 10945-10946 2016-04500 ICE Clear Europe, Ltd., 10949-10951 2016-04504 ISE Gemini, LLC, 10937-10939 2016-04501 NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC, 10925-10937, 10946-10949 2016-04502 2016-04503 2016-04505 2016-04507 NYSE Arca, Inc., 10943-10945 2016-04506 State Department State Department NOTICES Designations as Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula; et al., 10951 2016-04604 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

Federal Transit Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

NOTICES Funding Opportunity: Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects (FASTLANE Grants) for Fiscal Year 2016, 10955-10964 2016-04610
Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department RULES Applicants for VA Memorialization Benefits, 10765-10771 2016-04553 Vet Centers, 10764-10765 2016-04552 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for Accrued Amounts Due a Deceased Beneficiary, 10965 2016-04514 Request for Certificate of Veteran Status; Correction, 10964-10965 2016-04513 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Education Department, 10968-10998 2016-03938 Part III Agriculture Department, Farm Service Agency, 11000-11053 2016-03433 Agriculture Department, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, 11000-11053 2016-03433 Agriculture Department, Rural Housing Service, 11000-11053 2016-03433 Agriculture Department, Rural Utilities Service, 11000-11053 2016-03433 Agriculture Department, 11000-11053 2016-03433 Part IV Health and Human Services Department, 11056-11085 2016-04531 Part V Presidential Documents, 11087-11090 2016-04770 Reader Aids

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81 41 Wednesday, March 2, 2016 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 65 [Document No. AMS-LPS-16-0002] RIN 0581-AD29 Removal of Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling Requirements for Beef and Pork Muscle Cuts, Ground Beef, and Ground Pork AGENCY:

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule amends the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations to remove muscle cut beef and pork, and ground beef and pork from mandatory COOL requirements. The COOL regulations are issued pursuant to the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (Act). The Agency is issuing this rule to conform with amendments to the Act contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on March 2, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Julie Henderson, Director, COOL Division, AMS, USDA by telephone on 202/720-4486 or via email at [email protected]; or Erin Morris, Associate Administrator, AMS, USDA, by telephone on 202/690-4024, or via email at: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Executive Summary Purpose of the Regulatory Action

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 amended the Act to remove muscle cut beef and pork, and ground beef and pork from COOL requirements in order to bring the United States into compliance with its international trade obligations. The Agency is issuing this rule to conform to these amendments.

Background

The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill) (Pub. L. 107-171), the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act (2002 Appropriations) (Pub. L. 107-206), and the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) (Pub. L. 110-234) amended the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (Act) (7 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.) to require retailers to notify their customers of the country of origin of covered commodities. Covered commodities included muscle cuts of beef (including veal), lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; ground beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat, and ground pork; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; perishable agricultural commodities; macadamia nuts; pecans; ginseng; and peanuts. AMS published a final rule for all covered commodities on January 15, 2009 (74 FR 2658), which took effect on March 16, 2009. On May 23, 2013, AMS issued a final rule to amend the country of origin labeling provisions for muscle cut covered commodities (78 FR 31367). The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Pub. L. 114-113) amended the Act to remove mandatory COOL requirements for muscle cut beef and pork, and ground beef and pork. The Agency is issuing this rule to conform to these statutory amendments.

Summary of the Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action in Question

Under this final rule, beef and pork muscle cuts and ground beef and pork are removed from the list of covered commodities subject to the COOL regulation. Accordingly, changes have been made to the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) sections, including definitions, country of origin notification, and recordkeeping.

Costs and Benefits

The estimated economic benefits associated with this final rule, previously assessed as costs, are likely to be significant. The estimated benefits for producers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers of previously covered beef and pork products are difficult to assess, as they are essentially the converse of the costs attributed to the 2009/2013 rules.. However, the benefits from incremental cost savings are likely to be less than the cumulative impact of these rules, $1.8 billion, as affected firms have adjusted their operations to accommodate COOL requirements more efficiently since implementation of the initial COOL measure in 2009, and the amended measure in 2013. A complete discussion of the cost and benefits can be found under the Executive Order 12866 section.

Summary of Changes to the COOL Regulations

This rule removes certain mandatory COOL requirements from retailers (as defined by the law and regulations) and their suppliers. Retailers are no longer required by the rule to provide country of origin information for the beef and pork that they sell, and firms that supply beef and pork to these retailers no longer must provide them with this information. In addition, firms in the supply chain for beef and pork are also relieved from the requirements associated with mandatory COOL, from cattle and hogs downstream to muscle cut and ground beef and pork sold at covered retail establishments.

Definitions

The definitions of beef (§ 65.110), ground beef (§ 65.155), ground pork (§ 65.175), and pork (§ 65.215) are removed from the regulation. The definition of the term covered commodity (§ 65.135(a)(1) and (2)) is amended to remove references to beef, pork, ground beef, and ground pork. The definitions of production step (§ 65.230), raised (§ 65.235) and United States country of origin (§ 65.260(a)) are amended to remove references to beef and pork. In addition, the definition of a processed food item (§ 65.220) is amended to remove the example of teriyaki flavored pork loin.

Country of Origin Notification

Country of origin notification (§ 65.300(h)) is amended to remove references to ground beef and ground pork.

Recordkeeping

Responsibilities of suppliers (§ 65.500(b)(1)) is amended to remove references to beef, pork, and cattle.

Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives, and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This final rule has been designated as an “economically significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, and, therefore, has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Regulations must be designed in the most cost-effective manner possible to obtain the regulatory objective while imposing the least burden on society. The purpose of this rule is to amend the COOL regulation to remove beef and pork products from the list of covered commodities as required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016. As a result, the rulemaking represents a deregulatory action, and the logical approach for the economic analysis is to reverse the previous assessment for those portions of the analysis relating to beef and pork.

The estimated economic benefits associated with this final rule, previously assessed as costs, are likely to be significant. The estimated benefits for producers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers of previously covered beef and pork products are as much as $1.8 billion in cost avoidance. However, the benefits from incremental cost savings are likely to be less than this upper bound, as affected firms have adjusted their operations to accommodate COOL requirements more efficiently since implementation of the initial COOL measure in 2009, and the amended measure in 2013.

The costs of this rule are the loss in benefits to consumers who desired such country of origin information for muscle cut beef and pork, and ground beef and pork products sold at retail. As discussed in previous rulemakings, these costs are difficult to determine quantitatively. The original rulemaking did not estimate a quantitative value of these preferences but noted their existence. USDA found that the lack of voluntary country of origin labeling programs, including labeling for beef and pork products, was evidence that consumers did not have strong enough preferences to support price premiums sufficient for firms in the supply chain to recoup the costs of labeling.

Statement of Need

Justification for this final rule is to conform to changes made to COOL provisions by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016. There are no alternatives to federal regulatory intervention for implementing this statutory directive.

The COOL provisions of the Act changed federal labeling requirements to remove muscle cuts of beef and pork and ground beef and ground pork from the list of covered commodities for the COOL regulation.

Analysis of Benefits and Costs

The baseline for this analysis is the present state of the affected industries with mandatory COOL.

Benefits: The benefits of the rule removing beef and pork products from mandatory COOL are the reduction in costs to those affected parties associated with meeting the rule requirements. This includes implementation costs related to capital, labor, and other inputs. Following the economic analysis from previous rulemaking (74 FR 2658; 78 FR 31367), the overall impact of the cost savings to directly affected firms will be an increase in economic activity resulting in an overall net benefit (benefits minus costs) from this rulemaking.

Number of firms and number of establishments affected: This rule is estimated to directly or indirectly affect approximately 1,027,204 establishments owned by approximately 992,781 firms. Table 1 provides estimates of the affected firms and establishments.

1 NASS, USDA. 2012 Census of Agriculture.

2 Ibid.

3 Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Program, USDA. Market Agencies Buying on Commission and Dealers. December 2015. http://gipsa.usda.gov/psp/regulated/dealersBOC_list.pdf.: Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Program, USDA. Registered and Bonded Market Agencies Selling Livestock on Commission. December 2015. http://gipsa.usda.gov/psp/regulated/SOC_list.pdf.

4 NASS, USDA. Livestock Slaughter Annual Summary, April 2015.

5 U.S. Census Bureau. 2012 Economic Census. Business and Industry Subject Series. Sales/Receipt Size of Establishment/Firm. EC1251SSSZ1. Issued October 2015.

6 Ibid.

7 AMS, USDA. Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act database.

Table 1—Number of Affected Entities Type Firms Operations Beef and Pork Cattle and Calves 1 913,246 913,246 Hogs and Pigs 2 63,246 63,246 Stockyards, Dealers & Market Agencies 3 4,723 4,723 Livestock Processing & Slaughtering 4 2,629 2,862 Meat & Meat Product Wholesale 5 2,162 2,405 General Line Grocery Wholesalers 6 2,271 2,832 Retailers 7 4,504 37,890 Totals Producers 976,492 976,492 Handlers, Processors, & Wholesalers 11,785 12,822 Retailers 4,504 37,890 Grand Total 992,781 1,027,204

It is assumed that all firms and establishments identified in Table 1 will be affected by the rule, although some may not produce or sell products within the scope of this rule. While this assumption likely overstates the number of affected firms and establishments, it is consistent with previous regulatory assessments of COOL. With the exception of retailers, the number of firms and operations has declined as compared to the 2009 final rule. Detailed data are not available on the number of entities categorized by the marketing channels in which they operate and the specific products that they sell. Such data would be needed to refine the estimates of the entities directly affected by COOL.

Estimation of benefits: The process of determining estimates of what were previously costs, but are now considered to be benefits (costs avoided) of this rule have been detailed in both the economic analyses for the 2009 and 2013 final rules, as well as proposed and interim rulemaking actions associated with those rules. Details of the data, sources, and methods underlying the economic analyses are provided in the previous Final Regulatory Impact Analyses (FRIA), the Intermediate Regulatory Impact Analysis (IRIA), and the previous Preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis (PRIA) under the sections relating to costs for the beef and pork industries. This section presents the revised benefits estimates and describes changes made for this final analysis.

In the 2009 final rule (74 FR 2658), the economic analysis provided estimates of first-year incremental outlays for directly affected firms. In addition, the results of a computable general equilibrium model were included to show the economic impact of the rule 10 years after the initial implementation. The longer term assessment was conducted to show that over time the impact of the rule will likely change as economic agents adapt to the rule. The longer term assessment also allowed for estimation of impacts of COOL across the U.S. economy.

Table 2 below presents results of the 2009 rule economic analysis for beef and pork, adjusted for inflation (2015 dollars).8 All impacted entities in the supply chain are included in these values, from the producer to the processor, wholesaler and retailer. The second, third and fourth columns show the adjusted estimates of increased costs for the first year of the rule's implementation.

8 Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm.

Table 2—Estimated Implementation Costs for the 2009 COOL Regulation, in 2015 Dollars (Million $) Beef Pork Total Producers $335.5 $115.5 $451.0 Intermediaries 410.3 111.1 521.4 Retailers 631.4 102.3 733.7 Total 1,377.2 328.9 1,706.1

The 2009 rule is now at the start of its seventh year of implementation. The economic analysis for the 2009 rule did not examine the costs of implementing COOL to affected entities beyond the initial year. However, it was acknowledged that the first year costs were likely to be higher than subsequent year costs due to changes in technology, development of more efficient practices, and greater familiarity with its implementation. While such cost reductions are likely, in the absence of detail on subsequent years of implementation we to assume that removal of beef and pork from COOL regulations results in a cost savings to affected entities of at most $1.377 billion for the beef sector, $328 million for the pork sector, and a total of $1.706 billion for both industries combined.

In 2013, an additional rule was promulgated that amended the requirements regarding labeling of muscle cuts of covered commodities to provide consumers with more specific information. The economic assessment for this rule determined the costs of implementation to be the figures reported in Table 3, adjusted to 2015 dollars. As Table 3 shows, the economic assessment presented low, high, and mid-point values for estimated outlays.

Table 3—Estimated Implementation Costs for the 2013 COOL Regulation, in 2015 Dollars Low estimate Mid-point
  • estimate
  • High estimate
    Labeling—Retail (million $) 17.3 33.5 48.2 Commingling—Beef (million $) 21.5 53.9 86.2 Commingling—Pork (million $) 15.3 38.4 61.5 Total (million $) 54.1 125.8 195.9

    Again, these costs were estimated for the initial year of implementation, with the recognition that over time increased efficiencies would lead to reduced annual costs. However, as with the 2009 rule, the 2013 regulation did not provide cost estimates beyond the first year. For consistency, we again assume the cost savings for this third year of the 2013 rule's implementation is equivalent to the first year, recognizing that it is likely to be an upper limit value. Assuming the mid-point of the range, removing beef and pork products from the 2013 COOL regulation would save these industries a total of roughly $126 million per year in costs.

    Withdrawing beef and pork products completely from both the 2009 and the 2013 COOL regulations therefore is expected to save these industries a combined $1.832 billion. Specifically, this translates into total cost savings for the industry as $799.7 million saved by beef producers and intermediaries, $265.0 million saved by pork producers, and $767.2 million saved by retailers for both beef and pork covered commodities.

    The benefits per firm and per establishment represent industry averages for aggregated segments of the supply chain. Large firms and establishments may see greater savings relative to small operations due to the volume of commodities that they handle and the increased complexity of their operations. In addition, different types of businesses within each segment are likely to benefit differently. Thus, the range of benefits gained by individual businesses within each segment is expected to be large, with some firms seeing greater gains than others.9

    9 Some affected entities may not experience net savings. For example, although this rulemaking will reduce the cost of compliance activities conducted by firms in the beef and pork supply chain, the savings may, in some cases, be passed on to others in the supply chain or consumers.

    Average benefits, in the form of cost savings per operation for each of the three types of operations is shown in Table 4. These values were calculated from Table 1, and total cost savings estimations of $451.0 million for producers, $613.7 million for intermediaries such as handlers, processors and wholesalers, and $767.2 million for retailers.

    Table 4—Number of Operations and Average Cost Savings per Affected Entity Type Operations Average cost savings Producers 976,492 $462 Intermediaries 12,822 47,863 Retailers 37,890 20,248

    Net Effects on the Economy: As discussed in the 2009 final rule, the impacts described fall to those directly involved in the production, distribution, and marketing of covered commodities. However, they do not represent the net impacts to the United States economy.

    In the 2009 rulemaking, the impact of the regulation on overall economy was examined using a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model developed by the USDA's Economic Research Service. Given that this is a deregulatory action that reduces costs and in the interest of expediency, the CGE model was not re-estimated with COOL compliance costs for beef and pork covered commodities removed as economic “shocks” to the model. However, reasonable assumptions can be applied to the earlier results to arrive at approximate estimates of the impact of this rulemaking action on the broader U.S. economy.

    The 2009 economic impact analysis demonstrated that production and marketing cost increases associated with COOL regulations for covered commodities ultimately led to reduced output within the covered industries, in other industries, or both. As a result, the net impact on the general economy of regulations that increased supply-side costs for covered commodities was negative.

    In the 2009 rule (74 FR 2658), it was determined that the overall impact on the U.S. economy from that rule (which also included lamb, chicken, fruits, vegetables, and other commodities) was $234.1 million in 2015 dollars. The assumptions used in developing this value were that consumers' preferences for the commodities would not change, and that the adjustments were made over a 10-year time period. This value represents the decline in consumer purchasing power as a result of the initial implementation costs filtering through the economy after 10 years of adjustment.

    Because removal of beef and pork from COOL regulations should have the opposite effect, it is likely that the long-term impact on the overall economy from withdrawing beef and pork from COOL requirements would be a reduction in this loss of purchasing power. In the 2009 FRIA, 59 percent of the total initial implementation costs were attributable to beef and pork. If we assume the same proportion applies to the CGE model, the reduction in purchasing power to U.S. consumers attributable to cost increases for beef and pork would be approximately $138 million after 10 years of adjustment. Conversely, then, removal of COOL requirements for beef and pork through this rulemaking may result in an improvement of approximately $138 million in U.S. consumers' purchasing power after 10 years of adjustment.

    Costs: As discussed in previous assessments of COOL regulation, the expected benefits from implementation of the rule (i.e., the current regulations) were likely to be negligible and were difficult to quantify. With this rule removing beef and pork products from COOL, those consumers who had previously benefited from the information will now experience a reduction in economic welfare due to the loss of this information. This reduction in welfare is the cost of exempting beef and pork from COOL requirements.

    COOL provides consumers with information about a credence attribute. Another credence attribute that consumers sometimes confuse with COOL is food safety. However, as noted in previous rulemaking actions, COOL is simply a labeling rule, not a food safety rule. As a result, there are no costs to consumers from removing COOL requirements for beef and pork products from a food safety perspective.

    Alternatives considered: Section 759 of Division A of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 mandates the withdrawal of beef and pork muscle cuts, ground beef, and ground pork. This rule would implement the Act accordingly. The only effective means of achieving the results mandated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, is through rule promulgation.

    Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    This rule has been reviewed under the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). The purpose of RFA is to consider the economic impact of a rule on small businesses and evaluate alternatives that would accomplish the objectives of the rule without unduly burdening small entities or erecting barriers that would restrict their ability to compete in the marketplace. The Agency believes that this rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, but this impact will be in the form of removing regulatory burdens. The Agency has prepared the following final regulatory flexibility analysis of the rule's likely economic impact on small businesses pursuant to section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    The rule is the direct result of statutory obligations to implement Section 759 of Division A of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016. The intent of this law is to remove muscle cut beef and pork, and ground beef and pork from a regulation that provides consumers with information on the country of origin of covered commodities at certain retail establishments. Specifically, the law withdraws these commodities from Federal country of origin labeling requirements for products sold by retailers subject to COOL.

    The objective of the current COOL regulation is to regulate the activities of covered retailers and their suppliers to enable retailers to fulfill their statutory and regulatory obligations. COOL requires retailers to provide country of origin information for all of the covered commodities that they sell. It also requires all firms that supply covered commodities to these retailers to provide the retailers with the information needed to correctly label the covered commodities. In addition, all other firms in the supply chain for the covered commodities are potentially affected by the rule because country of origin information needs to be maintained and transferred along the entire supply chain. In general, the supply chains for the covered commodities consist of farms, processors, wholesalers, importers, and retailers. This rule withdraws muscle cut beef and pork, and ground beef and pork from the list of covered commodities, and subsequently withdraws all entities along the supply chain for these commodities from the requirements of COOL regulation.

    Section 604 of the RFA requires the Agency to provide an estimate of the number of small entities to which the rule will apply. A listing of the number of entities in the supply chains for each of the covered commodities can be found in Table 1. However, in the case of this rule, these entities will benefit from reduced costs, rather than incur additional costs. Retailers covered by this rule must meet the definition of a retailer as defined by Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act of 1930 (PACA). In utilizing this definition, the number of retailers affected by this rule is considerably smaller than the total number of retailers nationwide.

    Because of the removal from country of origin requirements, COOL information will no longer be required to be passed along the supply chain and made available to consumers at the retail level. As a result, each participant in the supply chain as identified in Table 1 will benefit from reductions in recordkeeping costs, as well as changes or modifications to their business practices. It is estimated that approximately 1,027,000 establishments owned by approximately 993,000 firms will be either directly or indirectly affected by this rule.

    This rule potentially will have an impact on all participants in the supply chain, although the nature and extent of the impact will depend on the participant's function within the marketing chain. On a total basis, the economic assessment estimated benefits in the form of cost savings of up to $451.0 million for producers, $613.7 million for intermediaries such as handlers, processors and wholesalers, and $767.2 million for retailers for a total of $1.832 billion.

    On a per operation basis, the rule likely will have the largest benefit on intermediaries (handlers, processors, wholesalers, and importers) and retailers, while the impact on individual producers is likely to be relatively small. These impacts were shown in Table 6 of the economic impact analysis.

    There are two measures used by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to identify businesses as small: Sales receipts or number of employees. In terms of sales, SBA classifies as small those grocery stores with less than $25 million in annual sales and specialty food stores with less than $6.5 million in annual sales (13 CFR 121.201). Warehouse clubs and superstores with less than $25 million in annual sales are also defined as small. SBA defines as small those agricultural producers with less than $750,000 in annual sales. Of the other businesses potentially affected by the rule, SBA classifies as small those manufacturing firms with less than 500 employees and wholesalers with less than 100 employees.

    Retailers: While there are many potential retail outlets for the covered commodities, food stores, warehouse clubs, and superstores are the primary retail outlets for food consumed at home. The number of retailers subject to the COOL rule is considerably smaller than the number of food retailers nationwide. There are 4,504 retail firms as defined by PACA that would be subject to the rule. An estimated 88 percent (3,964 out of 4,504) of the retailers subject to the rule were reported to be small.

    Retailer benefits under this rule are estimated at $767.2 million. Benefits are estimated at $170,337 per retail firm and $47,863 per retail establishment. Retailers will save on recordkeeping costs, costs associated with supplying country of origin information to consumers, and handling costs.

    Wholesalers: Any establishment that supplies retailers with one or more of the covered commodities will no longer be required to provide country of origin information to retailers. Of wholesalers potentially affected by the rule, SBA defines those having less than 100 employees as small. Importers of covered commodities will also be affected by the rule and are categorized as wholesalers in the data.

    General-line wholesalers were assumed to handle at least one and possibly all of the covered commodities. As a result, the number of general-line wholesale businesses was included among entities affected by the rule. In 2012 there were 2,271 firms in total, and 2,108 firms had less than 100 employees. Therefore, approximately 93 percent of the general-line grocery wholesaler can be classified as small businesses.

    In addition to general-line wholesalers, there are specialty wholesalers which deal in certain types of products. According to the 2012 Economic Census, there was a total of 2,162 meat and meat products wholesalers firms. Of these, 2,043 firms had less than 100 employees, meaning approximately 95 percent of meat wholesalers were considered small firms.

    The 2012 Economic Census reports that 2,629 livestock processing and slaughtering firms were in operation. Almost 90 percent or 2,354 of these firms qualified as small businesses under the SBA definition.

    The USDA's Packers and Stockyards Program provides regularly updated data on the number of livestock buyers, dealers and auction markets. While this information does not include sales and/or employment data, it is expected that the large majority of these entities are small businesses.

    It is estimated that intermediaries (importers and domestic wholesalers, handlers, and processors) would benefit from cost savings under the rule by approximately $613.7 million, or $52,075 per intermediary firm and $47,863 per establishment. Wholesalers will save recordkeeping costs, costs associated with supplying country of origin and method of production information to retailers, costs associated with segmenting products by country of origin and method of production, and additional handling costs.

    Producers: Producers of cattle and hogs will be affected because covered meat commodities are produced from livestock. SBA defines a small agricultural producer as having annual receipts less than $750,000. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, there were 913,246 farms that raised beef cows, and roughly 45,000 were estimated to have annual receipts greater than $750,000. Thus, about 95 percent of these beef cattle farms were classified as small businesses according to the SBA definition. Similarly, an estimated 80 percent of hog farms were considered small.

    At the production level, agricultural producers maintained records to establish country of origin information. This information was conveyed as the animals and products derived from them moved through the supply chains. Producer costs included the cost of establishing and maintaining a recordkeeping system for the country of origin information, animal or product identification, and labor and training. The savings benefits for producers are expected to be $451.0 million, or an estimated $462 per firm.10

    10 As noted in more detail above, these savings may be shifted to others in the supply chain or consumers.

    Additional alternatives considered: Section 604 of the RFA requires the Agency to describe the steps taken to minimize the significant economic impact on small entities including a discussion of alternatives considered. As the effect of this rule is reduced burdens rather than increased costs on firms, and because there were no alternatives for implementing the legislation, no alternatives to lessen the burden of this rule on small businesses were considered.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    Pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C 3501-3520) the information collection provisions contained in this rule were previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB Control Number 0581-0250. AMS is publishing a notice and request for comment seeking OMB approval to revise this information collection in this edition of the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 13175

    This final rule has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments.” Executive Order 13175 requires Federal agencies to consult and coordinate with tribes on a government-to-government basis on policies that have tribal implications, including regulations, legislative comments or proposed legislation, and other policy statements or actions that have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

    The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has assessed the impact of this rule on Indian tribes and determined that this rule does not, to our knowledge, have tribal implications that require tribal consultation under E.O. 13175. If a Tribe requests consultation, AMS will work with the Office of Tribal Relations to ensure meaningful consultation is provided where changes, additions and modifications identified herein are not expressly mandated by Congress.

    Executive Order 12988

    The contents of this rule were reviewed under Executive Order 12988, “Civil Justice Reform.” This rule is not intended to have a retroactive effect. States and local jurisdictions are preempted from creating or operating country of origin labeling programs for the commodities specified in the Act and this regulation. With regard to other Federal statutes, all labeling claims made in conjunction with this regulation must be consistent with other applicable Federal requirements. There are no administrative procedures that must be exhausted prior to any judicial challenge to the provisions of this rule.

    Civil Rights Review

    AMS considered the potential civil rights implications of this rule on minorities, women, or persons with disabilities to ensure that no person or group shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital or family status, political beliefs, parental status, or protected genetic information. This review included persons that are employees of the entities that are subject to these regulations. This final rule does not require affected entities to relocate or alter their operations in ways that could adversely affect such persons or groups. Further, this rule will not deny any persons or groups the benefits of the program or subject any persons or groups to discrimination.

    Executive Order 13132

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 13132, “Federalism.” This Order directs agencies to construe, in regulations and otherwise, a Federal statute to preempt State law only where the statute contains an express preemption provision or there is some other clear evidence to conclude that the Congress intended preemption of State law, or where the exercise of State authority conflicts with the exercise of Federal authority under the Federal statute. This program is required by the 2002 Farm Bill, as amended by the 2008 Farm Bill and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016.

    In the January 15, 2009, final rule, the Federalism analysis stated that to the extent that State country of origin labeling programs encompass commodities that are not governed by the COOL program, the States may continue to operate them. It also contained a preemption for those State country of origin labeling programs that encompass commodities that are governed by the COOL program. This final rule does not change the preemption. With regard to consultation with States, as directed by the Executive Order 13132, AMS previously consulted with the States that have country of origin labeling programs. AMS has cooperative agreements with all 50 States to assist in the enforcement of the COOL program and has communications with the States on a regular basis.

    It is found and determined that good cause exists under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3) for implementing this final rule on March 2, 2016 without prior notice and opportunity for comment. This rule has been determined to be a major rule for purposes of the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.); however, the Agency finds that under 5 U.S.C. 808(2) good cause exists to waive the 60-day delay in the effective date. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 amended the Act to remove the requirements for labeling beef and pork to bring the United States into compliance with its international trade obligations. Providing notice and seeking comment are impractical, unnecessary, and contrary to public interest because AMS has no discretion in implementing the statutory provisions that remove beef and pork from the COOL regulations. Additionally, on December 7, 2015, the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) Arbitrators set the maximum permissible levels of suspension of concessions at Canadian $1.05 billion (US $781 million) annually for Canada and US $228 million annually for Mexico. The WTO granted Canada and Mexico authorization to suspend concessions on December 21, 2015. For these same reasons, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, it is found and determined that good cause exists to exempt this rule from the requirement to delay the effective date. Accordingly, this rule will be effective on March 2, 2016.

    List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 65

    Agricultural commodities, Food labeling, Meat and meat products, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 65 is amended as follows:

    PART 65—COUNTRY OF ORIGIN LABELING OF LAMB, CHICKEN, AND GOAT MEAT, PERISHABLE AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES, MACADAMIA NUTS, PECANS, PEANUTS, AND GINSENG 1. The authority citation for part 65 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.

    2. Revise the heading for part 65 to read as set forth above.
    §§ 65.110, 65.155, 65.175, and 65.215 [Removed]
    3. Remove §§ 65.110, 65.155, 65.175, and 65.215. 4. Amend § 65.135 by revising paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) to read as follows:
    § 65.135 Covered commodity.

    (a) * * *

    (1) Muscle cuts of lamb, chicken, and goat;

    (2) Ground lamb, ground chicken, and ground goat;

    5. Revise § 65.220 to read as follows:
    § 65.220 Processed food item.

    Processed food item means a retail item derived from a covered commodity that has undergone specific processing resulting in a change in the character of the covered commodity, or that has been combined with at least one other covered commodity or other substantive food component (e.g., chocolate, breading, tomato sauce), except that the addition of a component (such as water, salt, or sugar) that enhances or represents a further step in the preparation of the product for consumption, would not in itself result in a processed food item. Specific processing that results in a change in the character of the covered commodity includes cooking (e.g., frying, broiling, grilling, boiling, steaming, baking, roasting), curing (e.g., salt curing, sugar curing, drying), smoking (hot or cold), and restructuring (e.g., emulsifying and extruding). Examples of items excluded include roasted peanuts, breaded chicken tenders, and fruit medley.

    6. Amend § 65.300 by revising paragraph (h) to read as follows:
    § 65.300 Country of origin notification.

    (h) Labeling ground lamb, ground goat, and ground chicken. The declaration for ground lamb, ground goat, and ground chicken covered commodities shall list all countries of origin contained therein or that may be reasonably contained therein. In determining what is considered reasonable, when a raw material from a specific origin is not in a processor's inventory for more than 60 days, that country shall no longer be included as a possible country of origin.

    7. Amend § 65.500 by revising paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows:
    § 65.500 Recordkeeping requirements.

    (b) Responsibilities of suppliers. (1) Any person engaged in the business of supplying a covered commodity to a retailer, whether directly or indirectly, must make available information to the buyer about the country(ies) of origin of the covered commodity. This information may be provided either on the product itself, on the master shipping container, or in a document that accompanies the product through retail sale. In addition, the supplier of a covered commodity that is responsible for initiating a country(ies) of origin claim, which in the case of lamb, chicken, and goat, is the slaughter facility, must possess records that are necessary to substantiate that claim for a period of 1 year from the date of the transaction. For that purpose, packers that slaughter animals that are tagged with an 840 Animal Identification Number device without the presence of any additional accompanying marking (i.e., “CAN” or “M”) may use that information as a basis for a U.S. origin claim. Packers that slaughter animals that are part of another country's recognized official system (e.g. Canadian official system, Mexico official system) may also rely on the presence of an official ear tag or other approved device on which to base their origin claims. Producer affidavits shall also be considered acceptable records that suppliers may utilize to initiate origin claims, provided it is made by someone having first-hand knowledge of the origin of the covered commodity and identifies the covered commodity unique to the transaction.

    Dated: February 26, 2016. Elanor Starmer, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04609 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 25 [Docket No.: FAA-2014-0001; Amdt. No. 25-142] RIN 2120-AK29 Harmonization of Airworthiness Standards—Fire Extinguishers and Class B and F Cargo Compartments; Correction AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The FAA is correcting a final rule published on February 16, 2016. In that rule, the FAA amended certain airworthiness regulations for transport category airplanes by upgrading fire safety standards for Class B cargo compartments; establishing fire safety standards for a new type of cargo compartment, Class F; and updating related standards for fire extinguishers. This amendment eliminated certain regulatory differences between the airworthiness standards of the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), without affecting current industry design practices. However, in that document, the amendment number for the final rule was incorrect, and this document now posts the correct amendment number.

    DATES:

    This correction is effective on March 2, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For technical questions concerning this action, contact Stephen M. Happenny, Propulsion/Mechanical Systems Branch, ANM-112, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, Federal Aviation Administration, 1601 Lind Ave. SW., Renton, WA 98055-4056; telephone (425) 227-2147; facsimile (425) 227 1232; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On February 16, 2016 (81 FR 7698), the FAA published a final rule entitled, “Harmonization of Airworthiness Standards—Fire Extinguishers and Class B and F Cargo Compartments” (81 FR 7698).

    This rule amended certain airworthiness regulations for transport category airplanes by upgrading fire safety standards for Class B cargo compartments; establishing fire safety standards for a new type of cargo compartment, Class F; and updating related standards for fire extinguishers. The rule was based on recommendations from the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and the changes addressed designs for which airworthiness directives (ADs) have been issued by both the FAA and the French civil aviation authority, Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC). It eliminated certain regulatory differences between the airworthiness standards of the FAA and EASA, without affecting current industry design practices. These changes ensured an acceptable level of safety for these types of cargo compartments by standardizing certain requirements and procedures.

    However, the rule was published with an incorrect amendment number, “25-141,” which is the same amendment number as the rule entitled “Harmonization of Airworthiness Standards—Gust and Maneuver Load Requirements” (79 FR 73462), published on December 11, 2014. The correct amendment number for this rule should be “25-142.”

    Correction

    In FR Doc. 2016-03000, beginning on page 7698 in the Federal Register of February 16, 2016, make the following correction:

    Correction

    1. On page 7698, in the third column, correct the 4th header paragraph from “[Docket No.: FAA-2014-0001; Amdt. No. 25-141]” to read as “[Docket No.: FAA-2014-0001; Amdt. No. 25-142]”.

    Issued under authority provided by 49 U.S.C. 106(f) in Washington, DC, on February 24, 2016. Lirio Liu, Director, Office of Rulemaking.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04508 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2016-0100] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Newtown Creek, Queens, NY AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for navigable waters of Newtown Creek between the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge (mile 1.3) and the entrance to Dutch Kills. The safety zone is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment from potential hazards created by a sunken vessel adjacent to the Federal navigation channel. Entry of vessels or persons into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port New York.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective without actual notice from March 2, 2016 through March 5, 2016. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from February 3, 2016 through March 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2016-0100 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email Mr. Jeff Yunker, Coast Guard Sector New York Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 718-354-4195, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations COTP Captain of the Port New York DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking § Section U.S.C. United States Code II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because a vessel sank adjacent to the Federal navigation channel at the Sims Hugo Neu facility on Newtown Creek and immediate action is needed to respond to the potential safety hazards associated with removing cargo from the vessel and refloating the vessel. It is impracticable to publish an NPRM because we must establish this safety zone by February 3, 2016.

    We are issuing this rule, and under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making it effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Delaying the effective date of this rule would be contrary to public interest because immediate action is needed to respond to the potential safety hazards associated with removing cargo from the vessel and refloating the vessel.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231. The COTP has determined that potential hazards associated with refloating a sunken barge adjacent to the Federal navigation channel starting February 4, 2016 will be a safety concern for anyone between the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge (mile 1.3) and the confluence of Newtown Creek and Dutch Kills during this process. This rule is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment in the navigable waters within the safety zone while cargo is removed from the vessel and the vessel is refloated. Therefore, this rule will remain in effect for the time stated herein but will be cancelled if response activities are finished cease before March 5, 2016. The preliminary estimate for completion of the cargo removal and refloating the vessel is February 6, 2016. This TFR provides for an extended enforcement period in case of unforeseen circumstances that prevent the contractors from completing the work within their initial estimated timeline.

    IV. Discussion of the Rule

    This rule establishes a safety zone from 7 a.m. on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 through 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, 2016. The safety zone will cover all navigable waters between the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge (mile 1.3) and the confluence of Newtown Creek and Dutch Kills. The duration of the zone is intended to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment in these navigable waters while the vessel is being refloated. No vessel or person will be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

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

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

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

    This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location, duration, and time-of-year of the safety zone. Vessel traffic will be able to safely transit through this safety zone which will impact a small designated area of Newtown Creek in Queens, NY after making passing arrangements with the work vessels while cargo is being removed from the sunken barge during daylight hours on February 3, 2016. Moreover, the Coast Guard will issue Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the zone and the rule allows vessels to seek permission to enter the zone.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

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

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

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

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

    C. Collection of Information

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

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

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

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves a safety zone lasting less than 31 days that will prohibit entry between the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge (mile 1.3) and the entrance to Dutch Kills on Newtown Creek being used by personnel to remove cargo from a sunken vessel and to refloat the vessel. It is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. An environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and a Categorical Exclusion Determination will be in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

    G. Protest Activities

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

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

    33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    2. Add § 165.T01-0100 to read as follows:
    § 165.T01-0100 Safety Zone: Newtown Creek, Queens, NY

    (a) Location. The following area is a temporary safety zone: All U.S. navigable waters of Newtown Creek between the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge (mile 1.3) and the entrance to Dutch Kills

    (b) Enforcement period. The safety zone described in paragraph (a) of this section will be enforced from February 3, 2016 until March 5, 2016, unless terminated sooner by the COTP.

    (c) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in 33 CFR 165.23, entry into, transiting, or anchoring within this safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the COTP or a designated on scene representative.

    (3) A “on-scene representative” of the COTP is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer or a Federal, State or local law enforcement officer designated by or assisting the COTP to act on his behalf.

    (4) Vessel operators must contact the COTP via the Command Center to obtain permission to enter or operate within the safety zone. The COTP may be contacted via VHF Channel 16 or at (718) 354-4353. Vessel operators given permission to enter or operate within the safety zone must comply with all directions given to them by the COTP, via the Command Center or an on-scene representative.

    Dated: Februrary 3, 2016. M.H. Day, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port New York.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04474 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 17 RIN 2900-AP21 Vet Centers AGENCY:

    Department of Veterans Affairs.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adopts as final an interim final rule that amends its medical regulation that governs Vet Center services. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (the 2013 Act) requires Vet Centers to provide readjustment counseling services to broader groups of veterans, members of the Armed Forces, including a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces, and family members of such veterans and members. This final rule adopts as final the regulatory criteria to conform to the 2013 Act, to include new and revised definitions.

    DATES:

    Effective date: March 2, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael Fisher, Readjustment Counseling Service (10RCS), Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420; (202) 461-6525. (This is not a toll-free number.)

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On August 4, 2015, VA published in the Federal Register an interim final rule that implemented the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, Public Law 112-239 (Jan. 2, 2013) (the 2013 Act). 80 FR 46197. VA invited interested persons to submit comments on the interim final rule on or before October 5, 2015, and we received one comment. The commenter questioned why the rulemaking is including individuals who remotely control unmanned aerial vehicles as individuals who are entitled to receive readjustment counseling services and how has VA and the Department of Defense assessed the need for such services for this group of individuals. The requirement to provide readjustment counseling to individuals who remotely control unmanned aerial vehicles is mandated by Public Law 112-239, which is implemented by this rulemaking. We do not make any changes based on this comment.

    Finally, we make a technical edit to paragraphs (b) and (e) to ensure that these provisions are easier to understand. As amended in the interim final rule, the first sentence of the introductory paragraph to paragraph (b) read “With the veteran's or member's of the Armed Forces, including a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces, consent, VA will assist in obtaining proof of eligibility.” We determined that this amendatory language was grammatically incorrect. We are now amending this sentence to read “With the consent of the veteran or member of the Armed Forces, including a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces, VA will assist in obtaining proof of eligibility.” The first sentence of paragraph (e) was similarly incorrect and read “Benefits under this section are furnished solely by VA Vet Centers, which maintain confidential records independent from any other VA or Department of Defense medical records and which will not disclose such records without either the veteran's or member's of the Armed Forces, including a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces, voluntary, signed authorization, or a specific exception permitting their release.” This sentence now reads “Benefits under this section are furnished solely by VA Vet Centers, which maintain confidential records independent from any other VA or Department of Defense medical records and which will not disclose such records without the voluntary signed authorization of the veteran or member of the Armed Forces (including a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces), or where a specific exception permits disclosure.”

    Based on the rationale set forth in the interim final rule and in this document, VA is adopting the provisions of the interim final rule as a final rule making only technical edits.

    Administrative Procedure Act

    In accordance with U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and (d)(3), the Secretary of Veterans Affairs concluded that there was good cause to publish this rule without prior opportunity for public comment and to publish this rule with an immediate effective date. This final rule incorporates a specific program requirement mandated by Congress in Public Law 112-239. The Secretary finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to delay this rule for the purpose of soliciting advance public comment or to have a delayed effective date. This rule will increase the pool of individuals who are eligible to receive mental health care at Vet Centers. This rule will also increase access to much needed mental health care services in Vet Centers. For the above reason, the Secretary, through this rulemaking, adopts as final an interim final rule in which we provided prior notice and opportunity for the public to comment.

    Effect of Rulemaking

    Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as revised by this final rulemaking, represents VA's implementation of its legal authority on this subject. Other than future amendments to this regulation or governing statutes, no contrary guidance or procedures are authorized. All existing or subsequent VA guidance must be read to conform with this rulemaking if possible or, if not possible, such guidance is superseded by this rulemaking.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    Although this action contains provisions constituting collections of information, at 38 CFR 17.2000, under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521), no new or proposed revised collections of information are associated with this final rule. The information collection requirements for § 17.2000 are currently approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and have been assigned OMB control number 2900-0787.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Secretary hereby certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612. This final rule directly affects only individuals and will not directly affect small entities. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this rulemaking is exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of 5 U.S.C. 603 and 604.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

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

    The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy implications of this regulatory action have been examined, and it has been determined not to be a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866. VA's impact analysis can be found as a supporting document at http://www.regulations.gov, usually within 48 hours after the rulemaking document is published. Additionally, a copy of the rulemaking and its impact analysis are available on VA's Web site at http://www.va.gov/orpm/, by following the link for VA Regulations Published from Fiscal Year 2004 to Fiscal Year to Date.

    Unfunded Mandates

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires, at 2 U.S.C. 1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year. This final rule will have no such effect on State, local, and tribal governments, or on the private sector.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance numbers and titles for the programs affected by this document are as follows: 64.009, Veterans Medical Care Benefits; 64.018, Sharing Specialized Medical Resources; 64.019, Veterans Rehabilitation Alcohol and Drug Dependence; and 64.024, VA Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program.

    Signing Authority

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Robert D. Snyder, Interim Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this document on February 25, 2016, for publication.

    List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 17

    Administrative practice and procedure, Alcohol abuse, Alcoholism, Drug abuse, Health care, Health facilities, Homeless, Mental health programs, Veterans.

    Dated: February 26, 2016. William F. Russo, Director, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the interim rule published August 4, 2015, at 80 FR 46197, is adopted as final without change.

    [FR Doc. 2016-04552 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 38 RIN 2900-AO95 Applicants for VA Memorialization Benefits AGENCY:

    Department of Veterans Affairs.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amends its regulations defining who may apply for a headstone or marker. The rule expands the types of individuals who may request headstones and markers on behalf of decedents.

    DATES:

    The final rule is effective April 1, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Eric Powell, Deputy Director, Memorial Programs Service (41B1), National Cemetery Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 501-3060. (This is not a toll-free number.)

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On October 1, 2014 (79 FR 59176), VA proposed revising its regulations regarding applicants for headstones and markers. The rule expanded the definition of applicant to allow more individuals to request that VA provide a burial headstone or marker for unmarked graves or a memorial headstone or marker if remains are not available for burial. Interested person were invited to submit comments on the proposed rule on or before December 1, 2014. VA received a total of 387 comments from interested stakeholders, including members of Congress, state and local officials, as well as members of genealogical, historical, and veterans service organizations. Because of the number of comments, both positive and negative, we have grouped them together by issue or content, and will address each group below. For the reasons set forth below and in the proposed rule, we adopt the proposed rule as final, with the changes explained below. To address some of these comments, VA added a new 38 CFR 38.600(a)(1)(iv) and re-designated proposed paragraphs (a)(1)(iv) and (a)(1)(v) as paragraphs (a)(1)(v) and (a)(1)(vi), respectively.

    Supportive Comments

    Of the 387 comments, more than half expressed support for an agreement with the proposed amendment to the headstone and marker applicant definition. Many of the supportive commenters urged VA's prompt implementation of the proposed expanded applicant definition and praised VA for broadening the applicant standard because it would result in marking veteran gravesites that would otherwise remain unmarked, particularly for veterans who served prior to World War I (WWI). Although most commenters did not specifically comment on any particular provision of the rule, several commenters provided information about specific claims they had made previously that had been denied or that they feel now would be allowed under the revised rule. Others merely stated that their ancestors' graves are unmarked without indicating whether they had previously attempted to obtain a VA headstone or marker. VA's intent is that the expanded applicant definition will encourage more people to present memorialization claims. However, as one individual accurately pointed out, the public comment forum is not an appropriate means to present a claim for a headstone or marker. VA considers any information in these comments that refers to specific claims to be outside the scope of the proposed rule. To the extent that this final rule discusses any of these comments, such discussion should not be construed as a determination on such purported claims. However, we encourage those individuals whose memorialization claims were denied under the previously more restrictive applicant definition to resubmit their requests, which VA will review on a de novo basis. Because none of these commenters raised specific objections to the rule, and because the rule will allow for many more individuals to apply for memorialization of their ancestors, we interpret these comments to be supportive of the regulation itself, as proposed. VA appreciates the efforts of all those who took the time to review the proposed rule and provide their comments. Because these commenters suggested no changes to the rule, we make no changes to the rule as proposed, based on these comments.

    Inclusion of Other Groups as Applicants

    We received multiple comments from individuals who suggested that various entities, such as historical societies, genealogical societies, cemetery associations, or other similar entities, be listed as separate categories of applicants in the regulation so that they may request headstones or markers for the graves of veterans. Along these same lines, we received numerous suggestions to include, or requests that we clarify whether the rule includes, specifically-named groups or organizations. Commenters listed the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, General Society of the War of 1812, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and Sons of Confederate Veterans, and other similar entities, which may be generally categorized as “lineage societies,” as groups they desired to see added to the regulation.

    We do not believe that the regulation must be changed to include those additional categories or to allow these specifically-named groups to apply for headstones and markers. We understand commenters' desire to have explicit authority for a particular entity that they support or to which they belong, but it is not practical to list every entity that may apply under the regulation. This is why we created broad categories to describe who may apply for a headstone or marker. The entities listed above all appear, by their names or descriptions, to have an interest in veterans whose service ended prior to April 6, 1917, the date on which the United States entered WWI. To the extent that commenters belong to such groups and seek to apply for headstones and markers for veterans with such service, and the comments that they made indicate this to be the case, they may do so under proposed § 38.600(a)(1)(v), now re-designated as § 38.600(a)(1)(vi), which allows for “any individual” to apply for a headstone or marker for veterans whose service ended prior to April 6, 1917, or for an individual whose eligibility is based on such service. We make no changes based on these comments.

    We received eight comments from individuals requesting the addition of county veterans service officers (CVSOs) to the list of applicants in § 38.600(a)(1)(iii), which, as proposed, only included representatives of Congressionally-chartered veterans service organizations (VSOs). One commenter equated the work of CVSOs to that of Congressionally-chartered VSO representatives who assist with and represent veterans and their families in their VA benefit claims. Other commenters noted that CVSOs work collaboratively with VA and other national VSOs, as well as funeral homes and cemetery caretakers on behalf of homeless and unclaimed veterans. We agree that VA should accept memorialization claims from CVSOs, in much the same manner as we will accept claims from Congressionally-chartered VSO representatives. We acknowledge the valuable work that CVSOs do on behalf of veterans and the collaborative nature of their relationship with VA and VA's National Cemetery Administration. However, we believe that merely adding CVSOs to our applicant definition will not be sufficient, as it fails to recognize other individuals, employed by government entities other than counties, whose vocation also is to serve and assist veterans and their families in a variety of ways. For this reason, we are adding a new § 38.600(a)(1)(iv), which adds, to the definition of applicant, an individual employed by the relevant state or local government if that individual's official responsibilities include serving veterans and families of veterans. We include the phrase “such as a state or county veterans service officer” to assist readers in understanding the type of individual we are recognizing. We thank the commenters for bringing this additional category to our attention and for their ongoing service to our nation's veterans.

    VA received nine comments from members of state-authorized cemetery commissions and other locally-based entities authorized under state or local laws to maintain local, possibly historic cemeteries, requesting that VA include them on the list of applicants for VA memorialization benefits. Most of these comments were from representatives of Iowa Pioneer Cemetery Commissions from various counties in Iowa. We found that Iowa Code § 331.325, “Control and maintenance of pioneer cemeteries—cemetery commission,” authorizes county boards to assume jurisdiction and control of pioneer cemeteries, defined in the state law as those in which there have been twelve or fewer burials in the past fifty years. Because comments were received from individuals representing similar entities in at least two other states, we believe that other states also may authorize commissions, counties, townships, and other local entities to be responsible for the maintenance, repair, and improvement of cemeteries, including pioneer cemeteries. However, we do not believe that the regulation must be revised to recognize these entities as proper applicants for a VA burial headstone or marker. Proposed § 38.600(a)(1)(iv), now re-designated as § 38.600(a)(1)(v), provides that individuals responsible under state or local laws for the disposition of unclaimed remains or other matters relating to a decedent's interment or memorialization may apply for headstones or markers. As we explained in the proposed rule, this would include “those responsible for the operation and maintenance of a cemetery, because their activities are regulated by state or local laws.” 79 FR at 59177. Entities such as the Iowa Pioneer Cemetery Commissions would have such authority. As with the historical and genealogical societies discussed above, we cannot list every type of entity responsible under state or local law for the disposition of unclaimed remains or matters relating to interment or memorialization. However, we clarify that VA will accept burial headstone or marker requests from members of the Iowa Pioneer Cemetery Commissions and from applicants who are similarly situated. When presented with a burial headstone or marker claim from an applicant who indicates that they are responsible under state or local law to handle a decedent's burial or memorialization needs, VA may ask the applicant to provide information about the authorizing statute to ensure the applicant's standing. Because we believe these entities are provided for in the rule, we make no changes based on these comments.

    Revert to Previous Applicant Standard

    VA received three comments suggesting that we revert to the applicant standard that was in effect prior to implementation of the 2009 applicant definition. One commenter asserted that, prior to 2009, there was no definition. While it is true that there was no definition of applicant in our regulations, VA's policy was to accept memorialization requests from VSOs, landowners, and anyone with knowledge of the decedent. The final rule explicitly allows for application by a representative of a Congressionally-chartered VSO (and, with the amendments discussed above, an individual employed by the relevant state or local government whose official responsibilities include serving veterans and families of veterans). Depending on specific circumstances, owners of land containing the burial site of an individual eligible for a VA-furnished headstone or marker may be determined to be “responsible . . . for other matters relating to the interment or memorialization of the decedent” under proposed § 38.600(a)(1)(iv), now redesignated as § 38.600(a)(1)(v), and so may also apply. Re-designated § 38.600(a)(1)(vi) will allow for any individual to apply for a burial headstone or marker if the relevant dates of service of the veteran ended prior to April 6, 1917. This last revision is the only significant difference between the applicant standard that was in place prior to the 2009 amendment and the final rule. As discussed elsewhere in this rulemaking, we believe the April 6, 1917, date is appropriate to ensure that we do not inappropriately deny families the opportunity to determine how and whether to mark the grave of their decedent.

    Inclusion of Domestic Partners and Individuals in Loco Parentis

    We received one comment from a private advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) families requesting that we include domestic partners and those standing in loco parentis to a deceased veteran in the definition of “family member” in § 38.600(a)(1) and (a)(2) for burial headstones and markers and memorial headstones and markers, respectively. The commenter stated that the existing definition of “personal representative” in § 38.600(b) unfairly requires family members to pay for burial or memorialization costs that would disqualify those who may not have the means to fund a decedent's burial services. We clarify that a personal representative need only identify themselves to VA as an individual “responsible for making decisions” concerning burial or memorialization. 38 CFR 38.600(b). There is no financial requirement associated with a memorialization request from a personal representative or any other headstone or marker applicant.

    Additionally, this commenter suggested VA include in § 38.600(a)(1)(i) and (a)(2) the domestic partner of a veteran, a child for whom a veteran stood in loco parentis, and a parent who stood in loco parentis for a veteran. Although the proposed expanded list of “a decedent's family member” or “a member of the decedent's family” for headstone and marker applicants in § 38.600(a)(1) and (a)(2), respectively, is broadly defined to include almost every possible family relationship, we agree that the language “decedent's spouse” would not include an individual in a legal union with a veteran if that legal union did not meet the legal requirements of a marriage. VA defined memorialization applicants to include others who are not in marital relationships, and in keeping with other VA efforts to recognize a veteran's domestic partnership, civil union, and other formal relationship in certain circumstances, we will insert in § 38.600(a)(1) and (a)(2) the language “individual who was in a legal union as defined in 38 CFR 3.1702(b)(1)(ii) with the decedent.” We note that VA's burial benefits regulation, finalized last year (79 FR 32653, June 6, 2014), defined the term “legal union” in 38 CFR 3.1702(b)(1)(ii) to mean a formal relationship between the decedent and the survivor that existed on the date of the veteran's death, was recognized under the law of the state in which the couple formalized the relationship, and was evidenced by the state's issuance of documentation memorializing the relationship.

    We do not believe it is necessary to include the commenter's in loco parentis language because an applicant who is either an individual who stood in loco parentis for a veteran or a child for whom a veteran stood in loco parentis will be included in the “personal representative” definition in § 38.600(b). Under that provision, VA will accept a headstone or marker request from an individual who stood in the relationship of a family member, as suggested by the commenter, and as such we will make no further changes based on this comment.

    Replacement Headstones and Markers

    VA received fourteen comments that discussed replacing headstones and markers that have become unreadable, are damaged or do not properly mark a veteran's gravesite. Commenters suggested VA allow historical preservationists and cemetery organizations to request replacement markers, particularly for Civil War gravesites where no family member was likely to exist. One commenter suggested VA make an exception to or consider further expansion of the applicant definition to include individuals or groups seeking to rehabilitate or replace markers that were, in their view, improperly marked. Another commenter suggested we revise VA Form 40-1330 to include requests for replacement markers. This regulation on applicant definition applies to requests to replace existing markers that may have become damaged or so worn that they are no longer readable, a condition we refer to as “unserviceable,” as well as to requests to mark an unmarked grave. The definition of applicant is equally applicable, irrespective of whether the request is for a new or a replacement headstone or marker. We note, however, that these individuals may be citing difficulties they may have had not in applying for the replacement, but in providing sufficient documentation to support the request. To the extent that these comments are regarding the latter, they are outside the scope of this rulemaking, which only establishes who may apply for a headstone or marker, not whether VA may approve a request. We make no change to the rule based on these comments but we do clarify that individuals identified in this regulation will be recognized applicants for original burial or memorial headstones or markers or for replacement for an unserviceable burial or memorial headstones or markers.

    Line of Succession for Family Members

    Two commenters suggested VA clarify a decedent's family member lineage by establishing a line of succession or imposing other requirements to ensure a decedent has an appropriate applicant. One commenter suggested changes to the headstone or marker request form (VA Form 40-1330) to establish an applicant's relationship to a decedent. The commenter indicated that if a next of kin is not available, VA should allow claims from descendants who demonstrate a relationship to the decedent based on notarized death certificates and statements from physicians. In adopting a new definition of “family member,” VA is moving away from the use of “next of kin,” so the comment is somewhat outside the scope of this rulemaking. We will be requesting information regarding the relationship of the applicant, but that, too, is beyond the scope of this rule, which is only to establish the definition of applicant.

    Another commenter suggested VA clarify the order of priority that will be used in applying the applicant definition for memorial headstone or marker requests in § 38.600(a)(2), which requires an applicant to be a member of the decedent's family, which includes the decedent's spouse (or, with the amendment discussed above, individual who was in a legal union as defined in 38 CFR 3.1702(b)(1)(ii) with the decedent), a child, parent, or sibling, whether biological, adopted, or step relation, and any lineal or collateral descendant of the decedent. Establishing an order of priority is a substantive standard that requires notice and comment. Because this rulemaking only provided notice and sought comment on the definition of applicant, we do not here establish an order of priority that must be followed when we receive a claim from “family members” under either § 38.600(a)(1)(i) or § 38.600(a)(2).

    Eliminate Applicant Definition

    Several commenters suggested that VA eliminate any definition of applicant for a headstone or marker. In general, these comments express the view that “anyone” can apply for benefits and have their standing to do so adjudicated along with the merits of their request. However, we believe that memorialization benefits are in some ways unique among the benefits that VA provides and require this additional step because, for most other VA benefits, the applicant is requesting benefits for himself or herself. In the case of headstones or markers, the benefit is being requested by a third party on behalf of the individual who is entitled to it. While we have drafted this regulation to broaden the pool of potential applicants, we do not agree that we should eliminate entirely the requirement that a particular applicant must request memorialization on behalf of a veteran or other eligible decedent. First, the authorizing statute, 38 U.S.C. 2306, requires that we provide a headstone or marker “when requested” but does not indicate from whom we should accept such requests. It is generally accepted that an agency may, through regulation, fill a gap such as this. Second, as we have discussed elsewhere in this final rule and in the proposed rule, our intent, as much as possible, is to reserve to the family of the decedent decisions regarding memorialization. This includes the decision not to obtain a government-furnished headstone or marker—or any marker at all, if that is their decision. VA cannot force individuals to apply for or accept the benefits that we provide. In addition to broadening the definition of family beyond the previously more restrictive “next-of-kin” standard, we have provided five additional categories of applicants who may request a burial headstone or marker. We believe that the new rule sufficiently allows for a very broad applicant pool to request burial headstones or markers for decedents who bear no relation to them, while balancing the need to respect family decisions to memorialize their loved ones, including the decision to leave a gravesite unmarked. We make no changes based on these comments.

    Eliminate Date Restrictions

    VA received twenty-four comments that objected to VA's use of April 6, 1917, as a limiting date in proposed § 38.600(a)(1)(v), now redesignated as § 38.600(a)(1)(vi). In that paragraph, we state that any individual may apply for a burial headstone or marker for a veteran whose service ended prior to that date, or for an individual whose eligibility for memorialization derives from a veteran whose service ended prior to that date. Several commenters suggested VA either eliminate the date restriction or use a rolling date rather than a specific date. A few commenters suggested use of a different time limit, such as 100 years from dates of the end of WWI (1918) or the end of World War II (1945). Generally, these commenters asserted that use of the 1917 “date-certain” for burial marker requests would only result in VA needing to revisit in the future the same issues we are addressing now that were caused by a restrictive applicant standard. Two commenters suggested VA adopt the applicant standard proposed in legislation introduced in 2013 and 2014, which would allow any person to request a marker if the deceased veteran served more than 62 or 75 years before the date of the memorialization request. As stated in the proposed rule, we chose to include a date after which we felt it will be more likely that living family members could be located and could provide input into the marking of a grave. Further, for those whose service ended after 1917 and who have no living family member, VA provides ample alternatives for non-relative applicants to request a headstone or marker for those decedents. We considered use of a rolling time frame for applicants requesting memorialization and found that implementation of such a process would likely be more complex than would be required when using a date certain. The rolling date actually equates to a date certain, but a constantly changing one. Adopting an ever-changing standard introduces increased risk of human error in determining whether the service was or was not within the defined time frame. In addition, it may require annual updates to the computer system to recognize the newly calculated year. As indicated in the proposed rule, the 1917 date was established based on the objective likelihood that those decedents will not have living family members to request a headstone or marker.

    Allow Non-Relative Memorial Marker Applicants

    VA received three comments objecting to § 38.600(a)(2), in which we require that applicants for memorial headstones and markers to be members of a decedent's family, including collateral and lineal descendants. Commenters suggested VA include non-relative applicants, such as historians, personal representatives, VSOs, townships and counties, in the definition of applicant for memorial headstone and marker requests. As explained in the proposed rule, memorial headstones and markers, as authorized under 38 U.S.C. 2306(b), are distinguished from burial headstones and markers because they are intended to commemorate an eligible individual whose remains are unavailable for burial to provide a family with a physical site to gather to mourn and remember their loved one, similar to that provided by a burial headstone or marker when remains are available for burial. As such, VA has determined that requests for memorial headstones and markers should be made by family members who are likely to want to memorialize someone whose life had specific meaning to them. The commenters offered no justification on which we would consider changing this previously stated position, therefore, we make no changes to the applicant definition based on these comments.

    Various Comments Outside the Scope of the Proposed Rule

    VA received ten comments that do not fit in any of the other categories of comments discussed above and that VA finds to be outside the scope of the proposed expansion of the applicant definition. One commenter suggested the language of the proposed rule was too difficult for ordinary citizens to decipher. VA tries to make the regulations as accessible as possible for the general public. Most commenters seemed to understand the proposed rule because their comments were clearly related to concepts expressed in the rule, so we do not believe the rule was unnecessarily difficult. Several other commenters made suggestions regarding considerations VA should make in approving requests for headstones and markers. For example, one commenter suggested using DNA, archival, and other technologies and assembling a volunteer veteran panel to verify the identity of an interred veteran to determine the appropriate memorialization. Another commenter advised VA to exercise caution to ensure that headstone or marker inscriptions, including emblems of belief and service information (e.g., Medal of Honor) be valid and appropriate, and another advised checking for the “reasonableness” of a request to ensure we do not mark a grave for the same individual multiple times. Another commenter suggested VA impose penalties for the destruction of a Government-furnished headstone or marker. Two commenters referred to procedures relating to memorialization of veterans interred in foreign countries. Two commenters expressed concerns about the limitation of headstones and markers for decedents who die prior to the November 1, 1990, date, which applies to eligibility for a second marker under 38 U.S.C. 2306(d)(4). Another commenter appeared to assert that VA requires proof of burial in requests for a memorial headstone or marker and expressed disagreement with such a requirement. One commenter suggested VA create bronze or metal emblems to be affixed to non-VA headstones and markers. All of these comments are in regard to aspects of the headstone and marker program that are unrelated to the proposed amendment of the applicant definition. It would be inappropriate to address these issues in this final rule, and there are no changes we can make to the rule on the definition of applicant that would address these comments.

    Proposed Rule Vulnerabilities

    One commenter noted the proposed expansion of the applicant definition would be problematic because it would increase costs beyond what was estimated in the economic impact analysis and could be abused by interested third parties. Allowing non-relatives to request memorialization for veterans who have long been deceased could potentially conflict with what the commenter believes is a family's responsibility to mark a gravesite or leave the gravesite unmarked in accordance with veteran's family's wishes at the time of burial. The commenter remarked that unaffiliated individuals and special interest organizations should not be allowed to further their own goals by manipulating another person's gravesite, particularly a veteran's. The commenter also expressed concern that VA did not require non-relative applicants for veterans post-WWI to document that an attempt was made to locate the decedent's family members. We appreciate the commenter's well-reasoned response to our rulemaking, and we assure the commenter that we did consider these issues prior to issuing the proposed rule. However, the intention of the rule was to increase the ability of these interested parties to apply for headstones and markers because VA shares their goal of ensuring that graves of those who have served our country are appropriately marked. We believe our approach strikes an appropriate balance between protecting the interests of a decedent's family and ensuring the appropriate memorialization of veterans. We note again that implementing an expanded applicant standard is not a guarantee that VA will issue the requested headstone or marker, so we believe that our estimate of costs is reasonable. To the extent that the commenter's other statements are in regard to approval of an application and not who may apply, we find the comments outside the scope of this rulemaking.

    Single Commenter

    VA received seventeen separate comments from a single commenter whose remarks about the proposed rule primarily relate back to his efforts to mark the gravesites of veterans who perished in a 1935 hurricane while on a Federal work detail, some of whom are interred in individual gravesites in a private cemetery in Florida, and some whose remains are commingled in a monument located on public land in Florida. We note that we have communicated with this commenter several times on the hurricane veteran memorialization requests (some of his comments included excerpts from that correspondence) and do not address that issue here because it is outside the scope of this rulemaking. Some issues raised by this commenter were raised by other commenters as well, including the estimated costs of the rule, the need to define applicant at all, and eliminating the 1917 limiting date, which are addressed elsewhere in this rulemaking. We address here only the remaining comments provided by this individual as they relate to the proposed rule on the definition of applicant.

    The commenter stated that the rule, as proposed, would restrict applications for those who served after WWI and would disenfranchise any such veteran who lacks a next of kin to present a memorialization request. These statements incorrectly interpret the provisions of the rule, as we provide that family members (which is itself defined more broadly than just “next of kin”), VSOs (and individuals employed by the relevant state or local government whose official responsibilities include serving veterans and families of veterans, as added in this final rule), and others appropriately situated may apply for burial headstones and markers for those who served in WWI and later, and their eligible dependents. The commenter suggested we merely adopt the provisions of either of two bills introduced in the 113th Congress instead of our proposed rule. We decline to make that change because the rule as proposed by VA will allow more individuals to apply for headstones and markers than either of the introduced bills would have allowed, again because of our use of an expansive definition of family member, rather than the limited term “next of kin.” The commenter also suggested VA allow our Congressional oversight committees and the sponsors of two bills time to submit comments on the proposed rule for the record. Given that VA received comments from Congressional members within the designated comment period, we make no changes based on this comment. In another comment, the individual notes that the authorizing statute, 38 U.S.C. 2306, states that VA shall provide a headstone or marker upon request but the statute does not limit who may make the request. He suggests that VA itself should make the request. As discussed previously, it is incumbent on executive branch agencies to provide regulations where statutory authority has gaps. This is what VA has done. Also as discussed previously, VA cannot force individuals to apply for or accept the benefits we provide. To make the “application” ourselves would be to do just that. The commenter proposed language to VA regulations regarding disinterment, the headstone and marker application process, and group memorial monuments, which fall outside the scope of the proposed rule to amend the applicant definition.

    For all the reasons stated in the proposed rule and noted above, VA is adopting the proposed rule as final with the above noted changes.

    Effect of Rulemaking

    Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as revised by this final rulemaking, represents VA's implementation of its legal authority on this subject. Other than future amendments to this regulation or governing statutes, no contrary guidance or procedures are authorized. All existing or subsequent VA guidance must be read to conform with this rulemaking if possible, or if not possible, such guidance is superseded by this rulemaking.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Secretary hereby certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612. This final rule will directly affect only individuals and will not directly affect small entities. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this rulemaking is exempt from the final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of 5 U.S.C. 604.

    Unfunded Mandates

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires, at 2 U.S.C. 1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year. This final rule will have no such effect on State, local, and tribal governments, or on the private sector.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

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

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

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

    The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy implications of this regulatory action have been examined, and it has been determined not to be a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866. VA's impact analysis can be found as a supporting document at http://www.regulations.gov, usually within 48 hours after the rulemaking document is published. Additionally, a copy of the rulemaking and its impact analysis are available on VA's Web site at http://www.va.gov/orpm, by following the link for “VA Regulations Published From FY 2004 Through Fiscal Year to Date.”

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    There are no Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance numbers and titles for the programs affected by this document.

    Signing Authority

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Robert D. Snyder, Interim Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this document on February 22, 2016 for publication.

    List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 38

    Administrative practice and procedure, Cemeteries, Claims, Crime, Veterans.

    Dated: February 26, 2016. William F. Russo, Director, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, VA amends 38 CFR part 38 as set forth below:

    PART 38—NATIONAL CEMETERIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 1. The authority citation for part 38 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    38 U.S.C. 107, 501, 512, 2306, 2402, 2403, 2404, 2408, 2411, 7105.

    2. Amend § 38.600 as follows: a. Add paragraph (a); b. In paragraph (b) introductory text remove “§§ 38.617 and 38.618” and add in its place “part 38”; and c. In paragraph (b) amend the definition of “personal representative” by removing “cemetery director”.

    The addition reads as follows:

    § 38.600 Definitions.

    (a)(1) Applicant defined—burial headstones and markers. An applicant for a headstone or marker that will mark the gravesite or burial site of an eligible deceased individual may be:

    (i) A decedent's family member, which includes the decedent's spouse or individual who was in a legal union as defined in 38 CFR 3.1702(b)(1)(ii) with the decedent; a child, parent, or sibling of the decedent, whether biological, adopted, or step relation; and any lineal or collateral descendant of the decedent;

    (ii) A personal representative, as defined in paragraph (b) of this section;

    (iii) A representative of a Congressionally-chartered Veterans Service Organization;

    (iv) An individual employed by the relevant state or local government whose official responsibilities include serving veterans and families of veterans, such as a state or county veterans service officer;

    (v) Any individual who is responsible, under the laws of the relevant state or locality, for the disposition of the unclaimed remains of the decedent or for other matters relating to the interment or memorialization of the decedent; or

    (vi) Any individual, if the dates of service of the veteran to be memorialized, or on whose service the eligibility of another individual for memorialization is based, ended prior to April 6, 1917.

    (2) Applicant defined—memorial headstones and markers. An applicant for a memorial headstone or marker to commemorate an eligible individual must be a member of the decedent's family, which includes the decedent's spouse or individual who was in a legal union as defined in 38 CFR 3.1702(b)(1)(ii) with the decedent; a child, parent, or sibling of the decedent, whether biological, adopted, or step relation; and any lineal or collateral descendant of the decedent.

    § 38.632 [Amended]
    3. Amend § 38.632(b)(1) by removing “a Government-furnished headstone or marker and, in appropriate instances,”.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04553 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 180 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0879; FRL-9940-36] Penoxsulam; Pesticide Tolerances AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulation establishes tolerances for residues of penoxsulam in or on multiple commodities which are identified and discussed later in this document. Interregional Research Project Number 4 (IR-4) requested these tolerances associated with pesticide petition number (PP#) 4E8330, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective March 2, 2016. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before May 2, 2016, and must be filed in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178 (see also Unit I.C. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0879, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

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

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

    • Crop production (NAICS code 111).

    • Animal production (NAICS code 112).

    • Food manufacturing (NAICS code 311).

    • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS code 32532).

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

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

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

    Under FFDCA section 408(g), 21 U.S.C. 346a, any person may file an objection to any aspect of this regulation and may also request a hearing on those objections. You must file your objection or request a hearing on this regulation in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, you must identify docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0879 in the subject line on the first page of your submission. All objections and requests for a hearing must be in writing, and must be received by the Hearing Clerk on or before May 2, 2016. Addresses for mail and hand delivery of objections and hearing requests are provided in 40 CFR 178.25(b).

    In addition to filing an objection or hearing request with the Hearing Clerk as described in 40 CFR part 178, please submit a copy of the filing (excluding any Confidential Business Information (CBI)) for inclusion in the public docket. Information not marked confidential pursuant to 40 CFR part 2 may be disclosed publicly by EPA without prior notice. Submit the non-CBI copy of your objection or hearing request, identified by docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0879, by one of the following methods:

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

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

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

    Additional instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more information about dockets generally, is available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    II. Summary of Petitioned-For Tolerance

    In the Federal Register of March 4, 2015 (80 FR 11611) (FRL-9922-68), EPA issued a document pursuant to FFDCA section 408(d)(3), 21 U.S.C. 346a(d)(3), announcing the filing of a pesticide petition (PP#) 4E8330 by Interregional Research Project Number 4 (IR-4), 500 College Road East, Princeton, NJ 08540. The petition requested that 40 CFR 180.605 be amended by establishing tolerances for residues of the herbicide penoxsulam, (2-(2,2-difluoroethoxy)-N-(5,8-dimethoxy[1,2,4] triazolo[1,5-c]pyrimidin-2-yl)-6-(trifluoromethyl)benzenesulfonamide), in or on fruit, pome, group 11-10 at 0.01 parts per million (ppm); fruit, stone, group 12-12 at 0.01 ppm; fruit, small, vine climbing, subgroup 13-07F, except fuzzy kiwifruit at 0.01 ppm; nut, tree, group 14-12 at 0.01 ppm; olive at 0.01 ppm; and pomegranate at 0.01 ppm. In addition, the petitioner proposed removal of existing tolerances on grape; nut, tree, group 14; and pistachio as they are superseded by this rule. That document referenced a summary of the petition prepared on behalf of IR-4 by Dow AgroSciences LLC, the registrant, which is available in the docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0879 at http://www.regulations.gov. There were no comments received in response to the notice of filing.

    III. Aggregate Risk Assessment and Determination of Safety

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

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

    A. Toxicological Profile

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

    In subchronic and chronic feeding studies in rats and dogs, the kidney was the most sensitive target organ. Hyperplasia of the renal pelvic epithelium was observed in both species, and in the rat, effects on renal function and increased severity of chronic glomerulonephropathy were also observed following chronic exposure. Effects on the liver, hematological parameters, and body weight were observed sporadically in some studies. In subchronic and chronic feeding studies in mice, no effects of toxicological significance were observed.

    There was no evidence of increased quantitative or qualitative susceptibility of fetuses or offspring, as compared to adults. In developmental toxicity studies in rats and rabbits, no developmental toxicity was observed at maternally toxic dose levels. In a 2-generation reproduction study in rats, delays in preputial separation were noted in the presence of parental toxicity. No treatment-related neurotoxicity or immunotoxicity were observed in any of the available studies on penoxsulam. No systemic or dermal toxicity was noted in a 28-day dermal toxicity study in rats.

    Although an increased incidence of mononuclear cell leukemia (MNCL) was observed in a chronic toxicity/carcinogenicity study in Fisher 344 rats, EPA determined that human cancer risk is likely to be minimal and is not conducting a separate quantitative cancer assessment for the following reasons: (1) Lack of a dose-response, suggesting that the tumor may not be treatment-related; (2) the tumors were found in only one gender and one species (they were not found in female rats or mice); (3) the tumors are of questionable relevance to humans since there is no similar tumor occurring in humans; (4) penoxsulam is negative for mutagenicity; and (5) MNCL is not associated with exposure to other triazolopyrimidines, which is the chemical class of herbicides to which penoxsulam belongs. Therefore, based on the current (2005) Agency guidelines for cancer assessment, EPA has determined that the chronic assessment will be protective of any potential cancer risks.

    Specific information on the studies received and the nature of the adverse effects caused by penoxsulam as well as the no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) and the lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level (LOAEL) from the toxicity studies can be found at http://www.regulations.gov in document, “Penoxsulam. Human Health New Use Risk Assessment to Support the Registration of Proposed Use on Pome Fruit, Stone Fruit, Olive, Pomegranate, and Fruit, Small, Vine Climbing (Subgroup 13-07F, Except Fuzzy Kiwifruit); and Crop Group Conversion for Tree Nuts” on pages 10-16 in docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0879.

    B. Toxicological Points of Departure/Levels of Concern

    Once a pesticide's toxicological profile is determined, EPA identifies toxicological points of departure (POD) and levels of concern to use in evaluating the risk posed by human exposure to the pesticide. For hazards that have a threshold below which there is no appreciable risk, the toxicological POD is used as the basis for derivation of reference values for risk assessment. PODs are developed based on a careful analysis of the doses in each toxicological study to determine the dose at which no adverse effects are observed (the NOAEL) and the lowest dose at which adverse effects of concern are identified (the LOAEL). Uncertainty/safety factors are used in conjunction with the POD to calculate a safe exposure level—generally referred to as a population-adjusted dose (PAD) or a reference dose (RfD)—and a safe margin of exposure (MOE). For non-threshold risks, the Agency assumes that any amount of exposure will lead to some degree of risk. Thus, the Agency estimates risk in terms of the probability of an occurrence of the adverse effect expected in a lifetime. For more information on the general principles EPA uses in risk characterization and a complete description of the risk assessment process, see http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/assessing-human-health-risk-pesticides.

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

    Table 1—Summary of Toxicological Doses and Endpoints for Penoxsulam for Use in Human Health Risk Assessment Exposure/scenario Point of departure and uncertainty/safety factors RfD, PAD, LOC for risk
  • assessment
  • Study and toxicological effects
    Acute dietary (All Populations, including Infants and Children and Females 13-49 years of age). No toxicological endpoint attributable to a single exposure was identified in the available toxicology studies on penoxsulam. This exposure scenario was therefore not assessed for human health risk. Chronic dietary (All populations). NOAEL = 14.7 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10 ×
  • UFH = 10 ×
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • Chronic RfD = 0.147 mg/kg/day
  • cPAD = 0.147 mg/kg/day
  • 1 Year Chronic Feeding Study in Dogs.
  • LOAEL = 46.2 mg/kg/day based on multifocal hyperplasia of the renal pelvic epithelium.
  • Incidental oral short-term (1 to 30 days). NOAEL= 17.8 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10 ×
  • UFH = 10 ×
  • FQPA SF = 1x
  • LOC for MOE = 100 13-Week Feeding Study in Dogs.
  • LOAEL = 49.4 mg/kg/day based on multifocal hyperplasia of the renal pelvic epithelium and crystals in the renal pelvis and collecting ducts.
  • Dermal (All Durations). An endpoint for systemic toxicity was not identified in the rat 28-day dermal study and there were no neurotoxic, developmental, or immunotoxic effects observed for penoxsulam. This exposure scenario was not assessed for human health risk. Inhalation Short-Term (1 to 30 days) and Intermediate-Term (1 to 6 months). NOAEL= 17.8 mg/kg/day
  • UFA = 10 ×
  • UFH = 10 ×
  • FQPA SF = 1×
  • LOC for MOE = 100 13-Week Feeding Study in Dogs.
  • LOAEL = 49.4 mg/kg/day based on multifocal hyperplasia of the renal pelvic epithelium and crystals in the renal pelvis and collecting ducts.
  • Cancer (Oral, dermal, inhalation). Classification: A separate quantitative cancer assessment is not being conducted as the cRfD is considered protective of potential carcinogenic effects. FQPA SF = Food Quality Protection Act Safety Factor. LOAEL = lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level. LOC = level of concern. mg/kg/day = milligram/kilogram/day. MOE = margin of exposure. NOAEL = no-observed-adverse-effect-level. PAD = population adjusted dose (a = acute, c = chronic). RfD = reference dose. UF = uncertainty factor. UFA = extrapolation from animal to human (interspecies). UFH = potential variation in sensitivity among members of the human population (intraspecies).
    C. Exposure Assessment

    1. Dietary exposure from food and feed uses. In evaluating dietary exposure to penoxsulam, EPA considered exposure under the petitioned-for tolerances as well as all existing penoxsulam tolerances in 40 CFR 180.605. EPA assessed dietary exposures from penoxsulam in food as follows:

    i. Acute exposure. Quantitative acute dietary exposure and risk assessments are performed for a food-use pesticide, if a toxicological study has indicated the possibility of an effect of concern occurring as a result of a 1-day or single exposure. No such effects were identified in the toxicological studies for penoxsulam; therefore, a quantitative acute dietary exposure assessment is unnecessary.

    ii. Chronic exposure. In conducting the chronic dietary exposure assessment EPA used the Dietary Exposure Evaluation Model software with the Food Commodity Intake Database (DEEM-FCID) Version 3.16. This software uses 2003-2008 food consumption data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, What We Eat in America, (NHANES/WWEIA). As to residue levels in food, EPA tolerance-level residues, 100 percent crop treated (PCT) for all commodities, and DEEM (Version 7.81) default processing factors.

    iii. Cancer. Based on the data summarized in Unit III.A., EPA has concluded that the chronic assessment for penoxsulam is considered protective of potential cancer risks. Therefore, a separate dietary exposure assessment for the purpose of assessing cancer risk is unnecessary.

    iv. Anticipated residue and percent crop treated (PCT) information. EPA did not use anticipated residue and/or PCT information in the dietary assessment for penoxsulam. Tolerance-level residues and/or 100 PCT were assumed for all food commodities.

    2. Dietary exposure from drinking water. In drinking water, the residues of concern include penoxsulam parent, along with the following degradates: BSTCA; 2-amino TCA; 5-OH-penoxsulam; SFA; sulfonamide; and 5,8-diOH. The Agency used screening-level water exposure models in the dietary exposure analysis and risk assessment for penoxsulam in drinking water. These simulation models take into account data on the physical, chemical, and fate/transport characteristics of penoxsulam. Further information regarding EPA drinking water models used in pesticide exposure assessment can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/about-water-exposure-models-used-pesticide.

    Penoxsulam is registered for control of aquatic weeds. For that use pattern, the maximum application rate is 150 parts per billion (ppb) in the water column. For chronic dietary risk assessment, the water concentration value of 150 ppb was used to assess the contribution to drinking water.

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

    Penoxsulam is currently registered for the following uses that could result in residential exposures: Residential and commercial turf (lawns and golf courses) and aquatic use sites. EPA assessed residential exposure using the following assumptions: For handlers, it is assumed that residential use will result in short-term (1 to 30 days) duration dermal and inhalation exposures. Residential post-application exposure is also assumed to be short-term (1-30 days) in duration, resulting from the following exposure scenarios:

    • Physical activities on turf: Adults (dermal) and children 1-2 years old (dermal and incidental oral);

    • mowing turf: Adults (dermal) and children 11 to <16 years old (dermal);

    • exposure to golf courses during golfing: Adults (dermal), children 11 to <16 years old (dermal), and children 6 to <11 years old (dermal); and

    • exposure during aquatic activities (e.g. swimming): Adults (dermal, inhalation, ingestion) and children 3 to <6 years old (dermal, inhalation, ingestion).

    Due to the lack of a dermal endpoint, EPA did not quantify exposure and risk estimates from dermal exposure scenarios. EPA did not combine exposure resulting from adult handler and post-application exposure resulting from treated gardens, lawns, golfing, and/or aquatic areas in residential settings because of the conservative assumptions and inputs within each estimated exposure scenario. The Agency believes that combining exposures resulting from handler and post-application activities would result in an overestimate of adult exposure. EPA selected the most conservative adult residential scenario (adult handler inhalation exposure from backpack sprayer applications to lawns/turf) as the contributing source of residential exposure to be combined with the dietary exposure for the aggregate assessment. The children's 3 to <6 oral exposure is based on post-application ingestion exposures during aquatic activities. The children's 1 to <2 oral exposure is based on post-application hand-to-mouth exposures from applications to lawns/turf. To include exposure from object-to-mouth and soil ingestion in addition to hand-to-mouth would overestimate the potential for oral exposure. Further information regarding EPA standard assumptions and generic inputs for residential exposures may be found at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/standard-operating-procedures-residential-pesticide.

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

    EPA has not found penoxsulam to share a common mechanism of toxicity with any other substances, and penoxsulam does not appear to produce a toxic metabolite produced by other substances. For the purposes of this tolerance action, therefore, EPA has assumed that penoxsulam does not have a common mechanism of toxicity with other substances. For information regarding EPA's efforts to determine which chemicals have a common mechanism of toxicity and to evaluate the cumulative effects of such chemicals, see EPA's Web site at http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-science-and-assessing-pesticide-risks/cumulative-assessment-risk-pesticides.

    D. Safety Factor for Infants and Children

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

    2. Prenatal and postnatal sensitivity. No evidence of quantitative or qualitative increased susceptibility, as compared to adults, of rat fetuses to in utero or postnatal exposure was observed in developmental toxicity studies in rats or rabbits or a reproduction study in rats. Developmental toxicity was not observed in the rat or rabbit up to doses resulting in maternal toxicity. In the rat reproductive toxicity study, slightly increased time to preputial separation in F1 males and decreased pup weight gain were observed in the presence of parental toxicity (kidney lesions in females).

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

    i. The toxicity database for penoxsulam is complete.

    ii. There is no indication that penoxsulam is a neurotoxic chemical and there is no need for a developmental neurotoxicity study or additional UFs to account for neurotoxicity.

    iii. There is no evidence that penoxsulam results in increased susceptibility in in utero rats or rabbits in the prenatal developmental studies or in young rats in the 2-generation reproduction study.

    iv. There are no residual uncertainties identified in the exposure databases. The dietary food exposure assessments were performed based on 100 PCT and tolerance-level residues. EPA made conservative (protective) assumptions in the ground and surface water modeling used to assess exposure to penoxsulam in drinking water. EPA used similarly conservative assumptions to assess postapplication exposure of children as well as incidental oral exposure of toddlers. These assessments will not underestimate the exposure and risks posed by penoxsulam.

    E. Aggregate Risks and Determination of Safety

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

    1. Acute risk. An acute aggregate risk assessment takes into account acute exposure estimates from dietary consumption of food and drinking water. No adverse effect resulting from a single oral exposure was identified and no acute dietary endpoint was selected. Therefore, penoxsulam is not expected to pose an acute risk.

    2. Chronic risk. Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for chronic exposure, EPA has concluded that chronic exposure to penoxsulam from food and water will utilize 6% of the cPAD for all infants <1 year old the population group receiving the greatest exposure. Based on the explanation in Unit III.C.3., regarding residential use patterns, chronic residential exposure to residues of penoxsulam is not expected.

    3. Short-term risk. Short-term aggregate exposure takes into account short-term residential exposure plus chronic exposure to food and water (considered to be a background exposure level). Penoxsulam is currently registered for uses that could result in short-term residential exposure, and the Agency has determined that it is appropriate to aggregate chronic exposure through food and water with short-term residential exposures to penoxsulam.

    Using the exposure assumptions described in this unit for short-term exposures, EPA has concluded the combined short-term food, water, and residential exposures result in aggregate MOEs of 5,400 for adults and 2,100 for children 1-2 years old, the two population subgroups receiving the greatest combined dietary and non-dietary exposure. Because EPA's level of concern for penoxsulam is a MOE of 100 or below, these MOEs are not of concern.

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

    5. Aggregate cancer risk for U.S. population. As discussed in Unit III.A., EPA determined that the chronic assessment is protective of the potential cancer risks. Based on the chronic assessment, there is no concern for an aggregate cancer risk from exposure to penoxsulam.

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

    IV. Other Considerations A. Analytical Enforcement Methodology

    Adequate enforcement methodology, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) methods with positive-ion electro spray interface (ESI) and tandem mass spectroscopy-mass spectroscopy detector (LC/MS/MS), is available to enforce the tolerance expression.

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

    B. International Residue Limits

    In making its tolerance decisions, EPA seeks to harmonize U.S. tolerances with international standards whenever possible, consistent with U.S. food safety standards and agricultural practices. EPA considers the international maximum residue limits (MRLs) established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), as required by FFDCA section 408(b)(4). The Codex Alimentarius is a joint United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization food standards program, and it is recognized as an international food safety standards-setting organization in trade agreements to which the United States is a party. EPA may establish a tolerance that is different from a Codex MRL; however, FFDCA section 408(b)(4) requires that EPA explain the reasons for departing from the Codex level. There are currently no established Codex MRLs for the residues of penoxsulam.

    C. Revisions to Petitioned-For Tolerances

    EPA has revised the tolerance expression to clarify first, that, as provided in FFDCA section 408(a)(3), the tolerance covers metabolites and degradates of penoxsulam not specifically mentioned; and second, that compliance with the specified tolerance levels is to be determined by measuring only the specific compounds mentioned in the tolerance expression.

    V. Conclusion

    Therefore, tolerances are established for residues of penoxsulam, (2-(2,2-difluoroethoxy)-N-(5,8-dimethoxy[1,2,4] triazolo[1,5-c]pyrimidin-2-yl)-6-(trifluoromethyl)benzenesulfonamide), in or on fruit, pome, group 11-10 at 0.01 ppm; fruit, small, vine climbing subgroup 13-07F, except fuzzy kiwifruit at 0.01 ppm; fruit, stone, group 12-12 at 0.01 ppm; nut, tree, group 14-12 at 0.01 ppm; olive at 0.01 ppm; and pomegranate at 0.01 ppm. Additionally, the existing tolerances for grape; nut, tree, group 14; and pistachio are removed.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

    VII. Congressional Review Act

    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180

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

    Dated: February 23, 2016. Susan Lewis, Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

    Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows:

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

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

    2. In § 180.605, paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:
    § 180.605 Penoxsulam; tolerances for residues.

    (a) General. Tolerances are established for residues of penoxsulam, including its metabolites and degradates, in or on the commodities listed in the table below. Compliance with the tolerance levels specified below is to be determined by measuring only penoxsulam 2-(2,2-difluoroethoxy)-N-(5,8-dimethoxy[1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-c] pyrimidin-2-yl)-6-(trifluoromethyl) benzenesulfonamide, in or on the commodity.

    Commodity Parts per
  • million
  • Almond, hulls 0.01 Fish 0.01 Fish, shellfish, crustacean 0.01 Fish, shellfish, mollusc 0.02 Fruit, pome, group 11-10 0.01 Fruit, small, vine climbing, subgroup 13-07F, except fuzzy kiwifruit 0.01 Fruit, stone, group 12-12 0.01 Nut, tree, group 14-12 0.01 Olive 0.01 Pomegranate 0.01 Rice, grain 0.02 Rice, straw 0.50
    [FR Doc. 2016-04598 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 180 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0485; FRL-9942-48] Alpha-[2,4,6-Tris[1-(phenyl)ethyl]phenyl]-Omega-hydroxy poly(oxyethylene) poly(oxypropylene) copolymer; Tolerance Exemption AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulation establishes an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of Alpha-[2,4,6-Tris[1-(phenyl)ethyl]phenyl]-Omega-hydroxy poly(oxyethylene) poly(oxypropylene) copolymer, the poly(oxypropylene) content averages 2-8 moles, the poly(oxyethylene) content averages 16-30 moles, when used as an inert ingredient in a pesticide formulation. Stepan Co. submitted a petition to EPA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), requesting an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance. This regulation eliminates the need to establish a maximum permissible level for residues of Alpha-[2,4,6-Tris[1-(phenyl)ethyl]phenyl]-Omega-hydroxy poly(oxyethylene) poly(oxypropylene) copolymer, the poly(oxypropylene) content averages 2-8 moles, the poly(oxyethylene) content averages 16-30 moles, on food or feed commodities.

    DATES:

    This regulation is effective March 2, 2016. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before May 2, 2016, and must be filed in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178 (see also Unit I.C. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0485, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPP Docket is (703) 305-5805. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

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

    • Crop production (NAICS code 111).

    • Animal production (NAICS code 112).

    • Food manufacturing (NAICS code 311).

    • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS code 32532).

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

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

    C. Can I file an objection or hearing request?

    Under FFDCA section 408(g), 21 U.S.C. 346a, any person may file an objection to any aspect of this regulation and may also request a hearing on those objections. You must file your objection or request a hearing on this regulation in accordance with the instructions provided in 40 CFR part 178. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, you must identify docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0485 in the subject line on the first page of your submission. All objections and requests for a hearing must be in writing, and must be received by the Hearing Clerk on or before May 2, 2016. Addresses for mail and hand delivery of objections and hearing requests are provided in 40 CFR 178.25(b).

    In addition to filing an objection or hearing request with the Hearing Clerk as described in 40 CFR part 178, please submit a copy of the filing (excluding any Confidential Business Information (CBI)) for inclusion in the public docket. Information not marked confidential pursuant to 40 CFR part 2 may be disclosed publicly by EPA without prior notice. Submit the non-CBI copy of your objection or hearing request, identified by docket ID number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0485, by one of the following methods.

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

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

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

    Additional instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more information about dockets generally, is available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    II. Background and Statutory Findings

    In the Federal Register of Wednesday, August 26, 2015 (80 FR 51763) (FRL-9931-74), EPA issued a document pursuant to FFDCA section 408, 21 U.S.C. 346a, announcing the receipt of a pesticide petition (PP IN-10837) filed by Stepan Company, 22 West Frontage Road, Northfield, IL 60093. The petition requested that 40 CFR 180.960 be amended by establishing an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of Alpha-[2,4,6-Tris[1-(phenyl)ethyl]phenyl]-Omega-hydroxy poly(oxyethylene) poly(oxypropylene) copolymer, the poly(oxypropylene) content averages 2-8 moles, the poly(oxyethylene) content averages 16-30 moles; CAS No. 70880-56-7. That document included a summary of the petition prepared by the petitioner and solicited comments on the petitioner's request. The Agency did not receive any comments.

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

    III. Risk Assessment and Statutory Findings

    EPA establishes exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance only in those cases where it can be shown that the risks from aggregate exposure to pesticide chemical residues under reasonably foreseeable circumstances will pose no appreciable risks to human health. In order to determine the risks from aggregate exposure to pesticide inert ingredients, the Agency considers the toxicity of the inert in conjunction with possible exposure to residues of the inert ingredient through food, drinking water, and through other exposures that occur as a result of pesticide use in residential settings. If EPA is able to determine that a finite tolerance is not necessary to ensure that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the inert ingredient, an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance may be established.

    Consistent with FFDCA section 408(b)(2)(D), EPA has reviewed the available scientific data and other relevant information in support of this action and considered its validity, completeness and reliability and the relationship of this information to human risk. EPA has also considered available information concerning the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable subgroups of consumers, including infants and children. In the case of certain chemical substances that are defined as polymers, the Agency has established a set of criteria to identify categories of polymers expected to present minimal or no risk. The definition of a polymer is given in 40 CFR 723.250(b) and the exclusion criteria for identifying these low-risk polymers are described in 40 CFR 723.250(d). The polymer conforms to the definition of a polymer given in 40 CFR 723.250(b) and meets the following criteria that are used to identify low-risk polymers:

    1. The polymer is not a cationic polymer nor is it reasonably anticipated to become a cationic polymer in a natural aquatic environment.

    2. The polymer does contain as an integral part of its composition the atomic elements carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

    3. The polymer does not contain as an integral part of its composition, except as impurities, any element other than those listed in 40 CFR 723.250(d)(2)(ii).

    4. The polymer is neither designed nor can it be reasonably anticipated to substantially degrade, decompose, or depolymerize.

    5. The polymer is manufactured or imported from monomers and/or reactants that are already included on the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory or manufactured under an applicable TSCA section 5 exemption.

    6. The polymer is not a water absorbing polymer with a number average molecular weight (MW) greater than or equal to 10,000 Daltons.

    Additionally, the polymer also meets as required the following exemption criteria specified in 40 CFR 723.250(e).

    7. The polymer's minimum number average MW (in amu) of 1,500 is greater than 1,000 and less than 10,000 Daltons. The polymer contains less than 10% oligomeric material below MW 500 and less than 25% oligomeric material below MW 1,000, and the polymer does not contain any reactive functional groups.

    Thus, the polymer meets the criteria for a polymer to be considered low risk under 40 CFR 723.250. Based on its conformance to the criteria in this unit, no mammalian toxicity is anticipated from dietary, inhalation, or dermal exposure to the polymer.

    IV. Aggregate Exposures

    For the purposes of assessing potential exposure under this exemption, EPA considered that the polymer could be present in all raw and processed agricultural commodities and drinking water, and that non-occupational non-dietary exposure was possible. The number average MW of the polymer is 1,500 Daltons. Generally, a polymer of this size would be poorly absorbed through the intact gastrointestinal tract or through intact human skin. Since the polymer conform to the criteria that identify a low-risk polymer, there are no concerns for risks associated with any potential exposure scenarios that are reasonably foreseeable. The Agency has determined that a tolerance is not necessary to protect the public health.

    V. Cumulative Effects From Substances With a Common Mechanism of Toxicity

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

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

    VI. Additional Safety Factor for the Protection of Infants and Children

    Section 408(b)(2)(C) of FFDCA provides that EPA shall apply an additional tenfold margin of safety for infants and children in the case of threshold effects to account for prenatal and postnatal toxicity and the completeness of the data base unless EPA concludes that a different margin of safety will be safe for infants and children. Due to the expected low toxicity of the polymer, EPA has not used a safety factor analysis to assess the risk. For the same reasons the additional tenfold safety factor is unnecessary.

    VII. Determination of Safety

    Based on the conformance to the criteria used to identify a low-risk polymer, EPA concludes that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm to the U.S. population, including infants and children, from aggregate exposure to residues of the polymer.

    VIII. Other Considerations A. Analytical Enforcement Methodology

    An analytical method is not required for enforcement purposes since the Agency is establishing an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance without any numerical limitation.

    B. International Residue Limits

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

    The Codex has not established a MRL for Alpha-[2,4,6-Tris[1-(phenyl)ethyl]phenyl]-Omega-hydroxy poly(oxyethylene) poly(oxypropylene) copolymer, the poly(oxypropylene) content averages 2-8 moles, the poly(oxyethylene) content averages 16-30 moles.

    IX. Conclusion

    Accordingly, EPA finds that exempting residues of the polymer from the requirement of a tolerance will be safe.

    X. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

    XI. Congressional Review Act

    Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 180

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

    Dated: February 24, 2016. Susan Lewis, Director Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

    Therefore, 40 CFR chapter I is amended as follows:

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

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

    2. In § 180.960, add alphabetically the following entry in the table to read as follows:
    § 180.960 Polymers; exemptions from the requirement of a tolerance. Polymer CAS No. *         *         *         *         *         *         * Alpha-[2,4,6-Tris[1-(phenyl)ethyl]phenyl]-Omega-hydroxy poly(oxyethylene) poly(oxypropylene) copolymer, the poly(oxypropylene) content averages 2-8 moles, the poly(oxyethylene) content averages 16-30 moles. Minimum number-average molecular weight (in amu) of 1,500 70880-56-7 *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2016-04599 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    81 41 Wednesday, March 2, 2016 Proposed Rules NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 10 CFR Part 50 [NRC-2012-0059] RIN 3150-AJ13 Approval of American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Code Cases AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing to amend its regulations to incorporate by reference proposed revisions of three regulatory guides (RGs) which would approve new, revised, and reaffirmed Code Cases published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). This proposed action would allow nuclear power plant licensees, and applicants for construction permits, operating licenses, combined licenses, standard design certifications, standard design approvals and manufacturing licenses, to use the Code Cases listed in these draft RGs as alternatives to engineering standards for the construction, inservice inspection, and inservice testing of nuclear power plant components. These engineering standards are set forth in ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Codes and ASME Operations and Maintenance Codes, which are currently incorporated by reference into the NRC's regulations. The NRC is requesting comments on this proposed rule and on the draft versions of the three RGs proposed to be incorporated by reference. The NRC is also making available a related draft RG that lists Code Cases that the NRC has not approved for use. This draft RG will not be incorporated by reference into the NRC's regulations.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on the proposed rule and related guidance by May 16, 2016. Submit comments specific to the information collections aspects of this rule by April 1, 2016. Comments received after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is able to ensure consideration only of comments received on or before this date.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods (unless this document describes a different method for submitting comments on a specific subject):

    • Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2012-0059. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: [email protected] For technical questions contact the individuals listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.

    Email comments to: [email protected] If you do not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, then contact us at 301-415-1677.

    Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 301-415-1101.

    Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff.

    Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. (Eastern Time) Federal workdays; telephone: 301-415-1677.

    For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting comments, see “Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments” in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jennifer Tobin, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, telephone: 301-415-2328, email: [email protected]; and Anthony Cinson, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research, telephone: 301-415-2393; email: [email protected]. Both are staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Executive Summary

    The purpose of this regulatory action is to incorporate by reference into the NRC regulations the latest revisions of three RGs (currently in draft form for comment). The three draft RGs identify new, revised, and reaffirmed Code Cases published by the ASME, which the NRC has determined are acceptable for use as alternatives to compliance with certain provisions of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Codes and ASME Operations and Maintenance Codes currently incorporated by reference into the NRC's regulations. The three draft RGs that the NRC proposes to incorporate by reference are RG 1.84, “Design, Fabrication, and Materials Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section III,” Revision 37 (Draft Regulatory Guide (DG)-1295); RG 1.147, “Inservice Inspection Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section XI, Division 1,” Revision 18 (DG-1296); and RG 1.192, “Operation and Maintenance [OM] Code Case Acceptability, ASME OM Code,” Revision 2 (DG-1297). This proposed action would allow nuclear power plant licensees and applicants for construction permits (CPs), operating licenses (OLs), combined licenses (COLs), standard design certifications, standard design approvals, and manufacturing licenses, to use the Code Cases newly listed in these revised RGs as alternatives to engineering standards for the construction, inservice inspection (ISI), and inservice testing (IST) of nuclear power plant components. The NRC also notes the availability of a proposed version of RG 1.193, “ASME Code Cases Not Approved for Use,” Revision 5 (DG-1298). This document lists Code Cases that the NRC has not approved for generic use, and will not be incorporated by reference into the NRC's regulations. The NRC is not requesting comment on RG 1.193.

    The NRC prepared a draft regulatory analysis to determine the expected quantitative costs and benefits of the proposed rule, as well as qualitative factors to be considered in the NRC's rulemaking decision. The analysis concluded that the proposed rule would result in net savings to the industry and the NRC. As shown in the following table, the estimated total net benefit relative to the regulatory baseline, the quantitative benefits outweigh the costs by a range from approximately $5,504,000 (7-percent NPV) to $6,520,000 (3-percent NPV).

    Attribute Total averted costs (Costs) Undiscounted 7% NPV 3% NPV Industry Implementation ($1,933,000) ($1,933,000) ($1,933,000) Industry Operation $7,771,000 $6,375,000 $7,124,000 Total Industry Costs $4,517,000 $3,353,000 $3,978,000 NRC Implementation ($294,000) ($294,000) ($294,000) NRC Operation $3,190,000 $2,444,000 $2,836,000 Total NRC Cost $2,896,000 $2,151,000 $2,543,000 Net $7,413,000 $5,504,000 $6,520,000

    The regulatory analysis also considered the following nonquantifiable benefits for industry and the NRC: (1) Would provide licensees with flexibility and would decrease licensee's uncertainty when making modifications or preparing to perform ISI or IST; (2) consistency with the provisions of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA), which encourages Federal regulatory agencies to consider adopting voluntary consensus standards as an alternative to de novo agency development of standards affecting an industry; (3) consistency with the NRC's policy of evaluating the latest versions of consensus standards in terms of their suitability for endorsement by regulations and regulatory guides; and (4) consistency with the NRC's goal to harmonize with international standards to improve regulatory efficiency for both the NRC and international standards groups.

    The draft regulatory analysis concludes that the proposed rule should be adopted because it is justified when integrating the cost-beneficial quantitative results and the positive and supporting nonquantitative considerations in the decision. For more information, please see the regulatory analysis (ADAMS Accession No. ML15041A816).

    Table of Contents I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information B. Submitting Comments II. Background III. Discussion A. Code Cases Proposed To Be Approved for Unconditional Use B. Code Cases Proposed To Be Approved for Use With Conditions ASME BPV Code, Section III Code Cases (DG-1295/RG 1.84) ASME BPV Code, Section XI Code Cases (DG-1296/RG 1.147) OM Code Cases (DG-1297/RG 1.192) C. ASME Code Cases Not Approved for Use (DG-1298/RG 1.193) IV. Section-by-Section Analysis V. Regulatory Flexibility Certification VI. Regulatory Analysis VII. Backfitting and Issue Finality VIII. Plain Writing IX. Incorporation by Reference—Reasonable Availability to Interested Parties X. Environmental Assessment and Proposed Finding of No Significant Environmental Impact XI. Paperwork Reduction Act Statement XII. Voluntary Consensus Standards XIII. Availability of Documents I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2012-0059 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this action by any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2012-0059.

    • NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected] For the convenience of the reader, instructions about obtaining materials referenced in this document are provided in the “Availability of Documents” section.

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

    B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2012-0059 in your comment submission.

    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions into ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove identifying or contact information.

    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove such information before making the comment submissions available to the public or entering the comment into ADAMS.

    II. Background

    The ASME develops and publishes the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPV Code), which contains requirements for the design, construction, and ISI and examination of nuclear power plant components, and the ASME Code for Operation and Maintenance of Nuclear Power Plants (OM Code) 1 , which contains requirements for IST of nuclear power plant components. In response to BPV and OM Code user requests, the ASME develops Code Cases that provide alternatives to BPV and OM Code requirements under special circumstances.

    1 The editions and addenda of the ASME Code for Operation and Maintenance of Nuclear Power Plants have had different titles from 2005 to 2012, and are referred to collectively in this rule as the “OM Code.”

    The NRC approves and can mandate the use of the ASME BPV and OM Codes in § 50.55a, “Codes and standards,” of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) through the process of incorporation by reference. As such, each provision of the ASME Codes incorporated by reference into, and mandated by § 50.55a constitutes a legally-binding NRC requirement imposed by rule. As noted previously, ASME Code Cases, for the most part, represent alternative approaches for complying with provisions of the ASME BPV and OM Codes. Accordingly, the NRC periodically amends § 50.55a to incorporate by reference NRC RGs listing approved ASME Code Cases that may be used as alternatives to the BPV and OM Codes.2

    2 See “Incorporation by Reference of ASME BPV and OM Code Cases” (68 FR 40469; July 8, 2003).

    This rulemaking is the latest in a series of rulemakings that incorporate by reference new versions of several RGs identifying new, revised, and reaffirmed,3 and unconditionally or conditionally acceptable ASME Code Cases that the NRC approves for use. In developing these RGs, the NRC staff reviews ASME BPV and OM Code Cases, determines the acceptability of each Code Case, and publishes its findings in the RGs. The RGs are revised periodically as new Code Cases are published by the ASME. The NRC incorporates by reference the RGs listing acceptable and conditionally acceptable ASME Code Cases into § 50.55a. Currently, NRC RG 1.84, “Design, Fabrication, and Materials Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section III,” Revision 36; RG 1.147, “Inservice Inspection Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section XI, Division 1,” Revision 17; and RG 1.192, “Operation and Maintenance Code Case Acceptability, ASME OM Code,” Revision 1, are incorporated into the NRC's regulations in § 50.55a.

    3 Code Cases are categorized by ASME as one of three types: New, revised, or reaffirmed. A new Code Case provides for a new alternative to specific ASME Code provisions or addresses a new need. The ASME defines a revised Code Case to be a revision (modification) to an existing Code Case to address, for example, technological advancements in examination techniques or to address NRC conditions imposed in one of the RGs that have been incorporated by reference into § 50.55a. The ASME defines “reaffirmed” as an OM Code Case to be one that does not have any change to technical content, but includes editorial changes.

    III. Discussion

    This proposed rule would incorporate by reference the latest revisions of the NRC RGs that list ASME BPV and OM Code Cases that the NRC finds to be acceptable, or acceptable with NRC-specified conditions (“conditionally acceptable”). Regulatory Guide 1.84 (DG-1295, Revision 37) would supersede Revision 36; RG 1.147 (DG-1296, Revision 18) would supersede Revision 17; and RG 1.192 (DG-1297, Revision 2) would supersede Revision 1. The NRC also publishes a document (RG 1.193, “ASME Code Cases Not Approved for Use”) that lists Code Cases that the NRC has not approved for generic use.

    RG 1.193 is not incorporated by reference into the NRC's regulations; however, NRC notes the availability of a proposed version of RG 1.193, Revision 5 (DG-1298). The NRC is not requesting comment on DG-1298.

    The ASME Code Cases that are the subject of this rulemaking are the new, revised, and reaffirmed Section III and Section XI Code Cases listed in Supplement 11 to the 2007 BPV Code through Supplement 10 to the 2010 BPV Code, and the OM Code Cases published with the 2009 Edition through the 2012 Edition.

    The latest editions and addenda of the ASME BPV and OM Codes that the NRC has approved for use are referenced in § 50.55a. The ASME also publishes Code Cases that provide alternatives to existing Code requirements that the ASME developed and approved. The proposed rule would incorporate by reference RGs 1.84, 1.147, and 1.192, allowing nuclear power plant licensees, and applicants for CPs, OLs, COLs, standard design certifications, standard design approvals, and manufacturing licenses under the regulations that govern license certifications to use the Code Cases listed in these RGs as suitable alternatives to the ASME BPV and OM Codes for the construction, ISI, and IST of nuclear power plant components. This action would be consistent with the provisions of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA), Public Law 104-113, which encourages Federal regulatory agencies to consider adopting industry consensus standards as an alternative to de novo agency development of standards affecting an industry. This action would also be consistent with the NRC policy of evaluating the latest versions of consensus standards in terms of their suitability for endorsement by regulations or regulatory guides.

    The NRC follows a three-step process to determine acceptability of new, revised, and reaffirmed Code Cases, and the need for regulatory positions on the uses of these Code Cases. This process was employed in the review of the Code Cases in Supplement 11 to the 2007 Edition through Supplement 10 to the 2010 Edition of the BPV Code and the 2009 Edition through the 2012 Edition of the OM Code. The Code Cases in these supplements and OM Editions and Addenda are the subject of this proposed rule. First, the ASME develops Code Cases through a consensus development process, as administered by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which ensures that the various technical interests (e.g., utility, manufacturing, insurance, regulatory) are represented on standards development committees and that their view points are addressed fairly. The NRC staff actively participates through full involvement in discussions and technical debates of the task groups, working groups, subgroups, and standards committee regarding the development of new and revised standards. The Code Case process includes development of a technical justification in support of each new or revised Code Case. The ASME committee meetings are open to the public and attendees are encouraged to participate. Task groups, working groups, and subgroups report to a standards committee. The standards committee is the decisive consensus committee in that it ensures that the development process fully complies with the ANSI consensus process.

    Second, the standards committee transmits a first consideration letter ballot to every member of the standards committee requesting comment or approval of new and revised Code Cases. Code Cases are approved by the standards committee from the first consideration letter ballot when at least two thirds of the eligible consensus committee membership vote approved, there are no disapprovals from the standards committee, and no substantive comments are received from the ASME oversight committees such as the Technical Oversight Management Committee (TOMC). The TOMC's duties, in part, are to oversee various standards committees to ensure technical adequacy and to provide recommendations in the development of codes and standards, as required. Code Cases that were disapproved or received substantive comments from the first consideration ballot are reviewed by the working level group(s) responsible for their development to consider the comments received. These Code Cases are approved by the standards committee on second consideration when at least two thirds of the eligible consensus committee membership vote approved, and there are no more than three disapprovals from the consensus committee.

    Third, the NRC reviews new, revised, and reaffirmed Code Cases to determine their acceptability for incorporation by reference in § 50.55a through the subject RGs. This rulemaking process, when considered together with the ANSI process for developing and approving the ASME codes and standards, and Code Cases, constitutes the NRC's basis that the Code Cases (with conditions as necessary) provide reasonable assurance of adequate protection to public health and safety.

    The NRC reviewed the new, revised, and reaffirmed Code Cases identified in the three draft regulatory guides proposed to be incorporated by reference into § 50.55a in this rulemaking. The NRC proposes to conclude, in accordance with the process described, that the Code Cases are technically adequate (with conditions as necessary) and consistent with current NRC regulations, and referencing these Code Cases in the applicable RGs, thereby approving them for use subject to the specified conditions.

    A. Code Cases Proposed To Be Approved for Unconditional Use

    The Code Cases that are discussed in TABLE I are new, revised or reaffirmed Code Cases in which the NRC is not proposing any conditions. The NRC concludes, in accordance with the process described for review of ASME Code Cases, that each of the ASME Code Cases listed in TABLE I are acceptable for use without conditions. Therefore, the NRC proposes to approve for unconditional use the Code Cases listed in TABLE I. This table identifies the draft regulatory guide listing the applicable Code Case that the NRC proposes to approve for use.

    Table I—Code Cases Proposed for Unconditional Use Code Case No. Supplement Title Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section III (addressed in DG-1295, Table 1) N-284-3 7 (10 Edition) Metal Containment Shell Buckling Design Methods, Class MC, TC, and SC Construction, Section III, Divisions 1 and 3. N-500-4 8 (10 Edition) Alternative Rules for Standard Supports for Classes 1, 2, 3, and MC, Section III, Division 1. N-520-5 10 (10 Edition) Alternative Rules for Renewal of Active or Expired N-type Certificates for Plants Not in Active Construction, Section III, Division 1. N-594-1 8 (10 Edition) Repairs to P-4 and P-5A Castings without Postweld Heat Treatment Class 1, 2, and 3 Construction, Section III, Division 1. N-637-1 3 (10 Edition) Use of 44Fe-25Ni-21Cr-Mo (Alloy UNS N08904) Plate, Bar, Fittings, Welded Pipe, and Welded Tube, Classes 2 and 3, Section III, Division 1. N-655-2 4 (10 Edition) Use of SA-738, Grade B, for Metal Containment Vessels, Class MC, Section III, Division 1. N-763 2 (10 Edition) ASTM A 709-06, Grade HPS 70W (HPS 485W) Plate Material Without Postweld Heat Treatment as Containment Liner Material or Structural Attachments to the Containment Liner, Section III, Division 2. N-777 4 (10 Edition) Calibration of Cv Impact Test Machines, Section III, Divisions 1, 2, and 3. N-785 11 (07 Edition) Use of SA-479/SA-479M, UNS S41500 for Class 1 Welded Construction, Section III, Division 1. N-811 7 (10 Edition) Alternative Qualification Requirements for Concrete Level III Inspection Personnel, Section III, Division 2. N-815 8 (10 Edition). Use of SA-358/SA-358M Grades Fabricated as Class 3 or Class 4 Welded Pipe, Class CS Core Support Construction, Section III, Division 1. N-816 8 (10 Edition) Use of Temper Bead Weld Repair Rules Adopted in 2010 Edition and Earlier Editions, Section III, Division 1. N-817 8 (10 Edition). Use of Die Forgings, SB-247, UNS A96061 Class T6, With Thickness 4.000 in. Material, Class 2 Construction (1992 Edition or Later), Section III, Division 1. N-819 8 (10 Edition) Use of Die Forgings, SB-247, UNS A96061 Class T6, With Thickness 4.000 in. Material, Class 2 Construction (1989 Edition with the 1991 Addenda or Earlier), Section III, Division 1. N-822 8 (10 Edition) Application of the ASME Certification Mark, Section III, Divisions 1, 2, 3, and 5. Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section XI (addressed in DG-1296, Table 1) N-609-1 3 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements to Stress-Based Selection Criteria for Category B-J Welds, Section XI, Division 1. N-613-2 4 (10 Edition) Ultrasonic Examination of Full Penetration Nozzles in Vessels, Examination Category B-D, Reactor Nozzle-To-Vessel Welds, and Nozzle Inside Radius Section Figs. IWB-2500-7(a), (b), (c), and (d), Section XI, Division 1. N-652-2 9 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements to Categorize B-G-1, B-G-2, and C-D Bolting Examination Methods and Selection Criteria, Section XI, Division 1. N-653-1 9 (10 Edition) Qualification Requirements for Full Structural Overlaid Wrought Austenitic Piping Welds, Section XI, Division 1. N-694-2 4 1 (13 Edition) Evaluation Procedure and Acceptance Criteria for [pressurized water reactors] (PWR) Reactor Vessel Head Penetration Nozzles, Section XI, Division 1. N-730-1 10 (10 Edition) Roll Expansion of Class 1 Control Rod Drive Bottom Head Penetrations in [boiling water reactors] BWRs, Section XI, Division 1. N-769-2 10 (10 Edition) Roll Expansion of Class 1 In-Core Housing Bottom Head Penetrations in BWRs, Section XI, Division 1. N-771 7 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements for Additional Examinations of Class 2 or 3 Items, Section XI, Division 1. N-775 2 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements for Bolting Affected by Borated Water Leakage, Section XI, Division 1. N-776 1 (10 Edition) Alternative to IWA-5244 Requirements for Buried Piping, Section XI, Division 1. N-786 5 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements for Sleeve Reinforcement of Class 2 and 3 Moderate-Energy Carbon Steel Piping, Section XI, Division 1. N-798 4 (10 Edition) Alternative Pressure Testing Requirements for Class 1 Piping Between the First and Second Vent, Drain, and Test Isolation Devices, Section XI, Division 1. N-800 4 (10 Edition) Alternative Pressure Testing Requirements for Class 1 Piping Between the First and Second Injection Valves, Section XI, Division 1. N-803 5 (10 Edition) Similar and Dissimilar Metal Welding Using Ambient Temperature Automatic or Machine Dry Underwater Laser Beam Welding (ULBW) Temper Bead Technique, Section XI, Division 1. N-805 6 (10 Edition) Alternative to Class 1 Extended Boundary End of Interval or Class 2 System Leakage Testing of the Reactor Vessel Head Flange O-Ring Leak-Detection System, Section XI, Division 1. N-823 9 (10 Edition) Visual Examination, Section XI, Division 1. N-825 5 3 (13 Edition) Alternative Requirements for Examination of Control Rod Drive Housing Welds, Section XI, Division 1. N-845 6 6 (13 Edition) Qualification Requirements for Bolts and Studs, Section XI, Division 1. Code for Operations and Maintenance (OM) (addressed in DG-1297, Table 1) Code Case No. Edition Title OMN-2 2012 Edition Thermal Relief Valve Code Case, OM Code-1995, Appendix I OMN-5 2012 Edition Testing of Liquid Service Relief Valves without Insulation. OMN-6 2012 Edition Alternative Rules for Digital Instruments. OMN-7 2012 Edition Alternative Requirements for Pump Testing. OMN-8 2012 Edition Alternative Rules for Preservice and Inservice Testing of Power-Operated Valves That Are Used for System Control and Have a Safety Function per OM-10, ISTC-1.1, or ISTA-1100. OMN-13, Revision 2 2012 Edition Performance-Based Requirements for Extending Snubber Inservice Visual Examination Interval at [light water reactor] (LWR) Power Plants. OMN-14 2012 Edition Alternative Rules for Valve Testing Operations and Maintenance, Appendix I: BWR [control rod drive] CRD Rupture Disk Exclusion. OMN-15, Revision 2 2012 Edition Performance-Based Requirements for Extending the Snubber Operational Readiness Testing Interval at LWR Power Plants. OMN-17 2012 Edition Alternative Rules for Testing ASME Class 1 Pressure Relief/Safety Valves. OMN-20 2012 Edition Inservice Test Frequency. 4 Code Case published in Supplement 1 to the 2013 Edition; included at the request of ASME. 5 Code Case published in Supplement 3 to the 2013 Edition; included at the request of ASME. 6 Code Case published in Supplement 6 to the 2013 Edition; included at the request of ASME. B. Code Cases Proposed To Be Approved for Use With Conditions

    The Code Cases that are discussed in TABLE II are new, revised or reaffirmed Code Cases in which the NRC is proposing conditions. The NRC has determined that certain Code Cases, as issued by the ASME, are generally acceptable for use, but that the alternative requirements specified in those Code Cases must be supplemented in order to provide an acceptable level of quality and safety. Accordingly, the NRC proposes to impose conditions on the use of these Code Cases to modify, limit or clarify their requirements. The conditions would specify, for each applicable Code Case, the additional activities that must be performed, the limits on the activities specified in the Code Case, and/or the supplemental information needed to provide clarity. These ASME Code Cases with conditions are included in Table 2 of DG-1295 (RG 1.84), DG-1296 (RG 1.147), and DG-1297 (RG 1.192). No new ASME Code Cases with conditions are proposed to be listed in Table 2 of DG-1295 (RG 1.84).

    Table II—Code Cases Proposed for Conditional Use Code Case No. Supplement Title Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section III (addressed in DG-1295, Table 2) No ASME Section III Code Cases are proposed for Conditional Approval in this Rulemaking Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section XI (addressed in DG-1296, Table 2) N-552-1 10 (10 Edition) Alternative Methods—Qualification for Nozzle Inside Radius Section from the Outside Surface, Section XI, Division 1. N-576-2 9 (10 Edition) Repair of Class 1 and 2 SB-163, UNS N06600 Steam Generator Tubing, Section XI, Division 1. N-593-2 8 (10 Edition) Examination Requirements for Steam Generator Nozzle-to-Vessel Welds, Section XI, Division 1. N-638-6 6 (10 Edition) Similar and Dissimilar Metal Welding Using Ambient Temperature Machine GTAW Temper Bead Technique, Section XI, Division 1. N-662-1 6 (10 Edition) Alternative Repair/Replacement Requirements for Items Classified in Accordance with Risk-Informed Processes, Section XI, Division 1. N-666-1 9 (10 Edition) Weld Overlay of Classes 1, 2, and 3 Socket Welded Connections, Section XI, Division 1. N-749 9 (10 Edition) Alternative Acceptance Criteria for Flaws in Ferritic Steel Components Operating in the Upper Shelf Temperature Range, Section XI, Division 1. N-754 6 (10 Edition) Optimized Structural Dissimilar Metal Weld Overlay for Mitigation of PWR Class 1 Items, Section XI, Division 1. N-778 6 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements for Preparation and Submittal of Inservice Inspection Plans, Schedules, and Preservice and Inservice Summary Reports, Section XI, Division 1. N-789 6 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements for Pad Reinforcement of Class 2 and 3 Moderate Energy Carbon Steel Piping for Raw Water Service, Section XI, Division 1. N-795 3 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements for BWR Class 1 System Leakage Test Pressure Following Repair/Replacement Activities, Section XI, Division 1. N-799 4 (10 Edition) Dissimilar Metal Welds Joining Vessel Nozzles to Components, Section XI, Division 1. Code for Operations and Maintenance (OM) (addressed in DG-1297, Table 2) Code Case No. Edition Title OMN-1 Revision 1 2012 Edition Alternative Rules for Preservice and Inservice Testing of Active Electric Motor-Operated Valve Assemblies in Light-Water Reactor Power Plants. OMN-3 2012 Edition Requirements for Safety Significance Categorization of Components Using Risk Insights for Inservice Testing of LWR Power Plants. OMN-4 2012 Edition Requirements for Risk Insights for Inservice Testing of Check Valves at LWR Power Plants. OMN-9 2012 Edition Use of a Pump Curve for Testing. OMN-12 2012 Edition Alternative Requirements for Inservice Testing Using Risk Insights for Pneumatically and Hydraulically Operated Valve Assemblies in Light-Water Reactor Power Plants (OM-Code 1998, Subsection ISTC). OMN-16 2012 Edition Use of a Pump Curve for Testing. OMN-18 2012 Edition Alternate Testing Requirements for Pumps Tested Quarterly Within ±20% of Design Flow. OMN-19 2012 Edition Alternative Upper Limit for the Comprehensive Pump Test.

    The NRC's evaluation of the Code Cases and the reasons for the NRC's proposed conditions are discussed in the following paragraphs. The NRC requests public comment on these Code Cases and the proposed conditions. Notations have been made to indicate the conditions duplicated from previous versions of the RG.

    ASME BPV Code, Section III Code Cases (DG-1295/RG 1.84)

    There are no new or revised Section III Code Cases in Supplement 11 to the 2007 Edition through Supplement 10 to the 2010 Edition that the NRC proposes to conditionally approve in draft Revision 37 of RG 1.84.

    ASME BPV Code, Section XI Code Cases (DG-1296/RG 1.147) Code Case N-552-1 [Supplement 10, 2010 Edition]

    Type: Revised.

    Title: Alternative Methods—Qualification for Nozzle Inside Radius Section from the Outside Surface, Section XI, Division 1.

    The proposed conditions on Code Case N-552-1 are identical to the conditions on N-552 that were approved by the NRC in Revision 16 of RG 1.147 in October 2010.

    The reasons for imposing these conditions are not addressed by Code Case N-552-1 and, therefore, these conditions would be retained in proposed Revision 18 of RG 1.147 (DG-1296).

    Code Case N-576-2 [Supplement 9, 2010 Edition]

    Type: Revised.

    Title: Repair of Class 1 and 2 SB-163, UNS N06600 Steam Generator Tubing, Section XI, Division 1.

    The proposed conditions on Code Case N-576-2 are identical to the conditions on N-576-1 that were approved by the NRC in Revision 17 of RG 1.147 in October 2014. The reasons for imposing these conditions are not addressed by Code Case N-552-2 and, therefore, these conditions would be retained in proposed Revision 18 of RG 1.147 (DG-1296).

    Code Case N-593-2 [Supplement 8, 2010 Edition]

    Type: Revised.

    Title: Examination Requirements for Steam Generator Nozzle-to-Vessel Welds, Section XI, Division 1.

    The first condition on Code Case N-593-2 is identical to the condition on Code Case N-593 that was first approved by the NRC in Revision 13 of RG 1.147 in June 2003. The condition stated that, “Essentially 100 percent (not less than 90 percent) of the examination volume A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H [in Figure 1 of the Code Case] must be examined.” The reasons for imposing this condition in Code Case N-593 continue to apply to Code Case N-593-2. Therefore, this condition would be retained for this Code Case in Revision 18 of RG 1.147.

    The second condition on Code Case N-593-2 is new. Revision 2 of the Code Case reduces the weld examination volume by reducing the width examined on either side of the weld from ts/2 to 1/2 in. The basis for this change in inspection volume is to make the examination volume for steam generator nozzle-to-vessel welds (under Code Case N-593-2) consistent with that specified in Code Case N-613-1 for similar vessel nozzles.

    The NRC identified an issue with respect to Code Case N-593-2 with respect to its inconsistency with Code Case N-613-1. Code Case N-593-2 and Code Case N-613-1 address certain types of nozzle-to-vessel welds. Code Case N-613-1 states that “. . .Category B-D nozzle-to-vessel welds previously ultrasonically examined using the examination volumes of Figs. IWB-2500-7(a), (b), and (c) may be examined using the reduced examination volume (A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H) of Figs. 1, 2, and 3.” The keywords are “previously examined.” Code Case N-613-1 requires the larger volume to have been previously examined before examinations using the reduced volume can be performed. This ensures that there are no detrimental flaws in the component adjacent to the weld that would be missed if the inspection was performed only on the reduced volume. However, Code Case N-593-2 allows a licensee to immediately implement the reduced volume. Accordingly, the NRC is proposing to condition Code Case N-593-2 to require that the examination volume specified in Section XI, Table IWB-2500-1, Examination Category B-D, be used for the examination of steam generator nozzle-to-vessel welds at least once prior to use of the reduced volume allowed by the Code Case.

    Code Case N-638-6 [Supplement 6, 2010 Edition]

    Type: Revised.

    Title: Similar and Dissimilar Metal Welding Using Ambient Temperature Machine GTAW Temper Bead Technique, Section XI, Division 1.

    Code Case N-638-6 allows the use of the automatic or machine gas-tungsten arc welding (GTAW) temper bead technique. The GTAW is a proven method that can produce high-quality welds because it affords greater control over the weld area than many other welding processes.

    The NRC first approved Code Case N-638 (Revision 0) in 2003 (Revision 13 of Regulatory Guide 1.147). Code Case N-638-4 was approved by the NRC in Revision 16 of RG 1.147 with two conditions. Code Case N-638-5 was not approved in RG 1.147 for generic use but has been approved through requests for an alternative to § 50.55a. Code Case N-638-6 address one of the NRC's concerns that were raised when Code Case N-638-4 was considered for approval and, therefore, the NRC is proposing to delete that condition from RG 1.147.

    Many of the provisions for developing and qualifying welding procedure specifications for the temper bead technique that were contained in earlier versions of the Code Case have been incorporated into ASME Section IX, “Welding and Brazing Qualifications,” QW-290, “Temper Bead Welding.” Code Case N-638-6 retains the provisions not addressed by QW-290 and references QW-290 in lieu of specifying them directly in the Code Case.

    In addition to retaining one of the two conditions on Code Case N-638-4, the NRC is proposing to add a new condition to address technical issues raised by certain provisions of Code Case N-638-6.

    The retained condition on Code Case N-638-6 pertains to the qualification of NDE and is identical to the condition on N-638-4 that was approved by the NRC in Revision 17 of RG 1.147 in October 2014. The reasons for imposing this condition is not addressed by Code Case N-638-6 and, therefore, this condition would be retained in proposed Revision 18 of RG 1.147 (DG-1296).

    The new proposed condition is that section 1(b)(1) of the Code Case shall not be used. Section 1(b)(1) would allow through-wall circumferential repair welds to be made using the temper bead technique without heat treatment. Revisions 1 through 5 of N-638 limited the depth of the weld to one-half of the ferritic base metal thickness and the previously stated condition will limit repairs to this previously approved value. Repairs exceeding one-half of the ferritic base metal thickness may represent significant repairs (e.g., replacement of an entire portion of the reactor coolant loop). Until the NRC has more experience with such repairs, the NRC is imposing this condition so that prior NRC approval is necessary. Once significant experience is obtained demonstrating such major repairs can be performed safely, the NRC will consider relaxing this condition.

    Code Case N-662-1 [Supplement 6, 2010 Edition]

    Type: Revised.

    Title: Alternative Repair/Replacement Requirements for Items Classified in Accordance with Risk-Informed Processes, Section XI, Division 1.

    The proposed condition on Code Case N-662-1 is identical to the condition on N-662 that was approved by the NRC in Revision 16 of RG 1.147 in October 2010. The reasons for imposing this condition are not addressed by Code Case N-662-1 and, therefore, this condition would be retained in DG-1296/proposed Revision 18 of RG 1.147.

    Code Case N-666-1 [Supplement 9, 2010 Edition]

    Type: Revised.

    Title: Weld Overlay of Classes 1, 2, and 3 Socket Welded Connections, Section XI, Division 1.

    Code Case N-666 was unconditionally approved in Revision 17 of RG 1.147. The NRC proposes to approve Code Case N-666-1 with two conditions.

    The first proposed condition is that a surface examination must be performed on the completed weld overlay for Class 1 and Class 2 piping socket welds. Code Case N-666-1 contains provisions for the design, installation, evaluation, pressure testing, and examination of the weld overlays on Class 1, 2, and 3 socket welds. Section 5(a)(1) of the Code Case requires nondestructive examination (NDE) of the completed weld overlay in accordance with the Construction Code. However, various Construction Codes have been used in the design and fabrication of the nuclear power plant fleet. The requirements for NDE have changed over the years as more effective and reliable methods and techniques have been developed. In addition, Construction Code practices have evolved based on design and construction experience. The NRC is concerned that some of the Construction Codes would not require a surface examination of the weld overlay and would therefore be inadequate for NDE of the completed weld overlay. The NRC believes that a VT-1 examination alone would not be adequate and that a surface or volumetric examination must be performed on the completed weld overlay for Class 1 and Class 2 piping socket welds. Fabrication defects, must be dispositioned using the surface or volumetric examination criteria of the Construction Code identified in the Repair/Replacement Plan.

    The second proposed condition would require that a surface or volumetric examination be performed if required by the plant-specific Construction Code, or that a VT-1 examination be performed after completion of the weld overlay. Paragraph 5(a) of the Code Case requires “visual and nondestructive examination of the final structural overlay weld.” In accordance with the requirement in paragraph 5(a), a surface or volumetric examination of the completed Class 3 piping socket weld overlay shall be performed if required by the plant-specific Construction Code. However, where the plant-specific Construction Code does not require a surface or volumetric examination of the Class 3 piping socket weld, it would be acceptable to only perform a VT-1 examination of the completed weld overlay.

    Code Case N-749 [Supplement 9, 2010 Edition]

    Type: New.

    Title: Alternative Acceptance Criteria for Flaws in Ferritic Steel Components Operating in the Upper Shelf Temperature Range, Section XI, Division 1.

    The NRC proposes that instead of the upper shelf transition temperature, Tc, as defined in the Code Case, the following shall be used:

    Tc = 154.8 °F + 0.82 x RTNDT (in U.S Customary Units), and

    Tc = 82.8 °C + 0.82 x RTNDT (in International System (SI) Units).

    Tc is the temperature above which the elastic plastic fracture mechanics (EPFM) method must be applied. Additionally, the NRC defines temperature Tc1 below which the linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) method must be applied:

    Tc1 = 95.36 °F + 0.703 x RTNDT (in U.S Customary Units), and

    Tc1 = 47.7 °C + 0.703 x RTNDT (in International System (SI) Units).

    Between Tc1 and Tc, while the fracture mode is in transition from LEFM to EPFM, users should consider whether or not it is appropriate to apply the EPFM method. Alternatively, the licensee may use a different Tc value if it can be justified by plant-specific Charpy Curves.

    Code Case N-749 provides acceptance criteria for flaws in ferritic components for conditions when the material fracture resistance will be controlled by upper-shelf toughness behavior. These procedures may be used to accept a flaw in lieu of the requirements in Section XI, paragraphs IWB-3610 and IWB-3620 (which use LEFM to evaluate flaws that exceed limits of Section XI, paragraph IWB-3500). Code Case N-749 employs EPFM methods (J-integral) and is patterned after the fracture methodology and acceptance criteria that currently exist in Section XI, paragraph IWB-3730(b), and Section XI, Nonmandatory Appendix K, “Assessment of Reactor Vessels with Upper Shelf Charpy Impact Energy Levels.” The Code Case states that the proposed methodology is applicable if the metal temperature of the component exceeds the upper shelf transition temperature, Tc, which is defined as nil-ductility reference temperature (RTNDT) plus 105 °F. The justification for this, as documented in the underlying White Paper, PVP2012-78190, “Alternative Acceptance Criteria for Flaws in Ferritic Steel Components Operating in the Upper Shelf Temperature Range,” is that the ASME Code, Section XI, K1c curve will give a (T- RTNDT) value of 105 °F at K1c of 200 ksi√inch.

    Defining an upper shelf transition temperature purely based on LEFM data is not convincing because it ignores EPFM data and Charpy data and their relationship to the LEFM data. The NRC staff performed calculations on several randomly selected reactor pressure vessel surveillance materials with high upper-shelf energy values and low RTNDT values from three plants and found that using Tc, as defined in the Code case, is nonconservative because at the temperature of RTNDT + 105 °F, the Charpy curves show that most of the materials will not reach their respective upper-shelf levels. The NRC staff's condition is based on a 2015 ASME Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference paper (PVP2015-45307) by Mark Kirk, Gary Stevens, Marjorie Erickson, William Server, and Hal Gustin entitled “Options for Defining the Upper Shelf Transition Temperature (Tc) for Ferritic Pressure Vessel Steels,” where Tc and Tc1 are defined as the intersections of specific toughness curves of LEFM data and EPFM data as shown in that paper. Using the model in the 2015 PVP paper is justified because, in addition to its theoretically motivated approach applying the temperature-dependent flow behavior of body-centered cubic materials, the model is also supported by numerous LEFM data and 809 EPFM data in the upper shelf region.

    While the Tc proposed in Code Case N-749 is conservative based on the intersection of the mean curves of the two sets of data, the NRC believes that actual or bounding properties (on the conservative side) should be used instead of mean material properties for evaluating flaws detected in a ferritic component using the EPFM approach. Further, the NRC's approach considers the temperature range for fracture mode transition between LEFM and EPFM. Based on the previous discussion, the NRC proposes to impose a condition on the use of Code Case N-749 that (1) the two equations for Tc be used instead of Tc as proposed in the Code Case for requiring EPFM application when temperature is above Tc, and (2) the two equations for Tc1 be used for requiring LEFM application when temperature is below Tc1. Between Tc1 and Tc, while the fracture mode is in transition between LEFM and EPFM, users should consider whether or not it is appropriate to apply the EPFM method.

    Alternatively, the licensee may use a different Tc value if it can be justified by plant-specific Charpy Curves.

    Code Case N-754 [Supplement 6, 2010 Edition]

    Type: New.

    Title: Optimized Structural Dissimilar Metal Weld Overlay for Mitigation of PWR Class 1 Items, Section XI, Division 1.

    The NRC proposes to approve Code Case N-754 with three conditions. Code Case N-754 provides requirements for installing optimized structural weld overlays (OWOL) on the outside surface of ASME Class 1 heavy-wall, large-diameter piping composed of ferritic, austenitic stainless steel, and nickel base alloy materials in PWRs as a mitigation measure where no known defect exists or the defect depth is limited to 50 percent through wall. The upper 25 percent of the original pipe wall thickness is credited as a part of the OWOL design in the analyses performed in support of these repairs. The technical basis supporting the use of OWOLs is provided in the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Materials Reliability Project (MRP) Report MRP-169, Revision 1-A entitled, “Technical Basis for Preemptive Weld Overlays for Alloy 82/182 Butt Welds in PWRs.” By letter dated August 9, 2010 (ADAMS Accession No. ML101620010), the NRC advised the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) that the NRC staff found that MRP-169, Revision 1, as revised by letter dated February 3, 2010, adequately described: Methods for the weld overlay design; the supporting analyses of the design; the experiments that verified the analyses; and the inspection requirements of the dissimilar metal welds to be overlaid.

    The first proposed condition would require that the conditions imposed on the use of OWOLs contained in the NRC final safety evaluation for MRP-169, Revision 1-A, must be satisfied. Eighteen limitations and conditions are described in the final safety evaluation addressing issues such as fatigue crack growth rates, piping loads, design life of the weld overlay, and reexamination frequencies. The imposition of the conditions in the safety evaluation will provide reasonable assurance that the structural integrity of pipes repaired through the use of weld overlays will be maintained.

    Code Case N-754 references Code Case N-770-2, “Alternative Examination Requirements and Acceptance Standards for Class 1 PWR Piping and Vessel Nozzle Butt Welds Fabricated With UNS N06082 or UNS W86182 Weld Filler Material With or Without Application of Listed Mitigation Activities, Section XI, Division 1,” in order to provide ASME requirements for the performance of the preservice and inservice examinations of OWOLs, with additional requirements if the ultrasonic examination is qualified for axial flaws. The NRC has not yet approved Code Case N-770-2 in the regulations. However, the NRC has approved Code Case N-770-1 with conditions in § 50.55a(g)(6)(ii)(F). Accordingly, the second proposed condition on the use of Code Case N-754 is that the preservice and inservice inspections of OWOLs must satisfy § 50.55a(g)(6)(ii)(F), i.e., meet the provisions of Code Case N-770-1.

    The third proposed condition addresses a potential implementation issue in Code Case N-754 with respect to the deposition of the first layer of weld metal. The second sentence in paragraph 1.2(f)(2) states that “The first layer of weld metal deposited may not be credited toward the required thickness, but the presence of this layer shall be considered in the design analysis requirements in 2(b).” The NRC has found that among licensees there can be various interpretations of the words used in the ASME Code and Code Cases. In this instance, the NRC felt the word “may” needed to be changed to “shall” in the second sentence in paragraph 1.2(f)(2) as a condition for use of this Code Case. Accordingly, the NRC is proposing a third condition to clarify that the first layer shall not be credited toward the required OWOL thickness unless the chromium content of the first layer is at least 24 percent.

    Code Case N-778 [Supplement 0, 2010 Edition]

    Type: New.

    Title: Alternative Requirements for Preparation and Submittal of Inservice Inspection Plans, Schedules, and Preservice and Inservice Summary Reports, Section XI, Division 1.

    The NRC is proposing to approve Code Case N-778 with two conditions. Section XI, paragraph IWA-1400(d), in the editions and addenda currently used by the operating fleet, require licensees to submit plans, schedules, and preservice and ISI summary reports to the enforcement and regulatory authorities having jurisdiction at the plant site. In licensees' pursuit to decrease burden, they have alluded to the resources associated with the requirement to submit the items previously listed. Code Case N-778 was developed to provide an alternative to the requirements in the BPV Code in that the items previously listed would only have to be submitted if specifically required by the regulatory and enforcement authorities.

    The NRC reviewed its needs with respect to the submittal of the subject plans, schedules, and reports, and determined that it is not necessary to require the submittal of plans and schedules as the latest up-to-date plans and schedules are available at the plant site and can be requested by the NRC at any time. However, the NRC determined that summary reports still need to be submitted. Summary reports provide valuable information regarding examinations that have been performed, conditions noted during the examinations, the corrective actions performed, and the status of the implementation of the ISI program. Accordingly, the NRC is proposing to conditionally approve Code Case N-778 to require that licensees continue to submit summary reports in accordance with paragraph IWA-6240 of the 2009 Addenda of ASME Section XI.

    The two conditions proposed are modeled on the requirements currently in paragraph IWA-6240 of the 2009 Addenda, Section XI. The requirements in Section XI do not specify when the reports are to be submitted to the regulatory authority; rather, the requirements state only that the reports shall be completed. The first proposed condition would require that the preservice inspection summary report be submitted before the date of placement of the unit into commercial service. The second proposed condition would require that the inservice inspection summary report be submitted within 90 calendar days of the completion of each refueling outage. The proposed conditions rely on the date of commercial service and the completion of a refueling outage to determine when the reports needed to be submitted to the regulatory authority.

    Code Case N-789 [Supplement 6, 2010 Edition]

    Type: New.

    Title: Alternative Requirements for Pad Reinforcement of Class 2 and 3 Moderate-Energy Carbon Steel Piping for Raw Water Service, Section XI, Division 1.

    The NRC is proposing to approve Code Case N-789 with two conditions. For certain types of degradation, the Code Case provides requirements for the temporary repair of degraded moderate energy Class 2 and Class 3 piping systems by external application of welded reinforcement pads. The Code Case does not require inservice monitoring for the pressure pad. However, the NRC believes that it is unacceptable not to monitor the pressure pad because there may be instances where an unexpected corrosion rate may cause the degraded area in the pipe to expand beyond the area that is covered by the pressure pad. This could lead to the pipe leaking and may challenge the structural integrity of the repaired pipe. Therefore, the NRC is proposing to approve Code Case N-789 with a condition to require a monthly visual examination of the installed pressure pad for evidence of leakage.

    The NRC is concerned that the corrosion rate specified in paragraph 3.1(1) of the Code Case may not address certain scenarios. That paragraph would allow either a corrosion rate of two times the actual measured corrosion rate at the reinforcement pad installation location or four times the estimated maximum corrosion rate for the system. To ensure that a conservative corrosion rate is used to provide sufficient margin, the NRC is proposing a second condition that would require that the design of the pressure pad use the higher of the two corrosion rates calculated based on the same degradation mechanism as the degraded location.

    Code Case N-795 [Supplement 3, 2010 Edition]

    Type: New.

    Title: Alternative Requirements for BWR Class 1 System Leakage Test Pressure Following Repair/Replacement Activities, Section XI, Division 1.

    The NRC is proposing to approve Code Case N-795 with two conditions. The first condition addresses a prohibition against the production of heat through the use of a critical reactor core to raise the temperature of the reactor coolant and pressurize the reactor coolant pressure boundary (RCPB) (sometimes referred to as nuclear heat). The second condition addresses the duration of the hold time when testing non-insulated components to allow potential leakage to manifest itself during the performance of system leakage tests.

    Code Case N-795 was intended to address concerns that the ASME-required pressure test for boiling water reactors (BWRs) that places the unit in a position of significantly reduced margin, approaching the fracture toughness limits defined in the Technical Specification Pressure-Temperature (P-T) curves, and does not allow the setpoint to approach the 100-percent pressure value. The alternative test provided by Code Case N-795 would be performed at slightly reduced pressures and normal plant conditions, which the NRC believes will constitute an adequate leak examination and would reduce the risk associated with abnormal plant conditions and alignments.

    However, the NRC has a long-standing prohibition against the production of heat through the use of a critical reactor core to raise the temperature of the reactor coolant and pressurize the RCPB. A letter dated February 2, 1990, from James M. Taylor, Executive Director for Operations, NRC, to Messrs. Nicholas S. Reynolds and Daniel F. Stenger, Nuclear Utility Backfitting and Reform Group (ADAMS Accession No. ML14273A002), established the NRC position with respect to use of a critical reactor core to raise the temperature of the reactor coolant and pressurize the RCPB. In summary, the NRC's position is that testing under these conditions involves serious impediments to careful and complete inspections, and therefore, inherent uncertainty with regard to assuring the integrity of the reactor coolant pressure boundary. Further, the practice is not consistent with basic defense-in-depth safety principles.

    The NRC's position established in 1990 was reaffirmed in Information Notice No. 98-13, “Post-Refueling Outage Reactor Pressure Vessel Leakage Testing Before Core Criticality,” dated April 20, 1998. The Information Notice was issued in response to a licensee that had conducted an ASME Code, Section XI, leakage test of the reactor pressure vessel and subsequently discovered that it had violated 10 CFR part 50, appendix G, that pressure and leak testing before the core is taken critical. The Information Notice references NRC Inspection Report 50-254/97-27, (ADAMS Accession No. ML15216A276) which documents that licensee personnel performing VT-2 examinations of drywell at one BWR plant covered 50 examination areas in 12 minutes, calling into question the adequacy of the VT-2 examinations.

    The bases for the NRC's position on the first condition are as follows:

    1. Nuclear operation of a plant should not commence before completion of system hydrostatic and leakage testing to verify the basic integrity of the RCPB, a principal defense-in-depth barrier to the accidental release of fission products. In accordance with the defense-in-depth safety precept, nuclear power plant design provides multiple barriers to the accidental release of fission products from the reactor. The RCPB is one of the principal fission product barriers. Consistent with this conservative approach to the protection of public health and safety, and the critical importance of the RCPB in preventing accidental release of fission products, the NRC has always maintained the view that verification of the integrity of the RCPB is a necessary prerequisite to any nuclear operation of the reactor.

    2. Hydrotesting must be done essentially water solid so that stored energy in the reactor coolant is minimized during a hydrotest or leaktest.

    3. The elevated reactor coolant temperatures associated with critical operation result in a severely uncomfortable and difficult working environment in plant spaces where the system leakage inspections must be conducted. The greatly increased stored energy in the reactor coolant when the reactor is critical increases the hazard to personnel and equipment in the event of a leak, and the elevated temperatures contribute to increased concerns for personnel safety due to burn hazards, even if there is no leakage. As a result, the ability for plant workers to perform a comprehensive and careful inspection becomes greatly diminished.

    With respect to the second condition and adequate pressure test hold time, the technical analysis supporting Code Case N-795 indicates that the lower test pressure provides more than 90 percent of the flow that would result from the pressure corresponding to 100 percent power. However, a reduced pressure means a lower leakage rate so additional time is required in order for there to be sufficient leakage to be observed by inspection personnel. Section XI, paragraph IWA-5213, “Test Condition Holding Time,” does not require a holding time for Class 1 components once test pressure is obtained. To account for the reduced pressure, Code Case N-795 would require a 15-minute hold time for non-insulated components. The NRC is proposing a one-hour hold time for non-insulated components. The NRC does not believe that 15 minutes allows for an adequate examination.

    The NRC is interested in receiving stakeholder feedback on the first condition of Code Case N-795. What are the impacts of this proposed condition on the regulated community? Should the condition be modified and, if so, please provide the basis for such modifications.

    Code Case N-799 [Supplement 4, 2010 Edition]

    Type: New.

    Title: Dissimilar Metal Welds Joining Vessel Nozzles to Components, Section XI, Division 1.

    The NRC proposes to approve Code Case N-799 with six conditions. Code Case N-799 is a new Code Case developed to provide examination requirements for the steam generator primary nozzle to pump casing attachment weld for AP-1000 plants and dissimilar metal welds joining vessel nozzles to pumps used in recent reactor designs (e.g., AP-1000, Advanced BWR). Nuclear power plant pump casings are typically manufactured from cast austenitic stainless steel (CASS) materials. The NRC is proposing to condition the Code Case to address the shortcomings in the Code Case with respect to requirements for ultrasonic examination.

    The CASS is an anisotropic and inhomogeneous material. The manufacturing process can result in varied and mixed structures. The large size of the anisotropic grains affects the propagation of ultrasound by causing severe attenuation, changes in velocity, and scattering of ultrasonic energy. Refraction and reflection of the sound beam occurs at the grain boundaries which can result in specific volumes of material not being examined, or defects being missed or mischaracterized. The grain structure of the associated weldments also impacts the effectiveness and reliability of the examinations. Accordingly, it is paramount that robust examination techniques be used.

    Research has been conducted by several domestic and international organizations attempting to address the shortcomings associated with the use of conventional methods for the inspection of CASS materials. The results of a study at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) were published in NUREG/CR-6933, “Assessment of Crack Detection in Heavy-Walled Cast Stainless Steel Piping Welds Using Advanced Low-Frequency Ultrasonic Methods” (ADAMS Accession No. ML071020409). The study demonstrated that additional measures were required to reliably detect and characterize flaws in CASS materials and their associated weldments.

    Performance demonstration requirements for CASS components and associated weldments have not yet been developed by the industry. To ensure that effective and reliable examinations are performed, the NRC is proposing the following six conditions on the Code Case.

    The first proposed condition addresses the gap between the probe and component surface. Industry experience shows that effective ultrasonic examinations depend to a great extent on limiting the gap between the probe and component surface to less than 0.032-inch. The BPV Code does not have any requirements with respect to surface smoothness and waviness. It has been demonstrated that reduced coupling and probe lift-off on “rough” surfaces have the potential to present a scattering effect at an interface where an acoustic beam impinges, to redirect and mode convert some energy which when returned to the probe can be the source of spurious signals, or cause flaws to be mis-characterized or missed altogether. Accordingly, the first proposed condition would require that the scanning surfaces have a gap less than 0.032-inch beneath the ultrasonic testing probe. Gaps greater than 0.032-inch must be considered to be unexamined unless it can be demonstrated on representative mockups that a Section XI, Appendix VIII, Supplement 10, demonstration can be passed.

    The second proposed condition (No. 2a in the draft RG) is that the examination requirements of Section XI, Mandatory Appendix I, paragraph I-3200(c) must be applied. Code Case N-799 does not contain specific requirements regarding examination techniques. Paragraph I-3200(c) contains specific requirements that can be applied.

    The third proposed condition (No. 2b in the draft RG) is that the examination of the dissimilar metal welds between reactor vessel nozzles and components, and between steam generator nozzles and pumps must be full volume. As described, the examination of coarse-grained materials is problematic due to effects such as sound beam redirection and scattering, and therefore robust techniques must be used on the full volume to ensure that flaws are detected.

    The fourth proposed condition (No. 2c in the draft RG) is that ultrasonic depth and sizing qualifications for CASS components must use the ASME Code requirements in Section XI, Appendix VIII, Supplement 10. Supplement 10 contains qualification requirements for dissimilar metal welds, and the use of these requirements will ensure that robust techniques are applied.

    The fifth proposed condition (No. 2d in the draft RG) addresses the examination of thick-walled components with wall thicknesses beyond the crack detection and sizing capabilities of a through-wall ultrasonic performance-based qualification. As previously indicated, ASME Code rules have not yet been developed for the performance demonstration for CASS components and associated weldments. Accordingly, the fifth proposed condition will require the examination's acceptability to be based on an ultrasonic examination of the qualified volume and a flaw evaluation of the largest hypothetical crack that could exist in the volume not qualified for ultrasonic examination.

    The sixth proposed condition (No. 2e in the draft RG) is that cracks that are detected but cannot be depth-sized with performance-based procedures, equipment, and personnel qualifications consistent with Section XI, Appendix VIII, shall be repaired or removed.

    OM Code Cases (DG-1297/RG 1.192) Code Case OMN-1, Revision 1 [2012 Edition]

    Type: Revised.

    Title: Alternative Rules for Preservice and Inservice Testing of Active Electric Motor-Operated Valve Assemblies in Light-Water Reactor Power Plants.

    The proposed conditions on Code Case OMN-1, Revision 1 [2012 Edition] are identical to the conditions on OMN-1 [2006 Addenda] that were approved by the NRC in Revision 1 of RG 1.192 in October 2014. The reasons for imposing these conditions are not addressed by Code Case OMN-1, Revision 1 [2012 Edition] and, therefore, these conditions would be retained in DG-1297/proposed Revision 2 of RG 1.192.

    Code Case OMN-3 [2012 Edition]

    Type: Reaffirmed.

    Title: Requirements for Safety Significance Categorization of Components Using Risk Insights for Inservice Testing of LWR Power Plants.

    The proposed conditions on Code Case OMN-3 [2012 Edition] are identical to the conditions on OMN-3 [2004 Edition] that were approved by the NRC in Revision 1 of RG 1.192 in October 2014. The reasons for imposing these conditions are not addressed by Code Case OMN-3 [2012 Edition] and, therefore, these conditions would be retained in DG-1297/proposed Revision 2 of RG 1.192.

    Code Case OMN-4 [2012 Edition]

    Type: Reaffirmed.

    Title: Requirements for Risk Insights for Inservice Testing of Check Valves at LWR Power Plants.

    The proposed conditions on Code Case OMN-4 [2012 Edition] are identical to the conditions on OMN-4 [2004 Edition] that were approved by the NRC in Revision 1 of RG 1.192 in October 2014. The reasons for imposing these conditions are not addressed by Code Case OMN-4 [2012 Edition] and, therefore, these conditions would be retained in DG-1297/proposed Revision 2 of RG 1.192.

    Code Case OMN-9 [2012 Edition]

    Type: Reaffirmed.

    Title: Use of a Pump Curve for Testing.

    The proposed conditions on Code Case OMN-9 [2012 Edition] are identical to the conditions on OMN-9 [2004 Edition] that were approved by the NRC in Revision 1 of RG 1.192 in October 2014. The reasons for imposing these conditions are not addressed by Code Case OMN-9 [2012 Edition] and, therefore, these conditions would be retained in DG-1297/proposed Revision 2 of RG 1.192.

    Code Case OMN-12 [2012 Edition]

    Type: Reaffirmed.

    Title: Alternative Requirements for Inservice Testing Using Risk Insights for Pneumatically and Hydraulically Operated Valve Assemblies in Light-Water Reactor Power Plants (OM-Code 1998, Subsection ISTC).

    The proposed conditions on Code Case OMN-12 [2012 Edition] are identical to the conditions on OMN-12 [2004 Edition] that were approved by the NRC in Revision 1 of RG 1.192 in October 2014. The reasons for imposing these conditions are not addressed by Code Case OMN-12 [2012 Edition] and, therefore, these conditions would be retained in DG-1297/proposed Revision 2 of RG 1.192.

    Code Case OMN-16, Revision 1 [2012 Edition]

    Type: Revised.

    Title: Use of a Pump Curve for Testing.

    Code Case OMN-16, 2006 Addenda, was approved by the NRC in Regulatory Guide 1.192, Revision 1. With respect to Code Case OMN-16, Revision 1, 2012 Edition, there was an editorial error in the publishing of this Code Case and Figure 1 from the original Code Case (i.e., Rev. 0, 2006 Addenda) was omitted. Accordingly, the NRC proposes to conditionally approve OMN-16, Revision 1, to require that Figure 1 from the original Code Case be used when implementing OMN-16, Revision 1.

    Code Case OMN-18 [2012 Edition]

    Type: Reaffirmed.

    Title: Alternate Testing Requirements for Pumps Tested Quarterly Within ±20% of Design Flow.

    The ASME OM Code defines Group A pumps as those pumps that are operated continuously or routinely during normal operation, cold shutdown, or refueling operations. The OM Code specifies that each Group A pump undergo a Group A test quarterly and comprehensive test biennially. The OM Code requires that the reference value for a comprehensive test to be within 20 percent of pump design flow, while the reference value for a Group A test needs to be within 20 percent of the pump design flow if practicable. The biennial comprehensive test was developed (first appeared in the 1995 Edition of the OM Code) because pump performance concerns demonstrated that more stringent periodic testing was needed at a flow rate within a more reasonable range of the pump design flow rate than typically performed during pump inservice testing in the past.

    Currently when performing either the quarterly Group A test or the biennial comprehensive pump test, licensees must comply with certain limits for the flow Acceptable Range, the flow Required Action Range, the differential pressure (or discharge pressure) Acceptable Range, and the differential pressure (or discharge pressure) Required Action Range. The limits for the quarterly Group A test are obtained by using a factor of 1.10 times the flow reference value (Qr) or the differential or discharge pressure reference value (ΔPr or Pr) as applicable to the pump type. The limits for the biennial comprehensive pump test are obtained by using the factor of 1.03 times Qr or ΔPr (or Pr) as applicable to the pump type, providing more restrictive test ranges and higher quality data.

    Code Case OMN-18, 2012 Edition, would remove the Code requirement to perform biennial comprehensive pump where the quarterly Group A pump test is performed within ±20 percent of the pump design flow rate with instruments having the ability to obtain the accuracies required for the comprehensive pump test. The NRC considers the performance of a quarterly Group A pump test at flow within ±20 percent of the pump design flow rate to satisfy the intent of the biennial comprehensive pump test with the exception that the test acceptable ranges and required action ranges are less precise than required for the comprehensive test. Therefore, the NRC is proposing to conditionally approve Code Case OMN-18, 2012 Edition, to specify the use of a factor of 1.06 for the Group A test parameters. The NRC considers that the factor of 1.06 will provide a reasonable test range when applying Code Case OMN-18 to Group A pumps tested quarterly within ±20 percent of the pump design flow rate that is not as restrictive as the test ranges specified in the ASME OM Code for the comprehensive test. The NRC believes that the quarterly Group A test for pumps within ±20 percent of the pump design flow rate combined with the provisions in the Code Case OMN-18 for the pump instrumentation and the conditions in RG 1.192 for the test ranges will provide reasonable assurance of the operational readiness of these pumps as an acceptable alternative to the comprehensive pump test provisions in the ASME OM Code.

    Code Case OMN-19 [2012 Edition]

    Type: Reaffirmed.

    Title: Alternative Upper Limit for the Comprehensive Pump Test.

    A requirement for a periodic pump verification test was added in Mandatory Appendix V, “Pump Periodic Verification Test Program,” to the 2012 Edition of the OM Code. The mandatory appendix is based on the determination by the ASME that a pump periodic verification test is needed to verify that a pump can meet the required (differential or discharge) pressure as applicable, at its highest design basis accident flow rate. Code Case OMN-19, 2012 Edition, would allow an applicant or licensee to use a multiplier of 1.06 times the reference value in lieu of the 1.03 multiplier for the comprehensive pump test's upper “Acceptable Range” criteria and “Required Action Range, High” criteria reference in the ISTB test acceptance criteria tables. The NRC is concerned that Code Case OMN-19 does not address the periodic pump verification test. Therefore, the NRC proposes to approve Code Case OMN-19, 2012 Edition, with the condition that the provisions in paragraph ISTB-1400 and Mandatory Appendix V be applied when implementing the Code Case.

    C. ASME Code Cases Not Approved for Use (DG-1298/RG 1.193)

    The ASME Code Cases that are currently issued by the ASME but not approved for generic use by the NRC are listed in RG 1.193, “ASME Code Cases not Approved for Use.” In addition to ASME Code Cases that the NRC has found to be technically or programmatically unacceptable, RG 1.193 includes Code Cases on reactor designs for high-temperature gas-cooled reactors and liquid metal reactors, reactor designs not currently licensed by the NRC, and certain requirements in Section III, Division 2, for submerged spent fuel waste casks, that are not endorsed by the NRC. Regulatory Guide 1.193 complements RGs 1.84, 1.147, and 1.192. It should be noted that the NRC is not proposing to adopt any of the Code Cases listed in RG 1.193. Comments have been submitted in the past, however, on certain Code Cases listed in RG 1.193 where the commenter believed that additional technical information was available that might not have been considered by the NRC in its determination not to approve the use of these Code Cases. While the NRC will consider those comments, NRC is not requesting comment on RG 1.193 at this time. Any changes in the NRC's non-approval of such Code Cases will be the subject of an additional opportunity for public comment.

    IV. Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following paragraphs in § 50.55a, which list the three RGs that would be incorporated by reference, would be revised as follows:

    Paragraphs (a)(3)(i): The reference to “NRC Regulatory Guide 1.84, Revision 36,” would be amended to remove “Revision 36” and add in its place “Revision 37.”

    Paragraphs (a)(3)(ii): The reference to “NRC Regulatory Guide 1.147, Revision 17,” would be amended to remove “Revision 17” and add in its place “Revision 18.”

    Paragraphs (a)(3)(iii): The reference to “NRC Regulatory Guide 1.192, Revision 1,” would be amended to remove “Revision 1” and add in its place “Revision 2.”

    Cross-references to the aforementioned Regulatory Guides, which are listed within § 50.55a, are being revised in a proposed rule entitled, “Incorporation by Reference of American Society of Mechanical Engineers Codes and Code Cases” (RIN 3150-AI97; NRC-2011-0088); anticipated to become effective before this rule, if enacted.

    This proposed administrative change would simplify cross-referencing the Regulatory Guides incorporated by reference in § 50.55a.

    Overall Considerations on the Use of ASME Code Cases

    This rulemaking would amend § 50.55a to incorporate by reference RG 1.84, Revision 37, which would supersede Revision 36; RG 1.147, Revision 18, which would supersede Revision 17; and RG 1.192, Revision 2, which would supersede Revision 1. The following general guidance applies to the use of the ASME Code Cases approved in the latest versions of the RGs that are incorporated by reference into § 50.55a as part of this rulemaking.

    The approval of a Code Case in the NRC RGs constitutes acceptance of its technical position for applications that are not precluded by regulatory or other requirements or by the recommendations in these or other RGs. The applicant and/or licensee are responsible for ensuring that use of the Code Case does not conflict with regulatory requirements or licensee commitments. The Code Cases listed in the RGs are acceptable for use within the limits specified in the Code Cases. If the RG states an NRC condition on the use of a Code Case, then the NRC condition supplements and does not supersede any condition(s) specified in the Code Case, unless otherwise stated in the NRC condition.

    The ASME Code Cases may be revised for many reasons (e.g., to incorporate operational examination and testing experience and to update material requirements based on research results). On occasion, an inaccuracy in an equation is discovered or an examination, as practiced, is found not to be adequate to detect a newly discovered degradation mechanism. Hence, when an applicant or a licensee initially implements a Code Case, § 50.55a requires that the applicant or the licensee implement the most recent version of that Code Case as listed in the RGs incorporated by reference. Code Cases superseded by revision are no longer acceptable for new applications unless otherwise indicated.

    Section III of the ASME BPV Code applies only to new construction (i.e., the edition and addenda to be used in the construction of a plant are selected based on the date of the construction permit and are not changed thereafter, except voluntarily by the applicant or the licensee). Hence, if a Section III Code Case is implemented by an applicant or a licensee and a later version of the Code Case is incorporated by reference into § 50.55a and listed in the RGs, the applicant or the licensee may use either version of the Code Case (subject, however, to whatever change requirements apply to its licensing basis (e.g., § 50.59)).

    A licensee's ISI and IST programs must be updated every 10 years to the latest edition and addenda of Section XI and the OM Code, respectively, that were incorporated by reference into § 50.55a and in effect 12 months prior to the start of the next inspection and testing interval. Licensees who were using a Code Case prior to the effective date of its revision may continue to use the previous version for the remainder of the 120-month ISI or IST interval. This relieves licensees of the burden of having to update their ISI or IST program each time a Code Case is revised by the ASME and approved for use by the NRC. Code Cases apply to specific editions and addenda, and Code Cases may be revised if they are no longer accurate or adequate, so licensees choosing to continue using a Code Case during the subsequent ISI or IST interval must implement the latest version incorporated by reference into § 50.55a and listed in the RGs.

    The ASME may annul Code Cases that are no longer required, are determined to be inaccurate or inadequate, or have been incorporated into the BPV or OM Codes. If an applicant or a licensee applied a Code Case before it was listed as annulled, the applicant or the licensee may continue to use the Code Case until the applicant or the licensee updates its construction Code of Record (in the case of an applicant, updates its application) or until the licensee's 120-month ISI or IST update interval expires, after which the continued use of the Code Case is prohibited unless NRC authorization is given under § 50.55a(z). If a Code Case is incorporated by reference into § 50.55a and later annulled by the ASME because experience has shown that the design analysis, construction method, examination method, or testing method is inadequate, the NRC will amend § 50.55a and the relevant RG to remove the approval of the annulled Code Case. Applicants and licensees should not begin to implement such annulled Code Cases in advance of the rulemaking.

    A Code Case may be revised, for example, to incorporate user experience. The older or superseded version of the Code Case cannot be applied by the licensee or applicant for the first time.

    If an applicant or a licensee applied a Code Case before it was listed as superseded, the applicant or the licensee may continue to use the Code Case until the applicant or the licensee updates its construction Code of Record (in the case of an applicant, updates its application) or until the licensee's 120-month ISI or IST update interval expires, after which the continued use of the Code Case is prohibited unless NRC authorization is given under § 50.55a(z). If a Code Case is incorporated by reference into § 50.55a and later a revised version is issued by the ASME because experience has shown that the design analysis, construction method, examination method, or testing method is inadequate; the NRC will amend § 50.55a and the relevant RG to remove the approval of the superseded Code Case. Applicants and licensees should not begin to implement such superseded Code Cases in advance of the rulemaking.

    V. Regulatory Flexibility Certification

    As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, 5 U.S.C. 605(b), the Commission certifies that this rule, if adopted, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This proposed rule affects only the licensing and operation of nuclear power plants. The companies that own these plants do not fall within the scope of the definition of “small entities” set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act or the size standards established by the NRC (10 CFR 2.810).

    VI. Regulatory Analysis

    The ASME Code Cases listed in the RGs to be incorporated by reference provide voluntary alternatives to the provisions in the ASME BPV and OM Codes for design, construction, ISI, and IST of specific structures, systems, and components used in nuclear power plants. Implementation of these Code Cases is not required. Licensees and applicants use NRC-approved ASME Code Cases to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden or gain additional operational flexibility. It would be difficult for the NRC to provide these advantages independently of the ASME Code Case publication process without expending considerable additional resources.

    The NRC has prepared a draft regulatory analysis addressing the quantitative and qualitative benefits of the alternatives considered in this proposed rulemaking and comparing the costs associated with each alternative. The draft regulatory analysis can be found in ADAMS under accession No. ML15041A816 and at www.regulations.gov under Docket ID NRC-2012-0059. The NRC invites public comment on this draft regulatory analysis.

    In addition to the general opportunity to submit comments on the proposed rule, the NRC also requests comments on the NRC's cost and benefit estimates as shown in the draft regulatory analysis.

    VII. Backfitting and Issue Finality

    The provisions in this proposed rule would allow licensees and applicants to voluntarily apply NRC-approved Code Cases, sometimes with NRC-specified conditions. The approved Code Cases are listed in three RGs that are proposed to be incorporated by reference into § 50.55a.

    An applicant's or a licensee's voluntary application of an approved Code Case does not constitute backfitting, inasmuch as there is no imposition of a new requirement or new position. Similarly, voluntary application of an approved Code Case by a 10 CFR part 52 applicant or licensee does not represent NRC imposition of a requirement or action, which is inconsistent with any issue finality provision in 10 CFR part 52. For these reasons, the NRC finds that this proposed rule does not involve any provisions requiring the preparation of a backfit analysis or documentation demonstrating that one or more of the issue finality criteria in 10 CFR part 52 are met.

    VIII. Plain Writing

    The Plain Writing Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-274) requires Federal agencies to write documents in a clear, concise, and well-organized manner. The NRC has written this document to be consistent with the Plain Writing Act as well as the Presidential Memorandum, “Plain Language in Government Writing,” published June 10, 1998 (63 FR 31883). The NRC requests comment on this document with respect to the clarity and effectiveness of the language used.

    IX. Incorporation by Reference—Reasonable Availability to Interested Parties

    The NRC proposes to incorporate by reference three NRC Regulatory Guides that list new and revised ASME Code Cases that NRC has approved as alternatives to certain provisions of NRC-required Editions and Addenda of the ASME BPV Code and the ASME OM Code. The draft regulatory guides DG-1295, DG-1296, and DG-1297 will correspond to final Regulatory Guide (RG) 1.84, Revision 37; RG 1.147, Revision 18; and RG 1.192, Revision 2, respectively.

    The NRC is required by law to obtain approval for incorporation by reference from the Office of the Federal Register (OFR). The OFR's requirements for incorporation by reference are set forth in 1 CFR part 51. On November 7, 2014, the OFR adopted changes to its regulations governing incorporation by reference (79 FR 66267). The OFR regulations require an agency to include in a proposed rule a discussion of the ways that the materials the agency proposes to incorporate by reference are reasonably available to interested parties or how it worked to make those materials reasonably available to interested parties. The discussion in this section complies with the requirement for proposed rules as set forth in 1 CFR 51.5(a)(1).

    The NRC considers “interested parties” to include all potential NRC stakeholders, not only the individuals and entities regulated or otherwise subject to the NRC's regulatory oversight. These NRC stakeholders are not a homogenous group, so the considerations for determining “reasonable availability” vary by class of interested parties. The NRC identifies six classes of interested parties with regard to the material to be incorporated by reference in an NRC rule:

    • Individuals and small entities regulated or otherwise subject to the NRC's regulatory oversight. This class includes applicants and potential applicants for licenses and other NRC regulatory approvals, and who are subject to the material to be incorporated by reference. In this context, “small entities” has the same meaning as set out in § 2.810.

    • Large entities otherwise subject to the NRC's regulatory oversight. This class includes applicants and potential applicants for licenses and other NRC regulatory approvals, and who are subject to the material to be incorporated by reference. In this context, a “large entity” is one which does not qualify as a “small entity” under § 2.810.

    • Non-governmental organizations with institutional interests in the matters regulated by the NRC.

    • Other Federal agencies, states, local governmental bodies (within the meaning of § 2.315(c)).

    • Federally-recognized and State-recognized Indian tribes.

    • Members of the general public (i.e., individual, unaffiliated members of the public who are not regulated or otherwise subject to the NRC's regulatory oversight) and who need access to the materials that the NRC proposes to incorporate by reference in order to participate in the rulemaking.

    The three draft regulatory guides that the NRC proposes to incorporate by reference in this proposed rule, are available without cost and can be read online, downloaded, or viewed, by appointment, at the NRC Technical Library, which is located at Two White Flint North, 11545 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852; telephone: 301-415-7000; email: [email protected] The final regulatory guides, if approved by the OFR for incorporation by reference, will also be available for inspection at the OFR, as described in § 50.55a(a).

    Because access to the three draft regulatory guides, and eventually, the final regulatory guides, are available in various forms and no cost, the NRC determines that the three draft regulatory guides, DG-1295, DG-1296, and DG-1297, and final regulatory guides 1.84, Revision 37; RG 1.147, Revision 18; and RG 1.192, Revision 2, once approved by the OFR for incorporation by reference, are reasonably available to all interested parties.

    X. Environmental Assessment and Proposed Finding of No Significant Environmental Impact

    The Commission has determined under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, and the Commission's regulations in subpart A of 10 CFR part 51, that this rule, if adopted, would not be a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment; therefore, an environmental impact statement is not required.

    The determination of this environmental assessment is that there will be no significant effect on the quality of the human environment from this action. Interested parties should note, however, that comments on any aspect of this environmental assessment may be submitted to the NRC as indicated under the ADDRESSES section.

    As alternatives to the ASME Code, NRC-approved Code Cases provide an equivalent level of safety. Therefore, the probability or consequences of accidents is not changed. There are also no significant, non-radiological impacts associated with this action because no changes would be made affecting non-radiological plant effluents and because no changes would be made in activities that would adversely affect the environment. The determination of this environmental assessment is that there will be no significant offsite impact to the public from this action.

    XI. Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

    This proposed rule contains new or amended information collection requirements that are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This proposed rule has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval of the information collection requirements.

    Type of submission, new or revision: Revision.

    The title of the information collection: Domestic Licensing of Production and Utilization.

    Facilities: Updates to Incorporation by Reference and Regulatory Guides.

    The form number if applicable: Not applicable.

    How often the collection is required: On occasion.

    Who will be required or asked to report: Operating power reactor licensees and applicants for power reactors under construction.

    An estimate of the number of annual responses: −38.

    The estimated number of annual respondents: 38.

    An estimate of the total number of hours needed annually to complete the requirement or request: −14,440 hours (reduction of reporting hours.)

    Abstract: This proposed rule is the latest in a series of rulemakings that incorporate by reference the latest versions of several Regulatory Guides identifying new and revised unconditionally or conditionally acceptable ASME Code Cases that are approved for use. The incorporation by reference of these Code Cases will reduce the number of alternative requests submitted by licensees under § 50.55a(z) by an estimated 38 requests annually.

    The NRC is seeking public comment on the potential impact of the information collections contained in this proposed rule and on the following issues:

    1. Is the proposed information collection necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the NRC, including whether the information will have practical utility?

    2. Is the estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection accurate?

    3. Is there a way to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected?

    4. How can the burden of the proposed information collection on respondents be minimized, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology?

    A copy of the OMB clearance package and proposed rule is available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15041A817 or may be viewed free of charge at the NRC's PDR, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Room O-1 F21, Rockville, MD 20852. You may obtain information and comment submissions related to the OMB clearance package by searching on http://www.regulations.gov under Docket ID NRC-2012-0059.

    You may submit comments on any aspect of these proposed information collections, including suggestions for reducing the burden and on the four issues, by the following methods:

    Federal rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2012-0059.

    Mail comments to: FOIA, Privacy, and Information Collections Branch, Office of Information Services, Mail Stop: T-5 F53, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001 or to Vlad Dorjets, Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (3150-0011), NEOB-10202, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503; telephone: 202-395-7315, email: [email protected]

    Submit comments by April 1, 2016. Comments received after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC staff is able to ensure consideration only for comments received on or before this date.

    Public Protection Notification

    The NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a request for information or an information collection requirement unless the requesting document displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    XII. Voluntary Consensus Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995, Public Law 104-113, requires that Federal agencies use technical standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies unless using such a standard is inconsistent with applicable law or is otherwise impractical. In this proposed rule, the NRC is continuing to use ASME BPV and OM Code Cases, which are ASME-approved alternatives to compliance with various provisions of the ASME BPV and OM Codes. The NRC's approval of the ASME Code Cases is accomplished by amending the NRC's regulations to incorporate by reference the latest revisions of the following, which are the subject of this rulemaking, into § 50.55a: RG 1.84, Revision 37; RG 1.147, Revision 18; and RG 1.192, Revision 2. These RGs list the ASME Code Cases that the NRC has approved for use. The ASME Code Cases are national consensus standards as defined in the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 and OMB Circular A-119. The ASME Code Cases constitute voluntary consensus standards, in which all interested parties (including the NRC and licensees of nuclear power plants) participate. The NRC invites comment on the applicability and use of other standards.

    XIII. Availability of Documents

    The documents identified in the following table are available to interested persons through one or more of the following methods, as indicated.

    Table III—Rulemaking Related Documents Document title ADAMS Accession No./Federal Register
  • citation/web link
  • Federal Register Document—“Incorporation by Reference of American Society of Mechanical Engineers Codes and Code Cases,” September 18, 2015 80 FR 56820. Federal Register Document—“Incorporation by Reference of ASME BPV and OM Code Cases,” July 8, 2003 68 FR 40469. Federal Register Document—“Fracture Toughness Requirements for Light Water Reactor Pressure Vessels,” December 19, 1995 60 FR 65456. Information Notice No. 98-13, “Post-Refueling Outage Reactor Pressure Vessel Leakage Testing Before Core Criticality, April 20, 1998 ML031050237. Inspection Report 50-254/97-27 ML15216A276. Letter from James M. Taylor, Executive Director for Operations, NRC, to Messrs. Nicholas S. Reynolds and Daniel F. Stenger, Nuclear Utility Backfitting and Reform Group, February 2, 1990 ML14273A002. Materials Reliability Project Report MRP-169 Technical Basis for Preemptive Weld Overlays for Alloy 82/182 Butt Welds in PWRs, EPRI, Palo Alto, CA: 2012. 1025295 ML101620010. NUREG/CR-6933, “Assessment of Crack Detection in Heavy-Walled Cast Stainless Steel Piping Welds Using Advanced Low-Frequency Ultrasonic Methods” ML071020409. Proposed Rule—Federal Register Document ML15041A813. Proposed Rule—Regulatory Analysis ML15041A816. RG 1.193, “ASME Code Cases Not Approved for Use,” Revision 5. (DG-1298) ML15028A003. White Paper, PVP2012-78190, “Alternative Acceptance Criteria for Flaws in Ferritic Steel Components Operating in the Upper Shelf Temperature Range,” 2012 http://proceedings.asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/proceeding.aspx?articleid=1723450. White Paper PVP 2015-45307, “Options for Defining the Upper Shelf Transition Temperature (Tc) for Ferritic Pressure Vessel Steels,” 2015 http://proceedings.asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/solr/searchresults.aspx?q=Options%20for%20Defining%20the%20Upper%20Shelf%20Transition%20Temperature%20(Tc)%20for%20Ferritic%20Pressure%20Vessel%.
    Documents Proposed To Be Incorporated by Reference

    You may submit comments on the draft regulatory guidance by the methods described in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

    Table IV—Draft Regulatory Guides Proposed To Be Incorporated by Reference in 10 CFR 50.55a Document title ADAMS
  • Accession No.
  • RG 1.84, “Design, Fabrication, and Materials Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section III,” Revision 37. (DG-1295) ML15027A002. RG 1.147, “Inservice Inspection Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section XI, Division 1,” Revision 18. (DG-1296) ML15027A202. RG 1.192, “Operation and Maintenance Code Case Acceptability, ASME OM Code,” Revision 2. (DG-1297) ML15027A330.

    Throughout the development of this rule, the NRC may post documents related to this rule, including public comments, on the Federal rulemaking Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov under Docket ID NRC-2012-0059. The Federal rulemaking Web site allows you to receive alerts when changes or additions occur in a docket folder. To subscribe: (1) Navigate to the docket folder (NRC-2012-0059); (2) click the “Sign up for Email Alerts” link; and (3) enter your email address and select how frequently you would like to receive emails (daily, weekly, or monthly).

    Code Cases for Approval in This Proposed Rulemaking

    The ASME BPV Code Cases: Nuclear Components that the NRC is proposing to approve as alternatives to certain provisions of the ASME BPV Code, as set forth in TABLE V, are being made available by the ASME for read-only access during the public comment period at the ASME Web site http://go.asme.org/NRC.

    The ASME OM Code Cases that the NRC is proposing to approve as alternatives to certain provisions of the ASME OM Code, as set forth in TABLE V, are being made available for read-only access during the public comment period by the ASME at the Web site http://go.asme.org/NRC.

    The ASME is making the Code Cases listed in TABLE V available for limited, read-only access at the request of the NRC. The NRC believes that stakeholders need to be able to read these Code Cases in order to provide meaningful comment on the three regulatory guides that the NRC is proposing to incorporate by reference into § 50.55a. It is the NRC's position that the listed Code Cases, as modified by any conditions contained in the three RGs and therefore serving as alternatives to requirements in § 50.55a, are legally-binding regulatory requirements. The listed Code Case and any conditions must be complied with if the applicant or licensee is to be within the scope of the NRC's approval of the Code Case as a voluntary alternative for use. These requirements cannot be fully understood without knowledge of the Code Case to which the proposed condition applies, and to this end, the NRC has requested that ASME provide limited, read-only access to the Code Cases in order to facilitate meaningful public comment.

    Table V—ASME Code Cases Proposed for NRC Approval Code Case No. Supplement Title Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section III N-284-3 7 (10 Edition) Metal Containment Shell Buckling Design Methods, Class MC, TC, and SC Construction, Section III, Divisions 1 and 3. N-500-4 8 (10 Edition) Alternative Rules for Standard Supports for Classes 1, 2, 3, and MC, Section III, Division 1. N-520-5 10 (10 Edition) Alternative Rules for Renewal of Active or Expired N-type Certificates for Plants Not in Active Construction, Section III, Division 1. N-594-1 8 (10 Edition) Repairs to P-4 and P-5A Castings without Postweld Heat Treatment Class 1, 2, and 3 Construction, Section III, Division 1. N-637-1 3 (10 Edition) Use of 44Fe-25Ni-21Cr-Mo (Alloy UNS N08904) Plate, Bar, Fittings, Welded Pipe, and Welded Tube, Classes 2 and 3, Section III, Division 1. N-655-2 4 (10 Edition) Use of SA-738, Grade B, for Metal Containment Vessels, Class MC, Section III, Division 1. N-763 2 (10 Edition) ASTM A 709-06, Grade HPS 70W (HPS 485W) Plate Material Without Postweld Heat Treatment as Containment Liner Material or Structural Attachments to the Containment Liner, Section III, Division 2. N-777 4 (10 Edition) Calibration of Cv Impact Test Machines, Section III, Divisions 1, 2, and 3. N-785 11 (07 Edition) Use of SA-479/SA-479M, UNS S41500 for Class 1 Welded Construction, Section III, Division 1. N-811 7 (10 Edition) Alternative Qualification Requirements for Concrete Level III Inspection Personnel, Section III, Division 2. N-815 8 (10 Edition) Use of SA-358/SA-358M Grades Fabricated as Class 3 or Class 4 Welded Pipe, Class CS Core Support Construction, Section III, Division 1. N-816 8 (10 Edition) Use of Temper Bead Weld Repair Rules Adopted in 2010 Edition and Earlier Editions, Section III, Division 1. N-817 8 (10 Edition) Use of Die Forgings, SB-247, UNS A96061 Class T6, With Thickness ≤ 4.000 in. Material, Class 2 Construction (1992 Edition or Later), Section III, Division 1. N-819 8 (10 Edition) Use of Die Forgings, SB-247, UNS A96061 Class T6, With Thickness ≤ 4.000 in. Material, Class 2 Construction (1989 Edition with the 1991 Addenda or Earlier), Section III, Division 1. N-822 8 (10 Edition) Application of the ASME Certification Mark, Section III, Divisions 1, 2, 3, and 5. Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section XI N-552-1 10 (10 Edition) Alternative Methods—Qualification for Nozzle Inside Radius Section from the Outside Surface, Section XI, Division 1. N-576-2 9 (10 Edition) Repair of Class 1 and 2 SB-163, UNS N06600 Steam Generator Tubing, Section XI, Division 1. N-593-2 8 (10 Edition) Examination Requirements for Steam Generator Nozzle-to-Vessel Welds, Section XI, Division 1. N-609-1 3 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements to Stress-Based Selection Criteria for Category B-J Welds, Section XI, Division 1. N-613-2 4 (10 Edition) Ultrasonic Examination of Full Penetration Nozzles in Vessels, Examination Category B-D, Reactor Nozzle-To-Vessel Welds, and Nozzle Inside Radius Section Figs. IWB-2500-7(a), (b), (c), and (d), Section XI, Division 1. N-638-6 6 (10 Edition) Similar and Dissimilar Metal Welding Using Ambient Temperature Machine GTAW Temper Bead Technique, Section XI, Division 1. N-652-2 9 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements to Categorize B-G-1, B-G-2, and C-D Bolting Examination Methods and Selection Criteria, Section XI, Division 1. N-653-1 9 (10 Edition) Qualification Requirements for Full Structural Overlaid Wrought Austenitic Piping Welds, Section XI, Division 1. N-662-1 6 (10 Edition) Alternative Repair/Replacement Requirements for Items Classified in Accordance with Risk-Informed Processes, Section XI, Division 1. N-666-1 9 (10 Edition) Weld Overlay of Classes 1, 2, and 3 Socket Welded Connections, Section XI, Division 1. N-694-2 7 1 (13 Edition) Evaluation Procedure and Acceptance Criteria for [pressurized water reactors] (PWR) Reactor Vessel Head Penetration Nozzles, Section XI, Division 1. N-730-1 10 (10 Edition) Roll Expansion of Class 1 Control Rod Drive Bottom Head Penetrations in BWRs, Section XI, Division 1. N-749 9 (10 Edition) Alternative Acceptance Criteria for Flaws in Ferritic Steel Components Operating in the Upper Shelf Temperature Range, Section XI, Division 1. N-754 6 (10 Edition) Optimized Structural Dissimilar Metal Weld Overlay for Mitigation of PWR Class 1 Items, Section XI, Division 1. N-769-2 10 (10 Edition) Roll Expansion of Class 1 In-Core Housing Bottom Head Penetrations in BWRs, Section XI, Division 1. N-771 7 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements for Additional Examinations of Class 2 or 3 Items, Section XI, Division 1. N-775 2 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements for Bolting Affected by Borated Water Leakage, Section XI, Division 1. N-776 1 (10 Edition) Alternative to IWA-5244 Requirements for Buried Piping, Section XI, Division 1. N-778 6 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements for Preparation and Submittal of Inservice Inspection Plans, Schedules, and Preservice and Inservice Summary Reports, Section XI, Division 1. N-786 5 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements for Sleeve Reinforcement of Class 2 and 3 Moderate-Energy Carbon Steel Piping, Section XI, Division 1. N-789 6 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements for Pad Reinforcement of Class 2 and 3 Moderate Energy Carbon Steel Piping for Raw Water Service, Section XI, Division 1. N-795 3 (10 Edition) Alternative Requirements for BWR Class 1 System Leakage Test Pressure Following Repair/Replacement Activities, Section XI, Division 1. N-798 4 (10 Edition) Alternative Pressure Testing Requirements for Class 1 Piping Between the First and Second Vent, Drain, and Test Isolation Devices, Section XI, Division 1. N-799 4 (10 Edition) Dissimilar Metal Welds Joining Vessel Nozzles to Components, Section XI, Division 1. N-800 4 (10 Edition) Alternative Pressure Testing Requirements for Class 1 Piping Between the First and Second Injection Valves, Section XI, Division 1. N-803 5 (10 Edition) Similar and Dissimilar Metal Welding Using Ambient Temperature Automatic or Machine Dry Underwater Laser Beam Welding (ULBW) Temper Bead Technique, Section XI, Division 1. N-805 6 (10 Edition) Alternative to Class 1 Extended Boundary End of Interval or Class 2 System Leakage Testing of the Reactor Vessel Head Flange O-Ring Leak-Detection System, Section XI, Division 1. N-823 9 (10 Edition) Visual Examination, Section XI, Division 1. N-825 8 3 (13 Edition) Alternative Requirements for Examination of Control Rod Drive Housing Welds, Section XI, Division 1. N-845 9 6 (13 Edition) Qualification Requirements for Bolts and Studs, Section XI, Division 1. Code for Operations and Maintenance (OM) OMN-1, Revision 1 2012 Edition Alternative Rules for Preservice and Inservice Testing of Active Electric Motor-Operated Valve Assemblies in Light-Water Reactor Power Plants. OMN-2 2012 Edition Thermal Relief Valve Code Case, OM Code-1995, Appendix I. OMN-3 2012 Edition Requirements for Safety Significance Categorization of Components Using Risk Insights for Inservice Testing of LWR Power Plants. OMN-4 2012 Edition Requirements for Risk Insights for Inservice Testing of Check Valves at LWR Power Plants. OMN-5 2012 Edition Testing of Liquid Service Relief Valves without Insulation. OMN-6 2012 Edition Alternative Rules for Digital Instruments. OMN-7 2012 Edition Alternative Requirements for Pump Testing. OMN-8 2012 Edition Alternative Rules for Preservice and Inservice Testing of Power-Operated Valves That Are Used for System Control and Have a Safety Function per OM-10, ISTC-1.1, or ISTA-1100. OMN-9 2012 Edition Use of a Pump Curve for Testing. OMN-12 2012 Edition Alternative Requirements for Inservice Testing Using Risk Insights for Pneumatically and Hydraulically Operated Valve Assemblies in Light-Water Reactor Power Plants (OM-Code 1998, Subsection ISTC). OMN-13, Revision 2 2012 Edition Performance-Based Requirements for Extending Snubber Inservice Visual Examination Interval at [light water reactor] (LWR) Power Plants. OMN-14 2012 Edition Alternative Rules for Valve Testing Operations and Maintenance, Appendix I: BWR [control rod drive] CRD Rupture Disk Exclusion. OMN-15, Revision 2 2012 Edition Performance-Based Requirements for Extending the Snubber Operational Readiness Testing Interval at LWR Power Plants. OMN-16 2012 Edition Use of a Pump Curve for Testing. OMN-17 2012 Edition Alternative Rules for Testing ASME Class 1 Pressure Relief/Safety Valves. OMN-18 2012 Edition Alternate Testing Requirements for Pumps Tested Quarterly Within ±20% of Design Flow. OMN-19 2012 Edition Alternative Upper Limit for the Comprehensive Pump Test. OMN-20 2012 Edition Inservice Test Frequency. 7 Code Case published in Supplement 1 to the 2013 Edition; included at the request of ASME. 8 Code Case published in Supplement 3 to the 2013 Edition; included at the request of ASME. 9 Code Case published in Supplement 6 to the 2013 Edition; included at the request of ASME. List of Subjects in 10 CFR Part 50

    Administrative practice and procedure, Antitrust, Classified information, Criminal penalties, Education, Fire prevention, Fire protection, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nuclear power plants and reactors, Penalties, Radiation protection, Reactor siting criteria, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Whistleblowing.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble and under the authority of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended; the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, as amended; and 5 U.S.C. 552 and 553, the NRC is proposing to adopt the following amendments to 10 CFR part 50.

    PART 50—DOMESTIC LICENSING OF PRODUCTION AND UTILIZATION FACILITIES 1. The authority citation for part 50 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Atomic Energy Act of 1954, secs. 11, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 108, 122, 147, 149, 161, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 189, 223, 234 (42 U.S.C. 2014, 2131, 2132, 2133, 2134, 2135, 2138, 2152, 2167, 2169, 2201, 2231, 2232, 2233, 2234, 2235, 2236, 2237, 2239, 2273, 2282); Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, secs. 201, 202, 206, 211 (42 U.S.C. 5841, 5842, 5846, 5851); Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, sec. 306 (42 U.S.C. 10226); National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332); 44 U.S.C. 3504 note; Sec. 109, Pub. L. 96-295, 94 Stat. 783.

    2. In § 50.55a, revise paragraph (a)(3)(i) through (iii) to read as follows:
    § 50.55a Codes and standards.

    (a) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (i) NRC Regulatory Guide 1.84, Revision 37. NRC Regulatory Guide 1.84, “Design, Fabrication, and Materials Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section III,” Revision 37, dated [DATE OF FINAL RULE PUBLICATION IN THE Federal Register], with the requirements in paragraph (b)(4) of this section.

    (ii) NRC Regulatory Guide 1.147, Revision 18. NRC Regulatory Guide 1.147, “Inservice Inspection Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section XI, Division 1,” Revision 18, dated [DATE OF FINAL RULE PUBLICATION IN THE Federal Register], which lists ASME Code Cases that the NRC has approved in accordance with the requirements in paragraph (b)(5) of this section.

    (iii) NRC Regulatory Guide 1.192, Revision 2. NRC Regulatory Guide 1.192, “Operation and Maintenance Code Case Acceptability, ASME OM Code,” Revision 2, dated [DATE OF FINAL RULE PUBLICATION IN THE Federal Register], which lists ASME Code Cases that the NRC has approved in accordance with the requirements in paragraph (b)(6) of this section.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 5th day of February, 2016.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    William M. Dean, Director, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04355 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION 12 CFR Part 380 RIN 3064-AE39 SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 17 CFR Part 302 RIN 3235-AL51 [Release No. 34-77157; File No. S7-02-16] Covered Broker-Dealer Provisions Under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act AGENCY:

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC” or “Corporation”); Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission” and, collectively with the FDIC, the “Agencies”).

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Agencies, in accordance with section 205(h) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”), are jointly proposing a rule to implement provisions applicable to the orderly liquidation of covered brokers and dealers under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act (“Title II”).

    DATES:

    Comments should be received on or before May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    FDIC

    FDIC Web site: http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/federal. Follow instructions for submitting comments on the FDIC Web site.

    FDIC email: [email protected] Include “RIN 3064-AE39” in the subject line of the message.

    FDIC mail: Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary, Attention: Comments, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20429.

    Hand delivery/courier: Guard station at the rear of the 550 17th Street Building (located on F Street) on business days between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Eastern Time).

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

    Public inspection: All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/federal including any personal information provided. Paper copies of public comments may be ordered from the Public Information Center by telephone at (877) 275-3342 or (703) 562-2200.

    SEC Electronic Comments

    • Use the Commission's Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed.shtml); or

    • Send an email to [email protected] Please include File Number S7-02-16 on the subject line; or

    • Use the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov). Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    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 S7-02-16. 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 Web site (http://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed.shtml). Comments also are 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. 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 publicly available.

    Studies, memoranda or other substantive items may be added by the Commission or staff to the comment file during this rulemaking. A notification of the inclusion in the comment file of any such materials will be made available on the Commission's Web site. To ensure direct electronic receipt of such notifications, sign up through the “Stay Connected” option at www.sec.gov to receive notifications by email.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDIC

    Peter Miller, Assistant Director, Division of Resolutions and Receiverships, at (917) 320-2589; John Oravec, Senior Resolution Advisor, Office of Complex Financial Institutions, at (202) 898-6612; Elizabeth Falloon, Supervisory Counsel, Legal Division, at (703) 562-6148; Pauline Calande, Senior Counsel, Legal Division, at (202) 898-6744.

    SEC

    Thomas K. McGowan, Associate Director, at (202) 551-5521; Randall W. Roy, Deputy Associate Director, at (202) 551-5522; Raymond A. Lombardo, Branch Chief, at (202) 551-5755; Jane D. Wetterau, Attorney Advisor, at (202) 551-4483, Division of Trading and Markets, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-7010.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background II. Proposed Rule A. Definitions 1. Definitions Relating to Covered Broker-Dealers 2. Additional Definitions B. Appointment of Receiver and Trustee for Covered Broker-Dealer C. Notice and Application for Protective Decree for Covered Broker-Dealer D. Bridge Broker-Dealer 1. Power To Establish Bridge Broker-Dealer; Transfer of Customer Accounts and Other Assets and Liabilities 2. Other Provisions With Respect to Bridge Broker-Dealer E. Claims of Customers and Other Creditors of a Covered Broker-Dealer F. Additional Proposed Sections III. Requests for Comments A. In General B. Requests for Comment on Certain Specific Matters IV. Paperwork Reduction Act V. Economic Analysis A. Introduction and General Economic Considerations B. Economic Baseline 1. SIPC's Role 2. The Corporation's Power To Establish Bridge Broker-Dealers 3. Satisfaction of Customer Claims C. Benefits, Costs and Effects on Efficiency, Competition, and Capital Formation 1. Anticipated Benefits 2. Anticipated Costs 3. Effects on Efficiency, Competition, and Capital Formation D. Alternatives Considered E. Request for Comment VI. Regulatory Analysis and Procedures A. Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis B. The Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999—Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families C. Plain Language VII. Consideration of Impact on the Economy VIII. Statutory Authority I. Background

    Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act 1 provides an alternative insolvency regime for the orderly liquidation of large financial companies that meet specified criteria.2 Section 205 of Title II sets forth certain provisions specific to the orderly liquidation of certain large broker-dealers, and paragraph (h) of section 205 requires the Agencies, in consultation with the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”), jointly to issue rules to implement section 205.3

    1Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Public Law 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010) and codified at 12 U.S.C. 5301 et seq. Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act is codified at 12 U.S.C. 5381-5394.

    2See 12 U.S.C. 5384 (pertaining to the orderly liquidation of covered financial companies).

    3See 12 U.S.C. 5385 (pertaining to the orderly liquidation of covered broker-dealers).

    In the case of a broker-dealer, or in which the largest U.S. subsidiary of a financial company4 is a broker-dealer, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (“Board”) and the Commission are authorized jointly to issue a written orderly liquidation recommendation to the U.S. Treasury Secretary (“Secretary”). The FDIC must be consulted in such a case.

    4 Section 201(a)(11) of the Dodd-Frank Act (12 U.S.C. 5381(a)(11)) (defining financial company).

    The recommendation, which may be sua sponte or at the request of the Secretary, must contain a discussion regarding eight criteria enumerated in section 203(a)(2) 5 and be approved by a vote of not fewer than a two-thirds majority of each agency's governing body then serving.6 Based on similar but not identical criteria enumerated in section 203(b), the Secretary would consider the recommendation and (in consultation with the President) determine whether the financial company poses a systemic risk meriting liquidation under Title II.7

    5See 12 U.S.C. 5383(a)(2)(A) through (G).

    6See 12 U.S.C. 5383(a)(1)(B) (pertaining to vote required in cases involving broker-dealers).

    7See 12 U.S.C. 5383(b) (pertaining to a determination by the Secretary).

    Title II also provides that in any case in which the Corporation is appointed receiver for a covered financial company, 8 the Corporation may appoint itself as receiver for any covered subsidiary9 if the Corporation and the Secretary make the requisite joint determination specified in section 210.10

    8See 12 U.S.C. 5381(a)(8) (definition of covered financial company).

    9See 12 U.S.C. 5381(a)(9) (definition of covered subsidiary). A covered subsidiary of a covered financial company could include a broker-dealer.

    10See 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(1)(e).

    A company that is the subject of an affirmative section 203(b) or section 210(a)(1)(E) determination would be considered a covered financial company for purposes of Title II.11 As discussed below, a covered broker or dealer is a covered financial company that is registered with the Commission as a broker or dealer and is a member of SIPC.12 Irrespective of how the broker-dealer was placed into a Title II resolution, section 205 regarding the liquidation of covered broker-dealers and the proposed rule (if adopted) would always apply to the broker-dealer even if section 210 is invoked.13

    11See 12 U.S.C. 5381(a)(8) (definition of covered financial company); 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(1)(E)(ii) (treatment as covered financial company).

    12See 12 U.S.C. 5381(a)(7) (definition of covered broker or dealer). For convenience, we hereinafter refer to entities that meet this definition as covered broker-dealers.

    13See 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(1)(E).

    Upon a determination under section 203 or section 210, a covered financial company would be placed into an orderly liquidation proceeding and the FDIC would be appointed receiver.14 In the case of a covered broker-dealer, the FDIC would appoint SIPC as trustee for the covered broker-dealer.15 Although the statute refers to the appointment of SIPC as trustee for the “liquidation of the covered broker-dealer under [the Securities Investor Protection Act (“SIPA”)]”,16 the proposed rule simply refers to SIPC as trustee for the covered broker-dealer since the Title II receivership is not a liquidation of the covered broker-dealer under SIPA, but rather an orderly liquidation of the broker-dealer under Title II that incorporates the customer protection provisions of SIPA. The FDIC could utilize a bridge financial company, a bridge broker-dealer,17 as a means to liquidate the covered broker-dealer, transferring customer accounts and associated customer name securities and customer property to such bridge financial company.18 In the event that a bridge broker-dealer were created, SIPC, as trustee under SIPA for the covered broker-dealer, would determine claims and distribute assets retained in the receivership of the covered broker-dealer in a manner consistent with SIPA.19 The transfer of customer property, and advances from SIPC, made to the bridge broker-dealer and allocated to a customer's account at the bridge broker-dealer would satisfy a customer's net equity claims against the covered broker-dealer to the extent of the value, as of the appointment date, of such allocated property. SIPC would have no powers or duties with respect to assets and liabilities of the bridge broker-dealer.20 This rulemaking clarifies for purposes of section 205(h): 21 How the customer protections of SIPA will be integrated with the other provisions of Title II; the roles of the Corporation as receiver and SIPC as trustee for a covered broker-dealer; and the administration of claims in an orderly liquidation of a covered broker-dealer.

    14See 12 U.S.C. 5384 (pertaining to orderly liquidation of covered financial companies).

    15See 12 U.S.C. 5385(a) (appointment of SIPC as trustee for the liquidation).

    16 12 U.S.C. 5385(a)(1).

    17See Section II.A.2 below for a definition of bridge broker or dealer. For convenience, we hereinafter refer to entities that meet that definition as bridge broker-dealers.

    18See 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(2)(H) (pertaining to the Corporation's authority to organize bridge financial companies). See also infra section II.D.2 (describing the process of transferring accounts to the bridge broker-dealer).

    19See 12 U.S.C. 5385(a)(2)(B) (pertaining to the administration by SIPC of assets of the covered broker-dealer not transferred to a bridge broker-dealer).

    20 12 U.S.C. 5385(b)(1).

    21 12 U.S.C. 5385(f).

    II. Proposed Rule A. Definitions  22

    22 If adopted, the definitions section would appear in 12 CFR 380.60 for purposes of the Corporation and 17 CFR 302.100 for purposes of the Commission.

    The proposed definitions section would define certain key terms. Consistent with the remainder of the proposed rule, the definitions are designed to help ensure that, as the statute requires, net equity claims of customers against a covered broker-dealer are determined and satisfied in a manner and amount that is at least as beneficial to customers as would have been the case had the covered broker-dealer been liquidated under SIPA without the appointment of the FDIC as receiver and without any transfer of assets or liabilities to a bridge financial company, and with a filing date as of the date on which the FDIC was appointed as receiver.23 To effectuate the statutory requirement, the definitions in the proposed rule are very similar or identical to the corresponding definitions in SIPA and Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act, and where they differ, it is for purposes of clarity only and not to change or modify the meaning of the definitions under either Act.

    23See 12 U.S.C. 5385(f)(1) (pertaining to obligations to customers) and 12 U.S.C. 5385(d)(1)(A) through (C) (limiting certain actions of the Corporation that would adversely affect, diminish or otherwise impair certain customer rights).

    1. Definitions Relating to Covered Broker-Dealers

    The term covered broker or dealer would be defined as “a covered financial company that is a qualified broker or dealer.” 24 Pursuant to section 201(a)(10) of the Dodd-Frank Act, the terms customer, customer name securities, customer property, and net equity in the context of a covered broker-dealer will have the same meaning as the corresponding terms in section 16 of SIPA.25

    24See §§ 380.60(d) and 302.100(d), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5381(a)(7).

    25 12 U.S.C. 5381(a)(10). See also 15 U.S.C. 78lll and §§ 380.60 and 302.100, as proposed.

    Section 16(2)(A) of SIPA defines customer of a debtor, in pertinent part, as any person (including any person with whom the debtor deals as principal or agent) who has a claim on account of securities received, acquired, or held by the debtor in the ordinary course of its business as a broker or dealer from or for the securities accounts of such person for safekeeping, with a view to sale, to cover consummated sales, pursuant to purchases, as collateral, security, or for purposes of effecting transfer.26 Section 16(3) of SIPA defines customer name securities as securities which were held for the account of a customer on the filing date by or on behalf of the debtor and which on the filing date were registered in the name of the customer, or were in the process of being so registered pursuant to instructions from the debtor, but does not include securities registered in the name of the customer which, by endorsement or otherwise, were in negotiable form.27 Section 16(4) of SIPA defines customer property, in pertinent part, as cash and securities (except customer name securities delivered to the customer) at any time received, acquired, or held by or for the account of a debtor from or for the securities accounts of a customer, and the proceeds of any such property transferred by the debtor, including property unlawfully converted.28

    26 15 U.S.C. 78lll(2)(A). See also §§ 380.60(e) and 302.100(e), as proposed.

    27 15 U.S.C. 78lll(3). See also §§ 380.60(f) and 302.100(f), as proposed.

    28 15 U.S.C. 78lll(4). See also §§ 380.60(g) and 302.100(g), as proposed.

    Section (16)(11) of SIPA defines net equity as the dollar amount of the account or accounts of a customer, to be determined by:

    1. Calculating the sum which would have been owed by the debtor to such customer if the debtor had liquidated, by sale or purchase on the filing date—

    a. All securities positions of such customer (other than customer name securities reclaimed by such customer); and

    b. All positions in futures contracts and options on futures contracts held in a portfolio margining account carried as a securities account pursuant to a portfolio margining program approved by the Commission, including all property collateralizing such positions, to the extent that such property is not otherwise included herein; minus

    2. Any indebtedness of such customer to the debtor on the filing date; plus

    3. Any payment by such customer of such indebtedness to the debtor which is made with the approval of the trustee and within such period as the trustee may determine (but in no event more than sixty days after the publication of notice under section (8)(a) [of SIPA]).29

    29 15 U.S.C. 78lll(11) (emphasis added). See also §§ 380.60(h) and 302.100(h), as proposed.

    The proposed definition of appointment date is the date of the appointment of the Corporation as receiver for a covered financial company that is a covered broker or dealer.30 The appointment date would constitute the filing date as that term is used under SIPA 31 and, like the filing date under SIPA, is the reference date for the computation of net equity.32

    30See §§ 380.60(a) and 302.100(a), as proposed.

    31See §§ 380.60(a) and 302.100(a), as proposed.

    32See §§ 380.60(a) and 302.100(a), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5385(a)(2)(C) and 15 U.S.C. 78lll(7).

    2. Additional Definitions

    In addition to the definitions relating to covered broker-dealers under section 201(a)(10) of the Dodd-Frank Act,33 the Agencies also propose to define the following terms: (1) bridge broker or dealer;34 (2) Commission;35 (3) qualified broker or dealer;36 (4) SIPA37 and (5) SIPC.38

    33See 12 U.S.C. 5381(a)(10).

    34See §§ 380.60(b) and 302.100(b), as proposed.

    35See §§ 380.60(c) and 302.100(c), as proposed.

    36See §§ 380.60(i) and 302.100(i), as proposed.

    37See §§ 380.60(j) and 302.100(j), as proposed.

    38See §§ 380.60(k) and 302.100(k), as proposed.

    The term bridge broker or dealer would be defined as a new financial company organized by the Corporation in accordance with section 210(h) of the Dodd-Frank Act for the purpose of resolving a covered broker or dealer.39 The term Commission would be defined as the Securities and Exchange Commission.40 The term qualified broker or dealer would refer to a broker or dealer that (A) is registered with the Commission under section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78o(b)); and (B) is a member of SIPC, but is not itself subject to a Title II receivership.41 This definition is consistent with the statutory definition but is abbreviated for clarity. It is not intended to change or modify the statutory definition. The term SIPA would refer to the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970, 15 U.S.C. 78aaa-lll. 42 The term SIPC would refer to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.43

    39See §§ 380.60(b) and 302.100(b), as proposed. See also 15 U.S.C. 5390(h)(2)(H) (setting forth that the FDIC, as receiver for a covered broker or dealer, may approve articles of association for one or more bridge financial companies with respect to such covered broker or dealer).

    40See §§ 380.60(c) and 302.100(c), as proposed.

    41See §§ 380.60(i) and 302.100(i), as proposed.

    42See §§ 380.60(j) and 302.100(j), as proposed.

    43See §§ 380.60(k) and 302.100(k), as proposed.

    B. Appointment of Receiver and Trustee for Covered Broker-Dealer  44

    44 If adopted, the section about the appointment of receiver and trustee for covered broker-dealers would appear in 12 CFR 380.61 for purposes of the Corporation and 17 CFR 302.101 for purposes of the Commission. The rule text in both CFRs will be identical.

    Upon the FDIC's appointment as receiver for a covered broker-dealer, section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act specifies that the Corporation shall appoint SIPC to act as trustee for the liquidation under SIPA of the covered broker-dealer.45 The proposed rule deviates from the statutory language in some cases to clarify the orderly liquidation process. For example, the proposed rule would make it clear that SIPC is to be appointed as trustee for the covered broker-dealer but deletes the phrase “for the liquidation under SIPA” since in reality there is no proceeding under SIPA and the covered broker-dealer is being liquidated under Title II. Section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act also states that court approval is not required for such appointment.46 For ease and clarity, the proposed rule would incorporate these statutory roles which are further explained in other sections of the proposed rule.47

    45See 12 U.S.C. 5385(a)(1).

    46Id.

    47See §§ 380.61 and 302.101, as proposed.

    C. Notice and Application for Protective Decree for Covered Broker-Dealer  48

    48 If adopted, the notice and application for protective decree for the covered broker-dealer section will appear in 12 CFR 380.62 for purposes of the FDIC and 17 CFR 302.102 for purposes of the Commission.

    Upon the appointment of SIPC as trustee for the covered broker-dealer, Title II requires SIPC, as trustee, promptly to file an application for a protective decree with a federal district court, and SIPC and the Corporation, in consultation with the Commission, jointly to determine the terms of the protective decree to be filed.49 Although a SIPA proceeding is conducted under bankruptcy court supervision,50 a Title II proceeding is conducted entirely outside of the bankruptcy courts, through an administrative process, with the FDIC acting as receiver.51 As a result, a primary purpose of filing a notice and application for a protective decree is to give notice to interested parties that an orderly liquidation proceeding has been initiated. The proposed rule on notice and application for protective decree provides additional clarification of the statutory requirement by setting forth the venue in which the notice and application for a protective decree is to be filed. It states that a notice and application for a protective decree is to be filed with the federal district court in which a liquidation of the covered broker-dealer under SIPA is pending, or if no such SIPA liquidation is pending, the federal district court for the district within which the covered broker-dealer's principal place of business is located.52 This court is a federal district court of competent jurisdiction specified in section 21 or 27 of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. 78u, 78aa.53 It also is the court with jurisdiction over suits seeking de novo judicial claims determinations under section 210(a)(4)(A) of the Dodd-Frank Act.54 While the statute grants authority to file the notice and application for a protective decree in any federal court of competent jurisdiction specified in section 21 or 27 or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the proposed rule restricts the filing to the courts specified above in order to make it easier for interested parties to know where the protective decree might be filed. The proposed rule also clarifies that if the notice and application for a protective decree is filed on a date other than the appointment date, the filing shall be deemed to have occurred on the appointment date for purposes of the rule.55

    49See 12 U.S.C. 5385(b)(3) (pertaining to the filing of a protective decree by SIPC).

    50See 15 U.S.C. 78eee(b).

    51See 15 U.S.C. 5388 (requiring the dismissal of all other bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings upon the appointment of the Corporation as receiver for a covered financial company).

    52See §§ 380.62(a) and 302.102(a), as proposed.

    53See 12 U.S.C. 5385(a)(2)(A) (specifying the federal district courts in which the application for a protective decree may be filed).

    54See 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(4)(A) (a claimant may file suit in the district or territorial court for the district within which the principal place of business of the covered financial company is located).

    55See §§ 380.62(a) and 302.102(a), as proposed.

    This proposed section of the rule governing the notice and application for a protective decree would also include a non-exclusive list of notices drawn from other parts of Title II.56 The goal would be to inform interested parties that the covered broker-dealer is in orderly liquidation, and to highlight the application of certain provisions of the orderly liquidation authority particularly with respect to applicable stays and other matters that might be addressed in a protective decree issued under SIPA. A notice and application for a protective decree under Title II may, among other things, provide for notice: (1) That any existing case or proceeding under the Bankruptcy Code or SIPA would be dismissed, effective as of the appointment date, and no such case or proceeding may be commenced with respect to a covered broker-dealer at any time while the Corporation is the receiver for such covered broker-dealer; 57 (2) of the revesting of assets, with certain exceptions, in a covered broker-dealer to the extent that they have vested in any entity other than the covered broker-dealer as a result of any case or proceeding commenced with respect to the covered broker-dealer under the Bankruptcy Code, SIPA, or any similar provision of state liquidation or insolvency law applicable to the covered broker-dealer; 58 (3) of the request of the Corporation as receiver for a stay in any judicial action or proceeding in which the covered broker-dealer is or becomes a party for a period of up to 90 days from the appointment date; 59 (4) that except with respect to qualified financial contracts (“QFCs”),60 no person may exercise any right or power to terminate, accelerate, or declare a default under any contract to which the covered broker-dealer is a party or to obtain possession of or exercise control over any property of the covered broker-dealer or affect any contractual rights of the covered broker-dealer without the consent of the FDIC as receiver of the covered broker-dealer upon consultation with SIPC during the 90-day period beginning from the appointment date 61 ; and (5) that the exercise of rights and the performance of obligations by parties to QFCs with the covered broker-dealer may be affected, stayed, or delayed pursuant to the provisions of Title II (including but not limited to 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)) and the regulations promulgated thereunder.62

    56See §§ 380.62(b) and 302.102(b), as proposed.

    57See §§ 380.62(b)(2)(i) and 302.102(b)(2)(i), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5388(a) (regarding dismissal of any case or proceeding relating to a covered broker-dealer under the Bankruptcy Code or SIPA on the appointment of the Corporation as receiver and notice to the court and SIPA).

    58See §§ 380.62(b)(2)(ii) and 302.102(b)(2)(ii), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5388(b) (providing that the notice and application for a protective decree may also specify that any revesting of assets in a covered broker or dealer to the extent that they have vested in any other entity as a result of any case or proceeding commenced with respect to the covered broker or dealer under the Bankruptcy Code, SIPA, or any similar provision of State liquidation or insolvency law applicable to the covered broker or dealer shall not apply to assets of the covered broker or dealer, including customer property, transferred pursuant to an order entered by a bankruptcy court).

    59See §§ 380.62(b)(2)(iii) and 302.102(b)(2)(iii), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(8) (providing for the temporary suspension of legal actions upon request of the Corporation).

    60See 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)(8)(D) (defining qualified financial contract as “any securities contract, commodity contract, forward contract, repurchase agreement, swap agreement, and any similar agreement that the Corporation determines by regulation, resolution, or order to be a qualified financial contract for purposes of this paragraph”).

    61 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)(13)(C)(i).

    62See §§ 380.62(b)(2)(iv) and 302.102(b)(2)(iv), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)(8)(F) (rendering unenforceable all QFC walkaway clauses (as defined in 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)(8)(F)(iii)) including those provisions that suspend, condition, or extinguish a payment obligation of a party because of the insolvency of a covered financial company or the appointment of the FDIC as receiver) and 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)(10)(B)(i) (providing that in the case of a QFC, a person who is a party to a QFC with a covered financial company may not exercise any right that such person has to terminate, liquidate, or net such contract solely by reason of or incidental to the appointment of the FDIC as receiver (or the insolvency or financial condition of the covered financial company for which the FDIC has been appointed as receiver) —until 5:00 p.m. (eastern time) on the business day following the appointment, or after the person has received notice that the contract has been transferred pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)(9)(A)).

    The proposed rule makes clear that the matters listed for inclusion in the notice and application for a protective decree are neither mandatory nor all-inclusive. The items listed are those that the Agencies believe might provide useful guidance to customers and other parties who may be less familiar with the Title II process than with a SIPA proceeding. It is worth noting that the language relating to QFCs is rather general. In certain circumstances it may be worthwhile specifically to highlight the one-day stay provisions in section 210(c)(10) of the Dodd-Frank Act, the provisions relating to the enforcement of affiliate contracts under section 210(c)(16) of the Dodd-Frank Act, and other specific provisions relating to QFCs or other contracts.

    D. Bridge Broker-Dealer  63

    63 If adopted, the bridge broker or dealer section will appear in 12 CFR 380.63 for purposes of the Corporation and 17 CFR 302.103 for purposes of the Commission.

    1. Power To Establish Bridge Broker-Dealer; Transfer of Customer Accounts and Other Assets and Liabilities

    Section 210 of the Dodd-Frank Act sets forth the Corporation's powers as receiver of a covered financial company.64 One such power the Corporation has, as receiver, is the power to form bridge financial companies.65 Paragraph (a) of this section of the proposed rule states that the Corporation as receiver for a covered broker-dealer, or in anticipation of being appointed receiver for a covered broker-dealer, may organize one or more bridge broker-dealers with respect to a covered broker-dealer.66 Paragraph (b) of this section of the proposed rule states that if the Corporation were to establish one or more bridge broker-dealers with respect to a covered broker-dealer, then the Corporation as receiver for such covered broker-dealer shall transfer all customer accounts and all associated customer name securities and customer property to such bridge broker[s]-dealer[s] unless the Corporation, after consultation with the Commission and SIPC, determines that: (1) The transfer of such customer accounts, customer name securities, and customer property to one or more qualified broker-dealers will occur promptly such that the use of the bridge broker[s]-dealer[s] would not facilitate such transfer to one or more qualified broker-dealers; or (2) the transfer of such customer accounts to the bridge broker[s]-dealer[s] would materially interfere with the ability of the FDIC to avoid or mitigate serious adverse effects on financial stability or economic conditions in the United States.67 The two conditions in paragraph (b) of the proposed rule are contained in Title II and are provided in the proposed rule for ease and clarity and to make it clear the transfer to a bridge broker-dealer will take place unless a transfer to a qualified broker-dealer is imminent.68 The use of the word “promptly” in the proposed rule, in this context, is intended to emphasize the urgency of transferring customer accounts, customer name securities, and customer property either to a qualified broker-dealer or to a bridge broker-dealer as soon as practicable to allow customers the earliest possible access to their accounts.

    64 12 U.S.C. 5390.

    65See 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(1)(A) (granting general power to form bridge financial companies). See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(2)(H)(i) (granting authority to organize one or more bridge financial companies with respect to a covered broker-dealer).

    66See §§ 380.63 and 302.103, as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(2)(H) (granting the Corporation as receiver authority to organize one or more bridge financial companies with respect to a covered broker-dealer).

    67See §§ 380.63(b) and 302.103(b), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(1)(O)(i)(I) and (II) (listing the specific conditions under which customer accounts would not be transferred to a bridge financial company if it was organized).

    68 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(1)(O)(i)(I) and (II).

    Paragraph (c) of this section of the proposed rule states that the Corporation as receiver for the covered broker-dealer also may transfer to such bridge broker[s]-dealer[s] any other assets and liabilities of the covered broker-dealer (including non-customer accounts and any associated property) as the Corporation may, in its discretion, determine to be appropriate. Paragraph (c) is based upon the broad authority of the Corporation as receiver to transfer any assets or liabilities of the covered broker-dealer to a bridge financial company in accordance with, and subject to the requirements of, section 210(h)(5) of the Dodd-Frank Act 69 and is designed to facilitate the receiver's ability to continue the covered broker-dealer's operations, minimize systemic risk, and maximize the value of the assets of the receivership.70 The transfer of assets and liabilities to a bridge broker-dealer under the proposed rule would enable the receiver to continue the day-to-day operations of the broker-dealer and facilitate the maximization of the value of the assets of the receivership by making it possible to avoid a forced or other distressed sale of the assets of the covered broker-dealer. In addition, the ability to continue the operations of the covered broker-dealer may help mitigate the impact of the failure of the covered broker-dealer on other market participants and financial market utilities and thereby minimize systemic risk.

    69See 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(5)(A) (providing that the receiver may transfer any assets and liabilities of a covered financial company). The statute sets forth certain restrictions and limitations that are not affected by this proposed rule. See, e.g., 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(1)(B)(ii) (restricting the assumption of liabilities that count as regulatory capital by the bridge financial company) and 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(5)(F) (requiring that the aggregate liabilities transferred to the bridge financial company may not exceed the aggregate amount of assets transferred).

    70See §§ 380.63(f) and 302.103(f), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(5) (granting authority to the Corporation as receiver to transfer assets and liabilities of a covered financial company to a bridge financial company). Similarly, under Title II, the Corporation, as receiver for a covered broker-dealer, may approve articles of association for such bridge broker-dealer. See 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(2)(H)(i). The bridge broker-dealer would also be subject to the federal securities laws and all requirements with respect to being a member of a self-regulatory organization, unless exempted from any such requirements by the Commission as is necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors. See 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(2)(H)(ii).

    Finally, paragraph (c) of this section of the proposed rule clarifies that the transfer to a bridge broker-dealer of any account or property pursuant to this section does not create any implication that the holder of such an account qualifies as a “customer” or that the property so transferred qualifies as “customer property” or “customer name securities” within the meaning of SIPA or within the meaning of the rule. Under Title II, the Corporation may transfer all the assets of a covered broker-dealer to a bridge broker-dealer.71 Such a transfer of assets may include, for example, securities that were sold to the covered broker-dealer under reverse repurchase agreements. Under the terms of a typical reverse repurchase agreement, it is common for the broker-dealer to be able to use the purchased securities for its own purposes. In contrast, Commission rules specifically protect customer funds and securities and essentially forbid broker-dealers from using customer assets to finance any part of their businesses unrelated to servicing securities customers.72 An integral component of the broker-dealer customer protection regime is that, under SIPA, customers have preferred status relative to general creditors with respect to customer property and customer name securities.73 Given the preferred status of customers, litigation has arisen regarding whether, consistent with the above example, claims of repo counterparties are “customer” claims under SIPA.74 In implementing section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act, consistent with the statutory directive contained therein,75 the Corporation and the Commission are seeking to ensure that customers of the covered broker-dealer under Title II are treated in a manner at least as beneficial as would have been the case had the broker-dealer been liquidated under SIPA.76 Accordingly, the Commission and the Corporation are proposing to preserve customer status as would be the case in a SIPA proceeding. Thus, the proposed rule clarifies that moving assets to a bridge financial company as part of a Title II orderly liquidation is not determinative as to whether the holder of such an account qualifies as a “customer” or if the property so transferred qualifies as “customer property” or “customer name securities.” Rather, the status of the account holder and the assets in the orderly liquidation of a covered broker-dealer would depend upon whether the claimant would be a customer under SIPA.77

    71See 12 U.S.C 5390(h)(2)(H) and 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(5) (granting authority to the Corporation as receiver to transfer assets and liabilities of a covered broker-dealer).

    72See Net Capital Requirements for Brokers and Dealers, Exchange Act Release No. 21651 (Jan. 11, 1985), 50 FR 2690, 2690 (Jan. 18, 1985). See also Broker-Dealers; Maintenance of Certain Basic Reserves, Exchange Act Release No. 9856 (Nov. 10, 1972), 37 FR 25224, 25224 (Nov. 29, 1972).

    73See 15 U.S.C. 78fff(a).

    74See, e.g., In re Lehman Brothers Inc., 492 B.R. 379 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2013), aff'd, 506 B.R. 346 (S.D.N.Y. 2014).

    75See 12 U.S.C. 5385(f)(1) (pertaining to the statutory requirements with respect to the satisfaction of claims).

    76Id.

    77See 15 U.S.C. 78lll(2)(B) (SIPA definition of customer). See also 12 U.S.C. 5381(a)(10) (defining customer, customer name securities, customer property, and net equity in the context of a covered broker-dealer as the same meanings such terms have in section 16 of SIPA (15 U.S.C. 78lll)); In re Bernard L. Madoff Inv. Sec. LLC, 654 F.3d 229, 236 (2d Cir. 2011).

    2. Other Provisions With Respect to Bridge Broker-Dealer

    The proposed rule addresses certain matters relating to account transfers to the bridge broker-dealer.78 The process set forth in this part of the proposed rule is designed to put the customer in the position the customer would have been in had the broker-dealer been liquidated in a SIPA proceeding.79 In a SIPA proceeding, the trustee would generally handle customer accounts in two ways. First, a trustee may sell or otherwise transfer to another SIPC member, without the consent of any customer, all or any part of a customer's account, as a way to return customer property to the control of the customer.80 Such account transfers are separate from the customer claim process. Customer account transfers are useful insofar as they serve to allow customers to resume trading more quickly and minimize disruption in the securities markets. If it is not practicable to transfer customer accounts, then the second way of returning customer property to the control of customers is through the customer claims process. Under bankruptcy court supervision, the SIPA trustee will determine each customer's net equity and the amount of customer property available for customers.81 Once the SIPA trustee determines that a claim is a customer claim (an “allowed customer claim”), the customer will be entitled to a ratable share of the fund of customer property. As discussed above, SIPA defines “customer property” to generally include all the customer-related property held by the broker-dealer.82 Allowed customer claims are determined on the basis of a customer's net equity,83 which, as described above, generally is the dollar value of a customer's account on the filing date of the SIPA proceeding less indebtedness of the customer to the broker-dealer on the filing date.84 Once the trustee determines the fund of customer property and customer net equity claims, the trustee can establish each customer's pro rata share of the fund of customer property. Customer net equity claims generally are satisfied to the extent possible by providing the customer with the identical securities owned by that customer as of the day the SIPA proceeding was commenced.85

    78See §§ 380.63(d) and 302.103(d), as proposed.

    79See 12 U.S.C. 5385(f) (obligations of a covered broker-dealer to customers shall be satisfied in the manner and in an amount at least as beneficial to the customer as would have been the case had the actual proceeds realized from the liquidation of the covered broker-dealer been distributed in a proceeding under SIPA).

    80See 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(f).

    81See generally 15 U.S.C. 78fff.

    82See 15 U.S.C. 78lll(4). See Section II.A.1.

    83See 15 U.S.C. 78lll(11).

    84Id. See Section II.A.1.

    85See 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(d).

    Although a Title II orderly liquidation is under a different statutory authority, the process for determining and satisfying customer claims would follow a substantially similar process to a SIPA proceeding. Upon the commencement of a SIPA liquidation, customers' cash and securities held by the broker-dealer are returned to customers on a pro rata basis.86 If sufficient funds are not available at the broker-dealer to satisfy customer net equity claims, SIPC advances would be used to supplement the distribution, up to a ceiling of $500,000 per customer, including a maximum of $250,000 for cash claims.87 When applicable, SIPC will return securities that are registered in the customer's name or are in the process of being registered directly to each customer.88 As in a SIPA proceeding, in a Title II liquidation of a covered broker-dealer, the process of determining net equity would thus begin with a calculation of customers' net equity. A customer's net equity claim against a covered broker-dealer would be deemed to be satisfied and discharged to the extent that customer property of the covered broker-dealer, along with property made available through advances from SIPC, is transferred and allocated to the customer's account at the bridge broker-dealer. The bridge broker-dealer would undertake the obligations of the covered broker-dealer only with respect to such property. The Corporation, as receiver, in consultation with SIPC, as trustee, would allocate customer property and property made available through advances from SIPC in a manner consistent with SIPA and with SIPC's normal practices thereunder. The calculation of net equity would not be affected by the assumption of liability by the bridge broker-dealer to each customer in connection with the property transferred to the bridge broker-dealer. The use of the bridge broker-dealer is designed to give customers access to their accounts as quickly as practicable, while ensuring that customers receive assets in the form and amount that they would receive in a SIPA liquidation.89

    86 15 U.S.C. 8fff-2(b).

    87 15 U.S.C. 8fff-3(a).

    88 15 U.S.C. 8fff-2(b)(2).

    89 This outcome would satisfy the requirements of section 205(f)(1) of the Dodd-Frank Act. See 12 U.S.C. 5385(f)(1) (stating that notwithstanding any other provision of this title, all obligations of a covered broker or dealer or of any bridge financial company established with respect to such covered broker or dealer to a customer relating to, or net equity claims based upon, customer property or customer name securities shall be promptly discharged by SIPC, the Corporation, or the bridge financial company, as applicable, by the delivery of securities or the making of payments to or for the account of such customer, in a manner and in an amount at least as beneficial to the customer as would have been the case had the actual proceeds realized from the liquidation of the covered broker or dealer under this title been distributed in a proceeding under SIPA without the appointment of the Corporation as receiver and without any transfer of assets or liabilities to a bridge financial company, and with a filing date as of the date on which the Corporation is appointed as receiver).

    The proposed rule also provides that allocations to customer accounts at the bridge broker-dealer may initially be derived from estimates based upon the books and records of the covered broker-dealer or other information deemed relevant by the Corporation as receiver, in consultation with SIPC as trustee.90 This approach is based upon experience with SIPA liquidations where, for example, there were difficulties reconciling the broker-dealer's records with the records of central counterparties or other counterparties or other factors that caused delay in verifying customer accounts.91 This provision of the proposed rule is designed to facilitate access to accounts for the customers at the bridge broker-dealer as soon as is practicable under the circumstances while facilitating the refinement of the calculation of allocations of customer property to customer accounts as additional information becomes available. This process will help ensure both that customers have access to their customer accounts as quickly as practicable and that customer property ultimately will be fairly and accurately allocated.

    90See §§ 380.63(d) and 302.103(d), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5385(h) (granting the Corporation and the Commission authority to adopt rules to implement section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act).

    91See, e.g., In re Lehman Brothers Inc., (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2008), Trustee's Preliminary Investigation Report and Recommendations, available at http://dm.epiq11.com/LBI/Project#).

    The proposed rule also states that the bridge broker-dealer undertakes the obligations of a covered broker-dealer with respect to each person holding an account transferred to the bridge broker-dealer, but only to the extent of the property (and SIPC funds) so transferred and held by the bridge broker-dealer with respect to that person's account.92 This portion of the proposed rule provides customers of the bridge broker-dealer with the assurance that the securities laws relating to the protection of customer property will apply to customers of a bridge broker-dealer in the same manner as they apply to customers of a broker-dealer which is being liquidated outside of Title II.93 The Agencies believe that such assurances would help to reduce uncertainty regarding the protections that will be offered to customers.

    92See §§ 380.63(d) and 302.103(d), as proposed.

    93See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(2)(H)(ii) (stating that the bridge financial company shall be subject to the federal securities laws and all requirements with respect to being a member of a self-regulatory organization, unless exempted from any such requirements by the Commission, as is necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors).

    This portion of the proposed rule also provides that the bridge broker-dealer would not have any obligations with respect to any customer property or other property that is not transferred from the covered broker-dealer to the bridge broker-dealer.94 A customer's net equity claim remains with the covered broker-dealer and, in most cases, would be satisfied, in whole or in part, by transferring the customer's account together with customer property, to the bridge broker-dealer.95 In the event that a customer's account and the associated account property is not so transferred, the customer's net equity claim would be subject to satisfaction by SIPC as the trustee for the covered broker-dealer in the same manner and to the same extent as in a SIPA proceeding.96

    94See §§ 380.63(d) and 302.103(d), as proposed.

    95See §§ 380.63(d) and 302.103(d), as proposed.

    96See 12 U.S.C. 5385(f)(2).

    The bridge broker-dealer section of the proposed rule 97 also provides that the transfer of assets or liabilities of a covered broker-dealer, including customer accounts and all associated customer name securities and customer property, assets and liabilities held by a covered broker-dealer for non-customer creditors, and assets and liabilities associated with any trust or custody business, to a bridge broker-dealer, would be effective without any consent, authorization, or approval of any person or entity, including but not limited to, any customer, contract party, governmental authority, or court.98 This section is based on the Corporation's authority, under three separate statutory provisions of Title II.99 The broad language of this paragraph of the proposed rule is intended to give full effect to the statutory provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act regarding transfers of assets and liabilities of a covered financial company,100 which represent an important recognition by Congress that, in order to ensure the financial stability of the United States following the failure of a covered financial company, the Corporation as receiver must be free to determine which contracts, assets, and liabilities of the covered financial company are to be transferred to a bridge financial company, and to transfer such contracts, assets, and liabilities expeditiously and irrespective of whether any other person or entity consents to or approves of the transfer. The impracticality of requiring the Corporation as receiver to obtain the consent or approval of others in order to effectuate a transfer of the failed company's contracts, assets, and liabilities arises whether the consent or approval otherwise would be required as a consequence of laws, regulations, or contractual provisions, including as a result of options, rights of first refusal, or similar contractual rights, or any other restraints on alienation or transfer. Paragraph (e) would apply regardless of the identity of the holder of the restraint on alienation or transfer, whether such holder is a local, state, federal or foreign government, a governmental department or other governmental body of any sort, a court or other tribunal, a corporation, partnership, trust, or other type of company or entity, or an individual, and regardless of the source of the restraint on alienation or transfer, whether a statute, regulation, common law, or contract. It is the Corporation's view that the transfer of any contract to a bridge financial company would not result in a breach of the contract and would not give rise to a claim or liability for damages. In addition, under section 210(h)(2)(E) of the Dodd-Frank Act, no additional assignment or further assurance is required of any person or entity to effectuate such a transfer of assets or liabilities by the Corporation as receiver for the covered broker-dealer. Paragraph (e) of the proposed rule would facilitate the prompt transfer of assets and liabilities of a covered broker-dealer to a bridge broker-dealer and enhance the Corporation's ability to maintain critical operations of the covered broker-dealer. Rapid action to set-up a bridge broker-dealer and transfer assets, including customer accounts and customer property, may be critical to preserving financial stability and to giving customers the promptest possible access to their accounts.

    97See §§ 380.63(e) and 302.103(e), as proposed.

    98See §§ 380.63(e) and 302.103(e), as proposed; see also 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(5)(D).

    99See 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(5)(D). See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(1)(G); 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(1)(O). Notably, the power to transfer customer accounts and customer property without customer consent is also found in SIPA. See 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(f).

    100 The proposed rule text omits the reference to “further” approvals found in 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(5)(D). The reference in the statute is to the government approvals needed in connection with organizing the bridge financial company, such as the approval of the articles of association and by-laws, as established under 12 U.S.C. 5390(h). These approvals will already have been obtained prior to any transfer under the proposed rule, making the reference to “further” approvals unnecessary and superfluous.

    Paragraph (f) of the bridge broker-dealer provision of the proposed rule provides for the succession of the bridge broker-dealer to the rights, powers, authorities, or privileges of the covered broker-dealer.101 This provision of the proposed rule draws directly from authority provided in Title II and is designed to facilitate the ability of the Corporation as receiver to operate the bridge broker-dealer.102 Pursuant to paragraph (g) of the bridge broker-dealer provision,103 the bridge broker-dealer would also be subject to the federal securities laws and all requirements with respect to being a member of a self-regulatory organization, unless exempted from any such requirements by the Commission as is necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors.104 This provision of the proposed rule also draws closely upon Title II.105

    101See §§ 380.63(f) and 302.103(f), as proposed.

    102See 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(2)(H)(i).

    103See §§ 380.63(g) and 302.103(g), as proposed.

    104See 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(2)(H)(ii).

    105Id.

    Paragraph (h) of the bridge broker-dealer provision of the proposed rule states that at the end of the term of existence of the bridge broker-dealer, any proceeds or other assets that remain after payment of all administrative expenses of the bridge broker-dealer and all other claims against the bridge broker-dealer would be distributed to the Corporation as receiver for the related covered broker-dealer.106 Stated differently, the residual value in the bridge broker-dealer after payment of its obligations would benefit the creditors of the covered broker-dealer in satisfaction of their claims.

    106See §§ 380.63(h) and 302.103(h), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5385(d)(2); 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(15)(B).

    E. Claims of Customers and Other Creditors of a Covered Broker-Dealer  107

    107 If adopted, the section of the proposed rule on claims of customers and other creditors of a covered broker-dealer will appear in 12 CFR 380.64 for purposes of the Corporation and 17 CFR 302.104 for purposes of the Commission. The rule text in both CFRs will be identical.

    The proposed section on the claims of the covered broker-dealer's customers and other creditors would address the claims process for those customers and other creditors as well as the respective roles of the trustee and the receiver with respect to those claims.108 The proposed section would provide SIPC with the authority as trustee for the covered broker-dealer to make determinations, allocations, and advances in a manner consistent with its customary practices in a liquidation under SIPA.109 Specifically, the proposed section provides that the allocation of customer property, advances from SIPC, and delivery of customer name securities to each customer or to its customer account at a bridge broker or dealer, in partial or complete satisfaction of such customer's net equity claims as of the close of business on the appointment date, shall be in a manner, including form and timing, and in an amount at least as beneficial to such customer as would have been the case had the covered broker or dealer been liquidated under SIPA.110 Each customer of a covered broker-dealer would receive cash and securities at least equal in amount and value, as of the appointment date, to what that customer would have received in a SIPA proceeding.111

    108See §§ 380.64 and 302.104, as proposed.

    109See §§ 380.64(a)(4) and 302.104(a)(4), as proposed. See also 15 U.S.C. 78aaa et seq.

    110See §§ 380.64(a)(4) and 302.104(a)(4), as proposed.

    111See 15 U.S.C. 78aaa et seq.

    This proposed section further addresses certain procedural aspects of the claims determination process in accordance with the requirements set forth in section 210(a)(2) through (5) of the Dodd-Frank Act.112 The proposed section describes the role of the receiver of a covered broker-dealer with respect to claims and provides for the publication and mailing of notices to creditors of the covered broker-dealer by the receiver in a manner consistent with both SIPA and the notice procedures applicable to covered financial companies generally under section 210(a)(2) of the Dodd-Frank Act.113 The proposed section provides that the notice of the Corporation's appointment as receiver must be accompanied by notice of SIPC's appointment as trustee.114 In addition, the Corporation, as receiver, would consult with SIPC, as trustee, regarding procedures for filing a claim including the form of claim and the filing instructions, to facilitate a process that is consistent with SIPC's general practices.115 The claim form would include a provision permitting a claimant to claim customer status, if applicable, but the inclusion of any such claim to customer status on the claim form would not be determinative of customer status under SIPA.

    112 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(2) through (5).

    113See §§ 380.64(b) and 302.104(b), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(2).

    114See §§ 380.64(b)(1) and 302.104(b)(1), as proposed.

    115See §§ 380.64(b)(2) and 302.104(b)(2), as proposed.

    The proposed rule would set the claims bar date as the date following the expiration of the six-month period beginning on the date that the notice to creditors is first published.116 The claims bar date in the proposed rule is consistent with section 8(a) of SIPA, which provides for the barring of claims after the expiration of the six-month period beginning upon publication.117 The six-month period is also consistent with section 210(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires that the claims bar date be no less than ninety days after first publication.118 As required by section 210(a)(3)(C)(i) of the Dodd-Frank Act, the proposed rule provides that any claim filed after the claims bar date shall be disallowed, and such disallowance shall be final, except that a claim filed after the claims bar date would be considered by the receiver if (i) the claimant did not receive notice of the appointment of the receiver in time to file a claim before the claim date, and (ii) the claim is filed in time to permit payment of the claim, as provided by section 210(a)(3)(C)(ii) of the Dodd-Frank Act.119 This exception for late-filed claims due to lack of notice to the claimant would serve a similar purpose (i.e., to ensure a meaningful opportunity for claimants to participate in the claims process) as the “reasonable, fixed extension of time” that may be granted to the otherwise applicable six-month deadline under SIPA to certain specified classes of claimants.120

    116See §§ 380.64(b)(3) and 302.104(b)(3), as proposed (discussing claims bar date).

    117See 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(a).

    118See 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(2)(B)(i).

    119See §§ 380.64(b)(3) and 302.104(b)(3), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(3)(C)(i) and (ii).

    120See 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(a)(3).

    Section 8(a)(3) of SIPA provides that a customer who wants to assure that its net equity claim is paid out of customer property must file its claim with the SIPA trustee within a period of time set by the court (not exceeding 60 days after the date of publication of the notice provided in section 8(a)(1) of SIPA) notwithstanding that the claims bar date is later.121 The proposed rule conforms to this section of SIPA by providing that any claim for net equity filed more than 60 days after the notice to creditors is first published need not be paid or satisfied in whole or in part out of customer property and, to the extent such claim is paid by funds advanced by SIPC, it would be satisfied in cash or securities, or both, as SIPC, the trustee, determines is most economical to the receivership estate.122

    121See 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(a)(3) and 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(a)(1).

    122See §§ 380.64(b)(3) and 302.104(b)(3), as proposed. See also 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(a)(3).

    Under the proposed rule, the Corporation as receiver would be required to notify a claimant whether it allows a claim within the 180-day period 123 as such time period may be extended by written agreement,124 or the expedited 90-day period,125 whichever would be applicable. The process established for the determination of claims by customers of a covered broker-dealer for customer property or customer name securities would constitute the exclusive process for the determination of such claims.126 This process corresponds to the SIPA provision that requires that customer claims to customer property be determined pro rata based on each customer's net equity applied to all customer property as a whole.127 While the Dodd-Frank Act provides for expedited treatment of certain claims within 90 days, given that all customers may have preferred status with respect to customer property and customer name securities, no one customer's claim, or group of customer claims, would be treated in an expedited manner ahead of other customers' claims. Consequently, the concept of expedited relief would not apply to customer claims.128 The receiver's determination to allow or disallow a claim in whole or in part would utilize the determinations made by SIPC, as trustee, with respect to customer status, claims for net equity, claims for customer name securities, and whether property held by the covered broker-dealer qualifies as customer property.129 A claimant may seek a de novo judicial review of any claim that is disallowed in whole or in part by the receiver, including but not limited to any claim disallowed in whole or part based upon any determination made by SIPC.130

    123See §§ 380.64(c) and 302.104(c), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(3)(A)(i).

    124See 15 U.S.C. 5390(a)(3)(A).

    125See §§ 380.64(c) and 302.104(c), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(5)(B).

    126See §§ 380.64(c) and 302.104(c), as proposed.

    127See 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2.

    128See §§ 380.64(c) and 302.104(c), as proposed.

    129Id.

    130See §§ 380.64(d) and 302.104(d), as proposed (stating thathe claimant may seek a judicial determination of any claim disallowed, in whole or in part, by the Corporation as receiver, including any claim disallowed based upon any determination(s) made by SIPC as trustee by the appropriate district or territorial court of the United States). See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(4) and (5).

    F. Additional Proposed Sections

    In addition to the previously discussed proposed sections, the Agencies propose to include sections in the proposed rule addressing: (1) The priorities for unsecured claims against a covered broker-dealer;131 (2) the administrative expenses of SIPC;132 and (3) QFCs.133 The Dodd-Frank Act sets forth special priorities for the payment of claims of general unsecured creditors of a covered broker-dealer, which would be addressed in the proposed section on priorities for unsecured claims against a covered broker-dealer.134 The priorities for unsecured claims against a covered broker-dealer include claims for unsatisfied net equity of a customer and certain administrative expenses of the receiver and SIPC.135 The priorities set forth in the proposed rule express the cumulative statutory requirements set forth in Title II.136 First, the priorities provide that the administrative expenses of SIPC as trustee for a covered broker-dealer would be reimbursed pro rata with administrative expenses of the receiver for the covered broker-dealer.137 Second, the amounts paid by the Corporation as receiver to customers or SIPC would be reimbursed on a pro rata basis with amounts owed to the United States, including amounts borrowed from the U.S. Treasury for the orderly liquidation fund.138 Third, the amounts advanced by SIPC for the satisfaction of customer net equity claims would be reimbursed subsequent to amounts owed to the United States, but before all other claims.139

    131 If adopted, the priorities for unsecured claims against a covered broker-dealer section will appear in 12 CFR 380.65 for purposes of the Corporation and 17 CFR 302.105 for purposes of the Commission. The rule text in both CFRs will be identical.

    132 If adopted, the SIPC administrative expenses section will appear in 12 CFR 380.66 for purposes of the Corporation and 17 CFR 302.106 for purposes of the Commission. The rule text in both CFRs will be identical.

    133 If adopted, the QFC section will appear in 12 CFR 380.67 for purposes of the Corporation and 17 CFR 302.107 for purposes of the Commission. The rule text in both CFRs will be identical.

    134See 12 U.S.C. 5390(b)(6) (providing the priority of expenses and unsecured claims in the orderly liquidation of SIPC members).

    135See §§ 380.65 and 302.105, as proposed.

    136See 12 U.S.C. 5390(b)(6) (providing the priority of expenses and unsecured claims in the orderly liquidation of SIPC members). See also §§ 380.65 and 302.105, as proposed.

    137See §§ 380.65(a) and 302.105(a), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(b)(6)(A).

    138See §§ 380.65(b) and 302.105(b), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(b)(6)(B); 12 U.S.C. 5390(n) (establishing the “orderly liquidation fund” available to the Corporation to carry out the authorities granted to it under Title II).

    139See §§ 380.65(c) and 302.105(c), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(b)(6)(C).

    Title II provides that SIPC is entitled to recover administrative expenses incurred in performing its responsibilities under section 205 on an equal basis with the Corporation.140 Title II also sets forth a description of the administrative expenses of the receiver.141 In order to provide additional clarity as to the types of administrative expenses that SIPC would be entitled to recover in connection with its role as trustee for the covered broker-dealer, the proposed rule provides that SIPC, in connection with its role as trustee for the covered broker-dealer, has the authority to “utilize the services of private persons, including private attorneys, accountants, consultants, advisors, outside experts and other third party professionals.” The section further provides SIPC with an allowed administrative expense claim with respect to any amounts paid by SIPC for services provided by these persons if those services are “practicable, efficient and cost-effective.”142 The proposed definition of administrative expenses of SIPC conforms to both the definition of administrative expenses of the Corporation as receiver and the costs and expenses of administration reimbursable to SIPC as trustee in the liquidation of a broker-dealer under SIPA.143 Specifically, the proposed definition includes “the costs and expenses of such attorneys, accountants, consultants, advisors, outside experts and other third parties, and other proper expenses that would be allowable to a third party trustee under 15 U.S.C. 78eee(b)(5)(A), including the costs and expenses of SIPC employees that would be allowable pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 78fff(e).”144 The proposed definition excludes advances from SIPC to satisfy customer claims for net equity because the Dodd-Frank Act specifies that those advances are treated differently than administrative expenses with respect to the priority of payment.145

    140See 12 U.S.C. 5390(b)(6)(A). The regulation governing the Corporation's administrative expenses in its role as receiver under Title II is located at 12 CFR 380.22.

    141See 12 U.S.C. 5381(a)(1).

    142See §§ 380.66(a) and 302.106(a), as proposed.

    143See §§ 380.66(a) and 302.106(a), as proposed. See also 12 U.S.C. 5381(a)(1) (defining administrative expenses of the receiver); 15 U.S.C. 78eee(5) (providing for compensation for services and reimbursement of expenses).

    144See §§ 380.66(a) and 302.106(a), as proposed. See also 15 U.S.C. 78eee(b)(5)(A); 15 U.S.C. 78fff(e).

    145See §§ 380.66(b) and 302.106(b), as proposed (defining the term administrative expenses of SIPC). See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(b)(6)(C) (stating SIPC's entitlement to recover any amounts paid out to meet its obligations under section 205 and under SIPA).

    Lastly, the proposed section on QFCs states that QFCs are governed in accordance with Title II.146 Paragraph (b)(4) of section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act states in pertinent part that notwithstanding any provision of SIPA the rights and obligations of any party to a qualified financial contract (as the term is defined in section 210(c)(8)) to which a covered broker or dealer for which the Corporation has been appointed receiver is a party shall be governed exclusively by section 210, including the limitations and restrictions contained in section 210(c)(10)(B).147 Paragraph (c)(8)(A) of section 210 states that no person shall be stayed or prohibited from exercising: (i) Any right that such person has to cause the termination, liquidation, or acceleration of any qualified financial contract with a covered financial company which arises upon the date of appointment of the Corporation as receiver for such covered financial company or at any time after such appointment; (ii) any right under any security agreement or arrangement or other credit enhancement related to one or more qualified financial contracts described in clause (i); or (iii) any right to offset or net out any termination value, payment amount, or other transfer obligation arising under or in connection with one or more contracts or agreements described in clause (i), including any master agreement for such contracts or agreements.”148 Paragraph (c)(10)(B)(i)(I) and (II) of section 210 provides in pertinent part that a person who is a party to a QFC with a covered financial company may not exercise any right that such person has to terminate, liquidate, or net such contract under paragraph (c)(8)(A) of section 210 solely by reason of or incidental to the appointment under Title II of the Corporation as receiver for the covered financial company: (1) Until 5:00 p.m. eastern time on the business day following the date of the appointment; or (2) after the person has received notice that the contract has been transferred pursuant to paragraph (c)(9)(A) of section 210.149 The proposed rule reflects these statutory directives and states: “The rights and obligations of any party to a qualified financial contract to which a covered broker or dealer is a party shall be governed exclusively by 12 U.S.C. 5390, including the limitations and restrictions contained in 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)(10)(B), and any regulations promulgated thereunder.”150

    146See §§ 380.67 and 302.107, as proposed.

    147See 12 U.S.C. 5385(b)(4) (stating that notwithstanding any provision of SIPA .the rights and obligations of any party to a qualified financial contract to which a covered broker or dealer is a party shall be governed exclusively by section 210 of the Dodd-Frank Act).

    148See 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)(8)(A).

    149See 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)(10)(B).

    150See §§ 380.67 and 302.107, as proposed.

    III. Requests for Comments A. In General

    The Agencies generally request comment on the proposal to implement Title II's orderly liquidation of covered broker-dealers provisions. The Agencies invite interested persons to submit written comments on any aspect of the proposed rule, in addition to the specific requests for comment. Further, the Agencies invite comment on other matters that might have an effect on the proposed rule contained in this release, including any competitive impact.

    B. Requests for Comment on Certain Specific Matters

    In addition to the general request for comments, the Agencies request comment with respect to the following specific questions:

    1. In light of section 205(f)(1)'s requirement that customers in a section 205 orderly liquidation receive distributions that are at least as beneficial as what they would have received in a SIPA liquidation, are there any circumstances in which the application of the proposed rule would result in delivery or distributions to customers of securities or cash, in connection with net equity claims, customer property or customer name securities, in a manner and in an amount less than such customers would receive if the covered broker-dealer were subject to a SIPA liquidation? If yes, what are those circumstances? Please be specific.

    2. Would an orderly liquidation of a broker-dealer under the approach described in the proposed rule have any unintended or adverse impact(s) on customers or other classes of claimants? If yes, what are those impacts? Are there other approach(es) that might be consistent with the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act and have fewer such impacts? What are the other approach(es) that might eliminate or minimize such unintended or adverse impact(s), and how would they do so? Please be specific. What would be the costs or benefits associated with such alternative approaches?

    3. Would an orderly liquidation of a broker-dealer under the approach described in the proposed rule have any unintended or adverse impact(s) on market participants generally? If yes, what are those impacts? Are there other approach(es) that might be consistent with the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act and have fewer such impacts? What are the other approach(es) that might eliminate or minimize such unintended or adverse impact(s), and how would they do so? Please be specific. What would be the costs or benefits associated with such alternative approaches?

    4. Are there any matter(s) with respect to the orderly liquidation of a covered broker-dealer under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act that are not currently addressed in the proposed rule, but that should be addressed in a rulemaking under section 205(h) of the Dodd-Frank Act, 12 U.S.C. 5385(h)? If yes, what are those matters, why should they be addressed, and how? Please be specific.

    5. Does the proposed rule clearly address the roles of the FDIC as receiver and SIPC as trustee for the covered broker-dealer in a Title II orderly liquidation? If not, how could the proposed rule be made clearer?

    6. Does the proposed rule clearly address the treatment of customers and other classes of claimants and creditors in a Title II orderly liquidation of a covered broker-dealer? Does the proposed rule clearly address the claims bar date and the 60-day filing deadline for payment of net equity claims out of customer property? If not, in what respects could the proposed rule be made clearer and how?

    7. Are the priorities for the allocation of customer property and other assets of the covered broker-dealer clearly addressed by the proposed rule? If not, in what respects could they be made clearer and how?

    8. Are the standards for judicial review of a claim that is disallowed, in whole or in part, clearly addressed by the proposed rule? If not, in what respects could the proposed rule be made clearer and how?

    9. Are the matters listed for inclusion in the protective decree appropriate? Are there any other matters not mentioned that should be included in the protective decree, and if so, why? Could the provision of the protective decree clarifying that, if a protective decree were filed on a date other than the appointment date, the protective decree's filing date would be deemed be the appointment date, cause harm to customers, other claimants, creditors, shareholders, or other interested parties? If so, how? Are there alternative approaches that would not have such impacts? If yes, please describe in detail and provide information about associated costs or benefits.

    10. Would customers be harmed by their inability to seek determinations of their claims within the expedited 90-day period (as provided by section 210(a)(5)(B) of the Dodd-Frank Act) rather than within six-months (as provided by section 210(a)(3)(A)(i) of the Dodd-Frank Act)? If so, how? If customers were permitted to seek expedited determinations of their claims, would that allow them to “jump ahead” of other similarly-situated claimants? Would that be appropriate?

    11. What are the expected costs to covered broker-dealers as a result of this proposed rule?

    12. Are there any costs or benefits of the proposed rule for customers or other creditors of covered broker-dealers, or market participants generally, that are not described above? Please describe.

    13. What are the proposed rule's implications for systemic risk?

    14. Are there any anticipated consequences of the proposed rule that are not otherwise described in this release? Please be specific.

    IV. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The proposed rule would clarify the process for the orderly liquidation of a covered broker-dealer under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act. The proposed rule addresses only the process to be used in the liquidation of the covered broker-dealer and does not create any new, or revise any existing, collection of information pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act.151 Consequently, no information has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review.

    151 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

    The Agencies request comment on the assertion that the proposed rule will not create any new, or revise any existing, collection of information pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    V. Economic Analysis A. Introduction and General Economic Considerations

    The Commission and the Corporation are jointly proposing this rule to implement provisions applicable to the orderly liquidation of covered broker-dealers pursuant to section 205(h) of the Dodd-Frank Act in manner that protects market participants by clearly establishing expectations and equitable treatment for customers and creditors of failed broker-dealers, as well as other market participants. The Commission and the Corporation are mindful of the costs and benefits of their respective rules. The following economic analysis seeks to identify and consider the benefits and costs—including the effects on efficiency, competition, and capital formation—that would result from the proposed rule. Overall, the Commission and the Corporation preliminarily believe that the primary benefit of the proposed rule is to codify additional details regarding the process for orderly liquidation of failed broker-dealers which will provide additional structure and enable consistent application of the process. Importantly, the proposed rule does not affect the set of options available to the Commission and the Corporation, nor does it affect the range of possible outcomes. The detailed analysis of costs and benefits regarding the proposed rule is discussed below.

    The Dodd-Frank Act specifically provides that the FDIC may be appointed receiver for a systemically important broker-dealer for purposes of the orderly liquidation of the company using the powers and authorities granted to the FDIC under Title II of the Act.152 Section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act sets forth a process for the orderly liquidation of covered broker-dealers that is an alternative to the process under SIPA, but that process incorporates many of the customer protection features of SIPA into a Title II orderly liquidation. Congress recognized that broker-dealers are different from other kinds of systemically important financial companies in several ways, not the least of which is how customers of a broker-dealer are treated in an insolvency proceeding relating to the broker-dealer.153 Section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act is intended to address situations where the failure of a large broker-dealer could have broader impacts on the stability of the United States financial system. The financial crisis of 2008 and the ensuing economic recession resulted in the failure of many financial entities. Liquidity problems that initially began at a small set of firms quickly spread as uncertainty about which institutions were solvent increased, triggering broader market disruptions, including a general loss of liquidity, distressed asset sales, and system-wide redemption runs by some participants.154 The proposed rule seeks to implement the orderly liquidation provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act in a manner that is designed to help reduce both the likelihood and the severity of financial market disruptions that could result from the failure of a covered broker-dealer.

    152See 12 U.S.C. 5382, 12 U.S.C. 5383, and 12 U.S.C. 5384.

    153See 12 U.S.C. 5385 (orderly liquidation of covered brokers and dealers).

    154See Brunnermeir, M. (2009), Deciphering the Liquidity and Credit Crunch 2007-2008, Journal of Economic Perspectives 23, 77-100.

    In the case of a failing broker-dealer, the broker-dealer customer protection regime is primarily composed of SIPA and the Exchange Act, as administered by SIPC and the Commission. Among other Commission financial responsibility rules, Rule 15c3-3 specifically protects customer funds and securities held by a broker-dealer and essentially forbids broker-dealers from using customer assets to finance any part of their businesses unrelated to servicing securities customers.155 With respect to SIPA, and as a general matter, in the event that a broker-dealer enters into a SIPA liquidation, customers' cash and securities held by the broker-dealer are returned to customers on a pro-rata basis.156 If the broker-dealer does not have sufficient funds to satisfy customer net equity claims, SIPC advances may be used to supplement the distribution, up to a ceiling of $500,000 per customer, including a maximum of $250,000 for cash claims.157 When applicable, SIPC or a SIPA trustee will return securities that are registered in the customer's name, or are in the process of being registered, directly to each customer.158 An integral component of the broker-dealer customer protection regime is that, under SIPA, customers have preferred status relative to general creditors with respect to customer property and customer name securities.159 SIPC or a SIPA trustee may sell or transfer customer accounts to another SIPC member in order for the customers to regain access to their accounts in an expedited fashion.160

    155See Net Capital Requirements for Brokers and Dealers, Exchange Act Release No. 21651 (Jan. 11, 1985), 50 FR 2690, 2690 (Jan. 18, 1985). See also Broker-Dealers; Maintenance of Certain Basic Reserves, Exchange Act Release No. 9856 (Nov. 10, 1972), 37 FR 25224, 25224 (Nov. 29, 1972).

    156See 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(b).

    157See 15 U.S.C. 78fff-3(a).

    158See 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(c).

    159See 15 U.S.C. 78fff(a).

    160See 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(f).

    Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act supplemented the customer protection regime for broker-dealers. As described above in more detail, in the event a covered broker-dealer fails,161 Title II provides the FDIC with a broader set of tools to help ensure orderly liquidation, including the ability to transfer all assets and liabilities held by a broker-dealer— not just customer assets—to another broker-dealer, as well as the ability to borrow from the U.S. Treasury.162 Upon the commencement of an orderly liquidation under Title II, the FDIC is appointed the receiver of the broker-dealer and SIPC is appointed as the trustee for the liquidation process. The FDIC is given the authority to form and fund a bridge broker-dealer,163 which would facilitate a quick transfer of customer accounts to a solvent broker-dealer and therefore would accelerate reinstated access to customer accounts.164 By granting the FDIC the ability to transfer any asset or liability to the bridge broker-dealer as it deems necessary, the orderly liquidation proceeding allows the Corporation to extend relief to certain creditors to reduce the destabilizing effects these creditors may cause if they run on a large broker-dealer.165 To further reduce the run risk the failed broker-dealer may be facing, Title II imposes an automatic one-business day stay on certain activities by the counterparties to QFCs, so as to provide the FDIC an opportunity to inform counterparties that the covered broker-dealer's liabilities were transferred to and assumed by the bridge broker-dealer.166

    161 To facilitate their customer business and to finance their proprietary trading activities, broker-dealers often enter into short-term borrowing arrangements, including repurchase and securities lending agreements. Such financing arrangements can have maturities as short as a day, requiring broker-dealers to continuously refinance their positions. Broker-dealers are therefore subject to liquidity risk in the event that short-term lenders and counterparties refuse to finance their positions or seek less favorable terms for the broker-dealer, such as higher haircuts on collateral. Doubts about a broker-dealer's viability can lead a broker-dealer's customers to move their accounts from the broker-dealer, placing additional strains upon the broker-dealer's liquidity position. Such doubts can, in turn, lead to a general “run” against the broker-dealer, both in its secured financing activities and withdrawals of customer accounts. The ability of the Corporation under Title II to provide financing to the broker-dealer and to allow the broker-dealer to continue its operations may help to address the liquidity stress at the broker-dealer and reduce the potential risk to other market participants.

    162 Under a SIPA liquidation, the Commission is authorized to make loans to SIPC should SIPC lack sufficient funds. In addition, to fund these loans, the Commission is authorized to borrow up to $2.5 billion from the U.S. Treasury. See 15 U.S.C. 78ddd(g) and (h).

    163See §§ 380.63 and 302.103, as proposed (regarding the FDIC's power to “organize one or more bridge brokers or dealers with respect to a covered broker or dealer”).

    164See Section II.D.2 on the FDIC's power to transfer accounts to bridge broker-dealer.

    165See Section II.E on the claims of customers and other creditors of a covered broker-dealer.

    166See Section II.F on the additional proposed sections that relate to qualified financial contracts.

    The proposed rule is designed to implement the provisions of section 205, so that an orderly liquidation can be carried out for certain broker-dealers with efficiency and the intended benefits of orderly liquidation, as established by the Dodd-Frank Act, on the overall economy can be realized. Specifically, the proposed rule implements the framework for the liquidation of covered broker-dealers. The framework includes definitions for the key terms such as customer, customer property, customer name securities, net equity, and bridge broker-dealer. It sets forth three major processes regarding the orderly liquidation—the process of initiating the orderly liquidation (including the appointment of receiver and trustee and the notice and application for protective decree), the process of account transfers to the bridge broker-dealer, and the claims process for customers and other creditors. While establishing orderly liquidation generally, section 205 does not specifically provide the details of such processes.

    The proposed rule provides several clarifications to the provisions in the statute. For example, under Title II, the FDIC has authority to transfer any assets without obtaining any approval, assignment, or consents.167 The proposed rule further provides that the transfer to a bridge broker-dealer of any account, property or asset is not determinative of customer status, nor that the property so transferred qualifies as customer property or customer name securities.168 The proposed rule also provides clarifications on terms such as the venue for filing the application for a protective decree and the filing date.169

    167See §§ 380.63 and 302.103, as proposed.

    168 These determinations would be made by SIPC in accordance with SIPA. See §§ 380.64(a)(1) and 302.104, as proposed

    169See §§ 380.62 and 302.102, as proposed.

    In addition, the proposed rule clarifies the process for transferring assets to the bridge broker-dealer, which should help expedite customer access to their respective accounts. For example, the proposed rule provides that allocations to customer accounts at the bridge broker-dealer may initially be derived from estimates based upon the books and records of the covered broker-dealer or other information deemed relevant by the Corporation in consultation with SIPC.170 This means that customers may potentially access their accounts more expeditiously, before the time-consuming record reconciliation process concludes.

    170See §§ 380.63(d) and 302.103(d), as proposed.

    Therefore, overall, the Commission and the Corporation preliminarily believe that the primary benefit of the proposed rule is to codify additional details regarding the process for the orderly liquidation of covered broker-dealers, which will provide additional structure and enable consistent application of the process. Importantly, the proposed rule does not affect the set of options available to the Commission and the Corporation upon failure of a covered broker-dealer, nor does it affect the range of possible outcomes. In the absence of the proposed rule, the Commission, the Board and the Secretary 171 could still determine that an orderly liquidation under Title II is appropriate, and the FDIC would still have broad authority to establish a bridge broker-dealer and transfer all assets and liabilities held by the failed entity. However, in the absence of the proposed rule, uncertainty could arise regarding the definitions (e.g., the applicable filing date or the nature of the application for a protective decree) and the claims process, which could cause delays in the process and undermine the goals of the statute. By establishing a uniform process for the orderly resolution of a broker-dealer, the proposed rule should improve the orderly liquidation process while implementing the statutory requirements, so that orderly liquidations can be carried out with efficiency and predictability. Such efficiency and predictability should generally ease implementation burdens and conserve resources that otherwise would have to be expended resolving delays in the claims process or in connection with any potential litigation that could arise from delays. The discussion below elaborates on the likely costs and benefits of the proposed rule and its potential impact on efficiency, competition and capital formation, as well as potential alternatives.

    171See 12 U.S.C. 5383(a)(1)(B).

    B. Economic Baseline

    To assess the economic impact of the proposed rule, the Commission and the Corporation are using section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act as the economic baseline. Section 205 sets forth provisions specific to the orderly liquidation of certain large broker-dealers and paragraph (h) directs the Commission and the Corporation, in consultation with SIPC, jointly to issue rules to fully implement the section.172 Although no implementing rules are in place, section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act was self-effectuating, meaning that the statutory requirements are in effect. Therefore, the appropriate baseline is the orderly liquidation authority in place pursuant to section 205, without any implementation rules issued by the Agencies. As outlined in Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act, irrespective of how the broker-dealer was placed into a Title II resolution, section 205 regarding the liquidation of broker-dealers and the proposed rule (if adopted) would always apply to the covered broker-dealer even if section 210 is invoked.

    172 12 U.S.C. 5385(h).

    1. SIPC's Role

    Section 205 provides that upon the appointment of the FDIC as receiver for a covered broker-dealer, the FDIC shall appoint SIPC as trustee for the liquidation of the covered broker-dealer under SIPA without need for any approval.173 Upon its appointment as trustee, SIPC shall promptly file with a federal district court an application for protective decree, the terms of which will jointly be determined by SIPC and the Corporation, in consultation with the Commission.174 Section 205 also provides that SIPC shall have all of the powers and duties provided by SIPA, except with respect to assets and liabilities transferred to the bridge broker-dealer.175 The determination of claims and the liquidation of assets retained in the receivership of the covered broker-dealer and not transferred to the bridge financial company shall be administered under SIPA.176

    173 12 U.S.C. 5385(a).

    174See 12 U.S.C. 5385(a)(2).

    175 12 U.S.C. 5385. See also §§ 380.64(a) and 302.104(a), as proposed (regarding SIPC's role as trustee).

    176Id.

    2. The Corporation's Power to Establish Bridge Broker-Dealers

    Section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act does not contain specific provisions regarding bridge broker-dealers. However, section 210 of the Dodd-Frank Act provides that, in connection with an orderly liquidation, the FDIC has the power to form one or more bridge financial companies, which includes the power to form bridge broker-dealers with respect to a covered broker-dealer.177 Under Title II, the FDIC has the authority to transfer any asset or liability held by the covered financial company without obtaining any approval, assignment, or consent with respect to such transfer.178 It is further provided that any customer of a covered broker-dealer whose account is transferred to a bridge financial company shall have all rights and privileges under section 205(f) of the Dodd-Frank Act and SIPA that such customer would have had if the account was not transferred.179

    177See 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(1)(A). See also 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(2)(H).

    178 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(1)(G).

    179See 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(2)(H)(iii).

    3. Satisfaction of Customer Claims

    Section 205(f) of the Dodd-Frank Act requires that all obligations of a covered broker-dealer or bridge broker-dealer to a customer relating to, or net equity claims based on, customer property or customer name securities must be promptly discharged in a manner and in an amount at least as beneficial to the customer as would have been the case had the broker-dealer been liquidated in a SIPA proceeding.

    C. Benefits, Costs and Effects on Efficiency, Competition, and Capital Formation 1. Anticipated Benefits a. Overall Benefits

    The key benefit of the proposed rule is that it creates a more structured framework to implement section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act, so that the orderly liquidation of a covered broker-dealer can be carried out with efficiency and predictability if the need arises. As discussed in the economic baseline, section 205 provides parameters for the orderly liquidation of covered broker-dealers, while the proposed rule implements these statutory parameters. The proposed rule first provides definitions for certain key terms including customer, customer property, customer name securities, net equity, and bridge broker-dealer, among others.180 It then sets forth three major processes regarding the orderly liquidation: the process of initiating the orderly liquidation,181 the process of account transfers to the bridge broker-dealer,182 and the claims process for customers and other creditors.183

    180See §§ 380.60 and 302.100, as proposed.

    181See §§ 380.61, 380.62, 302.101 and 302.102, as proposed.

    182See §§ 380.63 and 302.103, as proposed.

    183See §§ 380.64 and 302.104, as proposed.

    First, besides incorporating the statutory requirement of appointing SIPC as the trustee for covered broker-dealers, the proposed rule provides a more detailed process for notice and application for protective decree. It provides clarification for the venue in which the notice and application for a decree is to be filed.184 It clarifies the definition of the filing date if the notice and application is filed on a date other than the appointment date.185 And finally, it also includes a non-exclusive list of notices drawn from other parts of Title II to inform the relevant parties of the initiation of the orderly liquidation process and what they should expect.186

    184See §§ 380.62(a) and 302.102, as proposed.

    185Id.

    186See §§ 380.62(b) and 302.102(b), as proposed.

    Second, the proposed rule sets forth the process to establish one or more bridge broker-dealers and to transfer accounts, property, and other assets held by a covered broker-dealer to such bridge broker-dealers, pursuant to Title II of Dodd-Frank Act.187 Section 205 of the Act does not specifically provide for such a process. The proposed rule specifies that the Corporation may transfer any account, property, or asset held by a covered broker-dealer (including customer and non-customer accounts, property and assets) to a bridge broker-dealer as the Corporation deems necessary, based on the FDIC's authority under Title II to transfer any assets without obtaining any approval, assignment, or consents.188 The transfer to a bridge broker-dealer of any account, property or asset is not determinative of customer status.189 The determinations of customer status are to be made by SIPC as trustee in accordance with SIPA.190 As discussed above, given the preferred status of customers, litigation has been brought on customer status under SIPA (e.g., repo counterparties' claims of customer status under SIPA).191 Since the Corporation may transfer both customer and non-customer accounts, property and assets held by a covered broker-dealer to a bridge broker-dealer according to the statute, in the absence of the proposed rule, some non-customer creditors may mistakenly interpret under the baseline scenario that such a transfer confers customer status (especially since in a SIPA proceeding only customer assets are transferred). To the extent that such mistaken beliefs may arise from the statutory provisions, litigation over customer status could arise. The clarification in the proposed rule stresses that customer status is determined by SIPC separately from the decision to transfer an asset to a bridge broker-dealer, and could thus help prevent confusion concerning whether other creditors whose assets have also been transferred should be treated as customers. This clarification may mitigate a potential increase in litigation costs, although the economic benefit of such mitigation is likely to be de minimis.

    187See §§ 380.63 and 302.103, as proposed.

    188See §§ 380.63(e) and 302.103(e), as proposed.

    189See §§ 380.64(a) and 302.104(a), as proposed.

    190See §§ 380.64(a) and 302.104(a) as proposed.

    191See, e.g., In re Lehman Brothers Inc., 492 B.R. 379 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2013), aff'd, 506 B.R. 346.

    Regarding the account transfers to bridge broker-dealers, in addition to the provisions on the specifics of a transfer (e.g., the calculation of customer net equity, the assumption of the net equity claim by the bridge broker-dealer and the allocation of customer property), the proposed rule further provides that allocations to customer accounts at the bridge broker-dealer may initially be derived from estimates based upon the books and records of the covered broker-dealer or other information deemed relevant by the Corporation in consultation with SIPC.192 Given that it could be time-consuming to reconcile the broker-dealer's records with the records of other parties, this provision may speed up the allocation of customer property to the customer accounts at the bridge broker-dealer, thus providing customers quicker access to their accounts.

    192See §§ 380.63(d) and 302.103(d), as proposed.

    Third, the proposed rule also addresses the claims process for customers and other creditors.193 The proposed rule implements the statute's requirement that the trustee's allocation shall be in an amount and manner, including form and timing, at least as beneficial as such customer would have received under a SIPA proceeding, as required by section 205(f).194 In addition, it further addresses certain procedural aspects of the claims determination process, such as the publication and mailing of notices to creditors, the notice of the appointment of the FDIC and SIPC, the claims bar date, and expedited relief.

    193See §§ 380.64 and 302.104, as proposed.

    194See §§ 380.64(a)(4) and 302.104(a)(4), as proposed.

    In summary, the proposed rule would provide interested parties with details on the implementation of the orderly liquidation process. By providing for a uniform process, the proposed rule could improve the orderly liquidation process, so that the orderly liquidation can be carried out with efficiency and predictability. Under the baseline scenario, in absence of the proposed rule, uncertainty may arise because various parties may interpret the statutory requirements differently. For example, under the baseline, the repo counterparties of the broker-dealer may not understand that the transfer of the rights and obligations under their contracts to the bridge broker-dealer is not determinative of customer status, because such a transfer to another broker-dealer is only available for customers under a SIPA proceeding. That is, repo counterparties of the broker-dealer may mistakenly believe that the transfer of rights and obligations implies customer status. Accordingly, the proposed rule provides that the transfer of accounts to a bridge broker-dealer is not determinative of customer status, and that such status is determined by SIPC in accordance with SIPA. Uncertainty regarding such matters could result in litigation and delays in the claims process if orderly liquidation were to be commenced with respect to a covered broker-dealer; therefore, the structure provided by the proposed rule could conserve resources that otherwise would have to be expended in settling such litigation and resolving delays that may arise, and create a more efficient process for enabling orderly liquidation. Moreover, under the baseline scenario, uncertainties about process and how customer and creditor claims would be handled could continue to encourage these claimants to reduce exposure if doubts about a broker-dealer's viability arise—for customers, by withdrawing free credit balances; for creditors, by reducing repo and derivatives exposure. Such uncertainties, if they were to persist, could undermine the broader benefits that orderly liquidation could provide to financial stability. In this sense, the processes set forth by the proposed rule could help realize the economic benefits of section 205.

    b. Benefits to Affected Parties

    The Commission and the Corporation believe that the proposed rule provides benefits comparable to those under the baseline scenario to relevant parties such as customers, creditors, and counterparties. To the extent that it provides additional guidance on procedural matters, the proposed rule may reduce potential uncertainty, thereby providing for an efficient and predictable orderly liquidation process. Therefore, the Commission and the Corporation preliminarily believe the proposed rule will improve the orderly liquidation process and provide benefits beyond the statute, although such benefits are likely to be incremental.

    The Commission and the Corporation preliminarily believe that the proposed rule will be beneficial to customers.195 The proposed rule states that the bridge broker-dealer will undertake the obligations of a covered broker-dealer with respect to each person holding an account transferred to the bridge broker-dealer, providing customers with transferred accounts assurance that they will receive the same legal protection and status as a customer of a broker-dealer that is subject to a liquidation outside of Title II.196 Further, under the proposed rule, the transfer of non-customer assets to a bridge broker-dealer would not imply customer status for these assets, which could thereby reduce any incentive to not move assets based upon fears of prejudging customer status. Finally, the proposed rule would provide that allocations to customer accounts at the bridge broker-dealer may initially be derived from estimates based on the books and records of the covered broker-dealer.197 This provision could help facilitate expedited customer access to their respective accounts, as customers would not have to wait for a final reconciliation of the broker-dealer's records with other parties' records.198

    195See Section II.D.1 discussing the preferred status of customer claims. See also §§ 380.65(a)(1) and 302.105(a)(1), as proposed (explaining that “SIPC . . . shall determine customer status . . .”).

    196See §§ 380.63(d) and 302.103(d), as proposed.

    197See §§ 380.63(d) and 302.103(d), as proposed.

    198See §§ 380.63(e) and 302.103(e), as proposed. See also 15 U.S.C. 78eee(b)(2)(C)(i) and (ii).

    The Commission preliminarily believes the proposed rule will yield benefits to both secured and unsecured creditors, as it clarifies the manner in which creditor claims could be transferred to a bridge broker-dealer. Creditors thus could potentially receive benefits from financing provided by the Corporation to the bridge broker-dealer.

    2. Anticipated Costs

    While the proposed rule is designed to ensure that an orderly liquidation under Title II would be at least as beneficial to customers as would be the case in a SIPA liquidation, orderly liquidation does entail different treatment of QFC counterparties. Under SIPA, certain QFC counterparties may exercise specified contractual rights regardless of an automatic stay.199 In contrast, Title II imposes an automatic one-day stay on certain activities by QFC counterparties,200 which may limit the ability of these counterparties to terminate contracts or exercise any rights against collateral. As proposed, the stay would remain in effect if the QFC contracts are transferred to a bridge broker-dealer. While these provisions may impose costs, they are a consequence of the statute and are already in effect.

    199 See 15 U.S.C. 78eee(b)(2)(C)(i) through (ii). See also Letter from Michael E. Don, Deputy General Counsel of SIPC to Robert A. Portnoy, Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel of the Public Securities Association, dated February 4, 1986 (repurchase agreements); Letter from Michael E. Don to J. Eugene Marans, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, dated August 29, 1988 (securities lending transactions); Letter from Michael E. Don to James D. McLaughlin, Director of the American Bankers Association, dated October 30, 1990 (securities lending transactions secured by cash collateral or supported by letters of credit); Letter from Michael E. Don to John G. Macfarlane, III, Chairman, Repo Committee, Public Securities Association, dated February 19, 1991 (securities lending transactions secured by cash collateral or supported by letters of credit); Letter from Michael E. Don, President of SIPC to Seth Grosshandler, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, dated February 14, 1996 (repurchase agreements falling outside the Code definition of “repurchase agreement”); and Letter from Michael E. Don to Omer Oztan, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel of the Bond Market Association, dated June 25, 2002 (repurchase agreements).

    200See §§ 380.67 and 302.107, as proposed.

    In addition, as discussed above, the proposed rule could benefit customers by allowing the allocations to customer accounts at the bridge broker-dealer to be derived from estimates based on the books and records of the covered broker-dealer. Such a process may accelerate customers' access to their accounts, as they would not have to wait for a final account reconciliation to access their accounts. As provided for in the proposed rule, the calculation of allocations of customer property to customer accounts would be refined as additional information becomes available. The Commission and the Corporation preliminarily believe that initial allocations will be made conservatively, which with the backstop of the availability of SIPC advances to customers in accordance with the requirements of SIPA, should minimize the possibility of an over-allocation to any customer. To the extent that initial estimates are excessive, it is possible that customer funds may need to be reallocated after customers initially gain access to their accounts, which could result in costs for customers. Essentially, the proposed rule trades off expedited access to customer funds with the possibility of subsequent reallocation. We currently lack data concerning the impact or costs that might be associated with this possibility. The costs associated with all of these factors may vary significantly depending on broker-dealer systems and the specific events. For these reasons, we are unable to quantify the costs associated with these factors at this time. However, as noted above, the Commission and the Corporation preliminarily believe initial allocations will be made conservatively, which would minimize the possibility of an over-allocation to any customer and mitigate potential costs and uncertainty associated with allocation refinements.

    3. Effects on Efficiency, Competition, and Capital Formation

    The Commission and the Corporation have preliminarily assessed the effects arising from the proposed rule on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. As discussed above, the Agencies preliminarily believe the primary economic benefit of the proposed rule will be that it provides details to implement section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act, so that the orderly liquidation of a covered broker-dealer can be carried out with greater efficiency and predictability if the need arises. This structure could reduce uncertainty about treatment of customer and creditor claims in an orderly liquidation, conserving resources and creating a more efficient process relative to orderly liquidation under the baseline. In addition, uncertainty about treatment of claims could encourage customers and creditors to reduce exposure to a broker-dealer facing financial distress, exacerbating liquidity problems. By reducing uncertainty, the proposed rule may reduce incentives for claimants to rush to reduce exposures. In such a scenario, broker-dealers may find it easier to recover from moderate financial distress and to sustain a sufficient capital position to provide financial intermediation services. Furthermore, for sufficiently large broker-dealers with many creditor and counterparty relationships throughout the financial system, positive perceptions about the ability of those broker-dealers to recover from moderate financial distress may stave off aggregate financial sector runs, and thus preserve financial sector capital and the availability of financial intermediation services.

    Beyond these identified potential effects, the Commission and the Corporation preliminarily believe that the additional effects of the proposed rule on efficiency, competition, and capital formation will be linked to the existence of an orderly liquidation process itself, which is part of the baseline, and is an option available to regulatory authorities today. Our analysis of the effects of an orderly liquidation process on efficiency, competition, and capital formation focuses on those effects that derive from the process and structure created by the proposed rule, but not those that are due to the underlying statute, which is part of the economic baseline. By establishing a structured framework, the proposed rule sets clearer expectations for relevant parties, and therefore could help reduce potential uncertainty and contribute to market efficiency and liquidity as described above. Relative to the baseline scenario, where orderly liquidation exists as an option for regulatory authorities but without the framework provided in the proposed rule, having a structured process in place as a response to a potential crisis could also allow broker-dealers to more readily attract funding, thus facilitating capital formation.

    D. Alternatives Considered

    As described above, Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act establishes a process by which a covered broker-dealer would be placed into orderly liquidation. Furthermore, orderly liquidation is available as an option to regulators today, and the proposed rule does not affect the set of options available to the Commission and the Corporation, nor does it affect the range of possible outcomes. As an alternative to this proposed rule, the Commission and the Corporation could rely on statutory provisions alone to achieve similar outcomes. However, the Commission and the Corporation preliminarily believe that relying on the statute alone, without a rule implementing section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act, would result in orderly liquidations, if any, that are less efficient and less predictable, and that would fail to achieve the benefits of the proposed rule described above. In particular, the absence of the provisions of the proposed rule outlining the process for notice and application for a protective decree, the process for establishing a bridge broker-dealer, and the process governing the transfer of accounts, property, and other assets held by the covered broker-dealer to the bridge broker-dealer, could lead to inconsistent application of the statutory provisions. Such inconsistency could cause delays in the liquidation process and increase the likelihood of litigation over issues such as customer status, increasing costs for customers and creditors without corresponding benefits.

    E. Request for Comment

    In addition to the general requests for comment, the Commission and the Corporation request comment with respect to the following specific questions:

    1. As an alternative to the proposed rule, should the Commission and the Corporation instead rely on the statute alone to implement orderly liquidations of covered broker-dealers? Why?

    2. Are there additional alternative processes to implement section 205 of the Dodd-Frank Act that the Commission and the Corporation should consider? If so, what are they and what would be the associated costs or benefits of these alternative approaches?

    VI. Regulatory Analysis and Procedures A. Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (“RFA”) 201 requires an agency publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking to prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the impact of the proposed rule on small entities.202 The RFA provides that an agency is not required to prepare and publish a regulatory flexibility analysis if the agency certifies that the proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.203

    201 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.

    202 5 U.S.C. 603(a).

    203 5 U.S.C. 605(b).

    Pursuant to section 605(b) of the RFA, the Agencies certify that the proposed rule, if adopted, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Under Small Business Administration size standards defining small entities, broker-dealers are generally considered small entities if their annual receipts do not exceed $38.5 million.204 If adopted, the proposed rule will clarify rules and procedures for the orderly liquidation of a covered broker-dealer under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act. A covered broker-dealer is a broker-dealer that is subject to a systemic risk determination by the Secretary pursuant to section 203 of the Dodd-Frank Act, 12 U.S.C. 5383, and thereafter is to be liquidated under Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Agencies do not believe that a broker-dealer that would be considered a small entity for purposes of the RFA would ever be the subject of a systemic risk determination by the Secretary. Therefore, the Agencies are not aware of any small entities that would be affected by the proposed rule. As such, the proposed rule, if adopted, would not affect, and would impose no burdens on, small entities.

    204 13 CFR 121.201.

    B. The Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999—Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

    The FDIC has determined that the proposed rule will not affect family well-being within the meaning of section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, enacted as part of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999.205

    205 Public Law 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681.

    C. Plain Language

    Section 722 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act 206 requires federal banking agencies to use plain language in all proposed and final rules published after January 1, 2000. The FDIC has sought to present the proposed rule in a simple and straightforward manner but nevertheless invites comment on whether the proposal is clearly stated and effectively organized, and how the Agencies might make the proposed text easier to understand.

    206 Public Law 106-102, 113 Stat. 1338, 1471.

    VII. Consideration of Impact on the Economy

    For purposes of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (“SBREFA”), the Commission and the Corporation request comment on the potential effect of the proposed rule on the United States economy on an annual basis. The Commission and the Corporation also request comment on any potential increases in costs or prices for consumers or individual industries, and any potential effect on competition, investment, or innovation based on the proposed rule. Commenters are requested to provide empirical data and other factual support for their views to the extent possible.

    VIII. Statutory Authority

    The proposed rule is being promulgated pursuant to section 205(h) of the Dodd-Frank Act. Section 205(h) of the Act requires the Corporation and the Commission, in consultation with SIPC, jointly to issue rules to implement section 205 of the Act concerning the orderly liquidation of covered broker-dealers.

    List of Subjects 12 CFR Part 380

    Bankruptcy, Brokers, Claims, Customers, Dealers, Financial companies, Orderly liquidation.

    17 CFR Part 302

    Brokers, Claims, Customers, Dealers, Financial companies, Orderly liquidation.

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 12 CFR Part 380 Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation proposes to amend 12 CFR part 380 as follows:

    PART 380—ORDERLY LIQUIDATION AUTHORITY 1. The authority citation for part 380 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 5385(h); 12 U.S.C. 5389; 12 U.S.C. 5390(s)(3); 12 U.S.C. 5390(b)(1)(C); 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(7)(D); 12 U.S.C. 5381(b), 12 U.S.C. 5390(r).

    2. Add subpart D to read as follows: Subpart D—Orderly Liquidation of Covered Brokers or Dealers Sec. 380.60 Definitions. 380.61 Appointment of receiver and trustee for covered broker or dealer. 380.62 Notice and application for protective decree for covered broker or dealer. 380.63 Bridge broker or dealer. 380.64 Claims of customers and other creditors of a covered broker or dealer. 380.65 Priorities for unsecured claims against a covered broker or dealer. 380.66 Administrative expenses of SIPC. 380.67 Qualified financial contracts.
    § 380.60 Definitions.

    For purposes of this subpart D, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

    (a) Appointment date. The term appointment date means the date of the appointment of the Corporation as receiver for a covered financial company that is a covered broker or dealer. This date shall constitute the filing date as that term is used in SIPA.

    (b) Bridge broker or dealer. The term bridge broker or dealer means a new financial company organized by the Corporation in accordance with 12 U.S.C. 5390(h) for the purpose of resolving a covered broker or dealer.

    (c) Commission. The term Commission means the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    (d) Covered broker or dealer. The term covered broker or dealer means a covered financial company that is a qualified broker or dealer.

    (e) Customer. The term customer of a covered broker or dealer shall have the same meaning as in 15 U.S.C. 78lll(2) provided that the references therein to debtor shall mean the covered broker or dealer.

    (f) Customer name securities. The term customer name securities shall have the same meaning as in 15 U.S.C. 78lll(3) provided that the references therein to debtor shall mean the covered broker or dealer and the references therein to filing date shall mean the appointment date.

    (g) Customer property. The term customer property shall have the same meaning as in 15 U.S.C. 78lll(4) provided that the references therein to debtor shall mean the covered broker or dealer.

    (h) Net equity. The term net equity shall have the same meaning as in 15 U.S.C. 78lll(11) provided that the references therein to debtor shall mean the covered broker or dealer and the references therein to filing date shall mean the appointment date.

    (i) Qualified broker or dealer. The term qualified broker or dealer means a broker or dealer that:

    (1) Is registered with the Commission under section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78o(b)); and

    (2) Is a member of SIPC.

    (j) SIPA. The term SIPA means the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970, 15 U.S.C. 78aaa-lll.

    (k) SIPC. The term SIPC means the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.

    § 380.61 Appointment of receiver and trustee for covered broker or dealer.

    Upon the appointment of the Corporation as receiver for a covered broker or dealer, the Corporation shall appoint SIPC to act as trustee for the covered broker or dealer.

    § 380.62 Notice and application for protective decree for covered broker or dealer.

    (a) SIPC and the Corporation, upon consultation with the Commission, shall jointly determine the terms of a notice and application for a protective decree that will be filed promptly with the Federal district court for the district within which the principal place of business of the covered broker or dealer is located; provided that if a case or proceeding under SIPA with respect to such covered broker or dealer is then pending, then such notice and application for a protective decree will be filed promptly with the Federal district court in which such case or proceeding under SIPA is pending. If such notice and application for a protective decree is filed on a date other than the appointment date, such filing shall be deemed to have occurred on the appointment date for the purposes of this subpart D.

    (b) A notice and application for a protective decree may, among other things, provide for notice—

    (1) Of the appointment of the Corporation as receiver and the appointment of SIPC as trustee for the covered broker or dealer; and

    (2) That the provisions of Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act and any regulations promulgated thereunder may apply, including without limitation the following:

    (i) Any existing case or proceeding with respect to a covered broker or dealer under the Bankruptcy Code or SIPA shall be dismissed effective as of the appointment date and no such case or proceeding may be commenced with respect to a covered broker or dealer at any time while the Corporation is receiver for such covered broker or dealer;

    (ii) The revesting of assets in a covered broker or dealer to the extent that they have vested in any entity other than the covered broker or dealer as a result of any case or proceeding commenced with respect to the covered broker or dealer under the Bankruptcy Code, SIPA, or any similar provision of State liquidation or insolvency law applicable to the covered broker or dealer; provided that any such revesting shall not apply to assets held by the covered broker or dealer, including customer property, transferred prior to the appointment date pursuant to an order entered by the bankruptcy court presiding over the case or proceeding with respect to the covered broker or dealer;

    (iii) The request of the Corporation as receiver for a stay in any judicial action or proceeding (other than actions dismissed in accordance with paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section) in which the covered broker or dealer is or becomes a party for a period of up to 90 days from the appointment date;

    (iv) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(v) of this section with respect to qualified financial contracts, no person may exercise any right or power to terminate, accelerate or declare a default under any contract to which the covered broker or dealer is a party (and no provision in any such contract providing for such default, termination or acceleration shall be enforceable), or to obtain possession of or exercise control over any property of the covered broker or dealer or affect any contractual rights of the covered broker or dealer without the consent of the Corporation as receiver of the covered broker or dealer upon consultation with SIPC during the 90-day period beginning from the appointment date; and

    (v) The exercise of rights and the performance of obligations by parties to qualified financial contracts with the covered broker or dealer may be affected, stayed, or delayed pursuant to the provisions of Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act (including 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)) and the regulations promulgated thereunder.

    § 380.63 Bridge broker or dealer.

    (a) The Corporation, as receiver for one or more covered brokers or dealers or in anticipation of being appointed receiver for one or more covered broker or dealers, may organize one or more bridge brokers or dealers with respect to a covered broker or dealer.

    (b) If the Corporation establishes one or more bridge brokers or dealers with respect to a covered broker or dealer, then, subject to paragraph (d) of this section, the Corporation as receiver for such covered broker or dealer shall transfer all customer accounts and all associated customer name securities and customer property to such bridge brokers or dealers unless the Corporation determines, after consultation with the Commission and SIPC, that:

    (1) The customer accounts, customer name securities, and customer property are likely to be promptly transferred to one or more qualified brokers or dealers such that the use of a bridge broker or dealer would not facilitate such transfer to one or more qualified brokers or dealers; or

    (2) The transfer of such customer accounts to a bridge broker or dealer would materially interfere with the ability of the Corporation to avoid or mitigate serious adverse effects on financial stability or economic conditions in the United States.

    (c) The Corporation, as receiver for such covered broker or dealer, also may transfer any other assets and liabilities of the covered broker or dealer (including non-customer accounts and any associated property and any assets and liabilities associated with any trust or custody business) to such bridge brokers or dealers as the Corporation may, in its discretion, determine to be appropriate in accordance with, and subject to the requirements of, 12 U.S.C. 5390(h), including 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(1) and 5390(h)(5), and any regulations promulgated thereunder.

    (d) In connection with customer accounts transferred to the bridge broker or dealer pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, claims for net equity shall not be transferred but shall remain with the covered broker or dealer. Customer property transferred from the covered broker or dealer, along with advances from SIPC, shall be allocated to customer accounts at the bridge broker or dealer in accordance with § 380.64(a)(3). Such allocations initially may be based upon estimates, and such estimates may be based upon the books and records of the covered broker or dealer or any other information deemed relevant in the discretion of the Corporation as receiver, in consultation with SIPC, as trustee. Such estimates may be adjusted from time to time as additional information becomes available. With respect to each account transferred to the bridge broker or dealer pursuant to paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, the bridge broker or dealer shall undertake the obligations of a broker or dealer only with respect to property transferred to and held by the bridge broker or dealer, and allocated to the account as provided in § 380.64(a)(3), including any customer property and any advances from SIPC. The bridge broker or dealer shall have no obligations with respect to any customer property or other property that is not transferred from the covered broker or dealer to the bridge broker or dealer. The transfer of customer property to such an account shall have no effect on calculation of the amount of the affected account holder's net equity, but the value, as of the appointment date, of the customer property and advances from SIPC so transferred shall be deemed to satisfy any such claim, in whole or in part.

    (e) The transfer of assets or liabilities held by a covered broker or dealer, including customer accounts and all associated customer name securities and customer property, assets and liabilities held by a covered broker or dealer for any non-customer creditor, and assets and liabilities associated with any trust or custody business, to a bridge broker or dealer, shall be effective without any consent, authorization, or approval of any person or entity, including but not limited to, any customer, contract party, governmental authority, or court.

    (f) Any succession to or assumption by a bridge broker or dealer of rights, powers, authorities, or privileges of a covered broker or dealer shall be effective without any consent, authorization, or approval of any person or entity, including but not limited to, any customer, contract party, governmental authority, or court, and any such bridge broker or dealer shall upon its organization by the Corporation immediately and by operation of law—

    (1) Be established and deemed registered with the Commission under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934;

    (2) Be deemed to be a member of SIPC; and

    (3) Succeed to any and all registrations and memberships of the covered broker or dealer with or in any self-regulatory organizations.

    (g) Except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section, the bridge broker or dealer shall be subject to applicable Federal securities laws and all requirements with respect to being a member of a self-regulatory organization and shall operate in accordance with all such laws and requirements and in accordance with its articles of association; provided, however, that the Commission may, in its discretion, exempt the bridge broker or dealer from any such requirements if the Commission deems such exemption to be necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors.

    (h) At the end of the term of existence of a bridge broker or dealer, any proceeds that remain after payment of all administrative expenses of such bridge broker or dealer and all other claims against such bridge broker or dealer shall be distributed to the receiver for the related covered broker or dealer.

    § 380.64 Claims of customers and other creditors of a covered broker or dealer.

    (a) Trustee's role. (1) SIPC, as trustee for a covered broker or dealer, shall determine customer status, claims for net equity, claims for customer name securities, and whether property of the covered broker or dealer qualifies as customer property. SIPC, as trustee for a covered broker or dealer, shall make claims determinations in accordance with SIPA and with paragraph (a)(3) of this section, but such determinations, and any claims related thereto, shall be governed by the procedures set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (2) SIPC shall make advances in accordance with, and subject to the limitations imposed by, 15 U.S.C. 78fff-3. Where appropriate, SIPC shall make such advances by delivering cash or securities to the customer accounts established at the bridge broker or dealer.

    (3) Customer property held by a covered broker or dealer shall be allocated as follows:

    (i) First, to SIPC in repayment of advances made by SIPC pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 5385(f) and 15 U.S.C. 78fff-3(c)(1), to the extent such advances effected the release of securities which then were apportioned to customer property pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 78fff(d);

    (ii) Second, to customers of such covered broker or dealer, or in the case that customer accounts are transferred to a bridge broker or dealer, then to such customer accounts at a bridge broker or dealer, who shall share ratably in such customer property on the basis and to the extent of their respective net equities;

    (iii) Third, to SIPC as subrogee for the claims of customers; and

    (iv) Fourth, to SIPC in repayment of advances made by SIPC pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 78fff-3(c)(2).

    (4) The determinations and advances made by SIPC as trustee for a covered broker or dealer under this subpart D shall be made in a manner consistent with SIPC's customary practices under SIPA. The allocation of customer property, advances from SIPC, and delivery of customer name securities to each customer or to its customer account at a bridge broker or dealer, in partial or complete satisfaction of such customer's net equity claims as of the close of business on the appointment date, shall be in a manner, including form and timing, and in an amount at least as beneficial to such customer as would have been the case had the covered broker or dealer been liquidated under SIPA. Any claims related to determinations made by SIPC as trustee for a covered broker or dealer shall be governed by the procedures set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (b) Receiver's role. Any claim shall be determined in accordance with the procedures set forth in 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(2) through (5) and the regulations promulgated by the Corporation thereunder, provided however, that—

    (1) Notice requirements. The notice of the appointment of the Corporation as receiver for a covered broker or dealer shall also include notice of the appointment of SIPC as trustee. The Corporation as receiver shall coordinate with SIPC as trustee to post the notice on SIPC's public Web site in addition to the publication procedures set forth in § 380.33.

    (2) Procedures for filing a claim. The Corporation as receiver shall consult with SIPC, as trustee, regarding a claim form and filing instructions with respect to claims against the Corporation as receiver for a covered broker or dealer, and such information shall be provided on SIPC's public Web site in addition to the Corporation's public Web site. Any such claim form shall contain a provision permitting a claimant to claim status as a customer of the broker or dealer, if applicable.

    (3) Claims bar date. The Corporation as receiver shall establish a claims bar date in accordance with 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(2)(B)(i) and any regulations promulgated thereunder by which date creditors of a covered broker or dealer, including all customers of the covered broker or dealer, shall present their claims, together with proof. The claims bar date for a covered broker or dealer shall be the date following the expiration of the six-month period beginning on the date a notice to creditors to file their claims is first published in accordance with 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(2)(B)(i) and any regulations promulgated thereunder. Any claim filed after the claims bar date shall be disallowed, and such disallowance shall be final, as provided by 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(3)(C)(i) and any regulations promulgated thereunder, except that a claim filed after the claims bar date shall be considered by the receiver as provided by 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(3)(C)(ii) and any regulations promulgated thereunder. In accordance with section 8(a)(3) of SIPA, 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(a)(3), any claim for net equity filed more than sixty days after the date the notice to creditors to file claims is first published need not be paid or satisfied in whole or in part out of customer property and, to the extent such claim is paid by funds advanced by SIPC, it shall be satisfied in cash or securities, or both, as SIPC, as trustee, determines is most economical to the receivership estate.

    (c) Decision period. The Corporation as receiver of a covered broker or dealer shall notify a claimant whether it allows or disallows the claim, or any portion of a claim or any claim of a security, preference, set-off, or priority, within the 180-day period set forth in 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(3)(A) and any regulations promulgated thereunder (as such 180-day period may be extended by written agreement as provided therein) or within the 90-day period set forth in 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(5)(B) and any regulations promulgated thereunder, whichever is applicable. In accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, the Corporation, as receiver, shall issue the notice required by this paragraph (c), which shall utilize the determination made by SIPC, as trustee, in a manner consistent with SIPC's customary practices in a liquidation under SIPA, with respect to any claim for net equity or customer name securities. The process established herein for the determination, within the 180-day period set forth in 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(3)(A) and any regulations promulgated thereunder (as such 180-day period may be extended by written agreement as provided therein), of claims by customers of a covered broker or dealer for customer property or customer name securities shall constitute the exclusive process for the determination of such claims, and any procedure for expedited relief established pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(5) and any regulations promulgated thereunder shall be inapplicable to such claims.

    (d) Judicial review. The claimant may seek a judicial determination of any claim disallowed, in whole or in part, by the Corporation as receiver, including any claim disallowed based upon any determination(s) of SIPC as trustee made pursuant to § 380.64(a), by the appropriate district or territorial court of the United States in accordance with 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(4) or (5), whichever is applicable, and any regulations promulgated thereunder.

    § 380.65 Priorities for unsecured claims against a covered broker or dealer.

    Allowed claims not satisfied pursuant to § 380.63(d), including allowed claims for net equity to the extent not satisfied after final allocation of customer property in accordance with § 380.64(a)(3), shall be paid in accordance with the order of priority set forth in § 380.21 subject to the following adjustments:

    (a) Administrative expenses of SIPC incurred in performing its responsibilities as trustee for a covered broker or dealer shall be included as administrative expenses of the receiver as defined in § 380.22 and shall be paid pro rata with such expenses in accordance with § 380.21(c).

    (b) Amounts paid by the Corporation to customers or SIPC shall be included as amounts owed to the United States as defined in § 380.23 and shall be paid pro rata with such amounts in accordance with § 380.21(c).

    (c) Amounts advanced by SIPC for the purpose of satisfying customer claims for net equity shall be paid following the payment of all amounts owed to the United States pursuant to § 380.21(a)(3) but prior to the payment of any other class or priority of claims described in § 380.21(a)(4) through (11).

    § 380.66 Administrative expenses of SIPC.

    (a) In carrying out its responsibilities, SIPC, as trustee for a covered broker or dealer, may utilize the services of third parties, including private attorneys, accountants, consultants, advisors, outside experts, and other third party professionals. SIPC shall have an allowed claim for administrative expenses for any amounts paid by SIPC for such services to the extent that such services are available in the private sector, and utilization of such services is practicable, efficient, and cost effective. The term administrative expenses of SIPC includes the costs and expenses of such attorneys, accountants, consultants, advisors, outside experts, and other third party professionals, and other expenses that would be allowable to a third party trustee under 15 U.S.C. 78eee(b)(5)(A), including the costs and expenses of SIPC employees that would be allowable pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 78fff(e).

    (b) The term administrative expenses of SIPC shall not include advances from SIPC to satisfy customer claims for net equity.

    § 380.67 Qualified financial contracts.

    The rights and obligations of any party to a qualified financial contract to which a covered broker or dealer is a party shall be governed exclusively by 12 U.S.C. 5390, including the limitations and restrictions contained in 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)(10)(B), and any regulations promulgated thereunder.

    Securities and Exchange Commission 17 CFR Part 302 Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons stated in the proposing release, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposes to amend 17 CFR 302 as follows:

    3. Add part 302 to read as follows: PART 302—ORDERLY LIQUIDATION OF COVERED BROKERS OR DEALERS Sec. 302.100 Definitions. 302.101 Appointment of receiver and trustee for covered broker or dealer. 302.102 Notice and application for protective decree for covered broker or dealer. 302.103 Bridge broker or dealer. 302.104 Claims of customers and other creditors of a covered broker or dealer. 302.105 Priorities for unsecured claims against a covered broker or dealer. 302.106 Administrative expenses of SIPC. 302.107 Qualified financial contracts. Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 5385(h).

    § 302.100 Definitions.

    For purposes of §§ 302.100 through 302.107, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

    (a) Appointment date. The term appointment date means the date of the appointment of the Corporation as receiver for a covered financial company that is a covered broker or dealer. This date shall constitute the filing date as that term is used in SIPA.

    (b) Bridge broker or dealer. The term bridge broker or dealer means a new financial company organized by the Corporation in accordance with 12 U.S.C. 5390(h) for the purpose of resolving a covered broker or dealer.

    (c) Commission. The term Commission means the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    (d) Covered broker or dealer. The term covered broker or dealer means a covered financial company that is a qualified broker or dealer.

    (e) Customer. The term customer of a covered broker or dealer shall have the same meaning as in 15 U.S.C. 78lll(2) provided that the references therein to debtor shall mean the covered broker or dealer.

    (f) Customer name securities. The term customer name securities shall have the same meaning as in 15 U.S.C. 78lll(3) provided that the references therein to debtor shall mean the covered broker or dealer and the references therein to filing date shall mean the appointment date.

    (g) Customer property. The term customer property shall have the same meaning as in 15 U.S.C. 78lll(4) provided that the references therein to debtor shall mean the covered broker or dealer.

    (h) Net equity. The term net equity shall have the same meaning as in 15 U.S.C. 78lll(11) provided that the references therein to debtor shall mean the covered broker or dealer and the references therein to filing date shall mean the appointment date.

    (i) Qualified broker or dealer. The term qualified broker or dealer means a broker or dealer that:

    (1) Is registered with the Commission under section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78o(b)); and

    (2) Is a member of SIPC.

    (j) SIPA. The term SIPA means the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970, 15 U.S.C. 78aaa-lll.

    (k) SIPC. The term SIPC means the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.

    (l) Corporation. The term Corporation means the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

    (m) Dodd-Frank Act. The term Dodd-Frank Act means the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Public Law 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376, enacted July 21, 2010.

    § 302.101 Appointment of receiver and trustee for covered broker or dealer.

    Upon the appointment of the Corporation as receiver for a covered broker or dealer, the Corporation shall appoint SIPC to act as trustee for the covered broker or dealer.

    § 302.102 Notice and application for protective decree for covered broker or dealer.

    (a) SIPC and the Corporation, upon consultation with the Commission, shall jointly determine the terms of a notice and application for a protective decree that will be filed promptly with the Federal district court for the district within which the principal place of business of the covered broker or dealer is located; provided that if a case or proceeding under SIPA with respect to such covered broker or dealer is then pending, then such notice and application for a protective decree will be filed promptly with the Federal district court in which such case or proceeding under SIPA is pending. If such notice and application for a protective decree is filed on a date other than the appointment date, such filing shall be deemed to have occurred on the appointment date for the purposes of §§ 302.100 through 302.107.

    (b) A notice and application for a protective decree may, among other things, provide for notice—

    (1) Of the appointment of the Corporation as receiver and the appointment of SIPC as trustee for the covered broker or dealer; and

    (2) That the provisions of Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act and any regulations promulgated thereunder may apply, including without limitation the following:

    (i) Any existing case or proceeding with respect to a covered broker or dealer under the Bankruptcy Code or SIPA shall be dismissed effective as of the appointment date and no such case or proceeding may be commenced with respect to a covered broker or dealer at any time while the Corporation is receiver for such covered broker or dealer;

    (ii) The revesting of assets in a covered broker or dealer to the extent that they have vested in any entity other than the covered broker or dealer as a result of any case or proceeding commenced with respect to the covered broker or dealer under the Bankruptcy Code, SIPA, or any similar provision of State liquidation or insolvency law applicable to the covered broker or dealer; provided that any such revesting shall not apply to assets held by the covered broker or dealer, including customer property, transferred prior to the appointment date pursuant to an order entered by the bankruptcy court presiding over the case or proceeding with respect to the covered broker or dealer;

    (iii) The request of the Corporation as receiver for a stay in any judicial action or proceeding (other than actions dismissed in accordance with paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section) in which the covered broker or dealer is or becomes a party for a period of up to 90 days from the appointment date;

    (iv) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(v) of this section with respect to qualified financial contracts, no person may exercise any right or power to terminate, accelerate or declare a default under any contract to which the covered broker or dealer is a party (and no provision in any such contract providing for such default, termination or acceleration shall be enforceable), or to obtain possession of or exercise control over any property of the covered broker or dealer or affect any contractual rights of the covered broker or dealer without the consent of the Corporation as receiver of the covered broker or dealer upon consultation with SIPC during the 90-day period beginning from the appointment date; and

    (v) The exercise of rights and the performance of obligations by parties to qualified financial contracts with the covered broker or dealer may be affected, stayed, or delayed pursuant to the provisions of Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act (including 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)) and the regulations promulgated thereunder.

    § 302.103 Bridge broker or dealer.

    (a) The Corporation, as receiver for one or more covered brokers or dealers or in anticipation of being appointed receiver for one or more covered broker or dealers, may organize one or more bridge brokers or dealers with respect to a covered broker or dealer.

    (b) If the Corporation establishes one or more bridge brokers or dealers with respect to a covered broker or dealer, then, subject to paragraph (d) of this section, the Corporation as receiver for such covered broker or dealer shall transfer all customer accounts and all associated customer name securities and customer property to such bridge brokers or dealers unless the Corporation determines, after consultation with the Commission and SIPC, that:

    (1) The customer accounts, customer name securities, and customer property are likely to be promptly transferred to one or more qualified brokers or dealers such that the use of a bridge broker or dealer would not facilitate such transfer to one or more qualified brokers or dealers; or

    (2) The transfer of such customer accounts to a bridge broker or dealer would materially interfere with the ability of the Corporation to avoid or mitigate serious adverse effects on financial stability or economic conditions in the United States.

    (c) The Corporation, as receiver for such covered broker or dealer, also may transfer any other assets and liabilities of the covered broker or dealer (including non-customer accounts and any associated property and any assets and liabilities associated with any trust or custody business) to such bridge brokers or dealers as the Corporation may, in its discretion, determine to be appropriate in accordance with, and subject to the requirements of, 12 U.S.C. 5390(h), including 12 U.S.C. 5390(h)(1) and 5390(h)(5), and any regulations promulgated thereunder.

    (d) In connection with customer accounts transferred to the bridge broker or dealer pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, claims for net equity shall not be transferred but shall remain with the covered broker or dealer. Customer property transferred from the covered broker or dealer, along with advances from SIPC, shall be allocated to customer accounts at the bridge broker or dealer in accordance with § 302.104(a)(3). Such allocations initially may be based upon estimates, and such estimates may be based upon the books and records of the covered broker or dealer or any other information deemed relevant in the discretion of the Corporation as receiver, in consultation with SIPC, as trustee. Such estimates may be adjusted from time to time as additional information becomes available. With respect to each account transferred to the bridge broker or dealer pursuant to paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, the bridge broker or dealer shall undertake the obligations of a broker or dealer only with respect to property transferred to and held by the bridge broker or dealer, and allocated to the account as provided in § 302.104(a)(3), including any customer property and any advances from SIPC. The bridge broker or dealer shall have no obligations with respect to any customer property or other property that is not transferred from the covered broker or dealer to the bridge broker or dealer. The transfer of customer property to such an account shall have no effect on calculation of the amount of the affected accountholder's net equity, but the value, as of the appointment date, of the customer property and advances from SIPC so transferred shall be deemed to satisfy any such claim, in whole or in part.

    (e) The transfer of assets or liabilities held by a covered broker or dealer, including customer accounts and all associated customer name securities and customer property, assets and liabilities held by a covered broker or dealer for any non-customer creditor, and assets and liabilities associated with any trust or custody business, to a bridge broker or dealer, shall be effective without any consent, authorization, or approval of any person or entity, including but not limited to, any customer, contract party, governmental authority, or court.

    (f) Any succession to or assumption by a bridge broker or dealer of rights, powers, authorities, or privileges of a covered broker or dealer shall be effective without any consent, authorization, or approval of any person or entity, including but not limited to, any customer, contract party, governmental authority, or court, and any such bridge broker or dealer shall upon its organization by the Corporation immediately and by operation of law—

    (1) Be established and deemed registered with the Commission under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934;

    (2) Be deemed to be a member of SIPC; and

    (3) Succeed to any and all registrations and memberships of the covered broker or dealer with or in any self-regulatory organizations.

    (g) Except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section, the bridge broker or dealer shall be subject to applicable Federal securities laws and all requirements with respect to being a member of a self-regulatory organization and shall operate in accordance with all such laws and requirements and in accordance with its articles of association; provided, however, that the Commission may, in its discretion, exempt the bridge broker or dealer from any such requirements if the Commission deems such exemption to be necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors.

    (h) At the end of the term of existence of a bridge broker or dealer, any proceeds that remain after payment of all administrative expenses of such bridge broker or dealer and all other claims against such bridge broker or dealer shall be distributed to the receiver for the related covered broker or dealer.

    § 302.104 Claims of customers and other creditors of a covered broker or dealer.

    (a) Trustee's role. (1) SIPC, as trustee for a covered broker or dealer, shall determine customer status, claims for net equity, claims for customer name securities, and whether property of the covered broker or dealer qualifies as customer property. SIPC, as trustee for a covered broker or dealer, shall make claims determinations in accordance with SIPA and with paragraph (a)(3) of this section, but such determinations, and any claims related thereto, shall be governed by the procedures set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (2) SIPC shall make advances in accordance with, and subject to the limitations imposed by, 15 U.S.C. 78fff-3. Where appropriate, SIPC shall make such advances by delivering cash or securities to the customer accounts established at the bridge broker or dealer.

    (3) Customer property held by a covered broker or dealer shall be allocated as follows:

    (i) First, to SIPC in repayment of advances made by SIPC pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 5385(f) and 15 U.S.C. 78fff-3(c)(1), to the extent such advances effected the release of securities which then were apportioned to customer property pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 78fff(d);

    (ii) Second, to customers of such covered broker or dealer, or in the case that customer accounts are transferred to a bridge broker or dealer, then to such customer accounts at a bridge broker or dealer, who shall share ratably in such customer property on the basis and to the extent of their respective net equities;

    (iii) Third, to SIPC as subrogee for the claims of customers; and

    (iv) Fourth, to SIPC in repayment of advances made by SIPC pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 78fff-3(c)(2).

    (4) The determinations and advances made by SIPC as trustee for a covered broker or dealer under §§ 302.100 through 302.107 shall be made in a manner consistent with SIPC's customary practices under SIPA. The allocation of customer property, advances from SIPC, and delivery of customer name securities to each customer or to its customer account at a bridge broker or dealer, in partial or complete satisfaction of such customer's net equity claims as of the close of business on the appointment date, shall be in a manner, including form and timing, and in an amount at least as beneficial to such customer as would have been the case had the covered broker or dealer been liquidated under SIPA. Any claims related to determinations made by SIPC as trustee for a covered broker or dealer shall be governed by the procedures set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (b) Receiver's role. Any claim shall be determined in accordance with the procedures set forth in 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(2) through (5) and the regulations promulgated by the Corporation thereunder, provided however, that—

    (1) Notice requirements. The notice of the appointment of the Corporation as receiver for a covered broker or dealer shall also include notice of the appointment of SIPC as trustee. The Corporation as receiver shall coordinate with SIPC as trustee to post the notice on SIPC's public Web site in addition to the publication procedures set forth in 12 CFR 380.33.

    (2) Procedures for filing a claim. The Corporation as receiver shall consult with SIPC, as trustee, regarding a claim form and filing instructions with respect to claims against the Corporation as receiver for a covered broker or dealer, and such information shall be provided on SIPC's public Web site in addition to the Corporation's public Web site. Any such claim form shall contain a provision permitting a claimant to claim status as a customer of the broker or dealer, if applicable.

    (3) Claims bar date. The Corporation as receiver shall establish a claims bar date in accordance with 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(2)(B)(i) and any regulations promulgated thereunder by which date creditors of a covered broker or dealer, including all customers of the covered broker or dealer, shall present their claims, together with proof. The claims bar date for a covered broker or dealer shall be the date following the expiration of the six-month period beginning on the date a notice to creditors to file their claims is first published in accordance with 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(2)(B)(i) and any regulations promulgated thereunder. Any claim filed after the claims bar date shall be disallowed, and such disallowance shall be final, as provided by 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(3)(C)(i) and any regulations promulgated thereunder, except that a claim filed after the claims bar date shall be considered by the receiver as provided by 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(3)(C)(ii) and any regulations promulgated thereunder. In accordance with section 8(a)(3) of SIPA, 15 U.S.C. 78fff-2(a)(3), any claim for net equity filed more than sixty days after the date the notice to creditors to file claims is first published need not be paid or satisfied in whole or in part out of customer property and, to the extent such claim is paid by funds advanced by SIPC, it shall be satisfied in cash or securities, or both, as SIPC, as trustee, determines is most economical to the receivership estate.

    (c) Decision period. The Corporation as receiver of a covered broker or dealer shall notify a claimant whether it allows or disallows the claim, or any portion of a claim or any claim of a security, preference, set-off, or priority, within the 180-day period set forth in 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(3)(A) and any regulations promulgated thereunder (as such 180-day period may be extended by written agreement as provided therein) or within the 90-day period set forth in 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(5)(B) and any regulations promulgated thereunder, whichever is applicable. In accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, the Corporation, as receiver, shall issue the notice required by this paragraph (c), which shall utilize the determination made by SIPC, as trustee, in a manner consistent with SIPC's customary practices in a liquidation under SIPA, with respect to any claim for net equity or customer name securities. The process established herein for the determination, within the 180-day period set forth in 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(3)(A) and any regulations promulgated thereunder (as such 180-day period may be extended by written agreement as provided therein), of claims by customers of a covered broker or dealer for customer property or customer name securities shall constitute the exclusive process for the determination of such claims, and any procedure for expedited relief established pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(5) and any regulations promulgated thereunder shall be inapplicable to such claims.

    (d) Judicial review. The claimant may seek a judicial determination of any claim disallowed, in whole or in part, by the Corporation as receiver, including any claim disallowed based upon any determination(s) of SIPC as trustee made pursuant to § 302.104(a), by the appropriate district or territorial court of the United States in accordance with 12 U.S.C. 5390(a)(4) or (5), whichever is applicable, and any regulations promulgated thereunder.

    § 302.105 Priorities for unsecured claims against a covered broker or dealer.

    Allowed claims not satisfied pursuant to § 302.103(d), including allowed claims for net equity to the extent not satisfied after final allocation of customer property in accordance with § 302.104(a)(3), shall be paid in accordance with the order of priority set forth in 12 CFR 380.21 subject to the following adjustments:

    (a) Administrative expenses of SIPC incurred in performing its responsibilities as trustee for a covered broker or dealer shall be included as administrative expenses of the receiver as defined in 12 CFR 380.22 and shall be paid pro rata with such expenses in accordance with 12 CFR 380.21(c).

    (b) Amounts paid by the Corporation to customers or SIPC shall be included as amounts owed to the United States as defined in 12 CFR 380.23 and shall be paid pro rata with such amounts in accordance with 12 CFR 380.21(c).

    (c) Amounts advanced by SIPC for the purpose of satisfying customer claims for net equity shall be paid following the payment of all amounts owed to the United States pursuant to 12 CFR 380.21(a)(3) but prior to the payment of any other class or priority of claims described in 12 CFR 380.21(a)(4) through (11).

    § 302.106 Administrative expenses of SIPC.

    (a) In carrying out its responsibilities, SIPC, as trustee for a covered broker or dealer, may utilize the services of third parties, including private attorneys, accountants, consultants, advisors, outside experts, and other third party professionals. SIPC shall have an allowed claim for administrative expenses for any amounts paid by SIPC for such services to the extent that such services are available in the private sector, and utilization of such services is practicable, efficient, and cost effective. The term administrative expenses of SIPC includes the costs and expenses of such attorneys, accountants, consultants, advisors, outside experts, and other third party professionals, and other expenses that would be allowable to a third party trustee under 15 U.S.C. 78eee(b)(5)(A), including the costs and expenses of SIPC employees that would be allowable pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 78fff(e).

    (b) The term administrative expenses of SIPC shall not include advances from SIPC to satisfy customer claims for net equity.

    § 302.107 Qualified financial contracts.

    The rights and obligations of any party to a qualified financial contract to which a covered broker or dealer is a party shall be governed exclusively by 12 U.S.C. 5390, including the limitations and restrictions contained in 12 U.S.C. 5390(c)(10)(B), and any regulations promulgated thereunder.

    Dated: February 17, 2016.

    By the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Brent J. Fields, Secretary. Dated this 17th day of February, 2016.

    By order of the Board of Directors.

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-03874 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P; 6714-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2016-0004] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Misery Challenge, Manchester Bay, Manchester, MA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is proposing to establish a temporary safety zone for certain waters of Manchester Bay to be enforced during the Misery Challenge marine event, which will involve swimmers, kayakers, and stand-up paddlers. This safety zone would ensure the protection of the event participants, support vessels, and the maritime public from the hazards associated with the event. This proposed rulemaking would prohibit persons and vessels from entering into, transiting through, mooring, or anchoring within this safety zone during periods of enforcement unless authorized by the Coast Guard Sector Boston Captain of the Port (COTP) or the COTP's designated representative. We invite your comments on this proposed rulemaking.

    DATES:

    Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before April 1, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2016-0004 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this proposed rulemaking, call or email Mr. Mark Cutter, Sector Boston Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 617-223-4000, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations DHS  Department of Homeland Security U.S.C.  United States Code CFR  Code of Federal Regulation FR Federal Register NPRM  Notice of Proposed Rulemaking NAD  83 North American Datum of 1983 II. Background, Purpose, and Legal Basis

    On October 23, 2015, the Coast Guard was notified that of a swimming and stand up paddling event from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on July 23, 2016 with a weather date on July 24, 2016; named the Misery Challenge. The participants will launch from Tucks Point in Manchester Bay, Manchester, MA and continue around Greater Misery Island returning to Tucks Point. Hazards associated with this include accidental collisions with event participants and the maritime public. The COTP has determined that potential hazards associated with the event would be a safety concern for event participants, support vessels, and the maritime public.

    The purpose of this rulemaking is to ensure the safety of event participants, support vessels, the maritime public, and the navigable waters within a 100 yard radius of the event participants, during, and after the scheduled event. The Coast Guard proposes this rulemaking under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231.

    III. Discussion of Proposed Rule

    The COTP proposes to establish a temporary safety zone from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on July 23, 2016 with a weather date on July 24, 2016. The safety zone would cover all navigable waters within specific geographic locations specified in the regulatory text on the navigable waters of Manchester Bay, Manchester, Massachusetts. Vessels not associated with the event shall maintain a distance of at least 100 yards from the participants. The duration of the zone is intended to ensure the safety of event participants, support vessels, and the maritime public before, during, and after the event scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. event. No vessel or person would be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative. The regulatory text we are proposing appears at the end of this document.

    IV. Regulatory Analyses

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

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

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

    We expect the economic impact of this rule to be minimal. This regulation may have some impact on the public, but that potential impact will likely be minimal for several reasons. First, this safety zone will be in effect for only five and one half hours in the morning when vessel traffic is expected to be light. Second, vessels may enter or pass through the safety zone during an enforcement period with the permission of the COTP or the designated representative. Finally, the Coast Guard will provide notification to the public through Broadcast Notice to Mariners well in advance of the event.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

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

    For all of the reasons discussed in the Regulatory Planning And Review section, this rulemaking would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rulemaking would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, above. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this proposed rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    C. Collection of Information

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

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

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

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This proposed rule involves a safety zone lasting five and one half hours that would prohibit entry within 100 yards of the participants and vessels in support of the event. Normally such actions maybe categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule.

    G. Protest Activities

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

    V. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions.

    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086).

    Documents mentioned in this NPRM as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

    33 U.S.C., 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    2. Add a new § 165.T01-0188 under the undesignated center heading First Coast Guard District to read as follows:
    § 165.T01-0188 Safety Zone—Misery Challenge—Manchester Bay, Manchester, Massachusetts.

    (a) General. Establish a temporary safety zone:

    (1) Location. The following area is a safety zone: All navigable waters, from surface to bottom, within 100 yards from the participants and vessels in support of events in Manchester Bay, Manchester, MA, and enclosed by a line connecting the following points (NAD 83):

    Latitude  Longitude

    42°34′03″ N.  70°46′42″ W.; thence to 42°33′58″ N.  70°46′33″ W.; thence to 42°32′30″ N.  70°47′43″ W.; thence to 42°32′58″ N.  70°48′40″ W.; thence to point of origin.

    (2) Effective and enforcement period. This rule will be effective on July 23, 2016, from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with a weather date on July 24, 2016.

    (b) Regulations. While this safety zone is being enforced, the following regulations, along with those contained in 33 CFR 165.23 apply:

    (1) No person or vessel may enter or remain in this safety zone without the permission of the Captain of the Port (COTP) or the COTP's representatives. However, any vessel that is granted permission by the COTP or the COTP's representatives must proceed through the area with caution and operate at a speed no faster than that speed necessary to maintain a safe course, unless otherwise required by the Navigation Rules.

    (2) Any person or vessel permitted to enter the safety zone shall comply with the directions and orders of the COTP or the COTP's representatives. Upon being hailed by a U.S. Coast Guard vessel by siren, radio, flashing lights, or other means, the operator of a vessel within the zone shall proceed as directed. Any person or vessel within the safety zone shall exit the zone when directed by the COTP or the COTP's representatives.

    (3) To obtain permissions required by this regulation, individuals may reach the COTP or a COTP representative via VHF channel 16 or 617-223-5757 (Sector Boston Command Center).

    (c) Penalties. Those who violate this section are subject to the penalties set forth in 33 U.S.C. 1232 and 50 U.S.C. 1226.

    (d) Notification. Coast Guard Sector Boston will give notice through the Local Notice to Mariners and Broadcast Notice to Mariners for the purpose of enforcement of this temporary safety zone. Sector Boston will also notify the public to the greatest extent possible of any period in which the Coast Guard will suspend enforcement of this safety zone.

    (e) COTP Representative. The COTP's representative may be any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer or any federal, state, or local law enforcement officer who has been designated by the COTP to act on the COTP's behalf. The COTP's representative may be on a Coast Guard vessel, a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel, a state or local law enforcement vessel, or a location on shore.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. C. C. Gelzer, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Boston.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04540 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Parts 85, 86, 1036, 1037, 1065, 1066, and 1068 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Parts 523, 534, and 535 [EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827; NHTSA-2014-0132; FRL-9942-94-OAR] RIN 2060-AS16; RIN 2127-AL52 Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles—Phase 2—Notice of Data Availability AGENCIES:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of data availability.

    SUMMARY:

    This Notice provides an opportunity to comment on new information being made available by the EPA and by NHTSA, on behalf of DOT, related to the proposed Phase 2 Heavy-Duty National Program proposed July 13, 2015, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption for new on-road heavy-duty vehicles and engines. The new information, including memoranda and data, have been placed in the public dockets. Data relating to the potential stringency of the proposed standards includes: Powertrain data; additional aerodynamic test data; supplemental test data relating to drive cycles (and frequency thereof) for vocational vehicles; and cycle average mapping data. The agencies are soliciting additional comment on certain revised test reports, and a revised version of the Greenhouse Gas Emission Model (GEM) used both in developing certain of the proposed standards and in demonstrating compliance with those standards. Additionally, EPA is soliciting further comment on memoranda relating to standard applicability and implementation. These memoranda address potential requirements for selective enforcement audits and confirmatory testing related to greenhouse gas emissions, and applicability of emission standards and certification responsibilities for trailers, glider vehicles, and glider kits. Finally, EPA is soliciting additional comments on issues discussed in a late comment related to light-duty motor vehicles used for racing.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before April 1, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827 (for EPA's docket) and NHTSA-2014-0132 (for NHTSA's docket), by one of the following methods:

    Online: www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

    Email: [email protected]

    Mail:

    EPA: Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460.

    NHTSA: Docket Management Facility, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    Hand Delivery:

    EPA: EPA Docket Center, EPA WJC West Building, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    NHTSA: West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827 and/or NHTSA-2014-0132, as follows:

    EPA: Direct your comments to Docket ID No EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

    NHTSA: Your comments must be written and in English. To ensure that your comments are correctly filed in the Docket, please include the Docket number NHTSA-2014-0132 in your comments. Your comments must not be more than 15 pages long.1 NHTSA established this limit to encourage you to write your primary comments in a concise fashion. However, you may attach necessary additional documents to your comments, and there is no limit on the length of the attachments. If you are submitting comments electronically as a PDF (Adobe) file, we ask that the documents submitted be scanned using the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) process, thus allowing the agencies to search and copy certain portions of your submissions.2 Please note that pursuant to the Data Quality Act, in order for the substantive data to be relied upon and used by the agency, it must meet the information quality standards set forth in the OMB and Department of Transportation (DOT) Data Quality Act guidelines. Accordingly, we encourage you to consult the guidelines in preparing your comments. OMB's guidelines may be accessed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/reproducible.html. DOT's guidelines may be accessed at http://www.dot.gov/dataquality.htm.

    1 See 49 CFR 553.21.

    2 Optical character recognition (OCR) is the process of converting an image of text, such as a scanned paper document or electronic fax file, into computer-editable text.

    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., confidential business information or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the following locations:

    EPA: Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, EPA/DC, EPA WJC West Building, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Room 3334, 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 Air Docket is (202) 566-1742.

    NHTSA: Docket Management Facility, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. The telephone number for the docket management facility is (202) 366-9324. The docket management facility is open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    EPA: Tad Wysor, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, Assessment and Standards Division (ASD), Environmental Protection Agency, 2000 Traverwood Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48105; telephone number: (734) 214-4332; email address: [email protected]

    NHTSA: Ryan Hagen, Office of Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-2992; [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Does this action apply to me?

    This action relates to a previously promulgated Proposed Rule that would potentially affect companies that manufacture, sell, or import into the United States new heavy-duty engines and new Class 2b through 8 trucks, including combination tractors, all types of buses, vocational vehicles including municipal, commercial, recreational vehicles, and commercial trailers as well as 3/4-ton and 1-ton pickup trucks and vans. The heavy-duty category incorporates all motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 pounds or greater, and the engines that power them, except for medium-duty passenger vehicles already covered by the greenhouse gas standards and corporate average fuel economy standards issued for light-duty model year 2017-2025 vehicles. Proposed categories and entities that might be affected include the following:

    Category NAICS Code a Examples of potentially affected entities Industry 336110
  • 336111
  • 336112
  • 333618
  • Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, Engine Manufacturers, Engine Parts Manufacturers, Truck Manufacturers, Truck Trailer Manufacturers, Automotive Parts and Accessories Dealers.
    336120 336212 441310 Industry 541514
  • 811112
  • 811198
  • Commercial Importers of Vehicles and Vehicle Components.
    Industry 336111 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Converters. 336112 422720 454312 541514 541690 811198 Note: a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

    This table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide for readers regarding entities likely covered by these rules. This table lists the types of entities that the agencies are aware may be regulated by this action. Other types of entities not listed in the table could also be regulated. To determine whether your activities are regulated by this action, you should carefully examine the applicability criteria in the referenced regulations. You may direct questions regarding the applicability of this action to the persons listed in the preceding FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    B. Public Participation

    EPA and NHTSA request comment on the information identified in this Notice. We are not requesting comment on other aspects of this joint proposed rule. This section describes how you can participate in this process.

    (1) How do I prepare and submit comments?

    There are many issues common to EPA's and NHTSA's proposals. For the convenience of all parties, comments submitted to the EPA docket will be considered comments submitted to the NHTSA docket, and vice versa. Therefore, a commenter only needs to submit comments to either of the agency dockets (or choose to submit a comment to both). Comments that are submitted for consideration by one agency should be identified as such, and comments that are submitted for consideration by both agencies should be identified as such. Absent such identification, each agency will exercise its best judgment to determine whether a comment is submitted on its proposal.

    (2) Tips for Preparing Your Comments

    When submitting comments, please remember to:

    • Identify the rulemaking by docket number and other identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date and page number) • Explain why you agree or disagree, suggest alternatives, and substitute language for your requested changes • Describe any assumptions and provide any technical information and/or data that you used • If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be reproduced • Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and suggest alternatives • Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding the use of profanity or personal threats • Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period deadline identified in the DATES section above (3) How can I be sure that my comments were received?

    NHTSA: If you submit your comments by mail and wish Docket Management to notify you upon its receipt of your comments, enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard in the envelope containing your comments. Upon receiving your comments, Docket Management will return the postcard by mail.

    (4) How do I submit confidential business information?

    Any confidential business information (CBI) submitted to one of the agencies will also be available to the other agency. However, as with all public comments, any CBI information only needs to be submitted to either one of the agencies' dockets and it will be available to the other. Following are specific instructions for submitting CBI to either agency. If you have any questions about CBI or the procedures for claiming CBI, please consult the persons identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    EPA: Do not submit CBI to EPA through www.regulations.gov or email. Clearly mark the part or all of the information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or CD ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI. Information not marked as CBI will be included in the public docket without prior notice. In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.

    NHTSA: If you wish to submit any information under a claim of confidentiality, you should submit three copies of your complete submission, including the information you claim to be confidential business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the address given above under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. When you send a comment containing confidential business information, you should include a cover letter setting forth the information specified in our confidential business information regulation.3

    3 See 49 CFR part 512.

    In addition, you should submit a copy from which you have deleted the claimed confidential business information to the Docket by one of the methods set forth above.

    (5) How can I read the comments submitted by other people?

    You may read the materials placed in the docket for this document (e.g., the comments submitted in response to this document by other interested persons) at any time by going to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets. You may also read the materials at the EPA Docket Center or NHTSA Docket Management Facility by going to the street addresses given above under ADDRESSES.

    C. Background

    As part of the Climate Action Plan announced in June 2013,4 the President directed the EPA and NHTSA to set the next round of standards to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel efficiency for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and engines. More than 70 percent of the oil used in the United States and 28 percent of GHG emissions come from the transportation sector, and since 2009 EPA and NHTSA have worked with industry and the State of California to develop ambitious, flexible standards for both the fuel economy and GHG emissions of light-duty vehicles and the fuel efficiency and GHG emissions of heavy-duty vehicles and engines.5 6 Throughout every stage of development for these programs, EPA and NHTSA (collectively, the agencies, or “we”) have worked in close partnership not only with each other, but with the vehicle and engine manufacturing industries, environmental community leaders, and the State of California, among other entities, to create a single, effective set of national standards.

    4 The White House, The President's Climate Action Plan (June, 2013). http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/climate-action-plan.

    5 The White House, Improving the Fuel Efficiency of American Trucks—Bolstering Energy Security, Cutting Carbon Pollution, Saving Money and Supporting Manufacturing Innovation (Feb. 2014), 2.

    6 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2014. Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2012. EPA 430-R-14-003. Mobile sources emitted 28 percent of all U.S. GHG emissions in 2012. Available at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/Downloads/ghgemissions/US-GHG-Inventory-2014-Main-Text.pdf

    The agencies' proposed Phase 2 standards (80 FR 40138, July 13, 2015) would phase in through model year 2027, and were intended to result in an ambitious, yet achievable program that would allow manufacturers to meet standards through a mix of different technologies at reasonable cost. The proposed Phase 2 program would build on and advance the model years 2014-2018 Phase 1 program in a number of important ways including: Basing standards not only on currently available technologies but also on utilization of technologies now under development or not yet widely deployed while providing significant lead time to assure adequate time to develop, test, and phase in these controls; developing standards for trailers; further encouraging innovation and providing flexibility; including vehicles produced by small business manufacturers; incorporating enhanced test procedures that (among other things) allow individual drivetrain and powertrain performance to be reflected in the vehicle certification process; and using an expanded and improved compliance simulation model.

    This notice alerts the public to new information placed in the agencies' public dockets, and solicits comment on that information. The information takes the form of raw data, revised test reports, and memoranda that in some instances indicate potential implications of the data for purposes of standard stringency and implementation. In addition to information placed into the docket by the agencies, EPA also solicits comments on issues discussed in a late public comment that addresses proposed regulations related to light-duty motor vehicles used for racing. The agencies will accept comments on these materials through April 1, 2016. The agencies will not address new comments extraneous to these materials in the final rulemaking or its associated documents.

    D. Newly Docketed Materials on Which the Agencies Are Seeking Public Comment EPA
  • Docket No.
  • NHTSA Docket No. Title Description
    EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827-1626 NHTSA-2014-0132-0181 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Model (GEM) P2v2.1 A new release of the GEM simulation tool contains revisions that include fixing bugs identified by commenters; enhancements to accommodate cycle averaged fuel maps, transmission efficiency test results, and axle efficiency test results; refinements to the transmission shifting strategies; revised vocational vehicle drive cycle weightings; and a revised road grade profile. Details regarding the revisions are included in the summary file in the docket entry. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827-1620 NHTSA-2014-0132-0182 Default Gasoline Engine Fuel Map for Use in GEM EPA sponsored testing of a heavy-duty gasoline engine at Southwest Research Institute. Those results were used to develop a new default fuel map that could be used to develop the final spark-ignited vocational vehicle standards. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827-1622 NHTSA-2014-0132-0183 Oak Ridge National Laboratory Powertrain Data EPA sponsored additional testing on heavy-duty powertrains at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Cycle results are presented from two powertrain configurations. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827-1619 NHTSA-2014-0132-0184 Southwest Research Institute Program Update on Cycle Average Mapping Data EPA sponsored additional testing on two heavy-duty engines each with two different horsepower ratings. Information includes the cycle average testing results and findings are included. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827-1623 NHTSA-2014-0132-0185 Final Southwest Research Institute Report to NHTSA: Commercial Medium- and Heavy-Duty Truck Fuel Efficiency Technology Study—Report #2 A pre-peer review draft version of this report was released in June of 2015. Independent peer review and public release of the draft report identified errors in the analysis in the draft report that were corrected in this final version. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827-1624 NHTSA-2014-0132-0186 Supplemental Aerodynamic Data from EPA Testing EPA conducted additional aerodynamic testing using the coastdown, constant speed, wind tunnel, and computational fluid dynamics test procedures since the NPRM was issued. This docket entry includes the raw data from each of these test programs. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827-1621 NHTSA-2014-0132-0187 Vocational Vehicle Drive Cycle Data: Draft Report produced by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory entitled “The Development of Vocational Vehicle Drive Cycles and Segmentation” The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) collaborated with EPA and conducted a vocational vehicle segmentation evaluation based on NREL's Fleet DNA database. This analysis is intended to inform the final vocational vehicle drive cycle weightings. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827-1625 NHTSA-2014-0132-0188 Additional Discussion of Selective Enforcement Audit and Confirmatory Testing for Aerodynamic Parameters Commenters raised concerns about the proposed audit testing and the need for consideration of compliance margins for the audit's results. The memorandum provides additional discussion of how EPA's audits could be conducted, and key principles related to these requirements. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827-1627 NHTSA-2014-0132-0189 Legal Memorandum Discussing Issues Pertaining to Trailers, Glider Vehicles, and Glider Kits under the Clean Air Act Draft legal memorandum discussing issues relating to authority under the Clean Air Act to promulgate emission standards for trailers and glider vehicles, certification responsibilities of manufacturers of trailers and glider kits, and potential CO2 emission standards for different model year glider vehicles. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0827-1469-A1 Not Applicable; this is in relation to an EPA-specific section of the NPRM Public Comment from the Specialty Equipment Market Association This comment addresses how a proposed amendment related to the Clean Air Act's prohibition of tampering of emission controls would impact light-duty vehicles used for racing and raises questions about whether adequate notice was given for this proposed amendment.

    Issued under authority of 49 U.S.C. 32901, 32905, and 32906; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95.

    Dated: February 24, 2016. Raymond R. Posten, Associate Administrator for Rulemaking, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Dated: February 24, 2016. Christopher Grundler, Director, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, Environmental Protection Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04613 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    81 41 Wednesday, March 2, 2016 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service [Doc. No. AMS-LPS-15-0067] Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling of Covered Commodities: Notice of Request for Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection AGENCY:

    Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), this notice announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request approval, from the Office of Management and Budget, for an extension and revision to the currently approved information collection of the Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) of Covered Commodities.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. Comments may also be submitted to Julie Henderson, Director, COOL Division, Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); STOP 0216; 1400 Independence Avenue SW.; Room 2620-S; Washington, DC 20250-0216; or email to [email protected] All comments should reference docket number AMS-LPS-15-0067 and note the date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register.

    Submitted comments will be available for public inspection at http://www.regulations.gov or at the above address during regular business hours. Comments submitted in response to this Notice will be included in the records and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments will be made public on the Internet at the above address.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Julie Henderson, Director, COOL Division, AMS, USDA, by telephone at (202) 720-4486, or email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling of Covered Commodities.

    OMB Number: 0581-0250.

    Expiration Date of Approval: May 31, 2016.

    Type of Request: Request for Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection.

    Abstract: The farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill) (Pub. L. 107-171), the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act (2002 Appropriations) (Pub. L. 107-206), and the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) (Pub. L. 110-234) amended the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (Act) (7 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.) to require retailers to notify their customers of the country of origin covered commodities. Covered commodities included muscle cuts of beef (including veal), lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; ground beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat, and ground pork; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; perishable agricultural commodities; macadamia nuts; pecans; ginseng; and peanuts. AMS published A final rule for all covered commodities on January 15, 2009 (74 FR 2658), which took effect on March 16, 2009. On May 23, 2013, AMS issued a final rule to amend the country of origin labeling provisions for muscle cuts covered commodities (78 FR 31367). The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Pub. L. 114-113) amended the Act to remove mandatory COOL requirements for muscle cut beef and pork. And ground beef and ground pork. The Agency is issuing a final rule to conform with amendments to the Act contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, which appears in this edition of the Federal Register. The estimated number of respondents and estimated total annual burden for this information collection is being revised to reflect these amendments.

    Individuals who supply covered commodities, whether directly to retailers or indirectly through other participants in the marketing chain, are required to establish and maintain country of origin and, if applicable, method of production information for the covered commodities and supply this information to retailers. As a result producers, handlers, manufacturers, wholesalers, importers and retailers of covered commodities are affected.

    This public reporting burden is necessary to ensure conveyance and accuracy of country of origin and method of production declarations relied upon at the point of sale at retail. The public reporting burden also assures that all parties involved in supplying covered commodities to retail stores maintain and convey accurate information as required.

    Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for recordkeeping storage and maintenance is estimated to average 33 hours per year per individual.

    Respondents: Retailers, wholesalers, producers, handlers, and importers.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 569,835.

    Estimated Total Annual Responses: 569,835.

    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 33.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 18,708,072.

    Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: February 26, 2016. Elanor Starmer, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04611 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service [Docket No. FSIS-2016-0001] Codex Alimentarius Commission: Meeting of the Codex Committee on General Principles AGENCY:

    Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is sponsoring a public meeting on April 4, 2016. The objective of the public meeting is to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft United States (U.S.) positions to be discussed at the 30th Session of the Codex Committee on General Principles (CCGP) of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), taking place in Paris, France, April 11-15, 2016. The Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety recognizes the importance of providing interested parties the opportunity to obtain background information on the 30th Session of the CCGP and to address items on the agenda.

    DATES:

    The public meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 4, 2016, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The public meeting will take place at the Jamie L. Whitten Building, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 107-A, Washington, DC 20250.

    Documents related to the 30th Session of the CCGP will be accessible via the Internet at the following address: http://www.codexalimentarius.org/meetings-reports/en/.

    Mary Frances Lowe, U.S. Delegate to the 30th Session of the CCGP, invites U.S. interested parties to submit their comments electronically to the following email address: [email protected]

    Call-In-Number: If you wish to participate in the public meeting for the 30th Session of the CCGP by conference call, please use the call-in-number listed below:

    Call-in-Number: 1-888-844-9904.

    The participant code will be posted on the Web page below: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/us-codex-alimentarius/public-meetings.

    Registration: Attendees may register to attend the public meeting by emailing [email protected] by April 1, 2016. The meeting will be held in a Federal building. Early registration is encouraged because it will expedite entry into the building. Attendees should bring photo identification and plan for adequate time to pass through security screening systems. Attendees that are not able to attend the meeting in-person but wish to participate may do so by phone.

    For Further Information About the 30th Session of the CCGP Contact: Mary Frances Lowe, U.S. Codex Office, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 4861, Washington, DC 20250, Phone: (202) 205-7760, Fax: (202) 720-3157, Email: [email protected]

    For Further Information About the Public Meeting Contact: Barbara McNiff, U.S. Codex Office, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 4861, Washington, DC 20250. Phone: (202) 205-7760, Fax:(202) 720-3157, Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background: Codex was established in 1963 by two United Nations organizations, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Through adoption of food standards, codes of practice, and other guidelines developed by its committees, and by promoting their adoption and implementation by governments, Codex seeks to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade.

    The CCGP is responsible for dealing with procedural and general matters referred to it by the Codex, for proposing amendments to the Codex Procedural Manual, and for reviewing and endorsing procedural provisions and texts forwarded by Codex Committees for inclusion in the Procedural Manual.

    The Committee is hosted by France.

    Issues to be discussed at the Public Meeting: The following items on the Agenda for the 30th Session of the CCGP will be discussed during the public meeting:

    • Matters Referred to the Committee.

    • Codex Work Management and Functioning of the Executive Committee—Terms of Reference of Secretariat—led Internal Review.

    • Consistency of the Risk Analysis Texts across the Relevant Committees.

    • Other Business.

    Each issue listed will be fully described in documents distributed, or to be distributed, by the Secretariat before the Committee Meeting. Members of the public may access or request copies of these documents (see ADDRESSES).

    Public Meeting: At the April 4, 2016, public meeting, draft U.S. positions on the agenda items will be described and discussed, and attendees will have the opportunity to pose questions and offer comments. Written comments may be offered at the meeting or sent to the U.S. Delegate for the 30th Session of the CCGP, Mary Frances Lowe (see ADDRESSES). Written comments should state that they relate to activities of the 30th Session of the CCGP.

    Additional Public Notification: Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication online through the FSIS Web page located at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register.

    FSIS also will make copies of this publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to our constituents and stakeholders. The Update is available on the FSIS Web page. Through the Web page, FSIS is able to provide information to a much broader, more diverse audience. In addition, FSIS offers an email subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information, regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts.

    USDA Non-Discrimination Statement: No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA.

    How to File a Complaint of Discrimination: To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.

    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email:

    Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410.

    Fax: (202) 690-7442.

    Email: [email protected].

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Done at Washington, DC on: February 25, 2016. Paulo Almeida, Acting U.S. Manager for Codex Alimentarius.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04481 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Deschutes and Ochoco Resource Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Deschutes and Ochoco Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Bend, Oregon. The committee is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (the Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with Title II of the Act. RAC information can be found at the following Web site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/deschutes/workingtogether/advisorycommittees.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held April 1, 2016, at 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

    All RAC meetings are subject to cancellation. For status of meeting prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under For Further Information Contact.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council's Office, 334 NE Hawthorne Avenue, Bend, Oregon.

    Written comments may be submitted as described under Supplementary Information. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at Deschutes National Forest Supervisor's Office. Please call ahead to facilitate entry into the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sean Ferrell, RAC Coordinator, by phone at 541-383-5576 or via email at [email protected]

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of the meeting is to:

    1. Introduce newly appointed committee members;

    2. Discuss the goals and objectives of the RAC;

    3. Review projects proposals; and

    4. Make project recommendations for Title II funding.

    The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should request in writing by March 18, 2016 to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the committee may file written statements with the committee staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and requests for time to make oral comments must be sent to Sean Ferrell, RAC Coordinator, Deschutes National Forest Supervisor's Office, 63095 Deschutes Market Road, Bend, Oregon 97701; by email to [email protected], or via facsimile to 541-383-5531.

    Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accommodation for access to the facility or proceedings by contacting the person listed in the section titled For Further Information Contact. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis.

    Dated: February 24, 2016. John Allen, Designated Federal Offical, Dechutes National Forest, Forest Supervisor.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04548 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-71-2015] Authorization of Production Activity, Foreign-Trade Subzone 125D, ASA Electronics, LLC, (Motor Vehicle Audio-Visual Products), Elkhart, Indiana

    On October 21, 2015, the St. Joseph County Airport Authority, grantee of FTZ 125, submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board on behalf of ASA Electronics, LLC, operator of Subzone 125D, in Elkhart, Indiana.

    The notification was processed in accordance with the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR part 400), including notice in the Federal Register inviting public comment (80 FR 69636, 11-10-2015). The FTZ Board has determined that no further review of the activity is warranted at this time. The production activity described in the notification is authorized, subject to the FTZ Act and the FTZ Board's regulations, including Section 400.14.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04602 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee Public Meeting AGENCY:

    International Trade Administration, DOC.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Federal Advisory Committee Meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of a meeting of the Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee (ETTAC).

    DATES:

    The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 29, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held in Room 1412 at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Herbert Clark Hoover Building, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Maureen Hinman, Office of Energy & Environmental Industries (OEEI), International Trade Administration, Room 4053, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (Phone: 202-482-0627; Fax: 202-482-5665; email: [email protected]) This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to OEEI at (202) 482-5225 no less than one week prior to the meeting.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The meeting will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT. The general meeting is open to the public and time will be permitted for public comment from 3:00-3:30 p.m. EDT. Those interested in attending must provide notification by Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. EDT, via the contact information provided above. Written comments concerning ETTAC affairs are welcome any time before or after the meeting. Minutes will be available within 30 days of this meeting.

    Topics to be considered: The agenda for this meeting will include discussion of priorities and objectives for the committee, trade promotion programs within the International Trade Administration, and subcommittee working meetings.

    Background: The ETTAC is mandated by Public Law 103-392. It was created to advise the U.S. government on environmental trade policies and programs, and to help it to focus its resources on increasing the exports of the U.S. environmental industry. ETTAC operates as an advisory committee to the Secretary of Commerce and the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC). ETTAC was originally chartered in May of 1994. It was most recently re-chartered until August 2016.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. Man Cho, Acting Office Director, Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04607 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA937 Guidelines for Assessing Marine Mammal Stocks AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability; response to comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS has incorporated public comments into revisions of the guidelines for preparing stock assessment reports (SARs) pursuant to section 117 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The revised guidelines are now complete and available to the public.

    ADDRESSES:

    Electronic copies of the guidelines are available on the Internet at the following address: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/guidelines.htm.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Shannon Bettridge, Office of Protected Resources, 301-427-8402, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Section 117 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) requires NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to prepare stock assessments for each stock of marine mammals occurring in waters under the jurisdiction of the United States. These reports must contain information regarding the distribution and abundance of the stock, population growth rates and trends, estimates of annual human-caused mortality and serious injury from all sources, descriptions of the fisheries with which the stock interacts, and the status of the stock. Initial stock assessment reports (SARs, or Reports) were first completed in 1995.

    NMFS convened a workshop in June 1994, including representatives from NMFS, FWS, and the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission), to develop draft guidelines for preparing SARs. The report of this workshop (Barlow et al., 1995) included the guidelines for preparing SARs and a summary of the discussions upon which the guidelines were based. The draft guidelines were made available, along with the initial draft SARs, for public review and comment (59 FR 40527, August 9, 1994), and were finalized August 25, 1995 (60 FR 44308).

    In 1996, NMFS convened a second workshop (referred to as the Guidelines for Assessing Marine Mammal Stocks, or “GAMMS,” workshop) to review the guidelines and to recommend changes to them, if appropriate. Workshop participants included representatives from NMFS, FWS, the Commission, and the three regional scientific review groups (SRGs). The report of that workshop (Wade and Angliss, 1997) summarized the discussion at the workshop and contained revised guidelines. The revised guidelines represented minor changes from the initial version. The revised guidelines were made available for public review and comment along with revised stock assessment reports on January 21, 1997 (62 FR 3005) and later finalized.

    In September 2003, NMFS again convened a workshop (referred to as GAMMS II) to review the guidelines and again recommend minor changes to them. Participants at the workshop included representatives of NMFS, FWS, the Commission, and the regional SRGs. Changes to the guidelines resulting from the 2003 workshop were directed primarily toward identifying population stocks and estimating Potential Biological Removal (PBR) for declining stocks of marine mammals. The revised guidelines were made available for public review and comment on November 18, 2004 (69 FR 67541) and finalized on June 20, 2005 (70 FR 35397, NMFS 2005).

    In February 2011, NMFS convened another workshop (referred to as GAMMS III) to review the guidelines and again recommend changes to them. Participants at the workshop included representatives from NMFS, FWS, the Commission, and the three regional SRGs. The objectives of the GAMMS III workshop were to (1) consider methods for assessing stock status (i.e., how to apply the PBR framework) when abundance data are outdated, nonexistent, or only partially available; (2) develop policies on stock identification and application of the PBR framework to small stocks, transboundary stocks, and situations where stocks mix; and (3) develop consistent national approaches to a variety of other issues, including reporting mortality and serious injury information in assessments. Nine specific topics were discussed at the workshop. The deliberations of these nine topics resulted in a series of recommended modifications to the current guidelines (NMFS, 2005). The main body of the GAMMS III workshop report includes summaries of the presentations and discussions for each of the nine agenda topics, as well as recommended revisions to individual sections of the guidelines (Moore and Merrick, 2011). Appendices to the workshop report provide a variety of supporting documents, including the full proposed revision of the guidelines (Appendix IV). On January 24, 2012 (77 FR 3450), NMFS made the GAMMS III workshop report available for public review, and requested comment on the proposed revisions in Appendix IV. The report is available at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/sars/gamms3_nmfsopr47.pdf.

    Revisions to the Guidelines for Preparing Stock Assessment Reports

    The paragraphs below describe the proposed guideline revisions that were recommended by the GAMMS III workshop participants, as well as a summary of how NMFS has or has not incorporated those proposed revisions into the final revised guidelines. They are organized by topic, as outlined in Appendix IV of the GAMMS III workshop report.

    Topic 1: PBR calculations with outdated abundance estimates. For an increasing number of marine mammal stocks, the most recent abundance estimates are more than 8 years old. Under existing guidelines (NMFS, 2005), these are considered to be outdated and thus not used to calculate PBR. The current practice is to consider the PBR for a stock to be “undetermined” after supporting survey information is more than eight years old, unless there is compelling evidence that the stock has not declined during that time.

    The workshop participants recommended and the proposed guidelines included the following revisions to calculate PBRs for stocks with old abundance information: (1) During years 1-8 after the most recent abundance survey, “uncertainty projections” would be used, based on uniform distribution assumptions, to serially reduce the minimum abundance estimate (Nmin) by a small increment each year; (2) after eight years, and assuming no new abundance estimate has become available, a worst-case scenario would be assumed (i.e., a plausible 10-percent decline per year since the most recent survey), and so a retroactive 10-percent decline per year would be applied; and (3) if data to estimate a population trend model are available, such a model could have been used to influence the uncertainty projections during the first eight years.

    NMFS received a number of comments expressing strenuous objection to/concern with the proposed framework for stocks with outdated abundance estimates, which has led us to reevaluate the topic. As such, NMFS is not finalizing these recommended changes related to Topic 1 at this time. Rather, we will be further analyzing this issue, and should we contemplate changes to the guidelines regarding this topic, NMFS will propose them and solicit public comment in a separate action.

    Topic 2: Improving stock identification. For most marine mammal species, few stock definition changes have been made since the initial SARs were written. The proposed guidelines directed that each Report state in the “Stock Definition and Geographic Range” section whether it is plausible the stock contains multiple demographically independent populations that should be separate stocks, along with a brief rationale. If additional structure is plausible and human-caused mortality or serious injury is concentrated within a portion of the range of the stock, the Reports should identify the portion of the range in which the mortality or serious injury occurs. These revisions to the guidelines have been made.

    The GAMMS III workshop also addressed the terms “demographic isolation” and “reproductive isolation.” Workshop participants agreed that the intended meaning of these terms when originally included in the guidelines was not of complete isolation, which implies that there should be no interchange between stocks. Therefore, they recommended and the proposed guidelines included clarification of terminology by replacing references to “demographic isolation” and “reproductive isolation” with “demographic independence” and “reproductive independence,” respectively. These revisions to the guidelines have been made.

    Related to this topic, the workshop participants also recommended that NMFS convene a national workshop to systematically review the status of stock identification efforts and to identify and prioritize the information needed to improve stock identification. NMFS convened such a workshop in August 2014 (Martien et al., 2015). See response to Comment 10.

    Topic 3a: Assessment of very small stocks. The PBR estimate for some stocks may be very small (just a few animals or even less than one). In such cases, low levels of observer coverage may introduce substantial small-sample bias in bycatch estimates. The proposed guideline revisions included a table in the Technical Details section that provides guidance on the amount of sampling effort (observer coverage and/or number of years of data pooling) required to limit small-sample bias, given a certain PBR level. If suggested sampling goals (per the table) cannot be met, the proposed guidelines instructed that mortality should be estimated and reported, but the estimates should be qualified in the SARs by stating they could be biased. NMFS has incorporated this language into the revised guidelines.

    The proposed guidelines suggested removing the following sentence from the Status of Stocks section: “In the complete absence of any information on sources of mortality, and without guidance from the Scientific Review Groups, the precautionary principle should be followed and the default stock status should be strategic until information is available to demonstrate otherwise.” NMFS has incorporated this revision into the guidelines, as NMFS does not consider the original text to be consistent with the MMPA's definition of “strategic.”

    Topic 3b: Assessment of small endangered stocks. Some endangered species, like Hawaiian monk seals, are declining with little to no direct human-caused mortality, and the stock's dynamics therefore do not conform to the underlying model for calculating PBR. Thus, PBR estimates for some endangered species stocks have not been included or have been considered “undetermined” in SARs. The proposed guidelines instructed that in such cases, if feasible, PBR should still be calculated and included in the SARs to comply with the MMPA. In situations where a stock's dynamics do not conform to the underlying model for calculating PBR, a qualifying statement should accompany the PBR estimate in the SAR. NMFS has incorporated this language into the revised guidelines.

    Topic 4: Apportioning PBR across feeding aggregations, allocating mortality for mixed stocks, and estimating PBR for transboundary stocks.

    Feeding aggregations: Given the definition that a population stock consists of individuals in common spatial arrangements that interbreed when mature, population stocks of species that have discrete feeding and breeding grounds (e.g., humpback whales) have generally been defined based on breeding ground stocks. However, given the strong maternal fidelity to feeding grounds, migratory species such as humpback whales can have feeding aggregations that are demographically independent with limited movement of individuals between feeding aggregations. Such feeding aggregations can consist of a portion of one breeding population, or of portions of multiple breeding populations, and can represent a single demographically-independent unit, or a mix of two or more demographically-independent units. Although this approach of identifying stocks based on feeding aggregations seemed feasible, workshop participants felt this approach added significant complexity without providing substantial management advantages. The workshop participants did not recommend any such changes to the guidelines at this point. None were included in the proposed guidelines nor have any been made in the final revisions.

    Allocating mortality for mixed stocks: In some cases, mortality and serious injury occur in areas where more than one stock of marine mammals occurs. The proposed guidelines specify that when biological information is sufficient to identify the stock from which a dead or seriously injured animal came, the mortality or serious injury should be associated only with that stock. When one or more deaths or serious injuries cannot be assigned directly to a stock, then those deaths or serious injuries may be partitioned among stocks within the appropriate geographic area, provided there is sufficient information to support such partitioning. In those cases, Reports should discuss the potential for over- or under-estimating stock-specific mortality and serious injury. In cases where mortalities and serious injuries cannot be assigned directly to a stock and available information is not sufficient to support partitioning those deaths and serious injuries among stocks, the proposed guidelines instruct that the total unassigned mortality and serious injuries should be assigned to each stock within the appropriate geographic area. When deaths and serious injuries are assigned to each overlapping stock in this manner, the Reports should discuss the potential for over-estimating stock-specific mortality and serious injury. NMFS has incorporated this language into the revised guidelines.

    Transboundary stocks: The proposed guidelines strengthen the language regarding transboundary stocks, cautioning against extrapolating abundance estimates from one surveyed area to another unsurveyed area to estimate range-wide PBR. They state that informed interpolation (e.g., based on habitat associations) may be used, as appropriate and supported by existing data, to fill gaps in survey coverage and estimate abundance and PBR over broader areas. If estimates of mortality or abundance from outside the U.S. EEZ cannot be determined, PBR calculations should be based on abundance in the EEZ and compared to mortality within the EEZ. NMFS has incorporated this language into the revised guidelines and has provided a footnote defining informed interpolation.

    Topic 5: Clarifying reporting of mortality and serious injury incidental to commercial fishing. Currently, SARs do not consistently summarize mortality and serious injury incidental to commercial fishing. The proposed guidelines specified that SARs should include a summary of all human-caused mortality and serious injury including information on all sources of mortality and serious injury. Additionally, a summary of mortality and serious injury incidental to U.S. commercial fisheries should be presented in a table, while mortality and serious injury from other sources (e.g., recreational fisheries, other sources of human-caused mortality and serious injury within the U.S. EEZ, foreign fisheries on the high seas) should be clearly distinguished from U.S. commercial fishery-related mortality. Finally, the proposed guidelines contained the addition of a subsection summarizing the most prevalent potential human-caused mortality and serious injury threats that are unquantified in the SARs, and the SARs should also indicate if there are no known major sources of unquantifiable human-caused mortality and serious injury. NMFS has incorporated this language into the revised guidelines.

    Topic 6: When stock declines are sufficient for a strategic designation. The proposed guidelines included the following: “Stocks that have evidence suggesting at least a 50 percent decline, either based on previous abundance estimates or historical abundance estimated by back-calculation, should be noted in the Status of Stocks section as likely to be below OSP. The choice of 50 percent does not mean that OSP is at 50 percent of historical numbers, but rather that a population below this level would be below OSP with high probability. Similarly, a stock that has increased back to levels pre-dating the known decline may be within OSP; however, additional analyses may determine a population is within OSP prior to reaching historical levels.” NMFS has incorporated this language into the revised guidelines.

    Additionally, the workshop participants recommended and the proposed guidelines included the following interpretation of the definition of a strategic stock: “A stock shall be designated as strategic if it is declining and has a greater than 50 percent probability of a continuing decline of at least five percent per year. Such a decline, if not stopped, would result in a 50 percent decline in 15 years and would likely lead to the stock being listed as threatened. The estimate of trend should be based on data spanning at least eight years. Alternative thresholds for decline rates and duration, as well as alternative data criteria, may also be used if sufficient rationale is provided to indicate that the decline is likely to result in the stock being listed as threatened within the foreseeable future. Stocks that have been designated as strategic due to a population decline may be designated as non-strategic if the decline is stopped and the stock is not otherwise strategic.” NMFS received comments expressing concern with the proposed interpretation of “likely to be listed as a threatened species under the ESA within the foreseeable future” (sec. 3(19)(B) of the MMPA). NMFS is not finalizing the proposed changes related to this topic at this time. Rather, we will further analyze this issue. Should we contemplate changes to the guidelines regarding this topic, NMFS will propose them and solicit public comment in a separate action.

    The proposed guidelines included the following direction regarding recovery factors for declining stocks: “A stock that is strategic because, based on the best available scientific information, it is declining and is likely to be listed as a threatened species under the ESA within the foreseeable future (sec. 3(19)(B) of the MMPA) should use a recovery factor between 0.1 and 0.5.” As we are not finalizing the recommended changes regarding strategic stock designation (sec. 3(19)(B) of the MMPA), above, we have decided not to revise the guidelines regarding recovery factors under such situations at this time. Should changes to the guidelines regarding the above be contemplated, NMFS will include the recommended recovery factors when we solicit public comment on that action. Therefore, NMFS is not finalizing the recommended change related to this paragraph at this time.

    Topic 7: Assessing stocks without abundance estimates or PBR. For many stocks, data are so sparse that it is not possible to produce an Nmin and not possible to estimate PBR. When mortality and/or population abundance estimates are unavailable, the PBR approach cannot be used to assess populations, in spite of a statutory mandate to do so. The proposed guidelines included the following addition to the Status of Stocks section: “Likewise, trend monitoring can help inform the process of determining strategic status.” NMFS has incorporated this language into the revised guidelines.

    Topic 8: Characterizing uncertainty in key SAR elements. It is difficult to infer the overall uncertainty for key parameters as they are currently reported in the SARs. The proposed guidelines direct that the Stock Definition and Geographic Range, Elements of the PBR Formula, Population Trend, Annual Human-Caused Mortality and Serious Injury, and Status of the Stock sections include a description of key uncertainties associated with parameters in these sections and an evaluation of the effects of these uncertainties associated with parameters in these sections. NMFS has incorporated this language into the revised guidelines with some minor revisions.

    Topic 9: Including non-serious injuries and disturbance in SARs. Currently, many Reports include information on human-related mortality and serious injury from all known sources (not just from commercial fisheries) but do not include information on human-related non-serious injury or disturbance. The workshop participants concluded that the guidelines, with respect to the scope of content considered by the SARs, could be retained as they currently stand. However, they encouraged authors to routinely consider including information in the Reports about what “other factors” may cause a decline or impede recovery of a particular stock. A final recommended revision to the guidelines was the addition of the following italicized text: “The MMPA requires for strategic stocks a consideration of other factors that may be causing a decline or impeding recovery of the stock, including effects on marine mammal habitat and prey, or other lethal or non-lethal factors.” However, this italicized text is not contained in the MMPA, and therefore, as proposed could be misconstrued as being required by the MMPA. Therefore, the revision to the guidelines has been reworded for clarity.

    Comments and Responses

    NMFS solicited public comments on the proposed revisions to the guidelines (January 24, 2012, 77 FR 3450), contained in Appendix IV of the GAMMS III workshop report. NMFS received comments from the Commission, the three regional SRGs, two non-governmental environmental organizations (Humane Society of the United States and Center for Biological Diversity), representatives from the fishing industry (Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, Garden State Seafood Association, Maine Lobstermen's Association, Hawaii Longline Association, Cape Cod Hook Fishermen's Association, and two individuals), the American Veterinary Medical Association, the States of Maine and Massachusetts, the Makah Indian Tribe, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness, representatives from the oil and gas industry (American Petroleum Institute, International Association of Geophysical Contractors, and Alaska Oil and Gas Association), and one individual.

    NMFS received a number of comments supporting its efforts to improve stock identification (topic 2). Many commenters urged NMFS to prioritize conducting regular surveys for those species with the greatest human-caused mortality or oldest survey data. Many commenters disagreed with NMFS' proposals to use a precautionary approach with aging abundance estimates (topic 1) and apportion PBR and serious injuries and mortalities (topic 4). Comments on actions not related to the GAMMS (e.g., convening a Take Reduction Team or listing a marine mammal species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)), or on items not related to portions of the guidelines finalized in this action, are not included below. Comments and responses are organized below according to the relevant workshop topics outlined in Appendix IV of the report.

    Comments on General Issues

    Comment 1: The Commission recommended that NMFS continue to encourage more exchange between regional SRGs to ensure consistency where needed and to promote useful and informative exchange among them.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment and will continue to encourage exchange between SRGs and strive to ensure consistency among the groups and among the SARs. To that end, we are convening a joint meeting of the three SRGs in February 2016, in addition to individual SRG meetings.

    Comment 2: The Commission recommended that NMFS consider requiring a brief summary paragraph or table on the historical trend of each stock in the SARs, where appropriate, to combat the tendency to exclude important stock dynamics or allow for the shifting baselines phenomenon.

    Response: It is unclear from the comment what historical trend information, specifically, the Commission is referencing that is not already provided in the SARs. Where able, we provide historical abundance data and estimate trends in abundance (see for example, the California sea lion SAR, which provides abundance data for the prior four decades). With respect to bycatch, we do not think it is feasible or appropriate to provide trends in bycatch rates over decades, as fisheries and monitoring programs change too frequently. The status of each stock is informed by current parameters, such as ESA listing status and relationship to OSP and PBR. Additionally, the statute specifies that the SARs provide current population trend information. We will continue to endeavor to provide as much historical abundance, trend, and human-related removal information (for example, historical whaling data as it relates to stock recovery and OSP, see Eastern North Pacific blue whale report) as possible, but at this time will not require a summary table or paragraph in each SAR.

    Comment 3: NMFS should secure adequate support and funding to conduct marine mammal abundance surveys in the region at least every five years. Alternative cost-effective approaches to determining Nmin, such as trend data from index sites, should be developed and specified as acceptable methods in the guidelines.

    Response: NMFS agrees that such a schedule would be ideal, but we do not currently have the resources to accomplish this. We continue to develop and implement strategies to support more efficient use of ship time through multi-species ecosystem studies, better survey designs and sampling technologies, and leveraging inter- and intra-agency resources. NMFS is also exploring alternative approaches for assessing stock status (e.g., through use of unmanned systems and acoustic technologies) apart from reliance on abundance survey data, in regions where regular surveys are cost-prohibitive. As noted in the workshop report, such approaches could include trend monitoring at index sites. Developing guidelines for alternative assessment methods was not a focus of the GAMMS III workshop, and so this does not appear in the revisions finalized here. However, NMFS will make efforts to consider how alternative sets of information could be used to aid its marine mammal stock assessments.

    Comment 4: The effective management of marine mammals requires timely and accurate stock status information that is currently lacking. The proposed assumption that the existing measures protecting marine mammal species are failing to achieve management objectives and the continued use of old data to assess the status of stocks are unacceptable and fail to acknowledge collective efforts to reconcile marine mammal protection with varied ocean uses. NMFS should more frequently assess the status of marine mammal stocks and incorporate this new information into management actions.

    Response: NMFS agrees that management of marine mammal stocks depends on timely and accurate stock information, and in many cases up-to-date stock assessments are not available, nor are the resources necessary to conduct the assessment. NMFS acknowledges that the reliability of abundance estimates for calculating PBR is reduced over time. The proposed approach to calculating PBR with outdated abundance information assumed the worst-case scenario, but we are not finalizing that approach at this time. Accordingly, NMFS is analyzing methods to calculate PBRs for stocks with outdated abundance information as well as developing methods to collect data more efficiently and cost effectively. See response to Comment 3.

    Comment 5: The Alaska SRG expressed concern that very different approaches are taken for PBR and mortality components of SARs. A great deal of modeling effort and simulations has gone into making the PBR calculations conservative, but there is no similar concern for the mortality and serious injury data. In some of the Alaska SARs, 20+ year-old observer data are the only mortality data for a particular fishery. The nature of Alaska fisheries can change quite quickly, so Alaska SRG members strongly object to using such old data. The reliability of removals data is just as important as population data when assessing stock status. This issue merits serious attention, and as a first step, the quality of removals data should be thoroughly and explicitly evaluated when uncertainty in SARs is evaluated.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges that many of the data related to Alaska marine mammal stocks are dated. NMFS continues to rely upon and incorporate the best available data in the SARs, but in some cases these data are many years old. The revised guidelines instruct SAR authors to describe uncertainties in key factors, including human-caused mortality and serious injury, and to evaluate the effects of those uncertainties.

    Comment 6: The proposed changes do not reflect an agency commitment to generating best available science upon which to base its decisions. In fact, this rule contains no statements as to what the agency intends to do with respect to old or non-existent assessments other than to reduce PBR. We request the agency comment for the record specifically how NOAA intends to address the GAMMS III stated need for accurate and timely census data.

    Response: The MMPA requires that NMFS and FWS use the best available scientific information in its assessment and management of marine mammal stocks. NMFS strives to collect the data necessary for timely stock assessments in a cost-efficient manner, but agency resources are limited, and there are instances where data are either too old or non-existent. We are currently analyzing how to calculate PBR when data are outdated.

    Comment 7: We appreciate NMFS' efforts to improve stock identification, small stock biases, non-serious injuries, and institute other SAR enhancements, and encourage NMFS to incorporate veterinary expertise relative to marine mammal population, health, and ecosystem conservation status.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment. NMFS continues to incorporate and rely upon veterinary expertise in activities related to stock assessment; for example, the development of the serious injury determination policy and procedures, and response to stranded animals and UMEs.

    Comment 8: Several of the GAMMS III recommendations require more explanations and verbiage to be added to the SARs (e.g., Topics 2, 5, 8, and 9).

    Response: NMFS recognizes that the recommendations require additional text to be added to the SARs. We strive to maintain the conciseness of the SARs while providing best available science and meeting the directive of MMPA section 117(a).

    Comment 9: NMFS should produce a record showing that the guidelines and GAMMS Report comply with the Information Quality Act (IQA) Pre-dissemination review requirements as follows: (1) All models that the guidelines or GAMMS Report use should be peer reviewed in order to determine their compliance with Council for Regulatory Environmental Modeling Guidance; (2) the method used by the guidelines and GAMMS Report to estimate population uncertainty violates the IQA accuracy and reliability requirement; and (3) the guidelines and GAMMS Report violate the IQA accuracy and reliability requirements by telling staff to make up abundance data and PBR when measured data do not exist (“informed interpolation”). In addition, NMFS should revise the guidelines and GAMMS Report to delete any suggestion that marine mammal SARs should discuss oil and gas seismic effects, as oil and gas seismic operations do not cause mortality or serious injury to marine mammals and do not cause a decline or impede recovery of any strategic stock.

    Response: The GAMMS report referenced by the commenter is a summary of the proceedings of a workshop and was reviewed for accuracy prior to dissemination. We did not solicit comments nor are we responding to comments on the workshop report itself. The guidelines also underwent IQA pre-dissemination review prior to being finalized and released to the public. There is no requirement under the NOAA or OMB Information Quality Guidance to explain within the guidelines themselves how they have met IQA requirements.

    The marine mammal SARs are based on the best available science. NMFS strives to use peer-reviewed data as the basis for reports. However, in some cases, the best available science may not have been published or subjected to a juried professional journal review, as this process can take months or years to complete. In other cases, data pertinent to assessments of stocks are routinely collected and analyzed but are not suitable for a stand-alone external peer-reviewed publication. Therefore, NMFS often relies on science that has been through a NMFS Science Center's internal expert review process and/or has been subjected to other internal or external expert review to ensure that information is not only high quality but is available for management decisions in a timely fashion. In these cases, all NOAA-authored literature should meet, at the least, the standards for Fundamental Research Communications established by the NOAA Research Council and by NMFS. NMFS may rely on the SRGs to provide independent expert reviews of particular components of new science to be incorporated into the SARs to ensure that these components constitute the best available scientific information. Likewise, upon SRG review of these components and the draft SARs themselves, NMFS considers the SRG review of the draft SARs to constitute peer review and to meet the requirements of the OMB Peer Review Bulletin and the Information Quality Act.

    The proposed method for projecting uncertainty in abundance estimates (topic 1) is not being finalized at this time (see below). Any models that are employed in the SARs have been peer reviewed, as is their specific application to the SARs, and therefore meet the requirements of the IQA. Regarding the use of informed interpolation to estimate abundance within a study area based on habitat modeling or similar approaches (i.e., model-based abundance estimation), this approach is commonly applied in ecology. The International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee recently acknowledged the strength and utility of model-based abundance estimation methods and is planning a workshop to formulate revisions to its guidelines for conducting surveys and analyzing data to include guidance on the use of these methods in management (IWC, 2015). Model-based estimation of density is based on survey data and habitat or other covariates, which is entirely science based. To suggest we are directing staff to “make up abundance data and PBR” is a mischaracterization of what is contained in the revised guidelines. We have added a footnote to the guidelines to clarify the definition of “informed interpolation.”

    Regarding oil and gas activities, nowhere in the proposed guidelines are oil and gas or seismic activities specifically discussed. The guidelines do not direct the inclusion of oil and gas activities in the SARs; however, if oil and gas activities are found to be having a detrimental effect on a stock or its habitat, we would include it in the report, as we would with any other activity. The final revised guidelines (very slightly revised from the proposed guidelines) state: “The MMPA requires for strategic stocks a consideration of other factors that may be causing a decline or impeding recovery of the stock, including effects on marine mammal habitat and prey. In practice, interpretation of “other factors” may include lethal or non-lethal factors other than effects on habitat and prey. Therefore, such issues should be summarized in the Status of the Stock section for all strategic stocks. If substantial issues regarding the habitat of the stock are important, a separate section titled “Habitat Issues” should be used. If data exist that indicate a problem, they should be summarized and included in the Report. If there are no known habitat issues or other factors causing a decline or impeding recovery, this should be stated in the Status of the Stock section.”

    Comments on Topic 1: Assessing Stocks With Outdated Abundance Estimates

    NMFS received a number of comments expressing strenuous objection to/concern with the proposed framework for stocks with outdated abundance estimates. As such, NMFS is not finalizing the proposed revisions related to Topic 1 at this time. Rather, we will further analyze this issue. Should we contemplate changes to the guidelines regarding this topic, NMFS will propose them and solicit public comment in a separate action.

    Comments on Topic 2: Improving Stock Identification

    Comment 10: The Commission recommended that NMFS convene a national workshop to systematically review the status of stock identification efforts and to identify and prioritize the information needed to improve stock identification.

    Response: In August 2014, NMFS convened a workshop on the use of multiple lines of evidence to delineate demographically independent populations (Martien et al., 2015). The meeting participants agreed that the best way to provide guidance on the use of multiple lines of evidence when delineating demographically independent populations for marine mammals was to produce a Stock Delineation Handbook that can serve as a guide for future demographically-independent population delineation efforts. Development of the handbook is currently underway. Subsequent to the 2014 workshop, NMFS began developing an internal procedure for identifying and prioritizing stocks in need of examination for potential revisions that would complement and be integrated into the stock delineation workshop outputs and the existing SAR process.

    Comment 11: The GAMMS III workshop report makes several very good recommendations for improving stock identification, and the Alaska SRG and the Humane Society of the United States agree with all of them.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment.

    Comment 12: The Pacific SRG recommends that NMFS focus on the role of genetics in determining marine mammal stock structure and in defining the terms “stock” and “population.”

    Response: Although the guidelines are clear that genetic evidence is not the sole evidence that could be used to define stocks, changes in stock definition have relied on genetic data as the primary line of evidence, and species for which genetic evidence are not available have not had new stocks defined. The MMPA uses the term “population stock.” The guidelines have a lengthy section on “Definition of stock” that has been discussed in each of the GAMMS workshops and in a special workshop devoted to stock definition (see response to Comment (10). The language that interprets “population stock” has remained largely unchanged since the first set of guidelines despite much discussion.

    Comment 13: The Pacific SRG would like to have the following questions addressed: How do we integrate the MMPA's goal of maintaining a population as a functioning part of the ecosystem with the statute's definition of a stock (that emphasizes breeding interchange)? In a continuum of levels of genetic exchange, where does one draw the line between what is a stock and what is not? How will the proposed use of eco-regions be practically implemented in stock determination and how will migratory stocks that feed in one region and breed in another be treated under this proposal? How do we balance the conservation concerns resulting from stocks being defined very broadly versus the costs and management concerns resulting from stocks being defined very finely?

    Response: The definition of “population stock” as “a group of marine mammals of the same species or smaller taxa in a common spatial arrangement, that interbreed when mature” is vague from a biological perspective. To some degree, all “groups” within a species interbreed when mature or else they would be considered different species according to the biological species concept. Clearly, population stock was intended to mean interbreeding at some greater level but that level is not specified. Interpretation becomes more difficult when considering known cases of migratory species with strong fidelity to both feeding and breeding grounds. Consider, for example, humpback whales that feed in Southeast Alaska and breed in Hawaii. These individuals can interbreed when mature but can (and do) interbreed with individuals that feed in other areas. If a threat occurred within Southeast Alaska that resulted in unsustainable deaths in that area, then if the “Southeast Alaska whales” were a stock, that stock's PBR could be used as an indicator that management efforts to mitigate that threat were warranted. In contrast, if “interbreed when mature” considered all the whales in Hawaii, then the human-caused mortality in Southeast Alaska may never exceed the PBR based on Hawaii, and eventually the ecosystem in Southeast Alaska would cease to have humpback whales as a functioning part. Such cases result in an apparent conflict between the words “interbreed when mature” and the goal to maintain population stocks as functioning elements of their ecosystem.

    Often, changes to stock delineations in the SARs have relied on interpretation of genetic data. The Pacific SRG asks where one draws the line on what level of genetic exchange suffices to qualify as a stock. Interpretation has been based on the guidelines:

    “Demographic independence means that the population dynamics of the affected group is more a consequence of births and deaths within the group (internal dynamics) rather than immigration or emigration (external dynamics). Thus, the exchange of individuals between population stocks is not great enough to prevent the depletion of one of the populations as a result of increased mortality or lower birth rates.”

    To date, accepted “new” stocks have been strongly differentiated, indicating such low levels of exchange that immigration is relatively trivial. There will be, however, borderline cases. Such is the nature of imposing discrete categories on continuous processes.

    The recommendations from the GAMMS III workshop do not propose basing stocks on eco-regions. Eco-regions were discussed during the workshop in two contexts: (1) In a working paper that demonstrated that most stocks are currently defined at a very large scale often encompassing several eco-regions, and (2) that eco-regions may highlight stocks that may deserve consideration in a stock definition meeting because that stock may be at too large a scale and could encompass multiple demographically independent populations.

    Comment 14: In the SARs, a concise statement concerning uncertainty in stock structure could be included in the section on uncertainty discussed under Topic 8. Details should be provided only when publications are not yet available. The Pacific SRG questions the usefulness of repeating in nearly every SAR the sentence “It is plausible that there are multiple demographically-independent populations within this stock.”

    Response: The Pacific SRG requested that the reader of a SAR be able to readily assess the level of confidence that can be ascribed to the PBR calculation. A critical part of that calculation is abundance, which can be severely biased if stock definition is incorrect. We recognize that many SARs will include the same statement about the plausibility of multiple demographically independent populations within the stock, but we consider it necessary to better inform the reader's understanding of areas of uncertainty.

    Comment 15: NMFS received a number of comments related to stock definition and stock delineation based on feeding aggregations. Such as: The revised guidelines should address whether, and under what circumstances, a feeding aggregation can be identified as a stock consistently with the MMPA's statutory definition of a stock. One commenter stated that it is not clear whether or how the definition of a stock in the proposed guidelines relates to the definition of a stock in the MMPA. One commenter suggested that the revised guidelines should clarify the meaning of “internal dynamics” and explain how it relates to the statutory interbreeding requirement. Another suggestion was that the revised guidelines should address the workshop participants' suggestion “that human-caused mortality on the feeding grounds be monitored and evaluated against a PBR calculation made for the feeding aggregation and that the feeding-ground PBR, mortality, and evaluation results be reported in the SARs, as is currently done for Pacific humpback stocks.”

    Response: The workshop participants discussed the possibility of basing stocks on feeding aggregations. Although workshop participants considered this approach to be feasible, they believed it added significant complexity without providing substantial management advantages, and did not recommend revisions to the guidelines at this time. Therefore, this revision of the guidelines does not specifically discuss identification of stocks based on feeding aggregations. We recognize and acknowledge these comments related to feeding aggregations and stock definition, but as they do not relate to the current revisions to the guidelines, we are not addressing them in this action. If the issue is further considered by the agency in a separate action, we will address those comments in the development of that action.

    Comment 16: In the proposed guidelines, NMFS suggests that it may delineate marine mammal stocks based upon human factors such as incidental take as a result of human-caused mortality. However, the MMPA does not permit the determination of stock status based on human-related factors. Accordingly, when delineating stocks, NMFS can only consider the demographic and biological characteristics of the species at issue. Carving out stocks in areas where human-caused mortality is high, as NMFS proposes, would violate the MMPA.

    Response: The guidelines state: “For example, it is common to have human-caused mortality restricted to a portion of a species' range. Such concentrated mortality (if of a large magnitude) could lead to population fragmentation, a reduction in range, or even the loss of undetected populations, and would only be mitigated by high immigration rates from adjacent areas.” They caution that serious consideration should be given to areas with concentrated high human-caused mortality, but that actual stock definition should be based on biological considerations. In other words, high-localized human-caused mortality should highlight the need for stock identification scrutiny but not the lines of evidence used.

    Comment 17: If it cannot be demonstrated with normal genetic analysis, then it is unwarranted to establish populations or subpopulations based on behavior or distribution. To split existing populations into smaller units only invites the development of fragmented PBRs with an aggregate value that will likely be lower than that of the whole population.

    Response: Genetic data are certainly useful when attainable, but in many cases genetic samples (of sufficient quantity to draw sound inferences) cannot be obtained. There are many other lines of evidence that can be informative to determining stock structure, including behavior and distribution and also movement data from photographic identification or tagging. Genetic data are sometimes sufficient but are not exclusively needed to make sound inferences concerning stock structure. In 2014, NMFS convened a workshop to review the use of other lines of evidence, as consistency and accuracy in delineating stocks for species with limited data would be improved if guidelines were available on both the strengths of different lines of evidence and how to evaluate multiple lines together (Martien et al., 2015). As a result of this workshop, NMFS is developing a handbook for identification of demographically independent populations, which includes genetic information as well as other lines of evidence.

    Comment 18: The revised guidelines should acknowledge that factors other than demographic independence, such as a localized disease or a localized change in prey availability, might cause different population responses between geographic regions. In light of such factors, the revised guidelines should discuss under what circumstances it is appropriate to designate stocks solely on the basis of different population responses between geographic regions.

    Response: Demographic independence is defined in terms of birth and death rates within the population and immigrations from outside the population. Presumably, the response of a population to `localized disease or localized change in prey availability' would be changes in the birth and/or death rates. Thus, it would seem that the concern above is already accounted for in the guidelines.

    Comment 19: If the revised guidelines continue to define a stock as a demographically-independent biological population, they should explain more clearly the circumstances under which a group of marine mammals can be designated as a stock even in the absence of evidence that the group comprises a demographically independent biological population. Are such circumstances limited to those in which “mortality is greater than a PBR calculated from the abundance just within the oceanographic region where the human-caused mortality occurs,” as suggested in the GAMMS III Report? Or can stocks be designated in other circumstances in the absence of evidence of demographic independence? If so, what other circumstances are contemplated?

    Response: The section on definition of stocks in the guidelines seeks to clarify the practical process of definition given biological complexity and different types and qualities of available data. This section was contained in GAMMS II (NMFS 2005) and was not revised in this current revision of the guidelines. The guidelines note that particular attention should be given to areas where mortality is greater than PBR but do not limit stock definition to those circumstances. The stock definition workshop (see above) was suggested as a forum to improve stock definition in data-poor cases.

    Comments on Topic 3: Assessment of Small and Endangered Stocks

    Comment 20: The Commission recommends that NMFS adopt the workshop recommendation to include, when appropriate, a statement in each assessment explaining that bycatch data are not sufficient to estimate the bycatch rate with acceptable precision. The Commission and another commenter recommended NMFS treat each such stock as strategic unless and until the data are sufficient to demonstrate that it is not.

    Response: NMFS agrees with the importance of including a statement in each stock assessment to indicate when bycatch estimates are prone to small-sample bias, though it should be noted that bias and precision are different issues. The guidelines recommend pooling years of information as necessary to achieve precision levels of CV less than 0.3.

    At this point, NMFS does not make the default assumption that a stock is strategic until demonstrated otherwise. The MMPA requires a determination of a stock's status as being either strategic or non-strategic and does not include a category of unknown. The revised guidelines state, for non-ESA listed and/or non-depleted stocks, “if abundance or human-related mortality levels are truly unknown (or if the fishery-related mortality level is only available from self-reported data), some judgment will be required to make this determination. If the human-caused mortality is believed to be small relative to the stock size based on the best scientific judgment, the stock could be considered as non-strategic. If human-caused mortality is likely to be significant relative to stock size (e.g., greater than the annual production increment) the stock could be considered as strategic.”

    Comment 21: When calculating PBR, NMFS should err on the side of caution rather than allowing loosely defined flexibility that may be used to the detriment of the stock. With stocks such as the Cook Inlet belugas or Hawaiian monk seals, the documented decline in abundance would seem to challenge the assumption that net productivity occurs. Therefore, a PBR of zero is appropriate and would promote regional consistency.

    Response: NMFS recognizes that in some cases the dynamics of a stock do not comport with the underlying assumptions of the PBR framework. Given that Section 117 directs the agency to calculate PBR, the revised guidelines direct authors to calculate PBR but in such instances to qualify the calculation in the PBR section of the Report.

    Comment 22: We support the calculation of PBR even for small stocks with little human-caused mortality to comply with the MMPA. However, we do not support the exception to depart from the PBR requirement.

    Response: NMFS recognizes that, pursuant to Sec. 117 of the MMPA, each stock assessment report should include an estimate of the PBR for the stock. However, PBR is not always estimable. Most obviously, we lack abundance estimates for some stocks. Less obviously, the equation for estimating PBR makes assumptions about the underlying population growth model for marine mammals, and for stocks whose population dynamics do not appear to conform to these assumptions, the calculated PBR is considered unreliable as an estimate of the true potential biological removal. The revisions to the guidelines encourage reporting PBR for all stocks possible and qualifying in the SAR when the reported value is not considered reliable. Departure from this suggestion must be discussed fully within any affected report.

    Comment 23: The Commission recommends that NMFS require stock assessment authors to set PBR to zero in those cases that are not in accord with the commonly assumed PBR framework and involve stocks with no tolerance for additional human-related removals.

    Response: The revisions to the guidelines encourage reporting PBR for all stocks possible and qualifying in the stock assessment report when the reported value is not considered reliable or in cases where a stock's dynamics do not conform to the underlying model for calculating PBR. At this point, the guidelines are not instructing authors to set PBR to zero.

    Comment 24: The Pacific SRG continues to support a decision not to report a PBR in the monk seal SAR.

    Response: By ecological theory, i.e., when the assumption of simple logistic population growth is reasonable and when a stock's status can be attributed to direct anthropogenic impacts, a non-zero estimate of PBR is not unreasonable. In the case of Hawaiian monk seal, however, it is not apparent that these model assumptions hold. See response to Comment 22.

    Comment 25: The Alaska SRG preference would be to have an undetermined PBR when assessing endangered stocks. If numerical estimates of PBR are to be given in SARs, we recommend that language be included clarifying whether negligible impact determinations have been made, what they are, and if not, stating that no human-caused takes are authorized. We do not agree that this topic is beyond the scope of SARs and rather believe that inclusion of such information would help readers understand the actual meaning of PBR in this case.

    Response: NMFS disagrees with including negligible impact determinations (NIDs) under section 101(a)(5)(E) of the MMPA in the SARs. The five criteria (64 FR 28800, May 27, 1999) that NMFS may use for making a final determination and issuing 3-year incidental take authorizations to Category I and II fisheries are complex and may be difficult to relate to the data contained in the SARs, which often change on an annual basis. Furthermore, while some NIDs may use fisheries bycatch data from the past five years in making an assessment, other NID analyses may contain bycatch data from more than five years, depending on changes in fisheries, particularly regulatory changes such as time/area closures or mandatory bycatch reduction methods. In addition, NMFS may use the more recent observer data or stranding data, which may not yet be included in the most recent SARs, which may also confuse readers. Further, NMFS does not authorize (or prohibit) incidental mortalities through the SAR process.

    Comments on Topic 4: Apportioning PBR, Allocating Mortality, and Estimating PBR for Transboundary Stocks

    Comment 26: The Commission recommends that NMFS include in their stock assessments comparisons of PBR for feeding aggregations, and estimate or apportion mortality and serious injury levels for each aggregation.

    Response: The workshop participants discussed how feeding ground PBRs should be calculated for stocks where there was a desire to monitor potential risks to feeding aggregations; however, this was not reflected in the recommended revised text for the guidelines nor were comments solicited on this issue. NMFS is not including text regarding apportioning PBR among feeding aggregations in this revision of the guidelines.

    Comment 27: The Commission recommends that NMFS apply the total unassigned mortality and serious injury to each affected stock in both data-rich and data-poor cases involving taking of mixed stocks that cannot be or are not identified in the field. Doing so is the only way to be precautionary and also provides the appropriate incentive to develop better information about the affected stocks.

    Response: NMFS disagrees and believes that the guidelines are sufficiently conservative at this time.

    Comment 28: The Commission recommends that NMFS discourage the use of informed interpolation, require strong justification where it is used, and require that it be accompanied by reasonable measures of uncertainty associated with the interpolation.

    Response: The revised guidelines allow for the use of informed interpolation (i.e., model-based abundance estimation) as appropriate and supported by existing data. NMFS has added text to the guidelines specifying that when informed interpolation is employed, the Report should provide justification for its use and associated measure of uncertainty. As a point of clarification, informed interpolation is not a person making an informed judgement; it is a model that is informed by the covariation between habitat or other variables and density that is making the “judgement.”

    Comment 29: We support the recommendation of assigning the total unassigned mortalities and serious injuries to each stock within the appropriate geographic area.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment.

    Comment 30: NMFS should not assign the “unassigned mortality and serious injury” to each stock within the affected geographic area as it would effectively double count these human interactions and affect the PBR of multiple stocks. Instead, NMFS should develop methodology based on the best available data to assign the serious injury and mortality according to the relative abundance of the stocks. When this is not possible, serious injury and mortality should remain unassigned to avoid arbitrary determinations.

    Response: The revised guidelines direct that in data poor situations with mixed stocks, when relative abundances are unknown, the total unassigned mortality and serious injuries should be assigned to each stock within the appropriate geographic area. NMFS and workshop participants recognize that this approach effectively would repeatedly “count” the same deaths and serious injuries against multiple stocks. However, this approach is considered to be the most conservative in terms of ensuring that the most severe possible impacts were considered for each stock. The revised guidelines instruct that when deaths and serious injuries are assigned to each overlapping stock in this manner, the Reports will contain a discussion of the potential for over-estimating stock-specific mortality and serious injury.

    Comment 31: NMFS's proposal to identify transboundary or high seas stocks with no available population data is contrary to the MMPA.

    Response: NMFS did not propose to identify transboundary or high seas stocks with no available population data. Rather, the workshop discussions involved estimating range-wide abundance and PBR for transboundary stocks, and specifically, addressing the problem of managing transboundary marine mammal stocks for which PBR is estimated based on abundance from only a portion of each stock's range (for example, PBR levels for transboundary stocks being estimated based on abundance surveys that occur only within the U.S. EEZ). Although it is inappropriate to simply extrapolate abundance estimates to an unsurveyed area, the revised guidelines allow for the use of model-based density estimation to fill gaps in survey coverage and estimate abundance and PBR over broader areas as appropriate and supported by existing data. In such cases, the Report should provide justification for use of interpolation and associated measure of uncertainty.

    Comment 32: NMFS must ensure that it prioritizes collection of data necessary to support interpolations when full assessments are not possible. In cases where a partial survey is conducted and methods of interpolation or modeling are not incorporated, serious injuries and mortalities should only be counted if they occur in the portion of the stock that was surveyed.

    Response: NMFS agrees surveys should ideally cover the entirety of the stock range. When this is not possible, Nmin is defined under the MMPA as an estimate of the number of animals in a stock that provides reasonable assurance that the stock size is equal to or greater than the estimate, so a partial survey can be used to calculate Nmin and PBR. All human-caused mortality and serious injury needs to be accounted for under the MMPA, so injuries or deaths that are known to come from a stock must be apportioned to that stock even if the abundance is underestimated. The solution to this mismatch is not to ignore human-caused mortality and serious injury (which is contrary to the MMPA), but to conduct adequate surveys or develop models to obtain complete abundance estimates.

    Comment 33: The apportionment of PBR to foraging grounds between surveyed and un-surveyed areas appears to be a significant problem in the absence of data and lacks scientific justification. It appears that this will be based on untested assumptions regarding stock distributions. Assuming uniform distribution will have animals present where they may not exist or exist only seasonally.

    Response: NMFS agrees that it is not appropriate to assume uniform distribution between surveyed and unsurveyed areas, and as such discourages the use of extrapolation. The workshop participants discussed this issue, and the background paper on this topic suggested that informed modeling exercises may sometimes be appropriate or necessary for management decisions and to ensure that stocks remain as functioning elements of the ecosystem. Therefore, the revised guidelines state, “abundance or density estimates from one area should not be extrapolated to unsurveyed areas to estimate range-wide abundance (and PBR). But, informed interpolation (e.g., based on habitat associations) may be used to fill gaps in survey coverage and estimate abundance and PBR over broader areas as appropriate and supported by existing data.”

    Comment 34: Given the known lack of general data and uncertainty of existing data, it appears that it will be difficult to accurately use separate PBRs for marine mammal populations with multiple feeding grounds. To the extent that this is understood, information pertaining to separate feeding aggregations should be noted in the stock assessment reports, but separate PBRs should not be used for stocks with multiple feeding grounds. There is a significant risk that “unassigned mortality and serious injury” could be wrongly assigned and result in erroneous estimates to one or more populations. To avoid arbitrary assignments, when this is not possible, serious injury and mortality should remain unassigned.

    Response: See response to Comment 26.

    Comment 35: The section on apportioning PBR among feeding aggregations does not provide clear guidance for cases like eastern Pacific gray whales and whether the Pacific Coast Feeding Group is a stock or not, a case where there may be mitochondrial differences between feeding areas but all animals go to a common breeding area.

    Response: The current Guideline revisions do not address apportioning PBR among feeding aggregations. See response to Comment 26.

    Comment 36: Separate PBRs for stocks with multiple feeding grounds should not be used. Separating PBR among feeding stocks is complicated and data-intensive, and is unlikely to improve management. NMFS is rarely able to adequately determine which portion of the stock was involved in a human interaction.

    Response: See response to Comment 26.

    Comment 37: There is concern that failure to estimate a population-wide PBR in the assessments will lead to the reliance on the proposed default of assuming the population is in decline. The agency should develop an assessment methodology based on the best available data and devise a statistically sound interpolation algorithm to fill in gaps in survey coverage and estimate abundance over the range of the population. If this is not developed then there is a very strong possibility that assessment scientists will discount or not utilize historical estimates derived from multiple surveys spanning multiple geographic regions in one year, and/or limited surveys the following year.

    Response: NMFS recognizes the need to estimate population-wide PBR for marine mammal stocks, which is why the revised guidelines allow for the use of informed interpolation (i.e., model-based abundance estimation) to fill gaps in geographical survey coverage. Where interpolation is employed, the Reports should include a statement about the level of uncertainty surrounding the estimates.

    Comment 38: Priority for research should be given to stocks for which serious injury and mortality exceeds PBR and for which additional management action is required under take reduction plans. In cases where this is not possible, NMFS must consider the availability of data for interpolation or informed modeling exercises to obtain abundance estimates for the full range of the stock. This strategy requires careful coordination with Canada for transboundary stocks. If timely and robust data are not available, NMFS should not make stock assessment determinations.

    Response: Staffs from NMFS Science Centers, Regional Offices, and Headquarters Offices communicate regularly to discuss science needed to support management and to help prioritize research efforts. This includes discussion of stocks for which human-caused mortality and serious injury exceed PBR and take reduction planning needs. The revised guidelines allow for the use of informed interpolation (e.g., based on habitat associations) to fill gaps in survey coverage and estimate abundance and PBR, as appropriate and when supported by existing data.

    Comments on Topic 5: Reporting of Mortality and Serious Injury

    Comment 39: The Commission recommends that NMFS require a summary of all human-caused mortality and serious injury in each stock assessment report. Efforts to meet that requirement will almost certainly vary, perhaps markedly. With that in mind, the Commission encourages NMFS to re-examine those report sections after one to two years to identify the most effective reporting strategies that could then be used to develop a consistent and informative reporting approach.

    Response: Section 117 of the MMPA requires that all sources of human-caused mortality and serious injury be included in stock assessments. NMFS makes every effort to include these sources of anthropogenic mortality and serious injury in each stock assessment, whether the mortality or serious injury is systematically recorded by fishery observer programs or through opportunistic records, such as strandings, where the cause of death or serious injury can be linked to human-related causes. NMFS understands that clearly presenting these mortality and serious injury data in the SARs is an important part of allowing the public to interpret the status of marine mammal stocks. Every effort will be made to continue to improve the way in which mortality and serious injury are reported in the SARs.

    Comment 40: The Alaska SRG believes that extensive tabling of interactions between marine mammals and commercial fisheries should be confined to an Appendix, with only a summary table that includes mortality in the various Federal groundfish fisheries, state water fisheries, and international transboundary fisheries included in the body of the assessment. The strategy of summarizing fishery interactions should lead to a single clearly-documented estimate of mortality and associated variance for all fisheries combined with easy access to details available preferably in an online appendix.

    Response: NMFS makes every effort to present fishery interaction data simply in the body of each SAR, whether in the text, tabular form, or both. The agency feels that it is valuable to have all interaction data appear within the SAR itself (although some regions also currently include a separate Appendix describing those fisheries that interact with marine mammals). NMFS also produces stand-alone injury determination and bycatch papers by region, which has reduced the amount of information that needs to go into the SARs, as they are incorporated by reference. The agency will continue to improve the clarity of how interaction data are presented within the SARs.

    Comment 41: The SARs tend to lag approximately two years behind in incorporating available observer bycatch data. For some fisheries that have 100-percent observer coverage such as the Hawaii-based swordfish fishery, such bycatch data are available in near real-time. Review of new data should be conducted promptly given that PBR, the zero mortality rate goal, and strategic status for stocks are all based on the most recent SAR.

    Response: Bycatch data for most fisheries are not available in real-time and every effort is made to produce and incorporate new bycatch estimates from observer data in a timely manner into the draft SARs. SARs are typically drafted in the autumn of each year, with previous calendar year observer data representing the most up-to-date full-year information. For example, draft 2016 SARs will be prepared in the autumn of 2015 for review by regional Scientific Review Groups in early 2016. These draft 2016 reports will utilize bycatch data from calendar year 2014 if available, thus the 2-year time lag between the year the reports are published and the year of the most recent bycatch data.

    Comments on Topic 6: Determining When Stock Declines Warrant a Strategic Designation

    Comment 42: In an apparent attempt to interpret the MMPA definition of strategic stock, the proposed guidelines suggest that a “strategic stock” is a stock that “is declining and has a greater than 50 percent probability of a continuing decline of at least five percent per year.” However, in reality, a stock that “has a greater than 50 percent probability of a continuing decline of at least five percent per year” would not necessarily qualify as “threatened” in all cases. Rather, the determination of “threatened” status under the ESA requires a species-specific analysis of specific factors that are expressly set forth in the ESA. While NMFS may have the discretion to develop a general guideline for determining “strategic” status, NMFS may not mechanically apply the “strategic stock” definition set forth in the proposed guidelines.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment and has not made this revision to the guidelines. See Response to Comment 43.

    Comment 43: The Commission recommends that NMFS consider any marine mammal stock that has declined by 40 percent or more to be strategic. Additionally, the Commission and the Humane Society of the United States recommend that stocks declining with more than 50 percent probability of continuing decline (by at least five percent/year) should be treated as strategic with the aim of reducing and reversing the stock's decline before a depleted designation is required.

    Response: Section 3(19) of the MMPA defines a “strategic stock,” as one: “(A) for which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds the potential biological removal level; (B) which, based on the best available scientific information, is declining and is likely to be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 within the foreseeable future; or (C) which is listed as a threatened species or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), or is designated as depleted under this Act.” NMFS has not adopted the workshop-recommended revisions regarding a quantitative interpretation of strategic status per section 3(19)(B) but will continue to analyze how to interpret “likely to be listed as a threatened species under the (ESA) within the foreseeable future.” However, NMFS has finalized the revision regarding declines in abundance: “Stocks that have evidence suggesting at least a 50 percent decline, either based on previous abundance estimates or historical abundance estimated by back-calculation, should be noted in the Status of Stocks section as likely to be below OSP. The choice of 50 percent does not mean that OSP is at 50 percent of historical numbers, but rather that a population below this level would be below OSP with high probability.”

    Comment 44: The Alaska SRG supports the quantitative recommendations for determining when non-ESA listed stocks should be considered as “strategic.” We also find the rationale for using 15 years as “the foreseeable future” a reasonable default because it is based on a five percent decrease over a 15-year period resulting in a 50 percent decline.

    Response: At this time, NMFS is not adopting the recommended changes related to strategic status of stocks that are declining and likely to be listed as a threatened species under the ESA within the foreseeable future.

    Comment 45: The Alaska SRG agrees with the working group's recommendation that a Recovery Factor scaled from 0.1 to 0.5 be associated with stocks that are declining and likely to be listed as a threatened species under the ESA within the foreseeable future. In some cases where a decline is steep and ongoing or where the uncertainty about the population or causes of the decline are high a lower recovery factor could be warranted. We also recommend that there be a more formal process for NMFS to regularly review non-ESA listed stocks of concern to determine their status.

    Response: As we are not finalizing the recommended changes regarding strategic stock designation (sec. 3(19)(B) of the MMPA), above, we have decided not to revise the guidelines regarding recovery factors under such situations at this time. Each time a SAR is reviewed, the status of the stock is evaluated.

    Comment 46: While the revisions in the guidelines are a step toward developing criteria for a strategic designation, and using the threatened species recovery factors seems prudent, this revision falls short of setting timeframes to evaluate whether a stock should be reclassified.

    Response: It is unclear whether the commenter is referencing evaluation timeframes under the MMPA (sec. 117(c)(1)) or the ESA (relative to the interpretation of sec. 3(19)(B) of the MMPA). Stock assessments are reviewed by NMFS every three years for non-strategic stocks or every year for strategic stocks. This sets the timeframe for evaluating whether a stock's status should be revised. See response to Comment 45 regarding MMPA sec. 3(19)(B).

    Comment 47: The Pacific SRG supports the revision of when stock declines merit a strategic designation but suggests wording changes that give NMFS more flexibility surrounding the obligation to determine when a stock is depleted prior to classifying it as strategic. The SRG recommends that the NMFS regularly review whether a “depleted” status is warranted for (1) unlisted stocks of marine mammals that are declining and (2) stocks listed as depleted that are recovering.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment, and agrees that the depleted status of marine mammal stocks should be reviewed periodically to ensure that designations are appropriate. We are currently evaluating information contained within a review of the SARs conducted by the Commission and will, as a part of this evaluation, consider whether there is more that NMFS should to do enhance consistency and accuracy with regard to depleted status of marine mammal stocks on a more regular basis.

    Comment 48: Given the challenges facing NMFS to collect timely data covering the full range of stocks already designated as strategic, NMFS should not adopt new guidelines to take on the responsibility of delineating strategic stocks that are not designated under the ESA. There is already an acceptable federal process under the ESA to designate strategic stocks.

    Response: The ESA does not designate stocks as strategic or non-strategic. Rather, the MMPA directs stocks be considered strategic if ESA-listed (i.e., threatened or endangered), depleted, or human-caused mortality exceeds PBR. Additionally section 3(19)(B) allows for strategic designations of a stock that is declining and is likely to be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 within the foreseeable future. At this time, we are not finalizing the recommended changes regarding strategic stock designation (sec. 3(19)(B) of the MMPA).

    Comments on Topic 7: Assessing Stocks Without Abundance Estimates or PBR

    Comment 49: The Alaska SRG supports the suggested guideline modifications relating to the use of trend monitoring. However, small changes to the guidelines will do very little to improve the situation. More substantive changes and new approaches are needed and have been described.

    Response: NMFS agrees that it would be valuable to identify alternative approaches for assessing stock status, apart from reliance on abundance survey data, in regions where regular surveys are cost-prohibitive. As noted in the guidelines, such approaches could include trend monitoring at index sites. However, developing guidelines for alternative assessment methods was not a focus of the GAMMS III workshop. NMFS will make efforts to consider how alternative sets of information could be used to aid its marine mammal stock assessments. See responses to Comment 3 and Comment 4.

    Comment 50: Based on the statutory mandate to use the PBR formula, NMFS should prioritize gathering data for any stocks with insufficient information to calculate levels of abundance, trends, or mortality. NMFS should not consider approaches other than those that are mandated and should provide admonition that stocks should not automatically be determined to be non-strategic in the absence of information. Absence of data on the degree of impact to stocks is not the same as data on the absence of impacts to stocks.

    Response: NMFS does prioritize its data collection based upon what it perceives to be the most critical information gaps. NMFS does not make the default assumption that a stock is strategic or non-strategic until demonstrated otherwise. See response to Comment 20.

    Comment 51: If a significant data shortage makes it difficult to identify unit stocks, then NMFS should make it a high priority to remedy this uncertainty that seems crucial to determine “population status.” What has NMFS done to improve “best available science” on marine mammal abundance and stock structure?

    Response: NMFS agrees that it is a high priority to improve the identification of unit stocks. Consistent with this, the GAMMS III workshop participants recommended a national workshop be held to review and summarize information that is relevant to population structure. NMFS convened such a workshop and has begun developing an internal procedure for identifying and prioritizing stocks in need of examination for potential revisions that would complement and be integrated into the stock delineation workshop outputs and the existing SAR process.

    Comment 52: Given that the MMPA provides significant latitude in data sources for affected species and to the extent that “anecdotal information” and “unpublished information” are used, “trend monitoring” information from the fishermen who are out there every day should be used in stock assessments.

    Response: Various sources of information could be used to estimate trends as long as the information is credible and compatible with existing statistical or modeling frameworks.

    Comments on Topic 8: Characterizing Uncertainty

    Comment 53: The Commission recommends that NMFS include all relevant sources or measures of uncertainty in stock assessment documents. Such indicators of uncertainty are essential for readers to form reliable conclusions regarding the status of the affected stocks and the factors affecting them.

    Response: NMFS agrees that information on key sources of uncertainty should be made explicit in the Reports, and this has been added to the revised guidelines.

    Comment 54: The Pacific SRG has strived over the years to make the SARs models of conciseness, and the proposed guidelines could reverse these efforts. SARs should be summaries of significant results and conclusions and not lengthy discussions including detailed descriptions of methods and repetitive caveats. The recommendation to include statements regarding uncertainty about parameters affecting PBR has been made by the Pacific SRG previously, which envisioned a brief separate “Uncertainties” section summarizing significant sources of uncertainty in the stock assessment. Lengthy discussions of uncertainty embedded in each SAR section reduce clarity and readability. Additions such as points of contact could be placed in an appendix to each set of SARs, but not be placed in each individual SAR.

    Response: NMFS agrees that discussions of uncertainty should be added in a way that will not detract from the clarity and readability of the stock assessment reports and will not add appreciably to the length of those reports. The workshop participants' recommended addition of providing a point of contact has not been incorporated.

    Comment 55: The Alaska SRG supports changes to guidelines that would help ensure that SARs provide adequate evaluations of uncertainty. We recommend a `report card' format as suggested by workshop attendees that will likely be more user-friendly and promote consistency between regional SARs. Additionally, this format would be more concise than the text additions recommended in the GAMMS III proposed guidelines. This report card could include the proportion of fisheries monitored within the last five years that might be interacting with strategic stocks.

    Response: NMFS agrees that quantitative criteria should be used to evaluate the uncertainty in marine mammal stock assessment reports and that a “report card” may be a good format for presenting this information. The quantitative criteria and format for this has not yet been finalized and is not specified in the revised guidelines. The workshop participants also saw merit to the report card, but there was general agreement that such information would be better conveyed as a periodic publication, such as in a NOAA Technical Memorandum, which could be considered by the SRGs.

    Comment 56: The Alaska SRG supports including a characterization of uncertainty in the Status of Stocks section, and recommends that it be described as “reliable,” “moderately reliable,” or “unreliable” as a clear way to characterize the overall utility of the status determination. We also support the suggestion that an overall assessment of the quality of SARs be conducted periodically and reported as Tech Memos, but not as a substitute for the “report cards” in the individual SARs.

    Response: Uncertainty comes in many gradations, and the method of determining PBR for human-caused mortality and serious injury was specifically designed to be effective at achieving management objectives in the face of many sources and levels of uncertainty. Furthermore, the revised guidelines recommend that the most prevalent sources of uncertainty in determining stock status and PBR levels be identified so that future research can be better directed at reducing these sources of uncertainty.

    Comments on Topic 9: Expanding SARs To Include Non-Serious Injury and Disturbance

    Comment 57: The Commission recommends that NMFS require sections in stock assessment reports that identify and characterize non-lethal factors that may affect population status.

    Response: Section 117(a)(3) requires NMFS, in consultation with the appropriate regional scientific review group, to include other factors that might be causing a decline or impeding recovery of a strategic stock, including effects on marine mammal habitat and prey. While inclusion of non-lethal factors may be a useful qualitative approach, such factors cannot be compared to PBR to assess population status. Furthermore, other environmental documents such as environmental assessments or impact statements required under the National Environmental Policy Act would contain that information, where known. Consistent with SRG recommendations, NMFS is trying to keep the SARs concise.

    Comment 58: NMFS should revise the guidelines to delete any suggestion that a mere “disturbance” or “non-serious injury” is sufficient to be included in SARs. SARs should only include events—in particular commercial fishing events—which cause mortality or serious injury, or which can be shown to cause the decline or impede the recovery of a strategic stock. This has been NMFS' position in the past, it is correct, and it should not be changed.

    Response: The MMPA requires SARs to include an estimate of all sources of human-caused mortality and serious injury, not just an estimate of commercial fisheries mortality. See response to Comment 57.

    Comment 59: The Alaska SRG agrees that SARs should include the annual levels of mortality and serious injury reported through take authorizations and research permits in the “Other Mortality” section.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges this and is finalizing this text within the revised guidelines under the Annual Human-caused Mortality and Serious Injury section.

    Comment 60: The MMPA allows for SAR comments on non-lethal factors affecting recovery for strategic stocks, and it seems reasonable that SARs for non-strategic stocks should also evaluate such factors. However, because there is a high degree of uncertainty regarding population-level effects of non-lethal injury and disturbance, it is inappropriate to include estimates of those takes in the SARs unless there is evidence they are affecting stock recovery. Disturbance and non-serious injury do not constitute “Potential Biological Removal.” While it may be useful for NMFS permit users or others to compare their potential for disturbance/injury to a stock's PBR, this falls outside the intent of the MMPA-mandated PBR process for managing interactions with commercial fisheries.

    Response: The revised GAMMS specify that SARs contain information on other factors that may be causing a decline or impeding recovery strategic stocks, which we have interpreted as including non-lethal effects. As discussed in response to Comment 9, we would report on all activities found to be having a detrimental effect on a stock or its habitat. Within the SARs, PBR is only compared to takes that are determined to be serious injuries or mortalities.

    Comment 61: The guidelines should require a “Habitat Concerns” section in all new stock assessments. If there are no known habitat issues, this should be stated.

    Response: The previous (2005) guidelines direct that if substantial issues regarding the habitat of the stock are important, a separate section titled “Habitat Issues” should be used. Specifically, “If data exist that indicate a problem, they should be summarized and included in the Report. If there are no known habitat issues or other factors causing a decline or impeding recovery, this should be stated in the Status of the Stock section.” This section of the guidelines was not changed in this revision.

    Dated: February 26, 2016. Perry F. Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04537 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

    Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Title: Greater Atlantic Region Logbook Family of Forms.

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0212.

    Form Number(s): NOAA 88-30 and 88-140.

    Type of Request: Regular (extension of a currently approved information collection).

    Number of Respondents: 4,337.

    Average Hours per Response: 5 minutes per Fishing Vessel Trip Report page (FVTR); 12.5 minutes per response for the Shellfish Log; 4 minutes for a herring or red crab report to the IVR system; 2 minutes for a tilefish report to the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system; 30 seconds for voluntary additional halibut information; and 5 minutes for each Days at Sea (DAS) credit request.

    Burden Hours: 11,508.

    Needs and Uses: This request is for an extension of a currently approved information collection.

    Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) has the responsibility for the conservation and management of marine fishery resources. Much of this responsibility has been delegated to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Under this stewardship role, the Secretary was given certain regulatory authorities to ensure the most beneficial uses of these resources. One of the regulatory steps taken to carry out the conservation and management objectives is to collect data from users of the resource. Thus, as regional Fishery Management Councils develop specific Fishery Management Plans (FMP), the Secretary has promulgated rules for the issuance and use of a vessel Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and vessel logbooks (VTR) to obtain fishery-dependent data to monitor, evaluate, and enforce fishery regulations.

    Fishing vessels permitted to participate in Federally-permitted fisheries in the Northeast are required to submit logbooks containing catch and effort information about their fishing trips. Participants in the herring, tilefish and red crab fisheries are also required to make weekly reports on their catch through IVR. In addition, vessels fishing under a days-at sea (DAS) management system can use the IVR system to request a DAS credit when they have canceled a trip for unforeseen circumstances. The information submitted is needed for the management of the fisheries.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations.

    Frequency: Weekly, monthly and on occasion.

    Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

    This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04488 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE Information Collection; Submission for OMB Review, Comment Request AGENCY:

    Corporation for National and Community Service.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA95) (44 U.S.C. Sec. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirement on respondents can be properly assessed.

    Currently, CNCS is soliciting comments concerning its proposed renewal of the Alumni Outcomes Survey. The purpose of this survey is to better understand the long-term civic participation and career pathways of AmeriCorps alumni, the acquisition of career skills obtained through national service, and the utilization of the Education Awards and its effect on future post-secondary outcomes and career choices. The information collected is not required to be considered for or to obtain grant funding support from AmeriCorps.

    Copies of the information collection request can be obtained by contacting the office listed in the ADDRESSES section of this Notice.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted to the individual and office listed in the ADDRESSES section by April 1, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by the title of the information collection activity, by any of the following methods:

    (1) By mail sent to: Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and Evaluation; Attention Diana Epstein, Research and Evaluation Manager, 250 E St. SW., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20525.

    (2) By hand delivery or by courier to the CNCS mailroom at Room 8100 at the mail address given in paragraph (1) above, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    (3) Electronically through www.regulations.gov.

    Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TTY-TDD) may call 1-800-833-3722 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Diana Epstein, 202-606-7564, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    CNCS is particularly interested in comments that:

    • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of CNCS, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are expected to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses).

    Comments

    A 60-day Notice requesting public comment was published in the Federal Register on December 4, 2015. This comment period ended February 2, 2016. No public comments were received from this Notice.

    Background

    Information will be collected from AmeriCorps alumni through an online survey that will be administered by a contractor on behalf of CNCS. The purpose of the survey is to better understand the long-term civic participation and career pathways of AmeriCorps alumni, the acquisition of career skills obtained through national service, and the utilization of the Education Award and its effect on future post-secondary outcomes and career choices. In addition, the agency is interested in exploring how member outcomes vary by life stage and by different types of service experiences. This survey is also an opportunity to determine the value of data collected from alumni who are at different stages following their service year for informing policy and program decisions.

    Current Action

    CNCS seeks to renew the current information request with revisions to the survey administered in 2015 (OMB #3045-0170). Information will be collected from a nationally representative sample of AmeriCorps alumni who served in AmeriCorps NCCC, AmeriCorps VISTA, and AmeriCorps State and National programs and completed their most recent term of service 2, 5, or 10 years ago. The information collection will otherwise be used in the same manner as the existing clearance OMB #3045-0170. CNCS also seeks to continue using the current clearance until the revised survey is approved by OMB. The current clearance is due to expire on April 30, 2018.

    Type of Review: Renewal with revisions.

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service.

    Title: Alumni Outcomes Survey.

    OMB Number: 3045-0170.

    Agency Number: None.

    Affected Public: AmeriCorps alumni.

    Total Respondents: 3,150.

    Frequency: One time.

    Average Time per Response: Averages 22 minutes.

    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 1,155.

    The desired number of completed surveys is 3,150.

    Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): None.

    Total Burden Cost (operating/maintenance): None.

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

    Dated: February 25, 2016. Mary Hyde. Director, Office of Research and Evaluation.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04556 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6050-28-P
    COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings AGENCY:

    Council on Environmental Quality.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Availability of Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructions and Determining Compliance with the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings.

    SUMMARY:

    The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has issued updated guidance to Federal agencies outlining the key principles and primary requirements for the design, construction, modernization, and operation of new and existing sustainable Federal buildings, as required under Executive Order 13693 (“E.O. 13693”), “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade,” signed by President Obama on March 19, 2015, 80 FR 15871, March 25, 2015. Section 4(f) of E.O. 13693 calls for “revised Guiding Principles for both new and existing Federal buildings . . .” to support Federal efforts to improve the environmental performance, climate resilience, and occupant health and wellness as well as increase the operating efficiency of Federal buildings.

    DATES:

    The Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructions and Determining Compliance with the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings were issued on February 26, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructions and Determining Compliance with the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings, are available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/sustainability.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Amy Porter, Office of Federal Sustainability, at [email protected] or (202) 395-5750.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The guidance documents apply only to Federal agencies, operations, and programs. Agencies are expected to follow the Guiding Principles documents as part of their compliance with E.O. 13693.

    Authority:

    E.O. 13693, 80 FR 15871.

    Dated: February 26, 2016. Christine Harada, Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, Council on Environmental Quality.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04563 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3225-F6-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army Army Education Advisory Subcommittee Meeting Notice AGENCY:

    Department of the Army, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open Subcommittee meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of the Army is publishing this notice to announce the following Federal advisory committee meeting of the U.S. Army War College Board of Visitors, a subcommittee of the Army Education Advisory Committee. This meeting is open to the public.

    DATES:

    The U.S. Army War College Board of Visitors Subcommittee will meet from 8:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on April 14, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    U.S. Army War College, 122 Forbes Avenue, Carlisle, PA, Command Conference Room, Root Hall, Carlisle Barracks, PA 17013.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Michael T. Martin, the Alternate Designated Federal Officer for the subcommittee, in writing at G3/Department of Academic Operations, 315 Lovell Avenue, Carlisle, PA 17013, by email at [email protected], or by telephone at (717) 961-2038.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The subcommittee meeting is being held under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (5 U.S.C., Appendix, as amended), the Government in the Sunshine Act of 1976 (5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended), and 41 CFR 102-3.150.

    Purpose of the Meeting: The purpose of the meeting is to provide the subcommittee with an overview of the U.S. Army War College Academic Campaign Plan, annual year 16 curriculum, discuss Middle States and JPME II accreditation matters, and to address other administrative matters.

    Proposed Agenda: The subcommittee will review and evaluate information related to the continued academic growth, accreditation, and development of the U.S. Army War College. General deliberations leading to provisional findings will be referred to the Army Education Advisory Committee for deliberation by the Committee under the open-meeting rules.

    Public Accessibility to the Meeting: Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended, and 41 CFR 102-3.140 through 102-3.165, and subject to the availability of space, this meeting is open to the public. Seating is on a first to arrive basis. Attendees are requested to submit their, name, affiliation, and daytime phone number seven business days prior to the meeting to Michael Martin, via electronic mail, the preferred mode of submission, at the address listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Members of the public attending the subcommittee meetings will not be permitted to present questions from the floor or speak to any issue under consideration by the subcommittee. Because the meeting of the subcommittee will be held in a Federal Government facility on a military base, security screening is required. A photo ID is required to enter base. Please note that security and gate guards have the right to inspect vehicles and persons seeing to enter and exit the installation. Root Hall is fully handicap accessible. Wheelchair access is available in front at the main entrance of the building. For additional information about public access procedures, contact Michael Martin, the subcommittee's Alternate Designated Federal Officer, at the email address or telephone number listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    Written Comments or Statements: Pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.105(j) and 102-3.140 and section 10(a)(3) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the public or interested organizations may submit written comments or statements to the subcommittee, in response to the stated agenda of the open meeting or in regard to the subcommittee's mission in general. Written comments or statements should be submitted to Michael Martin, the subcommittee Alternate Designated Federal Officer, via electronic mail, the preferred mode of submission, at the address listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Each page of the comment or statement must include the author's name, title or affiliation, address, and daytime phone number. The Alternate Designated Federal Official will review all submitted written comments or statements and provide them to members of the subcommittee for their consideration. Written comments or statements being submitted in response to the agenda set forth in this notice must be received by the Alternate Designated Federal Official at least seven business days prior to the meeting to be considered by the subcommittee. Written comments or statements received after this date may not be provided to the subcommittee until its next meeting.

    The Alternate Designated Federal Officer will review all comments timely submitted with the subcommittee Chairperson, and ensure comments are provided to all members of the subcommittee before the meeting. After reviewing any written comments submitted, the subcommittee Chairperson and the Alternate Designated Federal Official may choose to invite certain submitters to present their comments verbally during the open portion of this meeting or at a future meeting. The Alternate Designated Federal Officer, in consultation with the subcommittee Chairperson, may allot a specific amount of time for submitters to present their comments verbally.

    Brenda S. Bowen, Army Federal Register Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04492 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-03-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers Notice of Intent To Grant Exclusive License of the United States Patent No. 7,495,767 Issued February 24, 2009 Entitled: Digital Optical Method (DOMTM) and System for Determining Opacity AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with 37 CFR 404.7(a)(1)(i), announcement is made of a prospective exclusive license of the following U.S. Patent Application 11/407,216 Filed April 20, 2006 to Byung J. Kim for use of the Digital Optical Method (DOMTM) to quantify the opacity of fluids from digital photos.

    DATES:

    Written objections must be filed not later than 15 days following publication of this announcement.

    ADDRESSES:

    United States Army Engineer Research and Development Center, ATTN: CEERD-ZBT-O (Dr. Phoebe Lenear), 2902 Newmark Drive, Champaign, IL 61822-1076.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Phoebe Lenear, (217) 373-7234, FAX (217) 373-6740, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This patent claims a method for obtaining an accurate quantitative measure of the opacity of a fluid, comprising: Providing at least one image receiving device incorporating at least one light sensitive device; calibrating said image receiving devices, wherein said calibrating yields at least one response curve for each said image receiving devices, said response curve empirically based on a ratio of received radiances; employing at least one said image receiving device for taking images of said fluid, said images to include at least one background associated with said fluid; providing at least one algorithm based on a ratio of received radiances, said algorithm implemented in software on a computer readable medium; providing at least one processor for at least running said software; receiving and processing said image on at least one said processor; and analyzing said image using said algorithm and said software to obtain said measure of opacity, wherein said opacity may be measured under various ambient conditions, including measurement at night, and wherein said opacity may be measured under various ambient conditions without operator interpretation.

    Brenda S. Bowen, Army Federal Register Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04494 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720-58-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy Meeting of the Secretary of the Navy Advisory Panel AGENCY:

    Department of the Navy, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Advisory Panel will meet to review the findings and recommendations from the Panel's Report on ways to establish a culture of innovation in the Department of the Navy.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 17, 2016, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Pentagon, in room 4B746, 1000 Navy Pentagon, Washington, DC 20350-1000.

    Building Access: Public access is limited due to the Pentagon Security requirements. Any individual wishing to attend this meeting should contact Ms. Cassandra Dean at 703-697-2386 no later than March 3, 2016. Members of the public who do not have Pentagon access will be required to provide Name, Date of Birth and Social Security Number by March 3, 2016, in order to obtain visitor's clearance. Public transportation is recommended as public parking is not available. Members of the public wishing to attend this meeting must enter through the Pentagon's Metro Entrance with sufficient time to complete security screening between 11:45 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., where they will need two forms of identification in order to receive a visitor badge and meet their escort. Members will then be escorted to Room 4B746 to attend the meeting of the Advisory Panel. Members of the public must remain with the designated escort at all times while in the Pentagon. After the meeting is adjourned, members of the public will be escorted back to the Pentagon Metro Entrance.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Commander Randall Biggs, SECNAV Advisory Panel, 1000 Navy Pentagon, Washington, DC 20350-1000, 703-695-3042.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Meeting Agenda 12:40 p.m.-1:00 p.m.—Panel Report 1:00 p.m.-1:10 p.m.—Public Comment (if time permits; written public comments are encouraged) 1:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m.—Panel Deliberations

    Individuals or interested groups may submit written statements for consideration by the SECNAV Advisory Panel at any time or in response to the agenda of a schedule meeting. If the written statement is in response to the agenda mentioned in this meeting notice, it must be received at least 5 business days prior to the meeting in question. All written comments should be submitted via email to [email protected] The DFO will review all timely submissions with the SECNAV Advisory Panel before the meeting that is the subject of this notice. All requests can be submitted to the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) at the address detailed below.

    To contact the DFO write to: Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy, (Policy), Secretary of the Navy Advisory Panel, Captain Christopher Rodeman, Designated Federal Officer, 1000 Navy Pentagon, Washington, DC 20350-1000.

    Dated: February 17, 2016. N.A. Hagerty-Ford, Commander, Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy, Federal Register Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04554 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810-FF-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2015-ICCD-0137] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Evaluation of Effectiveness of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Program AGENCY:

    Institute of Education Sciences (IES), 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 an extension of an existing information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before April 1, 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-2015-ICCD-0137. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Room 2E-103, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Meredith Bachman, 202-219-2014.

    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: Evaluation of Effectiveness of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Program.

    OMB Control Number: 1850-0800.

    Type of Review: An extension of an existing information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments; Individuals and Households; Private Sector.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 2,131.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 866.

    Abstract: The foundation of this evaluation is a randomized control trial (RCT) comparing outcomes of eligible applicants (students and their parents) assigned by lottery to receive or not receive a scholarship. This design is consistent with the requirement for a rigorous evaluation as well as the need to fairly allocate the scholarships if the program is oversubscribed. Because the law also specified other kinds of comparisons and analyses, the planned evaluation study includes both quantitative and qualitative components.

    In order for the evaluation to have sufficient statistical power to detect policy relevant impacts, the sample consists of 1,771 eligible program applicants in spring 2012 (cohort 1; n = 536), spring 2013 (cohort 2; n = 718), and in spring 2014 (cohort 3, n = 517) (see Part B of this submission). OMB approval was already obtained for this evaluation and this ICR covers follow up data collection for cohorts 2 and 3.

    Data Collection: Evaluation data will be collected for the three cohorts of program applicants from a variety of sources listed below. Each cohort will have baseline data as well as three years of follow up (post-lottery) data collection; 2013-2015 for cohort 1, 2014-2016 for cohort 2, and 2015-2017 for cohort 3. In addition to estimating program impact, we will use this experimental study to conducted research about interim outcomes.

    Data sources include:

    —Student assessments: The Terra Nova assessment will be administered each spring following the lotteries for 3 years (spring 2013-2015 for the 2012 cohort, spring 2014-2016 for the 2013 cohort, and spring 2015-2017 for the 2014 cohort). The follow up assessments will be administered in students' school and will provide the primary outcome measure for the impact evaluation.

    School records Administrative records will be collected from DCPS, the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board and participating private schools in the fall of each year to obtain data on prior year attendance, persistence, disciplinary actions, and grades for members of the treatment and control groups.

    —Parent surveys: Annual surveys of evaluation sample members' parents in each follow up year. These surveys will examine such issues as reasons for continued participation or withdrawal, involvement in school, satisfaction with school choices, and perceptions of school safety, leadership, and offerings. The survey will be mixed mode. (Web with phone or paper follow up).

    Student surveys The surveys will be administered to each evaluation sample student in grades four and above in each of the follow up years at the same time (and place) as the student assessments.

    —Principal surveys: Surveys to be administered to principals in the DC traditional public school, charter school, and private school systems in 2013-2017. Data from principals of students in the treatment and control groups will provide information about school organization and offerings for descriptive analyses of students' school environments and for use as mediators in the impact analysis. The web-based principal surveys will also be used to examine how aware public and private schools are of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program and whether they are making any changes in response to it. whether they are making any changes in response to it. Dated: February 26, 2016. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04536 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Applications for New Awards; Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions Program AGENCY:

    Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    Overview Information:

    Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI) Program.

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

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.382C.

    DATES:

    Applications Available: March 2, 2016.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 2, 2016.

    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: June 30, 2016.

    Full Text of Announcement I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The NASNTI Program provides grants to eligible institutions of higher education (IHEs) that have an undergraduate enrollment of at least 10 percent Native American students to assist such institutions to plan, develop, undertake, and carry out activities to improve and expand such institutions' capacity to serve Native American and low-income individuals. The program is authorized under section 371 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

    Priorities: This notice contains one absolute priority, two competitive preference priorities, and one invitational priority. The absolute priority is from the Department's notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs (Supplemental Priorities), published in the Federal Register on December 10, 2014 (79 FR 73425). In accordance with 34 CFR 75.105(b)(2)(ii), the competitive preference priorities are from 34 CFR 75.226.

    Absolute 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 an absolute priority.

    This priority is:

    Supporting High-Need Students.

    (a) Projects that are designed to improve:

    (i) Academic outcomes;

    (ii) Learning environments; or

    (iii) Both,

    (b) For one or more of the following groups of students:

    (i) High-need students.

    (ii) Students with disabilities.

    (iii) English learners.

    (iv) Disconnected youth or migrant youth.

    (v) Low-skilled adults.

    (vi) Students who are members of federally recognized Indian tribes.

    Competitive Preference 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 competitive preference priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i), we award one additional point to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 1 and three additional points to an application that meets Competitive Preference Priority 2. Applicants may address only one of the competitive preference priorities and must clearly indicate in their application which competitive preference priority they are addressing. Applicants that apply under Competitive Preference Priority 2, but whose applications do not meet the moderate evidence of effectiveness standard, may still be considered under Competitive Preference Priority 1 to determine whether their applications meet the evidence of promise standard.

    These priorities are:

    Competitive Preference Priority 1 (One additional point) Applications supported by evidence of effectiveness that meets the conditions set out in the definition of “evidence of promise.”

    Competitive Preference Priority 2 (Three additional points) Applications supported by evidence of effectiveness that meets the conditions set out in the definition of “moderate evidence of effectiveness.”

    Invitational 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 an invitational priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(1), we do not give an application that meets this invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications.

    This priority is:

    Projects that support activities that strengthen Native American language preservation and revitalization.

    Definitions: The following definitions are from 34 CFR 77.1 and the Supplemental Priorities.

    Disconnected youth means low-income individuals, ages 14-24, who are homeless, are in foster care, are involved in the justice system, or are not working or enrolled in (or at risk of dropping out of) an educational institution.

    Evidence of promise means there is empirical evidence to support the theoretical linkage(s) between at least one critical component and at least one relevant outcome presented in the logic model for the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice. Specifically, evidence of promise means the conditions in both paragraphs (i) and (ii) of this definition are met:

    (i) There is at least one study that is a—

    (A) Correlational study with statistical controls for selection bias;

    (B) Quasi-experimental design study that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations; or

    (C) Randomized controlled trial that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with or without reservations.

    (ii) The study referenced in paragraph (i) of this definition found a statistically significant or substantively important (defined as a difference of 0.25 standard deviations or larger) favorable association between at least one critical component and one relevant outcome presented in the logic model for the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice.

    High-minority school means a school as that term is defined by a local educational agency (LEA), which must define the term in a manner consistent with its State's Teacher Equity Plan, as required by section 1111(b)(8)(C) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). The applicant must provide the definition(s) of high-minority schools used in its application.

    High-need students means students who are at risk of educational failure or otherwise in need of special assistance and support, such as students who are living in poverty, who attend high-minority schools, who are far below grade level, who have left school before receiving a regular high school diploma, who are at risk of not graduating with a diploma on time, who are homeless, who are in foster care, who have been incarcerated, who have disabilities, or who are English learners.

    Large sample means an analytic sample of 350 or more students (or other single analysis units), or 50 or more groups (such as classrooms or schools) that contain 10 or more students (or other single analysis units).

    Logic model (also referred to as theory of action) means a well-specified conceptual framework that identifies key components of the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice (i.e., the active “ingredients” that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the relationships among the key components and outcomes, theoretically and operationally.

    Low-skilled adult means an adult with low literacy and numeracy skills.

    Moderate evidence of effectiveness means one of the following conditions is met:

    (i) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations, found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant outcome (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse), and includes a sample that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice.

    (ii) There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations, found a statistically significant favorable impact on a relevant outcome (with no statistically significant and overriding unfavorable impacts on that outcome for relevant populations in the study or in other studies of the intervention reviewed by and reported on by the What Works Clearinghouse), includes a sample that overlaps with the populations or settings proposed to receive the process, product, strategy, or practice, and includes a large sample and a multi-site sample. Note: multiple studies can cumulatively meet the large and multi-site sample requirements as long as each study meets the other requirements in this paragraph.

    Multi-site sample means more than one site, where site can be defined as an LEA, locality, or State.

    Quasi-experimental design study means a study using a design that attempts to approximate an experimental design by identifying a comparison group that is similar to the treatment group in important respects. These studies, depending on design and implementation, can meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards with reservations (but not What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations).

    Randomized controlled trial means a study that employs random assignment of, for example, students, teachers, classrooms, schools, or districts to receive the intervention being evaluated (the treatment group) or not to receive the intervention (the control group). The estimated effectiveness of the intervention is the difference between the average outcome for the treatment group and for the control group. These studies, depending on design and implementation, can meet What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards without reservations.

    Regular high school diploma means the standard high school diploma that is awarded to students in the State and that is fully aligned with the State's academic content standards or a higher diploma and does not include a General Education Development (GED) credential, certificate of attendance, or any alternative award.

    Relevant outcome means the student outcome(s) (or the ultimate outcome if not related to students) the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice is designed to improve; consistent with the specific goals of a program.

    State means any of the 50 States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

    What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards means the standards set forth in the What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook (Version 3.0, March 2014), which can be found at the following link: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19.

    Program Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1067q(a)(7) and (b)(2)(D)(iv).

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget (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 in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The Supplemental Priorities.

    II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

    Estimated Available Funds: $4,635,000.

    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: $300,000-$350,000 per year.

    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $325,000 per year.

    Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $350,000 for a single budget period of 12 months.

    Estimated Number of Awards: 11.

    Note:

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

    Project Period: Up to 60 months.

    III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: An IHE is eligible to receive funds under the NASNTI Program if it qualifies as a Native American-Serving Nontribal Institution. At the time of application, IHEs applying for funds under the NASNTI Program must have an enrollment of undergraduate students that is at least 10 percent Native American, as defined as follows:

    Native American means a person who is of a tribe, people, or culture that is indigenous to the United States.

    At the time of submission of their applications, applicants must certify their total undergraduate headcount enrollment and that 10 percent of the IHE's enrollment is Native American. An assurance form, which is included in the application materials for this competition, must be signed by an official for the applicant and submitted.

    To qualify as an eligible institution under the NASNTI Program, an institution must also be—

    (a) Accredited or pre-accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association that the Secretary has determined to be a reliable authority as to the quality of education or training offered;

    (b) Legally authorized by the State in which it is located to be a community college or to provide an educational program for which it awards a bachelor's degree; and

    (c) Designated as an “eligible institution” by demonstrating that it has: (i) An enrollment of needy students as described in 34 CFR 607.3; and (ii) low average educational and general expenditures per full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate student as described in 34 CFR 607.4.

    Note:

    The notice announcing the FY 2016 process for designation of eligible institutions, and inviting applications for waiver of eligibility requirements, was published in the Federal Register on November 19, 2015 (80 FR 72422). Only institutions that the Department determines are eligible, or which are granted a waiver, may apply for a grant in this program.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching unless funds are used for an endowment.

    IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package:

    Don Crews, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 7E311, Washington, DC 20202. You may contact these individuals at the following email addresses or telephone numbers: [email protected]; (202) 453-7920.

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

    You can obtain an application via the Internet using the following address: www.Grants.gov.

    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 one of the program contact people 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 program.

    Page Limit: The application narrative is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria, the absolute priority, the competitive preference priorities, and the invitational priority that reviewers use to evaluate your application. We have established mandatory page limits. You must limit the section of the application narrative that addresses:

    • The selection criteria to no more than 50 pages.

    • The absolute priority to no more than three pages.

    • A competitive preference priority, to no more than three pages, if you address one.

    • The invitational priority to no more than two pages, if you address it.

    Accordingly, under no circumstances may the application narrative exceed 58 pages. Include a separate heading for each priority that you address.

    For the purpose of determining compliance with the page limits, each page on which there are words will be counted as one full page. Applicants must use the following standards:

    • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides. Page numbers and an identifier may be within the 1″ margins.

    • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, except titles, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions and all text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs. These items may be single-spaced. Charts, tables, figures, and graphs in the application narrative count toward the page limits.

    • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger, or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch). However, you may use a 10-point font in charts, tables, figures, graphs, footnotes, and endnotes.

    • 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 page limit does not apply to the Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424); the Supplemental Information for SF 424 Form; the Budget Information Summary Form (ED Form 524) and Budget Narrative; and the assurances and certifications. The page limit also does not apply to the table of contents, the one-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, the letters of support, program profile, or the studies. If you include any attachments or appendices, these items will be counted as part of the application narrative for purposes of the page-limit requirement. You must include your complete response to the selection criteria and priorities in the application narrative.

    We will reject your application if you exceed the page limits.

    3. Submission Dates and Times:

    Applications Available: March 2, 2016.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 2, 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 do 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 one of the program contact people 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: June 30, 2016.

    4. Intergovernmental Review: This program 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 program.

    5. Funding Restrictions: We reference the 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: 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 the NASNTI Program 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 the NASNTI Program, CFDA number 84.382C, 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 the NASNTI Program at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this program competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.382, not 84.382C).

    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 program 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 one of the program contact people 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: Don Crews, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 7E311, Washington, DC 20202. FAX: (202) 205-0063.

    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 84.382C) 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 84.382C) 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 program are from 34 CFR 75.210. We will award up to 100 points to an application under the selection criteria; the total possible points for each selection criterion are noted in parentheses.

    a. Need for project. (Maximum 25 points) The Secretary considers the need for the proposed project. In determining the need for the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

    1. The magnitude of the need for the services to be provided or the activities to be carried out by the proposed project. (10 points)

    2. The extent to which the proposed project will focus on serving or otherwise addressing the needs of disadvantaged individuals. (10 points)

    3. The extent to which specific gaps or weaknesses in services, infrastructure, or opportunities have been identified and will be addressed by the proposed project, including the nature and magnitude of those gaps or weaknesses. (5 points)

    b. Quality of the project design. (Maximum 20 points) The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

    1. The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable. (10 points)

    2. The extent to which the design of the proposed project is appropriate to, and will successfully address, the needs of the target population or other identified needs. (10 points)

    c. Quality of project services. (Maximum 10 points) The Secretary considers the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project. In determining the quality of the services to be provided by the proposed project, the Secretary considers the quality and sufficiency of strategies for ensuring equal access and treatment for eligible project participants who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. In addition, the Secretary considers:

    1. The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project are appropriate to the needs of the intended recipients or beneficiaries of those services. (5 points)

    2. The extent to which the services to be provided by the proposed project reflect up-to-date knowledge from research and effective practice. (5 points)

    d. Quality of project personnel. (Maximum 10 points) The Secretary considers the quality of the personnel who will carry out the proposed project. In determining the quality of project personnel, the Secretary considers the extent to which the applicant encourages applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability.

    In addition, the Secretary considers:

    1. The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of the project director or principal investigator. (5 points)

    2. The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of key project personnel. (5 points)

    e. Adequacy of resources. (Maximum 5 points) The Secretary considers the adequacy of resources for the proposed project. In determining the adequacy of resources for the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

    1. The extent to which the budget is adequate to support the proposed project. (3 points)

    2. The extent to which the costs are reasonable in relation to the objectives, design, and potential significance of the proposed project. (2 points)

    f. Quality of the management plan. (Maximum 15 points) The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for the proposed project. In determining the quality of the management plan for the proposed project, the Secretary considers:

    1. The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks. (10 points)

    2. The adequacy of procedures for ensuring feedback and continuous improvement in the operation of the proposed project. (2.5 points)

    3. The adequacy of mechanisms for ensuring high-quality products and services from the proposed project. (2.5 points)

    g. Quality of the project evaluation. (Maximum 15 points) The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary considers:

    1. The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project. (5 points)

    2. The extent to which the methods of evaluation include the use of objective performance measures that are clearly related to the intended outcomes of the project and will produce quantitative and qualitative data to the extent possible. (5 points)

    3. The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes. (5 points)

    2. Review and Selection Process: Awards will be made in rank order according to the average score received from a panel of three readers.

    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. Tie-breaker for Grants. To resolve ties in the reader scores of applications for grants, the Department will award one additional point to an application from an IHE that has an endowment fund for which the current market value, per FTE enrolled student, is less than the average current market value of the endowment funds, per FTE enrolled student, at comparable institutions that offer similar instruction. In addition, to resolve ties in the reader scores of applications for grants, the Department will award one additional point to an application from an IHE that has expenditures for library materials per FTE enrolled student that are less than the average expenditures for library materials per FTE enrolled student at comparable institutions that offer similar instruction. We also will add one additional point to an application from an IHE that proposes to carry out one or more of the following activities—

    a. Faculty development;

    b. Funds and administrative management;

    c. Development and improvement of academic programs;

    d. Acquisition of equipment for use in strengthening management and academic programs;

    e. Joint use of facilities; and

    f. Student services.

    For the purpose of these funding considerations, we will use the most recent complete data available (e.g., for FY 2016, we will use 2013-2014 data).

    If a tie remains after applying the tie-breaker mechanism above, priority will be given to applicants that have the lowest endowment values per FTE enrolled student.

    4. 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.

    4. Performance Measures: The Secretary has established the following key performance measures for assessing the effectiveness of the NASNTI Program:

    a. The percentage change, over a five-year period, of the number of full-time, degree-seeking undergraduates enrolling at NASNTIs. Note that this is a long-term measure, which will be used to periodically gauge performance;

    b. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students at four-year NASNTIs who were in their first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and are enrolled in the current year at the same NASNTI;

    c. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students at two-year NASNTIs who were in their first year of postsecondary enrollment in the previous year and are enrolled in the current year at the same NASNTI;

    d. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students enrolled at four-year NASNTIs who graduate within six years of enrollment; and

    e. The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students enrolled at two-year NASNTIs who graduate within three years of enrollment.

    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 Contacts FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Don Crews, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 7E311, Washington, DC 20202. You may contact this individual at the following email address or telephone number: [email protected]; (202) 453-7920. If you use a TDD or a TTY, 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 persons 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: February 26, 2016. Lynn Mahaffie, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Innovation Delegated the Duties of Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04593 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Request for Information: Clean Energy Investment Center AGENCY:

    Department of Energy (DOE).

    ACTION:

    Request for Information (RFI).

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE or the Department) Clean Energy Investment Center (CEIC), a component of the Office of Technology Transitions, is issuing this Request for Information (RFI) to gain public input on its efforts to expand and facilitate public access to the Department's resources and to mobilize investment in U.S. clean energy technology. The CEIC also is seeking information through this RFI to further define the scope and priorities of the services it provides to the general public, specifically to mission-driven investors, as well as the investment community more broadly. The information collected may be used for internal CEIC planning and decision-making to ensure that future activities maximize public benefit while advancing the Administration's goals for leading the world in building a competitive, clean energy economy; securing America's energy future; reducing carbon pollution; and creating domestic jobs.

    DATES:

    Written comments and information are requested on or before March 31, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments must be submitted electronically to [email protected] Responses must be provided as a Microsoft Word (.doc) or (.docx) attachment to the email with no more than 3 pages in length for each category section listed in the RFI. Only electronic responses will be accepted.

    Response Guidance: Please identify your answers by responding to a specific question or topic if possible. Respondents may answer as many or as few questions as they wish.

    The CEIC will not respond to individual submissions or publish a public compendium of responses. A response to this RFI will not be viewed as a binding commitment to develop or pursue the project or ideas discussed.

    Respondents are requested to provide the following information at the start of their response to this RFI:

    • Company/institution name;

    • Company/institution contact;

    • Contact's address, phone number, and email address.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information may be submitted electronically to Marcos Gonzales Harsha at [email protected] or by contacting the Department of Energy at 202-586-5000.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background: In February 2015, the White House launched the Clean Energy Investment Initiative to catalyze expanded private sector investment in climate change solutions, including innovative technologies with breakthrough potential to reduce carbon pollution. To support this initiative, the Department of Energy formally launched the DOE Clean Energy Investment Center (CEIC) in January 2016, with the mandate to make the Department's resources more readily available and understandable to the public and to create pathways that enable expanded access to the unique technical expertise and analytical capabilities within DOE's programs, sites, and 17 national laboratories located across the country. The CEIC's goal is to advance private, mission-oriented investment in clean energy technologies that address the present gap in U.S. clean tech investment. The CEIC is also charged with enhancing the availability of the Department's resources to investors and the public.

    To advance this mission, DOE supports a variety of commercialization and deployment activities in partnership with its national laboratories, universities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Existing programs include the Loan Programs Office, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, Small Business Vouchers, Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer, Lab Corps, Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear Technologies, and the Technology Commercialization Fund. For more information on existing programs, visit: http://energy.gov/technologytransitions/us-department-energys-clean-energy-investment-center.

    However, recent investment trends are cause for some concern. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, global clean energy investment has grown significantly over the last 10 years but slowed and even plateaued starting in 2009. Meanwhile, early-stage cleantech investment (a primary driver of innovation) has steadily fallen in recent years. The constrained level of investment in clean energy in recent years represents a significant hurdle for commercialization and deployment of emerging technologies with game-changing potential. The CEIC's role is to enable domestic investment with global impact. This role can take many forms and the next section discusses strategic areas where the CEIC can contribute.

    Fresh impetus for designing a robust CEIC arrived on December 12, 2015, when an historic climate agreement was adopted by 195 nations at the United Nations climate summit in Paris, France. The goals and principles framed in that agreement, as well as the accompanying “intended nationally determined contributions” that defined targets for emission reductions and clean energy investment for each participating nation, will only be achievable with substantial private capital investment. This fact was explicitly recognized through the announcement of a public-private Mission Innovation partnership, in which 20 nations announced their intent to double public clean energy research and development (R&D) spending over the next five years.

    These announcements and commitments present a tremendous opportunity for forward-looking investors, and the CEIC is working to utilize DOE's considerable resources and expertise to support the investor community as it gathers information, develops investment principles and policies, and identifies clean energy technology investment opportunities. The questions posed in this RFI primarily address the specific services and tools the CEIC can develop to maximize value of DOE engagement with the investment community and support clean energy investment decision making by the public.

    Purpose: The purpose of this RFI is to solicit feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders to assist the Office of Technology Transitions with further defining the scope and priorities of the services the CEIC will provide. This is solely a request for information. The CEIC is not accepting applications at this time.

    Disclaimer and Important Notes: This RFI is not a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) or request for proposals (RFP) for a procurement contract; therefore, the CEIC is not accepting applications or proposals at this time. The CEIC may develop programs in the future and solicit contracts based on or related to the content and responses to this RFI. However, CEIC may also elect not to incorporate responses into its program and tool design. There is no guarantee that an RFP or FOA will be issued as a result of this RFI. Responding to this RFI does not provide any advantage or disadvantage to potential applicants if the CEIC chooses to issue a FOA or solicit a contract related to the subject matter.

    Any information obtained through this RFI is intended to be used by the government on a non-attribution basis for planning and strategy development. The CEIC will review and consider all responses as it formulates program strategies related to the subjects within this request. In accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations, 48 CFR 15.201(e), responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the government to form a binding contract. The CEIC will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. Respondents are advised that DOE is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted. Responses to this RFI do not bind the CEIC to any further actions related to this topic.

    Proprietary Information: Because information received in response to this RFI may be used to structure future programs and/or otherwise be made available to the public, respondents must NOT include any information in their responses that might be considered business sensitive, proprietary, or otherwise confidential. Responses must be submitted with the understanding that their contents may be publicly disclosed and, in the event of a public disclosure, DOE will NOT notify respondents or provide any opportunity to revise or redact submitted information.

    Review by Federal and Non-Federal Personnel: Federal employees are subject to the non-disclosure requirements of a criminal statute, the Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. 1905. The government may seek the advice of qualified non-federal personnel. The government may also use non-federal personnel to conduct routine, non-discretionary administrative activities. The respondents, by submitting their response(s), consent to DOE providing their response(s) to non-federal parties. Non-federal parties given access to responses must be subject to an appropriate obligation of confidentiality prior to being given the access. Submissions may be reviewed by support contractors and private consultants.

    Request for Information Categories and Questions:

    Category 1: Information Access Background/Context

    The Department already has numerous programs designed to help U.S. energy innovation stakeholders cross the technological and financial “valleys of death” to bring new technology solutions to the market. However, there may be opportunities to expand public awareness of these programs raise the profile of individual projects/companies with investors by providing information about existing awardees supported by DOE and, potentially, about unsuccessful applicants who agree to have their information shared.

    This approach is reflective of other agencies that have relevant programs and connections to the clean energy investment space, including activities at the Departments of Agriculture and Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Export-Import Bank. While the CEIC will not be in a position to represent the work of these organizations, the Center may still serve as a helpful conduit to non-DOE programs.

    Information Requested

    The following questions may guide, but should not restrict, responses:

    1. What type of information would be most useful to investors and organizations serving investors (information on individual awardees, market analysis, DOE-funded project and patent listings, indication of project results and/or others)? Specificity is welcomed.

    2. Would a single internet location that provides a searchable web-based interface containing information about active programs (and, potentially, awardees and applicants) be a high-value tool? Are there any examples of similar tools/databases that you consider to be useful? How would such a tool benefit the market in general? What elements would need to be included to ensure that this is a useful tool?

    3. Are there any current DOE or other federal programs that help innovators bring technologies to market (financial or technical assistance)? If so, how and where do investors learn about it/them?

    4. Is information on DOE open funding opportunity announcements, requests for proposals, and lists of awardees readily available and accessible in a useful format?

    5. Currently, most DOE offices and programs have active Web sites. Are they useful to investors and provide necessary information?

    Category 2: Technical Energy Expertise Background/Context

    DOE's national laboratory system maintains vital scientific and technological capabilities in support of U.S. national security, scientific discovery, and economic competitiveness. The laboratories offer unique opportunities for the private sector to engage in collaborative research and development, licensing agreements, user facilities, and to obtain technical assistance. The recent establishment of DOE's Office of Technology Transitions has heightened the Department's focus on improving coordination and effectiveness of the national laboratories in executing their technology transfer missions. As part of the suite of services that the CEIC may offer, the Department is considering development of an online portal that would connect public inquiries with relevant experts within DOE's programs and at its 17 national laboratories.

    The technical expertise resident at the national labs is complemented by program knowledge within DOE program offices. The Department recently released the 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review, a study that examines the most promising research, development, demonstration, and deployment opportunities across energy technologies to effectively address the nation's energy needs, and the Department conducts ongoing reviews on the state of technologies.

    Though the Department is not in a position to recommend specific investments to private investors, the experts at the Department's laboratories and programs are uniquely positioned to provide insight into the latest clean energy technology discoveries and emerging deployment trends.

    Information Requested

    The following questions may guide, but should not restrict, responses:

    1. Is sufficient information available to investors about the clean energy technology landscape?

    ○ If not, what are key areas of research, analysis, or information sharing that would most contribute to better understanding the clean energy technology landscape and markets?

    ○ Are there any existing modes or channels of communication that the Department could use to reach a larger audience?

    ○ Would case studies about project/company development made possible through DOE funding be useful?

    2. DOE undertakes market analysis and mapping of technology development pathways. However, are there other key areas of research and analysis that would lead to a better understanding of challenge areas, broad technical risk, and the current state of clean energy technologies that DOE could conduct?

    3. How can the CEIC and the Department better match existing national laboratory resources and expertise with the needs of investors?

    4. Are clean energy investors aware of the resources/expertise available at the national laboratories? Do investors know how to access the people and capabilities around the national laboratory complex? If so, do investors reach out for information and technical assistance?

    5. Do investors view DOE program and national laboratory employees as subject matter experts? Have investors ever tried to obtain information directly from DOE or any of the 17 laboratories? If so, are there best practices or lessons learned that can be shared?

    6. Would a searchable web-based interface that facilitates connections between investors and technical experts at DOE's programs and national laboratories be a high-value tool? Do investors have any examples of similar tools/databases that may be useful? If implemented correctly, could such a tool lead to more and/or improved clean energy investment deals? What questions remain that would need to be answered to determine the usefulness of the tool?

    7. What publications/organizations/methods do investors currently consult or regard as possessing expertise in specialized information on clean energy technology? As applicable, please specify sources used for technical review, market review, etc.

    Category 3: Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Background/Context

    Many organizations outside of the government are already working to provide information exchanges regarding clean energy technologies and partnering on shared objectives. However, the Department provides a powerful convening and communication forum for facilitated engagement between the government and the investment community. The joint public-private Mission Innovation announcement, during which 28 high-net-worth individuals from 10 countries announced their intent to commit billions of dollars to clean energy R&D through an initiative of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, is an example of the importance of a direct public role in spurring activity. The CEIC is able to build on this convening ability, and events such as Innovation Interface sessions can be resources for sharing information about the Department's program offices. In this section, the CEIC is interested in learning more about where clean energy investors gather regionally and nationally, and how and where they prefer to receive information.

    Information Requested

    The following questions may guide, but should not restrict, responses:

    1. Do clean energy investors see value in participating in a structured visit to DOE and/or any of its facilities/laboratories? What kind of information would be most useful to obtain/learn about during such a visit?

    2. Are you aware of/do you represent any organization(s) in the clean energy field that would be able to provide useful information to the CEIC team? What events present the best opportunities for the CEIC to engage in valuable dialogue/interactions, inform the general public about the clean energy landscape, and/or connect with new or prospective investors? In which events, conferences, or settings would you like to see CEIC participation?

    3. What kinds of communication channels are most useful/effective? What is the best way for investors and the public to receive information and updates?

    4. Do investors obtain most of your information from academic articles, data aggregators, analytical and advisory firms, or other sources? Where do investors search for information pertaining to innovations, early stage research, or clean energy investment?

    5. Are there any other successful federal or non-federal models for engagement and communication that should be adopted by the CEIC?

    Category 4: Open Background/Context

    The CEIC recognizes that there may be tools and services other than those discussed in this RFI that may be useful to investors. This category serves as an open call for suggestions on how to effectively align the CEIC and its programs with the needs of its customers (the public, investors, and industry) and overarching Administration goals.

    Information Requested

    The following questions may guide, but should not restrict, responses:

    1. What are the greatest concerns with investing in the clean energy technology space? What sort of information/assistance would provide greater comfort with this category?

    2. In general, how can the CEIC (and the federal government more broadly) most effectively help to catalyze further clean energy investment? In particular, how can CEIC most effectively advance the following goals:

    a. Unlock new sources of capital and foster more effective investment models to scale innovative clean energy companies;

    b. Facilitate match-making between early-stage companies and potential investors and customers;

    c. Support the development of innovative marketplaces for early-stage investment, including crowd-funding platforms;

    d. Enhance activity and engagement with corporate investors/strategic investors, including utilities;

    e. Catalyze the formation of long-term, patient capital funds for energy technology development;

    f. Leverage philanthropic capital through program-related investments, mission-related investments, and other mechanisms;

    g. Encourage more clean energy venture dollars focused on U.S.-based companies with high potential for domestic economic benefit; and

    h. Leverage existing programs (e.g., SBIR) to be of best use to the clean energy investment community.

    3. Is there any other information, other approaches, or other data that would be useful to investors?

    4. Are there any other tools that would be useful to investors or key stakeholders that were not discussed above?

    5. What are the greatest challenges when it comes to investing in clean energy?

    6. Is there any information about investment principles and/or investment policy statements as it pertains to clean energy investments that could be shared with other investors and the public?

    7. What DOE (or other state/federal) finance and commercialization programs are available, and should anything about them be changed to enhance their utility?

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 25, 2016. Sanjiv Malhotra, Director, Clean Energy Investment Center.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04625 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-RCRA-2015-0836; FRL-9943-12-Region 3] Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; Collection of Information on Anaerobic Digestion Facilities Processing Wasted Food To Support EPA's Sustainable Food Management Programs AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to submit an information collection request (ICR), “Collection of Information on Anaerobic Digestion Facilities Processing Wasted Food to support EPA's Sustainable Food Management Programs” (EPA ICR No. 2533.01, OMB Control No. 2050-NEW) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Before doing so, EPA is soliciting public comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below. This is a request for approval of a new collection. 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.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2015-0836 online using www.regulations.gov or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 228221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460.

    EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Melissa Pennington, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3, Mail Code 3LC40, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103; telephone number: 215-814-3372; fax number: 215-814-3114; email address: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Supporting documents which explain in detail the information that the EPA will be collecting are available in the public docket for this ICR. The docket can be viewed online at www.regulations.gov or in person at the EPA Docket Center, WJC West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The telephone number for the Docket Center is 202-566-1744. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, EPA is soliciting comments and information to enable it to: (i) 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; (ii) 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; (iii) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (iv) 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. EPA will consider the comments received and amend the ICR as appropriate. The final ICR package will then be submitted to OMB for review and approval. At that time, EPA will issue another Federal Register notice to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB and the opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB.

    Abstract: EPA's Office of Land and Emergency Management Sustainable Food Management (SFM) program is designed to advance sustainable food management practices throughout the United States by preventing and diverting wasted food from landfills. The focal point of the SFM program is the Food Recovery Challenge in which organizations pledge to improve their sustainable food management practices. The success of the SFM program efforts to divert wasted food from landfills requires sufficient capacity to process the diverted materials which includes composting and anaerobic digestion operations. In addition to increasing opportunity to process wasted food diverted from the municipal solid waste stream, anaerobic digesters achieve social, environmental and economic benefits, such as generation of renewable energy, reduction of methane emissions, and opportunities to improve soil health through the production of soil amendments. The SFM program supports these efforts by educating state and local governments and communities about the benefits of wasted food diversion. The SFM program also builds partnerships with state agencies and other strategic partners interested in developing organics recycling capacity and provides tools to assist organizations in developing anaerobic digestion (AD) projects.

    This information collection consists of a request for data not currently available on AD facilities processing wasted food as well as a review and update of the existing SFM AD facility inventory. Correspondence will include a questionnaire through which respondents can provide new information on their AD projects and an update to the existing AD facility inventory, if appropriate. This will be the first time the SFM program has formally collected data for this inventory.

    Form numbers: None.

    Respondents/affected entities: State Liaisons, Industry Representatives, Project Owner/Operators, and Other Stakeholders (e.g. non-profits).

    Respondent's obligation to respond: Voluntary.

    Estimated number of respondents: 460 (total).

    Frequency of response: Annually.

    Total estimated burden: 231 hours (per year). Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.03(b).

    Total estimated cost: $16,972 (per year), includes $0 annualized capital or operation & maintenance costs.

    Changes in estimates: There are no changes in burden estimates as this is a new ICR.

    Dated: February 18, 2016. John A. Armstead, Director, Land and Chemicals Division, EPA Region III.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04603 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0099; FRL-9942-65] Premanufacture Notice for a Certain New Chemical; Extension of Review Period AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces EPA's extension of the review period for a premanufacture notice (PMN) P-14-0627 under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Based on analysis, the Agency requires an extension of the review period to investigate further potential risk, examine regulatory options, and prepare the necessary documents, should regulatory action be required.

    DATES:

    The review period is extended to May 25, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For technical information contact: Jeff Bauer, Chemical Control Division (7405M), Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (202) 564-9042; email address: [email protected]

    For general information contact: The TSCA-Hotline, ABVI-Goodwill, 422 South Clinton Ave., Rochester, NY 14620; telephone number: (202) 554-1404; email address: [email protected]pa.gov.

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

    This action is directed to the chemical manufacturing company that submitted the PMN. This action may also be of interest to persons concerned about health, environmental, and/or economic aspects of this new chemical substance. Since other entities may also be interested, the Agency has not attempted to describe all the specific entities that may be affected by this action.

    B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information?

    The docket for this action, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2016-0099, is available at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics Docket (OPPT Docket), Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 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 OPPT Docket is (202) 566-0280. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    II. What chemical is subject to this notice?

    On June 19, 2014, EPA received PMN number P-14-0627 for a new chemical substance, identified as Cyclic amide. The submitter claimed the company name, specific chemical identity, production volume, use information, process information, and other information to be CBI.

    III. What action is the Agency taking?

    The notice of receipt for this PMN was published in the Federal Register of September 16, 2014 (79 FR 55460) (FRL-9915-80). The running of the PMN review period was voluntarily suspended by the PMN submitter with EPA's agreement. The PMN review period has been resumed. As extended, the review period for this PMN expires May 25, 2016.

    IV. What is EPA's authority for taking this action?

    Section 5(c) of TSCA and 40 CFR 720.75(c) authorizes EPA to extend, for good cause, the 90-day PMN review period for additional periods not to exceed in the aggregate 90 days. For this PMN, EPA finds that there is good cause to extend the review period. Based on analysis, EPA may need to regulate this new chemical substance and the Agency needs an extension of the review period to further investigate potential risk, examine regulatory options, and prepare the necessary documents, should regulatory action be required.

    Authority:

    15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. Greg Schweer, Chief, New Chemicals Notice Management Branch, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04597 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FDA-2015-N-3403; FRL-9943-08] Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products; Notice of Second Public Meeting AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the auspices of the National Science and Technology Council, EPA, along with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are holding a second public meeting related to the memorandum entitled, “Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products,” issued by the Executive Office of the President (EOP) in July 2015. The purpose of the second public meeting is to illustrate current federal roles and responsibilities regarding biotechnology products. The docket, FDA-2015-N-3403, established by FDA prior to the first public meeting will continue to be used for this interagency effort.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on March 9, 2016, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    To request accommodation of a disability, please immediately contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATON CONTACT to give EPA as much time as possible to process your request.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the EPA Region 6 Office at 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2750.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For general questions about the meeting, contact Robert McNally, Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (7511P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; main telephone number: (703) 305-7090; email address: [email protected] For questions about the memorandum entitled, “Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products,” or related activities described in that memorandum, contact the National Science and Technology Council: Emerging Technologies Interagency Policy Coordination Committee, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, Eisenhower Executive Office Building, 1650 Pennsylvania Ave. Washington, DC 20504, 202-456-4444, online: https://www.whitehouse.gov/webform/contact-emerging-technologies-interagency-policy-coordinating-committee-national-science-and.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    Under the auspices of the National Science and Technology Council, EPA, FDA, USDA and OSTP (collectively referred to as “we” in this Federal Register document), held a public meeting on October 30, 2015, to discuss the Executive Office of the President (EOP) memorandum entitled, “Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products,” that was issued in July 2015. The purpose of the October 2015 meeting was to inform the public about the activities described in the July 2015 memorandum; invite oral comments from interested parties; and provide information about how to submit written comments, data, or other information to the docket. The October meeting was the first of three public engagement sessions on this topic.

    On February 1, 2016, we announced the dates and locations for the second and third public engagement sessions: (1) https://wcms.epa.gov/pesticides/save-date-march-9-30-2016-public-meetings-updating-coordinated-framework-regulation; (2) http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/MeetingsConferencesWorkshops/ucm463783.htm; and (3) https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/biotechnology/sa_stakeholder_meetings/cf_meeting.

    The second public meeting will be held on March 9, 2016, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at EPA's Region 6 Office in Dallas, Texas. The second public meeting will be used to illustrate current federal roles and responsibilities regarding biotechnology products. The final meeting agenda will be placed in the docket [FDA-2015-N-3403] as soon as it is available.

    The third public meeting will be held on March 30, 2016, at the University of California's Davis Conference Center in Davis, California and information about that meeting, including an agenda and information regarding how to register will be placed in the docket and on the USDA Web site prior to the meeting.

    II. How can I participate in the March 9th meeting?

    To participate in person or by webinar via Adobe Connect, please register online at http://www.epa.gov/regulation-biotechnology-under-tsca-and-fifra/modernizing-regulatory-system-biotechnology-products.

    Those registered will receive detailed instructions with their confirmations that explain how to access the meeting via webinar or in person.

    III. Meeting Materials, Transcripts and Recorded Video

    Any additional information and data submitted voluntarily to us will become part of the administrative record for this activity and will be accessible to the public in the docket [FDA-2015-N-3403] at http://www.regulations.gov. The transcript of the proceedings from the public meeting will become part of the administrative record for this activity and will also be included in the docket. Please be advised that as soon as a transcript is available, it will be accessible in the docket at http://www.regulations.gov.

    Transcripts and meeting materials may also be viewed at the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. A transcript will be available in either hardcopy or on CD-ROM, after submission of a Freedom of Information request. Written requests are to be sent to the FDA Division of Freedom of Information, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1035, Rockville, MD 20857. Additionally, we will live webcast and record the public meeting. Once the recorded video is available, it will be accessible on EPA's YouTube Channel.

    Dated: February 24, 2016. Mark A. Hartman, Acting Director, Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04583 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPAHQ-SFUND-2012-0104; FRL-9943-10-OLEM] Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; Brownfields Program—Accomplishment Reporting (Renewal) AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to submit an information collection request (ICR), “Brownfields Program—Accomplishment Reporting (Renewal)” (EPA ICR No. 2104.06, OMB Control No. 2050-0192) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Before doing so, EPA is soliciting public comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below. This is a proposed extension of the ICR, which is currently approved through May 31, 2016. 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.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-SFUND-2012-0104 online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method) or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460.

    EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kelly Gorini, Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization, (5105T), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 566-1702; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Supporting documents which explain in detail the information that the EPA will be collecting are available in the public docket for this ICR. The docket can be viewed online at www.regulations.gov or in person at the EPA Docket Center, WJC West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The telephone number for the Docket Center is 202-566-1744. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, EPA is soliciting comments and information to enable it to: (i) 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; (ii) 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; (iii) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (iv) 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. EPA will consider the comments received and amend the ICR as appropriate. The final ICR package will then be submitted to OMB for review and approval. At that time, EPA will issue another Federal Register notice to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB and the opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB.

    Abstract: The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (Pub. L. 107-118) (“the Brownfields Amendments”) was signed into law on January 11, 2002. The Act amends the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), as amended, and authorizes EPA to award cooperative agreements to states, tribes, local governments, and other eligible entities to assess and clean up brownfield sites. Under the Brownfields Amendments, a brownfields site means real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. For funding purposes, EPA uses the term “brownfields property(ies)” synonymously with the term “brownfields sites.” The Brownfields Amendments authorize EPA to award several types of cooperative agreements to eligible entities on a competitive basis.

    Under subtitle A of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, states, tribes, local governments, and other eligible entities can receive assessment cooperative agreements to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct planning and community involvement related to brownfields properties; cleanup cooperative agreements to carry out cleanup activities at brownfields properties; cooperative agreements to capitalize revolving loan funds and provide subgrants for cleanup activities; area-wide planning cooperative agreements to develop revitalization plans for brownfields; and environmental workforce and development job training and placement programs. Under subtitle C of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, states and tribes can receive cooperative agreements to establish and enhance their response programs through the four elements and meet the public record requirements under the statute. Cooperative agreement recipients (“recipients”) have general reporting and record keeping requirements as a condition of their cooperative agreement that result in burden. A portion of this reporting and record keeping burden is authorized under 2 CFR part 1500 and identified in the EPA's general grants ICR (OMB Control Number 2030-0020). EPA requires Brownfields program recipients to maintain and report additional information to EPA on the uses and accomplishments associated with funded brownfields activities. EPA uses several forms to assist recipients in reporting the information and to ensure consistency of the information collected. EPA uses this information to meet Federal stewardship responsibilities to manage and track how program funds are being spent, to evaluate the performance of the Brownfields Cleanup and Land Revitalization Program, to meet the Agency's reporting requirements under the Government Performance Results Act, and to report to Congress and other program stakeholders on the status and accomplishments of the program.

    Form numbers: EPA ICR No. 2104.06, OMB Control No. 2050-0192.

    Respondents/affected entities: State/local/tribal governments; Non-Profits.

    Respondent's obligation to respond: Required to obtain or Retain Benefits (2 CFR part 1500).

    Estimated number of respondents: 3,711.

    Frequency of response: Bi-annual for subtitle C recipients; quarterly for subtitle A recipients.

    Total estimated burden: 3,167 hours (per year). Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.03(b).

    Total estimated cost: $397,269 (per year), includes $0 annualized capital or operation & maintenance costs.

    Changes in estimates: There is no change in the number of hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with the ICR currently approved by OMB.

    Dated: February 18, 2016. David R. Lloyd, Director, Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04615 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION Notice of Agreements Filed

    The Commission hereby gives notice of the filing of the following agreements under the Shipping Act of 1984. Interested parties may submit comments on the agreements to the Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, Washington, DC 20573, within twelve days of the date this notice appears in the Federal Register. A copy of the agreement is available through the Commission's Web site (www.fmc.gov) or by contacting the Office of Agreements at (202) 523-5793 or [email protected]

    Agreement No.: 012174-001.

    Title: Hoegh/Liberty Middle East Space Charter Agreement.

    Parties: Hoegh Autoliners AS and Liberty Global Logistics LLC.

    Filing Party: Brooke Shapiro, Esq., Winston & Strawn LLP, 200 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10166.

    Synopsis: The amendment adds Spain to the geographic scope of the Agreement.

    Agreement No.: 012233-003.

    Title: COSCON/CSCL/UASC/YMUK/CMA CGM/PIL Vessel Sharing and Slot Exchange Agreement—Asia and US/Canada West Coast Services.

    Parties: China Shipping Container Lines Co., Ltd. and China Shipping Container Lines (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd. (acting as a single party) (CSCL); United Arab Shipping Company (S.A.G.); Yang Ming (UK) LTD.; CMA CGM S.A.; Pacific International Lines (Pte) Ltd.; and COSCO Container Lines Company, Limited (COSCON).

    Filing Party: Brett M. Esber, Blank Rome LLP, 600 New Hampshire Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20037.

    Synopsis: The amendment adds COSCON as a party to the Agreement, and provides that upon the transfer by CSCL of its liner shipping business to COSCON, all of CSCL's rights and obligations under the Amendment Agreement will be assigned to COSCON and CSCL will be deemed to have withdrawn as a party to the Agreement.

    Agreement No.: 012299-001.

    Title: COSCON/CSCL/UASC/CMA CGM Vessel Sharing and Slot Exchange Agreement, Asia—U.S. West/East/Gulf Coasts.

    Parties: China Shipping Container Lines Co. Ltd. and China Shipping Container Lines (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd. (collectively known as China Shipping) (CSCL); United Arab Shipping Company S.A.G.; CMA CGM S.A.; and COSCO Container Lines Company, Limited (COSCON).

    Filing Party: Brett M. Esber, Esq., Blank Rome, 600 New Hampshire Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20037.

    Synopsis: The amendment adds COSCON as a party to the Agreement, and provides that upon the transfer by CSCL of its liner shipping business to COSCON, all of CSCL's rights and obligations under the Amendment Agreement will be assigned to COSCON and CSCL will be deemed to have withdrawn as a party to the Agreement.

    Agreement No.: 012326-001.

    Title: COSCON/CSCL/HSD Slot Charter Agreement.

    Parties: China Shipping Container Lines Co., Ltd. and China Shipping Container Lines (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd. (acting as a single party) (CSCL); Hamburg Sud; and COSCO Container Lines Company, Limited (COSCON).

    Filing Party: Brett M. Esber, Blank Rome LLP, 600 New Hampshire Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20037.

    Synopsis: The amendment adds COSCON as a party to the Agreement, and provides that upon the transfer by CSCL of its liner shipping business to COSCON, all of CSCL's rights and obligations under the Amendment Agreement will be assigned to COSCON and CSCL will be deemed to have withdrawn as a party to the Agreement.

    Agreement No.: 012328-001.

    Title: COSCON/CSCL/CMA CGM/UASC/HSD Vessel Sharing Agreement.

    Parties: China Shipping Container Lines Co. Ltd. and China Shipping Container Lines (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd. (collectively known as China Shipping) (CSCL); United Arab Shipping Company S.A.G.; CMA CGM S.A.; Hamburg Sud; and COSCO Container Lines Company, Limited (COSCON).

    Filing Party: Brett M. Esber, Esquire, Blank Rome LLP, 600 New Hampshire Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20037.

    Synopsis: The amendment adds COSCON as a party to the Agreement, and provides that upon the transfer by CSCL of its liner shipping business to COSCON, all of CSCL's rights and obligations under the Amendment Agreement will be assigned to COSCON and CSCL will be deemed to have withdrawn as a party to the Agreement.

    Agreement No.: 012329-001.

    Title: COSCON/CSCL/HSD Slot Exchange Agreement.

    Parties: China Shipping Container Lines Co., Ltd.; China Shipping Container Lines (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd. (Collectively, CSCL); Hamburg Sudamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft KG; COSCO Container Lines Company, Limited (COSCON).

    Filing Party: Brett M. Esber, Esq., Blank Rome, 600 New Hampshire Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20037.

    Synopsis: The amendment adds COSCON as a party to the Agreement, and provides that upon the transfer by CSCL of its liner shipping business to COSCON, all of CSCL's rights and obligations under the Amendment Agreement will be assigned to COSCON and CSCL will be deemed to have withdrawn as a party to the Agreement.

    Agreement No.: 012389-001.

    Title: Grimaldi/Liberty Global Logistics LLC Space Charter Agreement.

    Parties: Grimaldi Euromed S.P.A. and Liberty Global Logistics LLC.

    Filing Parties: Brooke Shapiro, Esq., Winston & Strawn LLP, 200 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10166.

    Synopsis: The amendment would authorize the parties to charter space to/from one another in the trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada on the one hand and Jordan on the other hand.

    Agreement No.: 012392.

    Title: K-Line/Liberty Global Logistics LLC Discussion Agreement.

    Parties: Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd.; and Liberty Global Logistics LLC.

    Filing Party: John P. Meade, Esq., General Counsel, K-Line America, Inc., 6199 Bethlehem Road, Preston, MD 21655.

    Synopsis: The agreement would authorize the parties to discuss non-rate operational matters worldwide.

    Agreement No.: 012393.

    Title: CMA CGM/ELJSA Vessel Sharing Agreement Asia—U.S. West Coast.

    Parties: Evergreen Line Joint Service Agreement and CMA CGM S.A.

    Filing Party: Paul M. Keane, Esq., Cichanowicz, Callan, Keane & DeMay, LLP, 50 Main Street, Suite 1045, White Plains, NY 10606.

    Synopsis: The Agreement authorizes the parties to cooperate and establish a new weekly service in the trade between ports on the U.S. West Coast and ports in China and Japan.

    By Order of the Federal Maritime Commission.

    Dated: February 26, 2016. Rachel E. Dickon, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04586 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6731-AA-P
    FEDERAL MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH REVIEW COMMISSION Sunshine Act Notice February 29, 2016. TIME AND DATE:

    10:00 a.m., Thursday, March 10, 2016.

    PLACE:

    The Richard V. Backley Hearing Room, Room 511N, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20004 (enter from F Street entrance).

    STATUS:

    Open.

    MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED:

    The Commission will consider and act upon the following in open session: Secretary of Labor v. ICG Illinois, LLC, Docket No. LAKE 2013-160 (Issues include whether the Judge erred in ruling that a violation of the requirement to maintain a refuge alternative was “significant and substantial.”)

    Any person attending this meeting who requires special accessibility features and/or auxiliary aids, such as sign language interpreters, must inform the Commission in advance of those needs. Subject to 29 CFR 2706.150(a)(3) and § 2706.160(d).

    CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    Emogene Johnson (202) 434-9935/(202) 708-9300 for TDD Relay/1-800-877-8339 for toll free.

    Sarah L. Stewart, Deputy General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04650 Filed 2-29-16; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6735-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION [OMB Control No. 9000-0069; Docket 2016-0053; Sequence 12] Information Collection; Indirect Cost Rates AGENCY:

    Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of request for comments regarding an extension to an existing OMB clearance.

    SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Secretariat Division will be submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request to review and approve an extension of a previously approved information collection requirement concerning Indirect Cost Rates.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments identified by Information Collection 9000-0069, Indirect Cost Rates, by any of the following methods:

    Regulations.gov: http://www. regulations.gov.

    Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching the OMB control number. Select the link “Submit a Comment” that corresponds with “Information Collection 9000-0069, Indirect Cost Rates”. Follow the instructions provided at the “Submit a Comment” screen. Please include your name, company name (if any), and “Information Collection 9000-0069, Indirect Cost Rates” on your attached document.

    Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405. ATTN: Ms. Flowers/IC 9000-0069, Indirect Cost Rates.

    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Information Collection 9000-0069, Indirect Cost Rates, in all correspondence related to this collection. Comments received generally will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Curtis E. Glover, Sr., Procurement Analyst, Contract Policy Division, at 202-501-1448, or via email at [email protected].

    A. Purpose

    The contractor's proposal of final indirect cost rates is necessary for the establishment of rates used to reimburse the contractor for the costs of performing under the contract. The supporting cost data are the cost accounting information normally prepared by organizations under sound management and accounting practices.

    The proposal and supporting data is used by the contracting official and auditor to verify and analyze the indirect costs and to determine the final indirect cost rates or to prepare the Government negotiating position if negotiation of the rates is required under the contract terms.

    B. Annual Reporting Burden

    Respondents: 3,000.

    Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Annual Responses: 3,000.

    Hours per Response: 2,188.

    Total Burden Hours: 6,564,000.

    C. Public Comments

    Public comments are particularly invited on: Whether this collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of functions of the FAR, and whether it will have practical utility; whether our estimate of the public burden of this collection of information is accurate, and based on valid assumptions and methodology; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways in which we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Obtaining Copies of Proposals: Requesters may obtain a copy of the information collection documents from the General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, telephone 202-501-4755. Please cite OMB Control No. 9000-0069, Indirect Cost Rates, in all correspondence.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. Lorin S. Curit, Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division, Office of Governmentwide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Governmentwide Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04485 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel (SEP): Initial Review

    The meeting announced below concerns Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration 2.0, FOA DP 16-004, initial review.

    SUMMARY:

    This document corrects a notice that was published in the Federal Register on February 10, 2016, Volume 81, Number 27, pages 7123-7124. The meeting time and date should read as follows:

    Time and Date: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., EDT, March 15, 2016 (Closed).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jaya Raman, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, CDC, 4770 Buford Highway NE., Mailstop F80, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, Telephone: (770) 488-6511, [email protected]

    The Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, has been delegated the authority to sign Federal Register notices pertaining to announcements of meetings and other committee management activities, for both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

    Elaine L. Baker, Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04591 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee

    In accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces the following committee meeting.

    Times And Dates: 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., April 13, 2016; 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., April 14, 2016.

    Place: CDC, 1600 Clifton Road NE., Tom Harkin Global Communications Center, Building 19, Auditorium B, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.

    Status: Open to the public, limited only by the space available. The meeting room accommodates approximately 100 people. This meeting will also be webcast, please see information below.

    Purpose: This Committee is charged with providing scientific and technical advice and guidance to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS); the Assistant Secretary for Health; the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and the Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The advice and guidance pertain to general issues related to improvement in clinical laboratory quality and laboratory medicine practice and specific questions related to possible revision of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) standards. Examples include providing guidance on studies designed to improve safety, effectiveness, efficiency, timeliness, equity, and patient-centeredness of laboratory services; revisions to the standards under which clinical laboratories are regulated; the impact of proposed revisions to the standards on medical and laboratory practice; and the modification of the standards and provision of non-regulatory guidelines to accommodate technological advances, such as new test methods, the electronic transmission of laboratory information, and mechanisms to improve the integration of public health and clinical laboratory practices.

    Matters For Discussion: The agenda will include agency updates from CDC, CMS, and FDA. Presentations and discussions will include methods for improving the effectiveness/efficiency of CLIAC meetings; an overview of the CMS Advisory Panel on Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory Tests; laboratory interoperability including the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) policies and engagement with clinical laboratories; update on the cytology workload project; update on laboratory biosafety in clinical laboratories; and future CLIAC topics.

    Agenda items are subject to change as priorities dictate.

    Webcast: The meeting will also be webcast. Persons interested in viewing the webcast can access information at: http://cdclabtraining.adobeconnect.com/aprilcliac/.

    In-Person Attendance Online Registration Required: All people attending the CLIAC meeting in-person are required to register for the meeting online at least 5 business days in advance for U.S. citizens and at least 10 business days in advance for international registrants. Register at: http://www.cdc.gov/cliac/Meetings/MeetingDetails.aspx#.

    Register by scrolling down and clicking the “Register for this Meeting” button and completing all forms according to the instructions given. Please complete all the required fields before submitting your registration and submit no later than April 7, 2016 for U.S. registrants and March 31, 2016 for international registrants.

    Providing Oral or Written Comments: It is the policy of CLIAC to accept written public comments and provide a brief period for oral public comments on agenda items whenever possible.

    Oral Comments: In general, each individual or group requesting to make oral comments will be limited to a total time of five minutes (unless otherwise indicated). Speakers must also submit their comments in writing for inclusion in the meeting's Summary Report. To assure adequate time is scheduled for public comments, speakers should notify the contact person below at least one week prior to the meeting date.

    Written Comments: For individuals or groups unable to attend the meeting, CLIAC accepts written comments until the date of the meeting (unless otherwise stated). However, it is requested that comments be submitted at least one week prior to the meeting date so that the comments may be made available to the Committee for their consideration and for public distribution. Written comments, one hard copy with original signature, should be provided to the contact person listed below, and will be included in the meeting's Summary Report.

    Availability of Meeting Materials: To support the green initiatives of the federal government, the CLIAC meeting materials will be made available to the Committee and the public in electronic format (PDF) on the internet instead of by printed copy. Check the CLIAC Web site on the day of the meeting for materials: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/cliac/cliac_meeting_all_documents.aspx.

    Note:

    If using a mobile device to access the materials, please verify that the device's browser is able to download the files from the CDC's Web site before the meeting. Alternatively, the files can be downloaded to a computer and then emailed to the portable device. An internet connection, power source, and limited hard copies may be available at the meeting location, but cannot be guaranteed.

    Contact Person for Additional Information: Nancy Anderson, Chief, Laboratory Practice Standards Branch, Division of Laboratory Systems, Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, Office of Public Health Scientific Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE., Mailstop F-11, Atlanta, Georgia 30329-4018; telephone (404) 498-2741; or via email at [email protected].

    The Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, has been delegated the authority to sign Federal Register Notices pertaining to announcements of meetings and other committee management activities, for CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

    Elaine L. Baker, Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04590 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel (SEP): Initial Review

    In accordance with Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces a meeting for the initial review of applications in response to Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) GH16-003, Technical collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health in the Kingdom of Thailand (MOPH)-Research in the conduct of research to assess, prevent, and mitigate public health threats of national and global importance.

    Time and Date: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., EDT, March 23, 2016 (Closed)

    Place: Teleconference

    Status: The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with provisions set forth in Section 552b(c) (4) and (6), Title 5 U.S.C., and the Determination of the Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, CDC, pursuant to Public Law 92-463.

    Matters for Discussion: The meeting will include the initial review, discussion, and evaluation of applications received in response to “Technical collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health in the Kingdom of Thailand (MOPH)-Research in the conduct of research to assess, prevent, and mitigate public health threats of national and global importance, GH16-003, initial review.”

    Contact Person for More Information: Hylan Shoob, Scientific Review Officer, Center for Global Health (CGH) Science Office, CGH, CDC, 1600 Clifton Road NE., Mailstop D-69, Atlanta, Georgia 30033, Telephone: (404) 639-4796.

    The Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, has been delegated the authority to sign Federal Register notices pertaining to announcements of meetings and other committee management activities, for both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

    Elaine L. Baker, Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04592 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Subcommittee on Procedures Review (SPR), Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (ABRWH or the Advisory Board), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

    Notice of Cancellation: A notice was published in the Federal Register on February 4, 2016 Volume 81, Number 23, Page 6007, announcing an Audio Conference Call of the ABRWH-SPR on February 24, 2016. This meeting was canceled due to a lack of quorum for the meeting. Notice will be provided when the meeting is rescheduled in accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463).

    Contact Person For More Information: Theodore Katz, Designated Federal Officer, NIOSH, CDC, 1600 Clifton Road, Mailstop E-20, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, Telephone (513)533-6800, Toll Free 1(800)CDC-INFO, Email [email protected]

    This notice is published less than the required 15 days prior to the start of the announced meeting, in accordance with Section 102-3.150(b) of the GSA Final Rule (2001) that allows for exceptions to the meeting notification time requirement. Section 102-3.150(b) states the following: “In exceptional circumstances, the agency or an independent Presidential advisory committee may give less than 15 calendar days notice, provided that the reasons for doing so are included in the advisory committee meeting notice published in the Federal Register.”

    In this case, the agency is giving less than 15 days' notice due to the inability to have quorum for the meeting.

    The Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, has been delegated the authority to sign Federal Register notices pertaining to announcements of meetings and other committee management activities, for both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

    Elaine L. Baker, Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04587 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [30-Day-16-0841] Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act Review

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has submitted the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The notice for the proposed information collection is published to obtain comments from the public and affected agencies.

    Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies concerning the proposed collection of information are encouraged. Your comments should address any of the following: (a) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) Evaluate the accuracy of the agencies estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses; and (e) Assess information collection costs.

    To request additional information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the information collection plan and instruments, call (404) 639-7570 or send an email to [email protected] Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the items contained in this notice should be directed to the Attention: CDC Desk Officer, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503 or by fax to (202) 395-5806. Written comments should be received within 30 days of this notice.

    Proposed Project

    Management Information System for Comprehensive Cancer Control Programs (OMB No. 0920-0841, exp. 3/31/2016)—Revision—National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Background and Brief Description

    From 2007-2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided funding to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, seven tribes/tribal organizations, and seven territories/U.S. Pacific Island Jurisdictions through the National Cancer Prevention and Control Program (CDC Funding Opportunity Announcement [FOA] DP07-703). New five-year cooperative agreements were established in June 2012 under FOA DP12-1205 (“Cancer Prevention and Control Program for State, Territorial and Tribal Organizations”). From 2012-2015, a subset of 13 awardees received additional funding for demonstration programs to advance cancer control using policy, systems, and environmental change strategies.

    Since 2010, cancer prevention and control (CPC) awardees have used an electronic management information system (MIS) to submit semi-annual progress reports to CDC (“Management Information System for Comprehensive Cancer Control Programs,” OMB No. 0920-0841, exp. 3/31/2016). The progress reports satisfy federal reporting requirements and allow CDC to provide targeted technical assistance to awardees while monitoring their activities and progress. The MIS also provides CDC with the capacity to respond in a timely manner to requests for information from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Congress, and other sources.

    CDC plans to request a revision of the current MIS-based reporting system. Minor modifications will be made to standardize and streamline data entry; for example, the open-ended text boxes previously used to develop objectives will be replaced with a drop-down menu of evidence-based indicators. The modifications will also make MIS entries and output more user-friendly for CDC staff who use the MIS to monitor and evaluate specific program outcomes. The search function will also be modified to search for these indicators.

    All 65 DP12-1205 cancer prevention and control awardees will continue to submit semi-annual reports to CDC through the end of the cooperative agreement period. These reports include information about personnel, resources, finances, planning, action plans, and progress. Information will be submitted by the program director for the state, territory, or tribal cancer control program. Awardees will be responsible for verifying their current information and entering new objectives and progress. To minimize respondent burden, information that has not changed does not need to be re-entered into the MIS. The estimated burden for ongoing system maintenance and semi-annual reporting is being reduced from three hours per response to two hours per response.

    CDC anticipates that DP12-1205 will be succeeded in 2017 by a new FOA based on similar objectives and a comparable monitoring and evaluation plan. The burden table includes an annualized, one-time allocation of two hours per response for initial population of the MIS with information that is specific to the new FOA. Due to annualization, this activity is represented in the table as 22 awardees instead of 65 awardees.

    CDC is considering a change in the frequency of progress reporting, effective with the new FOA. Routine progress reporting is likely to occur once per year instead of twice per year, however, this decision has not been finalized. Therefore, to avoid under-estimating total annualized burden, the burden table has been constructed to account for semi-annual reporting throughout the 3-year clearance period. If a decision is made to change the frequency of reporting, CDC will process a Change Request or Revision Request, as needed, to adjust (reduce) total estimated annualized burden.

    OMB approval will be requested for three years. The total estimated annualized burden for this reporting period will decrease due to a reduction in the estimated burden per response for semi-annual reporting; a reduction in the estimated burden per response for populating the MIS with information specific to the new FOA; and discontinuation of semi-annual reporting for demonstration of program activities.

    Awardees are required to submit the requested information to CDC as a condition of funding. CDC will use the information submitted by awardees to identify training and technical assistance needs, monitor compliance with cooperative agreement requirements, evaluate progress made in achieving program-specific goals, and obtain information needed to respond to Congressional and other inquiries regarding program activities and effectiveness. All information will be collected electronically. There are no costs to respondents other than their time. The total estimated annualized burden hours are 304.

    Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Type of respondents Form name Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • (in hrs.)
  • Program Director for State-, Tribal-, or Territorial-based Cancer Prevention and Control Program Data Elements for All CPC Programs: Semi-annual Reporting 65 2 2 Data Elements for All CPC Programs: Initial MIS Population for New FOA 22 1 2
    Leroy A. Richardson, Chief, Information Collection Review Office, Office of Scientific Integrity, Office of the Associate Director for Science, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04570 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (BSC, NCEH/ATSDR)

    In accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announces the following teleconference meeting of the aforementioned committee:

    Time And Date: 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., March 21, 2016.

    Status: Open to the public, limited only by the conference lines available; the toll free dial-in number is 1-888-390-3409 with a passcode of 7621651.

    Purpose: The Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services HHS) and by delegation, the Director, CDC and Administrator, NCEH/ATSDR, are authorized under Section 301 (42 U.S.C. 241) and Section 311 (42 U.S.C. 243) of the Public Health Service Act, as amended, to: (1) Conduct, encourage, cooperate with, and assist other appropriate public authorities, scientific institutions, and scientists in the conduct of research, investigations, experiments, demonstrations, and studies relating to the causes, diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention of physical and mental diseases and other impairments; (2) assist states and their political subdivisions in the prevention of infectious diseases and other preventable conditions and in the promotion of health and well being; and (3) train state and local personnel in health work. The BSC, NCEH/ATSDR provides advice and guidance to the Secretary, HHS; the Director, CDC and Administrator, ATSDR; and the Director, NCEH/ATSDR, regarding program goals, objectives, strategies, and priorities in fulfillment of the agency's mission to protect and promote people's health. The board provides advice and guidance that will assist NCEH/ATSDR in ensuring scientific quality, timeliness, utility, and dissemination of results. The board also provides guidance to help NCEH/ATSDR work more efficiently and effectively with its various constituents and to fulfill its mission in protecting America's health.

    Matter for Discussion: The agenda item for the BSC Meeting will include a discussion on “NCEH/ATSDR Support for the Public Health Emergency in Flint, Michigan”.

    Agenda item is subject to change as priorities dictate.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The public comment period is scheduled from 4:15 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.

    Contact Person for More Information: Sandra Malcom, Committee Management Specialist, NCEH/ATSDR, 4770 Buford Highway, Mail Stop F-61, Chamblee, Georgia 30345; Telephone 770/488-0575 or 770/488-0755, Fax: 770/488-3377; Email: [email protected]

    The Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, has been delegated the authority to sign Federal Register notices pertaining to announcements of meetings and other committee management activities for both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

    Elaine L. Baker, Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    [FR Doc. 2016-04588 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Board of Scientific Counselors, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, (BSC, OPHPR)

    In accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announces the following meeting of the aforementioned committee:

    Times and Dates: 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m., EDT, April 11, 2016, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., EDT, April 12, 2016.

    Place: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Global Communications Center, Building 19, Auditorium B3, 1600 Clifton Road NE., Atlanta, Georgia 30333.

    Status: Open to the public limited only by the space available. The meeting room will accommodate up to 90 people. Public participants should pre-register for the meeting as described below.

    Members of the public that wish to attend this meeting should pre-register by submitting the following information by email, facsimile, or phone (see Contact Person for More Information) no later than 12:00 noon (EDT) on Tuesday, March 29, 2016:

    • Full Name.

    • Organizational Affiliation.

    • Complete Mailing Address.

    • Citizenship.

    • Phone Number or Email Address.

    Purpose: This Board is charged with providing advice and guidance to the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH), the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Director, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR), concerning strategies and goals for the programs and research within OPHPR, monitoring the overall strategic direction and focus of the OPHPR Divisions and Offices, and administration and oversight of peer review of OPHPR scientific programs. For additional information about the Board, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/science/counselors.htm.

    Matters For Discussion: Day one of the meeting will cover briefings and BSC deliberation on the following topics: Interval updates from OPHPR Divisions and Offices; updates on OPHPR'S policy agenda and Impact Measurement Initiative; medical countermeasures-related activities update; Zika response; and BSC liaison representative updates to the Board highlighting organizational activities relevant to the OPHPR mission.

    Day two of the meeting will cover briefings and BSC deliberation on the following topics: Global Health Security Agenda; risk communication; Laboratory Response Network—Biological and Chemical; and updates on the National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI) and CoPE-Well, a community resilience index.

    Agenda items are subject to change as priorities dictate.

    Contact Person for More Information: Dometa Ouisley, Office of Science and Public Health Practice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE., Mailstop D-44, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, Telephone: (404) 639-7450; Facsimile: (404)639-7977; Email: [email protected].

    The Director, Management Analysis and Services Office, has been delegated the authority to sign Federal Register notices pertaining to announcements of meetings and other committee management activities for both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

    Elaine L. Baker, Director, Management Analysis and Service Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04589 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    Title: Evaluation of the Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative.

    OMB No.: New Collection.

    Description: The Evaluation of the Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative is sponsored by the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Capacity Building Collaborative includes three centers (Center for States, Center for Tribes, Center for Courts) funded by the Children's Bureau to provide national child welfare expertise and evidence-informed training and technical assistance services to State, Tribal and Territorial public child welfare agencies and Court Improvement Programs (CIP). The Centers offer a wide array of services including, but not limited to: Web-based content and resources, product development and dissemination, self-directed and group-based training, virtual learning and peer networking events, and tailored consultation and coaching. During the project period the Centers' services will be evaluated by both Center-specific evaluations and a Cross-Center Evaluation. The Center-specific evaluations are designed to collect data on Center-specific processes and outcomes. The Cross-Center Evaluation is designed to respond to a set of cross-cutting evaluation questions posed by the Children's Bureau. The Cross-Center Evaluation will examine: The extent to which key partners across and within the Centers are collaborating; whether the capacity building service interventions offered by the Centers are evaluable; the degree to which Centers follow common protocols; whether service interventions are delivered or performed as designed; how satisfied recipients are with the services received; how effective the service interventions were; which service approaches were most effective and under what conditions; and the costs of services.

    The Cross-Center Evaluation is utilizing a longitudinal mixed methods approach to evaluate the Centers' services as they develop and mature over the course of the study period. Multiple data collection strategies will be used to efficiently capture quantitative and qualitative data to enable analyses that address each evaluation question. Proposed Cross-Center Evaluation data sources for this effort include (1) satisfaction surveys to assess recipients' satisfaction with services, such as the Learning Experiences Satisfaction Survey; (2) a leadership interview, administered to all State child welfare directors, Tribal child welfare directors, and CIP coordinators that are receiving services from the Centers; and (3) a collaboration survey, an annual web-based survey administered to the directors and staff of the three Centers. Center-specific data sources for this effort include (1) assessment tools such as the Tribal Organizational Assessment Caseworker Interview; and (2) service-specific feedback forms, such as the Center for States Intensive Projects instrument and the Center for Courts CQI Workshops instrument.

    Respondents: Respondents of data collection instruments will include (1) child welfare and judicial professionals that use the Centers' Web pages, products, and online courses, that participate in virtual or in-person trainings or peer events, and that receive brief or intensive tailored services from the Centers; (2) State child welfare directors, Tribal child welfare directors, and CIP coordinators that are receiving services from the Centers; and (3) the directors and staff of the three Capacity Building Centers. The proposed data collection will span four years.

    Annual Burden Estimates Instrument Annual
  • number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden
  • hours per
  • response
  • Total annual burden hours
    Webpages and Products Satisfaction Survey 1,560 1 .08 125 Learning Experiences Satisfaction Survey 1 625 1 .33 206 Learning Experiences Satisfaction Survey 2 900 1 .08 72 Webinars, Events, and In-Person Meetings Satisfaction Survey 5,333 1 .08 427 Assessment & Capacity Building Plan Satisfaction Survey 450 1 .066 30 Center for Tribes Contact Form 50 1 .05 3 Center for Tribes Demographic Survey 20 1 1.75 35 Tribal Organizational Assessment Caseworker Interview 20 1 1.25 25 Tribal Organizational Assessment Community Provider Interview 16 1 1.25 20 Tribal Organizational Assessment Community Member/Elder Interview 12 1 1.0 12 Tribal Organizational Assessment Family Interview 14 1 1.0 14 Center for States Information and Referral Survey 12 1 .05 1 Center for States Intensive Projects Survey 330 2 .33 218 Center for States Constituency Groups Surveys 400 2 .33 264 Center for States Brief Tailored Services Survey 125 1 .33 42 CIP Annual Meeting Survey 200 1 .13 26 Center for Courts CQI Workshops 48 1 .17 8 Leadership Interview—States and Territories 13 2 1 26 Leadership Interview—CIPs 13 2 1 26 Leadership Interview—Tribes 8 2 1.25 20 Leadership Interview Part II—Tribes 8 2 .67 11 Annual Collaboration Survey 230 1 .36 83 1 For Learning Experiences that consist of a single event (e.g. on-line session or in-person training). 2 For more intensive Learning Experiences that require administration of multiple surveys over a series of events, modules, or units.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 1,694.

    Additional Information: Copies of the proposed collection may be obtained by writing to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 370 L'Enfant Promenade SW., Washington, DC 20447, Attn: OPRE Reports Clearance Officer. All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection. Email address: [email protected]

    OMB Comment: OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent directly to the following: Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project, Fax: 202-395-6974, Attn: Desk Officer for the Administration for Children and Families.

    Robert Sargis, Reports Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04582 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2016-N-0538] Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Animation in Direct-to-Consumer Advertising AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the Agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA), Federal Agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information and to allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on research entitled “Animation in Direct-to-Consumer Advertising.” This study will examine how animation affects the comprehension of direct-to-consumer (DTC) television advertisements for prescription drugs.

    DATES:

    Submit either electronic or written comments on the collection of information by May 2, 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-2016-N-0538 for “Animation in Direct-to-Consumer Advertising.” 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:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal Agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes Agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires Federal Agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, FDA is publishing notice of the proposed collection of information set forth in this document.

    With respect to the following collection of information, FDA invites comments on these topics: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FDA's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FDA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    Animation in Direct-to-Consumer Advertising—(OMB Control Number 0910—NEW)

    Section 1701(a)(4) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300u(a)(4)) authorizes FDA to conduct research relating to health information. Section 1003(d)(2)(C) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 393(d)(2)(C)) authorizes FDA to conduct research relating to drugs and other FDA regulated products in carrying out the provisions of the FD&C Act.

    Advertisers use many techniques to increase consumer interest in their ads, including the use of animated spokes-characters. These characters may be fictional or nonfictional and human or non-human (Ref. 1). Despite variations in form, animated characters are often used to grab attention, increase ad memorability, and enhance persuasion to ultimately drive behavior (Refs. 2, 3, and 4). Although animated characters have long been used for low-involvement products (e.g., food products), animation has made its way into direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising. However, to our knowledge, no studies have comprehensively examined how animation affects consumers' benefit and risk perceptions in drug ads, how various animation strategies (e.g., symbolizing the disease vs. the benefit) influence these perceptions, and whether these effects are generalizable across different patient populations.

    Animation in Drug Ads. Animation is used in prescription drug ads in a variety of ways. Perhaps the simplest way is the use of rotoscoped animation, which involves tracing live-action images frame-by-frame to create animated characters. Abilify has used this technique in advertisements (Ref. 5). In this instance, the animated character was not central to the informational content of the ad; instead, the animation appeared to be a visual technique to attract attention. Whether a drug ad with a rotoscoped human results in greater comprehension of product benefit and risk information than an ad with a human actor is unclear. The few studies that have examined this technique in drug ads have found that animated human characters either had no effect on perceived product risk (Ref. 6) or led to poorer recognition of drug side effects (Ref. 5).

    Animation also has been used in drug ads to symbolize the disease (e.g., Imitrex and Lamisil ads), the sufferer (e.g., Mybetriq and Zoloft), the benefit (e.g., Rozerem), the mode of administration (e.g., Fluzone), and the mechanism of action (e.g., Lunesta). Drug companies may use a personified non-human character to illustrate, in a visually memorable way, the medical condition or drug attributes. Using secondary data from copy-testing studies, Pashupati found that drug ads featuring animated characters led to much stronger brand recall and brand association scores (Ref. 7); however, the other elements of these studies (e.g., ad characteristics, presence of control group) are unclear.

    Animated characters may provide marketers with a way to explain product benefits in an engaging and even humorous manner. Thus, the majority of research on animated characters in advertising focuses on outcomes such as product evaluations (Ref. 8), emotional responses (Refs. 1, 9, and 10), brand attitudes (Ref. 11), and perceived product value (Ref. 12). The extent to which emotional responses can be fostered by animated characters is especially relevant to this study, as the positive effects these animations induce might transfer to the brands being advertised. It is also possible that animated characters may lead to lower perceived risk by minimizing or camouflaging side effects (Ref. 13).

    Animation and Message Communication. Personifying animated characters may interfere with message communication. Although personification may increase involvement with the characters in the ad (i.e., perceived as engaging and likeable), it may not increase involvement with the message itself (e.g., risk and benefit information). Whether personified characters lead to reduced comprehension of risk and benefit information in drug ads is an important and unanswered question. Based on a theory called the limited capacity model of mediated message processing (Ref. 14), advertising content that is engaging, relevant, and maximizes audio/visual redundancy should improve learning and memory (Ref. 15). However, others argue that the entertainment aspects can distract from learning key information and may lead to message complexity that interferes with message communication (Ref. 16).

    It is important to examine whether animation in drug ads inflates efficacy perceptions, minimizes risk, or otherwise hinders comprehension of drug risks and benefits. To investigate these issues, we will conduct a two-part experimental study to examine how: (1) Type of animation and (2) non-human personification in drug ads influence consumer comprehension, processing, and perception of risk and benefit information. Understanding how issues of animation and personification affect perceptions of both risks and benefits can inform FDA regarding how prescription drug risk and benefit information is processed. These strategies will be examined across two different medical conditions to see if the findings are consistent across patient populations and medications with different levels of risk.

    General Research Questions

    1. How does consumer processing of a DTC prescription drug ad differ depending on whether the ad is live-action, rotoscoped, or animated?

    2. Does consumer processing differ depending on whether the sufferer, the disease, or the benefit is the focus of the animation?

    Design

    To test these research questions, we will conduct two experiments. Both experiments will be examined in two different medical conditions: chronic dry eye, and psoriasis. The mock drugs we will create for these conditions mimic currently available medications and were chosen for their variance in serious side effects, i.e., medications for psoriasis have very long, serious lists of risks and side effects, whereas chronic dry eye medications have relatively few risks and side effects.

    The first experiment will examine whether animation itself influences consumer processing, defined as consumer recall of risks and benefits, perceptions of risks and benefits, and attitudes and emotional responses to the ad, the brand, the product, and the character (table 1). We will examine two different types of animation in addition to a control ad which will be shot with live actors: An “in-between” animation technique, rotoscoping, in which live scenes are drawn to look animated, and full animation with nonhuman characters. The live action and rotoscoped ad will be identical except for the rotoscope treatment. The animated ad will follow the theme and message as closely as possible within the limitations of animation itself. The benefits and risks of the product will be identical, although the ad's storyline may vary somewhat to account for a nonhuman protagonist.

    Table 1—Experiment 1 Animation Design [Type of Animation] Medical condition Non-human sufferer Rotoscoped
  • human
  • sufferer
  • Human
  • sufferer
  • Chronic Dry Eye Psoriasis

    The second experiment will examine whether the object of the animation influences consumer processing of the ad (table 2), defined as consumer recall of risks and benefits, perceptions of risks and benefits, and attitudes and emotional responses to the ad, the brand, the product, and the character. The animation will focus on the animated character who will personify either the sufferer of the medical condition, the disease itself, or the benefit from the drug. In this study, all ads will contain the same kind of full animation and the general theme will be as similar as possible, accounting for the variations in focus of character. The experiments will be conducted concurrently, and the same participants in the nonhuman sufferer groups will be part of both.

    Table 2—Experiment 2 Personification Design [Non-Human Personification] Medical condition Sufferer Disease Benefit Chronic Dry Eye Psoriasis

    In both cases, a professional firm will create all ads such that they are indistinguishable from currently running DTC ads.

    Pretesting will take place before the main study to evaluate the procedures and measures used in the main study. We will recruit adults who fall into one of four age brackets shown in table 1. We will exclude individuals who work in healthcare or marketing settings because their knowledge and experiences may not reflect those of the average consumer. A prior power analyses revealed that we need 300 participants for the pretest to obtain 80% power to detect a moderately small effect size. Each experiment will include 30 participants per condition for a total of 180 participants each, but 60 of those in the nonhuman sufferer conditions will overlap between the two experiments. We will need 1,500 unique participants for the main study to obtain 90% power to detect a moderately small effect size. There will be 150 participants per condition for a total of 900 participants in each experiment, with 300 participants in the overlapping nonhuman sufferer conditions.

    In both studies, participants who have been diagnosed with either chronic dry eye or psoriasis will be recruited via opt-in Internet panel to watch one ad for a prescription drug that treats their medical condition. In study 1, participants will be randomly assigned to view either a live-action, rotoscoped, or fully animated ad. All themes in study 1 will focus on the main character as the sufferer of the condition. In study 2, participants will be randomly assigned to a personification condition: sufferer, disease, or benefit. All ads in study 2 will be fully animated. Participants will watch the ad twice and then answer an online survey with questions addressing recall of risks and benefits, perceptions of risks and benefits, and attitudes and emotional responses to the ad, the brand, the product, and the character. The questionnaire is available upon request. Participation is estimated to take approximately 25 minutes.

    To examine differences between experimental conditions, we will conduct inferential statistical tests such as analysis of variance (ANOVA).

    With online surveys, several participants may be completing the survey at the time that the total target sample is reached. Those participants are allowed to complete the survey, which can result in the number of completes going slightly over the target number. Thus, our target number of completes is 1,500, so we have rounded up by an additional 150, or 10%, to allow for some overage.

    FDA estimates the burden of this collection of information as follows:

    Table 3—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 1 Activity Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total annual responses Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • Total Hours
    Pretesting Number to complete the screener (assumes 50% eligible) 660 1 660 0.08 (5 min.) 53 Number of completes 330 1 330 .42 (25 min.) 139 Main Study Number to complete the screener (assumes 50% eligible) 3,300 1 3,300 0.08 (5 min.) 264 Number of completes 1,650 1 1,650 .42 (25 min.) 693 Total Hours 1,149 1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

    The following references have been placed on display in the Division of Dockets Management (see ADDRESSES) and may be seen by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and are available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov.

    References 1. Callcott MF, Lee W. “Establishing the Spokes-Character in Academic Inquiry: Historical Overview and Framework for Definition,” Advances in Consumer Research, 1995;22:144-151. 2. Bell JA. Creativity, TV Commercial Popularity, and Advertising Expenditures, Internationl Journal of Advertising, 1992;11(2):165-72. 3. Heiser RS, Sierra JJ, Torres IM. “Creativity Via Cartoon Spokespeople in Print Ads: Capitalizing on the Distinctiveness Effect,” Journal of Advertising, 2008;37(4):75-85. 4. Luo JT, McGoldrick P, Beatty S, et al, “On-Screen Characters: Their Design and Influence on Consumer Trust,” Journal of Services Marketing, 2006;20(2):112-24. 5. Clayton RB, Lesher G. “The Uncanny Valley: The Effects of Rotoscope Animation on Motivational Processing of Depression Drug Messages,” Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 2015;59(1):57-75. 6. Bhutada NS, Rollins BL, Perri M. “Animation in Print Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Drugs: Impact on Consumers,” at the 32d Association for Marketing and Healthcare Research Annual Meeting and Conference, February 27-March 1, 2013, Big Sky, MT. 7. Pashupati K. “Beavers, Bubbles, Bees, and Moths: An Examination of Animated Spokescharacters in DTC Prescription Drug Advertisements and Web sites,” Journal of Advertising Research, 2009;49(3):373-93. 8. Chandler J, Schwarz N. “Use Does Not Wear Ragged the Fabric of Friendship: Thinking of Objects as Alive Makes People Less Willing to Replace Them,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2010;20(2):138-145. 9. Callcott MF, Phillips BJ., “Observations: Elves Make Good Cookies: Creating Likeable Spokescharacter Advertising,” Journal of Advertising Research, 1996;36(5):73-79. 10. Garretson JA, Niedrich RW., “Spokes-Characters: Creating Character Trust and Positive Brand Attitudes,” Journal of Advertising, 2004;33(2):25-36. 11. Delbaere M, McQuarrie EF, Phillips BJ, “Personification in Advertising: Using a Visual Metaphor to Trigger Anthropomorphism,” Journal of Advertising, 2011;40(1):121-130. 12. Hart PM, Jones SR, Royne MB, “The Human Lens: How Anthropomorphic Reasoning Varies by Product Complexity and Enhances Personal Value,” Journal of Marketing Management, 2013;29(1-2):105-121. 13. Moyer-Guse E, Mahood C, Brookes S., “Entertainment-Education in the Context of Humor: Effects on Safer Sex Intentions and Risk Perceptions,” Health Communication, 2011;26(8):765-774. 14. Lang A., “The Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing,” The Sage Handbook of Mass Media Effects, New York: Sage;2009:193-204. 15. Garretson JA, Burton S., “The Role of Spokescharacters as Advertisement and Package Cues in Integrated Marketing Campaigns,” Journal of Marketing, 2005;69(4):118-132. 16. Lang A., “Using the Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing to Design Effective Cancer Communication Messages,” Journal of Communication, 2006;56:557-580. Dated: February 23, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04569 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2012-N-0110] Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Medical Device Reporting: Manufacturer, Importer, User Facility, and Distributor Reporting AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that a collection of information entitled “Medical Device Reporting: Manufacturer, Importer, User Facility, and Distributor Reporting” has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On August 31, 2015, the Agency submitted a proposed collection of information entitled “Medical Device Reporting: Manufacturer, Importer, User Facility, and Distributor Reporting” to OMB for review and clearance under 44 U.S.C. 3507. 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. OMB has now approved the information collection and has assigned OMB control number 0910-0437. The approval expires on December 31, 2018. A copy of the supporting statement for this information collection is available on the Internet at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04576 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-1837] Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Electronic User Fee Payment Request Forms AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that a collection of information entitled “Electronic User Fee Payment Request Forms” has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On September 30, 2015, the Agency submitted a proposed collection of information entitled “Electronic User Fee Payment Request Forms” to OMB for review and clearance under 44 U.S.C. 3507. 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. OMB has now approved the information collection and has assigned OMB control number 0910-0805. The approval expires on November 20, 2018. A copy of the supporting statement for this information collection is available on the Internet at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04574 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No FDA-2016-N-0628] Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Reporting Associated With New Animal Drug Applications AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA, we) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the Agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA), Federal Agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, and to allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on the collection of information associated with new animal drug applications.

    DATES:

    Submit either electronic or written comments on the collection of information by May 2, 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-2016-N-0628 for Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Reporting Associated with New Animal Drug Applications. 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:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal Agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes Agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires Federal Agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, FDA is publishing notice of the proposed collection of information set forth in this document.

    With respect to the following collection of information, FDA invites comments on these topics: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FDA's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FDA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    Reporting Associated With New Animal Drug Applications (NADA)—21 CFR 514.1, 514.4, 514.5, 514.6, 514.8, 514.11, 558.5 (OMB Control Number 0910-0032)—Extension

    Under Section 512(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 360b(b)(1)), any person may file a new animal drug application (NADA) seeking our approval to legally market a new animal drug. Section 512(b)(1) sets forth the information required to be submitted in a NADA. Sections 514.1, 514.4, 514.6, 514.8, and 514.11 of our regulations (21 CFR 514.1, 514.4, 514.6, 514.8, and 514.11) further specify the information that the NADA must contain. The application must include safety and effectiveness data, proposed labeling, product manufacturing information, and where necessary, complete information on food safety (including microbial food safety) and any methods used to determine residues of drug chemicals in edible tissue from food producing animals. FDA Guidance #152 outlines a risk assessment approach for evaluating the microbial food safety of antimicrobial new animal drugs. We request that applicants utilize Form FDA 356V, as appropriate, to ensure efficient and accurate processing of information to support new animal drug approval.

    Under section 512(b)(3) of the FD&C Act, any person intending to file a NADA or supplemental NADA or a request for an investigational exemption under section 512(j) of the FD&C Act is entitled to one or more conferences with us prior to making a submission. Section 514.5 of our regulations (21 CFR 514.5) describes the procedures for requesting, conducting, and documenting pre-submission conferences. We have found that these meetings have increased the efficiency of the drug development and drug review processes. We encourage sponsors to submit data for review at the most appropriate and productive times in the drug development process. Rather than submitting all data for review as part of a complete application, we have found that the submission of data supporting discrete technical sections during the investigational phase of the new animal drug is the most appropriate and productive. This “phased review” of data submissions has created efficiencies for both us and the animal pharmaceutical industry.

    Finally, § 558.5(i) of our regulations (21 CFR 558.5(i)) describes the procedure for requesting a waiver of the labeling requirements of § 558.5(h) in the event that there is evidence to indicate that it is unlikely a new animal drug would be used in the manufacture of a liquid medicated feed.

    The reporting associated with NADAs and related submissions is necessary to ensure that new animal drugs are in compliance with section 512(b)(1) of the FD&C Act. We use the information collected to review the data, labeling and manufacturing controls and procedures to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the proposed new animal drug.

    We estimate the burden of this collection of information as follows:

    Table 1—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 1 21 CFR Section; activity Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total annual
  • responses
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • Total
  • hours
  • 514.1 & 514.6; applications and amended applications 182 .05 9 212 1,908 514.1(b)(8) and 514.8(c)(1); evidence to establish safety and effectiveness 182 .10 19 90 1,710 514.5(b), (d), (f); requesting presubmission conferences 182 .49 89 50 4,450 514.8(b); manufacturing changes to an approved application 182 1.40 255 35 8,925 514.8(c)(1); labeling and other changes to an approved application 182 .05 10 71 710 514.8(c)(2) & (3); labeling and other changes to an approved application 182 .43 79 20 1,580 514.11; submission of data, studies and other information 182 .09 16 1 16 558.5(i); requirements for liquid medicated feed 182 .01 1 5 5 Form FDA 356V 182 2.92 531 5 2,655 Total 1009 21,959 1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information. 2 NADAs and supplements regarding antimicrobial animal drugs that use a recommended approach to assessing antimicrobial concerns as part of the overall pre-approval safety evaluation.

    Based on the number of sponsors subject to animal drug user fees, we estimate an average of 182 annual respondents during the 5 fiscal years, from October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2014, on which these estimates were made. We use this estimate consistently throughout the table and calculate the “annual frequency per respondent” by dividing the total annual responses by the total number of respondents. We base our estimates of the average burden per response on our experience with NADAs and related submissions.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04575 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Health Resources and Services Administration National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program; List of Petitions Received AGENCY:

    Health Resources and Services Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is publishing this notice of petitions received under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (the Program), as required by Section 2112(b)(2) of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, as amended. While the Secretary of Health and Human Services is named as the respondent in all proceedings brought by the filing of petitions for compensation under the Program, the United States Court of Federal Claims is charged by statute with responsibility for considering and acting upon the petitions.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information about requirements for filing petitions, and the Program in general, contact the Clerk, United States Court of Federal Claims, 717 Madison Place NW., Washington, DC 20005, (202) 357-6400. For information on HRSA's role in the Program, contact the Director, National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 11C-26, Rockville, MD 20857; (301) 443-6593, or visit our Web site at: http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/index.html.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Program provides a system of no-fault compensation for certain individuals who have been injured by specified childhood vaccines. Subtitle 2 of Title XXI of the PHS Act, 42 U.S.C. 300aa-10 et seq., provides that those seeking compensation are to file a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and to serve a copy of the petition on the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is named as the respondent in each proceeding. The Secretary has delegated this responsibility under the Program to HRSA. The Court is directed by statute to appoint special masters who take evidence, conduct hearings as appropriate, and make initial decisions as to eligibility for, and amount of, compensation.

    A petition may be filed with respect to injuries, disabilities, illnesses, conditions, and deaths resulting from vaccines described in the Vaccine Injury Table (the Table) set forth at 42 CFR 100.3. This Table lists for each covered childhood vaccine the conditions that may lead to compensation and, for each condition, the time period for occurrence of the first symptom or manifestation of onset or of significant aggravation after vaccine administration. Compensation may also be awarded for conditions not listed in the Table and for conditions that are manifested outside the time periods specified in the Table, but only if the petitioner shows that the condition was caused by one of the listed vaccines.

    Section 2112(b)(2) of the PHS Act, 42 U.S.C. 300aa-12(b)(2), requires that “[w]ithin 30 days after the Secretary receives service of any petition filed under section 2111 the Secretary shall publish notice of such petition in the Federal Register.” Set forth below is a list of petitions received by HRSA on January 1, 2016, through January 31, 2016. This list provides the name of petitioner, city and state of vaccination (if unknown then city and state of person or attorney filing claim), and case number. In cases where the Court has redacted the name of a petitioner and/or the case number, the list reflects such redaction.

    Section 2112(b)(2) also provides that the special master “shall afford all interested persons an opportunity to submit relevant, written information” relating to the following:

    1. The existence of evidence “that there is not a preponderance of the evidence that the illness, disability, injury, condition, or death described in the petition is due to factors unrelated to the administration of the vaccine described in the petition,” and

    2. Any allegation in a petition that the petitioner either:

    a. “[S]ustained, or had significantly aggravated, any illness, disability, injury, or condition not set forth in the Vaccine Injury Table but which was caused by” one of the vaccines referred to in the Table, or

    b. “[S]ustained, or had significantly aggravated, any illness, disability, injury, or condition set forth in the Vaccine Injury Table the first symptom or manifestation of the onset or significant aggravation of which did not occur within the time period set forth in the Table but which was caused by a vaccine” referred to in the Table.

    In accordance with Section 2112(b)(2), all interested persons may submit written information relevant to the issues described above in the case of the petitions listed below. Any person choosing to do so should file an original and three (3) copies of the information with the Clerk of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims at the address listed above (under the heading FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT), with a copy to HRSA addressed to Director, Division of Injury Compensation Programs, Healthcare Systems Bureau, 5600 Fishers Lane, 08N146B, Rockville, MD 20857. The Court's caption (Petitioner's Name v. Secretary of Health and Human Services) and the docket number assigned to the petition should be used as the caption for the written submission. Chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code, related to paperwork reduction, does not apply to information required for purposes of carrying out the Program.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. James Macrae, Acting Administrator. List of Petitions Filed 1. Danielle Lipscomb Malone, Nashville, Tennessee, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0002V 2. Phyllis Kostura, Allentown, Pennsylvania, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0003V 3. Heather Choset, New York, New York, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0004V 4. Joan Coston, Huntsville, Alabama, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0005V 5. Hannah E. Boyle, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0006V 6. Alexandra Toes, Phoenix, Arizona, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0007V 7. Michelle Green, Carteret, New Jersey, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0008V 8. Steven E. Pearson, Mankato, Minnesota, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0009V 9. Ellen Denham, San Francisco, California, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0010V 10. Kathleen Berrett on behalf of C.B., Boston, Massachusetts, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0011V 11. Bradley Grow, Grants Pass, Oregon, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0013V 12. Barbie Smoot, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0014V 13. Steven Blazer, Andover, Kansas, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0015V 14. Arian Walton, Boise, Idaho, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0016V 15. Amanda Roetto, Hubert, North Carolina, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0018V 16. Frederick Root and Lisa Root on behalf of M.A.R., Castleton, New York, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0020V 17. Eric Mateer, Sarasota, Florida, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0022V 18. Sarah Volpi, Dallas, Texas, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0023V 19. Carol Williams, Cottage Grove, Minnesota, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0024V 20. Mark Chiasson, Thibodaux, Louisiana, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0025V 21. Kelsey Johnson, Indianapolis, Indiana, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0027V 22. Etta B. Mcintosh, Butler, Alabama, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0029V 23. Jodi Weitzman, Bellmore, New York, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0030V 24. Lucy Dipiazza, Sarasota, Florida, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0031V 25. Mary Thompson, Seward, Nebraska, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0032V 26. Gloria Guerrero, Beverly Hills, California, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0033V 27. Catherine S. Jansen-Larson, Wyncote, Pennsylvania, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0034V 28. Chrystal Derenzo on behalf of A.S., Boston, Massachusetts, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0035V 29. A.P., Yountville, California, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0036V 30. Amy Painter, Union Grove, Wisconsin, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0037V 31. Tommie Cage, Saginaw, Michigan, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0038V 32. Ann Stoneburner, Watkinsville, Georgia, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0040V 33. Dominique Sartain, Westerville, Ohio, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0041V 34. Ronald D. Klopfenstein, Seattle, Washington, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0042V 35. Janice Clowe, Rye, New York, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0046V 36. Peter Stokke, Maumelle, Arkansas, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0048V 37. Diana Hagerman, Cooper City, Florida, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0052V 38. Barbara Steele, La Jolla, California, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0067V 39. Deitra Curry, Lake Orion, Michigan, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0068V 40. Shirley Grossman, Spokane, Washington, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0069V 41. Jamie Spivak on behalf of C.C., Great Neck, New York, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0070V 42. Andrea Herlth on behalf of K.H., Middletown, Connecticut, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0071V 43. Mandy Ward, Denver, Colorado, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0072V 44. Maddison Verdecia, Little River, South Carolina, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0073V 45. Rigo Guzman, Fresno, California, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0074V 46. Dolores Olonovich, Gardenville, Pennsylvania, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0079V 47. Carla Theeman, Valhalla, New York, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0080V 48. Donald G. Jones, Jr., Wake Forest, North Carolina, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0082V 49. Cheryl Zupon, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0084V 50. Scott Curtis, Marion, Indiana, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0085V 51. Patricia Wilson, Marlette, Michigan, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0086V 52. Maria Corulla on behalf of N.J., Staten Island, New York, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0088V 53. Lynn Botsaris, Worcester, Massachusetts, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0090V 54. Jason McDunn and Elysia McDunn on behalf of J.M., Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0091V 55. Timothy Neel, Windsor, Colorado, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0096V 56. Jackie Evans, Marion, Illinois, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0097V 57. Mati Franco, Beverly Hills, California, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0099V 58. Cynthia Smith, Marinette, Wisconsin, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0104V 59. Ganesh Upadhiai, Jamaica, New York, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0111V 60. Julie Fisk, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0112V 61. Robert Garcia, Florence, Oregon, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0114V 62. Amy Battles, Douglasville, Georgia, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0115V 63. Sarah and Kristopher Ammons on behalf of D.A., Deceased, Knoxville, Tennessee, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0116V 64. John Barczuk, Bonita, California, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0117V 65. Nancy Stites, Huntington Beach, California, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0118V 66. Raymond Roach on behalf of O.G.R., Tulsa, Oklahoma, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0119V 67. Thomas Aurigemma, Sarasota, Florida, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0120V 68. Michael L. Black, Avondale, Louisiana, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0121V 69. Pamela O'Neal, Baraboo, Wisconsin, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0122V 70. Jeff Holmes and Christal Holmes on behalf of Z.H., Vienna, Virginia, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0123V 71. Paris Henderson, Boston, Massachusetts, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0127V 72. Jeri Harvey, Jericho, Vermont, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0128V 73. Joan Walton, Carson City, Nevada, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0129V 74. Jean Meizel, Boston, Massachusetts, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0130V 75. Dante Vasquez, Dallas, Texas, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0133V 76. Sheila Adams, Richmond, Virginia, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0135V 77. David Romero, Palo Alto, California, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0136V 78. Paula Heilig on behalf of I.H., Ridgewood, New York, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0140V 79. Carol Basko, Dresher, Pennsylvania, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0142V 80. Donna Callaway, Chicago, Illinois, Court of Federal Claims No: 16-0144V
    [FR Doc. 2016-04530 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4165-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Health Resources and Services Administration Statement of Organization, Functions and Delegations of Authority

    This notice amends Part R of the Statement of Organization, Functions and Delegations of Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) (60 FR 56605, as amended November 6, 1995; as last amended at 80 FR 81341-81344 dated December 29, 2015).

    This notice reflects organizational changes in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HIV/AIDS Bureau (RV). Specifically, this notice: (1) Establishes the Division of Administrative Operations (RV21) within the Office of Operations and Management (RV2).

    Chapter RV—HIV/AIDS Bureau Section RV-10, Organization

    Delete the organization for the Office of Operations and Management (RV2) in its entirety and replace with the following:

    The Office of Operations and Management (RV2) is directed by the Director/Executive Officer who reports directly to the Associate Administrator, HIV/AIDS Bureau (RV). The Associate Administrator, HIV/AIDS Bureau reports directly to the Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration. The Office of Operations and Management include the following components:

    (1) Office of Operations and Management (RV2); and

    (2) Division of Administrative Operations (RV21).

    Section RV-20, Functions

    This notice reflects organizational changes in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Office of Operations and Management (RV2). Specifically, this notice: (1) Establishes the Division of Administrative Operations (RV21).

    Establish the functional statement for the Division of Administrative Operations (RV21) within the Office of Operations and Management (RV2).

    Office of Operations and Management (RV2)

    The Office of Operations and Management is directed by the Director/Executive Officer for the HIV/AIDS Bureau. The Office provides expertise guidance, leadership, and support in the areas of: Administration, fiscal operations, and contract administration. The Office of Operations and Management is responsible for providing direction on all budgetary, administrative, human resources, operations, facility management, contracting, organizational development, training and technological developments for the HIV/AIDS Bureau. The Office also oversees and coordinates all Bureau program integrity activities.

    Division of Administrative Operations (RV21)

    The Division of Administrative Operations is responsible for the administrative, human resources operations, facility management, contracting, organizational development/training functions and fiscal operations for the Bureau.

    Delegations of Authority

    All delegations of authority and re-delegations of authority made to HRSA officials that were in effect immediately prior to this reorganization, and that are consistent with this reorganization, shall continue in effect pending further re-delegation.

    This reorganization is effective upon date of signature.

    Dated: February 17,2016. James Macrae, Acting Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04529 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4165-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Health Resources and Services Administration Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection: Public Comment Request AGENCY:

    Health Resources and Services Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the requirement for opportunity for public comment on proposed data collection projects (Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announces plans to submit an Information Collection Request (ICR), described below, to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Prior to submitting the ICR to OMB, HRSA seeks comments from the public regarding the burden estimate, below, or any other aspect of the ICR.

    DATES:

    Comments on this Information Collection Request must be received no later than May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments to [email protected] or mail the HRSA Information Collection Clearance Officer, Room 10-29, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the data collection plans and draft instruments, email [email protected] or call the HRSA Information Collection Clearance Officer at (301) 443-1984.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    When submitting comments or requesting information, please include the information request collection title for reference.

    Information Collection Request Title: Health Center Program Application Forms OMB No. 0915-0285—Revision

    Abstract: Health Centers (those entities funded under Public Health Service Act section 330 and Health Center Program Look-Alikes) deliver comprehensive, high quality, cost-effective primary health care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. Health centers have become an essential primary care provider for America's most vulnerable populations. Health centers advance the preventive and primary medical/health care home model of coordinated, comprehensive, and patient-centered care; providing a wide range of medical, dental, behavioral, and social services. More than 1,300 health centers operate more than 9,000 service delivery sites that provide care in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin.

    The Health Center Program is administered by HRSA's Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC). HRSA/BPHC uses the following application forms to oversee the Health Center Program.

    Need and Proposed Use of the Information: BPHC Health Center Program-specific forms are critical to Health Center Program grant and non-grant award processes and for Health Center Program oversight. The purpose of these forms is to provide HRSA staff and objective review committee panels information essential for application evaluation, funding recommendation and approval, designation, and monitoring. These forms also provide HRSA staff with information essential for ensuring compliance with Health Center Program legislative and regulatory requirements. These application forms are used by existing health centers and other organizations to apply for various grant and non-grant opportunities, renew their grant or non-grant designation, and change their scope of project.

    Most of the Health Center Program-specific forms do not require any changes with this revision. HRSA intends to revise some of the forms to streamline and clarify data already being requested (Form 1A, 1B, 2, 3, 5A, 5B, 6A, 8, Performance Measures, Project Work Plan) and change several form names (changing Form 3A to Look-Alike Budget Information, Form 10 to Emergency Preparedness Report, and Increased Demand for Services to Project Narrative). HRSA also intends to add six new forms. The Supplemental Information form and Summary Page will consolidate important application information that is usually found distributed throughout the application, including eligibility criteria and projected goals. These forms would require applicant confirmation that the information provided is accurate. Two additional forms would include the Program Narrative Update, used to report progress for the renewal of Health Center Program awards, and the Substance Abuse Progress Report, used to report quarterly progress for award recipients of Substance Abuse Expansion supplemental funding. Two other forms, the Health Center Controlled Networks Work Plan and Progress Report, are forms that have been used in the past (under another OMB control number) to collect application baseline data and progress metrics for grantees.

    Likely Respondents: Health Center Program award recipients and look-alikes, state and national technical assistance organizations, and other organizations seeking funding.

    Burden Statement: Burden in this context means the time expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose or provide the information requested. This includes the time needed to review instructions; to develop, acquire, install and utilize technology and systems for the purpose of collecting, validating and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; to train personnel and to be able to respond to a collection of information; to search data sources; to complete and review the collection of information; and to transmit or otherwise disclose the information. The total annual burden hours estimated for this Information Collection Request are summarized in the table below.

    Total Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Form name Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total
  • responses
  • Average
  • burden per response
  • (in hours)
  • Total burden hours
    Form 1A: General Information Worksheet 1,700 1 1,700 1.0 1,700 Form 1B: BPHC Funding Request Summary 450 1 450 0.75 337.5 Form 1C: Documents on File 1,000 1 1,000 0.5 500 Form 2: Staffing Profile 1,700 1 1,700 1.0 1,700 Form 3: Income Analysis 1,900 1 1,900 2.5 4,750 Form 3A: FQHC Look-Alike Budget Information 100 1 100 1.0 100 Form 4: Community Characteristics 1,000 1 1,000 1.0 1,000 Form 5A: Services Provided 1,700 1 1,700 1.0 1,700 Form 5B: Service Sites 1,200 1 1,200 0.75 900 Form 5C: Other Activities/Locations 1,000 1 1,000 0.5 500 Form 6A: Current Board Member Characteristics 1,000 1 1,000 0.5 500 Form 6B: Request for Waiver of Governance Requirements 100 1 100 1.0 100 Form 8: Health Center Agreements 600 1 600 0.75 450 Form 9: Need for Assistance Worksheet 500 1 500 4.5 2,250 Form 10: Annual Emergency Preparedness Report 1,000 1 1,000 1.0 1,000 Form 12: Organization Contacts 1,000 1 1,000 0.5 500 Clinical Performance Measures 1,000 1 1,000 2 2,000 Financial Performance Measures 1,000 1 1,000 1 1,000 Implementation Plan 900 1 900 3.0 2,700 Project Work Plan 200 1 200 4.0 800 Proposal Cover Page 400 1 400 1.0 400 Project Cover Page 400 1 400 1.0 400 Equipment List 400 1 400 1.0 400 Other Requirements for Sites 400 1 400 0.5 200 Funding Sources 400 1 400 0.5 200 Project Qualification Criteria 400 1 400 1.0 400 O&E Supplemental 1,200 1 1,200 1.0 1,200 O&E Progress Report 1,200 1 1,200 1.0 1,200 Checklist for Adding a New Service Delivery Site 700 1 700 2.0 1,400 Checklist for Deleting Existing Service Delivery Site 700 1 700 2.0 1,400 Checklist for Adding New Service 700 1 700 2.0 1,400 Checklist for Deleting Existing Service 700 1 700 2.0 1,400 Checklist for Replacing Existing Service Delivery Site 700 1 700 2.0 1,400 Checklist for Adding a New Target Population 50 1 50 1.0 50 Increased Demand for Services 1,400 1 1,400 1 1,400 Supplemental Information (NEW) 2,000 1 2,000 0.5 1,000 Summary Page (NEW) 1,700 1 1,700 0.25 425 Program Narrative Update (NEW) 900 1 900 1 900 Substance Abuse Progress Report (NEW) 300 4 1,200 1 1,200 Health Center Controlled Networks Progress Report (NEW) 93 1 93 25 2,325 Health Center Controlled Networks Work Plan (NEW) 93 1 93 5 465 Total 33,886 34,786 43,652.5

    HRSA specifically requests comments on (1) the necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions, (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden, (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

    Jackie Painter, Director, Division of the Executive Secretariat.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04535 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4165-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Health Resources and Services Administration National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps; Notice of Meeting

    In accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), notice is hereby given of the following meeting:

    Name: National Advisory Council on the National Health Service Corps (NACNHSC).

    Dates and Times: March 21-22, 2016, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. EST.

    Place: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Conference Room #5E29, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857, In-Person Meeting and Conference Call Format.

    Status: This advisory council meeting will be open to the public.

    Purpose: The NACNHSC provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and, by designation, the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, on a range of issues including identifying the priorities for NHSC, and policy revisions.

    Agenda: The NACNHSC will continue its discussion on clinician recruitment and retention and explore questions on diversity and workforce analysis. The Council will draft potential policy recommendations for the National Health Service Corps scholarship and loan repayment programs with respect to clinician retention in underserved communities. The content of the agenda is subject to change prior to the meeting. The NACNHAC final agenda will be available on the NACNHSC Web site 3 days in advance of the meeting.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Further information regarding the NACNHSC including the roster of members, past meetings summaries is available at the following Web site: http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/corpsexperience/aboutus/nationaladvisorycouncil/index.html. Members of the public and interested parties may request to participate in the meeting by contacting Ashley Carothers via email at [email protected] to obtain access information. Access will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited. Public participants may submit written statements in advance of the scheduled meeting. If you would like to provide oral public comment during the meeting, please register with the Ashley Carothers. Public comment will be limited to 3 minutes per speaker. Statements and comments can be addressed to Ashley Carothers by emailing her at [email protected]. Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should notify the contact person listed above at least 10 days prior to the meeting. In addition, please be advised that committee members are given copies of all written statements submitted from the public. Any further public participation will be solely at the discretion of the Chair, with approval of the Designated Federal Official. Registration through the designated contact for the public comment session is required.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Anyone requesting information regarding the NACNHSC should contact Ashley Carothers, Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources and Services Administration, in one of three ways: (1) Send a request to the following address: Ashley Carothers, Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources and Services Administration, Room 14N108, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857; (2) call (301) 443-7229; or (3) send an email to [email protected].

    Jackie Painter, Director, Division of the Executive Secretariat.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04534 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4165-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    As stipulated by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is hereby giving notice that a meeting is scheduled to be held for the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (the Advisory Council). The meeting will be open to the public; a public comment session will be held during the meeting. Pre-registration is required for members of the public who wish to attend the meeting and who wish to participate in the public comment session. Individuals who wish to attend the meeting and/or send in their public comment via email should send an email to [email protected] Registration information is available on the Web site http://www.hhs.gov/ash/carb/ and must be completed by March 21, 2016; all in-person attendees must pre-register by this date. Additional information about registering for the meeting and providing public comment can be obtained at http://www.hhs.gov/ash/carb/ on the Meetings page.

    DATES:

    The meeting is scheduled to be held on March 30, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET, and March 31, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET (times are tentative and subject to change). The confirmed times and agenda items for the meeting will be posted on the Web site for the Advisory Council at http://www.hhs.gov/ash/carb/ when this information becomes available. Pre-registration for attending the meeting in person is required to be completed no later than March 21, 2016; public attendance at the meeting is limited to the available space.

    ADDRESSES:

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Great Hall, 200 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20201.

    The meeting also can be accessed through a live webcast on the day of the meeting. For more information, visit http://www.hhs.gov/ash/carb/.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Bruce Gellin, Designated Federal Officer, Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Room 715H, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20201. Phone: (202) 260-6638; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under Executive Order 13676, dated September 18, 2014, authority was given to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (Advisory Council), in consultation with the Secretaries of Defense (DoD) and Agriculture (USDA). Activities of the Advisory Council are governed by the provisions of Public Law 92-463, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of federal advisory committees.

    The Advisory Council will provide advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary of HHS regarding programs and policies intended to support and evaluate the implementation of Executive Order 13676, including the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (Strategy) and the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (Action Plan). The Advisory Council shall function solely for advisory purposes.

    In carrying out its mission, the Advisory Council will provide advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary regarding programs and policies intended to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics by optimizing their use; advance research to develop improved methods for combating antibiotic resistance and conducting antibiotic stewardship; strengthen surveillance of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections; prevent the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections; advance the development of rapid point-of-care and agricultural diagnostics; further research on new treatments for bacterial infections; develop alternatives to antibiotics for agricultural purposes; maximize the dissemination of up-to-date information on the appropriate and proper use of antibiotics to the general public and human and animal healthcare providers; and improve international coordination of efforts to combat antibiotic resistance.

    The March public meeting will be dedicated to presentations by the five currently active working groups of the Advisory Council, which are: Antibiotic Stewardship; One Health Surveillance; Diagnostic Innovations; Treatment, Prevention and Control Research and Development; and International Collaboration on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB). The Advisory Council will deliberate and vote on the working groups' findings and recommendations. In addition, the Advisory Council will be presented with a new task(s) from the Secretary of HHS, in consultation with USDA and DoD. The meeting agenda will be posted on the Advisory Council Web site at http://www.hhs.gov/ash/carb when it has been finalized.

    Public attendance at the meeting is limited to the available space. Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should notify the Advisory Council at the address/telephone number listed above at least one week prior to the meeting. For those unable to attend in person, a live webcast will be available. More information on registration and accessing the webcast can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/ash/carb/.

    Members of the public will have the opportunity to provide comments prior to the Advisory Council meeting by emailing [email protected] Public comments should be sent in by midnight March 21, 2016, and should be limited to no more than one page. All public comments received prior to March 21, 2016, will be provided to Advisory Council members and read during the public comment period designated on the agenda; comments are limited to two minutes per speaker.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. Bruce Gellin, Designated Federal Officer, Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04473 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150-44-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Determination and Declaration Regarding Emergency Use of in Vitro Diagnostic Tests for Detection of Zika Virus and/or Diagnosis of Zika Virus Infection AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) is issuing this notice pursuant to section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, 21 U.S.C. 360bbb-3. On February 26, 2016, the Secretary determined that there is a significant potential for a public health emergency that has a significant potential to affect national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad and that involves Zika virus.

    On the basis of this determination, she also declared that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostic tests for detection of Zika virus and/or diagnosis of Zika virus infection pursuant to section 564 of the FD&C Act, subject to the terms of any authorization issued under that section.

    DATES:

    The determination and declaration are effective February 26, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nicole Lurie, M.D., MSPH, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Office of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20201, Telephone (202) 205-2882 (this is not a toll free number).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    Under Section 564 of the FD&C Act, the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), acting under delegated authority from the Secretary of HHS, may issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authorizing (1) the emergency use of an unapproved drug, an unapproved or uncleared device, or an unlicensed biological product; or (2) an unapproved use of an approved drug, approved or cleared device, or licensed biological product. Before an EUA may be issued, the Secretary of HHS must declare that circumstances exist justifying the authorization based on one of four determinations: (1) A determination by the Secretary of Homeland Security that there is a domestic emergency, or a significant potential for a domestic emergency, involving a heightened risk of attack with a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) agent or agents; (2) the identification of a material threat by the Secretary of Homeland Security pursuant to section 319F-2 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act 1 sufficient to affect national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad; (3) a determination by the Secretary of Defense that there is a military emergency, or a significant potential for a military emergency, involving a heightened risk to United States military forces of attack with a CBRN agent or agents; or (4) a determination by the Secretary of HHS that there is a public health emergency, or a significant potential for a public health emergency, that affects, or has a significant potential to affect, national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad, and that involves a CBRN agent or agents, or a disease or condition that may be attributable to such agent or agents.2

    1 42 U.S.C. 247d-6b.

    2 As amended by the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act, Public Law 113-5, the Secretary may make determination of a public health emergency, or a significant potential for a public health emergency, under section 564 of the FD&C Act. The Secretary is no longer required to make a determination of a public health emergency in accordance with section 319 of the PHS Act, 42 U.S.C. 247d to support a determination or declaration made under section 564 of the FD&C Act.

    Based on any of these four determinations, the Secretary of HHS may then declare that circumstances exist that justify the EUA, at which point the FDA Commissioner may issue an EUA if the criteria for issuance of an authorization under section 564 of the FD&C Act are met. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requested that the FDA issue an EUA for in vitro diagnostic tests for detection of Zika virus and/or diagnosis of Zika virus infection to allow the Department to take preparedness measures based on information currently available about the active transmission of Zika virus, as of February 24, 2016, in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, 31 countries in the Americas, Pacific Islands, and Africa. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern because of clusters of microcephaly and other neurological disorders in some areas affected by Zika virus. On January 22, 2016, CDC activated its Incident Management System and, working through the Emergency Operations Center, centralized its response to the outbreaks of Zika occurring in the Americas and increased reports of birth defects and Guillain-Barré syndrome in areas affected by Zika virus. On February 8, 2016, CDC elevated its response efforts to a Level 1 activation, the highest response level. The Secretary's Operations Center, which is operated by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response, is also activated. The determination of a significant potential for a public health emergency, and the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostic tests for detection of Zika virus and/or diagnosis of Zika virus infection by the Secretary of HHS, as described below, enable the FDA Commissioner to issue an EUA for certain diagnostic tests for emergency use under section 564 of the FD&C Act.

    II. Determination by the Secretary of Health and Human Services

    On February 26, 2016, pursuant to section 564 of the FD&C Act, I determined that a there is a significant potential for a public health emergency that has a significant potential to affect national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad and that involves Zika virus.

    III. Declaration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services

    Also on February 26, 2016, on the basis of my determination of a significant potential for a public health emergency that has a significant potential to affect national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad and that involves Zika virus, I declared that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostic tests for detection of Zika virus and/or diagnosis of Zika virus infection pursuant to section 564 of the FD&C Act, subject to the terms of any authorization issued under that section.

    Notice of any EUAs issued by the FDA Commissioner pursuant to this determination and declaration will be provided promptly in the Federal Register as required under section 564 of the FD&C Act.

    Dated: February 26, 2016. Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04624 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150-37-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY [Docket No. DHS-DHS-2016-0019] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for Review; Information Collection Request for the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Technology Acceptance and Evaluation Survey AGENCY:

    Science and Technology Directorate, DHS.

    ACTION:

    60-Day notice and request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) invites the general public to comment on the data collection form for the DHS Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) Technology Acceptance and Evaluation (TAE) Survey. The TAE web based tool proposes to collect information from 1,200 members of an online Internet panel. All information collected will be on a voluntary basis. DHS will not receive any personally identifying information. As part of its core mission, DHS is tasked with preventing terrorism and enhancing security, securing and managing our borders, and ensuring resilience to disasters. In order to assist in those key mission spaces, the S&T managed work to create a Rapid DNA Technology that allows field testing of DNA that is inexpensive and quick while performing with high accuracy in a non-laboratory setting. To ensure the effective implementation and diffusion of this new technology, DHS S&T seeks to better understand public perceptions of Rapid DNA, its use cases, and its collection through the TAE Survey. This notice and request for comments is required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13, 44 U.S.C. chapter 35).

    DATES:

    Comments are encouraged and will be accepted until May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-2016-0019, by one of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Please follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Email: [email protected] Please include docket number DHS-DHS-2016-0019 in the subject line of the message.

    Fax: (202) 254-6911. (Not a toll-free number).

    Mail: Science and Technology Directorate, ATTN: Kathleen Deloughery 6-055, 245 Murray Lane, Mail Stop 0210, Washington, DC 20528-0210.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    DHS FRCoP Contact Kathleen Deloughery (202) 254-6189 (Not a toll free number).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department is committed to improving its information collection and urges all interested parties to suggest how these materials can further reduce burden while seeking necessary information under the Act.

    DHS is particularly interested in comments that:

    (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) Suggest ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    (4) Suggest ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

    Overview of This Information Collection

    (1) Type of Information Collection: New Collection.

    (2) Title of the Form/Collection: Technology Acceptance and Evaluation Survey.

    (3) Agency Form Number, if any, and the applicable component of the Department of Homeland Security sponsoring the collection: DHS S&T, First Responders Group.

    (4) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond, as well as a brief abstract: Individuals; the data will be gathered from individual who wish to participate in the online survey.

    (5) An estimate of the total number of respondents and the amount of time estimated for an average respondent to respond:

    a. Estimate of the total number of respondents: 1,200.

    b. An estimate of the time for an average respondent to respond: 0.5 burden hours.

    c. An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associated with the collection: 600 burden hours.

    Dated: February 23, 2016. Rick Stevens, Chief Information Officer, Science and Technology Directorate.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04471 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-9F-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR-5889-FA-02] Tribal HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program Awards, Fiscal Year 2015 AGENCY:

    Office of Native American Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of funding awards.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with Section 102(a)(4)(C) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Reform Act of 1989, this announcement notifies the public of funding decisions made by the Department under the Tribal HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program (Tribal HUD-VASH) for Fiscal Year 2015. This announcement contains the names of the grantees and amounts of the awards made available by HUD.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Randall R. Akers, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Programs, Office of Public and Indian Housing, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street SW., Room 4126, Washington, DC 20410-5000, telephone, (202) 402-7598 (this is not a toll-free number). Hearing or speech-impaired individuals may access this number via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Pub. L. 113-235, approved December 16, 2014) (“2015 Appropriations Act”), authorizes funding for a demonstration program in order to expand the HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) into Indian Country. The Tribal HUD-VASH Program does this by combining Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance with Case Management and clinical services provided by or through the VA through Veterans Administration Medical Centers to Native American veterans that are Homeless or At Risk of Homelessness living on or near a reservation or other Indian areas. The program was announced by a notice posted on HUD's Web site on October 19, 2015, and published in the Federal Register on October 21, 2015 (80 FR 63822). The notice announced $4 million allowed for Tribal HUD-VASH awards; however, additional funds became available and awarded. Applicants were invited to apply for the demonstration program, and were evaluated based on the criteria contained in the notice.

    For Fiscal Year 2015, 26 awards totaling $5,878,516 were awarded to 26 tribes/tribally designated housing entities nationwide. In accordance with Section 102(a)(4)(C) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Reform Act of 1989 (103 Stat. 1987, 42 U.S.C. 3545), the Department is publishing the names of the grantees and the amounts of the awards in Appendix A to this document.

    Dated: February 17, 2016. Lourdes Castro Ramirez, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing. Appendix A—Fiscal Year 2015 Tribal HUD VA Supportive Housing Awards Recipient City State Amount
  • ($)
  • Cook Inlet Housing Authority Anchorage Alaska 313,058 Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority Juneau Alaska 324,749 The Association of Village Council Presidents Regional Housing Authority Bethel Alaska 391,740 Navajo Housing Authority Window Rock Arizona 268,835 Hopi Housing Authority Polacca Arizona 210,432 San Carlos Apache Tribe of the San Carlos Reservation, Arizona San Carlos Arizona 233,100 Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona Sells Arizona 302,936 Leech Lake Housing Authority Cass Lake Minnesota 159,022 White Earth Reservation Housing Authority White Earth Minnesota 142,980 Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of Montana Browning Montana 229,171 Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation, New Mexico Zuni New Mexico 123,288 Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina Pembroke North Carolina 185,604 Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Belcourt North Dakota 173,942 Standing Rock Housing Authority Fort Yates North Dakota 234,178 Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Tahlequah Oklahoma 194,405 Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes Concho Oklahoma 272,016 Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Hugo Oklahoma 246,992 Osage Nation of Oklahoma Pawhuska Oklahoma 265,438 Muscogee(Creek) Nation, Oklahoma Okmulgee Oklahoma 216,566 Warm Springs Housing Authority Warm Springs Oregon 240,237 Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota Pine Ridge South Dakota 190,898 Sicangu Wicoti Awayankapi Corporation Rosebud South Dakota 183,011 Yakama Nation Housing Authority Wapato Washington 145,283 Spokane Indian Housing Authority Spokane Washington 245,809 Colville Indian Housing Authority Nespelem Washington 179,892 Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin Oneida Wisconsin 204,934
    [FR Doc. 2016-04627 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR-5900-FA-06] Announcement of Funding Awards for HUD's Fiscal Year 2015 Community Compass Technical Assistance and Capacity Building AGENCY:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Funding Awards.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with section 102(a)(4)(C) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Reform Act of 1989, this announcement notifies the public of funding decisions made by the Department in a competition for funding under the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the HUD Community Compass Technical Assistance and Capacity Building program for Fiscal Year 2015. This announcement contains the names of the awardees and amounts of the awards made available by HUD.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lauren Deigh, Acting Director, Technical Assistance Division, Office of Community Planning and Development, 451 Seventh Street SW., Room 7218, Washington, DC 20410-7000; telephone (202) 402-2197 (this is not a toll-free number). Persons with speech or hearing impairments may access this telephone number via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service during working hours at 800-877-8339. For general information on this and other HUD programs visit the HUD Web site at http://www.hud.gov.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The goal of Community Compass is to empower communities by providing effective technical assistance and capacity building so that successful program implementation is sustained over the long term.

    Recognizing that HUD's customers often interact with a variety of HUD programs as they deliver housing or community development services, Community Compass brings together technical assistance investments from across HUD program offices, including but not limited to the Office of Community Planning and Development, the Office of Housing, and the Office of Public and Indian Housing.

    The competition was announced in the NOFA published on August 12, 2015, (FR-5900-06) and closed on September 25, 2015. The NOFA allowed for approximately $44,125,000.00 million for HUD Community Compass Technical Assistance and Capacity Building awards. Applications were rated and selected for funding on the basis of selection criteria contained in the Notice. For the Fiscal Year 2015 competition, awards totaling $44,125,000.00 were awarded to 23 different technical assistance providers nationwide.

    In accordance with section 102(a)(4)(C) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Reform Act of 1989 (103 Stat. 1987, 42 U.S.C. 3545), the Department is publishing the awardees and the amounts of the awards in Appendix A to this document.

    Dated: February 23, 2016. Clifford Taffet, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development. Appendix A Fiscal Year 2015 [HUD Community Compass Technical Assistance and Capacity Awards] Recipient City State Amount Abt Associates, Inc Cambridge MA ($)9,100,000 HomeBase/The Center for Common Concerns San Francisco CA 1,700,000 American Institutes for Research Washington DC 800,000 Association of Alaska Housing Authorities Anchorage AK 600,000 Collaborative Solutions, Inc Birmingham AL 1,325,000 Cloudburst Consulting Group, Inc Landover MD 4,800,000 Corporation for Supportive Housing New York NY 675,000 CVR Associates, Inc Tampa FL 1,200,000 Econometrica, Inc Bethesda MD 2,200,000 Enterprise Community Partners, Inc Columbia MD 2,075,000 FirstPic, Inc Gambrills MD 2,000,000 ICF Incorporated, LLC Fairfax VA 11,225,000 National Association for Latino Comm. Asset Bldrs San Antonio CA 550,000 First Nations Development Institute Longmont CO 275,000 National American Indian Housing Council Washington DC 2,875,000 National Council for Community Development, Inc New York NY 250,000 TDA Consulting, Inc Laurinburg NC 500,000 Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc Boston MA 500,000 The Partnership Center, Ltd Cincinnati OH 525,000 Innovative Emergency Management, Inc Morrisville NC 250,000 Corporate F.A.C.T.S., Inc Plymouth MI 250,000 Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, Inc Riverside CA 250,000 Rural Community Assistance Corporation W. Sacramento CA 200,000 Total $44,125,000
    [FR Doc. 2016-04626 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS-R8-R-2015-N244; FXRS12610800000-167-FF08R00000] Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, San Luis Obispo County, CA: Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan/Environmental Assessment AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge for review and comment. The CCP/EA, prepared under the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act of 1997, and in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, describes how the Service proposes to manage the refuge for the next 15 years. Draft compatibility determinations for uses proposed under one or more of the alternatives are also available for review and public comment.

    DATES:

    To ensure consideration, we must receive your written comments by April 18, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send your comments or requests for more information by any of the following methods.

    Email: [email protected] Include “GND CCP” in the subject line of the message.

    Fax: Attn: GND CCP, (916) 414-6497.

    U.S. Mail: Pacific Southwest Region, Refuge Planning, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, W-1832, Sacramento, CA 95825.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Refuge Planner at (916) 414-6500 or [email protected] Further information may also be found at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Guadalupe-Nipomo_Dunes/what_we_do/planning.html.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Introduction

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), which amended the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, requires the Service to develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose in developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan for achieving refuge purposes and contributing toward the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System, consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and our policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction on conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs also evaluate the potential for providing wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities to the public, including opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the Improvement Act.

    We initiated the CCP/EA for Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes in December 2013. We hosted two public meetings, one in Grover Beach on December 11, 2013, and one in Guadalupe on December 12, 2013. Our public outreach included a Federal Register notice of intent, published on December 6, 2013 (78 FR 73557), two planning updates, two scoping meetings, and a CCP Web page, which can be found at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Guadalupe-Nipomo_Dunes/what_we_do/planning.html. The scoping comment period ended on February 4, 2014. The refuge received several comments at the scoping meetings and two comments via email.

    Background

    Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge was established in 2000 under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531) to preserve and conserve Central California coastal dune and associated wetlands habitats and assist in the recovery of native plants and animals that are federally listed as threatened or endangered. Refuge goals include (1) protecting restoring and enhancing native habitat to aid in the recovery of federally listed and special status species and critical habitat; (2) protecting and restoring coastal dune and other natural communities to support the diverse species of the central California coast; and (3) providing safe and high-quality opportunities for compatible wildlife-dependent educational and recreational activities to foster public appreciation of the natural heritage of the region. The 2,553-acre Refuge consists of one parcel that is bordered on its western edge by the Pacific Ocean, agricultural lands to the east, Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area to the north, and Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park to the south.

    Alternatives

    The Draft CCP/EA identifies and evaluates three alternatives for managing the refuge for the next 15 years. Each alternative proposes a different level of management and public use. The Final CCP will identify the proposed action, which may look very similar to one of the three alternatives, or could include a combination of components from two or more of the alternatives presented. This decision will be based on the analysis presented in the Draft CCP/EA, comments received from other agencies, Tribal governments, nongovernmental organizations, and/or individuals during the public comment period, and forecasted budgets for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

    Under Alternative A (no action alternative), the current management actions, including habitat management, wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities, and environmental education, would be continued at the refuge. Habitat and wildlife management activities would continue to be focused on conservation of listed species, invasive weed control, barrier fencing, planting native vegetation, and baseline surveys. Limited guided tours and self-guided access to support wildlife observation and photography would also continue under Alternative A. Volunteers would continue to be an important component of the Citizen Science research program, where they would help with vegetation surveys and manual weed removal. The refuge would continue to be closed to the public during the western snowy plover breeding season.

    Alternative B proposes a moderate increase in wildlife and habitat management over Alternative A, as well as an incremental increase in visitor services and environmental education, including opening the refuge year round to support these uses. Outreach and education during the plover breeding season would be conducted, and a loop trail would be constructed to direct the public away from plover nesting habitat. A draft feral swine control and monitoring plan has been prepared as an appendix to the draft CCP/EA and two future step-down plans (i.e., Integrated Pest Management Plan, Predator Management Plan) are proposed for development following the completion of the Final CCP. An invasive plant early detection and rapid response program to address the introduction of new invasive weeds on the refuge would also be developed. This alternative also proposes the future establishment of a visitor contact station or office at or near the refuge.

    Alternative C, which was developed to take into consideration the forecasted decline in budgets for the National Wildlife Refuge System, proposes to reduce or eliminate many of the current management activities occurring on the refuge, as well as to close the refuge to all public access. Under Alternative C, the Service's management actions would be limited to the minimum necessary to meet statutory responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997.

    Public Meetings

    The locations, dates, and times of public meetings will be listed in a planning update distributed to the project mailing list and posted on the refuge planning Web site, at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Guadalupe-Nipomo_Dunes/what_we_do/planning.html.

    Review and Comment

    Copies of the Draft CCP/EA may be obtained by writing to the refuge planner (see ADDRESSES). Copies of the Draft CCP/EA may be viewed at the same address and the following local libraries; Guadalupe Branch of the Santa Maria Public Library, 4719 W. Main Street, Guadalupe, CA 93434; and the Santa Maria Public Library (Main Library), 421 S. McClelland Street, Santa Maria, California 93454. The Draft CCP/EA will also be available for viewing and downloading online, at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Guadalupe-Nipomo_Dunes/what_we_do/planning.html.

    Comments on the Draft CCP/EA should be addressed to the refuge planner (see ADDRESSES).

    At the end of the review and comment period for the Draft CCP/EA, comments will be analyzed by the Service and addressed in the Final CCP/EA. 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.

    Dated: February 1, 2016. Alexandra Pitts, Acting Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, Sacramento, California.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04571 Filed 2-29-16; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 4310-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS-R2-R-2016-N245; FXRS12610200000-167-FF02R06000] Draft Environmental Assessment on a Proposed Right-of-Way Permit Application for Pipelines Crossing Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, Brazoria County, TX AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), make available the draft Environmental Assessment (dEA) for issuance of a right-of-way (ROW) permit to Praxair, Inc. (Praxair) for construction, operation, and maintenance of a 24-inch carbon steel pipeline for transport of nitrogen, and a 14-inch carbon steel pipeline for transport of hydrogen, within an existing maintained 4.3-mile ROW pipeline corridor, with 21 existing pipelines crossing the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Brazoria County, Texas.

    DATES:

    To ensure consideration of written comments on the issues and possible alternatives to be addressed in the documents, they must be received no later than April 1, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments, questions, and requests for further information may be submitted by U.S. mail to Project Leader, Texas Mid-coast NWR Complex, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2547 County Road 316, Brazoria, TX 77422; by email at [email protected]; by phone at 979-964-4011; or by fax to 979-964-4021.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    We, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, make available the dEA for issuance of a ROW permit for a segment (4.3 miles) of the Praxair Dual Pipeline System Project on the Brazoria NWR. In accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), we advise the public that:

    1. We have gathered the information necessary to determine impacts and formulate alternatives for the dEA related to potential issuance of a ROW to the Applicant (Praxair); and

    2. The Applicant has developed a Construction Plan as part of the application for a ROW permit, which describes the measures the Applicant has agreed to take to minimize and mitigate impacts of the project.

    Proposed Action

    The proposed action involves the issuance of a 10-foot ROW permit by the FWS and the subsequent construction, operation, and maintenance of the Proposed Project. The term of the permit would be for 30 years. Construction methods, including matting the entire temporary work area, directional drilling under wetlands rather than open trench, and utilizing a push/pull method for laying the pipe through the salty prairie, are all designed to minimize the impact to refuge habitats and wildlife. Although impacts have been minimized, wildlife utilizing the existing ROW and adjacent habitat will be disturbed and/or displaced during construction. The applicant proposes to provide funds to be utilized to conserve natural habitats that will be added to the Brazoria or San Bernard NWR.

    Proposed Project

    Praxair proposes to use a combination of conventional open trenching and subsurface Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) in its construction methods to cross the refuge lands. The proposed two pipelines would be constructed at the same time, near the center of an existing maintained 300-foot-wide pipeline corridor, 4.3 miles in length, between existing pipelines. The existing pipeline corridor pre-dates FWS ownership of the land in fee title, and extends from Farm-to-Market Road 2004 on the northeast end to Austin Bayou on the southwest end. Construction of the proposed pipelines would require a 100-foot-wide temporary work area, including 90 feet of temporary workspace used during construction activities, and a 10-foot-wide ROW after construction is complete. Praxair is working with FWS staff in the development of its proposed plan of operations in order to determine construction methods and develop measures to avoid or minimize potential adverse impacts during construction activities. However, some impacts are unavoidable and can reasonably be anticipated during pipeline construction, operations, and maintenance activities. Conventional trenching for simultaneous construction of the proposed two pipelines would require excavation of an open trench approximately 5.5 to 6 feet deep, 8 feet wide at the bottom, and 19 feet wide at the surface, with an approximately 45-degree slope on the sides, depending on soil conditions. Workspace required for HDD sites would be 300 feet by 300 feet.

    Alternatives

    The only alternative to the proposed action that we are considering as part of this process is the No Action alternative, in which no ROW permit would be issued. Under a No Action alternative, the FWS would not issue the requested ROW permit; therefore, the Applicant would likely seek an alternate alignment, establishing a new ROW corridor around the refuge, as described in the dEA.

    Public Availability of Documents

    In addition to any methods in ADDRESSES, you can view or obtain documents at the following locations:

    • Texas Mid-Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex Headquarters Office, CR 316, Brazoria, TX, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Our Web site: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/Plan/plansinprogress.html.

    • At the following public libraries:

    Library Address Phone number Brazoria County Library—City of Lake Jackson Branch 250 Circle Way, Lake Jackson, TX 77566 979-415-2590 Brazoria County Library—Angleton Branch 401 E Cedar Street, Angleton, TX 77515 979-864-1519 Submitting Comments/Issues for Comment

    We consider comments substantive if they:

    • Question, with reasonable basis, the accuracy of the information in the document;

    • Question, with reasonable basis, the adequacy of the environmental assessment (EA);

    • Present reasonable alternatives other than those presented in the EA; and/or

    • Provide new or additional information relevant to the assessment.

    Public Availability of Comments

    Written comments we receive become part of the public record associated with this action. 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 request in your comment that we withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will not consider anonymous comments. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety.

    Authorities

    NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations; and the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (Refuge Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Refuge Improvement Act).

    Dated: February 25, 2016. Joy Nicholopoulos, Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04566 Filed 3-1-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [Docket No. FWS-HQ-IA-2016-0047;FXIA16710900000-156-FF09A30000] Endangered Species; Marine Mammals; Receipt of Applications for Permit AGENCY:

    Fi