Federal Register Vol. 81, No.47,

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 47 (March 10, 2016)

Page Range12573-12794
FR Document

81_FR_47
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
81 FR 12793 - Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to IranPDF
81 FR 12789 - Death of Nancy ReaganPDF
81 FR 12731 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
81 FR 12776 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Agnes Martin” ExhibitionPDF
81 FR 12599 - Eligibility in the States, District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American SamoaPDF
81 FR 12764 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
81 FR 12728 - National Environmental Education Advisory Council; Solicitation of ApplicationsPDF
81 FR 12730 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 12682 - Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Importation of Fresh Bananas From the Philippines Into the Continental United StatesPDF
81 FR 12681 - Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Importation of Sand Pears From ChinaPDF
81 FR 12746 - Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Aiya Solar Project, Clark County, NevadaPDF
81 FR 12754 - Submission for Review: Combined Federal Campaign Charity Applications, OPM Forms 1647 A-E, 3206-0131PDF
81 FR 12755 - Submission for Review: Combined Federal Campaign Charity Applications, OPM Forms 1647-A, -B, and -E, 3206-0131PDF
81 FR 12755 - Hispanic Council on Federal EmploymentPDF
81 FR 12696 - Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From Thailand; Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, Rescission of Review, in Part, and Preliminary Determination of No Shipments; 2014-2015PDF
81 FR 12705 - Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From India: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, Preliminary Determination of No Shipments; 2014-2015PDF
81 FR 12694 - Stainless Steel Bar From India: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2014-2015PDF
81 FR 12687 - Certain Iron Mechanical Transfer Drive Components From Canada and the People's Republic of China: Postponement of Preliminary Determinations of Antidumping Duty InvestigationsPDF
81 FR 12718 - Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council: Public MeetingPDF
81 FR 12744 - Proposed Collection; 60-Day Comment Request: NEXT Generation Health StudyPDF
81 FR 12720 - No FEAR Act NoticePDF
81 FR 12605 - Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California; Increased Assessment RatePDF
81 FR 12573 - Conservation Stewardship ProgramPDF
81 FR 12622 - Proposed Priorities and Definitions-Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program-Short-Term Projects and Long-Term ProjectsPDF
81 FR 12694 - Renewable Energy Trade Mission to Mexico; May 16-19, 2016PDF
81 FR 12692 - Certain Preserved Mushrooms From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2014-2015PDF
81 FR 12691 - Oil Country Tubular Goods From Turkey: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With the Final Determination of the Countervailing Duty InvestigationPDF
81 FR 12690 - Certain Pasta From Italy: Amended Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014PDF
81 FR 12702 - Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Partial Rescission of Review; 2014-2015PDF
81 FR 12711 - Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Less Than Fair Value InvestigationPDF
81 FR 12688 - Uncovered Innerspring Units From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of the Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2014-2015PDF
81 FR 12756 - New Postal ProductPDF
81 FR 12757 - New Postal ProductPDF
81 FR 12680 - National Organic Program; Notice of Availability of National List Petition GuidelinesPDF
81 FR 12776 - In the Matter of the Review of the Designation of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) (and other aliases) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization Pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as AmendedPDF
81 FR 12746 - Indian Gaming; Extension of Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compact (Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the State of South Dakota)PDF
81 FR 12642 - Evaluation of Safety Sensitive Personnel for Moderate-to-Severe Obstructive Sleep ApneaPDF
81 FR 12750 - Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 12601 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 2016 Recreational Accountability Measure and Closure for Atlantic Migratory Group CobiaPDF
81 FR 12731 - General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation; Information Collection; Modifications 552.238-81PDF
81 FR 12602 - Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Blacktip Sharks, Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks, and Hammerhead Sharks in the Western Gulf of Mexico Sub-RegionPDF
81 FR 12739 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Guidance: Emergency Use Authorization of Medical ProductsPDF
81 FR 12741 - Determination of Regulatory Review Period for Purposes of Patent Extension; OPSUMITPDF
81 FR 12588 - Safety Zone; Upper Mississippi River 321.4 to 321.6; Quincy, ILPDF
81 FR 12737 - Center for Devices and Radiological Health: Experiential Learning ProgramPDF
81 FR 12735 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Investigational Device Exemptions Reports and RecordsPDF
81 FR 12607 - Medical Devices; Orthopedic Devices; Classification of Posterior Cervical Screw SystemsPDF
81 FR 12747 - Meeting of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal ProcedurePDF
81 FR 12747 - Meeting of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Rules of EvidencePDF
81 FR 12722 - Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
81 FR 12723 - Notice of Availability of Record of Decision for the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Military Readiness Activities at the Fallon Training Range Complex, NevadaPDF
81 FR 12731 - Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding CompanyPDF
81 FR 12723 - Meeting of the Board of Advisors (BOA) to The President of the Naval War College (NWC) SubcommitteePDF
81 FR 12686 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 12717 - Fisheries of the South Atlantic; South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council)-Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel MeetingPDF
81 FR 12745 - Trinity River Adaptive Management Working Group; Public Meeting/TeleconferencePDF
81 FR 12780 - Notice of Buy America WaiverPDF
81 FR 12781 - Draft National Freight Strategic Plan: Notice of Deadline for Submitting CommentsPDF
81 FR 12716 - Notice of Public Comment Period; National Estuarine Research Reserve SystemPDF
81 FR 12784 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 12721 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 12717 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; NOAA's Teacher at Sea ProgramPDF
81 FR 12732 - Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act ReviewPDF
81 FR 12718 - Appointments to Performance Review Board for Senior Executive ServicePDF
81 FR 12723 - Whitestone Power and Communications; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
81 FR 12724 - S.D. Warren; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
81 FR 12725 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
81 FR 12726 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
81 FR 12726 - Implementation Issues Under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978; Supplemental Notice Concerning Technical ConferencePDF
81 FR 12701 - Request for Applicants for Appointment to the United States Section of the United States-Turkey Business CouncilPDF
81 FR 12719 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 12599 - Change of Address for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)PDF
81 FR 12777 - Petition for Exemption; Summary of Petition Received; AGERpoint, Inc.PDF
81 FR 12777 - Petition for Exemption; Summary of Petition Received; Amazon.comPDF
81 FR 12748 - Notice To Ensure State Workforce Agencies Are Aware of the Revised Schedule of Remuneration for the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX) Program That Reflects the Military Pay Increase Effective January 1, 2016PDF
81 FR 12779 - Petition for Exemption; Summary of Petition Received; Unmanned Services, Inc.PDF
81 FR 12779 - Petition for Exemption; Summary of Petition Received; Iowa State University of Science and TechnologyPDF
81 FR 12783 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request For Regulation ProjectPDF
81 FR 12782 - Minority Depository Institutions Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
81 FR 12684 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Study of WIC Food Package Costs and Cost ContainmentPDF
81 FR 12783 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Revenue Procedure 97-33PDF
81 FR 12782 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 14157 and Form 14157-APDF
81 FR 12742 - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Notice of MeetingsPDF
81 FR 12743 - National Cancer Institute; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 12743 - National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 12743 - Center For Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 12761 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 12762 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 12759 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGA Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend its Rules as Well as Certain Corporate Documents of the Exchange To Reflect a Legal Name Change by BATS Global Markets, Inc. and the Legal Names of Certain SubsidiariesPDF
81 FR 12757 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Reflect a Legal Name Change by BATS Global Markets, Inc. and the Legal Names of Certain SubsidiariesPDF
81 FR 12764 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Related to Complex OrdersPDF
81 FR 12769 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Provisions Related to Options DisputesPDF
81 FR 12775 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Modify the NYSE Arca Options Fee Schedule Relating to ByRDs Transaction FeesPDF
81 FR 12762 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE MKT LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Change To Modify the NYSE Amex Options Fee Schedule Relating to ByRDs Transaction FeesPDF
81 FR 12770 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ISE Mercury, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Establish the Schedule of FeesPDF
81 FR 12585 - Airworthiness Directives; Rolls-Royce plc Turbojet EnginesPDF
81 FR 12583 - Airworthiness Directives; Turbomeca S.A. Turboshaft EnginesPDF
81 FR 12590 - Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska; Rural Determinations, Nonrural ListPDF
81 FR 12747 - Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey; North DakotaPDF
81 FR 12687 - Commerce Data Advisory Council MeetingPDF
81 FR 12748 - Privacy Act of 1974: System of RecordsPDF
81 FR 12683 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request-Information Collection for the National School Lunch ProgramPDF
81 FR 12778 - Third Meeting: RTCA Special Committee (235) Non-Rechargeable Lithium BatteriesPDF
81 FR 12778 - Fourth Meeting: RTCA Special Committee (234) Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) (Joint With EUROCAE WG-99)PDF
81 FR 12734 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff on Dear Health Care Provider Letters: Improving Communication of Important Safety InformationPDF
81 FR 12733 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 12784 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 12729 - Extension of Public Comment Period for the Draft Technical Support Document: Recommended Estimates for Missing Water Quality Parameters for Application in EPA's Biotic Ligand ModelPDF
81 FR 12637 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan; South Coast Air Quality Management District; Control of Oxides of Nitrogen Emissions From Off-Road Diesel VehiclesPDF
81 FR 12727 - Public Comment Draft for the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Assessment of Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX)PDF
81 FR 12591 - Air Plan Approval; Ohio; Base Year Emission Inventories for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone StandardPDF
81 FR 12626 - Air Plan Approval; Ohio; Base Year Emission Inventories for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone StandardPDF
81 FR 12751 - Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station, Units 2 and 3PDF
81 FR 12676 - Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2016 Tribal Fishery for Pacific WhitingPDF
81 FR 12613 - Strengthening Oversight of Over-Income Tenancy in Public Housing Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Reopening of Comment PeriodPDF
81 FR 12647 - Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Electric-Powered Vehicles: Electrolyte Spillage and Electrical Shock ProtectionPDF
81 FR 12626 - Recognition of Tribal Organizations for Representation of VA ClaimantsPDF
81 FR 12595 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New Mexico; and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County; Revisions To Establish Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance ProgramsPDF
81 FR 12637 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New Mexico; and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County; Revisions To Establish Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance ProgramsPDF
81 FR 12627 - Air Quality Plans; Tennessee; Infrastructure Requirements for the 2010 Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality StandardPDF
81 FR 12613 - Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; Amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act Regulations-Reports of Foreign Financial AccountsPDF
81 FR 12587 - Statement of Policy on Enforcement Discretion Regarding General Conformity Certificates for Adult Wearing Apparel Exempt From TestingPDF

Issue

81 47 Thursday, March 10, 2016 Contents Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service PROPOSED RULES Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California; Increased Assessment Rate, 12605-12607 2016-05420 NOTICES Guidance: National List Petition Guidelines, 12680-12681 2016-05399 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

Commodity Credit Corporation

See

Food and Nutrition Service

See

Forest Service

Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Importation of Fresh Bananas from the Philippines into the Continental United States, 12682-12683 2016-05464 Importation of Sand Pears from China, 12681-12682 2016-05462 Army Army Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12721-12722 2016-05363 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12732-12733 2016-05358 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services RULES Eligibility in the States, District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa; CFR Correction, 12599 2016-05484 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12733-12734 2016-05291 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Safety Zones: Upper Mississippi River 321.4 to 321.6, Quincy, IL, 12588-12590 2016-05388 Commerce Commerce Department See

Economics and Statistics Administration

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12686-12687 2016-05375 2016-05376
Committee for Purchase Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled NOTICES Appointments to Performance Review Board for Senior Executive Service, 12718-12719 2016-05357 Commodity Credit Commodity Credit Corporation RULES Conservation Stewardship Program, 12573-12583 2016-05419 Comptroller Comptroller of the Currency NOTICES Meetings: Minority Depository Institutions Advisory Committee, 12782 2016-05339 Consumer Product Consumer Product Safety Commission RULES Statement of Enforcement Policy: General Conformity Certificates for Adult Wearing Apparel Exempt from Testing, 12587-12588 2016-04533 Corporation Corporation for National and Community Service RULES Change of Address, 12599-12601 2016-05347 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12719-12720 2016-05348 2016-05349 Council Inspectors Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency NOTICES No FEAR Act Notice, 12720-12721 2016-05421 Defense Department Defense Department See

Army Department

See

Navy Department

NOTICES Meetings: Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel, 12722 2016-05381
Economics Statistics Economics and Statistics Administration NOTICES Meetings: Commerce Data Advisory Council, 12687 2016-05314 Education Department Education Department PROPOSED RULES Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria: Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program—Short-Term Projects and Long-Term Projects, 12622-12626 2016-05412 Employment and Training Employment and Training Administration NOTICES Revised Schedule of Remuneration for the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers Program, 12748 2016-05344 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: New Mexico and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County; Revisions to Establish Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Programs, 12595-12599 2016-05162 Ohio; Base Year Emission Inventories for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone Standard, 12591-12595 2016-05273 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: California—South Coast Air Quality Management District; Control of Oxides of Nitrogen Emissions from Off-Road Diesel Vehicles, 12637-12641 2016-05278 New Mexico and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County; Revisions to Establish Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Programs, 12637 2016-05161 Ohio; Base Year Emission Inventories for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone Standard, 12626-12627 2016-05272 Tennessee; Infrastructure Requirements for the 2010 Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standard, 12627-12636 2016-05160 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12730-12731 2016-05466 Integrated Risk Information System Draft Assessments: Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine, 12727-12728 2016-05277 Requests for Nominations: National Environmental Education Advisory Council, 12728-12729 2016-05468 Technical Support Document: Recommended Estimates for Missing Water Quality Parameters for Application in EPA's Biotic Ligand Model, 12729-12730 2016-05281 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Rolls-Royce plc Turbojet Engines, 12585-12587 2016-05319 Turbomeca S.A. Turboshaft Engines, 12583-12585 2016-05318 NOTICES Meetings: RTCA Special Committee Non-Rechargeable Lithium Batteries, 12778 2016-05311 RTCA Special Committee Portable Electronic Devices, 12778-12779 2016-05310 Petitions for Exemptions; Summaries: AGERpoint, Inc., 12777-12778 2016-05346 Amazon.com, 12777 2016-05345 Iowa State University of Science and Technology, 12779 2016-05342 Unmanned Services, Inc., 12779-12780 2016-05343 Federal Election Federal Election Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 12731 2016-05582 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Applications: S.D. Warren, 12724-12725 2016-05354 Whitestone Power and Communications, 12723-12724 2016-05355 Combined Filings, 12725-12727 2016-05352 2016-05353 Meetings: Implementation Issues Under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act; Technical Conference, 12726 2016-05351 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration PROPOSED RULES Evaluation of Safety Sensitive Personnel for Moderate-to-Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, 12642-12647 2016-05396 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration PROPOSED RULES Evaluation of Safety Sensitive Personnel for Moderate-to-Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, 12642-12647 2016-05396 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Changes in Bank Control: Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company, 12731 2016-05378 Financial Crimes Financial Crimes Enforcement Network PROPOSED RULES Bank Secrecy Act Regulations: Reports of Foreign Financial Accounts, 12613-12622 2016-04880 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service RULES Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska; Rural Determinations, Nonrural List, 12590-12591 2016-05317 NOTICES Meetings: Trinity River Adaptive Management Working Group, 12745 2016-05373 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration PROPOSED RULES Medical Devices: Orthopedic Devices; Classification of Posterior Cervical Screw Systems, 12607-12613 2016-05384 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Guidance for Industry and Staff on Dear Health Care Provider Letters—Improving Communication of Important Safety Information, 12734-12735 2016-05301 Guidance—Emergency Use Authorization of Medical Products, 12739-12741 2016-05390 Investigational Device Exemptions Reports and Records, 12735-12737 2016-05385 Center for Devices and Radiological Health—Experiential Learning Program, 12737-12739 2016-05387 Regulatory Review Periods for Patent Extensions: OPSUMIT, 12741-12742 2016-05389 Food and Nutrition Food and Nutrition Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: National School Lunch Program, 12683-12684 2016-05312 Study of WIC Food Package Costs and Cost Containment, 12684-12685 2016-05338 Forest Forest Service RULES Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska; Rural Determinations, Nonrural List, 12590-12591 2016-05317 General Services General Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Modifications, 12731-12732 2016-05392 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department PROPOSED RULES Strengthening Oversight of Over-Income Tenancy in Public Housing Advance; Reopening of Comment Period, 12613 2016-05210 Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Aiya Solar Project, Clark County, NV, 12746 2016-05458 Indian Gaming: Extension of Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compact—Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the State of South Dakota, 12746-12747 2016-05397 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Form 14157 and Form 14157-A, 12782-12783 2016-05336 Revenue Procedure 97-33, 12783-12784 2016-05337 Subchapter S Subsidiaries, 12783 2016-05340 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from India, 12705-12711 2016-05453 Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from Thailand, 12696-12701 2016-05454 Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 12702-12705 2016-05406 Certain Iron Mechanical Transfer Drive Components from Canada and the People's Republic of China, 12687-12688 2016-05448 Certain Pasta from Italy, 12690-12691 2016-05407 Certain Preserved Mushrooms from the People's Republic of China, 12692-12694 2016-05409 Oil Country Tubular Goods from Turkey, 12691-12692 2016-05408 Stainless Steel Bar from India, 12694-12696 2016-05449 Uncovered Innerspring Units from the People's Republic of China, 12688-12690 2016-05404 Less Than Fair Value Investigations: Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip from the People's Republic of China, 12711-12716 2016-05405 Renewable Energy Trade Mission to Mexico, 12694 2016-05411 Requests for Nominations: Applicants for Appointment to the United States Section of the United States-Turkey Business Council, 12701-12702 2016-05350 Judicial Conference Judicial Conference of the United States NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure, 12747 2016-05383 Advisory Committee on Rules of Evidence, 12747-12748 2016-05382 Labor Department Labor Department See

Employment and Training Administration

Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Filing of Plats of Survey: North Dakota, 12747 2016-05316 National Credit National Credit Union Administration NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 12748-12750 2016-05313 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration PROPOSED RULES Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards: Electric-Powered Vehicles; Electrolyte Spillage and Electrical Shock Protection, 12647-12676 2016-05187 NOTICES Buy America Waivers, 12780-12781 2016-05371 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: NEXT Generation Health Study, 12744-12745 2016-05422 Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 12743-12744 2016-05332 National Cancer Institute, 12743 2016-05333 2016-05334 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 12742-12743 2016-05335 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Atlantic Highly Migratory Species: Commercial Blacktip Sharks, Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks, and Hammerhead Sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico Sub-Region, 12602-12604 2016-05391 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic: Atlantic Migratory Group Cobia; Recreational Accountability Measure and Closure, 12601-12602 2016-05393 PROPOSED RULES Fisheries off West Coast States: Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2016 Tribal Fishery for Pacific Whiting, 12676-12679 2016-05254 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: NOAA's Teacher at Sea Program, 12717-12718 2016-05361 Meetings: Fisheries of the South Atlantic; South Atlantic Fishery Management Council—Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel, 12717 2016-05374 Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council, 12718 2016-05444 National Estuarine Research Reserve System, 12716-12717 2016-05367 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources, 12750 2016-05394 Navy Navy Department NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Military Readiness Activities at the Fallon Training Range Complex, Nevada, 12723 2016-05379 Meetings: Board of Advisors to The President of the Naval War College Subcommittee, 12723 2016-05377 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES License Amendment Applications: Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station, Units 2 and 3, 12751-12754 2016-05259 Personnel Personnel Management Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Combined Federal Campaign Charity Applications, 12754-12756 2016-05456 2016-05457 Meetings: Hispanic Council on Federal Employment, 12755 2016-05455 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 12756-12757 2016-05402 2016-05403 Postal Service Postal Service NOTICES New Postal Products, 12757 2016-05401 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents PROCLAMATIONS Special Observances: Death of Nancy Davis Reagan (Proc. 9405), 12787-12789 2016-05619 ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS Iran; Continuation of National Emergency (Notice of March 9, 2016), 12791-12794 2016-05634 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12761-12762 2016-05329 2016-05331 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 12764 2016-05481 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc., 12764-12769 2016-05326 EDGA Exchange, Inc., 12759-12761 2016-05328 EDGX Exchange, Inc., 12757-12759 2016-05327 ISE Mercury, LLC, 12770-12775 2016-05322 NASDAQ PHLX, LLC, 12769-12770 2016-05325 NYSE Arca, Inc., 12775-12776 2016-05324 NYSE MKT, LLC, 12762-12764 2016-05323 State Department State Department NOTICES Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition: Agnes Martin Exhibition, 12776 2016-05536 Designations as a Foreign Terrorist Organization: Palestine Liberation Front and Other Aliases, 12776-12777 2016-05398 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

NOTICES Draft National Freight Strategic Plan: Deadline for Submitting Comments, 12781-12782 2016-05370
Treasury Treasury Department See

Comptroller of the Currency

See

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

See

Internal Revenue Service

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 12784-12785 2016-05290 2016-05364
Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department PROPOSED RULES Recognition of Tribal Organizations for Representation of VA Claimants, 12626 2016-05163 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Presidential Documents, 12787-12789 2016-05619 Part III Presidential Documents, 12791-12794 2016-05634 Reader Aids

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

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81 47 Thursday, March 10, 2016 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Commodity Credit Corporation 7 CFR Part 1470 [Docket No. NRCS-2014-0008] RIN 0578-AA63 Conservation Stewardship Program AGENCY:

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

NRCS published an interim rule, with request for comments, on November 5, 2014, to implement changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) that were either necessitated by enactment of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Act) or required to implement administrative streamlining improvements and clarifications. NRCS received 483 comments from 227 respondents to the interim rule. In this document, NRCS issues a final rule to make permanent those changes, respond to comments, and to make further adjustments in response to some of the comments received.

DATES:

Effective date: This rule is effective March 10, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mark Rose, Director, Financial Assistance Programs Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Post Office Box 2890, Washington, DC 20013-2890; telephone: (202) 720-1845; fax: (202) 720-4265.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Act) amended the Food Security Act of 1985 (1985 Act) to establish CSP and authorize the program from fiscal year 2009 through fiscal year 2012. CSP replaced the Conservation Security Program. The program was extended through fiscal year 2014 by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012. The 2014 Act revised CSP and reauthorized it through fiscal year 2018.

The purpose of CSP is to encourage producers to address priority resource concerns and improve their conservation performance by installing and adopting additional conservation activities and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities on eligible land. The Secretary of Agriculture delegated authority through the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment to the NRCS Chief to administer CSP.

Through CSP, NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to eligible producers to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. Eligible lands include private or Tribal cropland, grassland, pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest lands, and other land in agricultural areas (including cropped woodland, marshes, agricultural land, or land capable of being used for the production of livestock) on which resource concerns related to agricultural production could be addressed. Participation in the program is voluntary.

CSP encourages land stewards to improve their conservation performance by installing and adopting additional activities and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities on eligible land. NRCS makes funding for CSP available nationwide on a continuous application basis.

On November 5, 2014, NRCS published an interim final rule with request for comments in the Federal Register (79 FR 65835) that amended CSP regulations at 7 CFR part 1470 to implement changes made by the 2014 Act. The statutory changes made to CSP regulations by the interim rule included:

• Limiting eligible land to that in production for at least 4 of the 6 years preceding February 7, 2014, the date of enactment of the 2014 Act.

• Requiring contract offers to meet stewardship threshold for at least two priority resource concerns, as defined in § 1470.3, and meet or exceed one additional priority resource concern by the end of the stewardship contract.

• Allowing enrollment of lands that are protected by an agricultural land easement under the newly-authorized Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

• Allowing enrollment of lands that are in the last year of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

• Allowing contracts to be renewed if the threshold for two additional priority resource concerns will be met or the stewardship threshold will be exceeded for two existing priority resource concerns.

• Requiring that at least five priority resource concerns be identified for each area or watershed.

• Requiring NRCS to establish a science-based stewardship threshold for each priority resource concern.

• Authorizing NRCS to prorate conservation performance so that a participant may receive equal annual payments to the greatest extent practicable.

• Emphasizing conservation activities to be implemented across the agricultural operation.

• Authorizing supplemental payment for improving a resource conserving crop rotation.

• Authorizing an annual enrollment of 10,000,000 acres, rather than an enrollment of 12,769,000 acres as was authorized by the 2008 Act.

• Establishing CSP as a covered program authorized to accomplish the purposes of Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

• Removing the acreage cap for non-industrial private forestland (NIPF).

• Authorizing veteran preference.

NRCS also made programmatic changes including the following:

• Clarifying how CSP contract limits are applied when there is a change of the legal framework for an agricultural operation. Contract limitations applied at the time of enrollment will not change, regardless of successor-in-interest. This is not a change in policy, but is a change in how the policy is implemented starting with contracts obligated in 2014.

• Establishing a maximum number of applicable priority resource concerns (APRC) selected by the State. The maximum number of APRC must equal the minimum requirements from the 2014 Act. States will select five APRC for a geographic area.

• Prioritizing applications from eligible veterans competing in beginning farmer or rancher, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher funding pools. Eligible veteran applications in these pools will be set to high priority and funded first.

• Clarifying applicant eligibility requirements to ensure all applicants in a contract application meet all eligibility requirements.

In addition to making the statutory and programmatic changes described above, NRCS made internal policy adjustments to improve the management and implementation of CSP. These policy changes included:

• Removing the requirement for State Conservationists to obtain concurrence at the national level to approve contract modifications greater than $5,000. The State Conservationist may approve legitimate contract increases to implement an appeal determination or correct an error.

• Re-delegating the requirement for State Conservationists to obtain an annual payment limitation waiver when a payment was not made in the year it was scheduled for reasons beyond participant control. The waiver was previously approved by the Chief and is now delegated to the Deputy Chief for Programs.

• Integrating Landscape Conservation Initiatives in CSP. A pilot is being conducted in sign-up 2015-1 to target conservation objectives that have regional or national significance at the landscape scale. The pilot includes the Sage Grouse Initiative, Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative, Ogallala Aquifer Initiative, and Longleaf Pine Initiative.

• Requiring reporting for conservation activities and incorporating reporting requirements into the State Conservationist's performance plan to encourage a more uniform distribution of funds and acres across the country. This also helps with the collection of implementation data of activities applied on the landscape.

• Incorporating interim guidance provided via the internal NRCS directives system, including renewal guidance and memorandum to clarify the process for evaluating operational changes to determine if they conform to renewal eligibility provisions. Specifically, for land in a renewal offer to be eligible, participants are required to continue implementing their demonstrated and documented management system, including prior or comparable conservation activities from the initial contracts.

NRCS originally solicited comments on the interim final rule for 60 days ending January 5, 2015. Due to the comment period occurring through the end of the calendar year, NRCS extended the comment period until January 20, 2015. NRCS received 227 timely submitted responses to the rule, constituting 483 comments. The topics that generated the greatest response were on contract limits, payments, and ranking. Overall, the commenters supported the changes made by the interim rule. This final rule responds to the comments received by the public comment deadline and makes one programmatic change based upon such comments. Specifically, NRCS is changing the minimum contract payment available under § 1470.24(c).

Summary of CSP Comments

In this preamble, the comments have been organized in alphabetic order by topic. The topics include administration, agricultural operation, allocation of funds, beginning farmers and ranchers, conservation activities, conservation compliance, the conservation management tool (CMT), CRP expiring contracts, contract limits, cropland conversion, eligibility, enhancement and enhancement options, environmental credits, fairness, modifications, outreach, payments, producers, ranking, renewals, State Technical Committees, and stewardship thresholds. Additionally, NRCS received 25 comments that were general in nature. These comments were not addressed as they were outside the scope of the changes that NRCS made in the interim rule. Most of these general comments expressed support for the program or how the program has benefitted particular operations. NRCS also received five comments which criticized the program as wasteful government spending or expressed that CSP funding should be redirected to other conservation efforts.

Administration

Comment: NRCS received ten comments that made recommendations related to the overall administration of the program. These comments included concerns that CSP participants may be held to a rigid requirement to decide what exactly will be planted on each field for the next 5 years, and that there are several factors that influence what farmers will grow, including commodity prices and yield data. To address this concern, some respondents recommended reducing CSP contracts from 5 years to 3 years.

NRCS Response: By statute, CSP contracts are for a duration of 5 years, and participants are required to maintain and improve the level of stewardship on their agricultural operations over the term of the contract. However, NRCS has incorporated more flexibility into program implementation by allowing land use conversions, changes in rotations, and substitution of enhancements where such substitution will result in the same or greater stewardship of the enrolled land. Therefore, while NRCS documents current management activities on the agricultural operation at the time of enrollment, the participant has flexibility to make adjustments to their management system while remaining in compliance with their CSP contract. The respondents' recommendations did not affect any of the regulatory provisions and therefore no changes were made.

Agricultural Operation

Comment: NRCS received one comment requesting that NRCS apply the “substantially separate provision” more consistently.

NRCS Response: NRCS defined “agricultural operation” in the CSP interim rule, consistent with statutory parameters, as all eligible land, as determined by NRCS, whether contiguous or noncontiguous that is “[u]nder the effective control of a producer at the time of enrollment in the program; and [o]perated by the producer with equipment, labor, management, and production or cultivation practices that are substantially separate (emphasis added) from other agricultural operations.” NRCS applies a “majority test” to determine whether an applicant operation is substantially separate. In particular, if three of the following four factors are different between the operations, then the operation is considered “substantially separate”: Labor, equipment, management, and productive or cultivation practices. NRCS describes each of these factors, including providing several examples, in its manual 1 to help guide NRCS field employees when assisting applicants to complete the agricultural operation delineation. NRCS will continue to provide training and quality assurance reviews to ensure that the substantially separate operation determinations are made consistently. No changes were made to the CSP regulation in response to this recommendation.

1 The CSP Manual, 440 Conservation Programs Manual Part 508, can be accessed at http://directives.sc.egov.usda.gov/.

Allocation of Funds

Comment: NRCS received eight comments concerning the allocation of funds under the program. One respondent recommended that CSP funds be allocated to purchase rental conservation equipment to be managed by the local USDA Service Center for use by small farmers. NRCS also received several comments that, since NIPF acres are ecologically vital, these lands should not be subject to disproportionate cuts if payment cuts are required.

NRCS Response: NRCS' authority under CSP is to provide technical and financial assistance to program participants to maintain existing conservation activities and to adopt new conservation activities to address priority resource concerns. NRCS does not have authority under CSP to purchase equipment for use by non-Federal personnel, or to rent such equipment to others. NRCS recognizes the environmental benefits of forestry lands and will not subject NIPF to disproportionate cuts if payment cuts that are within the control of NRCS are required due to the availability of funds. No changes were made to the CSP regulation in response to these comments.

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

Comment: NRCS received 53 comments requesting that NRCS increase the acreage goal for beginning farmers and ranchers allocated to the program. Most recommended that the goal be increased from 5 percent to 15 percent.

NRCS Response: Since 2009, the Chief has been instructed by statute at section 1241(h) of the 1985 Act to use, to the maximum extent practicable, 5 percent of total CSP acreage for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and 5 percent of total CSP acreage for beginning farmers and ranchers. Section 2604 of the 2014 Act extended the special set asides to fiscal year 2018. The CSP regulation incorporated these statutory requirements at 7 CFR 1470.4(c) and 1470.20(f)(3). The regulation provides the Chief flexibility to determine whether to raise the acreage goals beyond the 5 percent. NRCS will consider these comments and historic participation data when determining acreage goal levels for each signup period.

NRCS analyzed program enrollment data from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2013 to determine if enrolled acres with beginning farmers and ranchers or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers exceeded the 5 percent nationally, and whether NRCS should consider allocating more acres to these two groups. The analysis revealed that setting aside 5 percent of the acres for designated pools for beginning farmers and ranchers, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers is not limiting participation of these groups. Participation by these groups exceeded the 5 percent minimum. Although applicants that qualify under these groups compete separately in designated ranking pools within each geographic area of the State, they can submit their applications in the general ranking pools. Five hundred forty of the 4,151 contracts for beginning farmers and ranchers and 123 of the 1,338 contracts for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers were evaluated in the general ranking pools. Overall, these contracts comprise 12.2 percent of contracts from all sign-ups, even though they did not all compete in the designated pools.

While the statute establishes a minimum set-aside of acres for beginning farmers and ranchers and for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, NRCS believes that its outreach efforts can expand the participation by these two groups of producers beyond current participation rates. Therefore, NRCS is establishing a policy goal to expand enrollment by beginning farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in all ranking pools, and will also allocate additional acres to the two set-aside ranking pools as needed to address program demand amongst these producers.

No changes were made to the CSP regulation in response to this recommendation.

Conservation Activities

Comment: NRCS received seven comments related to the topic of conservation activities. These comments included recommendations that energy audits qualify as an enhancement, NRCS staff receive additional training on the issue of soil health, wildlife enhancements address predation pressures, enhancements to expand native prairie grass be promoted, and that NRCS only fund conservation activities that are shown to have an environmental benefit. NRCS also received a comment expressing concern that enhancement bundles provide an unfair advantage to larger operations because larger operations have greater ability to adopt entire bundles; therefore, such bundles should not receive priority consideration for funding.

NRCS Response: NRCS considers internal and external customers' recommendations regarding new or modified enhancements that may be needed to address priority resource concerns at the local level through local work groups and at the State level through State Technical Committees. NRCS State Conservationists seek input on these recommendations from the State Technical Committee members and other program stakeholders. While the recommendations above do not affect any of the regulatory provisions, NRCS will consider these recommendations when evaluating new enhancements that will be offered in future signups. As to the comment about enhancement bundles, NRCS believes it is appropriate to provide greater priority for the adoption of enhancement bundles due to the greater environmental benefit created when enhancements are implemented together. NRCS will review the available enhancement bundles to ensure that there are sufficient options applicable to smaller operations. No changes to the CSP regulation were made in response to these comments.

Conservation Compliance

Comment: NRCS received two comments related to the requirement that CSP participants must comply with the highly erodible land conservation and wetland conservation provisions at 7 CFR part 12, referred to in the comments as “cross-compliance.” These respondents expressed concern that cross compliance has not been enforced, creating concerns with visible erosion and waterways that are not functioning as intended.

NRCS Response: CSP, like other Title XII conservation programs, is subject to the conservation compliance requirements under 7 CFR part 12. NRCS verifies conservation compliance before awarding a contract as part of the minimum program requirements and during the contract term through mandatory annual contract reviews, 5 percent spot checks, and 10 percent random reviews which requires field visits for compliance purposes. NRCS will continue to provide training to ensure proper contract management and implementation is exercised at all times. No changes to the CSP regulation were made in response to these comments.

CMT

Comment: NRCS received four comments related to CMT. Three respondents recommended the continued use of CMT, but suggest making it more transparent and accessible, including having a version of CMT available to producers to run alternative scenarios for themselves prior to applying for program benefits. The other respondent identified that the performance values used in CMT to determine payments do not translate to adequate compensation for expenses to implement additional activities, and thus the valuation process utilizing CMT is not preferred.

NRCS Response: The 2014 Act removed reference to CMT in the CSP statute. While the removal of references to CMT does not preclude utilizing CMT in CSP implementation, NRCS now has the flexibility to explore other methods for evaluating CSP applications for funding. NRCS has convened a team to explore other, more transparent, methods for making eligibility, ranking, and payment determinations that do not rely solely, or at all, upon the use of CMT. Since NRCS removed references to the CMT in the CSP interim rule, no changes are needed to CSP regulations in response to these comments.

CRP Expiring Contracts

Comment: NRCS received two comments related to expiring CRP contracts. These comments recommend that NRCS increase coordination with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to ensure a seamless transition from CRP back to agricultural production, including the adoption of policies that encourage retaining the conservation cover that had been established under CRP.

NRCS Response: NRCS welcomes the recommendation and will continue coordinating with FSA to improve the transition process within authority. NRCS has amended the regulation to allow transitioning land to participate in CSP as authorized in the 2014 Act, and has established a seamless process to transition from CRP back to agricultural production. Presently, NRCS offers four enhancements designed to preserve the benefits gained while in CRP or mitigate negative effects from transitioning expired CRP lands to production agriculture. These enhancements are:

• Animal Enhancement Activity (ANM35): Enhance wildlife habitat on expired grass/legume-covered CRP acres or acres with similar perennial vegetated cover managed as hayland.

• Animal Enhancement Activity (ANM36): Enhance wildlife habitat on expired tree-covered CRP acres or acres with similar woody cover managed as forestland.

• Animal Enhancement Activity (ANM37): Prescriptive grazing management system for grazed lands (includes expired CRP grass/legume- or tree-covered acres converted to grazed lands).

• Soil Quality Enhancement Activity (SQL10): Crop management system where crop land acres were recently converted from CRP grass/legume cover or similar perennial vegetation.

Detailed descriptions of these enhancement activities can be found at the agency program Web site. 2 NRCS will continue evaluating new technology that can be offered in the future to help producers transition back to agricultural production in a sustainable manner. Changes are not needed to the CSP regulation in response to these comments.

2http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/financial/csp/?cid=stelprdb1265825.

Contract Limit

Comment: NRCS received 103 comments recommending that NRCS eliminate the higher contract limit that is available to joint operations. Two other comments recommended that NRCS retain the higher contract limit.

NRCS Response: Since 2010, NRCS identified in the CSP regulation a contract limitation of $200,000 per person or legal entity, and $400,000 for joint operations. The original CSP statute required that “A person or legal entity may not receive, directly or indirectly, payments that, in the aggregate, exceed $200,000 for all contracts entered into during any 5-year period.” There is no statutory mention of a contract limit.

Payment limitations do not apply directly to “joint operations” (the term joint operation includes general partnerships and joint ventures). Rather, each member of a joint operation is treated as a separate person or legal entity with payments directly attributed to them. With no contract limit or direct attribution, contracts with joint operations could be very large (for example, $1 million contracts for joint operations with five members that received the $200,000 maximum).

To address these concerns under the original statute, NRCS imposed a regulatory contract limit that corresponded with the program payment limitation of $200,000, and later established a higher contract limit for joint operations. This resulted in unintended consequences as it encouraged applicants and participants to restructure their operations to qualify for the higher contract limit.

The 2014 Act did not address NRCS regulatory contract limits and NRCS kept the higher contract limit for joint operations in the CSP interim rule, but prohibited any increase in contract obligation due to producers restructuring their operation and transferring the contracts to joint operations eligible for the higher contract limit during the contract term. NRCS did not receive any comments on this prohibition and maintains such prohibition in this final rule.

However, on the issue of eliminating the higher contract level itself, NRCS does not believe it is appropriate to make such a change in this final rule since NRCS did not identify in the interim rule that it might reconsider whether or not to keep the higher contract limit for joint operations. Therefore, NRCS is maintaining the $400,000 contract limit for joint operations. NRCS is considering requesting additional public input on this specific topic though a separate Federal Register notice at a later date.

Cropland Conversion

Comment: NRCS received one comment that expressed uncertainty about whether the prohibition on making payment for land converted to cropland applied to forestland.

NRCS Response: Section 1238E(b)(2) of the CSP statute specifies that eligible land used for crop production after February 7, 2014, (the date of enactment of the 2014 Act), that had not been planted, considered to be planted, or devoted to crop production for at least 4 of the 6 years preceding that date, shall not be the basis for any payment under CSP unless certain exceptions apply. This prohibition applies to all eligible land under the program, including non-industrial private forest land. Therefore, non-industrial forest land that was not in crop production for at least 4 of the 6 years preceding February 7, 2014, is not eligible for CSP payment if it is subsequently converted to cropland. No changes were made to the regulation in response to this comment.

Eligibility

Comment: NRCS received 19 comments that recommended that NRCS incorporate flexibility into the requirement that an entire farm be enrolled under a CSP contract.

NRCS Response: Section 1238F(a) of the CSP statute specifies that to be eligible to participate in CSP, a producer shall submit to the Secretary a contract offer for the agricultural operation. As described above, NRCS applies a majority test to determine the scope of an applicant's agricultural operations and whether it is substantially separate from other operations of the applicant. NRCS believes that this test provides a credible, flexible means by which agricultural operations are identified and enrolled within statutory requirements. No changes to the CSP regulation were made in response to these comments.

Enhancements and Enhancement Options

Comment: NRCS received 17 comments related to enhancements and enhancement options. Among these comments were recommendations that there be more enhancements specific to organic production for certified organic producers, that enhancement options address measurable sustainable practices, and increase the availability of enhancements that will restore grasslands back to native prairie conditions. The comments related to the native grass enhancements asserted that this recommendation would provide a mechanism for better wildlife management for hunting and recreational use, and thus stimulate rural economies in small towns.

NRCS Response: NRCS will consider these recommendations in its identification and adoption of enhancements for future signups. Consistent with program purpose, future enhancements will meet or exceed the quality criteria for resource concerns. These comments do not relate directly to the regulations, and therefore no changes were made to the CSP regulations in response to these comments.

Environmental Credits

Comment: NRCS received two comments related to environmental credits. One respondent recommends that there be a program that compensates for carbon sequestration and another requests that access to environmental credit trading opportunities be made available to CSP participants.

NRCS Response: NRCS identifies in § 1470.37 of the CSP regulations that CSP participants may achieve environmental benefits that qualify for environmental credits under an environmental credit-trading program. However, a CSP participant who enters into such a credit-trading program must ensure that any activities under that trading program are consistent with their responsibilities under the CSP contract. While CSP does not make payments directly for carbon sequestration, many of the conservation activities for which payment is made do assist with carbon sequestration efforts. For example, high residue cover crops or mixtures of high residue cover crops for weed suppression and soil health, or prairie restoration for grazing and wildlife habitat, both provide carbon building opportunities. No changes were made to the CSP regulation in response to these comments.

Fairness

Comment: NRCS received six comments recommending all farmers be treated equally, and for NRCS to keep the small and medium-sized agricultural entities at the forefront of NRCS plans.

NRCS Response: NRCS reviews each of its policies in light of how such policy may affect small and medium-sized agricultural operations, and removes, wherever possible, any barriers to full participation. NRCS is also exploring other ways to increase participation of producers with small operations, including expanding the minimum payment to all producers and potentially designating ranking pools for small operations to accommodate competitions of applicants that have similar challenges, such as limited resources to implement new activities. These efforts being evaluated are expected to increase participation of small operations and treat all producers fairly. NRCS considered these comments about fairness when reviewing how to address all the other topics raised by the public comments.

Modifications

Comment: NRCS received two comments recommending that participants be allowed to add qualifying land to an existing CSP contract during the CSP contract term, and three other comments recommending that participants be allowed to remove land from a CSP contract and that NRCS adopt more flexibility to allow participants to make changes to the resource inventory for their agricultural operation without penalty.

NRCS Response: NRCS recognizes that some of its flexibility in managing CSP contracts was limited by the business tools available. As identified above, NRCS has convened a team to review the business processes and methods used to implement CSP, including methods that may facilitate greater flexibility in allowing participants to make appropriate modifications to their CSP contracts. No changes were made to the CSP regulation in response to these comments.

The CSP contract modification and transfer provision encompasses circumstances where a participant is considered in violation of their CSP contract for losing control of the land under contract for any reason. NRCS may allow a participant to transfer the CSP contract rights to an eligible producer provided: (1) The participant notifies NRCS of the loss of control within the time specified in the contract; (2) NRCS determines that the new producer is eligible to participate in the program; and (3) the transfer of the contract rights does not interfere with meeting program objectives.

Given that the new producer is not a party to the CSP contract until NRCS approves the contract transfer and adds the new producer to the contract, a new producer may not be aware they are not eligible for payment until the contract transfer has been approved by NRCS. In particular, any activities that a new producer implements prior to NRCS approval of the contract transfer is not eligible for payment because they are not a program participant at the time of implementation. NRCS is taking this opportunity to clarify the provisions at 7 CFR 1470.25, including: (1) A participant's responsibility to notify NRCS about any loss of control of land; (2) the timing of when a new producer must be identified; (3) the timing of when a new producer becomes eligible for payment; and (4) the circumstances when partial or full termination of the contract may be appropriate. This change does not affect the substance of NRCS regulatory and policy framework regarding land transfers.

Outreach

Comment: NRCS received two comments related to the topic of outreach, including recommendations that NRCS explore more options to attract more organic producers to CSP.

NRCS Response: In prior years, NRCS has offered enhancements that specifically address organic production and transitioning to organic production. Additionally, NRCS has offered conservation activities which have a high likelihood of adoption by organic producers or those who are interested in transitioning to organic production. NRCS is currently exploring opportunities to simplify CSP implementation, and is going to tie its enhancement offerings more closely with NRCS conservation practices. Through the new process, NRCS anticipates offering expanded opportunities for participation by organic productions and those transitioning to organic production, such as offering enhancement bundles specifically targeted to these producers. Enhancement bundles are a suite of enhancements that provide greater environmental benefits when implemented in conjunction with one another.

Payments

Comment: NRCS received 114 comments related to payments under CSP, nearly all of which expressed concern about two primary issues: The $1,000 minimum annual payment to historically underserved producers and the basis upon which payments are calculated. The commenters nearly uniformly requested that the minimum annual payment be increased to $1,500 for all CSP participants. In regard to the second issue, commenters were split in their recommendations. Many of the commenters recommended that CSP place more emphasis upon paying for existing conservation activities rather than for adopting new conservation activities, while other commenters recommended that CSP payments be limited to new conservation activities.

NRCS Response: Currently, § 1470.24(c) identifies that NRCS will make a minimum contract payment to historically underserved participants at a rate determined by the Chief in any fiscal year that a contract's payment amount total is less than $1,000. Thus, currently, the minimum payment amount is only available to limited resource farmers, beginning farmers and ranchers, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. NRCS examined several scenarios and the impact that the adoption of different policies would have on program expenditures, and decided to adopt, for fiscal year 2016, a minimum contract payment of $1,500 for any participant whose annual contract amount is less than $1,500. The Chief may modify this minimum contract payment in future years based upon the effort required of a participant to comply with contract requirements. Therefore, § 1470.24(c) in this final rule has been modified accordingly.

As for payment split calculations, the balance between how much emphasis is placed on existing conservation activities versus new conservation activities has been repeatedly raised and addressed in program implementation. CSP program participants are eligible to receive annual payments for existing conservation levels and to implement additional conservation activities. The costs associated with maintaining existing conservation levels are often less than the costs associated with implementing additional conservation activities, resulting in additional conservation activities contributing more to the annual payment rate. NRCS believes maintaining the current payment process in favor of additional activities ensures that the program emphasis meets statutory intent and that stewardship levels improve over the term of the contract. Further, this payment structure provides the appropriate encouragement to ensure such improvement. No changes were made to the regulation in response to these comments.

Producers

Comment: NRCS received one comment recommending that participants be “actively engaged” in the agricultural operation.

NRCS Response: NRCS concurs with the respondent's recommendation and had incorporated this requirement in the CSP interim rule at 7 CFR 1470.6(a)(1). Since such requirement already exists, no further changes have been made to the CSP regulation in response to this comment.

Ranking

Comment: NRCS received 47 comments on the topic of ranking, most of which recommended that existing activities be given either equal or greater priority in ranking applications, while a couple of comments recommended that new activities be given priority in ranking. Some of the commenters recommended that ranking be based on environmental benefits and outcomes.

NRCS Response: In § 1470.20(d) of the CSP interim rule and related discussion in the preamble, NRCS identified that it would maintain weightings of ranking factors that continue to emphasize greatly the extent to which additional activities will be adopted. The ranking provisions in the CSP statute favor additional activities over existing activities. NRCS gives equal weight to each of the statutory factors, resulting in greater emphasis upon new activities. NRCS believes maintaining the current ranking process in favor of additional activities ensures that the program emphasis meets CSP's statutory intent. No changes were made to the regulation in response to these comments.

Renewals

Comment: NRCS received four comments related to contract renewal, including: Disagreement with the requirement to maintain the documented system when renewing, concern that additional activities become existing activities under renewal and are thus unavailable to be planned again, concern that it appears payments for renewed grazing operations is half of the original contract but the same does not appear to be true for cropland operations, and a recommendation that producers should be able to drop irrelevant practices at the time of renewal.

NRCS Response: NRCS incorporated the statutory requirements for contract renewal in § 1470.26 of the CSP interim rule. The purpose of the requirement to maintain the documented system when renewing is to ensure that the producer is “in compliance with the terms of their initial contract as determined by NRCS” (7 CFR 1470.26(b)(1)). No changes were made to the regulation in response to this comment; however, NRCS is reviewing its business methods, and is exploring ways to facilitate the substitution of conservation activities between the initial contract and the renewal contract where appropriate.

The difference in payment rates between the initial contract and a renewal contract results from the different activities that will be implemented during the renewal contract. In particular, once a participant has adopted a conservation activity under the original contract, the participant only incurs maintenance costs associated with that conservation activity under a renewal contract related to the costs. The costs of maintenance for most conservation activities are lower than the costs incurred during initial implementation, thus resulting in a lower payment rate for the renewal contract unless the participant adopts new conservation activities. Due to the changes in the availability of certain activities and enhancements, these payment disparities seem to be more pronounced for contract renewals associated with the first, 2010-2011, signup, and NRCS analysis reveals that higher payments will be available for future renewal signup.

State Technical Committees

Comment: NRCS received one comment related to the topic of State Technical Committees, recommending that the process by which these committees provide input to identify a priority resource concern should be more transparent.

NRCS Response: NRCS has published a regulation (at 7 CFR part 610, subpart C) and standard operating procedures (e.g., 74 FR 66907) for how it seeks input from the State Technical Committees and how the public can be aware of their activities. In particular, pursuant to 7 CFR 610.23, State Conservationists must provide public notice and allow the public to attend State Technical Committee and Local Working Group meetings. The meeting notice must be published at least 14 calendar days prior to a State Technical Committee meeting, unless State open meeting laws exist and provide for a longer notification period. NRCS believes that how it conducts its meetings provides transparency regarding State Technical Committee input with respect to all of its conservation programs, including identification of priority resource concerns for CSP implementation. No changes were made to the CSP regulations in response to this comment.

Stewardship Thresholds

Comment: NRCS received 46 comments that the stewardship thresholds should be set at a sustainable level.

NRCS Response: NRCS currently incorporates sustainability in the established thresholds based upon information within the NRCS Technical Guides, which establish standards for resource conditions that help provide sustained use of natural resources. NRCS will continue evaluating stewardship thresholds after each signup to ensure the program purpose continues to be met as signups progress and the pool of applicants change. No changes were made to the CSP regulation in response to these comments.

Regulatory Changes

As identified above, in response to public comments, NRCS is changing the minimum contract payment available under § 1470.24(c).

In addition to these changes, NRCS is also making a change with respect to a contract requirement under § 1470.24(a) and (b). In particular, paragraph (a) requires that at least one additional conservation activity must be scheduled, installed, and adopted in the first fiscal year of the contract, and all enhancements must be scheduled, installed, and adopted by the end of the third fiscal year of the contract. Paragraph (b)(2) requires that a resource-conserving crop rotation must be planted on at least one-third of the rotation acres by the third fiscal year of the contract.

These requirements arose under the original program to ensure that there was sufficient justification of costs for NRCS to make payment in the first year of enrollment and that participants implement enhancements and crop rotations as soon as possible in the term of the contract. NRCS is modifying the provision to be consistent with the Environmental Quality Incentives Program found in 7 CFR part 1466 where practices have to be installed within the first 12 months after contract approval versus tying it to a Federal fiscal year. Tying conservation activity implementation to a Federal fiscal year may preclude a participant from having a full year to implement a conservation activity. Even so, NRCS remains cognizant that CSP and EQIP have certain fundamental differences that require different approaches. One of these is that CSP, unlike EQIP, targets the best conservation stewards. As such, it is reasonable to expect under most circumstances that CSP participants will implement enhancements and resource-conserving crop rotations expeditiously. Thus, NRCS maintains the time requirement in the regulation in which enhancements and resource-conserving crop rotations must be implemented, but provides the Chief with flexibility to ensure appropriate planning for particular enhancements and resource-conserving crop rotations where conservation stewardship goals will be better met with a different implementation schedule.

Therefore, NRCS is adjusting these time requirements in the regulation. These changes will improve implementation of CSP stewardship plan requirements and minimize the need for unnecessary late scheduling implementation waivers to allow the producer to earn the first payment if the contract is awarded late in the Federal fiscal year. Additionally, NRCS has simplified language to incorporate the 2014 Act's removal of the required use of CMT and the flexibility provided to prorate annual payments over the term of the contract.

Regulatory Certifications Executive Order 12866 and 13563

Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review,” and Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” 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. NRCS is currently conducting a focused internal review of CSP and accompanying regulations with the goal of providing improved customer service and, ultimately, improved program performance. NRCS is also exploring ways to emphasize priority enhancements in CSP, as well as ways to better understand and relay to the public the economic and environmental benefits of conservation implementation over time. NRCS expects the results of these retrospective review efforts to improve management and maximize the impact of the intended conservation benefits associated with the program.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) designated this final rule a significant regulatory action. The administrative record is available for public inspection at USDA headquarters at 1400 Independence Avenue, Southwest, South Building, Room 5247, Washington, DC 20250. Pursuant to Executive Order 12866, NRCS conducted a regulatory impact analysis of the potential impacts associated with this program. A summary of the analysis can be found at the end of this preamble, and a copy of the analysis is available upon request from the Director of the Financial Assistance Programs Division (see above for contact information), or electronically at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp/ under the CSP Rules and Notices with Supporting Documents title. In addition, the analysis and other supporting documents can be found at www.regulations.gov by accessing docket number NRCS-2014-0008.

Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, requires each agency to write all rules in plain language. In addition to the substantive comments NRCS received to the interim rule, NRCS invited public comment on how to make the provisions easier to understand. NRCS has incorporated these recommendations for improvement where appropriate. NRCS responses to public comment are described more fully later in this preamble.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612) generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any other statute. NRCS did not prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis for this rule because NRCS is not required by 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other provision of law, to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking with respect to the subject matter of this rule. Even so, NRCS has determined that this action, while mostly affecting small entities, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of these small entities. NRCS made this determination based on the fact that this regulation only impacts those who choose to participate in the program. Small entity applicants will not be affected to a greater extent than large entity applicants.

Environmental Analysis

NRCS has determined that changes made by this rule fall within a category of actions that are excluded from the requirement to prepare either an Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The changes made by the rule are primarily those mandated by the 2014 Act, though there are additional administrative changes made to improve consistency with other NRCS programs and make other clarifications. NRCS has no discretion with respect to changes mandated by the 2014 Act; therefore, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) does not apply. Administrative changes made in this rule fall within a categorical exclusion for policy development relating to routine activities and similar administrative functions (7 CFR 1b.3(a)(1)), and NRCS has identified no extraordinary circumstances that would otherwise require preparation of an EA or EIS.

To further its site-specific compliance with NEPA, NRCS reviewed the 2009 CSP Programmatic EA, and found this rule makes no substantial changes that are relevant to environmental concerns as compared to the EA proposed action. Furthermore, NRCS has not found any significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns. As a result, NRCS will continue to tier to the 2009 CSP Programmatic EA as appropriate to meet NEPA requirements related to site-specific activities.

Civil Rights Impact Analysis

NRCS has determined, through a Civil Rights Impact Analysis, that the final rule discloses no disproportionately adverse impacts for minorities, women, or persons with disabilities. The national target of setting aside 5 percent of CSP acres for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and an additional 5 percent of CSP acres for beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as prioritizing veterans applications that are competing in these subaccounts for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and beginning farmer and ranchers is expected to increase participation among these groups.

The data presented in the analysis indicate producers who are members of the protected groups have participated in NRCS conservation programs at parity with other producers. Extrapolating from historical participation data, it is reasonable to conclude that CSP will continue to be administered in a nondiscriminatory manner. Outreach and communication strategies are in place to ensure all producers will be provided the same information to allow them to make informed decisions regarding the use of their lands that will affect their participation in USDA programs. NRCS conservation programs apply to all persons equally, regardless of their race, color, national origin, gender, sex, or disability status. Therefore, this interim rule portends no adverse civil rights implications for women, minorities, or persons with disabilities.

Paperwork Reduction Act

Section 1246 of the 1985 Act provides that implementation of programs authorized by Title XII of the 1985 Act be made without regard to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Therefore, NRCS is not reporting recordkeeping or estimated paperwork burden associated with this final rule.

Government Paperwork Elimination Act

NRCS is committed to compliance with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act and the Freedom to E-File Act, which require government agencies, in general, to provide the public the option of submitting information or transacting business electronically to the maximum extent possible. To better accommodate public access, NRCS has developed an online application and information system for public use.

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 regarding 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 Tribes, on the relationship between the Federal government and Tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal government and Tribes. NRCS has assessed the impact of this final rule on Tribes and determined that this rule does not have Tribal implications that require Tribal consultation under Executive Order 13175.

The agency has developed an outreach and collaboration plan that it has been implementing as it develops its policy in regard to the 2014 Act. If a Tribe requests consultation, NRCS will work at the appropriate local, State, or national level, including with the USDA Office of Tribal Relations, to ensure meaningful consultation is provided where changes, additions, and modifications identified herein are not expressly mandated by Congress.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Public Law 104-4, requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their regulatory actions on the private sector, or State, local, and Tribal governments of $100 million or more in any one year. When such a statement is needed for a rule, section 205 of UMRA requires NRCS to prepare a written statement, including a cost-benefit assessment, for proposed and final rules with “Federal mandates” that may result in such expenditures for State, local, or Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to the private sector. UMRA generally requires agencies to consider alternatives and adopt the more cost effective or least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule.

This rule contains no Federal mandates, as defined under Title II of UMRA, for the private sector, or State, local, and Tribal governments. Thus, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 or 205 of UMRA.

Executive Order 13132

NRCS has considered this final rule in accordance with Executive Order 13132, issued August 4, 1999. NRCS has determined that the final rule conforms with the federalism principles set out in this Executive Order, would not impose any compliance costs on the States, and would not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the Federal government and the States, nor on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, NRCS concludes that this final rule does not have federalism implications.

Economic Analysis—Executive Summary

CSP is authorized under the provisions of Chapter 2, Subtitle D of Title XII of the 1985 Act (16 U.S.C. 3830 et seq.), as amended by Title II, Subtitle D of the 2008 Act, Public Law 110-246, 122 Stat. 1651 (2008), and by Title II, Subtitle B of the 2014 Act, Public Law 113-79 (2014). The Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of NRCS, administers the program.

As part of the 2014 Act, Congress reauthorized CSP and capped enrollment at 10 million acres for each fiscal year during the period February 7, 2014, through September 30, 2022. However, the 2014 Act only provided funding through fiscal year 2018. CSP contracts run for 5 years and include the potential for a one-time renewal option for an additional 5 years, thus creating financial obligations through fiscal year 2027 for commitments made during fiscal years 2014 to 2018. Nationally, program costs cannot exceed an annual average rate of $18 per acre. For each of the five fiscal year signups (2014 to 2018) including a one-time contract renewal option for an additional 5 years, Congress authorized a maximum of $1.8 billion. Total authorized funding equals $9 billion for the five signups.

Participation in CSP is voluntary. Agricultural and forestry producers decide whether or not CSP participation helps them achieve their objectives. Hence, CSP participation is not expected to negatively impact program participants and nonparticipants.

Pursuant to Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review (Office of the President, 1993) and the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-4 (Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, 2003) that provides guidance in conducting regulatory analyses, NRCS conducted an assessment of CSP consistent with its classification as a “significant” program. Most of this rule's impacts consist of transfers from the Federal government to producers. Although these transfers create incentives that very likely cause changes in the way society uses its resources, we lack data to estimate the resulting social costs or benefits. This analysis therefore, includes a summary of program costs and qualitative assessment of program impacts.

Total program obligations for CSP are shown in table E1. Obligations include only costs to the Federal government between fiscal year 2014 and 2027 (five signups with one-time, 5-year contract renewals). Projected maximum program obligations in nominal dollars equal $9 billion. Given a 3 percent discount rate, projected cumulative program obligations equal $6.405 billion in constant 2014 dollars. At a 7 percent discount rate, maximum program obligations equal $4.942 billion in constant 2014 dollars. Average annualized obligations at the 3 percent and 7 percent discount rates equal $567 million and $565 million, respectively.

Table E1—Projected Maximum Program Obligations for CSP, FY 2014 Through FY 2027 a Fiscal year Obligation b
  • (million $)
  • GDP price
  • deflator c
  • (2014=100)
  • Obligation
  • constant
  • dollars
  • (million $)
  • Discount
  • factors for
  • 3%
  • Present value
  • of obligation—3%
  • (million $)
  • Discount
  • factors for
  • 7%
  • Present value
  • of obligation—7%
  • (million $)
  • FY14 180 100.0000 180 0.9709 175 0.9346 168 FY15 360 102.1000 353 0.9426 332 0.8734 308 FY16 540 104.2441 518 0.9151 474 0.8163 423 FY17 720 106.4332 676 0.8885 601 0.7629 516 FY18 900 108.6683 828 0.8626 714 0.7130 591 FY19 900 110.9504 811 0.8375 679 0.6663 541 FY20 900 113.0584 796 0.8131 647 0.6227 496 FY21 900 115.2065 781 0.7894 617 0.5820 455 FY22 900 117.3954 767 0.7664 588 0.5439 417 FY23 900 119.6260 752 0.7441 560 0.5083 382 FY24 720 121.8989 591 0.7224 427 0.4751 281 FY25 540 124.2149 435 0.7014 305 0.4440 193 FY26 360 126.5750 284 0.6810 194 0.4150 118 FY27 180 128.9799 140 0.6611 92 0.3878 54 Total 9,000 7,912 6,405 4,942 Annualized Obligations 567 565 a Table 1 of this document. b Congress set a maximum of 10 million acres per signup and a national payment rate of $18 per acre. With a one-time contract renewal option, each signup equals $1.8 billion in projected program obligations over its 10-year period. Congress authorized five signups. c For years 1 to 5, the GDP adjustment is 2.10 percent (OMB); for years 6 to 14, the GDP adjustment factor is 1.90 percent (average growth since 1993).

    Compared to CSP as authorized under the 2008 Act, Congress reduced its size but left much of CSP's underlying structure intact. In addition, the Secretary of Agriculture proposed a number of discretionary changes as a means of improving program implementation.

    As shown in table E2, the downsizing of CSP from an annual 12.769-million-acre program to an annual 10-million-acre program has the greatest impacts on program funds, conservation activities, and cost-effectiveness. Program funds, which include financial and technical assistance, decrease by $2.492 billion (nominal dollars), compared to CSP under the 2008 Act. With fewer acres and fewer dollars, fewer contracts will be funded under the 2014 Act. The new conservation activities that would have been applied to enhance the existing activities on the lost 2.769 million acres will not be applied to the Nation's working lands. However, cost-effectiveness, defined as dollars per additional unit of conservation effect, will improve slightly because lower ranked eligible applications are the first ones cut from every State's ranking pools. That is, obligations per unit of conservation effect will be lower under the 2014 Act. Properly implemented, a smaller sized CSP will be neutral in its impacts across all producer types, including beginning and socially disadvantaged groups.

    Table E2—Program Impacts of the Statutory Requirements and Discretionary Actions  a Statutory Based on 2008 CSP Farm Bill Provisions: 12.769 Million Acres vs. 10 Million Acres Program funds Impacts of conservation activities Cost-effectiveness Participant diversity Acreage Enrollment Limitation −$2.492 billion in program funds Significantly large decrease Small improvement No impact. 2008 CSP at 10 Million Acres vs. 2014 CSP at 10 Million Acres Conditions for Contract Renewal Small/Moderate decrease Increase Small Improvement No Impact. Discretionary Program funds Impacts of conservation activities Cost-effectiveness Participant diversity Contract Renewal: To renew contracts, shift eligibility determinations to applicable priority resource concerns Moderate decrease Marginal Increase Marginal Improvement No Impact. Annual minimum contract payment (increase to $1,500; all participants) +; Negligible No Impact −; Negligible No Impact. a Shortened version of table 9 and table 11 in the main document.

    One additional legislated change in the 2014 Act, additional contract renewal requirements, is also expected to generate smaller, yet important program impacts. The legislated 2014 contract renewal requirements—producer agrees to meet the stewardship thresholds for at least two additional priority resource concerns by the end of the renewed contract period or to exceed the stewardship thresholds of at least two existing priority resource concerns specified in the original contract—will likely result in a slightly larger portion of CSP participants not renewing their contracts compared to a comparably sized 2008 CSP and renewal rate. The 2008 Act only requires the addition of one or more new conservation activities for contract renewal. However, CSP participants under the 2014 Act are required to add activities to meet or exceed stewardship thresholds for at least two priority resource concerns, thus likely increasing the number of additional activities applied in the second 5-year period. With yearly payments extended and more activities being applied under 2014 Act renewals, a slight improvement in cost-effectiveness is expected. Overall no differential impacts are expected between general agricultural and forest producers, and beginning and socially disadvantaged producers, including veteran status.

    An important discretionary change is clearly defining the terms “applicable priority resource concerns” and “other priority resource concerns”. “Applicable priority resource concerns” represent resource issues within a watershed or portion of a State that NRCS is targeting for improvement. “Other priority resource concerns” are resource concerns that may or may not exist in a watershed but are currently not being targeted for improvement. These definitions allow NRCS to better describe how it is targeting resources to meet statutory objectives.

    A second discretionary change is the implementation of a $1,500 minimum annual payment. Any CSP contract with an annual payment less than $1,500 is increased to $1,500. Comments submitted in response to CSP's Interim Rule (NRCS, 2014) suggest that CSP is not cost effective for small operations because payments are based on acres and not costs. Planning, management, machinery, and equipment costs, for example, typically decrease as operation size increases due to economies of scale. As shown, in table E2, this discretionary change negligibly increases program funds, does not impact any existing or new conservation activities, negligibly decreases cost-effectiveness, and does not change participant diversity with respect to the historically underserved.

    In summary, differences in program impacts between the 2008 CSP and the 2014 CSP can be attributed primarily to the program's smaller acre cap of 10 million acres. Statutory requirements related to contract renewals and proposed discretionary actions will result in a more focused approach to meeting conservation objectives and encouraging more participation of small operations.

    List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1470

    Agricultural operation, Conservation activities, Natural resources, Priority resource concern, Stewardship threshold, Resource-conserving crop rotation, Soil and water conservation, Soil quality, Water quality and water conservation, Wildlife and forest management.

    Accordingly, the interim rule amending 7 CFR part 1470, which was published at 79 FR 65836 on November 5, 2014, is adopted as a final rule with the following changes:

    PART 1470—CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for part 1470 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 3838d-3838g;

    2. Amend § 1470.24 by revising paragraphs (a)(1)(i), (a)(3), (b)(2), and (c) to read as follows:
    § 1470.24 Payments.

    (a) * * *

    (1) To receive annual payments, a participant must:

    (i) Install and adopt additional conservation activities as scheduled in the conservation stewardship plan. At least one additional conservation activity must be scheduled, installed, and adopted within the first 12 months of the contract. All enhancements must be scheduled, installed, and adopted by the end of the third fiscal year of the contract, unless the Chief approves a different schedule to meet specific conservation stewardship goals. Installed enhancements must be maintained for the remainder of the contract period and adopted enhancements must recur for the remainder of the contract period.

    (3) Annual payments will be prorated over the contract term so as to accommodate, to the extent practicable, participants earning equal annual payments in each fiscal year;

    (b) * * *

    (2) A participant must adopt or improve the resource-conserving crop rotation during the term of the contract to be eligible to receive a supplemental payment. Unless the Chief approves a different schedule to meet the conservation stewardship goals of particular crop rotation sequences, a resource-conserving crop rotation:

    (i) Is considered adopted when the resource-conserving crop is planted on at least one-third of the rotation acres; and

    (ii) Must be adopted by the third fiscal year of the contract and planted on all rotation acres by the fifth fiscal year of the contract; and

    (c) Minimum contract payment. NRCS may make a minimum contract payment to a participant in any fiscal year in which the contract's payment amount total is less than a rate determined equitable by the Chief based upon the effort required by a participant to comply with the terms of the contract.

    3. Amend § 1470.25 by revising paragraph (d) and adding new paragraphs (e) through (g) to read as follows:
    § 1470.25 Voluntary contract modifications and transfers of land.

    (d) Within the time specified in the contract, a participant must provide NRCS with written notice regarding any voluntary or involuntary loss of control of any acreage under the CSP contract, which includes changes in a participant's ownership structure or corporate form. Failure to provide timely notice will result in termination of the entire contract.

    (e) Unless NRCS approves a transfer of contract rights under this paragraph, a participant losing control of any acreage will constitute a violation of the CSP contract and NRCS will terminate the contract and require a participant to refund all or a portion of any financial assistance provided. NRCS may approve a transfer of the contract if:

    (1) NRCS receives written notice that identifies the new producer who will take control of the acreage, as required in paragraph (d) of this section;

    (2) The new producer meets program eligibility requirements within a reasonable time frame, as specified in the CSP contract;

    (3) The new producer agrees to assume the rights and responsibilities for the acreage under the contract; and

    (4) NRCS determines that the purposes of the program will continue to be met despite the original participant's losing control of all or a portion of the land under contract.

    (f) Until NRCS approves the transfer of contract rights, the new producer is not a participant in the program and may not receive payment for conservation activities commenced prior to approval of the contract transfer.

    (g) NRCS may not approve a contract transfer and may terminate the contract in its entirety if NRCS determines that the loss of control of the land was voluntary, the new producer is not eligible or willing to assume responsibilities under the contract, or the purposes of the program cannot be met.

    Signed this 3rd day of March, 2016, in Washington, DC. Jason A. Weller, Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05419 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-16-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-3753; Directorate Identifier 2015-NE-26-AD; Amendment 39-18406; AD 2016-04-12] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Turbomeca S.A. Turboshaft Engines AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Turbomeca S.A. Arriel 2B, 2B1, 2C, 2C1, 2C2, 2D, 2E, 2S1, and 2S2 turboshaft engines. This AD requires inspection, and, depending on the results, removal of the engine accessory gearbox (AGB). This AD was prompted by a report of an uncommanded in-flight shutdown (IFSD) of an Arriel 2 engine caused by rupture of the 41-tooth gear, which forms part of the bevel gear in the engine AGB. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the engine AGB, which could lead to in-flight shutdown, damage to the engine, and damage to the aircraft.

    DATES:

    This AD becomes effective April 14, 2016.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of April 14, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Turbomeca S.A., 40220 Tarnos, France; phone: 33 0 5 59 74 40 00; fax: 33 0 5 59 74 45 15. You may view this service information at the FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7125. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-3753.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-3753; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI), the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Document Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Philip Haberlen, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7770; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to the specified products. The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on November 24, 2015 (80 FR 73148). The NPRM proposed to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

    An uncommanded in-flight shut-down (IFSD) of an ARRIEL 2 engine was reported, caused by rupture of the 41-tooth gear, which forms part of the bevel gear of the accessory gearbox (module M01). The subsequent investigation revealed that wear on the housing of the front bearing of this gear was a major contributor to this rupture. In addition, the investigation showed that this wear mechanism had resulted in positive Spectrometric Oil Analysis (SOA) indications before the event.

    This condition, if not detected and corrected, could potentially lead to further cases of IFSD, possibly resulting in an emergency landing.

    You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-3753.

    Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the NPRM (80 FR 73148, November 24, 2015).

    Conclusion

    We reviewed the available data and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD as proposed.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Turbomeca S.A. has issued Mandatory Service Bulletin No. 292 72 2861, Version A, dated April 24, 2015. The service information describes procedures for inspecting the engine AGB. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this final rule.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 250 engines installed on aircraft of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it will take about 0.5 hours per engine to comply with the initial inspection requirement in this AD and about 2 hours per engine to remove the engine AGB. The spectrometric oil analysis kit costs about $79. The average labor rate is $85 per hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $72,875.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this AD:

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

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

    (3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction, and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2016-04-12 Turbomeca S.A.: Amendment 39-18406; Docket No. FAA-2015-3753; Directorate Identifier 2015-NE-26-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective April 14, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Turbomeca S.A. Arriel 2B, 2B1, 2C, 2C1, 2C2, 2D, 2E, 2S1, and 2S2 turboshaft engines with an engine accessory gearbox (AGB), part number (P/N) 0292120650, with a machined front casing.

    (d) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a report of an uncommanded in-flight shutdown (IFSD) of an Arriel 2 engine caused by rupture of the 41-tooth gear, which forms part of the bevel gear in the engine AGB. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the engine AGB, which could lead to IFSD, damage to the engine, and damage to the aircraft.

    (e) Actions and Compliance

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

    (1) Initial Spectrometric Oil Analysis (SOA)

    (i) Perform an initial SOA within the compliance times given in paragraph (e)(1)(i)(A) or (e)(1)(i)(B) of this AD:

    (A) If the engine AGB has less than 800 engine hours (EHs) since new or since last overhaul, do an initial SOA before exceeding 850 EHs since new or since last overhaul.

    (B) If the engine AGB has 800 EHs or more since new or since last overhaul, or if the EHs are unknown, do an initial SOA within 50 EHs after the effective date of this AD.

    (C) Use paragraphs 2.4.2.1 and 2.4.2.2 of Turbomeca S.A. Mandatory Service Bulletin (MSB) No. 292 72 2861, Version A, dated April 24, 2015, to perform the SOA required by paragraph (e) of this AD.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (2) Repetitive SOA

    (i) If the aluminum concentration determined from the most recent SOA is less than 0.8 parts per million (PPM), repeat the SOA required by paragraph (e) of this AD within 100 EHs time since last analysis (TSLA).

    (ii) If the aluminum concentration determined from the most recent SOA is between 0.8 PPM and 1.4 PPM, inclusive, repeat the SOA required by paragraph (e) of this AD within 50 EHs TSLA. Do not perform draining before doing the next SOA.

    (iii) If the aluminum concentration determined from the most recent SOA is greater than 1.4 PPM, remove the engine AGB from service within 50 EHs TSLA.

    (f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    The Manager, Engine Certification Office, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Use the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19 to make your request. You may email your request to: [email protected]

    (g) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Philip Haberlen, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7770; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

    (2) Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency AD 2015-0162, dated August 6, 2015, for more information. You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2015-3753-0001.

    (h) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Turbomeca S.A. Mandatory Service Bulletin No. 292 72 2861, Version A, dated April 24, 2015.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For Turbomeca S.A. service information identified in this AD, contact Turbomeca S.A., 40220 Tarnos, France; phone: 33 0 5 59 74 40 00; fax: 33 0 5 59 74 45 15.

    (4) You may view this service information at FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7125.

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

    Issued in Burlington, Massachusetts, on February 18, 2016. Ann C. Mollica, Acting Manager, Engine & Propeller Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05318 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2012-1331; Directorate Identifier 2012-NE-44-AD; Amendment 39-18390; AD 2016-03-03] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Rolls-Royce plc Turbojet Engines AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are superseding airworthiness directive (AD) 2013-11-13 for all Rolls-Royce plc (RR) Viper Mk. 601-22 turbojet engines. AD 2013-11-13 required reducing the life of certain critical parts. This AD adds two new engine models and additional engine parts to the applicability. This AD was prompted by a determination by RR that additional parts for the RR Viper Mk. 601-22 as well as additional engine models are affected. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of life-limited parts, which could lead to an uncontained part release, damage to the engine, and damage to the airplane.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective April 14, 2016.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publication listed in this AD as of April 14, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this AD, contact DA Services Operations Room at Rolls-Royce plc, Defense Sector Bristol, WH-70, P.O. Box 3, Filton, Bristol BS34 7QE, United Kingdom; phone: +44 (0) 117 97 90700; fax: +44 (0) 117 97 95498; email: [email protected] You may view this service information at the FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7125. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2012-1331.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2012-1331; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the mandatory continuing airworthiness information, regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Document Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Philip Haberlen, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7770; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2013-11-13, Amendment 39-17473 (78 FR 34550, June 10, 2013), (“AD 2013-11-13”). AD 2013-11-13 applied to the specified products. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on October 9, 2015 (80 FR 61131). The NPRM proposed to continue to require reducing the life of certain critical parts. That NPRM also proposed to add additional parts for the RR Viper Mk. 601-22 as well as additional engine models to the applicability of this AD.

    Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the NPRM (80 FR 61131, October 9, 2015).

    Conclusion

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

    • Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (80 FR 61131, October 9, 2015) for correcting the unsafe condition; and

    • Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM (80 FR 61131, October 9, 2015).

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    RR has issued RR Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) Mk. 521 Number 72-A408, Circulation A, dated January 2015; RR ASB Mk. 521 Number 72-A408, Circulation B, dated January 2015; RR ASB Mk. 522 Number 72-A413, Circulation A, dated January 2015; RR ASB Mk. 522 Number 72-A412, Circulation B, dated January 2015; and RR ASB Mk 601-22 Number 72-A207, dated January 2015. The service information describes procedures for identifying the affected parts installed on each engine and determining their respective new life limit. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this final rule.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects about 46 engines installed on airplanes of U.S. registry. We estimate a pro-rated parts cost of $66,000 per engine. We also estimate that it will take about 4 hours per engine to comply with this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $3,051,640.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

    (3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction, and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA amends part 39 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR part 39) as follows:

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing airworthiness directive (AD) AD 2013-11-13, Amendment 39-17473 (78 FR 34550, June 10, 2013), (“AD 2013-11-13”), and adding the following new AD: 2016-03-03 Rolls-Royce plc (Type Certificate previously held by Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited, Bristol Engine Division): Amendment 39-18390; Docket No. FAA-2012-1331; Directorate Identifier 2012-NE-44-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective April 14, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD supersedes AD 2013-11-13.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to all Rolls-Royce plc (RR) Viper Mk. 521, Viper Mk. 522, and Viper Mk. 601-22 turbojet engines.

    (d) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by a review by RR of the lives of certain critical parts. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of life-limited parts, which could lead to an uncontained part release, damage to the engine, and damage to the airplane.

    (e) Compliance

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

    (1) Within 30 days after the effective date of this AD, or before any affected part exceeds its new revised life limit, whichever occurs later, remove any affected engine from service. Use Table 1 of RR Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) Mk. 521 Number 72-A408, Circulation A, dated January 2015; RR ASB Mk. 521 Number 72-A408, Circulation B, dated January 2015; RR ASB Mk. 522 Number 72-A413, Circulation A, dated January 2015; RR ASB Mk. 522 Number 72-A412, Circulation B, dated January 2015; and RR ASB Mk 601-22 Number 72-A207, dated January 2015, to identify the affected parts installed on each engine and determine their respective new life limits.

    (2) For the RR Viper Mk. 601-22 turbojet engine, remove compressor shaft, part number V900766, from service before the compressor shaft accumulates 20,720 flight cycles since new.

    (3) Replace any part identified in paragraph (e)(1) or (e)(2) of this AD with a part eligible for installation before the affected part reaches its new life limit specified in paragraph (e)(2) of this AD or in the ASBs referenced in paragraph (e)(1) of this AD.

    (f) Installation Prohibition

    After the effective date of this AD, do not install any affected part identified in paragraph (e) of this AD into any engine, nor return any engine to service with any affected part identified in paragraph (e) of this AD installed, if any affected part exceeds the life limit specified in the appropriate ASB identified in paragraph (e)(1) of this AD and/or the life limit identified in paragraph (e)(2) of this AD.

    (g) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    The Manager, Engine Certification Office, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Use the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19 to make your request. You may email your request to: [email protected]

    (h) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Philip Haberlen, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7770; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

    (2) Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency AD 2015-0127R1, dated August 14, 2015, for more information. You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2012-1331.

    (i) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Rolls-Royce plc (RR) Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) Mk. 521 Number 72-A408, Circulation A, dated January 2015.

    (ii) RR ASB Mk. 521 Number 72-A408, Circulation B, dated January 2015.

    (iii) RR ASB Mk. 522 Number 72-A413, Circulation A, dated January 2015.

    (iv) RR ASB Mk. 522 Number 72-A412, Circulation B, dated January 2015.

    (v) RR ASB Mk 601-22 Number 72-A207, dated January 2015.

    (3) For RR service information identified in this AD, contact DA Services Operations Room at Rolls-Royce plc, Defense Sector Bristol, WH-70, P.O. Box 3, Filton, Bristol BS34 7QE, United Kingdom; phone: +44 (0) 117 97 90700; fax: +44 (0) 117 97 95498; email: [email protected]

    (4) You may view this service information at FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7125.

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

    Issued in Burlington, Massachusetts, on February 2, 2016. Ann C. Mollica, Acting Manager, Engine & Propeller Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05319 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 1610 Statement of Policy on Enforcement Discretion Regarding General Conformity Certificates for Adult Wearing Apparel Exempt From Testing AGENCY:

    U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    ACTION:

    Statement of enforcement policy.

    SUMMARY:

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) has approved a Statement of Policy regarding the CPSC's enforcement of the requirement for a general conformity assessment certificate (“GCC”) with respect to adult wearing apparel that is exempt from testing under the CPSC's clothing flammability standard.

    DATES:

    Effective March 25, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mary Toro, Director, Division of Regulatory Enforcement, Office of Compliance, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; telephone: (301)-504-7586 email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Background

    The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”) was enacted on August 14, 2008 (Pub. L. 110-314). Section 102(A) of the CPSIA requires that all manufacturers of consumer products subject to a rule, standard, or ban enforced by the CPSC issue a general conformity certificate (“GCC”) certifying that “based on a test of each product or upon a reasonable testing program, that such product complies with all rules, bans, standards, or regulations applicable to the product.” 1

    1 122 Stat. at 3022, 102(a).

    B. Flammable Fabrics Act and Related Regulations

    In 1953, Congress enacted the Flammable Fabrics Act (“FFA”) in response to a number of serious injuries and deaths resulting from burns associated with garments made from high-pile rayon.2 The clothing flammability standard at 16 CFR part 1610 (“1610” or “the Standard”) provides for classification of various types of fabrics and describes in detail the test method to determine flammability.

    2 Floyd B. Oglesbay, The Flammable Fabrics Problem, 44 Pediatrics 827 (1969), available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1730418/pdf/v004p00317.pdf.

    Section 1610.1(c) excepts from the flammability standard certain hats, gloves, footwear, and interlining fabrics. Because this section specifically says that the “standard shall not apply to” these articles, they are not “subject to” a rule, standard, or ban under section 102(a) of the CPSIA, and therefore manufacturers and importers are neither subject to the regulation nor required to produce a GCC for these products.

    Section 1610.1(d), conversely, exempts from testing, but not from the standard as a whole, garments made entirely from certain fabrics that the Commission has consistently found not to be flammable. These include:

    (1) Plain surface fabrics, regardless of fiber content, weighing 2.6 ounces per square yard or more; and

    (2) All fabrics, both plain surface and raised-fiber surface textiles, regardless of weight, made entirely from any of the following fibers or entirely from combination of the following fibers: Acrylic, modacrylic, nylon, olefin, polyester, wool.

    Because products made from these fabrics are exempt from testing but not excepted from the standard as a whole, they are still “subject to” a rule, standard, or ban and manufacturers and importers of these exempted products have been required to issue a GCC.

    C. Rationale for Enforcement Discretion

    Experience gained from years of testing in accordance with 16 CFR part 1610 demonstrates that the exempted fabrics referenced above consistently yield acceptable results when tested in accordance with the Standard. This experience allowed an exemption from testing in the Standard, for the purpose of issuing guaranties.3 The Standard allows persons or firms issuing an initial guaranty of any of the referenced fabrics, or of products made entirely from one or more of these fabrics, an exemption from any requirement for testing to support guaranties of those fabrics.

    3 16 CFR 1610.1(d).

    Certificates of compliance for children's products and other consumer products regulated by the Commission serve many vital purposes, not least of which is to assure our compliance staff that these goods have met the testing requirements set forth in our rules. Adult apparel is rarely, if ever, subject to more than one CPSC regulation. Many retailers are issuing GCCs simply noting an exemption from testing to the Standard. The Commission believes the issuance of GCCs for these products is not necessary for CPSC staff to enforce the Standard because the Commission has granted a testing exemption to these fabrics and adult apparel made from these fabrics is unlikely to be subject to other consumer product safety rules, standards, or bans. This proposal provides an opportunity to reduce costs to manufacturers and importers without affecting consumer safety.

    D. Statement of Policy

    The Commission votes to exercise the following enforcement discretion: Effective March 25, 2016, the Commission will not pursue compliance or enforcement actions against manufacturers, importers or private labelers for failure to certify or to issue, provide or make available to the Commission a general conformity certificate as required by 15 U.S.C. 2063(a)(1) with respect to adult wearing apparel that is exempt from testing pursuant to 16 CFR 1610.1(d).

    E. Limitations of Enforcement Discretion

    The intent of this enforcement discretion should be read narrowly within its precise terms. The Commission will use enforcement discretion only for certificate violations related to the indicated product category. These products must still comply with all flammability requirements under the FFA; failure to comply with flammability standards will still subject the products to enforcement action.

    Further, this enforcement discretion does not apply to any adult wearing apparel that does not fit the specific testing exemptions provided for in 16 CFR 1610.1(d). For example, if a manufacturer produced a garment made from a plain surface silk fabric that weighs less than 2.6 ounces per square yard, that garment would not fall within the exemption, and the manufacturer would still be expected to produce a GCC. Should the Commission become aware of unsafe products entering the market as a result of this statement of policy, it reserves the right to withdraw the policy prospectively with no less than 90 days' notice.

    This statement of policy, and the enforcement discretion described herein, is limited to certificates required for adult wearing apparel that is exempt from testing pursuant to 16 CFR 1610.1(d). If the adult wearing apparel is not exempt from testing under 16 CFR 1610.1(d), none of this policy, the enforcement discretion described in this policy nor the implications of such enforcement discretion shall apply. In addition, any misrepresentation or omission regarding the applicable facts or application of 16 CFR 1610.1(d) under the circumstances could subject the applicable firm to applicable compliance or enforcement action and potential civil and/or criminal penalties.

    The Commission's exercise of the enforcement discretion described in this policy is not intended to, does not and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party against the CPSC or otherwise against the United States government.

    Dated: February 26, 2016. Todd A. Stevenson, Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2016-04533 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6355-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2016-0155] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Upper Mississippi River 321.4 to 321.6; Quincy, IL AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for all waters of the Upper Mississippi River (UMR) from mile 321.4 to mile 321.6. The safety zone is needed to protect persons, property, and infrastructure from potential damage and safety hazards associated with work being completed on new power lines across the river. Entry of vessels or persons into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port (COTP). Deviation from the safety zone may be requested and will be considered on a case-by-case basis as specifically authorized by the COTP or a designated representative.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily beginning on March 21, 2016 through April 1, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2016-0155 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 LCDR Sean Peterson, Chief of Prevention, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 314-269-2332, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations BNM Broadcast Notice to Mariners CFR Code of Federal Regulations COTP Captain of the Port DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking §  Section UMR Upper Mississippi River 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 finds good cause 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 Ameren notified the Coast Guard on February 17, 2016, that this work will require helicopters to stretch the power lines across the river. Due to the risks associated with this work crossing the navigable channel, a closure is needed. It would be impracticable to publish a NPRM because the safety zone must be established beginning March 21, 2016. Broadcast Notices to Mariners (BNM) and information sharing with waterway users will update mariners of the safety zone and enforcement times during the operations.

    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. Providing 30 days notice would be impracticable because immediate action is needed to protect vessels from the hazards associated with the rope crossing the navigable channel.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231. The COTP UMR has determined that potential hazards associated with using helicopters to stretch power lines across the navigational channel presents safety concerns for anyone within this limited area of the UMR. This rule provides additional safety measures, to protect persons and vessels, in the form of a safety zone from mile 321.4 to mile 321.6 on the UMR to protect those in the area and for the Coast Guard to maintain navigational safety.

    IV. Discussion of the Rule

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone prohibiting access to the UMR from mile 321.4 to mile 321.6, extending the entire width of the river from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily beginning on March 21, 2016 and scheduled to end on April 1, 2016, or until conditions allow for safe navigation, whichever occurs earlier. Deviation from the safety zone may be requested and will be considered on a case-by-case basis as specifically authorized by the COTP or a designated representative. The COTP may be contacted by telephone at 314-269-2332 or can be reached by VHF-FM channel 16.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

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

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits. Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This rule has not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, it has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This rule establishes a temporary safety zone limiting access to the UMR from mile 321.4 to mile 321.6. Notifications of enforcement times will be communicated to the marine community via BNM. The impacts on navigation will be limited to ensure the safety of mariners and vessels during the period that the helicopters will be pulling the power lines across the navigational channel. Deviation requests will be reviewed and considered on a case-by-case basis.

    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 on the UMR from mile 321.4 to mile 321.6. 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 are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this 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.T08-0155 to read as follows:
    § 165.T08-0155 Safety Zone; Upper Mississippi River 321.4 to 321.6; Quincy, IL.

    (a) Location. The following area is a safety zone: All waters of the Upper Mississippi River mile 321.4 to 321.6, extending the entire width of the river.

    (b) Definitions. As used in this section, designated representative means a Coast Guard Patrol Commander, including a Coast Guard coxswain, petty officer, or other officer operating a Coast Guard vessel and a Federal, State, and local officer designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port Upper Mississippi River (COTP) in the enforcement of the safety zone.

    (c) Regulations. (1) Under the general safety zone regulations in subpart C of this part, you may not enter the safety zone described in paragraph (a) of this section unless authorized by the COTP or the COTP's designated representative.

    (2) To seek permission to enter, contact the COTP or the COTP's representative via VHF-FM channel 16, or through Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River at 314-269-2332. Those in the safety zone must comply with all lawful orders or directions given to them by the COTP or the COTP's designated representative.

    (d) Effective and enforcement period. This rule is effective and will be enforced from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily beginning on March 21, 2016 through April 1, 2016.

    Dated: March 3, 2016. M.L. Malloy, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Upper Mississippi River.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05388 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service 36 CFR Part 242 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 100 [Docket No. FWS-R7-SM-2015-0156; FXRS12610700000-156-FF07J00000; FBMS#4500087231] RIN 1018-BA82 Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska; Rural Determinations, Nonrural List AGENCY:

    Forest Service, Agriculture; Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Affirmation of direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Subsistence Board is adopting, without change, a direct final rule that revised the list of areas in Alaska determined to be nonrural for purposes of the Federal Subsistence Program to the list that existed prior to 2007. Accordingly, the community of Saxman and the area of Prudhoe Bay were removed from the nonrural list. The following areas continue to be nonrural, but their boundaries returned to their previous borders: The Kenai Area; the Wasilla/Palmer area; the Homer area; and the Ketchikan area. Because we received no substantive adverse comments on the direct final rule, it is now effective.

    DATES:

    The direct final rule published at 80 FR 68245 on November 4, 2015, was effective December 21, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    The direct final rule may be found online at www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS-R7-SM-2015-0156.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Chair, Federal Subsistence Board, c/o U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attention: Eugene R. Peltola, Jr., Office of Subsistence Management; (907) 786-3888 or [email protected] For questions specific to National Forest System lands, contact Thomas Whitford, Regional Subsistence Program Leader, USDA, Forest Service, Alaska Region; (907) 743-9461 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Under Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126), the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretaries) jointly implement the Federal Subsistence Management Program (Program). This program provides a preference for take of fish and wildlife resources for subsistence uses on Federal public lands and waters in Alaska. Only residents of areas identified as rural are eligible to participate in the Program on Federal public lands in Alaska. Because this program is a joint effort between Interior and Agriculture, these regulations are located in two titles of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): Title 36, “Parks, Forests, and Public Property,” and Title 50, “Wildlife and Fisheries,” at 36 CFR 242.1-242.28 and 50 CFR 100.1-100.28, respectively.

    Consistent with these regulations, the Secretaries established a Federal Subsistence Board (Board) comprising Federal officials and public members to administer the Program. One of the Board's responsibilities is to determine which communities or areas of the State are nonrural. The Secretaries also divided Alaska into 10 subsistence resource regions, each of which is represented by a Regional Advisory Council (Council). The Council members represent varied geographical, cultural, and user interests within each region. The Councils provide a forum for rural residents with personal knowledge of local conditions and resource requirements to have a meaningful role in the subsistence management of fish and wildlife on Federal public lands in Alaska.

    Related Rulemaking

    The Secretaries published a final rule (80 FR 68249; November 4, 2015) that sets forth a new process by which the Board will make rural determinations (“Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska; Rural Determination Process”).

    Until promulgation of the rule mentioned above, Federal subsistence regulations at 36 CFR 242.15 and 50 CFR 100.15 had required that the rural or nonrural status of communities or areas be reviewed every 10 years, beginning with the availability of the 2000 census data. In addition, criteria for aggregation of communities and population thresholds were listed. On May 7, 2007, the Board published a final rule that revised the list of nonrural areas (72 FR 25688), and the rule included a compliance date of May 7, 2012.

    On October 23, 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the initiation of a Departmental review of the Federal Subsistence Management Program in Alaska; Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack later concurred with this course of action. The Secretaries announced the findings of the review, which included several proposed administrative and regulatory reviews and/or revisions to strengthen the Program and make it more responsive to those who rely on it for their subsistence uses. One proposal called for a review, with Council input, of the rural determination process and, if needed, recommendations for regulatory changes.

    The Board met on January 20, 2012, and, among other things, decided to extend the compliance date of its 2007 final rule on rural determinations. A final rule published March 1, 2012 (77 FR 12477), that extended the compliance date until either the rural determination process and findings review were completed or 5 years, whichever came first. The 2007 regulations have remained in titles 36 and 50 of the CFR unchanged since their effective date.

    The Board followed that action with a request for comments and announcement of public meetings (77 FR 77005; December 31, 2012) to receive public, Tribal, and Alaska Native Corporation input on the rural determination process. At their fall 2013 meetings, the Councils provided a public forum to hear from residents of their regions, deliberate on the rural determination process, and provide recommendations for changes to the Board. The Board also held hearings in Barrow, Ketchikan, Sitka, Kodiak, Bethel, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kotzebue, Nome, and Dillingham to solicit comments on the rural determination process, and public testimony was recorded. Government-to-government tribal consultations on the rural determination process were held between members of the Board and Federally recognized Tribes of Alaska. Additional consultations were held between members of the Board and Alaska Native Corporations.

    Altogether, the Board received 475 substantive comments from various sources, including individuals, members of the Councils, and other entities or organizations, such as Alaska Native Corporations and borough governments. In general, this information indicated a broad dissatisfaction with the current rural determination process.

    Based on this information, the Board, at their public meeting held on April 17, 2014, elected to recommend a simplification of the process by determining which areas or communities are nonrural in Alaska; all other communities or areas would, therefore, be rural. The Board would make nonrural determinations using a comprehensive approach that considers population size and density, economic indicators, military presence, industrial facilities, use of fish and wildlife, degree of remoteness and isolation, and any other relevant material, including information provided by the public. The Board would rely heavily on the recommendations of the Councils. The Board developed a proposal that simplifies the process of rural determinations and submitted its recommendation to the Secretaries on August 15, 2014.

    On November 24, 2014, the Secretaries requested that the Board initiate rulemaking to pursue the regulatory changes recommended by the Board.

    The Departments published a proposed rule on January 28, 2015 (80 FR 4521), to revise the regulations governing the rural determination process in subpart B of 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100. Following a process that involved substantial Council and public input, the Departments published the final rule on November 4, 2015 (80 FR 68249).

    Direct Final Rule

    During the rulemaking process, the Board went on to address a starting point for nonrural communities and areas.

    Since the 2007 final rule (72 FR 25688; May 7, 2007) was contentious, and so many comments were received objecting to the changes imposed by that rule, the Board decided to return to the rural determinations prior to the 2007 final rule. The Board further decided that the most expedient method to enact their decisions was to publish a direct final rule adopting the pre-2007 nonrural determinations. As a result, the Board determined the following areas to be nonrural: Fairbanks North Star Borough; Homer area—including Homer, Anchor Point, Kachemak City, and Fritz Creek; Juneau area—including Juneau, West Juneau, and Douglas; Kenai area—including Kenai, Soldotna, Sterling, Nikiski, Salamatof, Kalifornsky, Kasilof, and Clam Gulch; Ketchikan area—including Ketchikan City, Clover Pass, North Tongass Highway, Ketchikan East, Mountain Point, Herring Cove, Saxman East, Pennock Island, and parts of Gravina Island; Municipality of Anchorage; Seward area—including Seward and Moose Pass, Valdez; and Wasilla area—including Palmer, Wasilla, Sutton, Big Lake, Houston, and Bodenberg Butte.

    While the Board received one comment on the direct final rule during the public comment period provided, the comment was not specific to the issues raised in this rulemaking action. Therefore, because the comment had no bearing on whether the new rule should become effective or the 2007 rule should remain in place, the direct final rule became effective December 21, 2015, as specified in that rule.

    Authority

    This rule is issued under the authority of Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126).

    List of Subjects 36 CFR Part 242

    Administrative practice and procedure, Alaska, Fish, National forests, Public lands, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Wildlife.

    50 CFR Part 100

    Administrative practice and procedure, Alaska, Fish, National forests, Public lands, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Wildlife.

    PART__—SUBSISTENCE MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS FOR PUBLIC LANDS IN ALASKA

    Accordingly, the Board is affirming as a final rule, without change, the direct final rule amending 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100 that was published at 80 FR 68245 on November 4, 2015.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 3, 472, 551, 668dd, 3101-3126; 18 U.S.C. 3551-3586; 43 U.S.C. 1733.

    Dated: February 16, 2016. Eugene R. Peltola, Jr., Assistant Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Acting Chair, Federal Subsistence Board. Dated: February 18, 2016. Thomas Whitford, Subsistence Program Leader, USDA-Forest Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05317 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-3410-11-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R05-OAR-2014-0658; FRL-9943-46-Region 5] Air Plan Approval; Ohio; Base Year Emission Inventories for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone Standard AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving, under the Clean Air Act (CAA), a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) on July 18, 2014, to address emission inventory requirements for the Cleveland-Akron-Lorain, Ohio (OH) and Columbus, OH ozone nonattainment areas and for the Ohio portion of the Cincinnati, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana ozone nonattainment area under the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS or standard). The CAA requires emission inventories for all ozone nonattainment areas. The emission inventories contained in Ohio's July 18, 2014, submission meet this CAA requirement. EPA is also confirming that the state of Ohio has acceptable stationary source annual emission statement regulations, which have been previously approved by EPA.

    DATES:

    This direct final rule will be effective May 9, 2016, unless EPA receives adverse comments by April 11, 2016. If adverse comments are received by EPA, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2014-0658 at http://www.regulations.gov or via email to [email protected] For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Edward Doty, Attainment Planning and Maintenance Section, Air Programs Branch (AR-18J), Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604, (312) 886-6057, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document, whenever “we,” “us,” or “our” is used, we mean EPA. This supplementary information section is arranged as follows:

    I. The 2008 Ozone NAAQS and Emission Inventory Requirements II. Ohio's Emission Inventories A. Base Year B. How did the State develop the emission inventories? C. Source Emission Statements III. EPA's Evaluation A. Did the state adequately document the derivation of the emission estimates? B. Did the State quality assure the emission estimates? C. Did the State provide for public review of the requested SIP revision? IV. Final Action V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. The 2008 Ozone NAAQS and Emission Inventory Requirements

    On March 12, 2008, EPA promulgated a revised 8-hour ozone NAAQS of 0.075 parts per million (ppm). See 73 FR 16436 (March 27, 2008). The Cleveland-Akron-Lorain, Columbus, and Cincinnati areas were designated as marginal nonattainment areas for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. See 77 FR 30088 (May 21, 2012). The Cleveland-Akron-Lorain nonattainment area includes Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, and Summit Counties. The Columbus nonattainment area includes Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Knox, Licking, and Madison Counties. The Ohio portion of the Cincinnati nonattainment area includes Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, and Warren Counties.

    CAA sections 172(c)(3) and 182(a)(1), 42 U.S.C. 7502(c)(3) and 7511a(a)(1), require states to develop and submit, as SIP revisions, emission inventories for all areas designated as nonattainment for any NAAQS, including the ozone NAAQS. An emission inventory for ozone is an estimation of actual emissions of air pollutants that contribute to the formation of ozone in an area. Ozone is a gas that is formed by the reaction of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and Oxides of Nitrogen (NOX) in the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight (VOC and NOX are referred to as ozone precursors). Therefore, an emission inventory for ozone focuses on the emissions of VOC and NOX. VOC is emitted by many types of pollution sources, including power plants, industrial sources, on-road and off-road mobile sources, smaller stationary sources, collectively referred to as area sources, and biogenic sources.1 NOX is primarily emitted by combustion sources, both stationary and mobile.

    1 Biogenic emissions are produced by living organisms and are typically not included in the base year emission inventories, but are considered in ozone modeling analyses, which must consider all emissions in a modeled area.

    Emission inventories provide emissions data for a variety of air quality planning tasks, including establishing baseline emission levels (anthropogenic [manmade] emissions associated with ozone standard violations), calculating emission reduction targets needed to attain the NAAQS and to achieve reasonable further progress toward attainment of the ozone standard (not required in the areas considered here), determining emission inputs for ozone air quality modeling analyses, and tracking emissions over time to determine progress toward achieving air quality and emission reduction goals. As stated above, the CAA requires the states to submit emission inventories for areas designated as nonattainment for ozone. For the 2008 ozone NAAQS, EPA has recommended that states submit typical summer day emission estimates for 2011 (78 FR 34178, 34190, June 6, 2013). However, EPA also allows states to submit base year emissions for other years during a recent ozone standard violation period. States are required to submit estimates of VOC and NOX emissions for four general classes of anthropogenic sources: stationary point sources; area sources; on-road mobile sources; and off-road mobile sources.

    II. Ohio's Emission Inventories

    On July 18, 2014, Ohio submitted a SIP revision addressing the VOC and NOX emission inventory requirement for the Cleveland-Akron-Lorain and Columbus ozone nonattainment areas and for the Ohio portion of the Cincinnati ozone nonattainment area. Tables 1, 2, and 3 summarize the 2008 VOC and NOX emissions for these three areas for a typical summer day (reflective of the summer period, when the highest ozone concentrations are expected in these nonattainment areas). The following acronyms are used in the emissions tables: Electric Generating Units (EGU); and Commercial Marine-Airplanes-Railroads (MAR).2

    2 MAR sources are not covered by the off-road mobile source emissions model used by the state. Ohio has relied on MAR emissions calculated and supplied through contractors, as discussed elsewhere in this rulemaking.

    Table 1—Cleveland Area 2008 Emission Inventory [tons per day] Source type VOC NOX Non-EGU Point 19.97 16.31 EGU Point 0.20 65.47 Area 96.81 12.71 On-Road Mobile 106.55 209.68 Off-Road Mobile 142.40 70.86 MAR 1.24 25.65 Totals 367.17 400.69 Table 2—Columbus Area 2008 Emission Inventory [tons per day] Source type VOC NOX Non-EGU Point 2.73 7.56 EGU Point 0.00 0.00 Area 57.78 6.02 On-Road Mobile 123.41 231.72 Off-Road Mobile 38.06 40.72 MAR 0.37 6.79 Totals 222.35 292.81 Table 3—Cincinnati Area 3 2008 Emission Inventory (tons per day) Source Type VOC NOX Non-EGU Point 5.76 24.33 EGU Point 0.81 99.35 Area 54.25 7.17 On-Road Mobile 57.79 105.98 Off-Road Mobile 34.59 34.34 MAR 0.42 9.29 Totals 153.62 280.46 A. Base Year

    OEPA chose 2008 as the base year for these emission inventories. Although EPA recommends the use of 2011 as the base year, as noted above, EPA also allows the consideration of other base years. OEPA chose 2008 because this is one of the three years, 2008 through 2010, of ozone data indicating violation of the ozone standard that were used to designate the three areas as nonattainment for the 2008 ozone standard.

    3 Ohio portion only.

    B. How did the State develop the emission inventories?

    OEPA estimated VOC and NOX emissions for each county in the Cleveland-Akron-Lorain and Columbus ozone nonattainment areas and for the Ohio portion of the Cincinnati ozone nonattainment area. Emissions for the counties were totaled by source category for each ozone nonattainment area. To develop the VOC and NOX emission inventories, OEPA used the procedures summarized below.

    The primary source of emissions data for non-EGU point sources was source-reported 2008 Emission Inventory Statements (EISs). Under the authority of Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3756-15-03, OEPA requires regulated stationary sources in the ozone nonattainment areas to submit EISs annually. An EIS contains detailed source type-specific or source unit-specific annual and seasonal actual emissions for all source units in a facility. The EIS data for all applicable facilities were used to calculate annual and summer day county-specific point source emissions. Because they are determinative, only the summer day emissions are summarized here.

    EGU point source emissions were obtained from EPA's Clean Air Markets Division (CAMD). CAMD collects and processes EGU emissions nationally.

    For all point sources, OEPA has provided a detailed list of major point source facilities and their associated annual and summer day VOC and NOX emissions within appendices C and D of their July 18, 2014, submittal.

    For the area source emissions, OEPA relied on source type-specific emissions and emission factors provided by the Eastern Regional Technical Advisory Committee (ERTAC). Ohio and other states formed ERTAC to provide technical assistance in the analysis of air pollution. ERTAC defined the emission inventory source categories and derived the emission factors for each source category. ERTAC also derived the county-specific source activity levels for 2008 and provided these data to participating states.4 For some source categories, OEPA developed alternate methodologies, and/or subtracted point source emissions to avoid double-counting of emissions. In addition, some national emissions data obtained from EPA were allocated to county-specific emission levels based on local-to-national ratios of source activity levels.

    4 The county-specific area source emissions by source category were determined by multiplying the source category emission factor by the county-specific activity level.

    In appendix F of the July 18, 2014, submittal, OEPA has documented area source emissions by Source Category Code (SCC) and county. In the July 18, 2014, submittal, OEPA has provided a detailed discussion of how the emissions were derived for each source category.

    On-road mobile source emissions were estimated using EPA's Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator 2010b (MOVES2010b) model and Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) data supplied by the Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). The MOVES2010b model was run using area-specific input data, where available, and national average default data where area-specific data were not available. The MPOs' VMT data were derived for a typical summer day. Appendix G of the July 18, 2014, submittal thoroughly documents the calculation and spatial allocation of the on-road mobile source emissions.

    Off-road mobile source emissions were estimated using EPA's National Mobile Inventory Model (NMIM). The emission estimates were processed through the Consolidated Community Emissions Processing Tool (CONCEPT) to spatially allocate the emissions to the county levels.

    Because NMIM does not address MAR emissions, MAR emissions were separately estimated through contractor studies. These emission estimates were derived using county-specific activity levels and EPA-supplied emission factors. The calculated emissions were spatially allocated using CONCEPT.

    OEPA applied standardized, EPA-recommended procedures and data completeness checks to quality assure (QA) (to assure data accuracy) and quality check (QC) (to assure data completeness) the emission calculations.

    C. Source Emission Statements

    Section 182(a)(3)(B) of the CAA requires states to include regulations in the SIP to require sources (source facilities) to submit annual statements characterizing sources of VOC and NOX emission within the source facilities and to report actual VOC and NOX emissions for these sources. As noted above, OEPA has authority under OAC 3745-15-03 to require NOX and VOC EIS submittals for regulated source facilities in the ozone nonattainment areas that emit greater than or equal to 25 tons/year of VOC or NOX during the reporting year. The EPA approved this rule into the Ohio SIP on September 27, 2007 (72 FR 54844). OEPA confirmed in the July 18, 2014, submittal that this approved SIP regulation remains in place and remains enforceable for the 2008 ozone standard.

    III. EPA's Evaluation

    EPA has reviewed Ohio's July 18, 2014, requested SIP revision for consistency with CAA and EPA emission inventory requirements. In particular, EPA has reviewed the techniques used by OEPA to derive and quality assure the emission estimates. EPA has also determined whether Ohio has provided the public with the opportunity to review and comment on the development of the emission estimates and the confirmation that source facility emission statements are required for the 2008 ozone standard and whether the state has addressed all public comments.

    A. Did the State adequately document the derivation of the emission estimates?

    OEPA documented the procedures used to estimate the emissions for each of the major source types. The documentation of the emission estimation procedures is very thorough and is adequate for us to determine that Ohio followed acceptable procedures to estimate the emissions.

    B. Did the State quality assure the emission estimates?

    OEPA developed a quality assurance plan and followed this plan during various phases of the emissions estimation and documentation process to QA and QC the emissions for completeness and accuracy. These quality assurance procedures were summarized in the documentation describing how the emissions totals were developed. The quality assurance procedures have been determined to be adequate and acceptable. We conclude that Ohio has developed inventories of VOC and NOX emissions that are comprehensive and complete.

    C. Did the State provide for public review of the requested SIP revision?

    OEPA notified the public of the opportunity for comment both in newspapers and on OEPA's Web site. A public hearing was held on June 24, 2014. No comments on the emission inventories were received.

    IV. Final Action

    We are approving an Ohio SIP revision submitted to address the ozone-related emission inventory requirements for the Cleveland-Akron-Lorain, Columbus, and Ohio portion of the Cincinnati ozone nonattainment areas for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. The emission inventories we are approving into the SIP are specified in Tables 1, 2, and 3 above. We are approving the emission inventories because they contain comprehensive, accurate, and current inventories of actual emissions for all relevant sources in accordance with CAA sections 172(c)(3) and 182(a), and because Ohio adopted the emission inventories after providing for reasonable public notice and a public hearing. Finally, we are also confirming that Ohio has acceptable and enforceable stationary annual emission statement regulations for the 2008 ozone standard.

    We are publishing this action without prior proposal because we view this as a noncontroversial amendment and anticipate no adverse comments. However, in the proposed rules section of this Federal Register publication, we are publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the state plan if relevant adverse written comments are filed. This rule will be effective May 9, 2016 without further notice unless we receive relevant adverse written comments by April 11, 2016. If we receive such comments, we will withdraw this action before the effective date by publishing a subsequent document that will withdraw the final action. All public comments received will then be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed action. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time. Please note that, if EPA receives adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment. If we do not receive any comments, this action will be effective May 9, 2016.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, the SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

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

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by May 9, 2016. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. Parties with objections to this direct final rule are encouraged to file a comment in response to the parallel notice of proposed rulemaking for this action published in the proposed rules section of today's Federal Register, rather than file an immediate petition for judicial review of this direct final rule, so that EPA can withdraw this direct final rule and address the comment in the proposed rulemaking. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Carbon monoxide, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: February 22, 2016. Robert A. Kaplan, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 5.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    2. Section 52.1885 is amended by adding paragraph (mm) to read as follows:
    § 52.1885 Control Strategy: Ozone.

    (mm) On July 18, 2014, Ohio submitted 2008 volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen emission inventories for the Cleveland-Akron-Lorain and Columbus ozone nonattainment areas and for the Ohio portion of the Cincinnati, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana ozone nonattainment areas as revisions to the Ohio state implementation plan. The documented emission inventories are approved as a revision of the state's implementation plan, meeting emission inventory requirements for the 2008 ozone national ambient air quality standard.

    [FR Doc. 2016-05273 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R06-OAR-2014-0642; FRL-9943-43-Region 6] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New Mexico; and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County; Revisions To Establish Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Programs AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving revisions to the New Mexico State Implementation Plan (SIP) for both the State and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County. These revisions establish Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Programs. The EPA is approving these revisions pursuant to section 110 and section 507(a) of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on May 9, 2016 without further notice unless EPA receives relevant adverse comments by April 11, 2016. If EPA receives such comments, EPA will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket No. EPA-R06-OAR-2014-0642, at http://www.regulations.gov or via email to [email protected] Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact John Walser, 214-665-7128, [email protected] For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index and in hard copy at EPA Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 700, Dallas, Texas. While all documents in the docket are listed in the index, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material), and some may not be publicly available at either location (e.g., CBI).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. John Walser (6PD-L), (214) 665-7128, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document, “we,” “us,” and “our” means EPA.

    Table of Contents I. Background A. What is a SIP? B. Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP) II. Overview of the November 5 and November 16, 1992 State Submittals A. New Mexico B. Albuquerque C. General III. Plan Requirements and Our Evaluation A. Small Business Assistance Program B. Ombudsman C. Compliance Assistance Panel (CAP) D. Eligibility E. Section 110(l) IV. Final Action V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background A. What is a SIP?

    Section 110 of the CAA requires states to develop air pollution regulations and control strategies to ensure that air quality meets the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) established by EPA. The NAAQS are established under section 109 of the CAA and currently address six criteria pollutants: Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, lead, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide. A SIP is a set of air pollution regulations, control strategies, other means or techniques, and technical analyses developed by the state, to ensure that air quality in the state meets the NAAQS. It is required by section 110 and other provisions of the CAA. A SIP protects air quality primarily by addressing air pollution at its point of origin. SIPs can be extensive, containing state regulations or other enforceable documents, and supporting information such as city and county ordinances, monitoring networks, and modeling demonstrations. Each state must submit any SIP revision to EPA for approval and incorporation into the federally-enforceable SIP.

    The New Mexico SIP includes a variety of control strategies, including the regulations that outline general provisions applicable to and implemented by the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board (AQCB).

    B. Small Business Assistance Program

    Implementation of the provisions of the CAA, as amended in 1990, requires regulation of many small businesses so that areas may attain and maintain the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) and reduce the emissions of air toxics. Small businesses frequently lack the technical expertise and financial resources necessary to evaluate state regulations and to determine the appropriate mechanisms for compliance. Congress anticipated the impact of these requirements on small businesses and, accordingly, required in CAA section 507 that each state submit a SIP revision with plans for establishing a Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Program (Program). A key Program requirement outlined in CAA section 507(a), is the establishment of a Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP) to provide technical and compliance assistance to small businesses. In January 1992, the EPA issued “Guidelines for the Implementation of Section 507 of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments,” in order to delineate the Federal and State roles in meeting the new statutory provisions, and as a tool to provide further guidance to states on submitting acceptable SIP revisions. That guidance described the SBAP as the “core” of a state's Program, because the SBAP is, “where the actual assistance to small businesses occurs.” 1

    1 U.S. EPA, “Guidelines for the Implementation of Section 507 of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments” (January 1992) at vii.

    II. Overview of the November 5 and November 16, 1992 State Submittals A. New Mexico

    On November 5, 1992, the Governor of New Mexico submitted revisions to the New Mexico SIP to establish the Program. The submittal was adopted by the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) on October 9, 1992, consistent with the public notice requirements of CAA section 110(l). The revisions established a Program for the State of New Mexico, excluding Albuquerque/Bernalillo County.

    The November 5, 1992 revisions to the SIP were in the form of a narrative commitment for full implementation of the Program by November 15, 1994 and a commitment to coincide with the effective date of the State's operating permit program. The Ombudsman (Director of Strategic Initiatives and Special Projects) is located in the Office of the NMED Secretary and was appointed before November 15, 1994, to represent the interests of small businesses, as they relate to the implementation of Section 507(a)(3) of the CAA.

    In addition to designating a State Ombudsman to satisfy CAA section 507(a)(3), the State submitted its plans for the creation of a state SBAP. The State explained that the technical component of the SBAP would consist of state technical experts who would respond to requests for assistance from small businesses. The state explained that these technical staff would be located in the Air Quality Bureau's Planning Section, and would respond to permitting and compliance questions. As part of the SBAP, New Mexico's submission detailed the adequate mechanisms and procedures that would satisfy the remaining requirements of CAA section 507(a)(1)-(2), (4)-(7).

    B. Albuquerque

    On November 16, 1992, The Governor of New Mexico submitted revisions to the New Mexico SIP for Albuquerque/Bernalillo County. The submittal was adopted by the Air Quality Control Board on October 7, 1992, consistent with the public notice requirements of CAA section 110(l). The revisions establish the Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Program for Albuquerque/Bernalillo County.

    The November 16, 1992 revisions to the SIP were in the form of a narrative commitment for full implementation of the SBAP by November 15, 1994 and a commitment to coincide with the effective date of the State's operating permit program. The Small Business Ombudsman is in the office of the Albuquerque Environmental Health Director (AEHD). The establishment of a SBAP for providing technical and compliance assistance to small businesses was committed to be in the AEHD Air Pollution Control Division's Planning Section to give small businesses correct technical, permitting and compliance information for all applicable CAA requirements.

    C. General

    In an August 28, 2015 letter, the State of New Mexico withdrew the elements of the 1992 SIP pertaining to the Compliance Assistance Panel (CAP), a requirement of CAA section 507(e) that EPA has historically viewed as a required component of the Program. Since the New Mexico legislature created one CAP for both the State and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County, the withdrawal, therefore, applies to both the State and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County.2

    2 August 28, 2015 Letter from Ryan Flynn, Secretary, State of New Mexico Environment Department, to Ron Curry, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 6, to withdraw the CAP from the 1992 SIP submittal.

    Through an administrative oversight, these SIP revisions were not acted upon when submitted. EPA is now moving forward to take action on these revisions as part of our national SIP backlog reduction efforts.

    III. Plan Requirements and Our Evaluation

    Section 507 of the CAA describes three broad sets of requirements: (1) The establishment of a Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP) to provide technical and compliance assistance to small businesses; (2) the establishment of a State Small Business Ombudsman to represent the interests of small business in the regulatory process; and (3) the creation of a Compliance Advisory Panel (CAP) “on the State level” to determine and report on the overall effectiveness of the SBAP.

    A. Small Business Assistance Program

    The overarching purpose of establishing an SBAP is to provide technical and compliance assistance to small businesses. As interpreted by EPA, CAA section 507(a) sets forth six requirements which must be met by the State in order to have an approvable SBAP.3 The first SBAP requirement is for the State to establish adequate mechanisms for developing, collecting and coordinating information concerning compliance methods and technologies for small business stationary sources, and programs to encourage lawful cooperation among such sources and other persons to further compliance with the CAA.4

    3 Notably, section 507(a) sets forth seven requirements, in subsections (1)-(7). The third of these, section 507(a)(3), requires the establishment of an Ombudsman Office—a key Program element. The Ombudsman requirement of section 507(a)(3) is discussed in the next section.

    4See CAA section 507(a)(1).

    The second SBAP requirement is that the State establish adequate mechanisms for assisting small business stationary sources with pollution prevention and accidental release detection and prevention, including providing information concerning alternative technologies, process changes, products and methods of operation that help reduce air pollution.5

    5See id. section 507(a)(2).

    The third SBAP requirement is to develop a compliance and technical assistance program for small business stationary sources which assists small businesses in determining applicable requirements and in receiving permits under the Act in a timely and efficient manner.6

    6See id. section 507(a)(4).

    The fourth SBAP requirement is to develop adequate mechanisms to assure that small business stationary sources receive notice of their rights under the CAA in such manner and form as to assure reasonably adequate time for such sources to evaluate compliance methods or final regulation or standards issued under the Act.7

    7See id. section 507(a)(5).

    The fifth SBAP requirement is to develop adequate mechanisms for informing small business stationary sources of their obligation under the CAA, including mechanisms for referring such sources to qualified auditors or, at the option of the State, for providing audits of operations of such sources to determine compliance with the CAA.8

    8See id. section 507(a)(6).

    The sixth SBAP requirement is to develop procedures for consideration of requests from a small business stationary source for modification of: (A) Any work practice or technological method of compliance; or (B) the schedule of milestones for implementing such work practice or method of compliance preceding any applicable compliance date based on the technological and financial capability of any such small business stationary source.9

    9See id. section 507(a)(7).

    The SIP narratives for both the State and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County discuss how their respective SBAPs meet the above requirements, and include further information about how each entity expects to implement and maintain their Programs. Further explanation of our analysis of the adequacy of the submissions with respect to the SBAP requirements can be found in the TSD for this action.

    B. Ombudsman

    Section 507(a) also requires states to establish a State Small Business Ombudsman to represent the interests of small businesses in the regulatory process. CAA section 507(a)(3) requires the designation of a State office to serve as the Ombudsman for small business stationary sources. The State has met this requirement by appointing an Ombudsman in the Office of the NMED Secretary in 1992. Albuquerque/Bernalillo County met this requirement by committing to appoint an Ombudsman in the Office of the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department before the November 15, 1994 statutory deadline.

    C. Compliance Advisory Panel (CAP)

    In addition to the SBAP and Ombudsman, CAA section 507 envisions the creation of a Compliance Advisory Panel (CAP) “on the State level” to, among other things, evaluate and report on the overall effectiveness of the SBAP.10 Congress narrowly prescribed the membership of the CAP, including which state officials would be responsible for appointing members representing various interests.11 At the time of the submittal in 1992, the New Mexico program included a statewide CAP that met these stringent requirements, and which New Mexico believed was a required Program element because of EPA's 1992 Program Guidance. Since that time, however, and after having a CAP in place for over 10 years, the State did not continue to operate a CAP. As mentioned previously, the State withdrew the portions of its SIP submission regarding the CAP in a letter dated August 28, 2015, a copy of which may be found in the docket for this action.

    10See id. section 507(e)(1).

    11See id. section 507(e)(2).

    Although EPA has historically viewed the CAP as a necessary component of a Program, the Agency no longer believes that to be the case. In CAA section 507(a), Congress directed that EPA “shall approve” a Program if it meets the criteria outlined in section 507(a)(1)-(7). The requirement for the creation of a CAP, located in section 507(e), is not one of those criteria. This distinguishes the CAP from the requirements to designate a state office to serve as Ombudsman or to establish an SBAP, which are criteria for Program approval in CAA section 507(a). Although a State may submit a CAP for inclusion as a component of its Program—and indeed, EPA still believes that CAPs serve an important role in the continued operational success of a Program—Congress, in locating the CAP requirement in section 507(e), envisioned that the requirement to create a CAP would be severable from the Program requirements outlined in section 507(a). Accordingly, New Mexico's withdrawal of the CAP portion of its SIP submission does not prevent EPA from acting on the remainder of the submission. EPA believes that New Mexico, including Albuquerque/Bernalillo County, continues to operate a robust SBAP providing the required services to eligible small businesses.

    Before taking an action that, as here, differs from past guidance or practice, EPA's internal practices direct Regional Offices to follow a SIP consistency process to ensure consistency in across regional actions. The SIP consistency process was established in 1995 as part of the delegation to Regional Administrators of SIPs and SIP revision approval/disapprovals actions.12

    12See Memorandum from William L. Wehrum, Acting Assistant Administrator, to Air Division Directors, Regions I-X (September 7, 2005) (outlining the process). A copy of that memorandum is included in the docket.

    Pursuant to 40 CFR 56.6(b) and the SIP consistency guidelines, EPA Region 6 followed this process. Pursuant to the SIP consistency process, EPA Region 6 consulted with all other EPA regional offices, the Office of Air and Radiation, and the Office of General Counsel. Region 6 received no objections to this shift in approach.

    EPA is approving the New Mexico and Albuquerque Small Business Assistance Programs as revised with the withdrawal of the element relating to the CAP. Approval in the SIP will support state and local efforts to maintain their respective Programs.

    D. Eligibility

    While not a required Program element, it is also important that the SIP establishes criteria and procedures for determining the eligibility of a source to receive assistance under the Program. Section 507(c)(1) of the CAA defines the term “small business stationary source” as a stationary source that:

    (a) Is owned or operated by a person who employs 100 or fewer individuals;

    (b) Is a small business concern as defined in the Small Business Act;

    (c) Is not a major stationary source;

    (d) Does not emit 50 tons per year (tpy) or more of any regulated pollutant; and

    (e) Emits less than 75 tpy of all regulated pollutants.

    The State of New Mexico has established a mechanism for ascertaining the eligibility of a source to receive assistance under the Program, including an evaluation of a source's eligibility using the criteria in section 507(c)(1) of the CAA. This mechanism is described in the state's narrative SIP revision.

    The State has also provided for exclusion from the small business stationary source definition, after consultation with the EPA and the Small Business Administration Administrator and after providing notice and opportunity for public hearing, of any category or subcategory of sources that the State determines to have sufficient technical and financial capabilities to meet the requirements of the CAA.

    E. Section 110(l)

    Section 110(l) of the Act provides that a SIP revision must be adopted by a State after reasonable notice and public hearing. The submitted revisions address the City of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County and the State of New Mexico's Small Business Assistance Programs, as discussed in Section II of this preamble. Additionally, CAA section 110(l) states that the EPA cannot approve a SIP revision if that revision would interfere with any applicable requirement regarding attainment, reasonable further progress (RFP) or any requirement established in the CAA. The revisions do not interfere with any applicable requirement. To the contrary, they enhance the current SIP by providing for technical and compliance assistance for small businesses.

    IV. Final Action

    Pursuant to sections 110 and 507 of the Act, EPA is approving through a direct final action, revisions to the New Mexico SIP that were submitted on November 5, 1992 and November 16, 1992. We evaluated the state's submittals and determined that they meet the applicable requirements of the CAA section 507(a). Also, in accordance with CAA section 110(l), the proposed revisions will not interfere with attainment of the NAAQS, reasonable further progress, or any other applicable requirement of the CAA. Finally, this approval is in accordance with 40 CFR 56.6(b) and our SIP consistency guidelines. These revisions do not apply to Indian lands over which the State or the AQCB lacks jurisdiction.

    EPA is publishing this rule without prior proposal because we view these as non-controversial amendments and anticipate no adverse comments. However, in the proposed rules section of this Federal Register publication, we are publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to approve the SIP revision if relevant adverse comments are received. This rule will be effective on May 9, 2016 without further notice unless we receive relevant adverse comments by April 11, 2016. If we receive relevant adverse comments, we will publish a timely withdrawal of this direct final rulemaking in the Federal Register informing the public that the direct final rule will not take effect. We will address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule. We will not institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so now. Please note that if we receive adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, we may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by May 9, 2016. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this rule for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2)).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen dioxides, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Dated: February 24, 2016. Ron Curry, Regional Administrator, Region 6.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart GG—New Mexico 2. In § 52.1620(e), the second table in paragraph (e), entitled “EPA-Approved Nonregulatory Provisions and Quasi-Regulatory Measures in the New Mexico SIP” is amended by adding two new entries at the end of the table to read as follows:
    § 52.1620 Identification of plan.

    (e) * * *

    EPA-Approved Nonregulatory Provisions and Quasi-Regulatory Measures in the New Mexico SIP Name of SIP Revision Applicable geographic of nonattainment area State
  • submittal/
  • effective date
  • EPA approval date Explanation
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Program Statewide, excluding Bernalillo County 11/05/1992 3/10/2016, [Insert Federal Register Citation] Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Program Albuquerque/Bernalillo County 11/16/1992 3/10/2016, [Insert Federal Register Citation]
    [FR Doc. 2016-05162 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 42 CFR Part 435 Eligibility in the States, District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa CFR Correction

    In Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 430 to 481, revised as of October 1, 2015, on page 161, in § 435.301, in paragraph (b)(2)(iii), remove the term “435.330.320” and add the term “435.320” in its place.

    [FR Doc. 2016-05484 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE 45 CFR Parts 1201, 2505, 2507, and 2508 RIN 3045-AA64 Change of Address for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) AGENCY:

    Corporation for National and Community Service.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is updating its regulations to reflect a change of address. CNCS headquarters moved to 250 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20525, effective January 25, 2016.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective March 10, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Phyllis Green, Executive Assistant, Office of General Counsel, at 202-606-6709 or email to [email protected] 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.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.

    On January 25, 2016, CNCS headquarters relocated to 250 E Street, SW., Washington, DC 20525. This rule updates CNCS's physical and internet address where it is referenced in CNCS regulations.

    II. Procedural Requirements A. Determination To Issue Final Rule Effective in Less Than 30 Days

    CNCS has determined that the public notice and comment provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553(b), do not apply to this rulemaking. Because updating the agency's address is a matter of “agency organization, procedure, and practice,” it is exempt from notice and comment rulemaking under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(A). CNCS has also determined that there is good cause to waive the requirement of publication 30 days in advance of the rule's effective date under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). The public benefits from having the regulations reflect the correct physical and internet address of CNCS so that public has the correct information on how to contact the agency. The use of the incorrect address could result in correspondence not reaching the agency.

    B. Review Under Procedural Statutes and Executive Orders

    CNCS has determined that making changes to is regulations to reflect the correct address of CNCS headquarters and the agency Web site does not trigger any requirements under the procedural statutes and Executive Orders that govern rulemaking procedures.

    III. Effective Date

    This rule is effective March 10, 2016.

    List of Subjects 45 CFR Part 1201

    Administrative practice and procedure, Courts, Freedom of information.

    45 CFR Part 2505

    Sunshine Act.

    45 CFR Part 2507

    Freedom of information.

    45 CFR Part 2508

    Privacy.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 12651c(c), the Corporation for National and Community Service amends chapters XII and XXV, title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 1201—PRODUCTION OR DISCLOSURE OF OFFICIAL INFORMATION IN RESPONSE TO COURT ORDERS, SUBPOENAS, NOTICES OF DEPOSITIONS, REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS, INTERROGATORIES, OR IN CONNECTION WITH FEDERAL OR STATE LITIGATION 1. The authority citation for part 1201 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 12501 et seq.

    2. In § 1201.3, revise the second sentence of paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 1201.3 Service of summonses and complaints.

    (a) * * * All such documents should be delivered or addressed to General Counsel, Corporation for National and Community Service, 250 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20525.

    PART 2505—RULES IMPLEMENTING THE GOVERNMENT IN THE SUNSHINE ACT 3. The authority citation for part 2505 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552b; 42 U.S.C. 12651c(c).

    4. In § 2505.5, revise the second sentence of paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 2505.5 What are the procedures for closing a meeting, withholding information, and responding to requests by affected persons to close a meeting?

    (b) * * * You should submit your request to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of the General Counsel, 250 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20525. * * *

    PART 2507—PROCEDURES FOR DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 5. The authority citation for part 2507 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 12501 et seq.

    6. In § 2507.3, revise paragraph (f) to read as follows:
    § 2507.3 What types of records are available for disclosure to the public?

    (f) These records will be made available for public inspection and copying in the Corporation's reading room located at the Corporation for National and Community Service, 250 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20525, during the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on official holidays.

    7. In § 2507.4, revise the first sentence in paragraph (a)(1) and paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:
    § 2507.4 How are requests for records made?

    (a) How made and addressed. (1) Requests for Corporation records under the Act must be made in writing, and can be mailed, hand-delivered, or received by facsimile, to the FOIA Officer, Corporation for National and Community Service, 250 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20525. * * *

    (2) Corporation records that are available in the Corporation's reading room will also be made available for public access through the Corporation's “electronic reading room” internet site. The following address is the Corporation's Internet Web site: http://www.nationalservice.gov.

    PART 2508—IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRIVACY ACT OF 1974 8. The authority citation for part 2508 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552a; 42 U.S.C. 12501 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 4950 et seq.

    9. In § 2508.6, revise paragraph (f) to read as follows:
    § 2508.6 When will the Corporation publish a notice for new routine uses of information in its system of records?

    (f) The categories of recipients of such use. In the event of any request for an addition to the routine uses of the systems which the Corporation maintains, such request may be sent to the following office: Office of the General Counsel, Corporation for National and Community Service, 250 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20525.

    10. In § 2508.13, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 2508.13 What are the procedures for acquiring access to Corporation records by an individual about whom a record is maintained?

    (a) Any request for access to records from any individual about whom a record is maintained will be addressed to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of the General Counsel, Attn: Privacy Act Officer, 250 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20525, or delivered in person during regular business hours, whereupon access to his or her record, or to any information contained therein, if determined to be releasable, shall be provided.

    11. In § 2508.15, revise the first sentence of paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows:
    § 2508.15 What are the procedures for requesting inspection of, amendment or correction to, or appeal of an individual's records maintained by the Corporation other than that individual's official personnel file?

    (b) * * *

    (1) In the event an individual, after examination of his or her record, desires to request an amendment or correction of such records, the request must be submitted in writing and addressed to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of the General Counsel, Attn: Privacy Act Officer, 250 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20525. * * *

    12. In § 2508.16, revise the first sentence of paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 2508.16 What are the procedures for filing an appeal for refusal to amend or correct records?

    (a) In the event an individual desires to appeal any refusal to correct or amend records, he or she may do so by addressing, in writing, such appeal to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of the Chief Operating Officer, Attn: Appeal Officer, 250 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20525. * * *

    Dated: March 4, 2016. Jeremy Joseph, General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05347 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6050-28-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 101206604-1758-02] RIN 0648-XE445 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 2016 Recreational Accountability Measure and Closure for Atlantic Migratory Group Cobia AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for Atlantic migratory group cobia that are not sold (recreational) in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic. NMFS projects that recreational landings of Atlantic migratory group cobia will reach the recreational annual catch target (ACT) by June 20, 2016. Therefore, NMFS closes the recreational sector for Atlantic migratory group cobia on June 20, 2016, and it will remain closed for the remainder of the fishing year through December 31, 2016. This closure is necessary to protect the resource of Atlantic migratory group cobia.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective from 12:01 a.m., local time, June 20, 2016, until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karla Gore, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The fishery for coastal migratory pelagic fish (king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia) is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils and is implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622.

    Separate migratory groups of cobia were established in Amendment 18 to the FMP (76 FR 82058, December 29, 2011) and revised in Amendment 20B to the FMP (80 FR 4216, January 27, 2015). The southern boundary for Atlantic migratory group cobia occurs at a line that extends due east of the Florida/Georgia border at 30°42′45.6″ N. latitude. The northern boundary for Atlantic migratory group cobia is at the jurisdictional boundary between the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils. As specified in 50 CFR 600.105(a), the northern boundary begins at the intersection point of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York at 41°18′16.249″ N. latitude and 71°54′28.477″ W. longitude and proceeds south along 37°22′32.75″ E. longitude to the point of intersection with the outward boundary of the EEZ as specified in the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    Atlantic migratory group cobia are unique among federally managed species in the southeast region, because no Federal commercial permit is required to harvest and sell them. The distinction between commercial and recreational sectors is not as clear as other federally managed species in the southeast region. For example, regulations at 50 CFR part 622 specify ACLs and AMs for cobia that are sold and cobia that are not sold. However, for purposes of this temporary rule, Atlantic migratory group cobia that are sold are considered commercially-caught, and those that are not sold are considered recreationally-caught.

    The AMs specified at 50 CFR 622.388(f)(2)(i) require that for the recreational sector of Atlantic migratory group cobia, if the sum of the commercial and recreational landings exceed the stock ACL (commercial ACL plus recreational ACL), NMFS must file a notice with the Office of the Federal Register at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the length of the fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure landings may achieve the applicable recreational ACT, but do not exceed the applicable recreational ACL.

    The recreational AM is triggered for 2016, because although commercial landings did not exceed the commercial ACL (commercial quota) in 2015, the recreational landings exceeded both the recreational ACL and the stock ACL. Because Amendment 20B to the FMP changed the ACLs beginning in 2015, only 1 year of recreational landings is available to compare to the recreational ACL. NMFS has determined that the recreational ACT for Atlantic migratory group cobia will be reached by June 20, 2016. Accordingly, the recreational harvest of Atlantic migratory group cobia will be closed at 12:01 a.m., local time, on June 20, 2016, and remain closed until 12:01 a.m., local time, January 1, 2017.

    During the recreational closure, the possession limit of two cobia per day remains in effect (50 CFR 622.383(b)) for Atlantic migratory group cobia that are sold. The possession limit applies to cobia harvested in or from the EEZ in the Mid-Atlantic or South Atlantic, regardless of the number of trips or duration of a trip. In addition, a person who fishes in the EEZ may not combine this harvest limitation with a harvest limitation applicable to state waters. Atlantic migratory group cobia taken in the EEZ may not be transferred at sea, regardless of where such transfer takes place, and may not be transferred in the EEZ.

    Because the commercial AM has not been triggered in 2016, this is only for the recreational sector. The commercial quota for Atlantic migratory group cobia is 50,000 lb (22,680 kg), round weight, for the current fishing year, January 1 through December 31, 2016, as specified in 50 CFR 622.384(d)(2). The sale or purchase of Atlantic migratory group cobia taken under the possession limit is allowed until the commercial quota is reached or is projected to be reached. If cobia landings that are sold reach or are projected to reach the commercial quota specified in § 622.384(d)(2), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to prohibit the sale and purchase of cobia for the remainder of the fishing year through December 31, 2016.

    Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined this temporary rule is necessary for the conservation and management of Atlantic migratory group cobia and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.

    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.388(f)(2) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    These measures are exempt from the procedures of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the temporary rule is issued without opportunity for prior notice and comment.

    This action is based on the best scientific information available. The AA finds good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment, pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), as such prior notice and opportunity for public comment is unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures are unnecessary and contrary to the public interest because the AMs for Atlantic migratory group cobia established by Amendment 18 to the FMP, and located at 50 CFR 622.388(f)(1)(i), have already been subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the recreational closure in the 2016 fishing year. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this action would be contrary to the public interest, because many of those affected by the length of the recreational fishing season, particularly charter vessel and headboat operations that book trips for clients in advance, need as much advance notice as NMFS is able to provide to adjust their business plans to account for the reduced recreational fishing season.

    For the aforementioned reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effectiveness of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: March 7, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05393 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 150413357-5999-02] RIN 0648-XE484 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Blacktip Sharks, Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks, and Hammerhead Sharks in the Western Gulf of Mexico Sub-Region AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is closing the commercial fishery for blacktip sharks and the aggregated large coastal sharks (LCS) and hammerhead shark management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region. This action is necessary because the commercial landings of aggregated LCS and hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region for the 2016 fishing season have exceeded 80 percent of the available commercial quota as of March 4, 2016, and the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups are quota-linked under the current regulations. The blacktip shark fishery in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region will be closed to minimize regulatory discards of aggregate LCS in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, which are often caught in conjunction with blacktip sharks in the commercial shark fisheries. This closure will affect anyone commercially fishing for sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region.

    DATES:

    The commercial fishery for blacktip sharks and the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region are closed effective 11:30 p.m. local time March 12, 2016, until the end of the 2016 fishing season on December 31, 2016, or until and if NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal Register that additional quota is available and the season is reopened.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Guy DuBeck or Karyl Brewster-Geisz, 301-427-8503; fax 301-713-1917.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Atlantic shark fisheries are managed under the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP), its amendments, and implementing regulations (50 CFR part 635) issued under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).

    Under § 635.5(b)(1), dealers must electronically submit reports on sharks that are first received from a vessel on a weekly basis through a NMFS-approved electronic reporting system. Reports must be received by no later than midnight, local time, of the first Tuesday following the end of the reporting week unless the dealer is otherwise notified by NMFS. Under § 635.28(b)(4), the quotas of certain species and/or management groups are linked. If quotas are linked, when the specified quota threshold for one management group or species is reached and that management group or species is closed, the linked management group or species closes at the same time (§ 635.28(b)(3)). The quotas for aggregated LCS and the hammerhead shark management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region are linked (§ 635.28(b)(4)(iii)). The blacktip shark quota in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region is not linked to the aggregated LCS or hammerhead shark quotas. Regulations at § 635.28(b)(2) and (b)(5) authorize the closure of the blacktip shark fishery in the Gulf of Mexico at a regional or sub-regional level when landings have reached or are expected to reach 80 percent of the quota or, after considering certain criteria and relevant factors, before those situations occur.

    Under § 635.28(b)(2) and (3), when NMFS calculates that the landings for any species and/or management group of either a non-linked or a linked group have reached or are projected to reach a threshold of 80 percent of the available quota, NMFS will file for publication with the Office of the Federal Register a notice of closure for all of the species and/or management groups of either a non-linked or linked group that will be effective no fewer than 5 days from date of filing. From the effective date and time of the closure until and if NMFS announces, via a notice in the Federal Register, that additional quota is available and the season is reopened, the fisheries for all linked species and/or management groups and specified non-linked species and/or management groups are closed, even across fishing years.

    On December 1, 2015 (80 FR 74999), NMFS announced that for 2016, the commercial western Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark sub-regional quota was 266.5 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (587,396 lb dw), the western Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS sub-regional quota was 72.0 mt dw (158,724 lb dw), and the western Gulf of Mexico hammerhead shark sub-regional quota was 11.9 mt dw (29,421 lb dw). Dealer reports recently received through March 4, 2016, indicate that 60.6 mt dw or 84 percent of the available western Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS sub-regional quota has been landed, that 13.8 mt dw or 116 percent of the available western Gulf of Mexico hammerhead shark sub-regional quota has been landed, and that 134.1 mt dw or 50 percent of the available western Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark sub-regional quota has been landed. Based on these dealer reports, the 80-percent limits specified for a closure notice in the regulations for the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region were exceeded as of March 4, 2016. Accordingly, NMFS is closing the commercial aggregated LCS and hammerhead management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region as of 11:30 p.m. local time March 12, 2016.

    Regarding blacktip sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, regulations at § 635.28(b)(5)(i) through (v) authorize the closure of the blacktip shark fishery before landings reach, or are expected to reach, 80 percent of the quota after considering the following criteria and other relevant factors: Season length based on available sub-regional quota and average sub-regional catch rates; variability in regional and/or sub-regional seasonal distribution, abundance, and migratory patterns; effects on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments; amount of remaining shark quotas in the relevant sub-region; and regional and/or sub-regional catch rates of the relevant shark species or management groups. NMFS considered all of these criteria with respect to blacktip sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, and in particular, considered sub-regional distribution and abundance (§ 635.28(b)(5)(ii)) and sub-regional catch rates (§ 635.28(b)(5)(v)). The directed shark fisheries in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region exhibit a mixed species composition, with a high abundance and distribution of aggregated LCS caught in conjunction with blacktip sharks. As a result, NMFS believes that closing the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups while leaving only the blacktip shark fishery open in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region could cause large numbers of regulatory discards of aggregated LCS species. Such discards could hinder the management goals and interfere with accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments (§ 635.28(b)(5)(iii)), which include preventing overfishing while achieving on a continuing basis optimum yield and rebuilding overfished shark stocks. Such discards would also be contrary to National Standard 9, which requires that management measures minimize bycatch and bycatch mortality, particularly if the discards are dead and are of overfished species. A single closure for the aggregated LCS, blacktip, and hammerhead management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region would minimize regulatory discards, and help prevent overfishing, of aggregated LCS in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region, consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the criteria at § 635.28(b)(5). Accordingly, NMFS is closing the commercial blacktip shark fishery in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region as of 11:30 p.m. local time March 12, 2016.

    All other shark species or management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region that are currently open will remain open, including the commercial Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose small coastal sharks (SCS), blue sharks, and pelagic sharks other than porbeagle or blue.

    At § 635.27(b)(1), the boundary between the Gulf of Mexico region and the Atlantic region is defined as a line beginning on the East Coast of Florida at the mainland at 25°20.4′ N. lat, proceeding due east. Any water and land to the south and west of that boundary is considered for the purposes of monitoring and setting quotas, to be within the Gulf of Mexico region. The boundary between the western and eastern Gulf of Mexico sub-regions is drawn along 88°00′ W. long. (§ 635.27(b)(1)(ii)).

    During the closure, retention of blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region is prohibited for persons fishing aboard vessels issued a commercial shark limited access permit under § 635.4. However, persons aboard a commercially permitted vessel that is also properly permitted to operate as a charter vessel or headboat for HMS and is engaged in a for-hire trip could fish under the recreational retention limits for sharks and “no sale” provisions (§ 635.22 (c)). Similarly, persons aboard a commercially permitted vessel that possesses a valid shark research permit under § 635.32 and has a NMFS-approved observer onboard may continue to harvest and sell blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region pursuant to the terms and conditions of the shark research permit.

    During this closure, a shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to § 635.4 may not purchase or receive blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region from a vessel issued an Atlantic shark limited access permit (LAP), except that a permitted shark dealer or processor may possess blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region that were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in storage consistent with § 635.28(b)(5). Additionally, a permitted shark dealer or processor may possess blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region that were harvested by a vessel issued a valid shark research fishery permit per § 635.32 with a NMFS-approved observer onboard during the trip the sharks were taken on as long as the LCS research fishery quota remains open. Similarly, a shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to § 635.4 may, in accordance with relevant state regulations, purchase or receive blacktip sharks, aggregated LCS, and/or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico sub-region if the sharks were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered from a vessel that fishes only in state waters and that has not been issued an Atlantic Shark LAP, HMS Angling permit, or HMS Charter/Headboat permit pursuant to § 635.4.

    Classification

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that providing prior notice and public comment for this action is impracticable and contrary to the public interest because the fishery is currently underway and any delay in this action would result in overharvest of the quotas for these species and management groups and be inconsistent with management requirements and objectives. Similarly, affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this action is contrary to the public interest because if a quota is exceeded, the stock may be negatively affected and fishermen ultimately could experience reductions in the available quota and a lack of fishing opportunities in future seasons. For these reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effective date pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This action is required under § 635.28(b)(3) and § 635.28(b)(5) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: March 7, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05391 Filed 3-7-16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 47 Thursday, March 10, 2016 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 925 [Doc. No. AMS-SC-15-0077; SC16-925-1 PR] Grapes Grown in a Designated Area of Southeastern California; Increased Assessment Rate AGENCY:

    Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This proposed rule would implement a recommendation from the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established for the 2016 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.0250 to $0.0300 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled under the marketing order (order). The Committee locally administers the order, and is comprised of producers and handlers of grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California. Assessments upon grape handlers are used by the Committee to fund reasonable and necessary expenses of the program. The fiscal period began on January 1 and ends December 31. The assessment rate would remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by March 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kathie Notoro, Marketing Specialist, or Jeffrey Smutny, Regional Director, California Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (559) 487-5901, Fax: (559) 487-5906, or Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This proposed rule is issued under Marketing Order No. 925, as amended (7 CFR part 925), regulating the handling of grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California. The order is effective under the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended (7 U.S.C. 601-674), hereinafter referred to as the “Act.”

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

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under the marketing order now in effect, grape handlers in a designated area of southeastern California are subject to assessments. Funds to administer the order are derived from such assessments. It is intended that the assessment rate as proposed herein would be applicable to all assessable grapes beginning on January 1, 2016, and continue until amended, suspended, or terminated.

    The Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under section 608c(15)(A) of the Act, any handler subject to an order may file with USDA a petition stating that the order, any provision of the order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the order is not in accordance with law and request a modification of the order or to be exempted therefrom. Such handler is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After the hearing, USDA would rule on the petition. The Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the handler is an inhabitant, or has his or her principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review USDA's ruling on the petition, provided an action is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling.

    This proposed rule would increase the assessment rate established for the Committee for the 2016 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.0250 to $0.0300 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled.

    The grape order provides authority for the Committee, with the approval of USDA, to formulate an annual budget of expenses and collect assessments from handlers to administer the program. The members of the Committee are producers and handlers of grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California. They are familiar with the Committee's needs and with the costs of goods and services in their local area and are thus in a position to formulate an appropriate budget and assessment rate. The assessment rate is formulated and discussed in a public meeting. Thus, all directly affected persons have an opportunity to participate and provide input.

    For the 2015 and subsequent fiscal periods, the Committee recommended, and the USDA approved, an assessment rate that would continue in effect from fiscal period to fiscal period unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA based upon recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other information available to USDA.

    The Committee met on November 12, 2015, and unanimously recommended 2016 expenditures of $143,500, a contingency reserve fund of $6,500, and an assessment rate of $0.0300 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled. In comparison, last year's budgeted expenditures were $135,500. The Committee recommended a crop estimate of 5,000,000 18-pound lugs, which is lower than the 5,800,000 18-pound lugs handled last year. The Committee also recommended carrying over a financial reserve of $47,500, which would increase to $54,000 if the contingency fund is not expended. The assessment rate of $0.0300 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled recommended by the Committee is $0.0050 higher than the $0.0250 rate currently in effect. The higher assessment rate, applied to shipments of 5,000,000 18-pound lugs, would generate $150,000 in revenue and be sufficient to cover anticipated expenses.

    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2016 fiscal period include $28,500 for research, $20,080 for office expenses, $56,500 for management and compliance expenses, $25,000 for consultation services, and $6,500 for a contingency reserve. The $28,500 research project is a continuation of a vine study in progress by the University of California, Riverside. In comparison, major expenditures for the 2015 fiscal period included $15,500 for research, $17,000 for general office expenses, $62,750 for management and compliance expenses, $25,000 for consultation services, and $9,500 for a contingency reserve. Overall 2016 expenditures include a decrease in management and compliance expenses, and increases in office expenses, and research expenses.

    The assessment rate recommended by the Committee was derived by evaluating several factors, including estimated shipments for the 2016 season, budgeted expenses, and the level of available financial reserves. The Committee determined that the $0.0300 assessment rate would generate $150,000 in revenue to cover the budgeted expenses of $143,500, and a contingency reserve fund of $6,500.

    Reserve funds by the end of 2016 are projected to be $47,500 if the $6,500 added to the contingency fund is expended or $54,000 if it is not expended. Both amounts are well within the amount authorized under the order. Section 925.41 of the order permits the Committee to maintain approximately one fiscal period's expenses in reserve.

    The proposed assessment rate would continue in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated by USDA based upon a recommendation and information submitted by the Committee or other available information.

    Although this assessment rate would be in effect for an indefinite period, the Committee would continue to meet prior to or during each fiscal period to recommend a budget of expenses and consider recommendations for modification of the assessment rate. The dates and times of Committee meetings are available from the Committee or USDA. Committee meetings are open to the public and interested persons may express their views at these meetings. USDA would evaluate the Committee's recommendations and other available information to determine whether modification of the assessment rate is needed. Further rulemaking would be undertaken as necessary. The Committee's 2016 budget and those for subsequent fiscal periods would be reviewed and, as appropriate, approved by USDA.

    Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

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

    The purpose of the RFA is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions in order that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. Marketing orders issued pursuant to the Act, and the rules issued thereunder, are unique in that they are brought about through group action of essentially small entities acting on their own behalf.

    There are approximately 13 handlers of southeastern California grapes who are subject to regulation under the marketing order and about 41 grape producers in the production area. Small agricultural service firms are defined by the Small Business Administration (13 CFR 121.201) as those having annual receipts of less than $7,500,000, and small agricultural producers are defined as those whose annual receipts are less than $750,000. Ten of the 13 handlers subject to regulation have annual grape sales of less than $7,500,000, according to USDA Market News Service and Committee data. In addition, information from the Committee and USDA's Market News indicates that at least 10 of 41 producers have annual receipts of less than $750,000. Thus, it may be concluded that a majority of the grape handlers regulated under the order and about 10 of the producers could be classified as small entities under the Small Business Administration's definitions.

    This proposed rule would increase the assessment rate established for the Committee and collected from handlers for the 2016 and subsequent fiscal periods from $0.0250 to $0.0300 per 18-pound lug of grapes. The Committee unanimously recommended 2016 expenditures of $143,500, a contingency reserve fund of $6,500, and an assessment rate of $0.0300 per 18-pound lug of grapes handled. The proposed assessment rate of $0.0300 is $0.0050 higher than the 2015 rate currently in effect. The quantity of assessable grapes for the 2016 season is estimated at 5,000,000 18-pound lugs. Thus, the $0.0300 rate should generate $150,000 in income. In addition, reserve funds at the end of the year are projected to be $54,000, which is well within the order's limitation of approximately one fiscal period's expenses.

    The major expenditures recommended by the Committee for the 2016 fiscal period include $28,500 for research, $20,080 for general office expenses, $56,500 for management and compliance expenses, $25,000 for consultation services and $6,500 for the contingency reserve. In comparison, major expenditures for the 2015 fiscal period included $15,500 for research, $17,000 for general office expenses, $62,750 for management and compliance expenses, $25,000 for consultation services, and $9,500 for a contingency reserve. Overall 2016 expenditures include a decrease in management and compliance expenses, and increases in general office expenses, and research expenses.

    Prior to arriving at this budget, the Committee considered alternative expenditures and assessment rates, to include not increasing the $0.0250 assessment rate currently in effect. Based on a crop estimate of 5,000,000 18-pound lugs, the Committee ultimately determined that increasing the assessment rate to $0.0300 would generate sufficient funds to cover budgeted expenses. Reserve funds at the end of the 2016 fiscal period are projected to be $47,500 if the $6,500 contingency fund is expended or $54,000 if it is not expended. These amounts are well within the amount authorized under the order.

    A review of historical crop and price information, as well as preliminary information pertaining to the upcoming fiscal period, indicates that the shipping point price for the 2015 season averaged about $22.75 per 18-pound lug of California desert grapes handled. If the 2016 price is similar to the 2015 price, estimated assessment revenue as a percentage of total estimated handler revenue would be 0.13 percent for the 2016 season ($0.0300 divided by $22.75 per 18-pound lug).

    This action would increase the assessment obligation imposed on handlers. While assessments impose some additional costs on handlers, the costs are minimal and uniform on all handlers. However, these costs would be offset by the benefits derived from the operation of the marketing order. In addition, the Committee's meeting was widely publicized throughout the grape production area and all interested persons were invited to attend and participate in Committee deliberations on all issues. Like all Committee meetings, the November 12, 2015, meeting was a public meeting and all entities, both large and small, were able to express views on this issue. Finally, interested persons are invited to submit comments on this proposed rule, including the regulatory and informational impacts of this action on small businesses.

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the order's information collection requirements have been previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and assigned OMB No. 0581-0189. No changes in those requirements as a result of this action are necessary. Should any changes become necessary, they would be submitted to OMB for approval.

    This proposed rule would impose no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on either small or large California grape handlers. As with all Federal marketing order programs, reports and forms are periodically reviewed to reduce information requirements and duplication by industry and public sector agencies.

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

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

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

    A 15-day comment period is provided to allow interested persons to respond to this proposed rule. Fifteen days is deemed appropriate because: (1) The 2016 fiscal period begins on January 1, 2016, and the order requires that the rate of assessment for each fiscal period apply to all assessable grapes handled during such fiscal period; (2) the Committee needs to have sufficient funds to pay its expenses, which are incurred on a continuous basis; and (3) handlers are aware of this action, which was unanimously recommended by the Committee at a public meeting and is similar to other assessment rate actions issued in past years.

    List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 925

    Grapes, Marketing agreements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, 7 CFR part 925 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 925—GRAPES GROWN IN A DESIGNATED AREA OF SOUTHEASTERN CALIFORNIA 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 925 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 601-674.

    2. Section 925.215 is revised to read as follows:
    § 925.215 Assessment rate.

    On and after January 1, 2016, an assessment rate of $0.0300 per 18-pound lug is established for grapes grown in a designated area of southeastern California.

    Dated: March 3, 2016. Elanor Starmer, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05420 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 888 [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-3785] Medical Devices; Orthopedic Devices; Classification of Posterior Cervical Screw Systems AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) is proposing to classify posterior cervical screw systems into class II (special controls) and to continue to require premarket notification to provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device. A posterior cervical screw system is a prescription device used to provide immobilization and stabilization in the cervical spine as an adjunct to spinal fusion surgery. The term “posterior cervical screw systems” is used to distinguish these devices from currently classified pedicle screw spinal systems cleared for use in other spinal regions.

    DATES:

    Submit either electronic or written comments by June 8, 2016. See section IV of this document for the proposed effective date of a final rule that may issue based on this proposal.

    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-2015-N-3785 for “Medical Devices; Orthopedic Devices; Classification of Posterior Cervical Screw Systems.” 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:

    Genevieve Hill, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. 1457, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-6423, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background A. Statutory and Regulatory Authorities

    The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.), as amended, established a comprehensive system for the regulation of medical devices intended for human use. Section 513 of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360c) established three categories (classes) of devices, reflecting the regulatory controls needed to provide reasonable assurance of their safety and effectiveness. The three categories of devices are class I (general controls), class II (special controls), and class III (premarket approval).

    Section 513(a) of the FD&C Act defines the three classes of devices. Class I devices are those devices for which the general controls of the FD&C Act (controls authorized by or under section 501, 502, 510, 516, 518, 519, or 520 (21 U.S.C. 351, 352, 360, 360f, 360h, 360i, or 360j) or any combination of such sections) are sufficient to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness; or those devices for which insufficient information exists to determine that general controls are sufficient to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness or to establish special controls to provide such assurance, but because the devices are not purported or represented to be for a use in supporting or sustaining human life or for a use which is of substantial importance in preventing impairment of human health, and do not present a potential unreasonable risk of illness or injury, are to be regulated by general controls (section 513(a)(1)(A) of the FD&C Act). Class II devices are those devices for which general controls by themselves are insufficient to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness, but for which there is sufficient information to establish special controls to provide such assurance, including the issue of performance standards, postmarket surveillance, patient registries, development and dissemination of guidelines, recommendations, and other appropriate actions the Agency deems necessary to provide such assurance (section 513(a)(1)(B) of the FD&C Act). Class III devices are those devices for which insufficient information exists to determine that general controls and special controls would provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness, and are purported or represented for a use in supporting or sustaining human life or for a use which is of substantial importance in preventing impairment of human health, or present a potential unreasonable risk of illness or injury (section 513(a)(1)(C) of the FD&C Act).

    FDA refers to devices that were in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976 (the date of enactment of the Medical Device Amendments of 1976), as “preamendments devices.” Under section 513(d)(1) of the FD&C Act, FDA classifies these devices after FDA: (1) Receives a recommendation from a device classification panel (an FDA advisory committee); (2) publishes the panel's recommendation for comment, along with a proposed regulation classifying the device; and (3) publishes a final regulation classifying the device. FDA has classified most preamendments devices under these procedures.

    A person may market a preamendments device that has been classified into class III and devices found to be substantially equivalent by means of premarket notification procedures (510(k)) to such a preamendments device or to a device within that type without submission of a premarket approval application (PMA) until FDA issues a final order under section 515(b) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360e(b)) requiring premarket approval or until the device is subsequently reclassified into class I or class II.

    FDA refers to devices that were not in commercial distribution prior to May 28, 1976 as “postamendments devices.” These devices are automatically classified by statute (section 513(f) of the FD&C Act) into class III without any FDA rulemaking process. These devices remain in class III and require premarket approval unless, and until, the device is reclassified into class I or II or FDA issues an order finding the device to be substantially equivalent, under section 513(i) of the FD&C Act, to a predicate device that does not require premarket approval. The Agency determines whether new devices are substantially equivalent to predicate devices by means of premarket notification procedures in section 510(k) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360(k)) and part 807 of the regulations (21 CFR part 807).

    B. Regulatory History of the Device

    The regulatory history of posterior cervical screw systems arose from that of pedicle screw spinal systems, which are medical devices similar in design and principle of operation, but differ based on anatomic use in the spine and their indications for use. Both device systems are comprised of various interconnecting components such as longitudinal members (i.e., rods, plates) and screws that are configured per the patient's anatomy and implanted into the posterior spine to provide stabilization as bony fusion occurs. After the enactment of the Medical Device Amendments of 1976, FDA commenced to identify and classify all preamendments devices, in accordance with section 513(b) of the FD&C Act. In the Federal Register of September 4, 1987 (52 FR 33686), FDA classified a total of 77 generic types of orthopedic devices. Neither pedicle screw spinal systems nor posterior cervical screw systems were identified in this initial effort.

    In July 1998, FDA issued a final rule (63 FR 40025, July 27, 1998) classifying pedicle screw spinal systems as class II devices, and a technical amendment to this rule was published on May 22, 2001 (66 FR 28051). In the technical amendment, FDA noted that pedicle screw systems for the following intended uses in the cervical spine (which are now referred to as posterior cervical screw systems) were in use prior to May 28,1976 and are therefore considered preamendments devices: (1) Cervical spondylolisthesis (all grades and types); (2) cervical spondylolysis; (3) cervical degenerative disc disease; (4) degeneration of the cervical facets accompanied by instability; (5) cervical trauma (fracture and dislocation); and (6) revision of failed previous fusion surgery (pseudarthrosis) of the cervical spine. Since 2001, FDA has regulated posterior cervical screw systems as unclassified preamendments devices requiring premarket notification (510(k)). Posterior cervical screw systems currently on the market have been determined to be substantially equivalent to devices that were in commercial distribution prior to May 28, 1976.

    On April 9, 2009, FDA published an order under sections 515(i) and 519 of the FD&C Act (515(i) order) for the submission of safety and effective information on pedicle screw spinal systems with certain indications for use (74 FR 16214). In response to that order, FDA received a request from the Orthopedic Surgical Manufacturers Association (OSMA) to classify posterior cervical screw systems into class II (special controls). Because this request was considered to be outside the scope of the 515(i) order related to pedicle screw spinal systems, FDA requested that OSMA submit a separate petition for classification of posterior cervical screw systems. OSMA submitted the requested petition on November 22, 2011, under Docket No. FDA-2011-P-0851-0001/CCP (Ref. 1). FDA consulted with the Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices Panel (the Panel), an FDA advisory committee, regarding the classification of this device type on September 21, 2012 (Ref. 2). At the Panel meeting, the Panel recommended that posterior cervical screw systems be classified as class II with special controls.

    II. Recommendation of the Panel

    During a public meeting held on September 21, 2012, the Panel made recommendations regarding the classification and regulatory controls for posterior cervical screw systems.

    A. Identification

    FDA is proposing the following identification for posterior cervical screw systems based on the Panel's recommendations and the Agency's review. Posterior cervical screw systems utilizing pedicle and lateral mass screws, implanted from the C1 to C7 levels, are multiple component devices, made from a variety of materials, including metallic alloys. Posterior cervical instrumentation generally involves use of a fixation system comprised of both longitudinal members and screws that can span various combinations of spinal levels from the occiput to the upper thoracic spine. Cervical lateral mass and pedicle screws serve as the primary bone anchor points and require selection based on individual patient anatomy, as determined by preoperative cross-sectional imaging. Posterior cervical screw systems consist of a bone anchor via screws (i.e., occipital screws, cervical lateral mass screws, cervical pedicle screws, C2 pars screws, C2 translaminar screws, C2 transarticular screws), longitudinal members (e.g., plates, rods) and optional transverse connectors. An interconnection mechanism (e.g., offset connector, nuts, screws, or bolts) may be utilized to link the anchor and longitudinal member. These posterior cervical screw systems are statically fixed devices, only intended to be used as an adjunct to fusion and do not include any dynamic features, which may include, but are not limited to: Non-uniform and/or non-metallic longitudinal elements, features that allow more motion or flexibility compared to traditional rigid systems, or features that do not provide the system immediate rigid fixation.

    B. Recommended Classification of the Panel

    The Panel recommended that posterior cervical screw systems be classified into class II (special controls).

    C. Summary of Reasons for Recommendation

    The Panel considered the panel members' personal knowledge of and clinical experience with the device type, as well as the history of safety and effectiveness of the device over many years of clinical use. The Panel recommended that posterior cervical screw systems be classified into class II as an adjunct to fusion for the following acute and chronic instabilities of the cervical spine and craniocervical junction: (1) Traumatic spinal fractures and/or traumatic dislocations; instability or deformity; (2) failed previous fusions (e.g., pseudarthrosis); (3) tumors involving the cervical spine; and (4) degenerative disease, including intractable radiculopathy and/or myelopathy, neck and/or arm pain of discogenic origin as confirmed by radiographic studies, and degenerative disease of the facets with instability. These systems are also intended to restore the integrity of the spinal column even in the absence of fusion for a limited time period in patients with advanced stage tumors involving the cervical spine in whom life expectancy is of insufficient duration to permit achievement of fusion. The Panel also found that there is reasonable evidence to support use of posterior cervical screws as an adjunct to fusion in the pediatric population. In addition, there was panel consensus supporting the use of posterior cervical screws for non-fusion treatment for a limited time period in patients with advanced stage tumors involving the cervical spine in whom life expectancy is of insufficient duration to permit achievement of fusion; the Panel emphasized that their discussions were limited to this narrow patient population and should not be extrapolated to other non-fusion applications or technologies (e.g., dynamic stabilization systems).

    The Panel also recommended that posterior cervical screw systems be classified into class II because special controls, together with general controls, would provide reasonable assurance of their safety and effectiveness. The risks to health for this device type are known and can be adequately mitigated by special controls (such as mechanical testing, biocompatibility, and labeling).

    D. Risks to Health

    Based on the Panel's discussion and recommendations in addition to comprehensive literature reviews and analyses by OSMA and FDA, the risks to health associated with posterior cervical screw systems and the proposed measures to mitigate these risks are identified in the following list and in table 1. The identified risks to health are identical to those proposed by FDA during the September 21, 2012, panel meeting, with the addition of risks associated with the presence of vertebral arteries, as recommended by FDA with panel agreement. FDA determined that the following risks to health are associated with its use:

    Device failure—Components may deform, fracture, wear, loosen, or disassemble, resulting in a mechanical or functional failure.

    Failure at the bone/implant interface—Components may loosen or disengage from the bone.

    Tissue injury—Intraoperative and postoperative risks of tissue injury include: Bone fracture, injury to blood vessels or viscera, neurologic injury, dural tear or cerebrospinal fluid leak, skin penetration or irritation, and postoperative wound problems, including infection, hematoma/seroma.

    Adverse tissue reactions—Adverse tissue reactions include: Foreign body response, metal allergy, and metal toxicity.

    Device malposition—Risks of device malposition may include difficulty or inability to implant the device components or incorrect placement of the device.

    Pseudarthrosis—The risk of nonunion, or pseudarthrosis, signifies failure of bony fusion and potential instability or pain.

    Adverse clinical sequelae—Adverse clinical sequelae may include the risk of new or unresolved neck pain, new or worsened neurologic deficit/injury, or loss of correction.

    The risks to health presented to the 2012 Panel such as cardiac, respiratory, and death are considered general surgical risks associated with the surgical procedure to implant posterior cervical screw systems; these risks are not directly associated with posterior cervical screw systems and therefore are not included in the previous list of risks. Failure of the posterior cervical screw system as a result of the risks to health listed may result in the need for reoperation, revision, or removal.

    While presented to the Panel as a potential risk, graft settling would not be considered a device-specific risk. Rather, it represents a potential mechanism for the development of pseudarthrosis, instability, or lack of correction. Further, graft settling is expected in patients undergoing fusion surgery and does not necessarily result in adverse clinical sequelae. Thus this item does not specifically appear in the previous list.

    E. Proposed Special Controls

    FDA believes that the following special controls, in addition to general controls, are sufficient to mitigate the risks to health described in section II.D. and provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device.

    • Design characteristics of the device, including engineering schematics, must ensure that the geometry and material composition are consistent with the intended use.

    • Nonclinical performance testing must demonstrate the mechanical function and durability of the implant.

    • Device must be demonstrated to be biocompatible.

    • Validation testing must demonstrate the cleanliness and sterility of, or the ability to clean and sterilize, the device components and device-specific instruments.

    • Labeling must bear all information required for the safe and effective use of the device, specifically including the following:

    ○ Clear description of the technological features of the device, including identification of device materials and the principles of device operation;

    ○ intended use and indications for use including levels of fixation;

    ○ device-specific warnings, precautions, and contraindications that include the following statements:

    “Precaution: Pre-operative planning prior to implantation of posterior cervical lateral mass and pedicle screw spinal systems should include review of cross-sectional imaging studies (e.g., CT and/or MRI imaging) to evaluate the patient's cervical anatomy including the transverse foramen and the course of the vertebral arteries. If any findings would compromise the placement of lateral mass or pedicle screws, other surgical methods should be considered. In addition, use of intraoperative imaging should be considered to guide and/or verify device placement, as necessary.”

    “Precaution: Use of posterior cervical pedicle screw fixation at the C3 through C6 spinal levels requires careful consideration and planning beyond that required for lateral mass screws placed at these spinal levels, given the proximity of the vertebral arteries and neurologic structures in relation to the cervical pedicles at these levels.”

    ○ identification of magnetic resonance (MR) compatibility status;

    ○ cleaning and sterilization instructions for devices and instruments that are provided non-sterile to the end user; and

    ○ detailed instructions of each surgical step, including device removal, accompanied by magnified illustrations.

    Table 1 summarizes the risks to health described in section II.D. and the proposed special controls that are sufficient to mitigate these risks.

    Table 1—Summary of Risks to Health and Proposed Special Controls Risk to health Method of mitigation
  • (i.e., special control)
  • Device Failure Design Characteristics. Nonclinical Performance Testing. Labeling. Failure of Bone Implant Interface Design Characteristics. Biocompatibility. Nonclinical Performance Testing. Labeling. Tissue Injury Labeling. Adverse Tissue Reactions Design Characteristics. Biocompatibility. Sterility. Labeling. Device Malposition Labeling. Pseudarthrosis Nonclinical Performance Testing. Biocompatibility. Labeling. Adverse Clinical Sequelae Labeling.

    Furthermore, FDA is proposing that posterior cervical screw systems be prescription devices. Prescription devices must be used in accordance with 21 CFR 801.109. Prescription-use restrictions are a type of general controls as defined in section 513(a)(1)(A)(i) of the FD&C Act.

    III. Proposed Classification and FDA's Finding

    In preparation for the September 2012 panel meeting and to better inform the Agency's proposed classification of posterior cervical screw systems as described in this proposed rule, FDA conducted a review of the literature that included relevant scientific and medical information published through July 2012 (see Section 6 of FDA's Panel Executive Summary, Ref. 2) as well as adverse events in FDA's Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database (see Section 7 of FDA's Panel Executive Summary, Ref. 2). FDA does not believe that new or different information has become available since the September 2012 panel meeting that would alter FDA's findings. Based upon FDA's review of the literature and adverse events and FDA's continued premarket and postmarket experience with the device type, FDA agrees with the Panel's recommendation that posterior cervical screw systems be classified into class II. FDA is proposing to classify these devices into class II because general controls alone are insufficient to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of these implantable devices (see section II.D.), as presented and discussed during the September 21, 2012, panel meeting (Ref. 2). FDA also believes there is sufficient information to establish special controls to mitigate the known risks of the device. Therefore, FDA proposes that posterior cervical screw systems be classified into class II. The special controls, in addition to general controls, will provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device.

    IV. Proposed Effective Date

    FDA proposes that this proposed rule, if finalized, will become effective 30 days after its date of publication in the Federal Register. In addition, FDA proposes that once the final rule is in effect, manufacturers of posterior cervical screw systems as defined in section II.A. that have not been offered for sale prior to the effective date of the final rule must obtain 510(k) clearance before marketing their devices and comply with the special controls.

    FDA notes that a firm who markets a device that is intended for use as a posterior cervical screw system as identified in section II.A., as well as other uses, that was legally in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976, or who markets a device found to be substantially equivalent to such a device and who does not intend to market such device for uses other than as a posterior cervical screw as defined in section II.A., may remove the other intended uses from the device's labeling and continue marketing the device without submitting a new 510(k). In addition, such posterior cervical screw systems must comply with the special controls.

    V. Environmental Impact, No Significant Impact

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

    VI. Economic Analysis of Impacts

    We have examined the impacts of the proposed rule under Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4). Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct us to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). We have developed a comprehensive Economic Analysis of Impacts that assesses the impacts of the proposed rule. We believe that this proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action as defined by Executive Order 12866.

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires us to analyze regulatory options that would minimize any significant impact of a rule on small entities. Because: (1) The proposed regulation would classify a previously unclassified preamendment device type; (2) only five registered establishments are listed in the Establishment Registration and Device Listing database that would be affected by the proposed rule; and (3) the proposed regulation designating the classification of posterior cervical screw systems as class II is consistent with the historical regulatory oversight given to this device type, we proposed to certify that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (section 202(a)) requires us to prepare a written statement, which includes an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits, before proposing “any rule that includes any Federal mandate that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year.” The current threshold after adjustment for inflation is $144 million, using the most current (2014) Implicit Price Deflator for the Gross Domestic Product. This proposed rule would not result in an expenditure in any year that meets or exceeds this amount.

    This rule proposes to classify posterior cervical screw systems as class II devices with special controls. These devices are currently unclassified. Currently, manufacturers are subject to premarket requirements similar to class II devices, with producers receiving clearance to market via a 510(k) premarket notification submission without a PMA requirement. We have concluded that special controls in addition to general controls are sufficient for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of these devices and that these devices may be classified as class II (special controls).

    FDA's Registration and Listing database identifies two large manufacturers of three posterior cervical screw systems (product code NKG). Manufacturers of these devices will need to edit any current labeling to reflect requirements of the proposed rule. This is considered a major label change because of the addition of precaution statements. The estimated cost of this labeling change is $13,189 per product for an estimated total cost of $39,567 (3 × $13,189). Any currently marketed devices seeking marketing authorization as posterior cervical screw systems would incur similar costs. We welcome comments on the number of applications we may receive from firms pursuing marketing authorization for currently marketed products as posterior cervical screw systems.

    The proposed rule would require that manufacturers who wish to market these devices submit 510(k) premarket notifications and comply with the proposed special controls. It is not expected that manufacturers of devices already on the market would need to submit new 510(k) notifications, 510(k) amendments, or add-to-files to demonstrate conformance with the proposed special controls. Any manufacturers seeking marketing authorization of posterior cervical screw systems would not incur additional costs as a result of this rule because we already require 510(k) submissions for these devices. Hence, the proposed rule would not result in any significant change in how manufacturers prepare 510(k) submissions for the affected devices or in how we would review the submissions. Consequently, compliance with the special controls proposed for these devices would not yield significant new costs for manufacturers. Because the formal classification of the affected devices as class II is consistent with current Agency and industry practice, we conclude that the proposed rule, if finalized, would not impose any significant additional regulatory burden.

    We invite comments on this analysis.

    VII. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This proposed rule establishes special controls that refer to currently approved collections of information found in other FDA regulations. These collections of information are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information in 21 CFR part 807, subpart E, have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0120; the collections of information in 21 CFR part 801 have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0485; the collections of information in 21 CFR part 807 have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0625. The precaution labeling provisions in proposed 21 CFR 888.3075(b)(5) are not subject to review by OMB because they do not constitute a “collection of information” under the PRA. Rather, the following labeling: (1) “Precaution: Pre-operative planning prior to implantation of posterior cervical lateral mass and pedicle screw spinal systems should include review of cross-sectional imaging studies (e.g., CT and/or MRI imaging) to evaluate the patient's cervical anatomy including the transverse foramen and the course of the vertebral arteries. If any findings would compromise the placement of lateral mass or pedicle screws, other surgical methods should be considered. In addition, use of intraoperative imaging should be considered to guide and/or verify device placement, as necessary.” (2) “Precaution: Use of posterior cervical pedicle screw fixation at the C3 through C6 spinal levels requires careful consideration and planning beyond that required for lateral mass screws placed at these spinal levels, given the proximity of the vertebral arteries and neurologic structures in relation to the cervical pedicles at these levels.” are a “public disclosure of information originally supplied by the Federal government to the recipient for the purpose of disclosure to the public” (5 CFR 1320.3(c)(2)).

    VIII. References

    The following references are on display in the Division of Dockets Management (see ADDRESSES) and are available for viewing by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. FDA has verified the Web site address, as of the date this document publishes in the Federal Register, but Web sites are subject to change over time.

    1. Orthopedic Surgical Manufacturers Association Reclassification Petition filed on November 23, 2011, to support classification of pedicle and lateral mass screws for cervical spine use from unclassified status to class II. Available at www.regulations.gov, the docket number is FDA-2011-P-0851.

    2. Transcript and other meeting materials from the Food and Drug Administration Orthopedic Devices Panel Meeting, September 21, 2012, (http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/MedicalDevices/MedicalDevicesAdvisoryCommittee/OrthopaedicandRehabilitationDevicesPanel/ucm309184.htm).

    List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 888

    Medical devices.

    Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, FDA proposes to amend 21 CFR part 888 as follows:

    PART 888—ORTHOPEDIC DEVICES 1. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 888 continues to read as follows: Authority:

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

    2. Add §  888.3075 to subpart D to read as follows:
    § 888.3075 Posterior cervical screw system.

    (a) Identification. Posterior cervical screw systems, implanted from the C1 to C7 levels, are prescription devices comprised of multiple components, made from a variety of materials, including metallic alloys. Posterior cervical instrumentation generally involves use of a fixation system comprised of both longitudinal members and screws that can span various combinations of spinal levels from the occiput to the upper thoracic spine. Cervical lateral mass and pedicle screws serve as the primary bone anchor points and require selection based on individual patient anatomy, as determined by preoperative cross-sectional imaging. Posterior cervical screw systems consist of a bone anchor via screws (i.e., occipital screws, cervical lateral mass screws, cervical pedicle screws, C2 pars screws, C2 translaminar screws, C2 transarticular screws), longitudinal members (e.g., plates, rods) and optional transverse connectors. An interconnection mechanism (e.g., offset connector, nuts, screws, or bolts) may be utilized to link the anchor and longitudinal member. These posterior cervical screw systems are intended to provide immobilization and stabilization of spinal segments (C1 to C7 levels) in patients as an adjunct to fusion for the following acute and chronic instabilities of the cervical spine and/or craniocervical junction and/or cervicothoracic junction: Traumatic spinal fractures and/or traumatic dislocations; spinal deformities and related instabilities; failed previous fusions (e.g., pseudarthrosis); tumors involving the cervical spine; inflammatory disorders; degenerative disease, including neck and/or arm pain of discogenic origin as confirmed by radiographic studies; degenerative disease of the facets with instability; and reconstruction following decompression to treat intractable radiculopathy and/or myelopathy. These systems are also intended to restore the integrity of the spinal column even in the absence of fusion for a limited time period in patients with advanced stage tumors involving the cervical spine in whom life expectancy is of insufficient duration to permit achievement of fusion.

    (b) Classification. Class II (special controls). The special controls for posterior cervical screw systems are:

    (1) Design characteristics of the device, including engineering schematics, must ensure that the geometry and material composition are consistent with the intended use.

    (2) Nonclinical performance testing must demonstrate the mechanical function and durability of the implant.

    (3) Device must be demonstrated to be biocompatible.

    (4) Validation testing must demonstrate the cleanliness and sterility of, or the ability to clean and sterilize, the device components and device-specific instruments.

    (5) Labeling must bear all information required for the safe and effective use of the device, specifically including the following:

    (i) Clear description of the technological features of the device including identification of device materials and the principles of device operation;

    (ii) Intended use and indications for use including levels of fixation;

    (iii) Device specific warnings, precautions, and contraindications that include the following statements:

    (A) “Precaution: Pre-operative planning prior to implantation of posterior cervical lateral mass and pedicle screw spinal systems should include review of cross-sectional imaging studies (e.g., CT and/or MRI imaging) to evaluate the patient's cervical anatomy including the transverse foramen and the course of the vertebral arteries. If any findings would compromise the placement of lateral mass or pedicle screws, other surgical methods should be considered. In addition, use of intraoperative imaging should be considered to guide and/or verify device placement, as necessary.”

    (B) “Precaution: Use of posterior cervical pedicle screw fixation at the C3 through C6 spinal levels requires careful consideration and planning beyond that required for lateral mass screws placed at these spinal levels, given the proximity of the vertebral arteries and neurologic structures in relation to the cervical pedicles at these levels.”

    (iv) Identification of magnetic resonance (MR) compatibility status;

    (v) Sterilization and cleaning instructions for devices and instruments that are provided non-sterile to the end user, and;

    (vi) Detailed instructions of each surgical step, including device removal, accompanied by magnified illustrations.

    Dated: March 7, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05384 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT 24 CFR Part 960 [Docket No. FR-5904-N-02] Strengthening Oversight of Over-Income Tenancy in Public Housing Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Reopening of Comment Period AGENCY:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR); Reopening of Comment Period.

    SUMMARY:

    HUD is extending the comment period for the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The original comment period ended on March 4, 2016, but HUD is reopening that period for 30 days to allow interested parties to prepare and submit their comments.

    DATES:

    Comments on the ANPR published at 81 FR 5679, February 3, 2016 are due on or before April 11, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments to the Office of the General Counsel, Regulations Division, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410-0500. Communications should refer to the above docket number and title. There are two methods for submitting public comments.

    1. Submission of Comments by Mail. Comments may be submitted by mail to the Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410-0500. Due to security measures at all federal agencies, however, submission of comments by mail often results in delayed delivery. To ensure timely receipt of comments, HUD recommends that comments submitted by mail be submitted at least two weeks in advance of the public comment deadline.

    2. Electronic Submission of Comments. Interested persons may submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. HUD strongly encourages commenters to submit comments electronically. Electronic submission of comments allows the commenter maximum time to prepare and submit a comment, ensures timely receipt by HUD, and enables HUD to make comments immediately available to the public. Comments submitted electronically through the http://www.regulations.gov Web site can be viewed by other commenters and interested members of the public. Commenters should follow instructions provided on that site to submit comments electronically.

    Note:

    To receive consideration as public comments, comments must be submitted using one of the two methods specified above. Again, all submissions must refer to the docket number and title of the notice.

    No Facsimile Comments. Facsimile (fax) comments are not acceptable.

    Public Inspection of Comments. All comments and communications submitted to HUD will be available, for public inspection and copying between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at the above address. Due to security measures at the HUD Headquarters building, an advance appointment to review the public comments must be scheduled by calling the Regulations Division at (202) 708-3055 (this is not a toll-free number). Copies of all comments submitted are available for inspection and downloading at http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Todd Thomas, Office of Public and Indian Housing, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 4100, Washington, DC 20410-4000; telephone number (678) 732-2056 (this is not a toll-free number). Persons with hearing or speech impairments may contact this number via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On February 3, 2016, HUD published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, 81 FR 5679, February 3, 2016, seeking input from the public on many issues, including questions presented in this notice, including how HUD can structure policies to reduce the number of individuals and families in public housing whose incomes significantly exceed the income limit and have significantly exceeded the income limit for a sustained period of time after initial admission. In response to several requests, HUD is reopening the comment period for another 30 days.

    Dated: March 2, 2016. Jemine A. Bryon, General Deputy Assistant, Secretary for Public and Indian Housing.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05210 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Financial Crimes Enforcement Network 31 CFR Part 1010 RIN 1506-AB26 Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; Amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act Regulations—Reports of Foreign Financial Accounts AGENCY:

    Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”).

    SUMMARY:

    FinCEN, a bureau of the Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”), is proposing to revise the regulations implementing the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) regarding Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”). The proposed rule would expand and clarify the exemptions for certain U.S. persons with signature or other authority over foreign financial accounts. In addition, the proposed rule would remove the special rules permitting limited account information to be reported when a U.S. person has financial interest in or signature authority over 25 or more foreign financial accounts. The proposed rule would also make several other changes, including a change to the filing date for FBAR reports due in 2017 and a revision to reflect electronic filing of FBARs.

    DATES:

    Written comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking may be submitted on or before May 9, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be submitted, identified by Regulatory Identification Number (“RIN”) 1506-AB26, by any of the following methods:

    Federal E-rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Include RIN 1506-AB26 in the submission. Refer to Docket Number FINCEN-2014-0006.

    Mail: FinCEN, P.O. Box 39, Vienna, VA 22183. Include 1506-AB26 in the body of the text. Please submit comments by one method only. All comments submitted in response to this NPRM will become a matter of public record. Therefore, you should submit only information that you wish to make publicly available.

    Inspection of comments: The public dockets for FinCEN can be found at Regulations.gov. Federal Register notices published by FinCEN are searchable by docket number, RIN, or document title, among other things, and the docket number, RIN, and title may be found at the beginning of the notice. FinCEN uses the electronic, Internet-accessible dockets at Regulations.gov as their complete, official-record docket; all hard copies of materials that should be in the docket, including public comments, are electronically scanned and placed in the docket. In general, FinCEN will make all comments publicly available by posting them on http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FinCEN Resource Center at 1-800-767-2825 or 1-703-905-3591 (not a toll free number) and select option 3 for regulatory questions. Email inquiries can be sent to [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction

    The potential misuse of foreign financial accounts to evade domestic criminal, tax, and regulatory laws has been a long-held congressional concern. The House report on the bill leading to the enactment of the BSA described the use of undisclosed foreign financial accounts for a wide range of abuses.1 More than four decades after the BSA's enactment, foreign financial accounts can still be used for many of the abuses Congress catalogued when it passed the BSA, and transparency with respect to the foreign accounts of U.S. persons continues to aid law enforcement and deter illicit use.

    1 The House report states:

    Considerable testimony was received by the Committee from the Justice Department, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the Treasury Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Defense Department and the Agency for International Development about serious and widespread use of foreign financial facilities located in secrecy jurisdictions for the purpose of violating American law. H.R. Rep. No 975 91st Cong. 2d Sess. 12 (1970).

    II. Background A. Statutory and Regulatory Background

    The BSA, Titles I and II of Public Law 91-508, as amended, codified at 12 U.S.C. 1829b, 12 U.S.C. 1951-1959, and 31 U.S.C. 5311-5314 and 5316-5332, authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury (“Secretary”), among other things, to issue regulations requiring persons to keep records and file reports that are determined to have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, regulatory, and counter-terrorism matters. The regulations implementing the BSA appear at 31 CFR chapter X. The Secretary's authority to administer the BSA has been delegated to the Director of FinCEN.2

    2 Treasury Order 180-01 (Sept. 26, 2002).

    Under 31 U.S.C. 5314 the Secretary is authorized to require any “resident or citizen of the United States or a person in, and doing business in, the United States, to . . . keep records and file reports, when the resident, citizen, or person makes a transaction or maintains a relation for any person with a foreign financial agency.” The term “foreign financial agency” encompasses the activities found in the statutory definition of “financial agency,” 3 which means, in pertinent part, “a person acting for a person as a financial institution, bailee, depository trustee, or agent, or acting in a similar way related to money, credit, securities, gold, or a transaction in money, credit, securities, or gold.” 4 The Secretary is also authorized to prescribe exemptions to the reporting requirement and to prescribe other matters the Secretary considers necessary to carry out section 5314.5

    3 31 U.S.C. 5312(b)(2).

    4See 31 U.S.C. 5312(a)(1), which exempts from the definition of financial agency a person acting for a country, a monetary or financial authority acting as a monetary or financial authority or an international financial institution of which the United States government is a member.

    5 FinCEN is proposing to replace the term exception, as was previously used in the FBAR regulation text, with the term exemption to reflect the language in 31 U.S.C. 5314 more accurately. For that reason, the preamble will refer to signature authority exemptions, as opposed to signature authority exceptions.

    The regulations implementing 31 U.S.C. 5314 appear at 31 CFR 1010.350, 1010.306, and 1010.420. Section 1010.350 generally requires each U.S. person having a financial interest in, or signature or other authority over, a bank, securities, or other financial account in a foreign country to report such relationship to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for each year in which such relationship exists, and provide such information as shall be specified in a reporting form prescribed under 31 U.S.C. 5314 to be filed by such persons. Section 1010.306 requires the form to be filed with respect to foreign financial accounts exceeding $10,000 maintained during the previous calendar year. The form must be filed on or before June 30 of each calendar year for accounts maintained during the previous calendar year.6 The form used to file the report required by section 1010.350 is the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts—FinCEN Form 114 (“FBAR”), which, since July 1, 2013, must be filed electronically.7 Section 1010.420 requires records of foreign financial accounts to be maintained for each U.S. person having a financial interest in or signature or other authority over such accounts. The records must be maintained for a period of five years.8

    6 In accordance with section 2006(b)(11) of Public Law 114-41 the filing due date for the report will be April 15 effective with the 2016 reporting year. Extensions to October 15 of the reporting year are available upon request.

    7 Formerly Form TD-F 90-22.1. FinCEN Form 114 can be completed by accessing FinCEN's BSA E-Filing System Web site—http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/main.html.

    8 The penalties addressed in the BSA apply to both the FBAR reporting and recordkeeping requirement.

    The authority to enforce the provisions of 31 U.S.C. 5314 and its implementing regulations has been re-delegated from FinCEN to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue by means of a Memorandum of Agreement between FinCEN and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) dated April 2, 2003.9 With this delegation, FinCEN conferred upon the IRS the authority to enforce the FBAR provisions of the BSA and its implementing regulations, investigate possible violations, and assess and collect civil penalties in connection therewith. The delegation also conferred upon the IRS the authority to: (1) Respond to public inquiries and requests for advice, (2) issue administrative rulings, and (3) provide related assistance to the public with respect to compliance with FBAR requirements. Finally, the delegation conferred upon the IRS the authority to revise the FBAR form and instructions, and to propose to FinCEN revisions of the applicable regulations for the purpose of enhancing FBAR compliance and enforcement.10

    9See 31 CFR 1010.810(g).

    10 Beginning in March 2011, with the implementation of mandatory electronic filing, FinCEN has managed and instituted all changes to the FBAR and related line item and electronic instructions. FinCEN and the IRS collaborate on FBAR actions regardless of the nature of these actions.

    B. Signature Authority Exemptions Provision

    Prior to 2011, FinCEN's FBAR regulation text referred filers to the FBAR form instructions for guidance as to the specific information to be reported on the FBAR. The detailed requirements for reporting were included in the FBAR form instructions previously issued by the IRS and FinCEN. A revised FBAR form, which modified several aspects of the instructions to the form, was issued in October 2008. In the ensuing months, a number of questions and comments were received from the public seeking guidance on compliance with the revised instructions. In response to these questions and comments, FinCEN, in consultation with the IRS, issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking revising the reporting rules.11 The proposal was finalized in 2011 (the “2011 FBAR regulations”).12

    11See 75 FR 8844 (February 26, 2010).

    12See 76 FR 10234 (February 24, 2011).

    As part of the 2011 FBAR regulations, FinCEN included changes to exemptions, which previously appeared only in the instructions to the FBAR form, for certain U.S. persons with signature or other authority over the foreign financial accounts of certain types of federally regulated entities. These changes expanded the exemptions so that they applied to accounts held by more types of federally regulated entities.

    As a result, officers and employees of the federally regulated entities (“covered entities”) listed below, are currently exempt from FBAR reporting for their signature authority over the entities' foreign financial accounts if the officer or employee has no financial interest in the foreign account:

    • A bank examined by a Federal banking agency;

    • a financial institution registered with and examined by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”);

    • an Authorized Service Provider with signature authority over a foreign financial account owned or maintained by an investment company registered with the SEC; 13

    13 “Authorized Service Provider” means an entity that is registered with and examined by the SEC and that provides services to an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940. See 31 CFR 1010.350(f)(2)(iii).

    • an entity with a class of equity securities listed (or American depository receipts listed) on any U.S. national securities exchange (“listed corporation”) or a U.S. subsidiary if the subsidiary is included in the consolidated report the parent filed; 14 or

    14 A U.S. entity that owns directly or indirectly more than a 50-percent interest in one or more entities required to report is permitted to file a consolidated report on behalf of itself and such other entity. See 31 CFR 1010.350(g)(3).

    • an entity that has a class of equity securities registered (or American depository receipts registered) under section 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act (“section 12(g) corporation”).15

    15 Section 12(g) corporations must have more than $10 million in assets and a class of equity security held of record by either 2,000 persons, or 500 persons who are not accredited investors (as defined by the SEC).

    Subsequent to the publication of the 2011 amendments to the FBAR regulation, FinCEN received several questions from industry with respect to the signature authority exemptions. In particular, many filers asked how the exemptions applied with respect to scenarios involving overlapping signature authority.16 Many filers were unsure of the breadth of the amended exemptions as they applied to scenarios involving over-lapping signature authority. “Over-lapping” signature authority occurs when an officer or employee of a parent entity also has signature authority over the foreign financial accounts of the parent's controlled subsidiary entity and vice versa. Under a literal reading of the regulation, the exemption only applies if the individual is actually “an officer or employee of” the particular corporate entity that holds the account, and not to situations in which the individual may have control over accounts held by affiliated corporate or other business entities that do not employ the individual. 17

    16 FinCEN received letters from six large trade associations and 12 of the largest financial institutions, all raising similar concerns regarding the signature authority exemptions.

    17 As clarified at 31 CFR 1010.350(g)(3), an entity that is a United States person and which owns directly or indirectly more than a 50 percent interest in one or more other entities required to report under this section will be permitted to file a consolidated report on behalf of itself and such other entities. FinCEN considers all entities permitted to be reported together on a consolidated FBAR to be entities within the same corporate or other business structure.

    Some filers believed that the pre-2011 exemptions, outlined in the FBAR form instructions, were broader than they actually were, with many filers treating the pre-2011 signature authority exemptions as being applicable to all instances of an officer or employee's over-lapping signature authority within a corporate or other business structure.18 The 2011 FBAR regulations made it clear that the signature authority exemptions did not apply to all instances of over-lapping signature authority. Following the 2011 FBAR regulations, FinCEN received requests from industry to exempt officers or employees of covered entities and their controlled subsidiaries for instances in which the officers or employees have over-lapping signature authority with respect to foreign financial accounts owned by the employer, as well as foreign financial accounts of the employer's parent and subsidiaries.19

    18 FinCEN was made aware that many large companies may have one “treasury group,” which may be either at the parent corporation level or the controlled subsidiary level where employees have signature authority over the foreign financial accounts of both the parent corporation and its controlled subsidiaries, domestic and foreign.

    19 In response to ongoing questions regarding the scope of the signature authority exemptions, and in order for FinCEN to assess the full extent of the impact of the revised signature authority exemptions, FinCEN, in close coordination with the IRS, issued FinCEN Notices 2011-1 and 2011-2 (collectively, the “2011 Notices”) on May 31 and June 17, 2011, respectively, to extend to June 30, 2012 the FBAR filing due date for certain individuals affected by the signature authority exemptions. On February 14, 2012, FinCEN further extended the FBAR due date to June 30, 2013 via FinCEN Notice 2012-1, for filers that met the requirements of the original 2011 Notices. On December 26, 2012, FinCEN again extended the FBAR due date to June 30, 2014 via FinCEN Notice 2012-2, for those same filers. Again on December 20, 2013, FinCEN extended the FBAR due date to June 30, 2015 via FinCEN Notice 2013-1, for those same filers. Once more on December 10, 2014, FinCEN extended the FBAR due date to June 30, 2016 via FinCEN Notice 2014-1, for those same filers. Due to the strong possibility of a regulatory change to the signature authority exemptions, the complexity of this issue, along with the need to coordinate with the IRS, FinCEN further extended the FBAR due date to April 15, 2017 via FinCEN Notice 2015-1, dated December 8, 2015, for filers that met the requirements of the previous Notices. See FinCEN Notice 2015-1. https://www.fincen.gov/whatsnew/pdf/20151208.pdf. Note that the FBAR is a calendar year report ending December 31 of the reportable year. Beginning with the 2016 tax year, the due date for FBAR reporting is April 15 of the year following the December 31 report ending date as changed by section 2006(b)(11) of Public Law 114-41. If requested, this change also provided for a six-month extension of time to file the form (for tax years beginning after 2015).

    FinCEN believes that the exemptions, in practice, may impose greater obligations on filers than necessary given the nature of the reporting.20 As a result, FinCEN, in consultation with the IRS, has made a policy decision to provide a simplified and expanded exemption.21 Additionally, FinCEN proposes to use the term “agent” to incorporate entities and individuals, such as authorized service providers and their employees, within the scope of the proposed exemption.22 The proposed exemption would eliminate the requirement for officers, employees, and agents of U.S. entities to report on accounts owned by the entity over which the officer, employee, or agent has signature authority solely due to their employment when those accounts are already required to be reported by their employer, or any other U.S. entity within the same corporate or other business structure as their U.S. employer. This proposed exemption is intended to address instances in which employees have over-lapping signature authority with respect to U.S. parent and subsidiary accounts within the same corporate or other business structure. However, the exemption for employees to report their signature authority over the foreign financial accounts of their employer would not extend to U.S. persons in instances in which no entity within their employer's corporate or other business structure has an obligation to report to FinCEN its financial interest in such accounts. For example, in instances in which a U.S. person is employed by a non-U.S. entity with no obligation to report its foreign financial accounts, and the foreign entity is not included as a subsidiary of a U.S. entity that is filing, the U.S. person would have an obligation to report his or her signature authority over the non-U.S. entity's foreign financial accounts.23 In this regard the scope of the reporting obligation remains unchanged.

    20 FinCEN has learned that up to 100 employees may have signature authority over one foreign financial account during a calendar year in order to perform their jobs. In such a scenario under the present rule, FinCEN would receive over 100 FBARs regarding the same foreign financial account information.

    21 This proposed amendment is consistent with Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” issued by the President on January 18, 2011. Section 6 of Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of retrospective analysis of rules to determine whether any such regulations should be modified, expanded, streamlined, or repealed so as to make the agency's regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.

    22 Note that the exemption would only apply to “agents” who are not owners of record or holders of legal title, as described in 31 CFR 1010.350(e)(1), and that have no financial interest in the foreign financial account over which they have signature authority.

    23See Item Instructions-Part IV of the BSA Electronic Filing Requirements For Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FinCEN Form 114) for certain instances of truncated filing as it relates to signature authority over the foreign financial accounts of a foreign located employer. The instructions specifically note the following: “a United States person who (1) resides outside of the United States, (2) is an officer or employee of an employer who is physically located outside of the United States, and (3) has signature authority over a foreign financial account that is owned or maintained by the individual's employer should only complete Part I and Items 34-43 of Part IV.” Such U.S. persons are excluded from reporting items 15-23 regarding account information, including the account number, the name of the foreign financial institution that holds the account, the address of the foreign financial institution, the maximum value of the account during the calendar year, and the type of account. http://www.fincen.gov/forms/files/FBAR%20Line%20Item%20Filing%20Instructions.pdf.

    In the past, FinCEN saw value in having these individuals report on the same foreign financial accounts as their employers as a check to ensure that the employers themselves had reported their financial interest in these accounts. It should be noted that in accordance with the 2011 FBAR regulations this dual reporting did not absolve either party from filing an FBAR as required under the regulation, except in those instances in which an officer or employee qualified for the signature authority exemptions. However, FinCEN now believes that such a check on a non-filing employer may be of limited practical value because FinCEN was made aware, particularly during the first required FBAR e-filing season, due by June 30, 2014, that employers often file FBARs on behalf of their employees with signature authority because the employers maintain the account information.24 This is in keeping with the report's instructions prior to the 2011 FBAR regulations with respect to officers and employees of U.S. entities who had signature authority over, but no financial interest in, foreign financial accounts owned by the U.S. employer, which stated that if an employer notified the employee, in writing, that the required FBAR had been filed, the employee was relieved of filing on his or her own behalf.

    24 Due to a number of requests from employers to e-file FBARs on behalf of their employees, on March 28, 2014, FinCEN revised the FBAR E-filing FAQs to clarify the following: FBAR E-Filing FAQs 6—Can an employer submit an FBAR via the BSA E-Filing System on behalf of its employee, who has an obligation to file an FBAR due to their signature authority over the employer's account(s)?

    Yes. An employer may assist its employees in the preparation of electronic FBAR forms for BSA E-Filing. Consistent with FinCEN's instructions that provide for approved third-party filing of the FBAR, if an employer has been provided documented authority (Form 114a) by the legally obligated filers (employees with signature authority over the employer's foreign financial account(s)) to sign and submit FBARs on their behalf through the BSA E-Filing System, that employer can do so through a single BSA E-Filing institutional account established on the BSA E-File System for the employer. Form 114a (http://www.fincen.gov/forms/files/FBARE-FileAuth114aRecordSP.pdf) should be completed designating the employer as the filer/preparer of the employee's FBAR. A copy of the Form 114a should be retained by the filer/employer and not sent to FinCEN. Employers can establish their institution accounts by accessing the BSA E-Filing System enrollment page (http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/Enroll.html), selecting the Institution option, and following the steps to enroll. If the employee does not provide its employer with the Form 114a the filings must be signed and submitted by the employee. An employee signing and submitting his or her own FBAR may use the BSA E-Filing System by accessing the No Registration FBAR page (http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/NoRegFBARFiler.html). If such authority is not provided, the filings must be signed and submitted by the employee. In this case, the employee would be filing as an individual (See FAQ 1 above). http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/docs/FBAR_EFILING_FAQ.pdf.

    To maintain transparency with respect to U.S. persons eligible for the exemption for officers, employees, or agents of U.S. entities, employers would be required to maintain information identifying all officers, employees, or agents with signature authority over, but no financial interest in, those same accounts. FinCEN proposes to require that this information be made available to FinCEN upon request and that such records be maintained for a period of 5 years. In instances in which a U.S. parent entity is filing a consolidated FBAR on behalf of itself and its controlled (i.e., greater than 50-percent owned) subsidiaries required to file an FBAR, the U.S. parent entity would be responsible for maintaining information identifying all of its employees and its subsidiaries' employees with signature authority over such foreign financial accounts. In instances in which the U.S. parent entity and its controlled subsidiaries choose to file separate FBARs regarding their respective financial interest in foreign financial accounts, each such entity would be responsible for maintaining information identifying all employees with signature authority over such accounts, regardless of whether the employees are their own employees or are employed by another entity within the same corporate structure.

    C. Special Rules Provisions—25 or More Foreign Financial Accounts

    While assessing options to address concerns raised by industry regarding the signature authority exemptions, FinCEN determined that the provisions limiting information reported with respect to situations where a filer has 25 or more foreign financial accounts also should be reevaluated. Under the “special rules” provisions at 31 CFR 1010.350(g)(1)-(2), when a person or entity has a financial interest in, or signature authority over, 25 or more foreign financial accounts, the filer is required to report the number of accounts and the filer's identifying information (name, address, taxpayer identification number, and for individual filers date of birth).25 However, these filers are exempted from providing detailed account information on each of their foreign financial accounts. For instance, filers submitting FBARs covered by the special rules are not required to provide the account number, the name of the foreign financial institution that holds the account, the address of the foreign financial institution, the maximum value of the account during the calendar year, or the type of account.

    25 U.S. persons reporting signature authority over 25 or more foreign financial accounts are also required to report the name, address, and taxpayer identification number of the account owner.

    In 2013, approximately 10,800 FBARs were filed by individuals or entities with financial interest in 25 or more foreign financial accounts. Those individuals or entities had a combined total of approximately 5,366,000 foreign financial accounts, which represents approximately 56% of the total number of all foreign financial accounts reported in 2013.26 As a result, FinCEN and law enforcement did not have detailed account information on any of these accounts because of the exemption for FBAR filers with 25 or more foreign financial accounts.

    26 In 2013, approximately 4,167,000 foreign financial accounts were reported by filers with less than 25 foreign financial accounts.

    The FBAR regulations, originally issued in April 1972, 37 FR 6913, and amended in December 1977, 42 FR 63774, previously provided:

    Each person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States (except a foreign subsidiary of a U.S. person) having a financial interest in, or signature or other authority over, a bank, securities or other financial account in a foreign country shall report such relationship to the Secretary for each year in which such relationship exists, and shall provide such information as shall be specified in a reporting form prescribed by the Secretary to be filed by such persons. Persons having a financial interest in 25 or more foreign financial accounts need only note that fact on the form. Such persons will be required to provide detailed information concerning each account when so requested by the Secretary or his delegate. The preamble amending the FBAR regulation in 1977 noted the following: [P]ersons having a financial interest in 25 or more foreign accounts will be required to provide detailed information concerning each account only when so requested by the Secretary or his delegate. This modification in filing procedure is designed to minimize the practical difficulties of reporting a large number of accounts by taxpayers having extensive international interests.

    Since the implementation of this provision of the FBAR regulations over 35 years ago, the ease with which individuals can establish overseas accounts has increased and foreign accounts remain vulnerable to exploitation by those seeking to launder money, finance terrorist acts, or engage in other financial crimes. In addition, the implementation of BSA E-filing has made the technological limitations and practical difficulties of reporting the required information less burdensome to industry and individuals.

    The provisions limiting information reported with respect to situations where a filer has 25 or more foreign financial accounts has created a significant gap in FinCEN's and law enforcement's ability to analyze a comprehensive set of data on all otherwise reportable foreign financial accounts. A lack of account numbers limits the applicability and efficacy of link analysis that can be done to expand investigations of potential criminal and civil violations of law. Moreover, the enhancement of FinCEN's analytical tools allows it to analyze larger amounts of data more effectively, therefore making account information reported on FBARs that much more accessible. These are just a few examples resulting from the information gap.

    For these reasons, FinCEN is proposing to remove the provisions that limit the information reported with respect to situations when a filer has financial interest in, or signature authority over, 25 or more foreign financial accounts. Instead, all U.S. persons will be required to report detailed account information on all foreign financial accounts for which they have a financial interest or signature authority in those instances in which a signature authority exemption does not apply. This will enable FinCEN and law enforcement to receive detailed account information on all foreign financial accounts in which a U.S. person has financial interest for the first time since 1977.

    III. Section-by-Section Analysis

    In an effort to strike the balance of providing FinCEN and law enforcement with the foreign financial account information useful to their investigations, while taking into consideration the burdens upon industry associated with employee-related signature authority reporting, FinCEN is proposing to:

    • Amend the FBAR regulations by eliminating the requirement for officers, employees, and agents of U.S. entities to report signature authority over entity-owned foreign financial accounts for which they have no financial interest, if those accounts are already required to be reported by their employer or any other entity within the same corporate or other business structure as their employer.27 Instead, entities/employers would be required to maintain information identifying all officers, employees, or agents with signature authority over those same accounts; this information would be maintained for a period of 5 years and made available to FinCEN upon request.

    27See supra note 17.

    • Remove the provisions that limit the information required to be reported with respect to situations when a filer has 25 or more foreign financial accounts. As a result, U.S. persons with 25 or more foreign financial accounts would be required to provide the detailed account information that is already being provided by those U.S. persons with fewer than 25 foreign financial accounts.

    • Make several other changes including a change to the filing date for FBARs to be filed in 2017 and a revision to reflect the electronic filing of FBARs.

    A. Signature Authority Exemption Provision

    FinCEN proposes to amend 31 CFR 1010.350(f)(2) by removing the current signature authority exemptions and adding a single, broader signature authority exemption. The current signature authority exemptions at 31 CFR 1010.350(f)(2) apply to the following persons:

    • An officer or employee of a bank that is examined by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of Thrift Supervision, or the National Credit Union Administration need not report that he has signature or other authority over a foreign financial account owned or maintained by the bank if the officer or employee has no financial interest in the account.

    • An officer or employee of a financial institution that is registered with and examined by the Securities and Exchange Commission or Commodity Futures Trading Commission need not report that he has signature or other authority over a foreign financial account owned or maintained by such financial institution if the officer or employee has no financial interest in the account.

    • An officer or employee of an Authorized Service Provider need not report that he has signature or other authority over a foreign financial account owned or maintained by an investment company that is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission if the officer or employee has no financial interest in the account. “Authorized service provider” means an entity that is registered with and examined by the Securities and Exchange Commission and that provides services to an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940.

    • An officer or employee of an entity with a class of equity securities listed (or American depository receipts listed) on any United States national securities exchange need not report that he has signature or other authority over a foreign financial account of such entity if the officer or employee has no financial interest in the account. An officer or employee of a United States subsidiary of a United States entity with a class of equity securities listed on a United States national securities exchange need not file a report concerning signature or other authority over a foreign financial account of the subsidiary if he has no financial interest in the account and the United States subsidiary is included in a consolidated report of the parent filed under this section.

    • An officer or employee of an entity that has a class of equity securities registered (or American depository receipts in respect of equity securities registered) under section 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act need not report that he has signature or other authority over the foreign financial accounts of such entity or if he has no financial interest in the accounts.

    Under the proposed signature authority exemption an officer, employee, or agent of an entity need not submit a report to FinCEN regarding signature or other authority over a foreign financial account in which such entity, or a subsidiary, parent entity, or other entity within the same corporate or other business structure of such entity has a financial interest, if the officer, employee, or agent has no financial interest in the account and the account is required to be reported under 31 CFR 1010.350 by the entity or any other entity within the same corporate or other business structure.28 An entity will be required to maintain information identifying all officers, employees, and agents with signature or other authority over a foreign financial account in which it has financial interest and to provide this information when so requested by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Such information regarding officers, employees, and agents shall be identified, and maintained by the entity, and shall be deemed to have been filed with FinCEN Form 114. Such records shall be retained for a period of 5 years.

    28See supra note 17.

    This exemption would be available to all U.S. persons that currently have a reporting obligation solely due to their signature or other authority over the foreign financial accounts of their employers or any other entities within the same corporate or other business structure as their employers, except in those instances in which the entity that has a financial interest in the foreign financial account over which the officer, employee, or agent has signature authority does not have an obligation to report to FinCEN its financial interest in such accounts. This may be the case in instances in which a U.S. person is employed by a foreign entity and has signature authority over the foreign financial accounts of the foreign entity in which case the foreign entity/employer has no obligation to report its financial interest to FinCEN under the FBAR regulations. If the officer, employee, or agent is eligible for this signature authority exemption, the employer that is required to report the account details of the foreign financial account on an FBAR due to its financial interest in the account would be required to maintain information identifying those officers, employees, or agents with signature or other authority over such account, which would be made available to FinCEN upon request. Such records would be required to be retained for a period of 5 years.29

    29 FinCEN understands that, as part of a final rule, it would need to determine the effect of the provisions of this proposed rule on earlier FBAR deferrals pursuant to FinCEN Notices 2011-1; 2011-2; 2012-1; 2012-2; 2013-1; 2014-1; and 2015-1. See IV. Questions for Public Comment.

    B. Special Rules Provisions—25 or More Foreign Financial Accounts

    FinCEN proposes to remove 31 CFR 1010.350(g)(1) and (2). Under those existing provisions, a United States person having a financial interest in 25 or more foreign financial accounts need only provide the number of financial accounts and certain other basic information on the report, but will be required to provide detailed information concerning each account when so requested by the Secretary or his delegate. Similarly, under those existing provisions, a United States person having signature or other authority over 25 or more foreign financial accounts need only provide the number of financial accounts and certain other basic information on the report, but will be required to provide detailed information concerning each account when so requested by the Secretary or his delegate.

    Under the proposal, detailed account information on all foreign financial accounts in which a U.S. person has financial interest would be reported for the first time, due to the removal of the special rules.30 As noted above, in 2013, approximately 10,800 FBARs were filed by individuals or entities with financial interest in 25 or more foreign financial accounts. Those individuals or entities had a financial interest in a combined total of approximately 5,366,000 foreign financial accounts. U.S. persons are already required to maintain and make available upon request detailed account information on all foreign financial accounts in which they have financial interest or signature authority, which may assist in filing the FBARs that the proposed rule would require of U.S. persons with 25 or more foreign financial accounts.31

    30 As discussed above, detailed account information includes: the account number, the name of the foreign financial institution that holds the account, the address of the foreign financial institution, the maximum value of the account during the calendar year, and the type of account.

    31See 31 CFR 1010.420.

    C. Other Proposed Revisions

    The revisions to the signature authority exemption provision and the special rules provisions require certain other revisions to the regulation text for the purpose of consistency and order throughout §§ 1010.350, 1010.306, and 1010.420.

    Revise § 1010.350(a); § 1010.306(c) and (e); and § 1010.420

    Paragraph (a) of § 1010.350 is being revised to strike the last sentence of the paragraph which makes reference to the current special rules regarding persons with 25 or more foreign financial accounts.

    Paragraph (a) of § 1010.350 is also being revised to reflect the change in the name of the FBAR form from TD-F 90-22.1 to FinCEN Form 114 and to reflect the reporting, electronically through BSA E-Filing, of the FBAR form to FinCEN as well as the reporting, on a return, to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. This technical change will also be reflected in §§ 1010.306(c) and (e) and 1010.420. Section 1010.306(c) is being revised to reflect the new FBAR filing due date of April 15, effective with the 2016 reporting year, in accordance with section 2006(b)(11) of Public Law 114-41. In addition, § 1010.306(c) is being revised to reflect that extensions to October 15 of the reporting year are available upon request, also in accordance with section 2006(b)(11) of Public Law 114-41. Section 1010.420 is also being revised to include a few other minor changes.

    Re-Designate Paragraphs (g)(3) Through (5) of § 1010.350 as Paragraphs (g)(1) Through (3)

    Because § 1010.350(g)(1) and (2) special rules regarding reporting on 25 or more foreign financial accounts are being removed, the remainder of the special rules designated as paragraph (g)(3) Consolidated reports; paragraph (g)(4) Participants and beneficiaries in certain retirement plans; and paragraphs (g)(5) Certain trust beneficiaries are being re-designated as paragraphs (g)(1) through (3).

    D. Revisions to FinCEN Form 114

    If the proposed rule is finalized, consistent with the proposed removal of special rules provisions regarding 25 or more foreign financial accounts, FinCEN would remove FinCEN Form 114 data field 14a (Does the filer have a financial interest in 25 or more financial accounts?); and data field 14b (Does the filer have signature authority over, but no financial interest in, 25 or more foreign financial accounts?). No other FinCEN Form 114 data fields would need to be amended as a result of the proposed revisions to the FBAR regulations. While no other data fields will be changed, several existing data fields in each section will be designated as “critical” requiring completion for the FBAR to be accepted by BSA E-Filing. The batch filing electronic filing specifications will also require updating to the same standard. Upon finalizing the revisions to the FBAR as proposed in this NPRM, FinCEN would also amend the FinCEN Form 114 instructions consistent with the revisions to the FBAR regulations.32

    32 FinCEN Form 114 instructions—http://www.fincen.gov/forms/files/FBAR%20Line%20Item%20Filing%20Instructions.pdf.

    IV. Questions for Public Comment

    A. FinCEN requests comment on whether expanding the signature authority exemption provision as proposed will reduce burden, and if so, by how much.

    B. FinCEN requests comment on whether it should allow entities and individuals to rely upon the provisions of this proposed rule, if finalized, with regard to FBAR filings properly deferred pursuant to FinCEN Notices 2011-1; 2011-2; 2012-1; 2012-2; 2013-1; 2014-1; and 2015-1.

    C. FinCEN requests comment on whether removing the special rules provisions regarding reporting on 25 or more foreign financial accounts will increase burden on impacted entities and individuals, and if so, by how much. Specifically, will technological costs be incurred to implement systems to transfer account information to the BSA E-filing system for FBAR reporting?

    D. If technological modifications are necessary to report 25 or more foreign financial accounts, FinCEN requests comment on the estimated timeframe to implement those modifications.

    E. FinCEN requests comment on whether the amendments in this proposed rule regarding broadening signature authority exemptions combined with the removal of the special rules regarding 25 or more foreign financial accounts will increase or decrease burden on those entities and individuals impacted by both amendments to the FBAR regulation, and if so, by how much.

    V. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), FinCEN certifies that these proposed regulation revisions will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The proposed rule applies to U.S. persons, a term which includes entities of all sizes and individuals, if they have reportable accounts under this rule. However, we expect that small entities will be less likely to have reportable foreign financial accounts or to have many such accounts, unlike larger entities, which likely have a broader base of business operations. In addition, we expect a reduction in burden for individuals, because FinCEN is exempting all individuals that currently have a reporting obligation solely due to their signature authority over the foreign financial accounts of their employers or any other entities within the same corporate or other business structure as their employers, except in those instances in which no such entity has an obligation to report to FinCEN its financial interest in such accounts.

    With regard to the proposed amendment to remove the provisions that limit the information required to be reported with respect to situations when a filer has 25 or more foreign financial accounts, FinCEN expects that most U.S. persons reporting on 25 or more foreign financial accounts will be large entities. U.S. persons with 25 or more foreign financial accounts reportable on the FBAR will be required to provide the same account information currently required to be provided by U.S. persons with less than 25 foreign financial accounts. The information required to be reported on the FBAR is basic information U.S. persons will have received on account statements from the foreign financial institutions at which the accounts are opened and maintained. Those statements will provide a U.S. person with the information about an account needed to file the FBAR. No special accounting or legal skills would be necessary to transfer the basic information required to be reported, such as the name of the foreign financial institution, the type of account, and the account number, to the FBAR. FinCEN requests comment on the accuracy of the statement that the regulations in this document will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    VI. Executive Order 13563 and 12866

    Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess 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 rule has been designated a “significant regulatory action” although not economically significant, under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, the rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

    VII. Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”) Notices

    The reporting requirements contained in this proposed rule (31 CFR 1010.350) are being submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)). Comments concerning the estimated burden and other questions should be sent to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Treasury, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (1506), Washington, DC 20503 with a copy to FinCEN by mail, or comments may be submitted by email to [email protected] Please submit comments by one method only. Comments are welcome and must be received by May 9, 2016. In accordance with requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A), and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR part 1320, the following information concerning the collection of information of the Amendment to the Bank Secrecy Act Regulations—Reports of Foreign Financial Accounts is presented to assist those persons wishing to comment on the information collection.

    Signature Authority Exemption Provision

    The proposed rulemaking seeks to expand and clarify the exemption to the signature authority reporting requirement. By making the signature authority exemption broader and clearer there is potential for a reduction in signature authority reporting by individuals with signature authority over, but no financial interest in, foreign financial accounts.

    The proposed rulemaking also seeks to clarify that entities/employers would be required to maintain information identifying all officers and employees with signature authority over the foreign financial accounts in which the entities/employers have financial interest; this information would be retained for a period of 5 years and be made available to FinCEN upon request. FinCEN expects there will be little to no effect on burden as a result of this recordkeeping requirement since these entities/employers, in all likelihood, maintain this information in the normal course of business.

    Description of Affected Filers: Individuals/agents with signature authority over, but no financial interest in, foreign financial accounts reportable by the individual/agent under 31 CFR 1010.350 solely due to their employment.

    Estimate Number of Affected Filing Individuals: 5,660. Approximately 11,600 FBARs were filed by U.S. persons in 2013 solely due to reporting on signature authority, but no financial interest. Of those FBARs, approximately 280 were filed by a U.S. person who was reporting signature authority over the foreign financial account of an account owner with a foreign address. As a result of questions raised by industry, we estimate that at least 50 percent of the remaining FBARs (11,600−280 = 11,320) were filed by individuals with signature authority over, but no financial interest in, a foreign financial account, solely due to their employment.33

    33 FinCEN is excluding FBARs filed by a U.S. person who was reporting signature authority over the foreign financial account of an account owner with a foreign address because such scenarios likely include individuals reporting signature authority solely due to their employment with a foreign parent corporation. In such a scenario, the proposed signature authority exemption would not apply because a foreign parent corporation does not have a requirement to report its financial interest in a foreign financial account on the FBAR.

    Estimate Average Annual Burden Hours Reduction Per Affected Filer: The estimated average burden reduction associated with the reporting requirement in this rule will vary depending on the number of reportable accounts. Based on past filings, we estimate that the average reporting burden will range from approximately twenty minutes to one hour and that the average reporting burden will be approximately 45 minutes. The reporting burden is reflected in the burden listed for completing FinCEN Form 114 (See OMB Control Number 1506-0009).

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Reduction: 4,245 hours.34

    34 5,660 filers multiplied by 45 minutes and converted to hours is 4,245 hours.

    Removal of Special Rules Provisions—25 or More Foreign Financial Accounts

    The proposed rulemaking also seeks to remove the special rules permitting limited account information to be reported on the FBAR when a person has financial interest in or signature authority over 25 or more foreign financial accounts. There should not be a net increase in the number of FBARs filed, although there will be a net increase in the time it takes to file an FBAR when reporting 25 or more accounts. However, individuals are already required to maintain records regarding account information for such foreign financial accounts under the rule, therefore there will be no impact on the recordkeeping requirement, and these records can be leveraged to obtain the information necessary to report.

    Description of Affected Filers: Individuals and entities that maintain 25 or more foreign financial accounts reportable under 31 CFR 1010.350.

    Estimate Number of Affected Filing Individuals and Entities: 12,580.35

    35 This figure represents the actual number of FBARs filed in calendar year 2013 when 25 or more foreign financial accounts were reported. 10,800 FBARs were filed by U.S. persons reporting financial interest in 25 or more foreign financial accounts. 8,900 FBARs were filed by U.S. persons reporting signature authority over 25 or more foreign financial accounts. FinCEN estimates that at least 80 percent of these FBARs were filed by individuals with signature authority over, but no financial interest in, a foreign financial account, solely due to their employment. Based on questions raised by industry following the issuance of the 2011 FBAR final rule, FinCEN believes that most FBAR reporting on signature authority over 25 or more foreign financial accounts is by individuals who are reporting solely due to their signature authority over their employers' foreign financial accounts. Because FinCEN is proposing to exempt all of those FBAR filers due to such scenarios, so long as those accounts are already required to be reported by their employer or another entity with the same corporate structure as their employer, we have factored that into our estimate of the number of FBARs we expect to be filed by U.S. persons with 25 or more foreign financial accounts due to signature authority. (8,900 FBARs × 0.2 = 1,780). The estimated total FBARs to be reported with 25 or more foreign financial accounts due to financial interest and signature authority is 12,580 (10,800 + 1,780).

    Estimate Average Annual Burden Hours Per Affected Filer: The estimated average burden associated with the reporting requirement (FBAR form completion) will vary depending on the number of reportable accounts. FinCEN estimates that the average increase in the reporting burden will be approximately 2 minutes per foreign financial account reported on the FBAR. In 2013, approximately 10,800 FBARs were filed by individuals or entities with financial interest in 25 or more foreign financial accounts. Those entities had a combined total of approximately 5,366,000 foreign financial accounts. The average number of foreign financial accounts reported per FBAR filed was 497. This translates to approximately 16.6 burden hours per affected filer.36 The reporting burden is reflected in the burden listed for completing FinCEN Form 114 (See OMB Control Number 1506-0009).

    36 497 accounts multiplied by 2 minutes per account and converted to hours is 16.6 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden: 208,828 hours (12,580 FBARs × 16.6 hours per FBAR filer).

    Summary Total of Estimated Annual Burden: 204,583 hours (208,828−4,245).

    Questions for Comment

    FinCEN specifically invites comment on the accuracy of FinCEN's estimate of the burden on respondents and any other aspects of our PRA estimates. Comments are specifically requested concerning: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of FinCEN, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the estimated burden associated with the proposed collection of information; (c) how the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected may be enhanced; and (d) how the burden of complying with the proposed collection of information may be minimized, including through the application of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    VIII. Unfunded Mandates Act of 1995 Statement

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (“Unfunded Mandates Act”), Public Law 104-4 (March 22, 1995), requires that an agency prepare a budgetary impact statement before promulgating a rule that may result in expenditure by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. If a budgetary impact statement is required, section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Act also requires an agency to identify and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives before promulgating a rule. FinCEN has determined that it is not required to prepare a written statement under section 202 and has concluded that on balance the proposals in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking provide the most cost-effective and least burdensome alternative to achieve the objectives of the rule.

    List of Subjects in 31 CFR Part 1010

    Administrative practice and procedure, Banks, Banking, Brokers, Currency, Foreign banking, Foreign currencies, Gambling, Investigations, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Securities, Terrorism.

    Proposed Amendments to the Regulations

    For the reasons set forth above in the preamble, 31 CFR part 1010 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 1010—GENERAL PROVISIONS 1. The authority citation for part 1010 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 1829b and 1951-1959; 31 U.S.C. 5311-5314 and 5316-5332; title III, sec. 314, Pub. L. 107-56, 115 Stat. 307; sec. 2006, Pub. L. 114-41, 129 Stat. 457.

    2. Amend § 1010.306 by revising paragraphs (c) and (e) to read as follows:
    § 1010.306 Filing of reports.

    (c) Reports required by § 1010.350 are to be filed electronically through BSA E-File with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and shall be filed on or before April 15 of each calendar year with respect to foreign financial accounts that had an aggregate value in excess of $10,000 at any time during the previous calendar year. Extensions to October 15 of the reporting year are available upon request.

    (e) Forms to be used in making the reports required by § 1010.311, § 1010.313, § 1010.350, § 1020.315, § 1021.311, or § 1021.313 of this chapter may be obtained from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network BSA E-Filing system. Forms to be used in making the reports required by § 1010.340 may be obtained from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection or the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

    3. Amend § 1010.350 as follows: a. Revise paragraphs (a) and (f)(2); b. Remove paragraphs (g)(1) and (2); and c. Redesignate paragraphs (g)(3) through (5) as paragraphs (g)(1) through (3).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 1010.350 Reports of foreign financial accounts.

    (a) In general. Each United States person having a financial interest in, or signature or other authority over, a bank, securities, or other financial account in a foreign country shall report such relationship to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue on a return for each year in which such relationship exists and shall provide the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, through BSA E-Filing, with such information as shall be specified in a reporting form prescribed under 31 U.S.C. 5314 to be filed by such persons. The form prescribed under section 5314 is the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FinCEN Form 114).

    (f) * * *

    (2) Exemption. An officer, employee, or agent of an entity need not submit a report to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network regarding signature or other authority over a foreign financial account in which such entity, or a subsidiary, parent, or another entity within the same corporate or other business structure of such entity has a financial interest, if the officer, employee, or agent has no financial interest in the account and the account is required to be reported under 31 CFR 1010.350 by the entity or any other entity within the same corporate or other business structure. An entity will be required to maintain information identifying all officers, employees, and agents with signature or other authority over a foreign financial account in which it has financial interest and to provide this information when so requested by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Such information regarding officers, employees, and agents shall be identified, and maintained by the entity, and shall be deemed to have been filed with FinCEN Form 114. Such records shall be retained for a period of 5 years.

    4. Revise § 1010.420 to read as follows:
    § 1010.420 Records to be made and retained by persons having financial interests in foreign financial accounts.

    Records of accounts required by § 1010.350 to be reported to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue shall be retained by each person having a financial interest in or signature or other authority over any such account. Such records shall contain the name in which each such account is maintained, the number or other designation of such account, the name and address of the foreign financial institution, or other foreign person engaged in the business of a financial institution, with whom such account is maintained, the type of such account, and the maximum value of each such account during the reporting period. Such records shall be retained for a period of 5 years and shall be kept at all times available for inspection as authorized by law. In the computation of the period of 5 years, there shall be disregarded any period beginning with a date on which the taxpayer is indicted or information instituted on account of a willful attempt to evade or defeat Federal income tax, the filing of a false or fraudulent Federal income tax return, or failing to file a Federal income tax return, and ending with the date on which final disposition is made of the criminal proceeding.

    Jennifer Shasky Calvery, Director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Note:

    The following appendix will not appear in the Code of Federal Regulations.

    Appendix

    The following changes to the current Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Account(s) (FBAR), FinCEN 114, report are required in order to implement the proposed changes outlined in the above Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM). Comments to the proposed changes are welcome. Please identify them separately from comments regarding the NPRM.

    Part I. a. Filer Information; Add item 2g Primary Federal Regulator (this will be a dropdown box containing a list of primary Federal Regulators). This item is required when item 2e “Fiduciary or other—Enter type” is completed.

    b. Remove items 14a and 14a. These items are no longer required.

    Part II. No changes are required.

    Part III. a. Change current item 26 to reflect two checkboxes to indicate “Individual” or “Entity” that applies to the information entered in item 26a.

    b. Rename the current item 26 to 26a “Last name or organization name of principal joint owner.

    Part IV. a. Change current item 34 to reflect two checkboxes to indicate “Individual” or “Entity” that applies to the information entered in item 26a.

    b. Rename the current item 34 to 34a “Last name or organization name of account owner.

    Part V. No changes are required.

    [FR Doc. 2016-04880 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Chapter VI [Docket ID ED-2015-OPE-0134] Proposed Priorities and Definitions—Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program—Short-Term Projects and Long-Term Projects

    CFDA Numbers: 84.021A and 84.021B.

    AGENCY:

    Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Proposed priorities and definitions.

    SUMMARY:

    The Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education proposes priorities and definitions under the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (Fulbright-Hays GPA) Program. The Assistant Secretary may use these priorities and definitions for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2016 and later years. We take this action to focus Federal financial assistance on an identified national need. We intend the priorities to address a gap in the types of institutions, faculty, and students that have historically benefitted from international education opportunities.

    DATES:

    We must receive your comments on or before April 11, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. We will not accept comments submitted by fax or by email or those submitted after the comment period. To ensure that we do not receive duplicate copies, please submit your comments only once. In addition, please include the Docket ID at the top of your comments.

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov to submit your comments electronically. Information on using Regulations.gov, including instructions for accessing agency documents, submitting comments, and viewing the docket, is available on the site under the “Help” tab.

    Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery: If you mail or deliver your comments about these proposed regulations, address them to Reha Mallory, Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E213, Washington, DC 20202.

    Privacy Note: The Department's policy is to make all comments received from members of the public available for public viewing in their entirety on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Therefore, commenters should be careful to include in their comments only information that they wish to make publicly available.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Reha Mallory. Telephone: (202) 453-7502 or by email: [email protected].

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Invitation to Comment:

    We invite you to submit comments regarding this notice. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in developing the notice of final priorities and definitions, we urge you to identify clearly the specific proposed priority or definition that each comment addresses.

    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific requirements of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and their overall requirement of reducing regulatory burden that might result from these proposed priorities and definitions. Please let us know of any further ways we could reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the effective and efficient administration of the program.

    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public comments about this notice by accessing Regulations.gov. You may also inspect the comments in room 3E203, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20202, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays. Please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Purpose of Program: The Fulbright-Hays GPA Program supports short-term and long-term overseas projects in training, research, and curriculum development in modern foreign languages and area studies for groups of teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty engaged in a common endeavor. Fulbright-Hays GPA short-term projects (GPA short-term projects) may include seminars, curriculum development, or group research or study. Fulbright-Hays GPA long-term projects (GPA long-term projects) support advanced overseas intensive programs that focus on the humanities, social sciences, or languages.

    Program Authority: 22 U.S.C. 2452(b)(6).

    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR parts 662 and 664.

    PROPOSED PRIORITIES:

    This notice contains two proposed priorities, one for GPA short-term projects and one for GPA long-term projects.

    Background:

    The U.S. Department of Education administers the Fulbright-Hays GPA Program under the authority of section 102(b)(6) of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (Fulbright-Hays Act), 22 U.S.C. 2452(b)(6). The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which is presidentially appointed, sets policies and procedures for administering the program and exercises final approval over the selection of grantees and fellows for GPA short-term projects and GPA long-term projects.

    The objective of the Fulbright-Hays GPA Program is the promotion, improvement, and development of modern foreign languages and area studies at varying levels of education. To help achieve this objective, the program provides opportunities for faculty, teachers, and undergraduate and graduate students to conduct individual and group projects overseas to carry out research and study in the fields of modern foreign languages and area studies.

    There are three types of GPA short-term projects: (1) Short-term seminar projects of four to six weeks in length designed to increase the linguistic or cultural competency of U.S. students and educators by focusing on a particular aspect of area study, such as the culture of an area or country of study (34 CFR 664.11); (2) curriculum development projects of four to eight weeks in length that provide participants an opportunity to acquire resource materials for curriculum development in modern foreign language and area studies for use and dissemination in the United States (34 CFR 664.12); and (3) group research or study projects of three to twelve months in duration designed to give participants the opportunity to undertake research or study in a foreign country (34 CFR 664.13).

    GPA long-term projects are advanced overseas intensive language projects ranging in duration from eight weeks to four years. GPA long-term projects are designed to take advantage of the opportunities present in the foreign country that are not present in the United States when providing intensive advanced foreign language training (34 CFR 664.14).

    The Department's International Strategy for FY 2012-16, “Succeeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement,” available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/internationaled/international-strategy-2012-16.html (U.S. Department of Education, 2012), reflects our commitment to preparing students for a more globalized world, and to engaging with the international community in order to improve education. The International Strategy's first objective is to “increase the global competencies of all U.S. students, including those from traditionally disadvantaged groups.” (U.S. Department of Education, 2012, p.5). Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and community colleges are heavily populated by students from traditionally disadvantaged groups. Twenty-five percent or more of all high school graduates of color, who often are first-generation college attendees, enroll in community colleges as a way to begin their foray into higher education (Edsource, 2008). Research data indicate that minority students are less likely to have access to, or consider, academic programs that provide the requisite training for careers in international service, including study abroad and area studies (Tillman, 2010). Among the barriers preventing these students from pursuing international studies are a lack of exposure to international opportunities and a lack of access to information, including information about international careers (Belyavina and Bhandari, 2011). In addition, traditionally disadvantaged students often have the idea that study abroad is not for them and is a privilege for rich students (Martinez, Ranjeet, and Marx, 2009).

    Accordingly, the proposed priority for GPA short-term projects is intended to increase the number of applications from MSIs, community colleges, and new applicant institutions to provide access to life-changing opportunities that will prepare traditionally disadvantaged students for today's global economy. The proposed priority is designed to increase the number and types of students that benefit from these projects. By increasing applications from MSIs and community colleges, we expect these projects to benefit greater numbers of traditionally disadvantaged students.

    To further support the Department's objective of increasing the global competencies of all U.S. students, the proposed priority would expand the reach of the GPA short-term and long-term overseas projects by encouraging applications from new applicant institutions—that is, institutions or entities that have not previously been awarded either a GPA short-term or long-term project grant. Over the years, the Fulbright-Hays GPA Program has received applications from the same pool of applicants. This priority is an attempt to encourage applications from institutions that have not been awarded a GPA grant.

    The proposed priority for GPA short-term projects is intended to promote applications from State educational agencies (SEAs) in order to increase international learning opportunities for teachers and administrators from the corresponding State, who would work together on a research or curriculum development project that would benefit greater numbers of K-12 students. Historically, only a small number of SEAs have applied for GPA grants.

    Furthermore, while existing programs provide some individual educators with opportunities for foreign language learning, study abroad, and other international studies, there are few systemic opportunities for groups of K-12 educators and administrators from a State or local district to work together on a research or curriculum development project intended to build global competencies in their students.

    The proposed priority for GPA long-term projects is designed to increase the number of MSIs that become grantees under these projects, in order to increase their students' access to academic coursework, instructional activities, and training that would better prepare them for the 21st-century global economy, careers in international service, and for lifelong engagement with the diverse communities in which they live, whether at home or abroad.

    Proposed Priorities:

    Proposed Priority 1—Applications for GPA Short-term Projects from Selected Institutions and Organizations.

    Applications for GPA short-term projects from the following types of institutions and organizations:

    ○ Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) ○ Community colleges ○ New applicants ○ State educational agencies (SEAs)

    Proposed Priority 2—Applications for GPA Long-term Projects from Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).

    Applications for GPA long-term advanced overseas intensive language training projects from MSIs.

    Types of Priorities:

    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:

    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).

    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).

    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a preference over other applications (34 CFR 5.105(c)(1)).

    PROPOSED DEFINITIONS: The Assistant Secretary proposes the following definitions for this program. We may apply one or more of these definitions in any year in which this program is in effect.

    Background: We propose the following definitions to provide clarity for applicants addressing the proposed priorities. The proposed definitions for “community colleges,” “MSIs,” and “SEAs” are from section 312(f) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA); sections 316 through 320 of part A of title III of the HEA; and 34 CFR 77.1, respectively. These proposed definitions will provide consistency across Department programs and will be familiar to applicants. For purposes of Proposed Priority 1, the proposed definition for “new applicant” is similar to the definition used in previous years and is designed to expand the reach of the GPA short-term projects to include institutions and entities that have not previously received a GPA grant.

    Definitions:

    Community college means an institution that meets the definition in section 312(f) of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1058(f)); or an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the HEA (20 U.S.C. 1001)) that awards degrees and certificates, more than 50 percent of which are not bachelor's degrees (or an equivalent).

    Minority-serving institution (MSI) means an institution that is eligible to receive assistance under sections 316 through 320 of part A of title III, under part B of title III, or under title V of the HEA.

    New applicant means any applicant that has not received a discretionary grant from the Department of Education under the Fulbright-Hays Act prior to the deadline date for applications under this program.

    State educational agency (SEA) means the State board of education or other agency or officer primarily responsible for the supervision of public elementary and secondary schools in a State. In the absence of this officer or agency, it is an officer or agency designated by the Governor or State law.

    Final Priorities and Definitions:

    We will announce the final priorities and definitions in a notice in the Federal Register. We will determine the final priorities and definitions after considering responses to this notice and other information available to the Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note:

    This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use one or more of these priorities and definitions, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether this proposed regulatory action is “significant” and, therefore, subject to the requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines a “significant regulatory action” as an action likely to result in a rule that may—

    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to as an “economically significant” rule);

    (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency;

    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement 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 stated in the Executive order.

    This proposed regulatory action is not a significant regulatory action subject to review by OMB under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866.

    We have also reviewed this proposed regulatory action under Executive Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 13563 requires that an agency—

    (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits and costs are difficult to quantify);

    (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into account—among other things and to the extent practicable—the costs of cumulative regulations;

    (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity);

    (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must adopt; and

    (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct regulation, including economic incentives—such as user fees or marketable permits—to encourage the desired behavior, or provide information that enables the public to make choices.

    Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency “to use the best available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future benefits and costs as accurately as possible.” The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these techniques may include “identifying changing future compliance costs that might result from technological innovation or anticipated behavioral changes.”

    We are issuing these proposed priorities and definitions only on a reasoned determination that their benefits would justify their costs. In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches that would maximize net benefits. Based on the analysis that follows, the Department believes that this regulatory action is consistent with the principles in Executive Order 13563.

    We also have determined that this regulatory action would not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of their governmental functions.

    In accordance with both Executive orders, the Department has assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and qualitative, of this regulatory action. The potential costs are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary for administering the Department's programs and activities.

    Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, the Department provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This helps ensure that: the public understands the Department's collection instructions, respondents can provide the requested data in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the Department can properly assess the impact of collection requirements on respondents.

    The application package associated with Proposed Priority 1—Applications for GPA Short-term Projects from Selected Institutions and Organizations—was previously approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB control number 1840-0792. Proposed Priority 1 and the proposed definitions will not change the currently approved application package, or the approved burden for the application package associated with the short-term projects. However, the application package associated with Proposed Priority 2—Applications for GPA Long-term Projects from Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs)—does not have a current OMB control number, and therefore, it will require OMB approval under 1840-xxxx. As required by the PRA, the Department is submitting to OMB, under OMB control number 1840-xxxx, an information collection clearance concurrently with the publication of this notice of proposed priorities and definition for long-term projects under CFDA number 84.021B.

    We estimate that each applicant would spend approximately 100 hours of staff time to address the proposed priorities and definitions, prepare the application, and obtain necessary clearances. The total number of hours for all applicants will vary based on the number of applications. Based on the number of applications the Department received in response to the February 23, 2012 notice inviting applications, we expect to receive approximately 150 applications. We expect each applicant to require 100 hours to complete a GPA long-term project application. Accordingly, the total number of hours for all expected applicants is an estimated 15,000 hours. We estimate the total cost per hour of the staff who carry out this work to be $80.00 per hour. The total estimated cost for all applicants would be $1,200,000.00.

    We have prepared an Information Collection Request (ICR) for this collection (1840-XXXX). If you want to review and comment on the ICR, please follow the instructions in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.

    Note:

    The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in OMB and the Department of Education review all comments posted at www.regulations.gov.

    In preparing your comments you may want to review the ICR, including the supporting materials, in www.regulations.gov by using the Docket ID number specified in this notice. This proposed collection is identified as proposed collection 1840-XXXX.

    We consider your comments on this proposed collection of information in—

    • Deciding whether the proposed collection is necessary for the proper performance of our functions, including whether the information will have practical use;

    • Evaluating the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the proposed collection, including the validity of our methodology and assumptions;

    • Enhancing the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information we collect; and

    • Minimizing the burden on those who must respond. This includes exploring the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques.

    Between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register, OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information contained in these proposed priorities and definitions. Therefore, to ensure that OMB gives your comments full consideration, it is important that OMB receives your comments on this ICR by April 11, 2016. This does not affect the deadline for your comments to us on the proposed priorities and definitions.

    If your comments relate to the ICR for these proposed priorities and definitions, please specify the Docket ID number and indicate “Information Collection Comments” on the top of your comments.

    Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal financial assistance.

    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and actions for this program.

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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

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

    Dated: March 4, 2016. Lynn B. Mahaffie, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Innovation, Delegated the Duties of Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05412 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 14 Recognition of Tribal Organizations for Representation of VA Claimants AGENCY:

    Department of Veterans Affairs.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Tribal consultation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is considering issuing a proposed rulemaking to amend its regulations concerning recognition of certain national, State, and regional or local organizations for purposes of VA claims representation. Specifically, the proposed rulemaking would amend VA's regulations to expressly provide for the VA recognition of Tribal organizations so that representatives of Tribal organizations may assist Native American claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of their VA benefit claims. In addition, the proposed rule would allow an employee of a Tribal government to become accredited through a recognized State organization.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by VA on or before April 11, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments should be submitted by email at [email protected], by fax at 202-273-5716, or by mail at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Suite 915E, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Clay Ward, VA Office of Tribal Government Relations at (202) 461-7445 (this is not a toll-free number), or by email at [email protected], or by mail at Suite 915B, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    VA is considering issuing a proposed rulemaking that would amend part 14 of title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, to provide for the recognition of Tribal organizations so that representatives of the organizations may assist Native American claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of their VA benefit claims. The purpose of the proposed rulemaking would be to address the needs of Native American populations who are geographically isolated from existing recognized Veterans Service Organizations or who may not be utilizing other recognized Veterans Service Organizations due to cultural barriers or lack of familiarity with those organizations.

    First, the proposed rulemaking would allow the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to recognize Tribal organizations in a similar manner as the Secretary recognizes State organizations. Specifically, the proposed rulemaking would consider applications from a Tribal organization that is established and funded by one or more Tribal governments to be recognized for the purpose of providing assistance on VA benefit claims. In addition, the proposed rulemaking would allow an employee of a Tribal government to become accredited through a recognized State organization in a similar manner as a county veterans' service officer may become accredited through a recognized State organization. Finally, the proposed rulemaking would extend office space opportunities already granted to employees of State organizations who are accredited to national organizations to similar employees of Tribal organizations. The intended effect of this proposed rule would be to improve access of Native American veterans to VA-recognized organizations and VA-accredited individuals who may assist them on their benefit claims. The proposed rulemaking would not preempt Tribal law. This Tribal consultation is seeking input from Tribal governments regarding VA's consideration of the issuance of such proposed rulemaking. VA is also seeking comment on the potential compliance costs.

    In order to become accredited as a Tribal organization, the organization must show that it meets the requirements in 38 CFR 14.628(d). Pursuant to § 14.628(d), an organization requesting recognition must have as a primary purpose serving veterans; demonstrate a substantial service commitment to veterans either by showing a sizable organizational membership or by showing performance of veterans' services to a sizable number of veterans; commit a significant portion of its assets to veterans' services and have adequate funding to properly perform those services; maintain a policy and capability of providing complete claims service to each claimant requesting representation or give written notice of any limitation in its claims service with advice concerning the availability of alternative sources of claims service; and take affirmative action, including training and monitoring of accredited representatives, to ensure proper handling of claims. VA is seeking comment on the amount of time and the costs of persons' time to show that the organization meets these requirements. VA's Office of the General Counsel accepts recognition requests via mail, fax, or email.

    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, approved this document on March 3, 2016, for publication.

    Approved: March 3, 2016. William F. Russo, Director, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Department of Veterans Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05163 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R05-OAR-2014-0658; FRL-9943-45-Region 5] Air Plan Approval; Ohio; Base Year Emission Inventories for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone Standard AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve, under the Clean Air Act (CAA), a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) on July 18, 2014, to address emission inventory requirements for the Cleveland-Akron-Loraine, Ohio (OH) and Columbus, OH ozone nonattainment areas and for the Ohio portion of the Cincinnati, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana ozone nonattainment area under the 2008 ozone national ambient air quality standard. The CAA requires emission inventories for all ozone nonattainment areas. The emission inventories contained in Ohio's July 18, 2014, submission meet this CAA requirement. EPA is also proposing to confirm that the state of Ohio has acceptable stationary source annual emission statement regulations, which have been previously approved by the EPA.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before April 11, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2014-0658 at http://www.regulations.gov or via email to [email protected] For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Edward Doty, Air Programs Branch (AR-18J), Environmental Protection Agency, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604, (312) 886-6057, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the Rules and Regulations section of this Federal Register, EPA is approving Ohio's SIP revision submittal as a direct final rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial submittal and anticipates no adverse comments. A detailed rationale for the approval is set forth in the direct final rule. If no adverse comments are received in response to this rule, no further activity is contemplated. If EPA receives adverse comments, the direct final rule will be withdrawn and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time. Please note that, if EPA receives adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment. For additional information see the direct final rule, which is located in the Rules section of this Federal Register.

    Dated: February 26, 2016. Robert A. Kaplan, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 5.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05272 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0154; FRL-9943-44-Region 4] Air Quality Plans; Tennessee; Infrastructure Requirements for the 2010 Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standard AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve the State Implementation Plan (SIP) submission, submitted by the State of Tennessee, through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), on March 13, 2014, for inclusion into the Tennessee SIP. This proposal pertains to the infrastructure requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) for the 2010 1-hour sulfur dioxide (SO2) national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). The CAA requires that each state adopt and submit a SIP for the implementation, maintenance and enforcement of each NAAQS promulgated by EPA, which is commonly referred to as an “infrastructure SIP submission.” TDEC certified that the Tennessee SIP contains provisions that ensure the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS is implemented, enforced, and maintained in Tennessee. EPA is proposing to determine that portions of Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission, provided to EPA on March 13, 2014, satisfy certain required infrastructure elements for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before April 11, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0154 at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    Table of Contents I. Background and Overview II. What elements are required under sections 110(a)(1) and (2)? III. What is EPA's approach to the review of infrastructure SIP submissions? IV. What is EPA's analysis of how Tennessee addressed the elements of the sections 110(a)(1) and (2) “Infrastructure” provisions? V. Proposed Action VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background and Overview

    On June 22, 2010 (75 FR 35520), EPA promulgated a revised primary SO2 NAAQS to an hourly standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) based on a 3-year average of the annual 99th percentile of 1-hour daily maximum concentrations. Pursuant to section 110(a)(1) of the CAA, states are required to submit SIPs meeting the applicable requirements of section 110(a)(2) within three years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS or within such shorter period as EPA may prescribe. Section 110(a)(2) requires states to address basic SIP elements such as requirements for monitoring, basic program requirements and legal authority that are designed to assure attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS. States were required to submit such SIPs for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS to EPA no later than June 22, 2013.1

    1 In these infrastructure SIP submissions states generally certify evidence of compliance with sections 110(a)(1) and (2) of the CAA through a combination of state regulations and statutes, some of which have been incorporated into the federally-approved SIP. In addition, certain federally-approved, non-SIP regulations may also be appropriate for demonstrating compliance with sections 110(a)(1) and (2). Throughout this rulemaking, unless otherwise indicated, the term “Tennessee Air Pollution Control Regulations” or “TAPCR XXXX-XX-XX” indicates that the cited regulation has been approved into Tennessee's federally-approved SIP. The term “Tennessee Air Quality Act” or “Tennessee Code Annotated” or “TCA XX-XX-XXXXX” indicates cited Tennessee State statutes, which are not a part of the SIP unless otherwise indicated.

    Today's action is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission for certain applicable requirements of the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS. With respect to the interstate transport requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II) (prongs 1, 2, and 4), EPA is not proposing any action today regarding these requirements. For the aspects of Tennessee's submittal proposed for approval today, EPA notes that the Agency is not approving any specific rule, but rather proposing that Tennessee's already approved SIP meets certain CAA requirements.

    II. What elements are required under sections 110(a)(1) and (2)?

    Section 110(a) of the CAA requires states to submit SIPs to provide for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of a new or revised NAAQS within three years following the promulgation of such NAAQS, or within such shorter period as EPA may prescribe. Section 110(a) imposes the obligation upon states to make a SIP submission to EPA for a new or revised NAAQS, but the contents of that submission may vary depending upon the facts and circumstances. In particular, the data and analytical tools available at the time the state develops and submits the SIP for a new or revised NAAQS affects the content of the submission. The contents of such SIP submissions may also vary depending upon what provisions the state's existing SIP already contains.

    More specifically, section 110(a)(1) provides the procedural and timing requirements for SIPs. Section 110(a)(2) lists specific elements that states must meet for “infrastructure” SIP requirements related to a newly established or revised NAAQS. As mentioned above, these requirements include basic SIP elements such as requirements for monitoring, basic program requirements and legal authority that are designed to assure attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS. The requirements are summarized below and in EPA's September 13, 2013, memorandum entitled “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2).” 2

    2 Two elements identified in section 110(a)(2) are not governed by the three year submission deadline of section 110(a)(1) because SIPs incorporating necessary local nonattainment area controls are not due within three years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS, but rather are due at the time the nonattainment area plan requirements are due pursuant to section 172. These requirements are: (1) Submissions required by section 110(a)(2)(C) to the extent that subsection refers to a permit program as required in part D, title I of the CAA; and (2) submissions required by section 110(a)(2)(I) which pertain to the nonattainment planning requirements of part D, title I of the CAA. Today's proposed rulemaking does not address infrastructure elements related to section 110(a)(2)(I) or the nonattainment planning requirements of 110(a)(2)(C).

    • 110(a)(2)(A): Emission Limits and Other Control Measures • 110(a)(2)(B): Ambient Air Quality Monitoring/Data System • 110(a)(2)(C): Programs for Enforcement of Control Measures and for Construction or Modification of Stationary Sources 3

    3 This rulemaking only addresses requirements for this element as they relate to attainment areas.

    • 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II): Interstate Pollution Transport • 110(a)(2)(D)(ii): Interstate Pollution Abatement and International Air Pollution • 110(a)(2)(E): Adequate Resources and Authority, Conflict of Interest, and Oversight of Local Governments and Regional Agencies • 110(a)(2)(F): Stationary Source Monitoring and Reporting • 110(a)(2)(G): Emergency Powers • 110(a)(2)(H): SIP Revisions • 110(a)(2)(I): Plan Revisions for Nonattainment Areas 4

    4 As mentioned above, this element is not relevant to today's proposed rulemaking.

    • 110(a)(2)(J): Consultation with Government Officials, Public Notification, and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Visibility Protection • 110(a)(2)(K): Air Quality Modeling and Submission of Modeling Data • 110(a)(2)(L): Permitting fees • 110(a)(2)(M): Consultation and Participation by Affected Local Entities III. What is EPA's approach to the review of infrastructure SIP submissions?

    EPA is acting upon the SIP submission from Tennessee that addresses the infrastructure requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS. The requirement for states to make a SIP submission of this type arises out of CAA section 110(a)(1). Pursuant to section 110(a)(1), states must make SIP submissions “within 3 years (or such shorter period as the Administrator may prescribe) after the promulgation of a national primary ambient air quality standard (or any revision thereof),” and these SIP submissions are to provide for the “implementation, maintenance, and enforcement” of such NAAQS. The statute directly imposes on states the duty to make these SIP submissions, and the requirement to make the submissions is not conditioned upon EPA's taking any action other than promulgating a new or revised NAAQS. Section 110(a)(2) includes a list of specific elements that “[e]ach such plan” submission must address.

    EPA has historically referred to these SIP submissions made for the purpose of satisfying the requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) as “infrastructure SIP” submissions. Although the term “infrastructure SIP” does not appear in the CAA, EPA uses the term to distinguish this particular type of SIP submission from submissions that are intended to satisfy other SIP requirements under the CAA, such as “nonattainment SIP” or “attainment plan SIP” submissions to address the nonattainment planning requirements of part D of title I of the CAA, “regional haze SIP” submissions required by EPA rule to address the visibility protection requirements of CAA section 169A, and nonattainment new source review (NNSR) permit program submissions to address the permit requirements of CAA, title I, part D.

    Section 110(a)(1) addresses the timing and general requirements for infrastructure SIP submissions, and section 110(a)(2) provides more details concerning the required contents of these submissions. The list of required elements provided in section 110(a)(2) contains a wide variety of disparate provisions, some of which pertain to required legal authority, some of which pertain to required substantive program provisions, and some of which pertain to requirements for both authority and substantive program provisions.5 EPA therefore believes that while the timing requirement in section 110(a)(1) is unambiguous, some of the other statutory provisions are ambiguous. In particular, EPA believes that the list of required elements for infrastructure SIP submissions provided in section 110(a)(2) contains ambiguities concerning what is required for inclusion in an infrastructure SIP submission.

    5 For example: Section 110(a)(2)(E)(i) provides that states must provide assurances that they have adequate legal authority under state and local law to carry out the SIP; section 110(a)(2)(C) provides that states must have a SIP-approved program to address certain sources as required by part C of title I of the CAA; and section 110(a)(2)(G) provides that states must have legal authority to address emergencies as well as contingency plans that are triggered in the event of such emergencies.

    The following examples of ambiguities illustrate the need for EPA to interpret some section 110(a)(1) and section 110(a)(2) requirements with respect to infrastructure SIP submissions for a given new or revised NAAQS. One example of ambiguity is that section 110(a)(2) requires that “each” SIP submission must meet the list of requirements therein, while EPA has long noted that this literal reading of the statute is internally inconsistent and would create a conflict with the nonattainment provisions in part D of title I of the Act, which specifically address nonattainment SIP requirements.6 Section 110(a)(2)(I) pertains to nonattainment SIP requirements and part D addresses when attainment plan SIP submissions to address nonattainment area requirements are due. For example, section 172(b) requires EPA to establish a schedule for submission of such plans for certain pollutants when the Administrator promulgates the designation of an area as nonattainment, and section 107(d)(1)(B) allows up to two years, or in some cases three years, for such designations to be promulgated.7 This ambiguity illustrates that rather than apply all the stated requirements of section 110(a)(2) in a strict literal sense, EPA must determine which provisions of section 110(a)(2) are applicable for a particular infrastructure SIP submission.

    6 See, e.g., “Rule To Reduce Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone (Clean Air Interstate Rule); Revisions to Acid Rain Program; Revisions to the NOX SIP Call; Final Rule,” 70 FR 25162, at 25163-65 (May 12, 2005) (explaining relationship between timing requirement of section 110(a)(2)(D) versus section 110(a)(2)(I)).

    7 EPA notes that this ambiguity within section 110(a)(2) is heightened by the fact that various subparts of part D set specific dates for submission of certain types of SIP submissions in designated nonattainment areas for various pollutants. Note, e.g., that section 182(a)(1) provides specific dates for submission of emissions inventories for the ozone NAAQS. Some of these specific dates are necessarily later than three years after promulgation of the new or revised NAAQS.

    Another example of ambiguity within sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) with respect to infrastructure SIPs pertains to whether states must meet all of the infrastructure SIP requirements in a single SIP submission, and whether EPA must act upon such SIP submission in a single action. Although section 110(a)(1) directs states to submit “a plan” to meet these requirements, EPA interprets the CAA to allow states to make multiple SIP submissions separately addressing infrastructure SIP elements for the same NAAQS. If states elect to make such multiple SIP submissions to meet the infrastructure SIP requirements, EPA can elect to act on such submissions either individually or in a larger combined action.8 Similarly, EPA interprets the CAA to allow it to take action on the individual parts of one larger, comprehensive infrastructure SIP submission for a given NAAQS without concurrent action on the entire submission. For example, EPA has sometimes elected to act at different times on various elements and sub-elements of the same infrastructure SIP submission.9

    8 See, e.g., “Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; New Mexico; Revisions to the New Source Review (NSR) State Implementation Plan (SIP); Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Nonattainment New Source Review (NNSR) Permitting,” 78 FR 4339 (January 22, 2013) (EPA's final action approving the structural PSD elements of the New Mexico SIP submitted by the State separately to meet the requirements of EPA's 2008 PM2.5 NSR rule), and “Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New Mexico; Infrastructure and Interstate Transport Requirements for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS,” (78 FR 4337) (January 22, 2013) (EPA's final action on the infrastructure SIP for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS).

    9 On December 14, 2007, the State of Tennessee, through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, made a SIP revision to EPA demonstrating that the State meets the requirements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2). EPA proposed action for infrastructure SIP elements (C) and (J) on January 23, 2012 (77 FR 3213) and took final action on March 14, 2012 (77 FR 14976). On April 16, 2012 (77 FR 22533) and July 23, 2012 (77 FR 42997), EPA took separate proposed and final actions on all other section 110(a)(2) infrastructure SIP elements of Tennessee's December 14, 2007, submittal.

    Ambiguities within sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) may also arise with respect to infrastructure SIP submission requirements for different NAAQS. Thus, EPA notes that not every element of section 110(a)(2) would be relevant, or as relevant, or relevant in the same way, for each new or revised NAAQS. The states' attendant infrastructure SIP submissions for each NAAQS therefore could be different. For example, the monitoring requirements that a state might need to meet in its infrastructure SIP submission for purposes of section 110(a)(2)(B) could be very different for different pollutants because the content and scope of a state's infrastructure SIP submission to meet this element might be very different for an entirely new NAAQS than for a minor revision to an existing NAAQS.10

    10 For example, implementation of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS required the deployment of a system of new monitors to measure ambient levels of that new indicator species for the new NAAQS.

    EPA notes that interpretation of section 110(a)(2) is also necessary when EPA reviews other types of SIP submissions required under the CAA. Therefore, as with infrastructure SIP submissions, EPA also has to identify and interpret the relevant elements of section 110(a)(2) that logically apply to these other types of SIP submissions. For example, section 172(c)(7) requires that attainment plan SIP submissions required by part D have to meet the “applicable requirements” of section 110(a)(2). Thus, for example, attainment plan SIP submissions must meet the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(A) regarding enforceable emission limits and control measures and section 110(a)(2)(E)(i) regarding air agency resources and authority. By contrast, it is clear that attainment plan SIP submissions required by part D would not need to meet the portion of section 110(a)(2)(C) that pertains to the PSD program required in part C of title I of the CAA, because PSD does not apply to a pollutant for which an area is designated nonattainment and thus subject to part D planning requirements. As this example illustrates, each type of SIP submission may implicate some elements of section 110(a)(2) but not others.

    Given the potential for ambiguity in some of the statutory language of section 110(a)(1) and section 110(a)(2), EPA believes that it is appropriate to interpret the ambiguous portions of section 110(a)(1) and section 110(a)(2) in the context of acting on a particular SIP submission. In other words, EPA assumes that Congress could not have intended that each and every SIP submission, regardless of the NAAQS in question or the history of SIP development for the relevant pollutant, would meet each of the requirements, or meet each of them in the same way. Therefore, EPA has adopted an approach under which it reviews infrastructure SIP submissions against the list of elements in section 110(a)(2), but only to the extent each element applies for that particular NAAQS.

    Historically, EPA has elected to use guidance documents to make recommendations to states for infrastructure SIPs, in some cases conveying needed interpretations on newly arising issues and in some cases conveying interpretations that have already been developed and applied to individual SIP submissions for particular elements.11 EPA most recently issued guidance for infrastructure SIPs on September 13, 2013 (2013 Guidance). 12 EPA developed this document to provide states with up-to-date guidance for infrastructure SIPs for any new or revised NAAQS. Within this guidance, EPA describes the duty of states to make infrastructure SIP submissions to meet basic structural SIP requirements within three years of promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS. EPA also made recommendations about many specific subsections of section 110(a)(2) that are relevant in the context of infrastructure SIP submissions.13 The guidance also discusses the substantively important issues that are germane to certain subsections of section 110(a)(2). Significantly, EPA interprets sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) such that infrastructure SIP submissions need to address certain issues and need not address others. Accordingly, EPA reviews each infrastructure SIP submission for compliance with the applicable statutory provisions of section 110(a)(2), as appropriate.

    11 EPA notes, however, that nothing in the CAA requires EPA to provide guidance or to promulgate regulations for infrastructure SIP submissions. The CAA directly applies to states and requires the submission of infrastructure SIP submissions, regardless of whether or not EPA provides guidance or regulations pertaining to such submissions. EPA elects to issue such guidance in order to assist states, as appropriate.

    12 “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements under Clean Air Act sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2),” Memorandum from Stephen D. Page, September 13, 2013.

    13 EPA's September 13, 2013, guidance did not make recommendations with respect to infrastructure SIP submissions to address section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). EPA issued the guidance shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the D.C. Circuit decision in EME Homer City, 696 F.3d7 (D.C. Cir. 2012) which had interpreted the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). In light of the uncertainty created by ongoing litigation, EPA elected not to provide additional guidance on the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) at that time. As the guidance is neither binding nor required by statute, whether EPA elects to provide guidance on a particular section has no impact on a state's CAA obligations.

    As an example, section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) is a required element of section 110(a)(2) for infrastructure SIP submissions. Under this element, a state must meet the substantive requirements of section 128, which pertain to state boards that approve permits or enforcement orders and heads of executive agencies with similar powers. Thus, EPA reviews infrastructure SIP submissions to ensure that the state's implementation plan appropriately addresses the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) and section 128. The 2013 Guidance explains EPA's interpretation that there may be a variety of ways by which states can appropriately address these substantive statutory requirements, depending on the structure of an individual state's permitting or enforcement program (e.g., whether permits and enforcement orders are approved by a multi-member board or by a head of an executive agency). However they are addressed by the state, the substantive requirements of section 128 are necessarily included in EPA's evaluation of infrastructure SIP submissions because section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) explicitly requires that the state satisfy the provisions of section 128.

    As another example, EPA's review of infrastructure SIP submissions with respect to the PSD program requirements in sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J) focuses upon the structural PSD program requirements contained in part C and EPA's PSD regulations. Structural PSD program requirements include provisions necessary for the PSD program to address all regulated sources and new source review (NSR) pollutants, including greenhouse gases (GHG). By contrast, structural PSD program requirements do not include provisions that are not required under EPA's regulations at 40 CFR 51.166 but are merely available as an option for the state, such as the option to provide grandfathering of complete permit applications with respect to the 2012 fine particulate matter (PM2.5) NAAQS. Accordingly, the latter optional provisions are types of provisions EPA considers irrelevant in the context of an infrastructure SIP action.

    For other section 110(a)(2) elements, however, EPA's review of a state's infrastructure SIP submission focuses on assuring that the state's SIP meets basic structural requirements. For example, section 110(a)(2)(C) includes, inter alia, the requirement that states have a program to regulate minor new sources. Thus, EPA evaluates whether the state has an EPA-approved minor NSR program and whether the program addresses the pollutants relevant to that NAAQS. In the context of acting on an infrastructure SIP submission, however, EPA does not think it is necessary to conduct a review of each and every provision of a state's existing minor source program (i.e., already in the existing SIP) for compliance with the requirements of the CAA and EPA's regulations that pertain to such programs.

    With respect to certain other issues, EPA does not believe that an action on a state's infrastructure SIP submission is necessarily the appropriate type of action in which to address possible deficiencies in a state's existing SIP. These issues include: (i) Existing provisions related to excess emissions from sources during periods of startup, shutdown, or malfunction that may be contrary to the CAA and EPA's policies addressing such excess emissions (“SSM”); (ii) existing provisions related to “director's variance” or “director's discretion” that may be contrary to the CAA because they purport to allow revisions to SIP-approved emissions limits while limiting public process or not requiring further approval by EPA; and (iii) existing provisions for PSD programs that may be inconsistent with current requirements of EPA's “Final NSR Improvement Rule,” 67 FR 80186 (December 31, 2002), as amended by 72 FR 32526 (June 13, 2007) (“NSR Reform”). Thus, EPA believes it may approve an infrastructure SIP submission without scrutinizing the totality of the existing SIP for such potentially deficient provisions and may approve the submission even if it is aware of such existing provisions.14 It is important to note that EPA's approval of a state's infrastructure SIP submission should not be construed as explicit or implicit re-approval of any existing potentially deficient provisions that relate to the three specific issues just described.

    14 By contrast, EPA notes that if a state were to include a new provision in an infrastructure SIP submission that contained a legal deficiency, such as a new exemption for excess emissions during SSM events, then EPA would need to evaluate that provision for compliance against the rubric of applicable CAA requirements in the context of the action on the infrastructure SIP.

    EPA's approach to review of infrastructure SIP submissions is to identify the CAA requirements that are logically applicable to that submission. EPA believes that this approach to the review of a particular infrastructure SIP submission is appropriate, because it would not be reasonable to read the general requirements of section 110(a)(1) and the list of elements in 110(a)(2) as requiring review of each and every provision of a state's existing SIP against all requirements in the CAA and EPA regulations merely for purposes of assuring that the state in question has the basic structural elements for a functioning SIP for a new or revised NAAQS. Because SIPs have grown by accretion over the decades as statutory and regulatory requirements under the CAA have evolved, they may include some outmoded provisions and historical artifacts. These provisions, while not fully up to date, nevertheless may not pose a significant problem for the purposes of “implementation, maintenance, and enforcement” of a new or revised NAAQS when EPA evaluates adequacy of the infrastructure SIP submission. EPA believes that a better approach is for states and EPA to focus attention on those elements of section 110(a)(2) of the CAA most likely to warrant a specific SIP revision due to the promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS or other factors.

    For example, EPA's 2013 Guidance gives simpler recommendations with respect to carbon monoxide than other NAAQS pollutants to meet the visibility requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II), because carbon monoxide does not affect visibility. As a result, an infrastructure SIP submission for any future new or revised NAAQS for carbon monoxide need only state this fact in order to address the visibility prong of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II).

    Finally, EPA believes that its approach with respect to infrastructure SIP requirements is based on a reasonable reading of sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) because the CAA provides other avenues and mechanisms to address specific substantive deficiencies in existing SIPs. These other statutory tools allow EPA to take appropriately tailored action, depending upon the nature and severity of the alleged SIP deficiency. Section 110(k)(5) authorizes EPA to issue a “SIP call” whenever the Agency determines that a state's SIP is substantially inadequate to attain or maintain the NAAQS, to mitigate interstate transport, or to otherwise comply with the CAA.15 Section 110(k)(6) authorizes EPA to correct errors in past actions, such as past approvals of SIP submissions.16 Significantly, EPA's determination that an action on a state's infrastructure SIP submission is not the appropriate time and place to address all potential existing SIP deficiencies does not preclude EPA's subsequent reliance on provisions in section 110(a)(2) as part of the basis for action to correct those deficiencies at a later time. For example, although it may not be appropriate to require a state to eliminate all existing inappropriate director's discretion provisions in the course of acting on an infrastructure SIP submission, EPA believes that section 110(a)(2)(A) may be among the statutory bases that EPA relies upon in the course of addressing such deficiency in a subsequent action. 17

    15 For example, EPA issued a SIP call to Utah to address specific existing SIP deficiencies related to the treatment of excess emissions during SSM events. See “Finding of Substantial Inadequacy of Implementation Plan; Call for Utah State Implementation Plan Revisions,” 74 FR 21639 (April 18, 2011).

    16 EPA has used this authority to correct errors in past actions on SIP submissions related to PSD programs. See “Limitation of Approval of Prevention of Significant Deterioration Provisions Concerning Greenhouse Gas Emitting-Sources in State Implementation Plans; Final Rule,” 75 FR 82536 (December 30, 2010). EPA has previously used its authority under CAA section 110(k)(6) to remove numerous other SIP provisions that the Agency determined it had approved in error. See, e.g., 61 FR 38664 (July 25, 1996) and 62 FR 34641 (June 27, 1997) (corrections to American Samoa, Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada SIPs); 69 FR 67062 (November 16, 2004) (corrections to California SIP); and 74 FR 57051 (November 3, 2009) (corrections to Arizona and Nevada SIPs).

    17 See, e.g., EPA's disapproval of a SIP submission from Colorado on the grounds that it would have included a director's discretion provision inconsistent with CAA requirements, including section 110(a)(2)(A). See, e.g., 75 FR 42342 at 42344 (July 21, 2010) (proposed disapproval of director's discretion provisions); 76 FR 4540 (Jan. 26, 2011) (final disapproval of such provisions).

    IV. What is EPA's analysis of how Tennessee addressed the elements of the sections 110(a)(1) and (2) “Infrastructure” provisions?

    The Tennessee infrastructure submission addresses the provisions of sections 110(a)(1) and (2) as described below.

    1. 110(a)(2)(A) Emission Limits and Other Control Measures: Section 110(a)(2)(A) requires that each implementation plan include enforceable emission limitations and other control measures, means, or techniques (including economic incentives such as fees, marketable permits, and auctions of emissions rights), as well as schedules and timetables for compliance, as may be necessary or appropriate to meet the applicable requirements. Several regulations within Tennessee's SIP are relevant to air quality control regulations. The regulations described below include enforceable emission limitations and other control measures. SIP-approved Tennessee Air Pollution Control Regulations (TAPCR) 1200-03-03, Ambient Air Quality Standards, 1200-03-04, Open Burning, 1200-03-06, Non-process Emission Standards, 1200-03-07, Process Emission Standards, 1200-03-09, Construction and Operating Permits, 1200-03-14, Control of Sulfur Dioxide Emission, 1200-03-19, Emission Standards and Monitoring Requirements for Additional Control Areas, 1200-03-21, General Alternate Emission Standards, and 1200-03-24, Good Engineering Practice Stack Height Regulations, collectively establish enforceable emissions limitations and other control measures, means or techniques, for activities that contribute to SO2 concentrations in the ambient air, and provide authority for TDEC to establish such limits and measures as well as schedules for compliance to meet the applicable requirements of the CAA. Additionally, State statutes established in the Tennessee Air Quality Act and adopted in the Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) section 68-201-105(a), Powers and duties of board—Notification of vacancy —Termination due to vacancy, provide the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board and TDEC's Division of Air Pollution Control the authority to take actions in support of this infrastructure element such as issue permits, promulgate regulations, and issue orders to implement the Tennessee Air Quality Act and the CAA, as relevant. EPA has made the preliminary determination that the provisions contained in these State regulations and State statute satisfy Section 110(a)(2)(A) for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS in the State.

    In this action, EPA is not proposing to approve or disapprove any existing state provisions with regard to excess emissions during start up, shut down, and malfunction (SSM) operations at a facility. EPA believes that a number of states have SSM provisions which are contrary to the CAA and existing EPA guidance, “State Implementation Plans: Policy Regarding Excess Emissions During Malfunctions, Startup, and Shutdown” (September 20, 1999), and the Agency is addressing such state regulations in a separate action.18

    18 On June 12, 2015, EPA published a final action entitled, “State Implementation Plans: Response to Petition for Rulemaking; Restatement and Update of EPA's SSM Policy Applicable to SIPs; Findings of Substantial Inadequacy; and SIP Calls to Amend Provisions Applying to Excess Emissions During Periods of Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction.” See 80 FR 33840.

    Additionally, in this action, EPA is not proposing to approve or disapprove any existing state rules with regard to director's discretion or variance provisions. EPA believes that a number of states have such provisions which are contrary to the CAA and existing EPA guidance (52 FR 45109 (November 24, 1987)), and the Agency plans to take action in the future to address such state regulations. In the meantime, EPA encourages any state having a director's discretion or variance provision which is contrary to the CAA and EPA guidance to take steps to correct the deficiency as soon as possible.

    2. 110(a)(2)(B) Ambient Air Quality Monitoring/Data System: Section 110(a)(2)(B) requires SIPs to provide for establishment and operation of appropriate devices, methods, systems, and procedures necessary to (i) monitor, compile, and analyze data on ambient air quality, and (ii) upon request, make such data available to the Administrator. TCA 68-201-105(b)(4) gives TDEC the authority to provide technical, scientific and other services as may be required to implement the provisions of the Tennessee Air Quality Act. Annually, states develop and submit to EPA for approval statewide ambient monitoring network plans consistent with the requirements of 40 CFR parts 50, 53, and 58. The annual network plan involves an evaluation of any proposed changes to the monitoring network, includes the annual ambient monitoring network design plan, and includes a certified evaluation of the agency's ambient monitors and auxiliary support equipment.19 On June 30, 2015, Tennessee submitted its most recent plan to EPA, which was approved by EPA on October 26, 2015, with the exception of two aspects—one related to a monitor for the SO2 nonattainment area in Sullivan County, and the other related to a monitor for ozone and fine particulate in Loudon County.20 Tennessee's monitoring network plan can be accessed at www.regulations.gov using Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0154. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP and practices are adequate for the ambient air quality monitoring and data system related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS.

    19 The annual network plans are approved by EPA in accordance with 40 CFR part 58, and, on occasion, proposed changes to the monitoring network are evaluated outside of the network plan approval process in accordance with 40 CFR part 58.

    20 Once EPA is in agreement with the proposed locations for the monitoring sites in Sullivan and Loudon Counties, the State is required to make the network plan updates available for public inspection and submit an addendum to its network plan for EPA approval in accordance with 40 CFR part 58.

    3. 110(a)(2)(C) Programs for Enforcement of Control Measures and for Construction or Modification of Stationary Sources: This element consists of three sub-elements: enforcement, state-wide regulation of new and modified minor sources and minor modifications of major sources, and preconstruction permitting of major sources and major modifications in areas designated attainment or unclassifiable for the subject NAAQS as required by CAA title I part C (i.e., the major source PSD program). TDEC's 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS infrastructure SIP submission cites a number of SIP provisions to address these requirements. EPA's rationale for its proposed action regarding each sub-element is described below.

    Enforcement: The following SIP-approved regulation provides TDEC with authority for enforcement of SO2 emission limits and control measures. TAPCR 1200-3-13-01, Violation Statement, states that, “Failure to comply with any of the provisions of these regulations shall constitute a violation thereof and shall subject the person or persons responsible therefore to any and all the penalties provided by law.” Also note, under TCA 68-201-116, Orders and assessments of damages and civil penalty—Appeal, the State's Technical Secretary is authorized to issue orders requiring correction of violations of any part of the Tennessee Air Quality Act, or of any regulation promulgated under this State statute. Violators are subject to civil penalties of up to 25,000 dollars per day for each day of violation and for any damages to the State resulting from the violations.

    Preconstruction PSD Permitting for Major Sources: EPA interprets the PSD sub-element to require that a state's infrastructure SIP submission for a particular NAAQS demonstrate that the state has a complete PSD permitting program in place covering the structural PSD requirements for all regulated NSR pollutants. A state's PSD permitting program is complete for this sub-element (and prong 3 of D(i) and J related to PSD) if EPA has already approved or is simultaneously approving the state's implementation plan with respect to all structural PSD requirements that are due under the EPA regulations or the CAA on or before the date of the EPA's proposed action on the infrastructure SIP submission. For the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS, Tennessee's authority to regulate construction of new and modified stationary sources to assist in the protection of air quality in attainment or unclassifiable areas is established in TAPCR 1200-03-09-01(4), Prevention of Significant Deterioration of Air Quality. Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission demonstrates that new major sources and major modifications in areas of the State designated attainment or unclassifiable for the specified NAAQS are subject to a federally-approved PSD permitting program meeting all the current structural requirements of part C of title I of the CAA to satisfy the infrastructure SIP PSD elements.21

    21 More information concerning how the Tennessee infrastructure SIP submission currently meets applicable requirements for the PSD elements (110(a)(2)(C); (D)(i)(I), prong 3; and (J)) can be found in the technical support document in the docket for today's rulemaking.

    Regulation of minor sources and modifications: Section 110(a)(2)(C) also requires the SIP to include provisions that govern the minor source program that regulates emissions of the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS. TAPCR 1200-03-09-01, Construction Permits, and TAPCR 1200-03-09-03, General Provisions, collectively govern the preconstruction permitting of modifications and construction of minor stationary sources, and minor modifications of major stationary sources.

    EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP and practices are adequate for program enforcement of control measures, regulation of minor sources and modifications, and preconstruction permitting of major sources and major modifications related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS.

    4. 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II) Interstate Pollution Transport: Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) has two components: 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II). Each of these components has two subparts resulting in four distinct components, commonly referred to as “prongs,” that must be addressed in infrastructure SIP submissions. The first two prongs, which are codified in section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), are provisions that prohibit any source or other type of emissions activity in one state from contributing significantly to nonattainment of the NAAQS in another state (“prong 1”), and interfering with maintenance of the NAAQS in another state (“prong 2”). The third and fourth prongs, which are codified in section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II), are provisions that prohibit emissions activity in one state from interfering with measures required to prevent significant deterioration of air quality in another state (“prong 3”), or to protect visibility in another state (“prong 4”).

    110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)—prongs 1, and 2: EPA is not proposing any action in this rulemaking related to the interstate transport provisions pertaining to the contribution to nonattainment or interference with maintenance in other states of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) (prongs 1 and 2) because Tennessee's 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS infrastructure submission did not address prongs 1 and 2.

    110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II)—prong 3: With regard to section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II), the PSD element, referred to as prong 3, may be met by a state's confirmation in an infrastructure SIP submission that new major sources and major modifications in the state are subject to a PSD program meeting all the current structural requirements of part C of title I of the CAA, or (if the state contains a nonattainment area that has the potential to impact PSD in another state), a NNSR program. As discussed in more detail above under section 110(a)(2)(C), Tennessee's SIP contains provisions for the State's PSD program that reflects the required structural PSD requirements to satisfy prong 3 of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II). Tennessee addresses prong 3 through TAPCR 1200-03-09-01(4), Prevention of Significant Deterioration of Air Quality, and TAPCR 1200-03-09-01(5), Growth Policy, for the PSD and NNSR programs, respectively. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP is adequate for interstate transport for PSD permitting of major sources and major modifications related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS for section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) (prong 3).

    110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II)—prong 4: EPA is not proposing any action in this rulemaking related to the interstate transport provisions pertaining to visibility in other states of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) (prong 4) and will consider these requirements in relation to Tennessee's 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS infrastructure submission in a separate rulemaking.

    5. 110(a)(2)(D)(ii): Interstate Pollution Abatement and International Air Pollution: Section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) requires SIPs to include provisions ensuring compliance with sections 115 and 126 of the Act, relating to interstate and international pollution abatement. Regulation 1200-03-09-03, General Provisions, requires the permitting authority to notify air agencies whose areas may be affected by emissions from a source. Additionally, Tennessee does not have any pending obligation under sections 115 and 126 of the CAA relating to international or interstate pollution abatement. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP and practices are adequate for ensuring compliance with the applicable requirements relating to interstate and international pollution abatement for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS.

    6. 110(a)(2)(E) Adequate Resources and Authority, Conflict of Interest, and Oversight of Local Governments and Regional Agencies: Section 110(a)(2)(E) requires that each implementation plan provide: (i) Necessary assurances that the state will have adequate personnel, funding, and authority under state law to carry out its implementation plan, (ii) that the state comply with the requirements respecting state boards pursuant to section 128 of the Act, and (iii) necessary assurances that, where the state has relied on a local or regional government, agency, or instrumentality for the implementation of any plan provision, the state has responsibility for ensuring adequate implementation of such plan provisions. EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission as meeting the requirements of sub-elements 110(a)(2)(E)(i), (ii), and (iii). EPA's rationale for today's proposal respecting each section of 110(a)(2)(E) is described in turn below.

    In support of EPA's proposal to approve sub-elements 110(a)(2)(E)(i) and (iii), TCA 68-201-105, Powers and duties of board—Notification of vacancy—Termination due to vacancy, gives the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board the power and duty to promulgate rules and regulations to implement the Tennessee Air Quality Act. The Board may define ambient air quality standards, set emission standards, set forth general policies or plans, establish a system of permits, and identify a schedule of fees for review of plans and specifications, issuance or renewal of permits or inspection of air contaminant sources.

    TAPCR 1200-03-26, Administrative Fees Schedule, establishes construction fees, annual emission fees, and permit review fees sufficient to supplement existing State and Federal funding and to cover reasonable costs associated with the administration of Tennessee's air pollution control program. These costs include costs associated with the review of permit applications and reports, issuance of permits, source inspections and emission unit observations, review and evaluation of stack and/or ambient monitoring results, modeling, and costs associated with enforcement actions.

    TCA 68-201-115, Local pollution control programs—Exemption from state supervision—Applicability of part to air contaminant sources burning wood waste—Open burning of wood waste, states that “Any municipality or county in this state may enact, by ordinance or resolution respectively, air pollution control regulations not less stringent than the standards adopted for the state pursuant to this part, or any such municipality or county may also adopt or repeal an ordinance or resolution which incorporates by reference any or all of the regulations of the board, or any federal regulations including any changes in such regulations, when such regulations are properly identified as to date and source.” Before such ordinances or resolutions become effective, the municipality or county must receive a certificate of exemption from the Board to enact local regulations in the State. In granting any certificate of exemption, the State of Tennessee reserves the right to enforce any applicable resolution, ordinance, or regulation of the local program.

    TCA 68-201-115 also directs TDEC to “frequently determine whether or not any exempted municipality or county meets the terms of the exemption granted and continues to comply with this section.” If TDEC determines that the local program does not meet the terms of the exemption or does not otherwise comply with the law, the Board may suspend the exemption in whole or in part until the local program complies with the State standards.

    As evidence of the adequacy of TDEC's resources with respect to sub-elements (i) and (iii), EPA submitted a letter to Tennessee on March 9, 2015, outlining section 105 grant commitments and the current status of these commitments for fiscal year 2014. The letter EPA submitted to Tennessee can be accessed at www.regulations.gov using Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0154. Annually, states update these grant commitments based on current SIP requirements, air quality planning, and applicable requirements related to the NAAQS. Tennessee satisfactorily met all commitments agreed to in the Air Planning Agreement for fiscal year 2014, therefore Tennessee's grants were finalized and closed out. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee has adequate resources and authority for implementation of the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS.

    Section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) requires that the state comply with section 128 of the CAA. Section 128 requires that the SIP provide: (a)(1) the majority of members of the state board or body which approves permits or enforcement orders represent the public interest and do not derive any significant portion of their income from persons subject to permitting or enforcement orders under the CAA; and (a)(2) any potential conflicts of interest by such board or body, or the head of an executive agency with similar powers be adequately disclosed. Section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) obligations for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS and the requirements of CAA section 128 are met in Regulation 0400-30-17, Conflict of Interest. 22

    22See 79 FR 18453 (April 2, 2014).

    EPA has made the preliminary determination that the State has adequately addressed the requirements of section 128, and accordingly has met the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) with respect to infrastructure SIP requirements. Therefore, EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission as meeting the requirements of sub-elements 110(a)(2)(E)(i), (ii) and (iii).

    7. 110(a)(2)(F) Stationary Source Monitoring and Reporting: Section 110(a)(2)(F) requires SIPs to meet applicable requirements addressing (i) the installation, maintenance, and replacement of equipment, and the implementation of other necessary steps, by owners or operators of stationary sources to monitor emissions from such sources, (ii) periodic reports on the nature and amounts of emissions and emissions related data from such sources, and (iii) correlation of such reports by the state agency with any emission limitations or standards established pursuant to this section, which reports shall be available at reasonable times for public inspection. TDEC's infrastructure SIP submission identifies requirements for compliance testing by emissions sampling and analysis, and for emissions and operation monitoring to ensure the quality of data in the State, and also the collection of source emission data throughout the State and the assurance of the quality of such data. These data are used to compare against current emission limits and to meet requirements of EPA's Air Emissions Reporting Rule (AERR). Specifically, TAPCR 1200-03-10, Required Sampling, Recording, and Reporting, gives the State's Technical Secretary the authority to monitor emissions at stationary sources, and to require these sources to conduct emissions monitoring and to submit periodic emissions reports. This rule requires owners or operators of stationary sources to compute emissions, submit periodic reports of such emissions and maintain records as specified by various regulations and permits, and to evaluate reports and records for consistency with the applicable emission limitation or standard on a continuing basis over time. The monitoring data collected and records of operations serve as the basis for a source to certify compliance, and can be used by Tennessee as direct evidence of an enforceable violation of the underlying emission limitation or standard.

    Additionally, Tennessee is required to submit emissions data to EPA for purposes of the National Emissions Inventory (NEI). The NEI is EPA's central repository for air emissions data. EPA published the AERR on December 5, 2008, which modified the requirements for collecting and reporting air emissions data (73 FR 76539). The AERR shortened the time states had to report emissions data from 17 to 12 months, giving states one calendar year to submit emissions data. All states are required to submit a comprehensive emissions inventory every three years and report emissions for certain larger sources annually through EPA's online Emissions Inventory System. States report emissions data for the six criteria pollutants and the precursors that form them—NOX, SO2, ammonia, lead, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds. Many states also voluntarily report emissions of hazardous air pollutants. Tennessee made its latest update to the 2011 NEI on April 9, 2014. EPA compiles the emissions data, supplementing it where necessary, and releases it to the general public through the Web site http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/eiinformation.html. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP and practices are adequate for the stationary source monitoring systems related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS.

    Regarding credible evidence, TAPCR 1200-3-10-04, Sampling, Recording, and Reporting Required for Major Stationary Sources, states that: “the Technical Secretary is authorized to require by permit condition any periodic or enhanced monitoring, recording and reporting that he deems necessary for the verification of the source's compliance with the applicable requirements as defined in paragraph 1200-03-09-02(11).” EPA is unaware of any provision preventing the use of credible evidence in the Tennessee SIP. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP and practices are adequate for the stationary source monitoring systems related to the 1-hour SO2 NAAQS. Accordingly, EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission with respect to section 110(a)(2)(F).

    8. 110(a)(2)(G): Emergency Powers: Section 110(a)(2)(G) of the Act requires that states demonstrate authority comparable with section 303 of the CAA and adequate contingency plans to implement such authority. Tennessee's emergency powers are outlined in TAPCR 1200-03-15, Emergency Episode Plan, which establishes the criteria for declaring an air pollution episode (air pollution alert, air pollution warning, or air pollution emergency), specific emissions reductions for each episode level, and emergency episode plan requirements for major sources located in or significantly impacting a nonattainment area. Additional emergency powers are codified in TCA 68-201-109, Emergency Stop Orders for Air Contaminant Sources. Under TCA 68-201-109, if the Commissioner of TDEC finds that emissions from the operation of one or more sources are causing imminent danger to human health and safety, the Commissioner may, with the approval of the Governor, order the source(s) responsible to reduce or discontinue immediately its (their) air emissions. Additionally, this State law requires a hearing to be held before the Commissioner within 24 hours of any such order.

    Regarding the public welfare and environment, TCA 68-201-106, Matters to be considered in exercising powers, states that “In exercising powers to prevent, abate and control air pollution, the board or department shall give due consideration to all pertinent facts, including, but not necessarily limited to: (1) The character and degree of injury to, or interference with, the protection of the health, general welfare and physical property of the people . . .” Also, TCA 68-201-116, Orders and assessments of damages and civil penalty Appeal, provides in subsection (a) that if the Tennessee technical secretary discovers that any State air quality regulation has been violated, the Tennessee technical secretary may issue an order to correct the violation, and this order shall be complied with within the time limit specified in the order. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP and practices are adequate for emergency powers related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS. Accordingly, EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission with respect to section 110(a)(2)(G).

    9. 110(a)(2)(H) SIP Revisions: Section 110(a)(2)(H), in summary, requires each SIP to provide for revisions of such plan (i) as may be necessary to take account of revisions of such national primary or secondary ambient air quality standard or the availability of improved or more expeditious methods of attaining such standard, and (ii) whenever the Administrator finds that the plan is substantially inadequate to attain the NAAQS or to otherwise comply with any additional applicable requirements. As previously discussed, TDEC is responsible for adopting air quality rules and revising SIPs as needed to attain or maintain the NAAQS in Tennessee.

    Section 68-201-105(a) of the Tennessee Air Quality Act authorizes the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board to promulgate rules and regulations to implement this State statute, including setting and implementing ambient air quality standards, emission standards, general policies or plans, a permits system, and a schedule of fees for review of plans and specifications, issuance or renewal of permits, and inspection of sources. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate a commitment to provide future SIP revisions related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS when necessary. Accordingly, EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission with respect to section 110(a)(2)(H).

    10. 110(a)(2)(J) Consultation with Government Officials, Public Notification, and PSD and Visibility Protection: EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS with respect to the general requirement in section 110(a)(2)(J) to include a program in the SIP that complies with the applicable consultation requirements of section 121, the public notification requirements of section 127, PSD and visibility protection. EPA's rationale for each sub-element is described below.

    Consultation with government officials (121 consultation): Section 110(a)(2)(J) of the CAA requires states to provide a process for consultation with local governments, designated organizations and Federal Land Managers carrying out NAAQS implementation requirements pursuant to section 121 relative to consultation. The following State rule, as well as the State's Regional Haze Implementation Plan (which allows for consultation between appropriate state, local, and tribal air pollution control agencies as well as the corresponding Federal Land Managers), provide for consultation with government officials whose jurisdictions might be affected by SIP development activities: TAPCR 1200-03-34, Conformity, provides for interagency consultation on transportation and general conformity issues. Tennessee adopted state-wide consultation procedures for the implementation of transportation conformity which includes the development of mobile inventories for SIP development. These consultation procedures were developed in coordination with the transportation partners in the State and are consistent with the approaches used for development of mobile inventories for SIPs. Required partners covered by Tennessee's consultation procedures include Federal, state and local transportation and air quality agency officials. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate consultation with government officials related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS when necessary. Accordingly, EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission with respect to section 110(a)(2)(J) consultation with government officials.

    Public notification: These requirements are met through the State's existing Air Quality Index and Air Quality Forecasting programs, which provide a method to alert the public if any NAAQS is exceeded in an area. Additionally, the State's annual monitoring plan update is sent out each year for public review and comment. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate the State's ability to provide public notification related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS when necessary. Accordingly, EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission with respect to section 110(a)(2)(J) public notification.

    PSD: With regard to the PSD element of section 110(a)(2)(J), this requirement may be met by a state's confirmation in an infrastructure SIP submission that new major sources and major modifications in the state are subject to a PSD program meeting all the current structural requirements of part C of title I of the CAA. As discussed in more detail above under section 110(a)(2)(C), Tennessee's SIP contains provisions for the State's PSD program that reflect the relevant SIP revisions pertaining to the required structural PSD requirements to satisfy the requirement of the PSD element of section 110(a)(2)(J). EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP and practices are adequate for PSD permitting of major sources and major modifications related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS for the PSD element of section 110(a)(2)(J). Accordingly, EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission with respect to the PSD element of section 110(a)(2)(J).

    Visibility protection: EPA's 2013 Guidance notes that it does not treat the visibility protection aspects of section 110(a)(2)(J) as applicable for purposes of the infrastructure SIP approval process. EPA recognizes that states are subject to visibility protection and regional haze program requirements under part C of the Act (which includes sections 169A and 169B). However, there are no newly applicable visibility protection obligations after the promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS. Thus, EPA has determined that states do not need to address the visibility component of 110(a)(2)(J) in infrastructure SIP submittals. As such, EPA has made the preliminary determination that it does not need to address the visibility protection element of section 110(a)(2)(J) in Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS.

    11. 110(a)(2)(K) Air Quality Modeling and Submission of Modeling Data: Section 110(a)(2)(K) of the CAA requires that SIPs provide for performing air quality modeling so that effects on air quality of emissions from NAAQS pollutants can be predicted and submission of such data to the EPA can be made. TAPCR 1200-03-09-01(4), Prevention of Significant Air Quality Deterioration, specifies when modeling and when monitoring (pre- or post-construction) must be performed and that the resulting data be made available for review to EPA. Tennessee has personnel with training and experience to conduct source-oriented dispersion modeling with models approved by EPA. Additionally, Tennessee participates in a regional effort to coordinate the development of emissions inventories and conduct regional modeling for several NAAQS, including the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS, for the Southeastern states. Taken as a whole, Tennessee's air quality regulations and practices demonstrate that TDEC has the authority to provide relevant data for the purpose of predicting the effect on ambient air quality of the 1-hour SO2 NAAQS. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate the State's ability to provide for air quality modeling, along with analysis of the associated data, related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS. Accordingly, EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission with respect to section 110(a)(2)(K).

    12. 110(a)(2)(L) Permitting fees: Section 110(a)(2)(L) requires the owner or operator of each major stationary source to pay to the permitting authority, as a condition of any permit required under the CAA, a fee sufficient to cover (i) the reasonable costs of reviewing and acting upon any application for such a permit, and (ii) if the owner or operator receives a permit for such source, the reasonable costs of implementing and enforcing the terms and conditions of any such permit (not including any court costs or other costs associated with any enforcement action), until such fee requirement is superseded with respect to such sources by the Administrator's approval of a fee program under title V.

    In Tennessee, funding for review of PSD and NNSR permits comes from permit-specific fees that are charged to new applicants and from annual emission fees charged to existing title V emission sources that are applying for major modifications under PSD or NNSR. The cost of reviewing, approving, implementing, and enforcing PSD and major NNSR permits are covered under the following State regulations: (1) TAPCR 1200-03-26-02(5) requires each new major stationary source to pay a construction permit application filing/processing fee and (2) TAPCR 1200-03-26-02(9), Annual Emission Fees for Major Sources, 23 mandates that existing major stationary sources pay annual title V emission fees, which are used to cover the permitting costs for any new construction or modifications at these facilities as well as implementation and enforcement of PSD and NNSR permits after they have been issued. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee adequately provides for permitting fees related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS when necessary. Accordingly, EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission with respect to section 110(a)(2)(L).

    23 Title V program regulations are federally-approved but not incorporated into the federally-approved SIP.

    13. 110(a)(2)(M) Consultation/participation by affected local entities: Section 110(a)(2)(M) of the Act requires states to provide for consultation and participation in SIP development by local political subdivisions affected by the SIP. TCA 68-201-105, Powers and duties of board Notification of vacancy Termination due to vacancy, authorizes and requires the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board to promulgate rules and regulations related to consultation under the provisions of the State's Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. TCA 4-5-202, When hearings required, requires agencies to precede all rulemaking with a notice and public hearing, except for exemptions. TCA 4-5-203, Notice of hearing, states that whenever an agency is required by law to hold a public hearing as part of its rulemaking process, the agency shall: “(1) Transmit written notice of the hearings to the secretary of state for publication in the notice section of the administrative register Web site . . . and (2) Take such other steps as it deems necessary to convey effective notice to persons who are likely to have an interest in the proposed rulemaking.” TCA 68-201-105(b)(7) authorizes and requires TDEC to “encourage voluntary cooperation of affected persons or groups in preserving and restoring a reasonable degree of air purity; advise, consult and cooperate with other agencies, persons or groups in matters pertaining to air pollution; and encourage authorized air pollution agencies of political subdivisions to handle air pollution problems within their respective jurisdictions to the greatest extent possible and to provide technical assistance to political subdivisions . . .”. TAPCR 1200-03-34, Conformity, requires interagency consultation on transportation and general conformity issues. Additionally, TDEC has, in practice, consulted with local entities for the development of its transportation conformity SIP and has worked with the Federal Land Managers as a requirement of EPA's regional haze rule. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Tennessee's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate consultation with affected local entities related to the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS. Accordingly, EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission with respect to section 110(a)(2)(M).

    V. Proposed Action

    With the exception of interstate transport provisions pertaining to the contribution to nonattainment or interference with maintenance in other states and visibility protection requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II) (prongs 1, 2, and 4), EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure submission submitted on March 13, 2014, for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS for the above described infrastructure SIP requirements. EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's infrastructure SIP submission for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS because the submission is consistent with section 110 of the CAA.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: February 23, 2016. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05160 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R06-OAR-2014-0642; FRL-9943-42-Region 6] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New Mexico; and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County; Revisions To Establish Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Programs AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve revisions to the New Mexico State Implementation Plan (SIP) for both the State and Albuquerque/Bernalillo County. These proposed revisions establish Small Business Stationary Assistance Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Programs. The EPA is proposing to approve these revisions pursuant to sections 110 and 507(a) of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

    DATES:

    Written comments should be received on or before April 11, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be submitted by following the detailed instructions in the ADDRESSES section of the direct final rule located in the rules section of this Federal Register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. John Walser, (214) 665-7128, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the Rules and Regulations section of this Federal Register, the EPA is approving the State's SIP submittal as a direct rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial submittal and anticipates no adverse comments. A detailed rationale for the approval is set forth in the direct final rule. If no relevant adverse comments are received in response to this action, no further activity is contemplated. If the EPA receives relevant adverse comments, the direct final rule will be withdrawn and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. The EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time.

    For additional information, see the direct final rule which is located in the Rules and Regulations section of this Federal Register.

    Dated: February 24, 2016. Ron Curry, Regional Administrator, Region 6.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05161 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0819; FRL-9943-47-Region 9] Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan; South Coast Air Quality Management District; Control of Oxides of Nitrogen Emissions From Off-Road Diesel Vehicles AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve South Coast Air Quality Management District's (SCAQMD or District) Rule 2449, Control of Oxides of Nitrogen Emissions from Off-Road Diesel Vehicles, which adopts by reference title 13, chapter 9, section 2449.2 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), “Surplus Off-Road Opt-In for NOX (SOON) Program,” as part of the SCAQMD portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). SCAQMD Rule 2449 requires certain in-use off-road vehicle fleets to meet more stringent requirements in the South Coast area when funding is provided by the District in order to achieve additional reductions of oxides of Nitrogen (NOX). We are taking comments on this proposal and plan to follow with a final action.

    DATES:

    Any comments must arrive by April 11, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R09-OAR-2015-0819 at http://www.regulations.gov, or via email to [email protected] For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, the EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Doris Lo, EPA Region IX, (415) 972-3959, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document, “we,” “us” and “our” refer to the EPA.

    Table of Contents I. Background II. The State's Submittal A. What rule did the State submit? B. Are there other versions of the rule? C. What is the purpose of the submitted rule? D. What do the Off-Road Regulation and Rule 2449 require? III. The EPA's Evaluation of the State's Submittal A. How is the EPA evaluating the rule? B. Does Rule 2449 meet CAA SIP evaluation criteria? 1. Did the SCAQMD and CARB provide adequate public notice and comment periods? 2. Do the SCAQMD and CARB have adequate legal authority to implement the rule? 3. Is the rule enforceable as required under CAA section 110(a)(2)? 4. Does the rule interfere with reasonable further progress and attainment or any other applicable requirement of the Act? 5. Will the State and the SCAQMD have adequate personnel and funding for the rule? 6. Does the rule meet the RACM and BACM requirements under CAA sections 172(c)(1) and 189? 7. The EPA's Rule Evaluation Conclusion IV. Proposed Action and Public Comment V. Incorporation by Reference VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background

    The California Air Resources Board's (CARB) Off-Road Diesel-Fueled Fleets Regulation (13 CCR sections 2449, 2449.1 and 2449.2) applies to fleets with nonroad 1 compression-ignition vehicles and equipment greater than 25 horsepower (hp). Sections 2449 and 2449.1 (collectively the “Off-Road Regulation”) require fleet operators to meet a progressively more stringent combined particulate matter (PM) and NOX standard, or to reduce emissions through technology upgrades such as retrofit or replacement. The Off-Road Regulation was initially approved by CARB on July 26, 2007 and was subsequently amended in December 2010.

    1 The Clean Air Act refers to these engines as “nonroad” engines and the State of California uses the term “off-road” engines. The terms “nonroad” and “off-road” are used interchangeably in this rule.

    In conjunction with the Off-Road Regulation, CARB also adopted an “opt-in” provision that allows local air districts to achieve additional reductions of NOX emissions by introducing cleaner engines or control devices into a fleet with incentive funding (see 13 CCR section 2449.2, Surplus Off-Road Opt-In for NOX Program (also referred to as the “CARB SOON Program” in today's proposed rule)). Under this provision, any California air district can “opt-in” to the CARB SOON Program to achieve reductions of NOX emissions from in-use nonroad diesel-fueled vehicles that are surplus to what is required by CARB's Off-Road Regulation. In order to participate in the CARB SOON Program, a district's governing board must hold a public hearing, vote to “opt-in” to the CARB SOON Program, and decide whether to make the program voluntary or mandatory.

    On May 2, 2008 the SCAQMD governing board held a public hearing at which it voted to “opt-in” to the CARB SOON Program as a mandatory requirement and adopted Rule 2449, Control of Oxides of Nitrogen Emissions from Off-Road Diesel Vehicles, which includes by reference the CARB SOON Program. The SCAQMD also adopted additional Rule 2449 Administrative Guidelines (May 2008) as required by the CARB SOON Program to implement the program in the South Coast area. On July 11, 2014, the SCAQMD amended Rule 2449 to update the rule's reference to the CARB SOON Program, which was amended by CARB in December 2011. The SCAQMD Rule 2449 adopts the provisions of the CARB SOON Program found under 13 CCR, section 2449.2 into the SCAQMD's rule book and makes the CARB SOON Program a mandatory requirement for in-use off-road sources located in the South Coast area.2

    2 Unless otherwise indicated, references in this notice to Rule 2449 include the CARB Soon Program, as implemented through Rule 2449.

    CARB's Off-Road Regulation and the CARB SOON Program are subject to section 209(e) of the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act), which generally preempts States from adopting and enforcing standards and other requirements relating to the control of emissions from nonroad engines (see CAA section 209(e)(1) and Engine Mfrs. Ass'n v. EPA, 88 F.3d 1075 (D.C. Cir. 1996)). However, CAA section 209(e)(2)(A) requires the EPA to authorize California to adopt and enforce standards and other requirements relating to the control of emissions from certain nonroad vehicles or engines, unless the EPA makes one of three enumerated findings. On September 20, 2013 the EPA authorized CARB to enforce the Off-Road Regulation and the CARB SOON Program (collectively “Fleet Requirements”) (see 78 FR 58090-58121, September 20, 2013).

    On November 12, 2015, the EPA proposed to approve the Fleet Requirements into the California SIP (see 80 FR 69915).3

    3 In particular, the EPA proposed to approve 13 CCR sections 2449 (excluding subsection 2449(d)(2)), 2449.1, and 2449.2 into the SIP. 80 FR 69918, Table 1.

    II. The State's Submittal A. What rule did the State submit?

    On July 18, 2008, the State of California submitted SCAQMD Rule 2449, “Control of Oxides of Nitrogen Emissions from Off-Road Vehicles,” which was adopted by the District on May 2, 2008 (see July 18, 2008 letter from Michael H. Scheible, Deputy Executive Officer, CARB, to Wayne Nastri, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 9, with attachments).

    On September 5, 2014, the state submitted a revision to Rule 2449 adopted by the District on July 11, 2014. The submittal made a minor administrative revision to the numbering of the referenced CARB SOON Program, which was revised by CARB in December 2011, from section 2449.3 to section 2449.2 (see September 5, 2014 letter to Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 9, from Richard W. Corey, Executive Officer, Air Resources Board with attachments).

    The July 18, 2008 submittal was deemed complete by operation of law under CAA section 110(k)(1)(B) on January 18, 2009. The September 5, 2014 submittal was deemed complete by operation of law under CAA section 110(k)(1)(B) on March 5, 2015.

    B. Are there other versions of the rule?

    There are no previous versions of Rule 2449 in the SIP for the SCAQMD.

    C. What is the purpose of the submitted rule?

    NOX helps produce ground-level ozone, smog and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which harm human health and the environment. Section 110(a) of the CAA requires States to submit regulations that control NOX emissions. In addition, section 172(c)(1) of the Act requires implementation of all reasonably available control measures (RACM) as expeditiously as practicable in nonattainment areas. Because the South Coast area is designated nonattainment for the 1-hour ozone standard, the 1997 annual and 24-hour PM2.5 standard, the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standard, the 2012 annual PM2.5 standard, the 1997 8-hour ozone standard and the 2008 8-hour ozone standard (see 40 CFR part 81.305), CARB and the SCAQMD must implement RACM for NOX (among other pollutants) under CAA section 172(c)(1). In addition, under subpart 4 of the CAA, serious PM2.5 areas are required to adopt best available control measures (BACM) for PM2.5 and its precursors.4 On January 13, 2016, the EPA reclassified the South Coast PM2.5 nonattainment area as a Serious nonattainment area for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS (81 FR 1514).

    4 The EPA generally takes action on a RACM or BACM demonstration as part of our action on the State's attainment demonstration for the relevant NAAQS.

    Off-road diesel vehicles collectively represent one of the largest sources of NOX emissions in the South Coast Air Basin.5 The purpose of Rule 2449 is to achieve surplus NOX reductions from this source category beyond those required under CARB's Off-Road Regulation with funding provided by the SCAQMD. The SCAQMD's 2012 Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP) relies on NOX reductions from Rule 2449 to attain the one-hour and 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS.6 Rule 2449 is expected to achieve 7.5 tons per day (tpd) of NOX reductions in 2023.7

    5 See, e.g., Draft Staff Report, Proposed Amended Rule 2449—Control of Oxides of Nitrogen Emissions from Off-Road Diesel Vehicles, page 1 (May 2014).

    6 See 2012 AQMP, Table 4-6, page 4-33, OFFRD-01, Extension of the SOON Provision for Construction/Industrial Equipment [NOX] and Appendix IV-B, pages IV-B-30 thru IV-B-32.

    7Id. The EPA is not proposing to approve the emission reductions in today's proposed rule. Emission reductions or SIP credit from Rule 2449 will be addressed in future EPA actions on attainment plans.

    D. What do the Off-Road Regulation and Rule 2449 require?

    In general, CARB's Off-Road Regulation applies to all diesel-fueled off-road fleet equipment owners operating in the State of California. The Off-Road Regulation has performance requirements depending on the size of the fleet (i.e., a large fleet is defined as a fleet having greater than 5,000 horsepower (hp), a small fleet has less than or equal to 2,500 hp, and a medium fleet is in between) 8 and provides calculation methodologies for determining a fleet average index and a fleet average target rate. Each year, each subject fleet must demonstrate that its fleet average index was less than or equal to the applicable fleet average target rate or that it met Best Available Control Technology (BACT) requirements by performing turnover or installing verified diesel emission control strategies (VDECS).9 As discussed above, the EPA has authorized CARB to implement the Off-Road Regulation under CAA section 209(e) (78 FR 58090) and has proposed to approve the Off-Road Regulation into the California SIP (80 FR 69915).

    8 See CARB's Off-Road Regulation, section 2449(c)(24), definition of “Fleet size category.”

    9 See CARB's Off-Road Regulation, section 2449.1(a) Fleet Average Requirements, 2449.1(b) BACT Requirements, and Appendix A with table of “Emission Factors by Horsepower and Year (g/bhp-hr).”

    SCAQMD Rule 2449 focuses on the largest fleets with the oldest engines and requires these fleets to meet more stringent fleet average targets than those required by section 2449.1(a) of the Off-Road Regulation. In general, Rule 2449 applies to the owners 10 of off-road vehicles that operate within the SCAQMD and that are part of fleets with more than 40 percent Tier 0 and Tier 1 vehicles 11 (as of January 1, 2008) and with more than 20,000 horsepower (hp) in maximum power on a statewide basis (excluding the hp from engines in two-engine vehicles and the hp from single cranes formerly subject to the Cargo Handling Equipment Regulation).12

    10 Most provisions of the CARB SOON Program apply to fleets rather than fleet owners or operators (see e.g. sections 2449.2(b)(2) and (d)(1)). However, SCAQMD Rule 2449 makes these requirements applicable to the owners of off-road vehicles that operate in SCAQMD and meet the criteria in 13 CCR 2449.2(b)(2).

    11 See 13 CCR section 2449(c)(48) and (49) for definitions of Tier 0 and Tier 1 engines.

    12 See 13 CCR section 2449.2(b)(2), adopted by reference under SCAQMD Rule 2449.

    Once the District issues a solicitation for applications for funding under Rule 2449, subject fleet owners are required to meet the more stringent fleet average targets required by the CARB SOON Program or apply for incentive funding for a sufficient number of projects (e.g., repowers, purchases, replacements) to meet the CARB SOON Program fleet average targets (reproduced in Table 1 below).13

    13 See 13 CCR section 2449.2(d). Thus, for example, the Off-Road Regulation requires “large” fleets to meet a fleet average target of 1.5 g/bhp-hr for 175-750 hp engines and 3.4 g/bhp-hr for greater than 750 hp engines in the year 2023, whereas Rule 2449 and the CARB SOON Program require a fleet average target of 0.7 g/bhp-hr for 175-750 hp engines and 2.7 g/bhp-hr for greater than 750 hp engines in 2023.

    Table 1—SOON Target for Each Max Hp Group for Use in Calculating SOON Fleet Average Target Rates [g/bhp-hr] Compliance date: Jan 1 of year 25-49 hp 50-74 hp 75-99 hp 100-174 hp 175-299 hp 300-599 hp 600-750 hp >750 hp 2011 5.6 6.2 6.7 6.0 5.4 5.1 5.3 6.4 2014 5.8 6.5 7.1 6.4 3.9 3.7 3.7 5.3 2017 5.0 5.4 5.5 4.9 2.2 2.2 2.2 4.3 2020 4.1 4.2 3.4 3.1 1.4 1.3 1.4 3.4 2023 3.3 3.0 1.4 1.3 0.7 0.7 0.7 2.7 Source: Reproduction of Table 5 of section 2449.2(d) of CARB SOON Program. These fleet average target rates are more stringent than what is required under the Off-Road Regulation (see 13 CCR section 2449.1(a)(1), Table 3).

    Specifically, subject fleet owners are required to submit a report with information on, including but not limited to, the fleet owner, vehicle types and uses of each vehicle, engines used to power the vehicles and the type and use of each engine, and VDECS installed on engines. 13 CCR section 2449.2(d)(1)(A)). Fleets must calculate their fleet average index based on the equipment they have and compare it to the fleet average target rate based on the SOON target rates shown in Table 1 above (13 CCR section 2449.2(d)(1)(B) and (C)), and if their fleet average index is greater than the SOON fleet average target rate, they are required to apply for funding (13 CCR section 2449.2(d)(1)(D)). Fleets must apply for funding in accordance with the Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program (Carl Moyer Program) 14 policies and procedures and also with the Administrative Guidelines 15 adopted by the SCAQMD, which provide further clarification on what to include in the funding applications and compliance plans. Funding applications and compliance plans must together demonstrate that equipment identified for the CARB SOON Program funding will result in surplus 16 reductions in order to qualify for incentive funding. Once a fleet receives funding for a qualified project, the fleet is required to implement the project. The SCAQMD has approved significant funding for the implementation of Rule 2449. The 2012 AQMP states that the District Governing Board has allocated up to $30 million per year for the program and extended the SOON Program to 2023 (see Final 2012 AQMP: Appendix IV-B, p. IV-B-31). For “FY 2015-2016,” or “Year 18” of the Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program, the SCAQMD expects that approximately $5 million of funding will be available for the SCAQMD SOON Program (see DRAFT Technology Committee Agenda #1, prepared for BOARD MEETING DATE: March 4, 2016, page 3).

    14 The Carl Moyer Program funds are used to fund Rule 2449 with the requirement that all projects meet, at a minimum, the Carl Moyer Program's latest requirements and guidelines (e.g., project selection criteria, co-funding requirements, and reporting and monitoring requirements). For more information on the Carl Moyer Program, see http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/moyer/moyer.htm.

    15 In addition to the Carl Moyer Program guidelines, the CARB SOON Program requires the District to adopt District guidelines, through a public process, that include additional administrative provisions necessary to implement the CARB SOON Program. These provisions include, but are not limited to, funding guidelines, compliance planning requirements and reporting and monitoring requirements. The SCAQMD adopted these additional district guidelines on May 22, 2008 (see Draft Administrative Guidelines, Proposed Rule 2449 Administrative Guidelines, SCAQMD, May 2008). The SCAQMD Board plans to consider amendments to the May 2008 Administrative Guidelines on March 4, 2016 (see DRAFT Technology Committee Agenda #1, prepared for BOARD MEETING DATE: March 4, 2016, with Attachment 4, SOON Provision Implementation Guidelines). The amendments include referencing the correct section of CARB's Off-Road Regulation and aligning funding levels for the SCAQMD SOON Program with the Carl Moyer program. If approved by the SCAQMD Board, the EPA expects the SCAQMD to forward the amendments to CARB for approval.

    16 Surplus reductions are those NOX reductions that are not needed for meeting the requirements of the Off-Road Regulation. If surplus reductions are available and used to meet the requirements of Rule 2449 and the CARB SOON Program, then those reductions cannot be used to meet the requirements of the Off-Road Regulation until they are no longer needed for compliance with Rule 2449.

    III. The EPA's Evaluation of the State's Submittal A. How is the EPA evaluating the rule?

    The EPA has evaluated Rule 2449 against the applicable procedural and substantive CAA requirements for SIPs and SIP revisions and has concluded that it meets all of the applicable requirements.

    Generally, SIPs must include enforceable emission limitations and other control measures, means, or techniques, as well as schedules and timetables for compliance, as may be necessary to meet the requirements of the Act (see CAA section 110(a)(2)(A)); must provide necessary assurances that the State will have adequate personnel, funding, and authority under State law to carry out such SIP (and is not prohibited by any provision of Federal to State law from carrying out such SIP) (see CAA section 110(a)(2)(E)); must be adopted by a State after reasonable notice and public hearing (see CAA section 110(l)), and must not interfere with any applicable requirement concerning attainment and reasonable further progress, or any other applicable requirement of the Act (see CAA section 110(l)).17

    17 CAA section 193, which prohibits any pre-1990 SIP control requirement relating to nonattainment pollutants in nonattainment areas from being modified unless the SIP is revised to insure equivalent or greater emission reductions of such air pollutants, does not apply to this rule because it does not include any pre-1990 SIP control requirements.

    In addition, as noted above, CARB and the SCAQMD must implement RACM for NOX (among other pollutants) under CAA section 172(c)(1).

    B. Does Rule 2449 meet CAA SIP evaluation criteria? 1. Did the SCAQMD and CARB provide adequate public notice and comment periods?

    Under CAA section 110(l), SIP revisions must be adopted by the State, and the State must provide for reasonable public notice and hearing prior to adoption. In 40 CFR 51.102(d), we specify that reasonable public notice in this context refers to at least 30 days. The State has submitted evidence of public notice and hearing prior to the May 5, 2008 adoption and July 11, 2014 amendment of Rule 2449 by the SCAQMD (see attachments to July 18, 2008 letter to Mr. Wayne Nastri, EPA Region 9 from Michael H. Scheible, Air Resource Board and attachments to September 5, 2014 letter to Mr. Jared Blumenfeld, EPA Region 9, from Richard W. Corey, Air Resources Board). Based on the evidence provided by the SCAQMD and CARB, we conclude that they have provided adequate public notice and comment periods.

    2. Do the SCAQMD and CARB have adequate legal authority to implement the rule?

    California air districts are authorized to adopt and enforce rules by California Health and Safety Code (H&SC) section 40001. CARB is authorized to adopt the rules as revisions to the SIP by H&SC section 39601, 39602, and 41650 through 41652 (see CARB Executive Order S-14-012).

    In addition, we note that California H&SC sections 43013(a) and 43018 provide CARB with broad authority to achieve the maximum feasible and cost-effective emission reductions from all mobile source categories, including both on-road and off-road diesel engines.

    As discussed above, CARB's Off-Road Regulation is subject to CAA section 209(e), and on September 20, 2013 the EPA granted CARB's request for authorization to enforce its Fleet Requirements, including the CARB SOON Program (see 78 FR 58090-58121, September 20, 2013). Thus, we find that the SCAQMD and CARB have adequate legal authority to adopt and implement Rule 2449.

    3. Is the rule enforceable as required under CAA section 110(a)(2)?

    We have evaluated the enforceability of Rule 2449 and the CARB SOON Program with respect to applicability and exemptions; standard of conduct and compliance dates; sunset provisions; discretionary provisions; and test methods, recordkeeping and reporting,18 and have concluded for the reasons given below that the rule is enforceable for the purposes of CAA section 110(a)(2).

    18 These concepts are discussed in detail in an EPA memorandum from J. Craig Potter, EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, et al., titled “Review of State Implementation Plans and Revisions for Enforceability and Legal Sufficiency,” dated September 23, 1987.

    First, with respect to applicability, we find Rule 2449 and the CARB SOON Program to be sufficiently clear as to which fleet owners and which vehicles or engines are subject to the program and the rule (see Rule 2449 and 13 CCR section 2449.2(b)). In general, the rule applies to owners of vehicles that operate within the SCAQMD and are part of a fleet consisting of 40 percent Tier 0 and Tier 1 vehicles with greater than 20,000 hp statewide, excluding the hp from engines in two-engine vehicles and single engine cranes formerly subject to the Cargo Handling Equipment Regulation (see 13 CCR 2449.2(b)(2)).

    Second, we find that Rule 2449 and the CARB SOON Program are sufficiently specific so that the persons affected are fairly on notice as to what the requirements and related compliance dates are. We have described the substantive requirements and compliance dates set forth in Rule 2449 in section II.D. of today's proposed rule.

    Third, the requirements of Rule 2449 will sunset at different times from 2011 through 2023, depending on when the SCAQMD issues its solicitations for funding; however, once a fleet is no longer subject to Rule 2449, it will be then be subject to the requirements of the Off-Road Regulation.

    Fourth, Rule 2449 contains a provision that allows for discretion on the part of CARB's Executive Officer (EO), this provision is limited both in scope and application, and is no longer relevant since the date to request discretion has passed (see 13 CCR section 2449.2(e)(2), allowing a fleet to apply to the EO for an extension from the requirements if the rule calculations would require a fleet to turn over Tier 2 or better engines before January 1, 2014). As such, we find that this provision does not undermine the enforceability of Rule 2449 or preclude its approval into the SIP.

    Lastly, Rule 2449 identifies appropriate calculation requirements and includes adequate recordkeeping and reporting requirements sufficient to ensure compliance with the applicable requirements. In particular, as described above, once the SCAQMD issues a solicitation, each subject fleet owner must submit a report containing detailed information about each vehicle and engine in the fleet, each VDECS installed on an engine in the fleet, and other information related to compliance with the Off-Road Rule (see 13 CCR 2449(d)(1)(A) and 2449(g). If the fleet average index is greater than the SOON fleet average target rate, the fleet owner must apply for SOON funding (13 CCR 2449.2(d)(1)(B)). If the necessary NOX retrofits, repower, or vehicle replacements are available, the application must indicate how these retrofits, repowers, or vehicle replacements would bring the fleet average index for vehicles that operate within the SCAQMD to less than or equal to the SOON fleet average target rate (13 CCR 2449.2(d)(1)(D)). In addition, the fleet owner must prepare and submit a compliance plan laying out the actions it is required to take under section 2449.1 and the actions for which it is applying to the SCAQMD for funding under section 2449.2 (13 CCR 2449.2(e)(3)).

    4. Does the rule interfere with reasonable further progress and attainment or any other applicable requirement of the Act?

    As discussed above, the SCAQMD's 2012 AQMP relies on NOX reductions from Rule 2449 to attain the one-hour and 1997 eight-hour ozone NAAQS. The EPA has approved SCAQMD's commitment to implement the SOON Program as part of the SCAQMD's aggregate NOX emissions reductions commitment (see 79 FR 29712, 29720 and 29721). Approval of Rule 2449 into the SIP will help fulfill this commitment. Thus, the EPA believes that approval of Rule 2449 does not interfere with Reasonable Further Progress, attainment or any other applicable requirement of the Act.

    5. Will the State and the SCAQMD have adequate personnel and funding for the rule?

    As discussed above, the SCAQMD has approved significant funding for the implementation of Rule 2449. The 2012 AQMP states that the SCAQMD Board has allocated up to $30 million per year for the program and extended the SOON Program to 2023 (see Final 2012 AQMP: Appendix IV-B, p. IV-B-31). For “FY 2015-2016,” or “Year 18” of the Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program, the SCAQMD expects to have approximately $5 million of funding available for the SCAQMD SOON Program (see DRAFT Technology Committee Agenda #1, prepared for BOARD MEETING DATE: March 4, 2016, page 3).

    6. Does the rule meet the RACM and BACM requirements under CAA sections 172(c)(1) and 189?

    Rule 2449 provides for the most stringent in-use off-road diesel equipment requirements that we are aware of in the United States, and thus, we find that the rule implements both reasonably available and best available control measures for this source category. However, as discussed above, the EPA generally takes action on a RACM or BACM demonstration as part of our action on the State's attainment demonstration for the relevant NAAQS. Thus, while we do not know of any more stringent requirements for this category at this time, we are also not taking any action on how this measure fits within the context of a RACM or BACM demonstration for the South Coast area.

    7. The EPA's Rule Evaluation Conclusion

    Based on the above discussion, we believe Rule 2449 and the CARB SOON Program are consistent with the relevant CAA requirements, policies and guidance.

    IV. Proposed Action and Public Comment

    As authorized in section 110(k)(3) of the Act, the EPA is proposing to fully approve the submitted rule because we believe it fulfills all relevant requirements. We will accept comments from the public on this proposal until April 11, 2016. Unless we receive convincing new information during the comment period, we intend to publish a final approval action that will incorporate this rule into the federally enforceable SIP.

    V. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference SCAQMD Rule 2449. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, this document available electronically through www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, the SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where the EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, Region IX.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05278 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 391 Federal Railroad Administration 49 CFR Parts 240 and 242 [Docket Numbers FMCSA-2015-0419 and FRA-2015-0111] RIN 2126-AB88 and 2130-AC52 Evaluation of Safety Sensitive Personnel for Moderate-to-Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea ACTION:

    Advance notice of proposed rulemaking; request for public comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) request data and information concerning the prevalence of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) among individuals occupying safety sensitive positions in highway and rail transportation, and on its potential consequences for the safety of rail and highway transportation. FMCSA and FRA (collectively “the Agencies”) also request information on potential costs and benefits from regulatory actions that address the safety risks associated with motor carrier and rail transportation workers in safety sensitive positions who have OSA. For instance, the agencies request comment on the costs and benefits of requiring motor carrier and rail transportation workers in safety sensitive positions who exhibit multiple risk factors for OSA to undergo evaluation and treatment by a healthcare professional with expertise in sleep disorders.

    DATES:

    You must submit comments on or before June 8, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by either of the docket numbers listed at the beginning of this notice using any one of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov.

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

    Mail: Docket Services (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.

    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” heading under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions regarding submitting comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FMCSA: Ms. Christine Hydock, Chief of the Medical Programs Division, FMCSA, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington DC 20590-0001, by telephone at 202-366-4001, or by email at [email protected]

    FRA: Dr. Bernard Arseneau, Medical Director, Assurance and Compliance, FRA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, by telephone at 202-493-6232, or by email at [email protected]

    If you have questions about viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Cheryl Collins, Dockets Manager, Docket Services, telephone 202-493-0402.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Participation and Request for Comments

    The Department encourages the public to participate in this advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), by submitting comments and related materials to the appropriate dockets. Where possible, the Department would like the public to provide scientific peer-reviewed data to support comments.

    Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this ANPRM (FMCSA-2015-0419 and FRA-2015-0111), indicate the heading of the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material online, by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. The Department recommends that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your document so an Agency can contact you if it has questions regarding your submission.

    To submit your comment online, go to www.regulations.gov, type the docket number, “FMCSA-2015-0419” or “FRA-2015-0111 in the “Keyword” box, and click “Search.” When the new screen appears, click the “Comment Now!” button and type your comment into the text box in the following screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf of a third party and then submit. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. The Agencies will consider all comments and material received during the comment period and will use them to inform any future rulemaking proposals.

    Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments and any document mentioned in this preamble, go to www.regulations.gov, insert the docket number, “FMCSA-2015-0419” or “FRA-2015-0111” in the “Keyword” box, and click “Search.” Next, click the “Open Docket Folder” button and choose the document listed to review. If you do not have access to the Internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket Services in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Privacy Act

    Under 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its potential rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy.

    Legal Basis for the Rulemaking Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(a) and 31502(b)—delegated to the Agency by 49 CFR 1.87(f) and (i), respectively—to establish minimum qualifications, including medical and physical qualifications, for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers operating in interstate commerce. Section 31136(a)(3) requires that FMCSA's safety regulations ensure that the physical conditions of CMV drivers enable them to operate their vehicles safely, and that medical examiners (MEs) trained in physical and medical examination standards perform the physical examinations required of such operators.

    In 2005, Congress authorized FMCSA to establish a Medical Review Board (MRB) composed of experts “in a variety of medical specialties relevant to the driver fitness requirements” to provide advice and recommendations on qualification standards. 49 U.S.C. 31149(a). The position of FMCSA Chief Medical Examiner was authorized at the same time. 49 U.S.C. 31149(b). Under section 31149(c)(1), FMCSA, with the advice of the MRB and Chief Medical Examiner, is directed to “establish, review and revise . . . medical standards for operators of commercial motor vehicles that will ensure that the physical condition of operators of commercial motor vehicles is adequate to enable them to operate the vehicles safely.” As discussed below, FMCSA, in conjunction with the Chief Medical Examiner, asked the MRB to review and report specifically on OSA. The MRB's recommendations are described in the MRB and Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) Recommendations section of this ANPRM.

    Federal Railroad Administration

    Under 49 U.S.C. 20103, the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) has broad authority to issue regulations governing every area of railroad safety. The Secretary has delegated rulemaking responsibility under section 20103 to the Administrator of FRA. 49 CFR 1.89(a). The railroad incidents discussed below illustrate the risks to railroad safety posed by railroad employees that have moderate-to-severe OSA. Moreover, FRA has exercised this safety authority to require other medical testing. FRA regulations require locomotive engineers (49 CFR 240.121) and conductors (49 CFR 242.117) to undergo vision and hearing testing as part of their qualification and certification at least every 3 years. There are individual medical circumstances that may lead a railroad to require some engineers or conductors to undergo more frequent testing. In addition, Congress has authorized the Secretary to consider requiring certification of the following other crafts and classes of employees: (1) Car repair and maintenance employees; (2) onboard service workers; (3) rail welders; (4) dispatchers; (5) signal repair and maintenance employees; and (6) any other craft or class of employees that the Secretary determines appropriate. Therefore, the Secretary, and the FRA Administrator by delegation, has statutory authority to issue regulations to address the safety risks posed by employees in safety sensitive positions with OSA.

    Background What is obstructive sleep apnea?

    OSA is a respiratory disorder characterized by a reduction or cessation of breathing during sleep. OSA is characterized by repeated episodes of upper airway collapse in the region of the upper throat (pharynx) that results in intermittent periods of partial airflow obstruction (hypopneas), complete airflow obstruction (apneas), and respiratory effort-related arousals from sleep (RERAs) in which affected individuals awaken partially and may experience gasping and choking as they struggle to breathe. Risk factors for developing OSA include: Obesity, male gender, advancing age, family history of OSA, large neck size, and an anatomically small oropharynx (throat). Additionally, OSA is associated with increased risk for other adverse health conditions such as: Hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, obesity, cardiac dysrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, and sudden cardiac death.

    Individuals who have undiagnosed OSA are often unaware they have experienced periods of sleep interrupted by breathing difficulties (apneas, hypopneas, or RERAs) when they awaken in the morning. As a result, the condition is often unrecognized by affected individuals and underdiagnosed by medical professionals.

    What are the safety risks in transportation?

    For individuals with OSA, eight hours of sleep can be less restful or refreshing than four hours of ordinary, uninterrupted sleep.1 Undiagnosed or inadequately treated moderate to severe OSA can cause unintended sleep episodes and resulting deficits in attention, concentration, situational awareness, and memory, thus reducing the capacity to safely respond to hazards when performing safety sensitive duties. Thus, OSA is a critical safety issue that can affect operations in all modes of travel in the transportation industry.

    1 Gay, P., Weaver, T., Loube, D., Iber, C. (2006). Evaluation of positive airway pressure treatment for sleep related breathing disorders in adults. Positive Airway Pressure Task Force; Standards of Practice Committee; American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Sleep 29:381-401.

    The following paragraphs provide some examples of accidents where the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that OSA played a role in causing an accident (or near-accident) involving motor carriers and trains.

    Work Zone Collision, Jackson, Tennessee

    On July 26, 2000, the driver of a tractor-trailer traveling on Interstate 40 near Jackson, Tennessee, collided with a Tennessee Highway Patrol vehicle trailing construction vehicles, killing the state trooper inside. The tractor-trailer then traveled across the median and collided with a Chevrolet Blazer heading in the opposite direction, seriously injuring the driver of the Blazer. The tractor-trailer driver was 5 feet, 11 inches tall, weighed 358 pounds, and had been diagnosed with and undergone surgery for OSA, but had not indicated either the diagnosis or the surgery on examinations for medical certification. The NTSB found that the driver's unreported OSA, untreated hypothyroidism, or complications from either or both conditions predisposed him to impairment or incapacitation, including falling asleep at the wheel while driving. The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident was the driver's incapacitation, which resulted from the failure of the medical certification process to detect and remove a medically unfit driver from service.2

    2Work Zone Collision Between a Tractor-Semitrailer and a Tennessee Highway Patrol Vehicle, Jackson, Tennessee, July 26, 2000, Highway Accident Report NTSB/HAR-02/01 (Washington, DC: National Transportation Safety Board, 2002), available at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/HAR0201.pdf.

    BNSF Railway Collision, Red Oak, Iowa

    On April 17, 2011, at approximately 6:55 a.m. CDT, an eastbound BNSF Railway (BNSF) coal train traveling near Red Oak, Iowa collided with the rear end of a standing BNSF maintenance-of-way equipment train. The collision resulted in the derailment of two locomotives and 12 cars, a diesel fuel fire, and the deaths of both crewmembers on the striking train. In its investigative report, the NTSB noted that neither of the fatally injured train crewmembers had undergone a sleep study prior to the incident. However, in each case, medical records indicated that both crewmembers had multiple risk factors for OSA.3 NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was “the failure of the crew of the striking train to comply with the signal indication requiring them to operate in accordance with restricted speed requirements and stop short of the standing train because they had fallen asleep due to fatigue resulting from their irregular work schedules and their medical conditions.” 4 NTSB recommended that FRA “require railroads to medically screen employees with safety sensitive duties for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.” 5

    3 NTSB, Railroad Accident Report, RAR-12/02, Collision of BNSF Coal Train with the Rear End of Standing BNSF Maintenance-of-Way Equipment Train, Red Oak, Iowa, April 17, 2011, pp. 43-44. http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/RAR1202.pdf.

    4Id. at 72.

    5Id. at 73.

    Metro-North Railroad Derailment, Bronx, NY

    On December 1, 2013, at approximately 7:20 a.m. EST, southbound Metro-North Railroad (Metro-North) passenger train 8808 derailed as it approached the Spuyten Duyvil Station in New York City. All passenger cars and the locomotive derailed, and, as a result, four passengers died and at least 61 passengers were injured. The train was traveling at 82 mph when it derailed in a section of curved track where the maximum authorized speed was 30 mph. Following the accident, the engineer reported that: (1) He felt dazed just before the derailment; 6 and (2) his wife had previously complained about his snoring. The engineer then underwent a sleep evaluation, which identified excessive daytime sleepiness, followed by a sleep study, which diagnosed severe OSA. Based on its investigation of the derailment, the NTSB concluded that the engineer had multiple OSA risk factors, such as obesity, male gender, snoring, complaints of fatigue, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Even though the engineer exhibited these OSA risk factors, neither his personal health care provider nor his Metro-North occupational health evaluations had screened the engineer for OSA.7 NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was the “engineer's noncompliance with the 30-mph speed restriction because he had fallen asleep due to undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea exacerbated by a recent circadian rhythm shift required by his work schedule.” 8

    6 NTSB, Railroad Accident Brief, RAB-14/12, Metro-North Railroad Derailment, October 24, 2014, p. 2. http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/RAB1412.pdf.

    7Id. at 3.

    8Id. at 5.

    Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway Chaffee Collision

    On May 25, 2013, at approximately 2:30 a.m., a Union Pacific Railroad (UP) freight train collided with a BNSF freight train at an interlocking near Chaffee, Missouri. The collision resulted in the derailment of 13 cars from the BNSF train, two locomotives and 11 cars from the UP train, and a diesel fuel fire. The two crew members from the UP train were injured and transported to a local hospital. The derailing train cars struck nearby highway bridge supports, resulting in the collapse of portions of the bridge, two motor vehicle accidents, and injury to five motor vehicle occupants. NTSB estimated the total damages to be more than $11 million.9

    9 NTSB, Railroad Accident Report 14/02, Collision of Union Pacific Railroad Freight Train with BNSF Railway Freight Train Near Chaffee, Missouri, May 25, 2013, p. ii. http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/accidentreports/reports/rar1402.pdf.

    NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident to be “failure of the Union Pacific Railroad train crewmembers to comply with wayside signals leading into the Rockview Interlocking as a result of their disengagement from their task, likely because of fatigue-induced performance degradation.” NTSB concluded that a contributing factor to the engineer's fatigue was undiagnosed OSA.10

    10Id. at 42.

    NTSB also concluded that absence of positive train control (PTC) 11 was a contributing factor in each of the above train accidents.12 FRA agrees that PTC is an important technology that may prevent certain types of accidents in which OSA is a contributing factor. Nevertheless, PTC is not required on all track segments and any potential OSA regulations could have substantial positive impact at those locations. Potential OSA regulations could also have benefits even where PTC is fully implemented. For instance, compliance with potential OSA regulations could prevent incidents that PTC is not designed to prevent. Even in a situation when an engineer with OSA falls asleep and PTC functions as intended and stops a moving train before certain incidents,13 there may be delay costs to passengers and other trains from attending to the engineer that could be avoided by potential OSA regulations. The three examples of train accidents described above are illustrative of the consequences that could result from accidents that occur due to OSA.

    11 The NTSB report for the Red Oak accident concluded that a lack of a PTC system “that identifies the rear of a train and stops a following train if a safe braking profile is exceeded” contributed to the accident. NTSB Railroad Accident Report, RAR-12/02 at 72. NTSB further concluded that the type of PTC system that was in development or being deployed at the time of the report (2011) would not address this type of accident. Id. at 71.

    12See id. at 72; NTSB Railroad Accident Brief, RAB-14/12 at 5; and NTSB Railroad Accident Report 14/02 at 37-38, and 50.

    13See 49 CFR 236.1005(a).

    What actions have the Department's operating administrations taken?

    The Department promotes the safety of America's transportation system through information, Web sites, regulations, guidelines, and policies. The Department's operating administrations regulate transportation safety following authorizations from the Congress. The authorities for determining and ensuring that transportation operators engaged in interstate commerce are physically qualified differ among the Department's operating administrations. Several administrations have been working for many years, in some instances along with advisory groups, to improve policies on medical fitness for duty of personnel in safety-critical functions. The sections below summarize the initiatives that several DOT operating administrations have taken to address OSA under their current authority.

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

    Although this ANPRM covers how FMCSA and FRA will potentially treat OSA, FAA's history of its OSA screening of pilots is instructive. The FAA was created to provide the safe and efficient use of the national air space; that mission has evolved to providing the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world. While the United States has an impressive safety record, the FAA continues to work with the aviation and medical communities to maintain medical certification standards to keep our skies safe. The FAA has always considered OSA a disqualifying condition, but has used its special issuance process 14 to certificate airman if the hazard of OSA was satisfactorily treated or mitigated.

    14https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/app_process/general/si.

    In November 2013, FAA proposed guidance that would have required pilots with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more to be evaluated for OSA. Key aviation industry stakeholders, as well as members of Congress, expressed concerns about this single-factor enhanced screening as lacking a sufficient evidentiary basis, and thus being an example of overregulation by the FAA.

    In response, FAA worked with stakeholders, to revise the guidance to address those concerns and issued new medical guidance to Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs) on March 2, 2015, which balanced industry and Congressional concerns with the FAA and NTSB's safety concerns about pilots flying with OSA. Under the new guidance, AMEs screen airman for OSA using an integrated assessment of history, symptoms, and physical/clinical findings. If screening identifies a need for further evaluation, an OSA risk factor evaluation will be done by the AME at the time of the physical examination using the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) guidance provided in the Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners. 15

    15https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/.

    A pilot identified as being at risk for OSA will be issued a medical certificate, and shortly thereafter receive a letter from FAA's Federal Air Surgeon requesting that an OSA evaluation be completed within 90 days. The evaluation may be done by any physician (including the AME), not just a sleep medicine specialist. If the evaluating physician determines, using the AASM guidelines, that a laboratory sleep study or home study is warranted, it should be ordered at that time. The pilot will have 90 days (or longer under special circumstances) to accomplish this, as outlined in the Federal Air Surgeon's letter. The pilot may continue flying during the evaluation period until they have been diagnosed with OSA. A pilot is not allowed to fly once diagnosed with OSA, but upon submitting documentation of effective treatment to FAA, the FAA will then consider the pilot for a special issuance medical certificate, which allow the pilot to resume flying. More information on FAA guidance can be found at: https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=18156.

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA's October 5, 2000, Advisory Criteria

    In 2000, FMCSA issued advisory criteria providing interpretive guidance to MEs concerning its physical qualifications standards. These advisory criteria are recommendations from FMCSA to assist MEs in applying the minimum physical qualification standards. The advisory criteria were published with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations as part of the medical examination report form in 49 CFR. 391.43 (Physical Qualification of Drivers; Medical Examination; Certificate, 65 FR 59363 (October 5, 2000)).

    The advisory criterion for section 391.41(b)(5), which has been unchanged since 2000, provides the following guidance for MEs in making the determination whether a driver satisfies the respiratory standard:

    [Because] a driver must be alert at all times, any change in his or her mental state is in direct conflict with highway safety. Even the slightest impairment in respiratory function under emergency conditions (when greater oxygen supply is necessary for performance) may be detrimental to safe driving.

    There are many conditions that interfere with oxygen exchange and may result in incapacitation, including emphysema, chronic asthma, carcinoma, tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis and sleep apnea. If the MEs detect a respiratory dysfunction that in any way is likely to interfere with the driver's ability to safely control and drive a commercial motor vehicle, the driver must be referred to a specialist for further evaluation and therapy. . . .

    Based on the above advisory criterion, it is clear that FMCSA considers OSA to be a respiratory dysfunction that interferes with oxygen exchange. As such, if a ME believes a driver's respiratory condition is, in any way, likely to interfere with the driver's ability to safely control and drive a commercial motor vehicle, the examiner may refer the driver to a specialist for further evaluation and therapy. This advisory criterion is helpful to MEs when the examiner has sufficient experience or information to recognize certain risk factors for OSA and when a driver tells the examiner that he has been diagnosed with OSA. Under these circumstances, MEs may consider referring the driver to a specialist for evaluation before issuing a ME's certificate, or request additional information from the driver and his treating healthcare professional about the management of the driver's OSA, respectively. However, the current guidance is not helpful if the ME does not have sufficient experience or information to suspect the driver may have OSA, or the driver does not share with the examiner any previous diagnosis that he has the condition.

    MRB and MCSAC Recommendations

    In consideration of the limitations of the current advisory criterion, FMCSA tasked its MRB and MCSAC in 2011 to provide recommendations that FMCSA should consider to (1) develop new OSA standards for motor carriers, commercial vehicle drivers, and MEs and (2) determine whether drivers with this respiratory condition should receive an unrestricted two-year medical certificate to operate CMVs in interstate commerce. The MCSAC also recommended interim actions that FMCSA could take to help MEs address the issue before completing a rulemaking. A copy of the task statement, all presentations provided to the MCSAC, MRB, and the Committees' December 13, 2011, letter report to the FMCSA Administrator are included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice and also at the MCSAC Web page at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/advisory-committees/mcsac/2012-past-meetings.

    During the deliberations of the MCSAC and MRB, experts indicated that studies 16 show that a using a BMI of 33 as a screening indicator for OSA is the value at which false positives and false negatives are minimized. A false positive would require a driver who does not have moderate-to-severe OSA to undergo a sleep study unnecessarily, while a false negative would fail to require a driver who actually has moderate-to-severe OSA to undergo a sleep study. The medical experts participating in the meeting indicated that approximately 75 percent of moderate-to-severe OSA cases would be correctly identified by requiring a sleep study for drivers with a BMI of 33 or greater; however, approximately 25 percent of drivers with moderate-to-severe OSA would be missed with this cutoff. Because the likelihood of OSA in patients with BMIs of 35 or greater rises to nearly 80 percent, the MCSAC and MRB agreed to use a BMI of 35 (rather than 33) in their interim advice to MEs screening drivers for referral to a specialist. A copy of the MCSAC and MRB discussion notes is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice.

    16 Numerous studies were cited in presentations to the groups; links to two relevant presentations are: (1) https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/advisory-committees/mcsac/addressing-obstructive-sleep-apnea-cmv-drivers, and (2) https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/advisory-committees/mcsac/screening-osa-commercial-vehicle-operators.

    The chairs of the MRB and MCSAC considered their December 13, 2011, report as a first step towards recommendations for addressing OSA. The two committees completed more detailed recommendations in February 2012 to support a future notice-and-comment rulemaking. A copy of those recommendations is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice.

    Before FMCSA issued a notice requesting public comment on proposed regulatory guidance, several stakeholder groups expressed concerns about the agency addressing OSA through regulatory guidance, even on an interim basis. These groups requested that FMCSA pursue the matter through a notice-and-comment rulemaking process.

    In 2013, Congress enacted Public Law 113-45 (127 Stat. 557, October 13, 2013, in a note to 49 U.S.C. 31305) directing FMCSA to issue any new or revised requirements concerning sleep disorders, including OSA, by rulemaking. Such requirements would include those for sleep apnea screening, testing, and treatment of CMV drivers.

    On January 12, 2015, FMCSA issued a bulletin to healthcare professionals on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners regarding OSA. The bulletin reminded healthcare workers of the current physical qualifications standards and advisory criteria concerning the respiratory system, and specifically how those requirements apply to drivers that may have OSA. It encouraged MEs to explain to drivers the distinction between actions based on the current regulations and advisory criteria versus actions based on the MEs' professional judgment.

    Federal Railroad Administration

    The FRA has taken various regulatory and non-regulatory actions to address the risk of accidents in which fatigue and/or OSA may be a contributing factor.

    FRA Hours of Service Laws and Regulations

    FRA enforces laws and has issued regulations regarding hours of service for certain railroad employees. See 49 U.S.C. chapter 211 and 49 CFR part 228. The hours of service (HOS) laws and regulations establish maximum hours of work and minimum hours of rest for train employees, signal employees, and dispatching service employees, as defined at 49 U.S.C. 21101.

    HOS laws and regulations are a necessary component of mitigating risk associated with work schedules, including potential fatigue-related risks. However, HOS laws and regulations do not adequately mitigate risks associated with undiagnosed or inadequately treated OSA, even if the work schedules comply with the HOS laws and regulations, as they assume that the sleep that occurs during off-duty time is normal, restful sleep.

    Fatigue Management Plans

    RSIA also requires certain railroads to establish a fatigue management plan. See 49 U.S.C. 20156(f). FRA is currently working with the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) to draft a regulation to implement this mandate. The RSIA requires plans to be “designed to reduce the fatigue experienced by safety-related railroad employees and to reduce the likelihood of accidents, incidents, injuries, and fatalities caused by fatigue.” Id. at section 20156(f)(1). Further, the RSIA requires a railroad to consider the need to include in its fatigue management plan, as applicable, “opportunities for identification, diagnosis, and treatment of any medical condition that may affect alertness or fatigue, including sleep disorders.” Id. at section 20156(f)(3)(B). However, RSIA does not specifically mandate that the regulation require railroads to screen and evaluate safety-related railroad employees for OSA or other sleep disorders.

    FRA Safety Advisory 2004-04

    On September 21, 2004, FRA issued Safety Advisory 2004-04 to alert the railroad community, and especially those employees with safety sensitive duties, to the danger associated with degradation of performance resulting from sleep disorders that are undiagnosed or not successfully treated. 69 FR 58995 (Oct. 1, 2004). FRA recommended that the railroad community take the following actions:

    1. Establish training and educational programs to inform employees of the potential for performance impairment as a result of fatigue and sleep related issues;

    2. Develop standardized screening tools for diagnosis, referral, and treatment of sleep disorders (especially sleep apnea);

    3. Develop rules to encourage voluntary reporting of sleep disorders by employees with safety sensitive duties;

    4. Implement policies that would prohibit employees in safety sensitive positions who have incapacitation or performance-impairing medical conditions related to sleep from performing any safety sensitive duties until the medical condition appropriately responds to treatment; and

    5. Implement policies to: (a) Promote self-reporting; (b) encourage participation in evaluation and treatment; and (c) establish dispute resolution to resolve any issues regarding fitness of those employees who have reported sleep-related issues.

    RSAC Medical Standards Working Group

    In September 2006, the RSAC established the Medical Standards Working Group to develop standards for identifying conditions that could lead to sudden incapacitation or impairment of safety-critical personnel. The Working Group established a Physicians Task Force that developed draft medical standards and protocols. FRA put the Medical Standards Working Group on hiatus due to the requirement to focus on activities mandated in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

    Railroaders' Guide to Healthy Sleep Web Site

    As part of its non-regulatory efforts to address fatigue, FRA sponsors the Railroaders' Guide to Healthy Sleep Web site.17 This Web site is set up to disseminate educational information to railroad employees and their families about sleep disorders, the relevance of healthy sleep to railroad safety, and information about improving the quality of the railroaders' sleep. The Web site was developed in conjunction with the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, WGBH Educational Foundation, and Volpe—The National Transportation Systems Center.

    17https://www.railroadersleep.org/.

    Why do the Agencies believe regulatory action may be necessary?

    Based on the potential severity of OSA-related transportation incidents and accidents, and the varied, non-regulatory, OSA-related actions taken by the Department's Operating Administrations to date, the Agencies are considering taking regulatory action to ensure consistency in addressing the safety issue presented by transportation workers with safety sensitive duties who are at risk for OSA.

    The Agencies seek information from interested parties regarding OSA, in order to better inform their decision on whether to take regulatory action and, if so, how to craft the most effective and efficient regulation to address the potential safety risks associated with OSA.

    Request for Comments

    The Agencies request public comment on the questions below. In your response, please provide supporting materials and identify your interest in this rulemaking, whether in the transportation industry, medical profession, or other.

    The Problem of OSA

    1. What is the prevalence of moderate-to-severe OSA among the general adult U.S. population? How does this prevalence vary by age?

    2. What is prevalence of moderate-to-severe OSA among individuals occupying safety sensitive transportation positions? If it differs from that among the general population, why does it appear to do so? If no existing estimates exist, what methods and information sources can the agencies use to reliably estimate this prevalence?

    3. Is there information (studies, data, etc.) available for estimating the future consequences resulting from individuals with OSA occupying safety sensitive transportation positions in the absence of new restrictions? For example, does any organization track the number of historical motor carrier or train accidents caused by OSA? With respect to rail, how would any OSA regulations and the current PTC requirements interrelate?

    4. Which categories of transportation workers with safety sensitive duties should be required to undergo screening for OSA? On what basis did you identify those workers?

    Cost & Benefits

    5. What alternative forms and degrees of restriction could FMCSA and FRA place on the performance of safety-sensitive duties by transportation workers with moderate-to-severe OSA, and how effective would these restrictions be in improving transportation safety? Should any regulations differentiate requirements for patients with moderate, as opposed to severe, OSA?

    6. What are the potential costs of alternative FMCSA/FRA regulatory actions that would restrict the safety sensitive activities of transportation workers diagnosed with moderate-to-severe OSA? Who would incur those costs? What are the benefits of such actions and who would realize them?

    7. What are the potential improved health outcomes for individuals occupying safety sensitive transportation positions and would receive OSA treatment due to regulations?

    8. What models or empirical evidence is available to use to estimate potential costs and benefits of alternative restrictions?

    9. What costs would be imposed on transportation workers with safety sensitive duties by requiring screening, evaluation, and treatment of OSA?

    10. Are there any private or governmental sources of financial assistance? Would health insurance cover costs for screening and/or treatment of OSA?

    Screening Procedures & Diagnostics

    11. What medical guidelines other than the AASM FAA currently uses are suitable for screening transportation workers with safety sensitive duties that are regulated by FMCSA/FRA for OSA? What level of effectiveness are you seeing with these guidelines?

    12. What were the safety performance histories of transportation workers with safety sensitive duties who were diagnosed with moderate-to-severe OSA, who are now successfully compliant with treatment before and after their diagnosis?

    13. When and how frequently should transportation workers with safety sensitive duties be screened for OSA? What methods (laboratory, at-home, split, etc.) of diagnosing OSA are appropriate and why?

    14. What, if any, restrictions or prohibitions should there be on a transportation workers' safety sensitive duties while they are being evaluated for moderate-to-severe OSA?

    15. What methods are currently employed for providing training or other informational materials about OSA to transportation workers with safety sensitive duties? How effective are these methods at identifying workers with OSA?

    Medical Personnel Qualifications & Restrictions

    16. What qualifications or credentials are necessary for a medical practitioner who performs OSA screening? What qualifications or credentials are necessary for a medical practitioner who performs the diagnosis and treatment of OSA?

    17. With respect to FRA should it use Railroad MEs to perform OSA screening, diagnosis, and treatment?

    18. Should MEs or other Agencies' designated medical practitioners impose restrictions on a transportation worker with safety sensitive duties who self-reports experiencing excessive sleepiness while performing safety sensitive duties?

    Treatment Effectiveness

    19. What should be the acceptable criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of prescribed treatments for moderate-to-severe OSA?

    20. What measures should be used to evaluate whether transportation employees with safety sensitive duties are receiving effective OSA treatment?

    Rulemaking Analyses and Notices Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    Under E.O. 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review” (issued September 30, 1993, published October 4 at 58 FR 51735, and discussed above in the “Background” section), as supplemented by E.O. 13563 and DOT policies and procedures, if a regulatory action is determined to be “significant,” it is subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review. E.O. 12866 defines “significant regulatory action” as one 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 government 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.

    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the E.O.

    The Department has determined this ANPRM is a “significant regulatory action” under E.O. 12866, and significant under DOT regulatory policies and procedures due to significant public interest in the legal and policy issues addressed. Therefore, this notice has been reviewed by OMB.

    Issued under the authority of delegations in 49 CFR 1.87(f) and (i) and 49 CFR 1.89(a), respectively:

    T.F. Scott Darling III, Acting Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Sarah Feinberg, Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05396 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 571 [Docket No. NHTSA-2016-0029] RIN 2127-AL68 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Electric-Powered Vehicles: Electrolyte Spillage and Electrical Shock Protection AGENCY:

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    NHTSA is proposing to amend Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 305, “Electric-powered vehicles: Electrolyte spillage and electrical shock protection,” to adopt various electrical safety requirements in Global Technical Regulation (GTR) No. 13, “Hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles.” To expand the standard's performance requirements beyond post-crash conditions, NHTSA proposes to adopt electrical safety requirements to protect against direct and indirect contact of high voltage sources during everyday operation of electric-powered vehicles. Also, NHTSA proposes to adopt an optional method of meeting post-crash electrical safety requirements consistent with that set forth in GTR No. 13 involving use of physical barriers to prevent direct or indirect contact (by occupants or emergency services personnel) with high voltage sources. Today's proposal would facilitate the introduction of new technologies including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and 48 volt mild hybrid technologies, and responds not only to GTR No. 13 but also to petitions for rulemaking from Toyota Motor North America Inc. (Toyota) and the Auto Alliance (Alliance).

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before May 9, 2016.

    Proposed compliance date: We believe there is widespread conformance of vehicles to the proposed requirements. Accordingly, we propose that the compliance date for the amendments in this rulemaking action would be 180 days after the date of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. We propose to permit optional early compliance with the amended requirements.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments to the docket number identified in the heading of this document by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: 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 or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Fax: (202) 493-2251.

    Regardless of how you submit your comments, please mention the docket number of this document.

    You may also call the Docket at 202-366-9324.

    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Public Participation heading of the Supplementary Information section of this document. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

    Privacy Act: Please see the Privacy Act heading under Rulemaking Analyses and Notices.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For technical issues, you may call William J. Sanchez, Office of Crashworthiness Standards (telephone: 202-493-0248) (fax: 202-493-2990). For legal issues, you may call Deirdre Fujita, Office of Chief Counsel (telephone: 202-366-2992) (fax: 202-366-3820). Address: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Washington, DC 20590.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Executive Summary II. FMVSS No. 305 III. The Global Technical Regulation a. Overview of the Process b. Overview of GTR No. 13 1. Electric Safety Requirements During Normal Vehicle Operation 2. Electric Safety Requirements Post-Crash Test c. How does this proposal differ from GTR No. 13? IV. Battelle Study and Developments V. Toyota Petition for Rulemaking VI. Alliance Petition for Rulemaking VII. Overview of Proposed Rule VIII. Proposal Addressing Safety During Normal Vehicle Operations IX. Proposal Addressing Safety Post-Crash X. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices XI. Public Participation I. Executive Summary

    NHTSA is issuing this NPRM as part of the agency's ongoing effort to harmonize vehicle safety standards under the Economic Commission for Europe 1998 Global Agreement (“1998 Agreement”). The efforts of the U.S. and other contracting parties to the 1998 Agreement culminated in the establishment of GTR No. 13, “Hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles.” NHTSA voted in June 2013 in favor of establishing GTR No. 13. In this NPRM, we are proposing requirements based on the electrical safety requirements of GTR No. 13. NHTSA will initiate rulemaking in the future on other aspects of GTR No. 13 directly pertaining to the fuel system integrity of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

    One purpose of FMVSS No. 305 is to reduce deaths and injuries from electrical shock. The standard requires vehicles with high voltage sources to meet certain performance criteria to protect vehicle occupants, rescue workers and others who may come in contact with the vehicle after a crash. Among other things, FMVSS No. 305 requires that after a crash, high voltage sources in a vehicle are either (a) electrically isolated from the vehicle's chassis or (b) their voltage is below specified levels considered safe from electric shock hazards. Since the physiological impacts of direct current (DC) are less than those of alternating current (AC), the standard specifies lower minimum electrical isolation requirements for certain DC components (100 ohms/volt) than for AC components (500 ohms/volt).

    GTR No. 13 also has requirements intended to reduce deaths and injuries from electrical shock. Unlike FMVSS No. 305, GTR No. 13 has requirements that reduce the risk of harmful electric shock during normal vehicle operation. This NPRM proposes to adopt those requirements to expand FMVSS No. 305's performance requirements beyond post-crash conditions. In addition, while the various post-crash compliance options in GTR No. 13 are similar to those in FMVSS No. 305, GTR No. 13 includes a compliance option for electrical vehicle safety that prevents direct and indirect contact of high voltage sources by way of “physical barriers.” NHTSA is now proposing to amend FMVSS No. 305 to permit a physical barrier compliance option.1

    1 Our proposed physical barrier option varies slightly from GTR No. 13. GTR No. 13 provides contracting parties discretion in whether to propose the option in their domestic regulatory process. In our proposal today, we are not proposing to adopt GTR No. 13's physical barrier option. However, as further discussed, below, we are adopting a modified physical barrier option that we believe will also afford the compliance flexibility that GTR No. 13 seeks to provide, while at the same time providing a level of safety closer to the other post-crash compliance options. A small number of minor additional provisions are proposed as well. These additional provisions would not significantly alter our incorporation of GTR No. 13 and are consistent with the goal of incorporating a standard that is harmonized with other international standards.

    NHTSA tentatively believes that the by-product of adopting a physical barrier option would be more than harmonizing vehicle standards. Enhanced design innovation, reduced CO2 emissions and increased fuel economy would likely result. This proposal would facilitate the introduction of 48 volt mild hybrid technologies and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and responds not only to GTR No. 13 but also to petitions for rulemaking from Toyota and the Alliance.

    Petitioner Toyota believes that an additional compliance option that includes elements of the physical barrier option in GTR No. 13 is needed to allow hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs) to be offered for sale in the U.S.2 HFCVs and other electric powered vehicles operate with their DC high voltage sources (e.g. high voltage battery) connected to the AC high voltage sources (e.g. electric motor). In a moderate to severe crash (e.g., crash speeds at which an air bag would deploy), electric powered vehicles are generally designed with an automatic disconnect mechanism that activates and breaks the conductive link between the electrical energy storage system and the rest of the power train. Under these crash conditions in which an automatic disconnect mechanism activates, Toyota states that its HFCVs would be able to meet the electrical safety requirements of FMVSS No. 305. However, in low speed crashes where the automatic disconnect mechanism is not designed to activate so that the vehicle can be driven away after a minor crash (fender-bender), Toyota states that its HFCVs would not be able to meet the electrical safety requirements in FMVSS No. 305. The petitioner believes that the additional compliance option requested in its petition would solve this problem and would not cause any reduction in the level of electrical safety now required by FMVSS No. 305.

    2 Subsequent to its submission of the petition for rulemaking, Toyota submitted and was granted a temporary exemption from FMVSS No. 305 for an HFCV (see grant of petition, January 2, 2015 (80 FR 101)). Toyota incorporates electrical protection barriers (conductively connected to the electric chassis with low resistance) and maintains at least a 100 ohms/volt electrical isolation into their design. NHTSA granted the petition for exemption on the basis that the exemption would make the development or field evaluation of a low emission (zero emission) vehicle easier and would not unreasonably reduce the safety of the vehicle.

    Petitioner Alliance requests a physical barrier compliance option to facilitate the production of 48 volt mild hybrid technologies as well as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The petitioner asks NHTSA to amend FMVSS No. 305 to adopt a physical barrier option incorporated in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J1766 Jan 2014,3 section 5.3.4, for 48 volt mild hybrid systems. The Alliance believes that the provisions for physical barriers in section 5.3.4 incorporate the requirements of GTR No. 13 and provide for physical barriers that ensure equal levels of safety as that afforded by the current FMVSS No. 305 electrical safety requirements.

    3 SAE J1766, “Recommended practice for electric, fuel cell, and hybrid electric vehicle crash integrity testing,” January 2014, SAE International, http://www.sae.org.

    The petitioner states that while vehicles with 48 volt mild hybrid systems use mostly low-voltage components that do not present any danger of harmful electric shock, AC voltage sources contained within the system can exceed the 30 volt threshold in FMVSS No. 305 for consideration as a high voltage source. Since these systems are grounded to the vehicle chassis, they cannot meet FMVSS No. 305's existing electrical isolation option. The petitioner states that while it is feasible to design a 48 volt mild hybrid system that is isolated from the chassis and meets FMVSS No. 305's electrical isolation requirements, such designs involve more complexity, higher consumer costs, and higher mass resulting in reduced fuel economy and increased emissions. The petitioner believes that these penalties are inappropriate when there would be no incremental safety benefit gained beyond that associated with SAE J1766's physical barrier option.

    NHTSA has undertaken this rulemaking after carefully and extensively examining the safety issues. The agency previously decided against consideration of a physical barrier option earlier in the history of FMVSS No. 305, when our knowledge about the option was limited.4 Commenters to an NPRM to upgrade electrical shock protection requirements had asked NHTSA to adopt the option in the final rule, for reasons similar to those provided by petitioners Toyota and the Alliance. NHTSA declined, citing concerns about the lack of notice for the provision, the absence of developed test procedures to ensure protection from indirect contact, and uncertainty as to whether the option would sufficiently account for indirect contact failure modes. NHTSA then decided to undertake a research program (later known as the Battelle study, discussed below in this preamble) to better understand the issues related to a physical barrier option for electrical safety.

    4 See final rule, 75 FR 33515, June 14, 2010; response to petitions for reconsideration, 76 FR 45436, July 29, 2011.

    Since that decision in 2010, a number of developments led to today's proposal. GTR No. 13 was established, a product of shared data and knowledge from governing bodies and international experts around the world. The Battelle study was completed and the physical barrier countermeasure design was made more robust in response to its findings, with SAE revising J1766 in January 2014 to set forth more protective safety practices than it had before to address remote albeit lingering concerns. Importantly, there have now been years of worldwide recognition of the physical barrier option as an acceptable means of providing electrical safety in electric powered vehicles, with years of experience in design labs and in the field showing no evidence of associated safety problems. HFCVs, 48 volt mild hybrid technologies, and other vehicle designs have become a reality, and with them abundant potential for the development of electrical technologies that a physical barrier option in FMVSS No. 305 can facilitate, expedite and safeguard.

    We estimate that adopting this NPRM would come at essentially no cost to consumers in the U.S. This proposal closely mirrors the electrical safety provisions of GTR No. 13, which have been implemented by manufacturers in this country.

    NHTSA believes that this NPRM would improve the level of safety afforded to the public. Adopting the provisions from GTR No. 13 that reduce the risk of harmful electric shock during normal vehicle operation would improve FMVSS No. 305 by expanding its performance requirements beyond post-crash conditions. The proposed requirements would provide post-crash compliance options for new power train configurations that ensure that those configurations provide a comparable level of post-crash safety compared to existing electric vehicles.

    Summary of Proposal

    The proposed amendments are summarized as follows. In furtherance of implementing GTR No. 13 and in response to the petitions for rulemaking—

    a. This NPRM proposes to add electrical safety requirements for vehicle performance during everyday (“normal”) vehicle operations (as opposed to during and after a crash), to mitigate electric shock due to loss in electrical isolation and direct or indirect contact of high voltage sources. The electrical safety requirements during normal vehicle operations would include requirements for:

    1. Direct contact protection from high voltage sources

    i. IPXXD protection level 5 for high voltage sources inside passenger and luggage compartments. IPXXB protection level for high voltage sources not in passenger and luggage compartments.

    5 IPXXB and IPXXD “protection levels” refer to the ability of the physical barriers to prevent entrance of a probe into the enclosure, to ensure no direct contact with high voltage sources. “IPXXB” is a probe representing a small human finger. “IPXXD” is a slender wire probe. Protection degrees IPXXD and IPXXB are International Electrotechnical Commission specifications for protection from direct contact of high voltage sources.

    ii. IPXXB protection level for service disconnect that can be opened or removed without tools.

    iii. Markings on barriers of high voltage sources that can be physically accessed, opened, or removed without the use of tools.

    iv. Orange color outer covering for cables of high voltage sources that are located outside electrical protection barriers.6

    6 An electrical protection barrier is defined in GTR No. 13 as the part providing protection from direct contact with high voltage sources from any direction of access. These may be physical barriers that enclose high voltage sources.

    2. Indirect contact protection from high voltage sources

    Exposed conductive parts of electrical protection barriers would have to be conductively connected to the chassis with a resistance less than 0.1 ohms, and the resistance between two simultaneously reachable exposed conductive parts of electrical protection barriers that are within 2.5 meters of each other would have to be less than 0.2 ohms.

    3. Electrical isolation of high voltage sources

    i. 500 ohms/volt or higher electrical isolation for AC high voltage sources and 100 ohms/volt or higher for DC high voltage sources.

    ii. For conditions where AC and DC bus are connected, AC high voltage sources would be permitted to have electrical isolation of 100 ohms/volt or higher, provided they also have the direct and indirect contact protection described in 1 and 2, above.

    iii. There would be an exclusion of 48 volt hybrid vehicles from electrical isolation requirements during normal vehicle operation.

    4. Electrical isolation monitoring system for DC high voltage sources on fuel cell vehicles.

    5. Electrical safety during charging involving connecting the vehicle to an external electric power supply:

    i. Minimum electrical isolation resistance of one million ohm of the coupling system for charging the electrical energy storage system; and

    ii. Conductive connection of the electric chassis to earth ground before and during exterior voltage is applied.

    6. Mitigating driver error by—

    i. Requiring an indication to the driver when the vehicle is in active driving mode upon vehicle start up and when the driver is leaving the vehicle; and,

    ii. Preventing vehicle movement by its own propulsion system when the vehicle charging system is connected to the external electric power supply.

    b. This NPRM also proposes to amend FMVSS No. 305's post-crash electrical safety requirements. The proposed post-crash electrical safety requirements include:

    1. Adding an additional optional method of meeting post-crash electrical safety requirements through physical barrier protection from high voltage sources. The proposed specifications of this optional method of electric safety include requirements ensuring that:

    i. High voltage sources would be enclosed in barriers that prevent direct human contact with high voltage sources (IPXXB protection level),

    ii. Exposed conductive parts of electrical protection barriers would be conductively connected to the chassis with a resistance less than 0.1 ohms, and the resistance between any two simultaneously reachable exposed conductive parts of electrical protection barriers that are less than 2.5 meters from each other would be less than 0.2 ohms, and

    iii. Voltage between a barrier and other exposed conductive parts of the vehicle would be at a low voltage level that would not cause electric shock (less than 60 VDC 7 or 30 VAC).

    7 VDC is the voltage for direct current sources and VAC is voltage for alternating current sources.

    2. Permitting an AC high voltage source that is conductively connected to a DC high voltage source to meet lower minimum electrical isolation requirement of 100 ohms/volt, provided the AC high voltage source also has physical barrier protection specified in 1, above.

    II. FMVSS No. 305

    FMVSS No. 305 currently establishes requirements to reduce deaths and injuries during and after a crash that occurs because of electrolyte spillage from electric energy storage devices, intrusion of electric energy storage/conversion device into the occupant compartment, and electrical shock. Among other things, FMVSS No. 305 requires that during and after the crash tests specified in the standard, high voltage sources in the vehicle must be either (a) electrically isolated from the vehicle's chassis,8 or (b) their voltage is below specified levels considered safe from electric shock hazards.9

    8 Under this electrical isolation option, since the physiological impacts of DC are less than those of AC, the standard permits DC high voltage sources with an electrical isolation monitoring system to have lower minimum electrical isolation (100 ohms/volt) than the 500 ohms/volt required for AC high voltage sources. This level of electrical isolation limits the current that could pass through a human body (that is in contact with the vehicle) to no more than 10 milliamperes (mA) DC or 2 mA AC. These levels are considered to be safe levels of current and would not cause any tissue damage, or fibrillation.

    9 Under this low voltage option, electrical components are considered to be low voltage and safe from electric shock hazard if their voltage is less than or equal to 60 VDC or 30 VAC.

    Many of these electrical shock protection requirements were established by a June 14, 2010 final rule (75 FR 33515) that revised the standard to align it more closely with the April 2005 version of SAE J1766. Commenters to the NPRM preceding the June 14, 2010 final rule (viz., the Alliance and Global Automakers) requested another electrical safety compliance option, called the “physical barrier option,” for providing greater flexibility to allow introduction of advanced power train technologies. In the physical barrier option, high voltage sources are enclosed in physical barriers (electrical protection barriers) that do not permit entrance of a finger probe into the enclosure after the crash test to ensure no direct contact with high voltage sources. This option also requires the physical barriers to be conductively connected to the electric chassis to ensure no electric shock due to indirect contact in the event of loss in isolation of a high voltage source.

    In the June 14, 2010 final rule, NHTSA declined to adopt the physical barrier option, citing concerns about the sufficiency of notice provided for the provision, the absence of developed test procedures to ensure protection from indirect contact, and uncertainty as to whether the option would sufficiently account for indirect contact failure modes. NHTSA stated that it would undertake a research program (the Battelle study) to better understand the issues related to a physical barrier option for electrical safety.

    III. The Global Technical Regulation a. Overview of the Process

    The United States is a contracting party to the “1998 Agreement” (the Agreement concerning the Establishing of Global Technical Regulations for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment and Parts which can be fitted and/or be used on Wheeled Vehicles). This agreement entered into force in 2000 and is administered by the UN Economic Commission for Europe's (UN ECE's) World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29). The purpose of this agreement is to establish Global Technical Regulations (GTRs).

    GTR No. 13, “Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles,” addresses hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technology. NHTSA closely collaborated with experts from contracting parties to the 1998 Agreement, particularly Germany and Japan, to develop a GTR for hydrogen fueled vehicles that would establish levels of safety that are equivalent to or exceeds those for conventional gasoline fueled vehicles. The collaborative effort in this process led to the establishment of GTR No. 13 in June 2013.

    The U.S. voted on June 27, 2013 in favor of establishing GTR No. 13. In voting yes to establishing the GTR, NHTSA is obligated to “submit the technical Regulation to the process” used in the U.S. to adopt the requirement into our law or regulation. By issuance of this NPRM, NHTSA is initiating the process for considering adoption of GTR No. 13.

    Under the terms of the 1998 Agreement, NHTSA is not obligated to adopt the GTR after initiating this process. In deciding whether to adopt a GTR as an FMVSS, we follow the requirements for NHTSA rulemaking, including the Administrative Procedure Act, the National Highway and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Vehicle Safety Act), Presidential Executive Orders, and DOT and NHTSA policies, procedures and regulations. Among other things, FMVSSs issued under the Vehicle Safety Act “shall be practicable, meet the need for motor vehicle safety, and be stated in objective terms.” 49 U.S.C. 30111.

    This NPRM does not propose the entirety of GTR No. 13 at this time. This document only addresses the electrical safety requirements in GTR No. 13 (i.e., the electrical isolation requirements, physical barrier requirements, etc.). GTR No. 13 also addresses hydrogen fuel system and fuel container integrity requirements and the agency's plan is to issue a separate proposal to seek comment on incorporating those portions of GTR No. 13 into the relevant FMVSSs.

    b. Overview of GTR No. 13

    Hydrogen fueled fuel cell vehicles have an electric drive-train powered by a fuel cell that generates electric power electrochemically using hydrogen. The hydrogen is electrochemically combined with oxygen (from air) within the fuel cell system to produce high-voltage electric power. The electric power is supplied to the electric drive motors and/or used to charge batteries and capacitors. HFCVs may also be equipped with batteries to supplement the output of fuel cells and may also recapture energy during stopping through regenerative braking, which recharges batteries and thereby improves efficiency.

    The fuel cell provides DC power while the drive motors typically operate on AC. Therefore, the power train has: (a) Inverters to convert DC power to AC to run the motors and (b) converters to convert AC power generated in the drive motor during regenerative braking to DC to store energy in the batteries. In many respects, the electric power train of an HFCV is similar to that of electric and hybrid electric vehicles. GTR No. 13, in part, specifies electrical safety requirements during normal vehicle operation and after a crash test, to protect against electric shock in the event of a failure in the high voltage propulsion system.

    In general, the portions of GTR No. 13 that are relevant to this rulemaking are the electric safety requirements intended to protect against the potential for electric shock during (a) normal vehicle operation, and (b) after a crash. We discuss these requirements in GTR No. 13 in the sections below.

    1. Electric Safety Requirements During Normal Vehicle Operation

    These performance requirements in GTR No. 13 are requirements intended for protecting vehicle occupants (and others that may interact with the vehicle) against electric shock during normal vehicle operation.10 For the purposes of the GTR, normal vehicle operations include those during driving and charging.

    10 In other words, the focus of this “in-use” testing (unlike “post-crash” testing, discussed later) deals with performance criteria that would be assessed without first exposing the vehicle to a crash test. This testing is aimed at evaluating what the performance of the vehicle would be under normal operating conditions.

    The GTR requirements apply to all high voltage sources (electric components contained or connected to the electric power train that have a working voltage greater than 30 VAC or 60 VDC). It requires these high voltage sources to have all four of the following measures to protect against electric shock during normal vehicle operations: (1) Prevent direct contact of high voltage sources (those operating with voltage greater than 30 VAC or 60 VDC); (2) prevent indirect contact of high voltage sources; (3) electrically isolate the high voltage sources from the electric chassis (500 ohms/volt or higher for AC and 100 ohms/volt or higher for DC sources); and (4) electrical isolation monitoring system for HFCVs that warns the driver in the event of loss in isolation.

    The GTR also has the following measures to reduce driver errors that may result in potential unsafe conditions: (1) Indication to the driver when the vehicle is in possible active driving mode at startup and when the driver is leaving the vehicle, and (2) prevent vehicle movement by its own propulsion system when the vehicle charging system is connected to the external electric power supply.

    Protection Against Direct Contact With High Voltage Sources

    For protection against direct contact with high voltage sources, the GTR has different requirements based on the location of the high voltage source (i.e., if it is in the passenger or luggage compartment of the vehicle or not).

    The GTR requires high voltage sources inside the passenger compartment or luggage compartment to be enclosed in protection systems such as solid insulators, electrical protection barriers, and enclosures that cannot be opened, disassembled, or removed without the use of tools and that provide protection degree IPXXD. Protection degree IPXXD is an International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) specification for protection from direct contact of high voltage sources. IPXXD protection is verified when a standard probe (rigid test wire shown in Figure 1), 100 millimeters (mm) long and 1 millimeter (mm) in diameter, does not contact high voltage components when probed to enter an electrical protection barrier or enclosure.11

    11 IEC60529 Second edition 1989-11 + Am. 1 1999-11, EN60529, “Degrees of protection provided by enclosures.”

    EP10MR16.000

    For high voltage sources not in passenger or luggage compartments,12 the GTR requires that they be enclosed in protection systems such as solid insulators, electrical protection barriers, and enclosures that cannot be opened, disassembled, or removed without the use of tools, and that provide a protection degree of IPXXB (as opposed to IPXXD, referenced above). Protection degree IPXXB is an IEC specification for protection from direct contact of high voltage sources. IPXXB protection is verified when a standard probe (resembling a small human finger), 80 mm long and 12 mm in diameter, does not contact high voltage components when probed to enter an electrical protection barrier or enclosure.13 (See Figure 2 below.)

    12 GTR No. 13 specifies direct contact protection requirements for high voltage connectors (including vehicle inlet) separately.

    13 IEC60529 Second edition 1989-11 + Am. 1 1999-11, EN60529, “Degrees of protection provided by enclosures.” This test probe designed to simulate a small human finger (12 mm) conforms to ISO 20653 “Road vehicles—Degrees of protection (IP-Code)—Protection of electrical equipment against foreign objects, water, and access (IPXXB).”

    EP10MR16.001

    In addition to barriers preventing direct physical contact with high voltage sources, GTR No. 13 also requires protections for the “service disconnect.” 14 These provisions protect emergency personnel, persons performing service/maintenance on the vehicle, and vehicle occupants. The GTR requires that a service disconnect (which can be opened, disassembled or removed without tools) be enclosed by protection systems with protection degree IPXXB when the service disconnect is opened, disassembled, or removed.

    14 A service disconnect is a device for deactivation of an electrical circuit when conducting checks and services of the electric battery, fuel cell stack, or other high voltage sources.

    Further, the GTR requires that high voltage sources be labeled using the symbol shown in Figure 3, below. The interior of the symbol is yellow and the border and arrow symbol are black. This requirement aims to provide a standardized warning regarding the presence of high voltage sources within an enclosure that can be physically accessed, opened or removed without the use of tools. The GTR specifies that the labels need to be on or near electric energy storage/conversion devices and on electrical protection barriers or enclosures of high voltage sources that can be physically accessed, opened, or removed without the use of tools and that are not located underneath the vehicle floor. For connecters of high voltage sources, the GTR makes this requirement optional.

    EP10MR16.002

    In the same vein, the GTR requires cables to have a standardized warning that high voltage cables are present. The GTR requires that cables for high voltage sources, which are not located within enclosures, must have an orange outer covering for identification.

    Protection Against Indirect Contact With High Voltage Sources

    Indirect contact of high voltage sources 15 may occur when a high voltage source experiences a loss in electrical isolation and the physical barrier or enclosure gets electrically energized. This type of contact could also lead to electrical shock. To address this concern, the GTR requires, first, that exposed conductive parts (parts which may become electrically energized under electrical isolation failure and which can be contacted by a human, such as electrical protection barriers and enclosures) be conductively connected to the electrical chassis such that the resistance between all exposed conductive parts and the electrical chassis is less than 0.1 ohms when there is current flow of at least 0.2 amperes (A).16 This would ensure that in the event of loss in electrical isolation, no dangerous voltage potentials are produced between exposed conductive parts and the electrical chassis, and therefore very low levels of current would flow through a human body contacting different parts of the vehicle.17

    15 Contact of a conductive part which is energized due to loss in electrical isolation of a high voltage source is an indirect contact of the high voltage source.

    16 GTR No. 13 considers this requirement to be met if visual inspection indicates that a conductive connection has been established by welding. NHTSA has concerns about this provision and is requesting comments on it.

    17 Since current flows through the path of least resistance, most of the current flow would be through the chassis rather than through the human body which has a significantly higher resistance.

    Second, GTR No. 13 requires that vehicles whose rechargeable energy storage systems are charged by conductively connecting to an external grounded electric power supply have a device that conductively connects the electrical chassis to the earth ground during charging. This ensures that if there is a loss in electrical isolation of a high voltage source during charging and the vehicle chassis is contacted by a human, the magnitude of current flowing through the person is very low and in the safe zone.18

    18 Current will flow through the path of least resistance and therefore most of the current resulting from a loss of electrical isolation would flow through the ground connection rather than through the human body.

    Protection by Electrical Isolation

    GTR No. 13 affords different electrical isolation requirements for AC and DC high voltage sources based on whether they are conductively isolated from each other or conductively linked together.

    For AC and DC high voltage sources that are conductively isolated from each other, GTR No. 13 requires isolation resistance between the high voltage source and the electrical chassis to be a minimum value of 100 ohms/volt of the working voltage for DC high voltage sources, and a minimum value of 500 ohms/volt of the working voltage for AC high voltage sources. This requirement is similar to the post-crash electrical isolation requirement currently in FMVSS No. 305. It ensures that in the event high voltage sources are contacted, the current flowing through the body is less than or equal to 10 mA DC or 2 mA AC—which is considered to be safe.19

    19See IEC TS 60479-1 and TS 60479-2 Effects of Current on Human Beings and Livestock—Part 1: General Aspects, 2005-07, Reference Nos. CEI/IEC/TS 60479-1:2005.

    For AC and DC high voltage sources that are conductively connected, GTR No. 13 affords two options. The first option is the vehicle may maintain an isolation resistance between the high voltage sources and the electrical chassis at no less than 500 ohms/volt of the working voltage. The second option is it may provide an isolation resistance between the high voltage sources and the electrical chassis of no less than 100 ohms/volt of the working voltage and provide physical barrier protection for the AC high voltage sources to prevent both direct and indirect contact, as discussed above. (Note that a “physical barrier” approach would be a new concept in FMVSS No. 305.)

    In addition, GTR No. 13 specifies electrical isolation requirements for charging electric vehicles whose rechargeable energy storage system are charged by conductively connecting to an external power supply. GTR No. 13 requires that the isolation resistance between the electrical chassis and high voltage sources conductively connected to the vehicle inlet which connects to the external power supply to be at least 1 million (M) ohms when the charge coupler is disconnected. This requirement is in accordance with IEC61851-1-2010 20 and International Standards Organization (ISO) 6469-2 21 which prescribe electrical isolation for electric vehicles that connect to the power grid for charging. A typical minimum allowable isolation requirement for a grounded product connected to the power grid is 1000 ohms/volt, which computes to 1M ohms.

    20 IEC 61851-1:2010 Electric vehicle conductive charging system—Part 1: General requirements, available at https://webstore.iec.ch/publication/6029.

    21 ISO 6469-2:2009 Electrically propelled road vehicles—Safety specifications—Part 2: Vehicle operational safety means and protection against failures. Available at http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail?csnumber=45478.

    Protection by Electrical Isolation Monitoring System

    GTR No. 13 also contains provisions for monitoring the electrical isolation under certain conditions. In fuel cell vehicles, GTR No. 13 requires DC high voltage sources (other than the coupling system for charging) to have an on-board electrical isolation monitoring system, together with a warning to the driver if the isolation resistance drops below the minimum required value of 100 ohms/volt. FMVSS No. 305 specifies a similar requirement except that FMVSS No. 305 applies this provision to vehicles that are certified to the 100 ohms/volt electrical isolation option 22 (rather than to fuel cell vehicles specifically).

    22 As discussed above, AC high voltage sources are required under FMVSS No. 305 to have at least 500 ohms/volt of electrical isolation. DC high voltage sources may have an electrical isolation of 100 ohms/volt or greater provided that they meet conditions such as having an electrical isolation monitoring system meeting the requirements of the standard.

    Protection by Mitigating Driver Error

    GTR No. 13 also has provisions for mitigating the likelihood of driver error in operating electric vehicles. First, GTR No. 13 requires that at least a momentary indication be given to the driver when the vehicle is in possible active driving mode.23 Second, when leaving the vehicle, the driver shall be informed by an optical or audible signal if the vehicle is still in possible active driving mode. The third requirement is that for vehicles where the on-board rechargeable energy storage/conversion device can be charged externally, vehicle movement by its own propulsion system shall not be possible when the external electric power supply is physically connected to the vehicle inlet.

    23I.e., the vehicle mode when application of pressure to the accelerator pedal or release of the brake system causes the electric power train to move the vehicle.

    The first requirement does not apply to vehicles with an internal combustion engine that directly or indirectly provides the vehicle's propulsion on startup. Since electric powered vehicles operate quietly, an indication of the vehicle in possible active driving mode would assist the driver in reducing operational errors that could have safety implications. The third requirement prevents the charger from getting ripped out of the vehicle inlet during charging that could cause electrical arcing.

    2. Electric Safety Requirements Post-Crash Test

    The post-crash 24 electrical safety requirements in GTR No. 13 apply to all high voltage sources (electric components contained or connected to the electric power train that have a working voltage greater than 30 VAC or 60 VDC). GTR No. 13 does not specify the type of crash test and how it is conducted. This is left to each contracting party to develop appropriate crash tests. After the crash test, to provide adequate protection against electric shock, GTR No. 13 affords three potential options that a vehicle manufacturer may use to protect against potential human contact with high voltage sources. GTR No. 13 specifically gives contracting parties the choice not to provide the physical barrier option in their final domestic regulation.

    24 In terms of “post-crash” we are referring to assessing a vehicle's electrical safety provisions (electrical isolation, physical barrier, etc.) after the vehicle is exposed to specified crash forces in a crash test. This is different from the aforementioned “in-use” (or “normal operating conditions”) requirements where the vehicle is evaluated for conformance with a performance requirement without first being exposed to crash testing.

    Reduce the Voltage Levels of the High Voltage Sources Such That They Are No Longer High Voltage Sources

    Reducing the high voltage sources' voltage to a level below what is considered a “high voltage source” means there is no further need to protect against electrical shock from those sources. Thus, in this option, GTR No. 13 requires that the voltages of each high voltage source be reduced to less than or equal to 30 VAC or 60 VDC within 60 seconds after the impact. A version of this option for electrical safety is currently in FMVSS No. 305.

    Use a Physical Barrier and Other Techniques To Prevent Direct/Indirect Contact 25 With High Voltage Sources

    25 To reiterate, this option is one that contracting parties may choose not to propose. In other words, a contracting party that voted in favor of this GTR may submit this GTR to their domestic rulemaking process affording only two options for protecting against post-crash electrical shock (i.e., reducing the high voltage sources' voltage so that they are no longer considered high voltage; and maintaining the required levels of electrical isolation of the high voltage sources).

    The physical barrier option protects against electrical shock by preventing any human contact (direct or indirect) with the high voltage sources. The physical barrier option for post-crash is similar to the physical barrier option that GTR No. 13 affords for its normal vehicle operation requirement. The requirements state that (post-crash) the vehicle needs to prevent both direct and indirect human contact with high voltage sources through the use of: (1) Physical barriers (i.e., prevent a finger probe test device from contacting any high voltage source); and (2) low resistance conductive connection of the physical barriers to the electrical chassis (i.e., the resistance between all exposed conductive parts and the electrical chassis has to be less than 0.1 ohms when there is a current flow of at least 0.2 A 26 ). The only major difference is that GTR No. 13 uses protection degree IPXXB (i.e., the IPXXB finger probe) for its post-crash requirements (rather than IPXXD).27 As noted earlier, FMVSS No. 305 currently contains no similar provision for electric shock protection through physical barriers.

    26 GTR No. 13 considers this requirement to be met if visual inspection indicates that conductive connection has been established by welding. The minimum resistance requirement is only evaluated in case of doubt.

    27 Here the post-crash requirements in the GTR use IPXXB because it is assumed unlikely that, post-crash, someone would use a wire to probe the enclosure.

    Electrically Isolate the High Voltage Sources

    This option protects against electric shock by ensuring that a sufficient level of electrical isolation resistance is provided for the high voltage source. GTR No. 13 provides two different sets of requirements (based on whether the vehicle's AC and DC high voltage sources are conductively connected) for vehicles electing to use this option to protect against electric shock.

    If the AC and DC high voltage sources are conductively isolated from each other, then the minimum electrical isolation of a high voltage source to the chassis is 500 ohms/volt for AC components and 100 ohms/volt for DC components of the working voltage.

    If AC and DC high voltage sources are conductively connected, GTR No. 13 requires that electrical isolation of AC and DC high voltage sources be no less than 500 ohms/volt of the working voltage, or the electric isolation of those sources be no less than 100 ohms/volt provided that the AC high voltage sources (in addition to the minimum 100 ohms/volt electrical isolation) meet the reduced voltage level requirements discussed above (first option), or meet the physical protection requirements discussed above in the second option.

    We note that while currently FMVSS No. 305 contains different requirements for AC high voltage sources and DC high voltage sources, it does not distinguish requirements based on whether the AC and DC high voltage sources are conductively linked. Thus, while the requirements in GTR No. 13 for AC and DC sources that are not conductively connected are the same as those currently in FMVSS No. 305, the alternative requirements for conductively connected AC and DC sources are not.

    c. How does this proposal differ from GTR No. 13?

    This NPRM proposes to add electrical safety requirements during normal vehicle operation in GTR No. 13 into FMVSS No. 305. The proposal also adds a modified version of physical barrier protection that is specified in GTR No. 13 as a compliance option for meeting post-crash electrical safety requirements. However, this NPRM does not propose to adopt all the specifications in GTR No. 13. The differences in electrical safety requirements and associated test procedures in the proposal and that in GTR No. 13, along with an explanation for these differences, are provided below. Comments are requested on NHTSA's views.

    Physical Barrier Protection During Normal Vehicle Operation

    This NPRM proposes to adopt GTR No. 13's physical barrier protection requirement during normal vehicle operation for direct contact. However, for indirect contact protection, we propose to use the proposed post-crash indirect contact protection requirements described above (which include two additional requirements described above in addition to that specified in GTR No. 13).

    Verification of Physical Barrier Protection During Normal Vehicle Operations

    GTR No. 13 considers indirect contact protection requirements during normal vehicle operations to be met if a galvanic connection 28 has been established by welding between exposed conductive parts and the electrical chassis.

    28 A galvanic connection is a conductive connection.

    For conditions where the DC and AC high voltage sources are connected during normal vehicle operations, GTR No. 13 permits the AC high voltage sources to have a minimum electrical isolation of 100 ohms/volt provided the AC high voltage sources have either: (a) Double or more layers of solid insulators or electrical protection barriers that meet the requirements for indirect contact protection; or (b) Mechanically robust protections that have sufficient durability over vehicle service life such as motor housings, electronic converter cases or connectors.

    These methods of verification consist of mere visual inspection and do not provide sufficient objectivity for use in an FMVSS. Therefore, the agency's proposal does not consider indirect contact protection requirements to be met if galvanic connection has been established between exposed conductive parts and the electric chassis. The agency is also not proposing visual inspection methods to permit AC high voltage sources that are connected to a DC high voltage source to have minimum electrical isolation of 100 ohms/volt during normal vehicle operation.

    High Voltage Markings

    GTR No. 13 requires marking (yellow high voltage symbol) for enclosures and barriers of high voltage sources (electrical protection barriers) that can be physically accessed, opened, or removed without the use of tools. These markings are not required for electrical protection barriers located underneath the vehicle floor.

    NHTSA tentatively concludes that the exclusion is without merit. GTR No. 13 does not provide a justification for exempting electrical protection barriers located underneath the vehicle floor from the high voltage marking requirement. There is also no definition of “vehicle floor” in GTR No. 13. NHTSA does not believe electrical protection barriers located under the vehicle floor should be excluded because it is possible that the high voltage sources enclosed by these barriers may be accessed in a rollover crash or during vehicle maintenance.

    Direct Contact Protection of Connectors

    GTR No. 13 specifies direct contact protection requirements for high voltage connectors separately. Per GTR No. 13, connectors do not need to meet IPXXB protection if they are located underneath the vehicle floor and are provided with a locking mechanism, or require the use of tools to separate the connector, or the voltage reduces to below 30 VAC or 60 VDC within one second after the connector is separated. NHTSA does not believe connectors of high voltage sources should be excluded. If connectors are high voltage sources and if they can be accessed, opened, or removed without the use of tools, regardless of whether they are located under the floor, they should be required to meet the same requirements for voltage markings and direct contact protection as electric protection barriers. Additionally, the agency notes that “vehicle floor” and “connector” are not defined in GTR No. 13. Therefore, NHTSA would not exclude connectors of high voltage sources.

    Post-Crash Physical Barrier Protection Option

    GTR No. 13 specifies that individual contracting parties of the 1998 agreement may elect to propose the physical barrier protection from direct and indirect contact of high voltage sources and live parts. According to GTR No. 13, for protection against direct contact, high voltage sources and live parts are required to have protection degree IPXXB. For protection against indirect contact, GTR No. 13 requires that the resistance between all exposed conductive parts and electrical chassis be lower than 0.1 ohm when there is current flow of at least 0.2 A.

    The physical barrier protection option in this NPRM includes the same provisions for direct and indirect contact protection as that in GTR No. 13 but adds two additional requirements for indirect contact protection (from SAE J1766 January 2014).

    This first additional requirement is that the resistance between any two simultaneously reachable exposed conductive parts of the electrical protection barriers that are less than 2.5 meters from each other is less than 0.2 ohms. This additional requirement protects against indirect contact of high voltage sources when two electrical protection barriers are contacted simultaneously. The second additional requirement is that the voltages between an electrical protection barrier enclosing a high voltage source and other exposed conductive parts are less than or equal to 30 VAC or 60 VDC. This additional requirement is included in SAE J1766 January 2014 to provide additional protection from indirect contact of high voltage sources, addressing the issues raised in the Battelle research of the physical barrier protection option.

    Verification of Post-Crash Indirect Contact Protection

    GTR No. 13 states that a high voltage source is considered to have post-crash indirect contact protection if the electrical protection barrier enclosing the high voltage source has a galvanic connection to the chassis by welding. This method of verification is a mere visual inspection and lacks the objectivity needed for an FMVSS. This NPRM does not include this method of verification and instead proposes to use the test procedure in GTR No. 13 whereby a current of 0.2 A is passed through the connection to determine its resistance.

    Physical Barrier Protection of AC High Voltage Sources That Are Connected to DC High Voltage Sources

    This NPRM proposes to adopt the physical barrier protection requirement for direct contact specified in GTR No. 13 for both post-crash and during normal vehicle operation. However, for indirect contact protection, the proposal uses the proposed post-crash indirect contact protection requirements described above (which include two additional requirements described above in addition to that specified in GTR No. 13).

    Optional Procedures for Evaluating Electrical Isolation Post-Crash

    FMVSS No. 305's test procedure for measuring electrical isolation of high voltage sources is similar to that in GTR No. 13. However, GTR No. 13 permits the crash tests to be conducted without energizing the electric power train while FMVSS No. 305 does not. In conditions where the high voltage sources are not energized during the crash test, GTR No. 13 permits measuring electrical isolation resistance of high voltage sources by other means, including using a megohmmeter.29 Yet, GTR No. 13 does not specify a test procedure to measure isolation resistance using a megohmmeter.

    29 A megohmmeter is a specialized ohmmeter that is primarily used to determine electrical isolation resistance. This device operates by applying a voltage or current to the item being tested. Because externally applied voltages or currents can disrupt its measurement (and/or cause damage to the instrument) the megohmmer is used to test items that are under an inactive and fully de-energized state.

    NHTSA is not proposing to conduct the crash test without energizing the electric power train and so is not permitting the use of the megohmmeter. NHTSA stated its position on this matter in final rules published on June 14, 2010 (75 FR 33515), July 29, 2011 (76 FR 45436), and January 16, 2015 (80 FR 2320). In the January 16, 2015 final rule, NHTSA noted that the agency's research on the feasibility of using a megohmmeter for measuring electrical isolation presented certain technical questions that need to be resolved (i.e., the research showed that megohmmeters could accurately measure electrical isolation resistance of DC high voltage sources in an inactive state but did not consistently do so for AC high voltage sources).

    Additionally, electrical isolation resistance measurement with a megohmmeter is only possible when the electrical power train is not energized, such as when an inert gas is used in hydrogen containers of a fuel cell vehicle. NHTSA will address the issue of the use of inert gas in hydrogen containers of fuel cells vehicles when conducting crash tests in a future proposal to incorporate into FMVSSs the fuel system and fuel container integrity requirements of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in GTR No. 13. The agency will address in that rulemaking the use of alternative methods of measuring isolation resistance in conditions where the electric power train is not energized in crash tests.

    Procedures for Measuring Voltage Post-Crash

    FMVSS No. 305 specifies that all post-crash voltage measurements for determining voltage and electrical isolation of high voltage sources with respect to the electric chassis be made after a minimum of 5 seconds after the vehicle comes to rest following impact. GTR No. 13 specifies that for determining post-crash electrical isolation of high voltage sources, the voltage measurements be made after a minimum of 5 seconds after “impact.” GTR No. 13 also specifies that for determining post-crash voltage (for assessing compliance with the low voltage option), the voltage measurements be made after a minimum of 5 seconds and no later than 60 seconds after impact.

    The agency is not proposing to change the timing of voltage measurement post-crash in FMVSS No. 305 to harmonize with GTR No. 13. The “after impact” interval specified in GTR No. 13 appears less objective than FMVSS No. 305's measure and adopting the GTR No. 13 specified time for post-crash voltage measurement may reduce the objectivity of the test. Further, all-in-all we believe this difference in the timing of voltage measurement in FMVSS No. 305 and GTR No. 13 is minor.

    Miscellaneous Differences Between the Proposed Regulatory Text and GTR No. 13

    There is some unnecessary or redundant text in some sections of GTR No. 13 that we have not included in this proposal, to make the regulatory text more concise. An example of this is in the electrical isolation option for post-crash electrical safety, under conditions when the AC and DC high voltage sources are connected. GTR No. 13 specifies that the vehicle meet one of the following requirements: (1) Electrical isolation of the DC and AC high voltage sources from the chassis be no less than 500 ohm/volt; (2) electrical isolation of the DC and AC high voltage sources from the chassis be no less than 100 ohm/volt and the AC high voltage sources also have physical barrier protection; or (3) electrical isolation of the AC and DC high voltage sources from the chassis be no less than 100 ohm/volt and the AC high voltage source is considered as a low voltage source. We believe that the option (3) requirement above is unnecessary, because if the AC high voltage source is considered as a low voltage source, it already meets the low voltage electrical isolation option. Thus, we determined it is not necessary to provide option (3).

    IV. Battelle Study and Developments

    NHTSA initiated a research program in 2010, using Battelle as a contractor, to better understand the safety implications of using a physical barrier to protect against electric shock. The objectives of the research were to: (a) Determine failure modes associated with electrical protection barriers that could potentially result in electric shock to occupants in the vehicle or to rescue workers due to direct or indirect contact, (b) evaluate the practicability and feasibility of test procedures in what was then a draft version 30 of GTR No. 13 for direct and indirect contact protection.

    30 The electrical safety requirements in the 2010 draft version of GTR No. 13 are the same as those in the GTR No. 13 that was established on June 27, 2013. Henceforth, we refer to the draft version as the adopted GTR.

    As discussed below (and in our supporting technical document) 31 the Battelle research indicates that the physical barrier protection specified in GTR No. 13 would protect against electric shock when there is a single point failure in the electrical safety systems. However, if there were multiple failures in the electrical safety systems specified in GTR No. 13 for normal vehicle operating conditions,32 the Battelle research indicates that a person could receive an electric shock when they contact the high voltage sources in certain specific ways.

    31 Along with this document, we have placed in the docket a supporting technical document providing further information on our analysis of the Battelle research and GTR No. 13.

    32 Under GTR No. 13, during normal vehicle operation, all high voltage sources contained or connected to the power train are required to be electrically isolated from the chassis (with minimum electrical isolation of 500 ohms/VAC or 100 ohms/VDC) and enclosed by physical barriers that prevent direct human contact. The physical barriers enclosing these high voltage sources are required to be conductively connected to the chassis (with resistance less than 0.1 ohms) to provide indirect contact shock protection.

    The Battelle study 33 identified various scenarios of electrical safety system failures, including direct contact of high voltage source, indirect contact of live parts of high voltage sources, loss in conductive connection between electrical protection barrier and chassis, and a combination of these failures. Direct contact of a high voltage source could occur in the event of a crash that results in mechanical failure of protection barriers or penetration of electrical insulation that would allow fingers or conductive tools to enter protection barriers and contact the high voltage sources within the barrier. Indirect contact of high voltage sources could occur in the event of a crash in which an electrical protection barrier is energized due to loss in electrical isolation of the high voltage source within the barrier.

    33 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle—Electrical Protective Barrier Option, Final Report, DOT HS 812134, May 2015. Available at http://www.nhtsa.gov/Research/Crashworthiness/Alternative%20Energy%20Vehicle%20Systems%20Safety%20Research and in the docket for this NPRM.

    To illustrate failure modes associated with electric protection barriers, Battelle used the schematic shown in Figure 4 below in which a high voltage source (shown on the left side of the figure) is isolated from the vehicle chassis by resistances RiH and RiL on the positive and negative side, respectively, and enclosed in an electrical protection barrier (EPB1). The high voltage source may be either DC or AC and may represent a variety of components such as a fuel cell, battery, motor, or capacitor.

    Also shown in Figure 4 are electrical wirings from the positive side of the high voltage source to its negative side to complete the circuit. The schematic shows two electric protection barriers (EPB2 and EPB3) enclosing the wirings on the positive and negative side, respectively, and a body with resistance Rb contacting these two protection barriers. All three electrical protection barriers in the figure are conductively connected to the electrical chassis with resistances RCh, RChH, and RChL.

    For normal vehicle operation, GTR No. 13 requires RiH and RiL resistances to provide electrical isolation of at least 500 ohms/VAC or 100 ohms/VDC. It also requires the electrical wiring to be insulated. Further, it requires the three electrical protection barriers (EPB1, EPB2, and EPB3) to have protection degree IPXXD or IPXXB and be conductively connected to the chassis such that the resistances RCh, RChH, and RChL are less than 0.1 ohms. The lowest possible value of body resistance Rb is 500 ohms.34

    34 IEC TC-60479-I, “Effects of current on human beings and livestock—Part I—General Aspects,” 2005.

    EP10MR16.003

    Battelle's analysis of the schematic in Figure 4 identified scenarios of direct contact and indirect contact of high voltage sources. Direct contact occurs when the electrical protection barriers EPB2 and/or EPB3 are breached or penetrated and the body contacts the wiring enclosed within. Indirect contact occurs when EPB2 and/or EPB3 are energized due to loss of electrical isolation of the high voltage source within the barrier and the body contacts the electrical protection barriers as shown in Figure 4. Examples of direct and indirect contact scenarios are presented below:

    • Case 1—Direct contact of high voltage source without electric shock hazard. Protection barrier EPB2 is compromised and the body directly contacts the electrical wiring from the positive side, and also contacts the electrical protection barrier EPB3 enclosing the wiring on the negative side of the high voltage source (Figure 5). In this case, as long as the resistance RiL or RiH is greater than or equal to 500 ohms/VAC or 100 ohms/VDC, the current through the body (shown by dashed lines) will be within safe limits.

    EP10MR16.004

    • Case 2—Direct contact of a high voltage source with electric shock hazard. Electrical protection barriers EPB2 and EPB3 of the wiring on the positive and negative side of the high voltage source are compromised and the body contacts the positive and negative wiring (Figure 6). For the worst Case 2 condition, a body resistance Rb equal to 500 ohms (lowest possible) is used. For a DC high voltage source of 350V, the minimum resistance value for RiL and RiH is 35,000 ohms. Since the body resistance Rb is significantly lower than the electrical isolation RiL and RiH, current through the body (shown by dashed lines) is not limited and the body would experience electric shock.

    EP10MR16.005

    • Case 3—Indirect contact of high voltage source without electric shock hazard. The wiring on the positive side of the high voltage source loses electrical isolation to the electrical protection barrier, EPB2, and the body contacts the electrical protection barriers EPB2 and EPB3 of the positive and negative wiring (Figure 7). Similar to Case 1, as long as the isolation resistance RiL or RiH is greater than or equal to 500 ohms/VAC or 100 ohms/VDC, the current through the body (shown by dashed lines) will be within safe limits.

    EP10MR16.006

    • Case 4—Indirect contact of high voltage source with possibility of electric shock. The electric wiring of the positive and negative sides of the high voltage source lose electrical isolation to the protective barriers EPB2 and EPB3, respectively, and the body contacts the two protective barriers EPB2 and EPB3 (Figure 8). Since RCh, RChH and RChL are all very low values (less than 0.1 ohms according to GTR No.13), this condition would result in a short circuit of the high voltage source that could activate and open a short circuit fuse that is generally equipped in electric propulsion vehicles. If a fuse activates, then no current will flow and so no electrical shock would occur. However, if the fuse does not activate, and if the electrical isolation RiL and RiH are reduced to low levels and the chassis resistance is not significantly low compared to the body resistance, then the current through the body contacting the protective barriers (shown by dashed line) may not be within safe limits and the body could experience electric shock. This scenario is further discussed in the Alliance petition for rulemaking (infra) and in the supporting technical document of this NPRM.

    EP10MR16.007

    Battelle identified additional scenarios, including those regarding loss in electrical isolation RiL and/or RiH and loss of electrical bonding of the protective barriers with the chassis.35 These scenarios showed that, for vehicles that meet the electrical isolation and physical barrier protection requirement in GTR No. 13 during normal vehicle operation, electric shock is not possible when there is only a single point of failure in the electrical safety systems. However, electric shock is possible when at least two or three failures of electrical safety systems occur and a human body comes into contact with two compromised protective barriers on opposite sides of the high voltage source to complete the circuit. For example, in Case 2, electric shock could occur if two electrical protection barriers on the positive and negative side of the high voltage source are compromised and a body contacts the positive and negative side of a high voltage source by entering the two compromised protection barriers. In Case 4, electric shock could occur only if at least four electric safety features (loss in electrical isolation of electrical protection barriers EPB2 and EPB3 which are on the positive and negative side of the high voltage source and loss in electrical isolation RiH and RiL of the high voltage source) are compromised and the body contacts both compromised barriers, EPB2 and EPB3.

    35 Details of these scenarios are presented in the Battelle final report, DOT HS 812 134, May 2015, which is available in the docket of this NPRM.

    To address the concern of electric shock from indirect contact, GTR No. 13 specifies that the physical barriers enclosing high voltage sources should be conductively connected with low resistance (less than 0.1 ohms) to the electrical chassis, so that if one segment of the high voltage source should lose electrical isolation, all contactable surfaces of the vehicle chassis and protective barriers will be at the same voltage and thereby prevent electric shock to a person touching two different protective barriers or parts of the electrical chassis.

    Battelle also evaluated the maximum resistance (0.1 ohms) of the electric bonds between electrical protection barriers and the electrical chassis that is specified in GTR No. 13. Battelle found that in the event of multiple electrical safety system failures (loss in electrical isolation of both segments of the high voltage source to their electrical protection barriers) and a person touching both the barriers to complete the circuit, the resistance of 0.1 ohms between the protective barrier and electrical chassis would not be sufficient to prevent electric shock to the person contacting the protective barriers.36

    36 This issue is further explained in the supporting technical document in the docket of this NPRM.

    V. Toyota Petition for Rulemaking

    On December 23, 2013, Toyota submitted a petition for rulemaking to amend FMVSS No. 305 by adding an additional compliance option for electrical safety to allow HFCVs to be offered for sale in the US. Toyota notes that the requested compliance option includes elements of the electrical protection barrier that is currently in GTR No. 13. Toyota notes that many countries, including the European Union, Japan, and South Korea, already include electrical protection barrier as a compliance option for electrical safety in their standards.

    Toyota explains its reasons for petitioning as follows.37 FMVSS No. 305 requires compliance with electrical safety requirements following impacts “at any speed up to and including” the specified test speeds. Toyota notes that for electric powered vehicles, including fuel cell vehicles, the DC high voltage sources (e.g. high voltage battery) will be connected to the AC high voltage sources (e.g. electric motor) during normal vehicle operation and in low speed crashes where the automatic disconnect does not operate.38 In such conditions, when the AC and DC high voltage sources are connected, the isolation resistance at the AC high voltage source is in parallel with the isolation resistance of the DC high voltage source. Therefore, even if the electrical isolation provided for the AC high voltage source is significantly greater than the required 500 ohms/volt, the effective isolation resistance measured at the AC high voltage source can be, at most, as high as that provided for the DC high voltage source.

    37 Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and American Honda Motor Co. Inc. (Honda) echoed these concerns in its comments on NHTSA's notice of receipt of Toyota's exemption petition, supra. See Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0068.

    38 Toyota noted that the automatic disconnect mechanism is not activated in low speed crashes, such as minor fender benders that may occur in a parking lot and in conditions where the inverters in the fuel cell auxiliary system may continue to operate.

    Toyota explains that in current battery electric vehicles, manufacturers are able to provide electrical isolation for the high voltage battery in excess of 500 ohms/volt, even though FMVSS No. 305 permits DC high voltage sources to have 100 ohms/volt with an electrical isolation monitoring system. On the other hand, it is difficult to maintain electrical isolation greater than 500 ohms/volt for the fuel cell stack in an HFCV due to the presence of fuel cell coolant.39 Therefore, when the DC and AC high voltage sources are connected in an HFCV, it may not be possible to achieve the required 500 ohms/volt electrical isolation for AC high voltage sources.

    39 The fuel cell coolant may get ionized during repeated operation and may reduce the electrical isolation provided.

    Toyota states that NHTSA said in the June 14, 2010 final rule (75 FR 33515) that the agency was issuing the final rule to facilitate the development and introduction of fuel cell vehicles. One provision provided by the final rule was to specify lower minimum electrical isolation requirements for DC than AC high voltage sources (500 ohms/volt for AC and 100 ohms/volt for DC sources). Toyota further asserts that this flexibility offered for HFCVs is not useful unless a provision is made for the condition when the AC and DC high voltage sources are connected, such as after a low speed crash.40 Since such a provision is currently not available, HFCVs are essentially required to provide electrical isolation levels at or in excess of 500 ohms/volt at the fuel cell stacks.

    40 FMVSS No. 305 requires that the electrical safety requirements in FMVSS No. 305 be met after front, rear, and side crash tests that include low speeds. In such conditions (which includes “fender benders”), the automatic disconnect is designed to remain closed so that the vehicle remains operational and so the driver can continue driving the vehicle.

    Toyota asks that NHTSA adopt an alternative provision for electrical safety through isolation of high voltage sources that involves electrical protection barriers to address post-crash conditions where the AC and DC high voltage sources are connected. The petitioner suggests adopting GTR No. 13's specification that the electrical isolation of the high voltage source may be greater or equal to 100 ohms/volt for an AC high voltage source if that AC source is conductively connected to a DC high voltage source, provided that the AC high voltage source meets the specified post-crash physical barrier protection requirements in GTR No. 13.41 The petitioner suggests specific regulatory text for the requirements and test procedures that are based on the specifications in GTR No. 13 for modifying FMVSS No. 305 to include the petitioner's requested compliance option.

    41 The requirements for post-crash physical barrier protection option for electrical safety in GTR No. 13 are that after a crash test, high voltage sources have protection level IPXXB and that the resistance between all exposed conductive parts and the electrical chassis be lower than 0.1 ohm when there is a current flow of at least 0.2 amperes.

    Toyota also requests that NHTSA amend S6.4 of FMVSS No 305 which requires vehicles to satisfy all of the post-crash performance requirements “after being rotated on its longitudinal axis to each successive increment of 90 degrees . . . . .” to indicate that compliance with electrical isolation and physical barrier protection requirements would be evaluated after the vehicle is rotated a full 360 degrees. Toyota notes that the vehicle conditions related to the electrical isolation and physical barrier protection requirements do not change at various increments of a rollover and that it would be unreasonably dangerous for laboratory personnel to conduct the specified tests with the vehicle at 90 degree increments.

    VI. Alliance Petition for Rulemaking

    On November 10, 2014, the Alliance submitted a petition for rulemaking to update and upgrade FMVSS No. 305 to incorporate a physical barrier compliance option to provide protection against electric shock. The Alliance states that the implementation of a physical barrier compliance option is especially critical to facilitate both the introduction of complying HFCVs as well as 48 volt mild hybrid technologies.42 The petitioner also believes the amendments would enable safe design innovation for all electrified vehicles, as well as reduce CO2 emissions and increase fuel economy.

    42 48 volt mild hybrid systems are generally internal combustion engines and a 48 volt battery equipped with an electric machine (one motor/generator in a parallel configuration) allowing the engine to be turned off whenever the car is coasting, braking, or stopped, yet restart quickly. These mild hybrids may employ regenerative braking and some level of power assist to the internal combustion engine, but do not have an exclusive electric-only mode of propulsion.

    The Alliance states that the physical barrier compliance option is essential for FMVSS No. 305 certification of HFCVs in low speed crashes where the automatic disconnect is not designed to operate. The Alliance also states that in such crashes, the DC high voltage source can impinge on the AC high voltage sources through the inverter, making it impractical to achieve 500 ohms/volt electrical isolation for the AC high voltage source.

    The Alliance explains that while it would seem that 48 volt mild hybrid systems would not be within the intended scope of FMVSS No. 305,43 these systems typically convert DC voltage into three-phase AC voltage that can exceed the 30 VAC voltage threshold for consideration as a high voltage source in FMVSS No. 305.44 The Alliance states that these 48 volt mild hybrid systems are grounded to the vehicle chassis and so cannot viably meet the existing isolation resistance option as well as the pretest measurement for isolation resistance. The Alliance notes that while it is feasible to design a 48 volt mild hybrid system that meets FMVSS No. 305 electrical isolation requirements, isolated systems inherently involve more complexity, higher consumer costs, and higher mass resulting in reduced fuel economy and increased emissions. The Alliance suggests that these results are particularly inappropriate since there is no incremental safety benefit provided by an isolated system compared to physical barriers. The Alliance states that as a result, it is requesting modifications to FMVSS No. 305 to permit the introduction 48 volt mild hybrid systems and HFCVs into the U.S.

    43 FMVSS No. 305 considers electrical sources operating at voltages greater than or equal to 30 VAC or 60 VDC as high voltage sources that are subject to FMVSS No. 305 electrical safety requirements.

    44 We have also considered information provided by Mercedes-Benz in a briefing to the agency on June 2, 2015. As explained by Mercedes-Benz, the AC-DC inverter converts the DC current from the 48 V battery into AC for the 3-phase AC motor. Mercedes-Benz showed that the voltage between the electrical chassis and each of the phases of the AC electric motor is switched DC voltage (voltage between 0 and 48 volts). Since that voltage is less than 60 volts, it is considered low DC voltage under FMVSS No. 305. However, Mercedes-Benz noted that the voltage between two phases of the AC motor is AC, and may be slightly greater than 30 VAC under certain circumstances, which can be considered a high voltage AC source under the standard. Mercedez-Benz explained its view that physical barrier protection around the AC motor, and around cables from the inverter to the motor, would mitigate human contact with these AC high voltage sources, and thereby mitigate the likelihood of electric shock. Additionally, the presenter showed that electrical protection barriers enclosing the AC high voltage sources could be conductively connected to the chassis with resistance less than 0.1 ohms, and thereby provide electric shock protection from indirect contact of the high voltage sources. See the memorandum in the docket for this NPRM on Mercedes-Benz, Daimler AG, input on 48 V mild hybrid systems.

    The Alliance notes that in NHTSA's July 29, 2011, response to petitions for reconsideration of the 2010 final rule,45 NHTSA deferred consideration of the physical barrier protection option pending additional research. The Alliance states that the agency's research on the physical barrier option 46 showed that electric shock from indirect contact in a crash could only be possible, if the following conditions were met (see Case 4 described above and illustrated in Figure 8):

    45 76 FR 45436.

    46 “Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle—Electrical Protective Barrier Option,” DOT HS 812134, May 2015, is available at http://www.nhtsa.gov/Research/Crashworthiness/Alternative%20Energy%20Vehicle%20Systems%20Safety%20Research and in the docket for this NPRM.

    (1) A loss of electrical isolation within the enclosure of a high voltage source,

    (2) a loss of electrical isolation within a second (different) high voltage source enclosure,

    (3) these two distinct losses in isolation (specified in (1) and (2)) occur on opposite rails (positive and negative) of the high voltage source,

    (4) the overcurrent devices do not automatically open the circuit as a result of the simultaneous loss of isolation on the positive and negative rails to ground (the Alliance states that the normal design practice is for the overcurrent devices to automatically open under the circumstances outlined in (3)),

    (5) a person has access to these two enclosures in the crashed vehicle, and

    (6) a person touches these two enclosures simultaneously.

    The Alliance believes that the likelihood of each of the above 6 events occurring is remote and that the simultaneous occurrence of these events in real world situations is even more remote and exceedingly small. The Alliance believes that the other scenarios identified in the Battelle final report as having potential safety concerns similarly require multiple failures in the system to occur, followed by what the petitioner believes to be unlikely human contacts and a lack of fuses or other electrical safety protection. Nevertheless, the Alliance states that, despite the extremely low likelihood of a safety issue from any of the scenarios in the final Battelle report, the updated version of SAE J1766 (January 2014) 47 includes performance requirements that safeguard against all safety critical scenarios identified in the Battelle report.

    47 SAE J1766, “Recommended practice for electric, fuel cell, and hybrid electric vehicle crash integrity testing,” January 2014, SAE International, http://www.sae.org.

    The Alliance expresses its support of the December 23, 2013 petition for rulemaking from Toyota to modify FMVSS No. 305 to facilitate the sale of HFCVs in the U.S. (petition discussed infra) and notes that the January 2014 version of SAE J1766 also includes provisions for a modified isolation requirement for AC systems with physical barriers, as Toyota requests in its petition for rulemaking. The Alliance states that SAE J1766 January 2014 also has provisions for a “stand-alone” physical barrier protection compliance option that is needed for facilitating the development of 48 volt mild hybrid systems, since electrical components of these systems are conductively connected to the chassis and so cannot viably satisfy electrical isolation requirements. The Alliance believes that this “stand-alone” physical barrier compliance option provides sufficient protection to address potential (although unlikely, states the petitioner) safety critical scenarios identified in the Battelle report.

    The Alliance asserts that while FMVSS No. 305 only evaluates electrical safety in post-crash condition, auto manufacturers also design for high voltage safety under normal operating conditions. The petitioner states that providing physical barriers is the most common method of protection against high voltage contact in the automotive industry, as well as other industries that use high voltage electric circuits. The Alliance believes it is reasonable that this method of protection against electric shock hazard can also be used for post-crash shock protection provided these physical barriers remain intact post-crash, and that either the voltage between exposed conductive parts is below 30 VAC or 60 VDC, or resistance between exposed conductive parts of the barriers and electrical chassis is below specified resistance levels.

    The Alliance states it is urgent to update FMVSS No. 305 to facilitate the introduction of HFCVs and 48 volt mild hybrid technology vehicles that are necessary to accommodate compliance with Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Consequentially, the petitioner states that it is not additionally requesting adoption of the low energy compliance option that is also included in SAE J1766 January 2014. Instead the petitioner requests that the low energy compliance option be considered for the electric vehicle safety (EVS) GTR that is currently in process.

    SAE J1766 January 2014 also changes the time criterion for initiating verification of post-crash electrical safety from 5 seconds after the vehicle comes to rest (similar to the specification currently in FMVSS No. 305) to 10 seconds after initial impact. The Alliance states that given the urgency necessary to facilitate the introduction of HFCVs and 48 volt mild hybrid technology, it is limiting its petition for rulemaking to only include the post-crash physical barrier protection compliance option in SAE J1766 January 2014 into FMVSS No. 305.

    Specifically, the Alliance requests including section 5.3.4 of SAE J1766 January 2014 into FMVSS No. 305. This section provides two options for post-crash electrical safety by means of physical barriers.

    The first option (Option 1 for physical barrier protection) is similar to the post-crash physical barrier protection option for electrical safety in GTR No. 13,48 but includes an additional requirement that the resistance between the high voltage source enclosed by the physical barrier and the exposed conductive parts of the electrical protection barrier be greater than 0.01 ohms/volt for DC high voltage sources and 0.05 ohms/volt for AC high voltage sources.

    48 Protection against direct contact with high voltage sources is provided by protection degree IPXXB and protection against indirect contact of high voltage sources is provided by requiring the resistance between exposed conductive parts and the electrical chassis to be lower than 0.1 ohm when there is a current flow of at least 0.2 amperes.

    The second option for electrical safety through electrical protection barriers (Option 2 for physical barrier protection) in SAE J1776 January 2014 is through protection from direct contact by protection degree IPXXB, and that the voltage between the electrical protection barrier and other exposed conductive parts and the electrical chassis is less than or equal to 30 VAC for AC high voltage sources and 60 VDC for DC high voltage sources. The Alliance states that Option 2 is similar to the low voltage option already in FMVSS No. 305.

    The Alliance supplemented its petition by a submission dated October 20, 2015, which provided an analysis of its proposal for electrical safety through physical barriers.49 Figure 9, below, presents the circuit diagram the petitioner provided for the representation of a high voltage source (e.g., battery) with voltage of 1,000 VAC or 1,500 VDC, enclosed in physical barriers that are conductively connected to the electrical chassis with resistance less than or equal to 0.1 ohms. The circuit diagram also has a representation of a human body with a minimum resistance of 500 ohms 50 contacting protective barriers enclosing opposite rails of the high voltage source. The resistances R1 and R2 in Figure 9 represent the resistance between the high voltage source and the protective physical barriers that enclose it. This circuit diagram is a representation of the indirect contact Battelle scenario, Case 4, in the event that electrical isolation of the high voltage source to the chassis is lost and RiH and RiL are equal to zero.

    49 The Alliance analysis of the physical barrier protection option proposed for electrical safety (October 2014) is in the docket of this NPRM.

    50 According to IEC TC-60479-I, “Effects of current on human beings and livestock—Part I—General Aspects,” 2005, the lowest possible electrical resistance of a human body is 500 ohms.

    EP10MR16.008

    According to Option 1 of the electrical protection barrier in the Alliance submission, the combined resistance 51 of R1 and R2 is required to be less than or equal to 0.05 ohms/VAC or 0.01 ohms/VDC. Under Option 2, the voltage difference between barrier #1 and barrier #2 is required to be less than or equal to 30 VAC or 60 VDC. The Alliance observes that its analysis using the model in Figure 9 demonstrates that the proposed physical barrier protection option provides equivalent levels of safety as the electrical isolation option 52 currently in FMVSS No. 305 in all the safety critical scenarios identified in the Battelle study, including the scenario Case 4 for indirect contact.

    51 R1 and R2 resistances are in a parallel configuration.

    52 The current through the body Ib (shown in Figure 9) is less than or equal to 10 mA of direct current or 2 mA of alternating current.

    The Alliance also states that the Option 1 electrical protection barrier is the same as that of Option 2 since the conditions that meet the Option 1 requirements also meet the Option 2 requirements. The Alliance acknowledges that it is difficult to measure the resistance between a high voltage source and the exposed conductive parts of the electrical protection barrier that encloses the high voltage source, as is needed to evaluate the Option 1 electrical protection barrier.53 The Alliance recommends that NHTSA incorporate Option 2 (direct contact protection degree IPXXB and voltage between electrical protection barrier and exposed conductive parts less than or equal to 30 VAC or 60 VDC) into FMVSS No. 305 since its analysis indicates that compliance with Option 1 would also entail compliance with Option 2.

    53 The resistance level is too low to measure accurately and in order to access a high voltage source enclosed in the physical barrier, some disassembly of the barrier may be required in some cases.

    The Alliance specifies the following test procedures from Appendix C in SAE J1766 January 2014: (1) Section C.1 for verifying IPXXB protection degree of physical barriers, which is similar to the procedure in GTR No. 13, (2) Section C.2.1 for verifying that the resistance between electrical protection barriers and electrical chassis is less than 0.1 ohms, and (3) Section C.2.3 to verify that the voltage difference between any two exposed conductive parts of the electric chassis (including physical barriers) is less than or equal to 30 VAC or 60 VDC. The Alliance also specifies Section C.2.2 in SAE J1766 January 2014 for verifying that the resistance between a high voltage source and the electrical chassis 54 is greater than or equal to 0.05 ohms/VAC or 0.01 ohms/VDC. We note, however, that section C.2.2 does not provide a specific method of measurement and instead states, “The measurement may be performed by any means that provides sufficient accuracy for the post-crash situation.”

    54 Since the resistance between a protective physical barrier and the electrical chassis is required to be less than or equal to 0.1 ohm (a very low value), the resistance between a high voltage source and the physical barrier would be the same as or only slightly lower than the resistance between the high voltage source and the electrical chassis.

    These test procedures are further discussed in a later section analyzing the petitions for rulemaking to modify FMVSS No. 305.

    VII. Overview of Proposed Rule

    NHTSA is initiating rulemaking to consider adopting GTR No. 13 into FMVSS No. 305, as appropriate under the Vehicle Safety Act, and to address the issues raised by the Alliance and Toyota in their respective petitions. We request comment on the decisions put forth in this NPRM, including those regarding minor additional provisions that the agency is considering to address the concerns of the petitioners.

    NHTSA believes that this NPRM would improve the level of safety afforded to the public. Adopting the provisions from GTR No. 13 that reduce the risk of harmful electric shock during normal vehicle operation would improve FMVSS No. 305 by expanding its performance requirements beyond post-crash conditions. The proposed requirements would provide post-crash compliance options for new power train configurations that ensure that those configurations provide a comparable level of post-crash safety compared to existing electric vehicles.

    The proposed amendments are summarized as follows. In furtherance of implementing GTR No. 13 and in response to the petitions for rulemaking—

    a. This NPRM proposes to add electrical safety requirements for vehicle performance during normal vehicle operations (as opposed to during and after a crash), to mitigate electric shock due to loss in electrical isolation and direct or indirect contact of high voltage sources. The electrical safety requirements during normal vehicle operations would include requirements for:

    1. Direct Contact Protection From High Voltage Sources

    i. IPXXD protection level for high voltage sources inside passenger and luggage compartments. IPXXB protection level for high voltage sources not in passenger and luggage compartments.

    ii. IPXXB protection level for service disconnect that can be opened or removed without tools.

    iii. Markings on barriers of high voltage sources that can be physically accessed, opened, or removed without the use of tools.

    iv. Orange color outer covering for cables of high voltage sources that are located outside electrical protection barriers.

    2. Indirect Contact Protection From High Voltage Sources

    Exposed conductive parts of electrical protection barriers would have to be conductively connected to the chassis with a resistance less than 0.1 ohms, and the resistance between two simultaneously reachable exposed conductive parts of electrical protection barriers that are within 2.5 meters of each other would have to be less than 0.2 ohms.

    3. Electrical Isolation of High Voltage Sources

    i. 500 ohms/volt or higher electrical isolation for AC high voltage sources and 100 ohms/volt or higher for DC high voltage sources

    ii. For conditions where AC and DC bus are connected, AC high voltage sources would be permitted to have electrical isolation of 100 ohms/volt or higher, provided they also have the direct and indirect contact protection described in 1 and 2, above.

    iii. There would be an exclusion of 48 volt hybrid vehicles from electrical isolation requirements during normal vehicle operation.

    4. Electrical Isolation Monitoring System for DC High Voltage Sources on Fuel Cell Vehicles 5. Electrical Safety During Charging Involving Connecting the Vehicle to an External Electric Power Supply

    i. Minimum electrical isolation resistance of one million ohms of the coupling system for charging the electrical energy storage system; and

    ii. Conductive connection of the electric chassis to earth ground before and during exterior voltage is applied.

    6. Mitigating Driver Error by—

    i. Requiring an indication to the driver when the vehicle is in active driving mode upon vehicle start up and when the driver is leaving the vehicle; and,

    ii. Preventing vehicle movement by its own propulsion system when the vehicle charging system is connected to the external electric power supply.

    b. This NPRM proposes to amend FMVSS No. 305's post-crash electrical safety requirements. The post-crash electrical safety requirements would include:

    1. Adding an additional optional method of meeting post-crash electrical safety requirements through physical barrier protection from high voltage sources. The proposed specifications of this optional method of electric safety include requirements ensuring that:

    i. High voltage sources would be enclosed in barriers that prevent direct human contact with high voltage sources (IPXXB protection level),

    ii. Exposed conductive parts of electrical protection barriers would be conductively connected to the chassis with a resistance less than 0.1 ohms, and the resistance between two simultaneously reachable exposed conductive parts of electrical protection barriers that are less than 2.5 meters from each other would be less than 0.2 ohms, and

    iii. Voltage between a barrier and other exposed conductive parts of the vehicle would be at a low voltage level that would not cause electric shock (less than 60 VDC or 30 VAC).

    2. Permitting an AC high voltage source that is conductively connected to a DC high voltage source to meet lower minimum electrical isolation requirement of 100 ohms/volt provided the AC high voltage source also has physical barrier protection specified in 1, above.

    VIII. Proposal Addressing Safety During Normal Vehicle Operations

    We first discuss the proposed requirements for vehicle performance during normal vehicle operations, followed by those for performance post-crash.

    a. Direct Contact Protection From High Voltage Sources

    GTR No. 13 specifies safety measures to ensure that high voltage sources cannot be contacted. This safety measure is to enclose high voltage sources in physical barriers (electrical protection barriers) to prevent direct human contact. NHTSA is proposing to include in FMVSS No. 305 the direct contact protection requirements specified in GTR No. 13 for the passenger and luggage compartments and other areas.55

    55 GTR No. 13 assesses the potential for direct contact with high voltage components using test probes specified in ISO 20653.

    NHTSA is proposing to assess protection against direct contact with high voltage sources contained inside the passenger and luggage compartments using a 1.0 mm diameter and 100 mm long test wire probe (IPXXD). This test probe ensures that any gaps in the protective barriers are no larger than 1 mm and that any live components contained within are no closer to the gap than 100 mm. This ensures that body parts, miscellaneous tools or other slender conductive items typically present in a passenger or luggage compartment cannot penetrate any gaps/seams in the protective enclosures and contact high voltage components contained within.

    For assessing protection against direct contact with high voltage sources in areas other than the passenger and luggage compartments under normal operating conditions, NHTSA is proposing to use the test probe IPXXB, representing a test finger. In areas other than the passenger and luggage compartments, the barrier would not likely contact tools and other slender conductive items. Therefore, protection using the test wire probe IPXXD would not be necessary and the test finger probe IPXXB would be appropriate to prevent inadvertent contact with high voltage components contained in the protective enclosures, by persons such as mechanics.

    GTR No 13 also requires that a service disconnect that can be opened, disassembled, or removed without tools requires IPXXB protection when it is opened, disassembled, or removed. NHTSA is proposing to include this requirement into FMVSS No. 305, as well as a definition for a service disconnect.

    NHTSA is proposing marking (yellow high voltage symbol) for enclosures and barriers of high voltage sources that can be physically accessed, opened, or removed without the use of tools, similar to GTR No. 13. As explained earlier in this preamble, we are not excluding some barriers as GTR No. 13 does.

    NHTSA is proposing that cables for high voltage sources which are not located within electrical protection barriers to be identified by an orange color outer covering, similar to GTR No. 13. However, as explained earlier in this preamble, we are not excluding some connectors as GTR No. 13 does.

    As noted earlier in this preamble, GTR No. 13 specifies direct contact protection requirements for high voltage connectors separately, and has exclusions with which we do not agree. Per GTR No. 13, connectors do not need to meet IPXXB protection if they are located underneath the vehicle floor and are provided with a locking mechanism, or require the use of tools to separate the connector, or the voltage reduces to below 30 VAC or 60 VDC within one second after the connector is separated. For the reasons given earlier, NHTSA does not believe that the exclusions are warranted and does not anticipate adopting them in a final rule.

    b. Indirect Contact Protection From High Voltage Sources

    Under GTR No. 13, exposed conductive parts (parts that can be contacted with the test probes, IPXXD or IPXXB, and become electrically energized under electrical isolation failure conditions) have to be protected against indirect contact during normal vehicle operation. GTR No. 13 requires electrical protection barriers or enclosures of high voltage sources to be conductively connected to the electrical chassis with resistance of no more than 0.1 ohms during normal vehicle operations. This requirement would provide protection from electric shock by shunting 56 any harmful electrical currents to the vehicle chassis should any electrically charged components lose isolation within the protective barrier.

    56 Shunting is when a low-resistance connection between two points in an electric circuit forms an alternative path for a portion of the current. If a human body contacts an electrical protection barrier that is energized due to loss in electrical isolation of a high voltage source enclosed in the barrier, most of the current would flow through the chassis rather than through the human body because the current path through the chassis has significantly lower resistance (less than 0.1 ohm) than the resistance of the human body (greater or equal to 500 ohm).

    For indirect contact protection, we propose to apply the same indirect contact protection requirements and test procedures as would apply under post-crash conditions (see discussion in next section, below). The proposed indirect contact protection requirements would be for exposed conductive parts of electrical protection barriers to be conductively connected to the chassis with a resistance less than 0.1 ohms and that the resistance between two simultaneously reachable exposed conductive parts of electrical protection barriers that are within 2.5 meters of each other be less than 0.2 ohms. These resistances would be measured by passing a current of at least 0.2 A between exposed conductive parts and the electrical chassis. For the reasons previously discussed, NHTSA is not including GTR No. 13's provision that permits visual inspection of welds as a method of assessing compliance of indirect contact protection.

    c. Electrical Isolation of High Voltage Sources

    This NPRM would require that under normal operating conditions, all high voltage sources of the power train and those connected to the power train have sufficient electrical isolation resistance measured against the electrical chassis to ensure that current flowing through a human body in contact with the vehicle is not dangerous.

    For conditions where DC and AC high voltage sources are isolated from each other, DC high voltage sources would be required to have a minimum electrical isolation of 100 ohms/volt and AC high voltage sources would be required to have a minimum of 500 ohms/volt.

    For conditions where DC and AC high voltage sources are connected, AC and DC high voltage sources would be permitted to have a minimum electrical isolation of 100 ohms/volt, provided the AC high voltage source has direct and indirect contact protection in a. and b. above.

    We proposed to exclude 48 volt hybrid vehicles from these electrical isolation requirements during normal vehicle operation. Since electric components in 48 volt mild hybrid systems are conductively connected to the electric chassis, these systems would not be able to comply with electrical isolation requirements both during normal vehicle operations and after a crash. Therefore, we believe that the “normal use” requirements in GTR No. 13 need to be modified to permit the introduction of 48 volt mild hybrid systems.

    The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation 100 (ECE R.100) 57 normal operation requirements were modified on June 10, 2014 to facilitate the development and sale of 48 volt mild hybrid systems. Under these changes, 48 volt mild hybrid systems that are conductively connected to the electrical chassis are exempt from the in-use electrical isolation requirements. However, electrical protection barriers are still required during normal vehicle operations for high voltage components of these 48 volt mild hybrid systems so as to provide direct and indirect contact protection. As discussed in a later section for post-crash electrical safety requirements, we believe that these 48 volt mild hybrid systems with electrical protection barriers for all high voltage components in the system would not pose concerns regarding electric shock. Therefore, NHTSA proposes to include a similar exclusion from in-use electrical isolation requirements for 48 volt mild hybrid systems that are conductively connected to the electrical chassis.

    57 Uniform Provisions Concerning the Approval of Vehicles with Regard to Specific Requirements for the Electric Power Train, ECE R.100-02, June 24, 2014.

    d. Electrical Isolation Monitoring System for DC High Voltage Sources on Fuel Cell Vehicles

    GTR No. 13 requires that DC high voltage sources (other than the coupling system for charging) in HFCVs have an on-board electrical isolation monitoring system, together with a warning to the driver if the isolation resistance drops below the minimum required value of 100 ohms/volt. Similarly, FMVSS No. 305 currently specifies that DC high voltage sources that comply with electrical safety requirements by the electrical isolation of 100 ohms/volt must have an electrical isolation monitoring system to warn the driver. SiCnce most HFCVs would comply with the electrical isolation requirements in FMVSS No. 305 using the 100 ohms/volt option,58 these HFCVs, which must have an electrical isolation monitoring system under GTR No. 13, would also be required by FMVSS No. 305 to have the monitoring system.

    58 In fuel cell vehicles, the presence of fuel cell coolant may not permit electrical isolation levels of 500 ohms/volt of the DC source.

    Nonetheless, to ensure that the intent of GTR No. 13 and FMVSS No. 305 are met, the agency is proposing to amend FMVSS No. 305 to indicate expressly that each DC high voltage source in fuel cell vehicles would need to be equipped with an electrical isolation monitoring system.

    e. Protection From Electric Shock During Charging

    GTR No. 13 requires electric vehicles whose rechargeable energy storage system are charged by conductively connecting to an external power supply to have a device to enable conductive connection of the electrical chassis to the earth ground during charging. Additionally, GTR No. 13 requires the isolation resistance between the high voltage source and the electrical chassis to be at least 1 million ohms when the charge coupler is disconnected. The first requirement ensures that in the event of electrical isolation loss during charging, a person contacting the vehicle does not form a ground loop with the chassis and sustain significant electric shock. The second requirement ensures that the magnitude of current through a human body when a person contacts a vehicle undergoing charging is low and in the safe zone. NHTSA believes these two normal use charging safety requirements are warranted and proposes to include them in FMVSS No. 305.

    f. Mitigating Driver Error

    Consistent with GTR No. 13, we propose amending FMVSS No. 305 to add requirements that mitigate the likelihood of driver error in operating electric vehicles. First, we propose requiring vehicles to provide an indication to the driver when the vehicle is in an active driving mode upon vehicle start up and when the driver is leaving the vehicle.59 Second, we propose requiring vehicles to prevent vehicle movement by its own propulsion system when the vehicle charging system is connected to the external electric power supply.

    59 We note that an NPRM issued on FMVSS No. 114, “Theft protection and rollaway prevention” (76 FR 77183) proposes to require vehicles with keyless ignition controls to provide an audible warning to the driver exiting the vehicle while the propulsion system is operating. We request comment on whether the FMVSS No. 114 requirement, if adopted, would satisfy this provision in the GTR.

    IX. Proposal Addressing Safety Post-Crash

    FMVSS No. 305 requires that after a crash, each high voltage source in the vehicle are either electrically isolated from the vehicle's chassis, or their voltage is reduced to levels considered safe from electric shock hazards (i.e., less than 30 VAC or less than 60 VDC).

    As noted in earlier sections, GTR No. 13 specifies that vehicles may meet regulatory requirements by having no high voltage levels (see (a) below), meet physical barrier protection requirements (see (b)) below, or meet electrical isolation requirements (see (c) below):

    a. Voltage levels: The voltages of the high voltage source must be less than or equal to 30 VAC or 60 VDC within 60 seconds after the impact. (This option for electrical safety is currently in FMVSS No. 305.)

    b. Electrical protection barrier: The physical protection requirement is an option each contracting party of the 1998 agreement may elect to adopt. The provision is similar to the electrical safety requirements during normal operations except that the protection degree IPXXB applies rather than IPXXD. (The provision for electrical protection through physical barriers is currently not in FMVSS No. 305.)

    i. Protection from direct contact: Protection from direct contact of high voltage sources with protection degree IPXXB required.

    ii. Protection from indirect contact: The resistance between all exposed conductive parts and electrical chassis is required to be less than 0.1 ohms when there is a current flow of at least 0.2 A.60

    60 GTR No. 13 considers this requirement to be met if visual inspection indicates that conductive connection has been established by welding. The minimum resistance requirement is only evaluated in case of doubt.

    c. Electrical isolation:

    i. If the AC and DC high voltage sources are conductively isolated from each other, then the minimum electrical isolation of a high voltage source to the chassis is 500 ohms/volt for AC components and 100 ohms/volt for DC components of the working voltage.

    ii. If AC and DC high voltage sources are conductively connected, the minimum electrical isolation of AC and DC high voltage sources must be—

    • 500 ohms/volt of the working voltage, or

    • 100 ohms/volt of the working voltage with the AC high voltage sources meeting the physical protection requirements in (b) or have no high voltage as specified in (a).

    (FMVSS No. 305 does not distinguish AC and DC high voltage sources that are conductively connected from those that are isolated. Thus, the method above for complying with electrical isolation requirements when AC and DC high voltage sources are connected post-crash (see c. ii. above) is not now available in FMVSS No. 305.)

    Proposal

    This NPRM proposes to amend the isolation resistance compliance option in FMVSS No. 305 to harmonize with GTR No. 13. We are proposing to add an optional method of meeting post-crash electrical isolation requirements for an AC high voltage source that is connected to a DC high voltage source. In such condition, the required minimum electrical isolation for the AC high voltage source is 100 ohms/volt provided the AC high voltage source meets the post-crash physical barrier protection requirements.

    We are also proposing to add a physical barrier protection option for post-crash electrical safety that includes requirements specifying that:

    i. High voltage sources must be enclosed in barriers that prevent direct human contact with high voltage sources (IPXXB protection level),

    ii. Electrical protection barriers must be conductively connected to the chassis with a resistance less than 0.1 ohms, and the resistance between two simultaneously reachable exposed conductive parts of electrical protection barriers that are less than 2.5 meters of each other must be less than 0.2 ohms, and

    iii. Voltage between a barrier and other exposed conductive parts of the vehicle must be at a low voltage level that would not cause electric shock (less than 60 VDC or 30 VAC).

    Electrical Isolation Resistance Option

    Currently, FMVSS No. 305's electrical isolation option requires that vehicles with high voltage sources meet different isolation requirements based on whether the vehicle is an AC or a DC high voltage source. Electric powered vehicles are required to electrically isolate AC and DC high voltage sources from the chassis with electrical isolation no less than 500 ohms/volt, but the DC high voltage source can have electrical isolation no less than 100 ohms/volt if the DC high voltage source has an electrical isolation monitoring system.

    GTR No. 13 differs from FMVSS No. 305 by distinguishing between situations where AC and DC high voltage are conductively isolated from each other or are conductively connected. GTR No. 13 states that when AC and DC high voltage sources are isolated from each other, the AC high voltage sources need to maintain electrical isolation no less than 500 ohms/volt and DC sources need to maintain electrical isolation no less than 100 ohms/volt. This is similar to FMVSS No. 305.61

    61 We note that GTR No. 13 permits DC high voltage sources to have 100 ohms/volt minimum electrical isolation without specifying that the DC high voltage sources must be equipped with an electrical isolation monitoring system. While this appears to differ from FMVSS No. 305, we do not believe there is a practical difference. The only vehicles needing to use FMVSS No. 305's 100 ohms/volt electrical isolation compliance option for DC high voltage sources are fuel cell vehicles. In this NPRM, the agency is proposing to require all DC high voltage sources of fuel cell vehicles to be equipped with an electrical isolation monitoring system. Therefore, while we propose to adopt the post-crash electrical isolation requirements for DC high voltage sources in GTR No. 13 into FMVSS No. 305 to further harmonization efforts, we do not believe there would be an effect on vehicle design or safety.

    When the AC and DC sources are conductively connected, GTR No. 13 affords three different methods for these high voltage sources to achieve compliance:

    (1) All AC and DC sources maintain minimum electrical isolation of 500 ohms/volt (this is basically the approach of FMVSS No. 305);

    (2) AC high voltage sources that are linked to a DC high voltage source may have a minimum of 100 ohms/volt instead of 500 ohms/volt if the AC high voltage source also has physical barrier protection from direct and indirect contact of high voltage sources; 62 or

    62 FMVSS No. 305 does not distinguish when the AC and DC sources are connected from when AC and DC sources are separated. The standard specifies that all AC high voltage sources must have a minimum electrical isolation of 500 ohms/volt. The condition involving connected AC and DC high voltage sources is germane to the Toyota petition.

    (3) all AC and DC sources maintain a minimum isolation resistance of 100 ohms/volt and all AC sources meet low-voltage requirements in GTR No. 13.

    Need for Amendment

    After reviewing the Toyota petition and other information, NHTSA understands petitioners' concern about FMVSS No. 305's electrical isolation requirements for AC high voltage sources under the conditions when the AC and DC bus are conductively connected. We tentatively believe that an amendment is warranted to facilitate the manufacture of fuel cell and other vehicles.

    If FMVSS No. 305 were not amended, the electrical isolation for fuel cell stacks would need to be 500 ohms/volt or greater to comply with FMVSS No. 305, which may not be technically feasible.

    Proposal for Electrical Isolation Option

    In consideration of the above, NHTSA is proposing to add an option that would permit an AC high voltage source that is connected to a DC high voltage source post-crash to have electrical isolation no less than 100 ohms/volt provided the high voltage source also meets physical barrier protection requirements. Specifically, the electrical isolation option for electrical safety in the proposal requires that the electrical isolation of a high voltage source be greater than or equal to one of the following:

    (1) 500 ohms/volt for an AC high voltage source; or

    (2) 100 ohms/volt for an AC high voltage source if it is conductively connected to a DC high voltage source, but only if the AC high voltage source meets the physical barrier protection requirements; or

    (3) 100 ohms/volt for a DC high voltage source.

    NHTSA tentatively believes that adding this option into the existing FMVSS No. 305 requirements essentially harmonizes with the electrical isolation option in GTR No. 13. When an AC and DC high voltage source are conductively connected, the electrical isolation measured will be the same for both high voltage sources and approximately equal to the lower electrical isolation measurement of the two. Accordingly, the combined electrical isolation of conductively connected AC and DC high voltage sources can be greater than or equal to 500 ohm/volt only if the electrical isolation of each AC and DC high voltage sources are greater than or equal to 500 ohms/volt. Therefore the first option for electrical isolation in GTR No. 13 when an AC and DC high voltage source are conductively connected is redundant to what is already in FMVSS No. 305 since it is equivalent to the electrical isolation requirement when the AC and DC high voltage sources are conductively isolated from each other. The third option for electrical isolation in GTR No. 13 is unnecessary because if an AC high voltage source meets low voltage requirements, there is no need to meet the electrical isolation requirements.

    We note, however, that the physical barrier protection requirement in the proposed regulatory language to accommodate a lower electrical isolation level for a AC high voltage source that is conductively connected to a DC high voltage source is not the same as that specified in GTR No. 13. The physical barrier protection requirement is an option each contracting party of the 1998 agreement may elect to adopt. As explained in the following section, although our proposal in this document chooses not to adopt the physical barrier option in GTR No. 13 per se, we are proposing to adopt a modified physical barrier option. Based on the information from the Battelle research, the Alliance petition, the Toyota petition and other sources, we tentatively believe that our proposed physical barrier option will afford the compliance flexibility that the manufacturers desire while providing a level of safety that is more comparable to the other post-crash electric shock compliance options.

    Physical Barrier Protection Need for Amendment

    The Alliance petition for rulemaking requested updates to FMVSS No. 305 for facilitating the development and sale of not only HFCVs but also 48 volt mild hybrid vehicles. Because 48 volt batteries are considered low voltage, the 48 volt mild hybrid systems are designed with conductive connection to the electric chassis and so are unable to provide electrical isolation. While most parts of the 48 volt mild hybrid system would be considered low voltage per the measurement to the chassis, the voltage between different phases of the 3-phase AC motor can be slightly greater than 30 VAC and so would be considered a high voltage source.

    The Alliance Petition

    The agency has considered the information provided by the Alliance and by Mercedes-Benz 63 and tentatively concludes that without an electrical protection barrier option, 48 volt mild hybrids will not be a practical consideration for improving fuel economy. In the absence of such an option, these systems will need to be electrically isolated from the chassis and thereby result in higher mass, reduced fuel economy, increased emissions, and higher consumer costs.

    63 We discussed the Mercedes-Benz information earlier in this preamble, in the section describing the Alliance's petition for rulemaking, supra. 48 V Systems—Powerful Innovative Technologies for 2020 FC Targets, Mercedes-Benz, Daimler AG, June 2, 2015. Available in the docket for this NPRM.

    Regarding the Battelle study, we first begin by noting that we agree with the Alliance's analysis that for electric powered vehicles that meet the electrical isolation and physical barrier protection requirement in GTR No. 13 during normal vehicle operation, there is a very low likelihood that the various safety critical scenarios identified in the Battelle report with electric shock potential would occur. The scenarios would only be possible if multiple failures of safety systems occurred, along with human contact to very specific locations. Be that as it may, the Alliance petition also suggested modifications to the electrical protection barrier provisions in GTR No. 13, which it states provide the same level of protection as the electrical isolation option for electrical safety in FMVSS No. 305 along with protection from the safety critical scenarios identified in the Battelle report.

    The physical barrier protection option in the Alliance petition specifies two optional methods of providing physical barrier protection from direct and indirect contact of high voltage sources. The first method (Option 1) requires an AC or DC high voltage source to have:

    1. Direct contact protection degree IPXXB,

    2. All exposed conductive parts of electrical protection barriers are conductively connected to electrical chassis with resistance less than 0.1 ohms, and

    3. The electrical isolation between the high voltage source and the electrical protection barrier enclosing it is greater than or equal to 0.05 ohms/VAC or 0.01 ohms/VDC.

    The second method (Option 2) requires an AC or DC high voltage source to have:

    1. Direct contact protection degree IPXXB.

    2. The voltage between the electrical protection barrier and other exposed conductive parts is low voltage (30 VAC or 60 VDC).

    Technical Analysis

    The physical barrier protection provides electrical safety via electrical protection barriers that are placed around high voltage components to insure that there is no direct or indirect human contact with live high voltage sources during normal vehicle operation or after a vehicle crash. For protection against contact with live parts in post-crash conditions, a test probe designed to simulate a small human finger (12 mm) conforming to ISO 20653 “Road vehicles—Degrees of protection (IP-Code)—Protection of electrical equipment against foreign objects, water, and access (IPXXB)” is specified in GTR No. 13.64 The agency notes that protection against direct contact of high voltage sources is currently not specified in FMVSS No. 305 and so adding such a provision into FMVSS No. 305 would further enhance protection from electric shock. The IPXXB finger probe is utilized in other standards 65 for protecting electrical maintenance personnel from inadvertently contacting high voltage during servicing of electrical equipment. Therefore, NHTSA tentatively believes protection level using the simulated human finger probe (IPXXB) to prohibit inadvertent contact by passengers and first responders with high voltage components contained within protective enclosures is appropriate.66

    64 IEC60529 Second edition 1989-11 + Am. 1 1999-11, EN60529, “Degrees of protection provided by enclosures.”

    65 For example, IEC 60479, “Low voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies,” uses IPXXB level protection for preventing contact with high voltage sources by maintenance personnel. The voltage levels considered in IEC 60479 are similar to those in automotive application.

    66 The use of the IPXXB finger probe as opposed to the IPXXD wire probe for evaluating direct contact protection after a crash test is appropriate. The IPXXD is intended to evaluate contact with high voltage sources inside the passenger or luggage compartment during normal vehicle operation to ensure that body parts, miscellaneous tools or other slender conductive items typically encountered in a passenger or luggage compartment cannot penetrate any gaps/seams in the protective enclosures and contact high voltage components contained within.

    NHTSA reviewed 67 the Alliance's proposal for a post-crash electrical protection barrier option for FMVSS No. 305 and confirmed that the electric current Ib through the body (with minimum resistance of 500 ohms) in Figure 9, supra, is less than or equal to 10 mA DC or less than or equal to 2 mA AC under various scenarios, as long as the three requirements for the Alliance-suggested Option 1 for post-crash physical barrier protection are met. These are: 1. Direct contact protection degree IPXXB, 2. all exposed conductive parts are conductively connected to electrical chassis with resistance less than 0.1 ohms, and 3. the combined resistance of R1 and R2 and the resistance of the conductive connection of the electrical protection barrier to the chassis is greater than or equal to 0.05 ohms/VAC or 0.01 ohms/VDC. When all three conditions in the Option 1 physical barrier protection suggested by Alliance are met, the agency's analysis showed that in the event of loss in electrical isolation, the body current is limited to safe levels under the various safety critical scenarios identified in the Battelle study. The agency's analysis also confirmed that when the above conditions are met, the voltage between barrier #1 and barrier #2 in Figure 9 is less than or equal to 30 VAC or 60 VDC, as the Alliance noted.68

    67 Supporting technical document in the docket of this NPRM.

    68 For example, an analysis of the circuit in Figure 9 was conducted using the following values for the components in the circuit: Vb = 1000 VDC, bonding resistance bond #1 and bond #2 equal to 0.1 ohm, R1 and R2 resistances equal to 20 ohms, and body resistance equal to 500 ohms. This resulted in a combined resistance of R1 and R2 and bonding resistance to chassis of 10.05 ohms (or 0.01005 ohms/volt electrical isolation from the chassis) and current through the body of 9.95 mA (<10 mA considered as safe level of current). The analysis also showed that in this example, the voltage between barrier #1 and barrier #2 is equal to 4.97 volt (<60 volt is considered to be low voltage). This is further explained in the supporting technical document in the docket of this NPRM.

    The specification that the conductive connection between a protection barrier and the chassis be less than 0.1 ohm provides protection from electric shock by shunting any harmful electrical currents through the vehicle chassis (rather than through a human contacting the protection barrier) should any electrically charged components lose isolation within the protective barrier. The 0.1 ohms resistance level for electrical bonding (or conductive connection) is well established in international standards both in and out of the automotive industry (e.g. MIL_B_5087, NASA Technical Standard NSA-STD-P023 “Electrical Bonding for NASA Launch Vehicles, Payloads, and Flight Equipment,” ISO6469, ECE-R100, and IEC 60335-1 “Household and Similar Electrical Appliances” Part 1: General Requirements). For these reasons, NHTSA accepts that the resistance of the conductive connection between the protective barrier and the electrical chassis be less than 0.1 ohms.

    However, the agency sought clarification on the indirect contact protection requirement of Option 1 suggested by the Alliance, which states that, “The resistance between exposed conductive parts of the electrical protection barrier(s) and the electrically conductive chassis is less than 0.1 ohms where there is a current flow of at least 0.2 A.” NHTSA noted that the maximum allowable resistance for the electrical chassis was not specified and asked the Alliance how its suggested Option 1 would afford adequate indirect contact protection when exposed conductive parts of two electrical protection barriers were contacted simultaneously instead of simultaneous contact of an electrical protection barrier and the chassis.

    In response,69 the Alliance acknowledged that the effective resistance between two exposed conductive parts of the electrical protection barriers was not well defined in its proposal. The petitioner stated that in order to address the fact that there are no resistance specifications for the electrically conductive chassis, it recommends the addition of a performance requirement that limits the maximum resistance between any two exposed conductive parts of the electrical protection barriers to less than 0.2 ohms (which corresponds to the requirement that maximum resistance between the protective physical barrier and the electrical chassis is less than 0.1 ohms). The Alliance also stated that the resistance measurements between any two exposed conductive parts of the electrical protection barriers should be limited to those that can be simultaneously contacted by a human. The petitioner stated its belief that limiting the resistance measurement to a distance of 2.5 meter 70 would ensure that any surfaces that can be simultaneously contacted by a human be subjected to the proposed performance requirements. The petitioner noted that such a distance limitation would significantly reduce the test burden (number of test points) while maintaining the same level of safety. Accordingly, the Alliance offered the following modification to the text in SAE J1766 regarding indirect contact protection requirements and requested that NHTSA seek comment on it in an NPRM.

    69 Alliance's response to NHTSA's questions is in the docket of this NPRM.

    70 This distance specification was obtained from IEC 60364-4-41. “Low-voltage electrical installations—Part 4-4—Protection against electric shock.”: Annex B (Obstacles and Placing out of Reach), and ISO6469-3,:2011, “Electrically propelled road vehicles—Safety specifications—Part 3: Protection of persons against electric shock.”

    [Petitioner's suggested requirement] S5.3.4(2)—The bonding resistance between any exposed conductive parts of the electrical protection barriers and the vehicle's electrical chassis shall not exceed 0.1 ohms. This requirement is deemed satisfied if the galvanic connection has been made by welding and the weld is intact after each of the specified crash tests. In addition, the bonding resistance between any two simultaneously reachable exposed conductive parts of the electrical protection barriers in a distance of 2.5 meters shall not exceed 0.2 ohms. See C.2.1 for the applicable test procedure.

    The agency tentatively concludes that this modification responds to NHTSA's concern about the lack of resistance specification for the electrical chassis and the lack of low resistance specification between two electrical protection barriers that can be contacted simultaneously.71 However, we note that the requirement in the suggested S5.3.4(2) above is for the resistance to be less than or equal to 0.1 ohms and 0.2 ohms, while SAE J1766 January 2014 and GTR No. 13 specify that the resistance be less than 0.1 ohms. For purposes of harmonization with GTR No. 13, the agency proposes to use “less than 0.1 ohms” and “less than 0.2 ohms.”

    71 NHTSA's analysis using 0.2 ohm resistance (instead of 0.1 ohm) between two protective barriers along with IPXXB protection and isolation between high voltage source and the protective barrier of 0.01 ohm/VDC or 0.05 ohm/VAC results in safe current levels through the body (10 mA DC or 2 mA AC). See details of NHTSA's analysis in the supporting technical document in the docket of this NPRM.

    The proposed modification suggested by the Alliance also states, “This requirement is deemed satisfied if the galvanic connection has been made by welding and the weld is intact after each of the specified crash tests.” We believe that such a method of assessing compliance of indirect contact protection by visually inspecting the welding lacks objectivity that is needed for FMVSS. Therefore, NHTSA proposes not including this method for evaluating compliance. Instead, the agency proposes to include the test procedure in GTR No. 13 and SAE J1766 January 2014 that determines the resistance between an electrical protection barrier and the chassis and between two electrical protection barriers by passing through a current of at least 0.2 A. NHTSA seeks comment on its proposal not to include assessing compliance of a conductive connection by means of visual inspection.

    The agency's review had also indicated that the Alliance's proposed Option 2 for physical barrier protection (direct contact protection degree IPXXB and the voltage between barrier #1 and barrier #2 is less than or equal to 30 VAC or 60 VDC) does not guarantee that the current through the body is less than 10 mA DC and 2 mA AC for all scenarios.72 NHTSA requested that the Alliance provide clarification on this matter. The Alliance responded 73 that FMVSS No. 305 already recognizes these low voltage thresholds, both with respect to the applicability of the standard and with respect to the electrical safety provisions of the standard. The Alliance also noted that GTR No. 13 and numerous other government regulations and industry standards recognize these low voltage threshold levels for automotive applications.74 The Alliance observed that for voltage below or equal to 30 VAC and 60 VDC, the potential body current is below the let-go limit 75 and below the limit for electric shock with non-reversible harm. The Alliance stated that it is for these reasons that voltage levels below 30 VAC and 60 VDC are designated worldwide as low voltage without safety concern.76

    72 For example, an analysis of the circuit in Figure 9 was conducted using the following values for the components in the circuit: Vb = 1000 VDC, bonding resistance bond #1 and bond #2 equal to 0.1 ohm, R1 and R2 resistances equal to 1.6 ohms, and body resistance equal to 500 ohms. This resulted in a combined resistance of R1 and R2 and bonding resistance to chassis of 0.85 ohms (or 0.00085 ohms/volt electrical isolation from chassis) and current through the body of 117 mA (>10 mA is considered an unsafe level of current). The analysis also showed that in this example, the voltage between barrier #1 and barrier #2 is equal to 58.52 volt (<60 volt is considered to be low voltage). This is further explained in the supporting technical document in the docket of this NPRM.

    73 Alliance's response to NHTSA's questions is in the docket of this NPRM.

    74 Electrical safety requirements in Europe, Japan, and Korea and SAE J1766 recognize voltage levels less than or equal to 30 VAC or 60 VDC as low voltage.

    75 Maximum value of touch current at which a person holding electrodes can let go of the electrodes.

    76 The Alliance also noted its belief that the indirect contact scenarios identified in the Battelle study are extremely rare and that in setting appropriate safety measures, the probability of faults, probability of contact with live parts, and the ratio of touch voltage and fault voltage needs to be considered.

    NHTSA tentatively agrees with the clarification provided by the Alliance that voltage levels at or lower than 30 VAC and 60 VDC are already specified as low voltage in FMVSS No. 305 and at these voltage levels, the potential body current is below the limit for electric shock. Currently, the European Union, Japan, and Korea, permit compliance for electrical safety using the electrical protection barrier option in GTR No. 13 and NHTSA is not aware of any incidence of electrical shock during normal operation and after a crash.

    The Alliance suggested adopting Option 2 for physical barrier protection rather than Option 1 because it is difficult to measure electrical isolation between the high voltage source and exposed conductive parts of its electrical protection barrier, which is needed to assess compliance with Option 1.77 Additionally, the agency's analysis confirms that of the Alliance's, that if the three conditions of Option 1 are met, the two conditions of Option 2 would also be met and in the event of loss of electrical isolation, the current through a body contacting electrical protection barriers is within safe levels (same level of safety as that afforded by post-crash electrical isolation requirements).

    77 The Alliance did not specify a test procedure to determine electrical isolation between the high voltage source and its electrical protection barrier.

    NHTSA's Proposal for Physical Barrier Protection

    In consideration of the above technical analysis, the agency is proposing to combine Alliance's suggested Option 1 and Option 2 requirements for electrical protection barriers. Specifically, the agency proposes the following requirements for an electrical protection barrier of a high voltage source:

    (1) Direct contact protection degree IPXXB,

    (2) indirect contact protection (electrical protection barriers are conductively connected to the chassis with resistance less than 0.1 ohms and resistance between two electrical protection barriers that are accessible within 2.5 meters is less than 0.2 ohms), and

    (3) low voltage of 30 VAC or 60VDC between the electrical protection barrier and other exposed conductive parts.

    The first two conditions are specified in GTR No. 13 and (1) and (3) together is the same as Option 2 suggested by the Alliance. We concur that there is merit to the third condition since FMVSS No. 305 already recognizes voltages less than or equal to 30 VAC and 60 VDC as low voltage. Our technical analysis confirms that the proposed post-crash physical barrier protection option (with the first two requirements in GTR No. 13 and an additional third requirement that electrical protection barriers be low voltage) affords the same level of safety as the post-crash electrical isolation option currently in FMVSS No. 305.

    NHTSA seeks comment on the proposed inclusion of the physical barrier protection option into FMVSS No. 305. NHTSA also seeks comment on its proposed physical barrier protection requirements which combine the requirements in GTR No. 13 and Option 2 in the Alliance petition. The agency also seeks comment on the proposed test procedures for assessing physical barrier protection.

    Toyota's Request for Amending Post-Crash Test Procedure

    In its December 23, 2013 petition for rulemaking, Toyota requests that NHTSA amend S6.4 of FMVSS No. 305, which requires a vehicle to satisfy all of the post-crash performance requirements “after being rotated on its longitudinal axis to each successive increment of 90 degrees. . . .” Toyota recommends that the tests to evaluate electrical isolation and physical barrier protection requirements be performed after the vehicle is rotated a full 360 degrees. Toyota states that the vehicle conditions related to these requirements do not change at various increments of a rollover, and it would be increasingly dangerous for laboratory personnel to conduct the specified tests with the vehicle at other 90 degree increments.

    NHTSA has evaluated Toyota's request and is denying it. NHTSA does not agree with Toyota's assessment that the vehicle conditions related to electrical safety requirements do not change at various increments of rollover. Post-crash direct contact protection is assessed by first opening, disassembling, or removing electrical protection barriers, solid insulator, and connectors without the use of tools, and then the IPXXB probe is used to determine if high voltage sources can be contacted. This evaluation may yield different results for the different attitudes of the vehicle. For example, high voltage sources may be more accessible when the vehicle is rotated 90 degrees than when upright. NHTSA is not aware of unreasonably dangerous conditions to laboratory personnel in conducting the specified tests with the vehicle at 90 degree increments. Toyota did not provide any supporting data to substantiate its case. NHTSA seeks comment on this issue.

    X. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    This rulemaking document was not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under E.O. 12866. It is not considered to be significant under E.O. 12866 or the Department's Regulatory Policies and Procedures. The amendments proposed by this NPRM would have no significant effect on the national economy, as the requirements are already in voluntary industry standards and international standards that current electric powered vehicles presently meet.

    This NPRM proposes to update FMVSS No. 305 to incorporate the electrical safety requirements in GTR No. 13. This proposal also responds to petitions for rulemaking from Toyota and the Alliance to facilitate the introduction of fuel cell vehicles and 48 volt mild hybrid technologies into the vehicle fleet. The proposal adds electrical safety requirements in GTR No. 13 that involves electrical isolation and direct and indirect contact protection of high voltage sources to prevent electric shock during normal operation of electric powered vehicles. Today's proposal also provides an additional optional method of meeting post-crash electrical safety requirements in FMVSS No. 305 that involves physical barriers of high voltage sources to prevent electric shock due to direct and indirect contact with live parts. Since there is widespread conformance with the requirements that would apply to existing vehicles, we anticipate no costs or benefits associated with this rulemaking.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    NHTSA has considered the effects of this NPRM under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996). I certify that this NPRM would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Any small manufacturers that might be affected by this NPRM are already subject to the requirements of FMVSS No. 305. Further, the agency believes the testing associated with the requirements added by this NPRM are not substantial and to some extent are already being voluntarily borne by the manufacturers pursuant to SAE J1766. Therefore, there will be only a minor economic impact.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this rulemaking action for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act. The agency has determined that implementation of this action will not have any significant impact on the quality of the human environment.

    Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    NHTSA has examined today's NPRM pursuant to Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255; Aug. 10, 1999) and concluded that no additional consultation with States, local governments, or their representatives is mandated beyond the rulemaking process. The agency has concluded that the proposal does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant consultation with State and local officials or the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. The proposal does not have “substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.”

    NHTSA rules can have preemptive effect in two ways. First, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act contains an express preemption provision:

    When a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this chapter, a State or a political subdivision of a State may prescribe or continue in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if the standard is identical to the standard prescribed under this chapter. 49 U.S.C. 30103(b)(1).

    It is this statutory command that preempts any non-identical State legislative and administrative law 78 addressing the same aspect of performance, not today's rulemaking, so consultation would be inappropriate.

    78 The issue of potential preemption of state tort law is addressed in the immediately following paragraph discussing implied preemption.

    Second, the Supreme Court has recognized the possibility, in some instances, of implied preemption of State requirements imposed on motor vehicle manufacturers, including sanctions imposed by State tort law. That possibility is dependent upon there being an actual conflict between a FMVSS and the State requirement. If and when such a conflict exists, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution makes the State requirements unenforceable. See Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., 529 U.S. 861 (2000), finding implied preemption of state tort law on the basis of a conflict discerned by the court,79 not on the basis of an intent to preempt asserted by the agency itself.

    79 The conflict was discerned based upon the nature (e.g., the language and structure of the regulatory text) and the safety-related objectives of FMVSS requirements in question and the impact of the State requirements on those objectives.

    NHTSA has considered the nature (e.g., the language and structure of the regulatory text) and objectives of today's NPRM and does not discern any existing State requirements that conflict with the rule or the potential for any future State requirements that might conflict with it. Without any conflict, there could not be any implied preemption of state law, including state tort law.

    Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    With respect to the review of the promulgation of a new regulation, section 3(b) of Executive Order 12988, “Civil Justice Reform” (61 FR 4729; Feb. 7, 1996), requires that Executive agencies make every reasonable effort to ensure that the regulation: (1) Clearly specifies the preemptive effect; (2) clearly specifies the effect on existing Federal law or regulation; (3) provides a clear legal standard for affected conduct, while promoting simplification and burden reduction; (4) clearly specifies the retroactive effect, if any; (5) specifies whether administrative proceedings are to be required before parties file suit in court; (6) adequately defines key terms; and (7) addresses other important issues affecting clarity and general draftsmanship under any guidelines issued by the Attorney General. This document is consistent with that requirement.

    Pursuant to this Order, NHTSA notes as follows. The issue of preemption is discussed above. NHTSA notes further that there is no requirement that individuals submit a petition for reconsideration or pursue other administrative proceedings before they may file suit in court.

    Privacy Act

    Please note that anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78), or online at http://www.dot.gov/privacy.html.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), a person is not required to respond to a collection of information by a Federal agency unless the collection displays a valid OMB control number. There are no information collection requirements associated with this NPRM.

    National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA), Public Law 104-113, as amended by Public Law 107-107 (15 U.S.C. 272), directs the agency to evaluate and use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory activities unless doing so would be inconsistent with applicable law or is otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, such as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The NTTAA directs us to provide Congress (through OMB) with explanations when the agency decides not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards. The NTTAA does not apply to symbols.

    FMVSS No. 305 has historically drawn largely from SAE J1766, and does so again for this current rulemaking, which proposes revisions to FMVSS No. 305 to facilitate the development of fuel cell and 48 volt mild hybrid technologies. It is based on GTR No. 13 and the latest version of SAE J1766 January 2014.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Public Law 104-4, requires Federal agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more than $100 million annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). Adjusting this amount by the implicit gross domestic product price deflator for the year 2013 results in $142 million (106.733/75.324 = 1.42). This NPRM would not result in a cost of $142 million or more to either State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or the private sector. Thus, this NPRM is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 of the UMRA.

    Executive Order 13609 (Promoting Regulatory Cooperation)

    The policy statement in section 1 of Executive Order 13609 provides, in part: The regulatory approaches taken by foreign governments may differ from those taken by U.S. regulatory agencies to address similar issues. In some cases, the differences between the regulatory approaches of U.S. agencies and those of their foreign counterparts might not be necessary and might impair the ability of American businesses to export and compete internationally. In meeting shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues, international regulatory cooperation can identify approaches that are at least as protective as those that are or would be adopted in the absence of such cooperation. International regulatory cooperation can also reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements.

    The agency participated in the development of GTR No. 13 to harmonize the standards of fuel cell vehicles. As a signatory member, NHTSA is proposing to incorporate electrical safety requirements and options specified in GTR No. 13 into FMVSS No. 305.

    Regulation Identifier Number

    The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document to find this action in the Unified Agenda.

    Plain Language

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write all rules in plain language. Application of the principles of plain language includes consideration of the following questions:

    • Have we organized the material to suit the public's needs?

    • Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated?

    • Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that isn't clear?

    • Would a different format (grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing) make the rule easier to understand?

    • Would more (but shorter) sections be better?

    • Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists, or diagrams?

    • What else could we do to make the rule easier to understand?

    If you have any responses to these questions, please write to us with your views.

    XI. Public Participation How do I prepare and submit comments?

    Your comments must be written and in English. To ensure that your comments are correctly filed in the Docket, please include the docket number of this document in your comments.

    Your comments must not be more than 15 pages long. (49 CFR 553.21). We 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. There is no limit on the length of the attachments.

    Comments may also be submitted to the docket electronically by logging onto the Docket Management System Web site at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

    Please note that pursuant to the Data Quality Act, in order for substantive data to be relied upon and used by the agency, it must meet the information quality standards set forth in the OMB and 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.

    How can I be sure that my comments were received?

    If you 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.

    How do I submit confidential business information?

    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. In addition, you should submit a copy, from which you have deleted the claimed confidential business information, to the docket at the address given above under ADDRESSES. When you send a comment containing information claimed to be confidential business information, you should include a cover letter setting forth the information specified in our confidential business information regulation. (49 CFR part 512)

    Will the agency consider late comments?

    We will consider all comments received before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated above under DATES. To the extent possible, we will also consider comments that the docket receives after that date. If the docket receives a comment too late for us to consider in developing a final rule (assuming that one is issued), we will consider that comment as an informal suggestion for future rulemaking action.

    How can I read the comments submitted by other people?

    You may read the comments received by the docket at the address given above under ADDRESSES. The hours of the docket are indicated above in the same location. You may also see the comments on the Internet. To read the comments on the Internet, go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets.

    Please note that even after the comment closing date, we will continue to file relevant information in the docket as it becomes available. Further, some people may submit late comments. Accordingly, we recommend that you periodically check the Docket for new material. You can arrange with the docket to be notified when others file comments in the docket. See www.regulations.gov for more information.

    List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Motor vehicles, Motor vehicle safety.

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA proposes to amend 49 CFR part 571 as follows:

    PART 571—FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS 1. The authority citation for part 571 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, and 30166; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95.

    2. In § 571.305: a. Revise S1 and S2; b. Under S4: i. Add in alphabetical order definitions for “Charge connector”, “Direct contact”, “Electrical protection barrier”, “Exposed conductive part”, “External electric power supply”, “Fuel cell system”, “Indirect contact”, “Live part”, “Luggage compartment”, “Passenger compartment”, and “Possible active driving mode”; ii. Revise the definition of “Propulsion system”; and iii. Add in alphabetical order definitions for “Protection degree IPXXB”, “Protection degree IPXXD”, “Service disconnect”, and “Vehicle charge inlet”; c. Revise S5.3 and S5.4; and d. Add S5.4.1, S5.4.1.1, S5.4.1.1.1, S5.4.1.2, S5.4.1.3, S5.4.1.4, S5.4.2, S5.4.2.1, S5.4.2.2, S5.4.3, S5.4.3.1, S5.4.3.2, S5.4.3.3, S5.4.4, S5.4.5, S5.4.6, S5.4.6.1, S5.4.6.2, S5.4.6.3, S9, S9.1, S9.2, S9.3, and figures 6, 7a, 7b, and 8.

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 571.305 Standard No. 305; Electric-powered vehicles: electrolyte spillage and electrical shock protection.

    S1. Scope. This standard specifies requirements for limitation of electrolyte spillage and retention of electric energy storage/conversion devices during and after a crash, and protection from harmful electric shock during and after a crash and during normal vehicle operation.

    S2. Purpose. The purpose of this standard is to reduce deaths and injuries during and after a crash that occur because of electrolyte spillage from electric energy storage devices, intrusion of electric energy storage/conversion devices into the occupant compartment, and electrical shock, and to reduce deaths and injuries during normal vehicle operation that occur because of electric shock.

    S4. Definitions.

    Charge connector is a conductive device that, by insertion into a vehicle charge inlet, establishes an electrical connection of the vehicle to the external electric power supply for the purpose of transferring energy and exchanging information.

    Direct contact is the contact of persons with high voltage live parts.

    Electrical protection barrier is the part providing protection against direct contact with live parts from any direction of access.

    Exposed conductive part is the conductive part that can be touched under the provisions of the IPXXB protection degree and becomes electrically energized under isolation failure conditions. This includes parts under a cover that can be removed without using tools.

    External electric power supply is a power supply external to the vehicle that provides electric power to charge the propulsion battery in the vehicle.

    Fuel cell system is a system containing the fuel cell stack(s), air processing system, fuel flow control system, exhaust system, thermal management system, and water management system.

    Indirect contact is the contact of persons with exposed conductive parts.

    Live part is a conductive part of the vehicle that is electrically energized under normal vehicle operation.

    Luggage compartment is the space in the vehicle for luggage accommodation, separated from the passenger compartment by the front or rear bulkhead and bounded by a roof, hood, floor, and side walls, as well as by the electrical barrier and enclosure provided for protecting the power train from direct contact with live parts.

    Passenger compartment is the space for occupant accommodation that is bounded by the roof, floor, side walls, doors, outside glazing, front bulkhead and rear bulkhead or rear gate, as well as electrical barriers and enclosures provided for protecting the occupants from direct contact with live parts.

    Possible active driving mode is the vehicle mode when application of pressure to the accelerator pedal (or activation of an equivalent control) or release of the brake system causes the electric power train to move the vehicle.

    Propulsion system means an assembly of electric or electro-mechanical components or circuits that propel the vehicle using the energy that is supplied by a high voltage source. This includes, but is not limited to, electric motors, inverters/converters, and electronic controllers.

    Protection degree IPXXB is protection from contact with high voltage live parts. It is tested by probing electrical protection barriers or enclosures with the jointed test finger probe, IPXXB, in Figure 7b.

    Protection degree IPXXD is protection from contact with high voltage live parts. It is tested by probing electrical protection barriers or enclosures with the test wire probe, IPXXD, in Figure 7a.

    Service disconnect is the device for deactivation of an electrical circuit when conducting checks and services of the vehicle electrical propulsion system.

    Vehicle charge inlet is the device on the electric vehicle into which the charge connector is inserted for the purpose of transferring energy and exchanging information from an external electric power supply.

    S5.3 Electrical safety. After each test specified in S6 of this standard, each high voltage source in a vehicle must meet the electrical isolation requirements of paragraph S5.3(a) of this section, the voltage level requirements of paragraph S5.3(b) of this section, or the physical barrier protection requirements of paragraph S5.3(c) of this section.

    (a) The electrical isolation of the high voltage source, determined in accordance with the procedure specified in S7.6 of this section, must be greater than or equal to one of the following:

    (1) 500 ohms/volt for an AC high voltage source; or

    (2) 100 ohms/volt for an AC high voltage source if it is conductively connected to a DC high voltage source, but only if the AC high voltage source meets the physical barrier protection requirements specified in paragraph S5.3(c) of this section; or

    (3) 100 ohms/volt for a DC high voltage source.

    (b) The voltages V1, V2, and Vb of the high voltage source, measured according to the procedure specified in S7.7 of this section, must be less than or equal to 30 VAC for AC components or 60 VDC for DC components.

    (c) Protection against electric shock by direct and indirect contact (physical barrier protection) shall be demonstrated by meeting the following three conditions:

    (1) The high voltage source (AC or DC) meets the protection degree IPXXB when tested under the procedure specified in S9.1 of this section using the IPXXB test probe shown in Figures 7a and 7b to this section;

    (2) The resistance between exposed conductive parts of the electrical protection barriers and the electrical chassis is less than 0.1 ohms when tested under the procedures specified in S9.2 of this section. In addition, the resistance between any two simultaneously reachable exposed conductive parts of the electrical protection barriers that are less than 2.5 meters from each other is less than 0.2 ohms when tested under the procedures specified in S9.2 of this section; and

    (3) The voltages between the electrical protection barrier enclosing the high voltage source and other exposed conductive parts are less than or equal to 30 VAC or 60 VDC as measured in accordance with S9.3 of this section.

    S5.4 Electrical safety during normal vehicle operation.

    S5.4.1 Protection against direct contact.

    S5.4.1.1 Marking. The symbol shown in Figure 6 to this section shall be visible on or near electric energy storage/conversion devices. The symbol in Figure 6 to this section shall also be visible on electrical protection barriers which, when removed, expose live parts of high voltage sources. The symbol shall be yellow and the bordering and the arrow shall be black.

    S5.4.1.1.1 The marking is not required for electrical protection barriers that cannot be physically accessed, opened, or removed without the use of tools.

    S5.4.1.2 High voltage cables. Cables for high voltage sources which are not located within enclosures shall be identified by having an outer covering with the color orange.

    S5.4.1.3 Service disconnect. For a service disconnect which can be opened, disassembled, or removed without tools, protection degree IPXXB shall be provided when tested under procedures specified in S9.1 of this section using the IPXXB test probe shown in Figures 7a and 7b to this section.

    S5.4.1.4 Protection degree of high voltage sources and live parts.

    (a) Protection degree IPXXD shall be provided for live parts and high voltage sources inside the passenger or luggage compartment when tested under procedures specified in S9.1 of this section using the IPXXD test probe shown in Figure 7a to this section.

    (b) Protection degree IPXXB shall be provided for live parts and high voltage sources in areas other than the passenger or luggage compartment when tested under procedures specified in S9.1 of this section using the IPXXB test probe shown in Figures 7a and 7b to this section.

    S5.4.2 Protection against indirect contact.

    S5.4.2.1 The resistance between all exposed conductive parts and the electrical chassis shall be less than 0.1 ohms when tested under the procedures specified in S9.2 of this section.

    S5.4.2.2 The resistance between any two simultaneously reachable exposed conductive parts of the electrical protection barriers that are less than 2.5 meters from each other shall not exceed 0.2 ohms when tested under the procedures specified in S9.2 of this section.

    S5.4.3 Electrical isolation.

    S5.4.3.1 Electrical isolation of AC and DC high voltage sources. The electrical isolation of a high voltage source, determined in accordance with the procedure specified in S7.6 of this section must be greater than or equal to one of the following:

    (a) 500 ohms/volt for an AC high voltage source;

    (b) 100 ohms/volt for an AC high voltage source if it is conductively connected to a DC high voltage source, but only if the AC high voltage source meets the requirements for protection against direct contact in S5.4.1.4 of this section and the protection from indirect contact in S5.4.2 of this section; or

    (c) 100 ohms/volt for a DC high voltage source.

    S5.4.3.2 Exclusion of high voltage sources from electrical isolation requirements. A high voltage source that is conductively connected to an electric energy storage device which is conductively connected to the electrical chassis and has a working voltage less than or equal to 60 VDC, is not required to meet the electrical isolation requirements in S5.4.3.1 of this section during normal vehicle operating conditions if the voltage between the high voltage source and the electrical chassis is less than or equal to 30 VAC or 60 VDC.

    S5.4.3.3 Isolation resistance of high voltage sources for charging the electric energy storage device. For motor vehicles with an electric energy storage device that can be charged through a conductive connection with the grounded external electric power supply, the isolation resistance between the electrical chassis and the vehicle charge inlet and each high voltage source conductively connected to the vehicle charge inlet during charging of the electric energy storage device shall be a minimum of one million ohms when the charge connector is disconnected. The isolation resistance is determined in accordance with the procedure specified in S7.6 of this section.

    S5.4.4 Electrical isolation monitoring. Each DC high voltage sources of vehicles with a fuel cell system shall be monitored by an electrical isolation monitoring system that displays a warning for loss of isolation when tested according to S8 of this section. The system must monitor its own readiness and the warning display must be visible to the driver seated in the driver's designated seating position.

    S5.4.5 Electric shock protection during charging. For motor vehicles with an electric energy storage device that can be charged through a conductive connection with a grounded external electric power supply, a device to enable conductive connection of the electrical chassis to the earth ground shall be provided. This device shall enable connection to the earth ground before exterior voltage is applied to the vehicle and retain the connection until after the exterior voltage is removed from the vehicle.

    S5.4.6 Mitigating driver error.

    S5.4.6.1 Indicator of possible active driving mode at start up. At least a momentary indication shall be given to the driver when the vehicle is in possible active driving mode. This requirement does not apply under conditions where an internal combustion engine provides directly or indirectly the vehicle's propulsion power upon start up.

    S5.4.6.2 Indicator of possible active driving mode when leaving the vehicle. When leaving the vehicle, the driver shall be informed by an audible or visual signal if the vehicle is still in the possible active driving mode.

    S5.4.6.3 Prevent drive-away during charging. If the on-board electric energy storage device can be externally charged, vehicle movement by its own propulsion system shall not be possible as long as the charge connector of the external electric power supply is physically connected to the vehicle charge inlet.

    S9 Test methods for physical barrier protection from electric shock due to direct and indirect contact with high voltage sources.

    S9.1 Test method to evaluate protection from direct contact with high voltage sources.

    (a) Any parts surrounding the high voltage components are opened, disassembled, or removed without the use of tools.

    (b) The selected access probe is inserted into any gaps or openings of the electrical protection barrier with a test force of 10 N ± 1 N with the IPXXB probe or 1 to 2 N with the IPXXD probe. If partial or full penetration into the physical barrier occurs, the probe shall be placed as follows: Starting from the straight position, both joints of the test finger are rotated progressively through an angle of up to 90 degrees with respect to the axis of the adjoining section of the test finger and are placed in every possible position.

    (c) A low voltage supply (of not less than 40 V and not more than 50 V) in series with a suitable lamp may be connected between the access probe and any high voltage live parts inside the physical barrier to indicate whether live parts were contacted.

    (d) A mirror or fiberscope may be used to inspect whether the access probe touches high voltage parts inside the physical barrier.

    S9.2 Test method to evaluate protection against indirect contact with high voltage sources.

    (a) Test method using a resistance tester. The resistance tester is connected to the measuring points (the electrical chassis and any exposed conductive part of the vehicle or any two exposed conductive parts that are less than 2.5 meters from each other), and the resistance is measured using a resistance tester that can measure current levels of at least 0.1 Amperes with a resolution of 0.01 ohms or less.

    (b) Test method using a DC power supply, voltmeter and ammeter.

    (1) Connect the DC power supply, voltmeter and ammeter to the measuring points (the electrical chassis and any exposed conductive part or any two exposed conductive parts that are less than 2.5 meters from each other) as shown in Figure 8 to this section.

    (2) Adjust the voltage of the DC power supply so that the current flow becomes more than 0.2 Amperes.

    (3) Measure the current I and the voltage V shown in Figure 8 to this section.

    (4) Calculate the resistance R according to the formula, R=V/I.

    S9.3 Test method to determine voltage between electrical protection barrier and exposed conductive parts, including electrical chassis, of the vehicle.

    (a) Connect the DC power supply and voltmeter to the measuring points (exposed conductive part of an electrical protection barrier and the electrical chassis or any other exposed conductive part of the vehicle).

    (b) Measure the voltage.

    (c) After completing the voltage measurements for all electrical protection barriers, the voltage differences between all exposed conductive parts of the protective barriers shall be calculated.

    BILLING CODE 4910-59-P EP10MR16.009 EP10MR16.010 EP10MR16.011 EP10MR16.012
    Raymond R. Posten, Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05187 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-59-C
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 160126053-6053-01] RIN 0648-BF74 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2016 Tribal Fishery for Pacific Whiting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS issues this proposed rule for the 2016 Pacific whiting fishery under the authority of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), and the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006. This proposed rule would allocate 17.5% of the U.S. Total Allowable Catch of Pacific whiting for 2016 to Pacific Coast Indian tribes that have a Treaty right to harvest groundfish.

    DATES:

    Comments on this proposed rule must be received no later than April 11, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2016-0009, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0009, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-0070, Attn: Miako Ushio.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Miako Ushio (West Coast Region, NMFS), phone: 206-526-4644, and email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Electronic Access

    This proposed rule is accessible via the Internet at the Office of the Federal Register Web site at https://www.federalregister.gov. Background information and documents are available at the NMFS West Coast Region Web site at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/management/whiting/pacific_whiting.html and at the Pacific Fishery Management Council's Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org/.

    Background

    The regulations at 50 CFR 660.50(d) establish the process by which the tribes with treaty fishing rights in the area covered by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) request new allocations or regulations specific to the tribes, in writing, during the biennial harvest specifications and management measures process. The regulations state that the Secretary will develop tribal allocations and regulations in consultation with the affected tribe(s) and, insofar as possible, with tribal consensus. The procedures NMFS employs in implementing tribal treaty rights under the FMP were designed to provide a framework process by which NMFS can accommodate tribal treaty rights by setting aside appropriate amounts of fish in conjunction with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) process for determining harvest specifications and management measures.

    Since the FMP has been in place, NMFS has been allocating a portion of the U.S. total allowable catch (TAC) (called Optimum Yield (OY) or Annual Catch Limit (ACL) prior to 2012) of Pacific whiting to the tribal fishery, following the process established in 50 CFR 660.50(d). The tribal allocation is subtracted from the U.S. Pacific whiting TAC before allocation to the non-tribal sectors.

    There are four tribes that can participate in the tribal whiting fishery: the Hoh Tribe, the Makah Tribe, the Quileute Tribe, and the Quinault Indian Nation (collectively, the “Treaty Tribes”). The Hoh Tribe has not expressed an interest in participating to date. The Quileute Tribe and Quinault Indian Nation have expressed interest in participating in the whiting fishery. However, to date, only the Makah Tribe has prosecuted a tribal fishery for Pacific whiting. They have harvested whiting since 1996 using midwater trawl gear. Tribal allocations have been based on discussions with the Treaty Tribes regarding their intent for those fishing years. Table 1 below provides a history of U.S. OYs and annual tribal allocation in metric tons (mt).

    Table 1—U.S. Optimum Yields (OYs) and Annual Tribal Allocation in Metric Tons (mt) Year U.S. OY Tribal Allocation 2006 269,069 mt 32,500 mt 2007 242,591 mt 35,000 mt 2008 269,545 mt 35,000 mt 2009 135,939 mt 50,000 mt 2010 193,935 mt 49,939 mt 2011 290,903 mt 66,908 mt 2012 186,037 mt TAC 1 48,556 mt 2013 269,745 mt TAC 63,205 mt 2014 316,206 mt TAC 55,336 mt 2015 325,072 mt TAC 56,888 mt 1 Beginning in 2012, the United States started using the term Total Allowable Catch, based on the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada on Pacific Hake/Whiting.

    In 2009, NMFS, the states of Washington and Oregon, and the Treaty Tribes started a process to determine the long-term tribal allocation for Pacific whiting; however, no long-term allocation has been determined. In order to ensure Treaty Tribes continue to receive allocations, this rule proposes the 2016 tribal allocation of Pacific whiting. This is an interim allocation not intended to set precedent for future allocations.

    Tribal Allocation for 2016

    In exchanges between NMFS and the Treaty Tribes during 2015, the Makah Tribe indicated their intent to participate in the tribal whiting fishery in 2016. The Makah Tribe has requested 17.5% of the U.S. TAC. The Quileute Tribe and the Quinault Indian Nation indicated that they are not planning to participate in 2016. NMFS proposes a tribal allocation that accommodates the Makah request, specifically 17.5% of the U.S. TAC. NMFS believes that the current scientific information regarding the distribution and abundance of the coastal Pacific whiting stock suggests that 17.5% is within the range of the tribal treaty right to Pacific whiting.

    The Joint Management Committee, which was established pursuant to the Agreement between the United States and Canada on Pacific Hake/Whiting (the Agreement), is anticipated to recommend the coastwide and corresponding U.S./Canada TACs no later than March 25, 2016. The U.S. TAC is 73.88% of the coastwide TAC. Until this TAC is set, NMFS cannot propose a specific amount for the tribal allocation. The whiting fishery typically begins in May, and the final rule establishing the whiting specifications for 2016 is anticipated to be published by early May. Therefore, in order to provide for public input on the tribal allocation, NMFS is issuing this proposed rule without the final 2016 TAC. However, to provide a basis for public input, NMFS is describing a range of potential tribal allocations in this proposed rule, applying the proposed approach to determining the tribal allocation to a range of potential TACs derived from historical experience.

    In order to project a range of potential tribal allocations for 2016, NMFS is applying its proposed approach to determining the tribal allocation to the range of U.S. TACs over the last 10 years, 2006 through 2015 (plus or minus 25% to capture variability in stock abundance). The range of TACs in that time period was 135,939 mt (2009) to 325,072 mt (2015). Applying the 25% variability results in a range of potential TACs of 101,954 mt to 406,340 mt for 2016. Therefore, using the proposed allocation rate of 17.5%, the potential range of the tribal allocation for 2016 would between 17,842 and 71,110 mt.

    This proposed rule would be implemented under authority of Section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which gives the Secretary responsibility to “carry out any fishery management plan or amendment approved or prepared by him, in accordance with the provisions of this Act.” With this proposed rule, NMFS, acting on behalf of the Secretary, would ensure that the FMP is implemented in a manner consistent with treaty rights of four Northwest Tribes to fish in their “usual and accustomed grounds and stations” in common with non-tribal citizens. United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 313 (W.D. 1974).

    Classification

    NMFS has preliminarily determined that the management measures for the 2016 Pacific whiting tribal fishery are consistent with the national standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws. In making the final determination, NMFS will take into account the data, views, and comments received during the comment period.

    The Office of Management and Budget has determined that this proposed rule is not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

    As required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was prepared. The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A summary of the analysis follows. A copy of this analysis is available from NMFS.

    Under the RFA, the term “small entities” includes small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has established size criteria for entities involved in the fishing industry. A business involved in fish harvesting is a small business if it is independently owned and operated and not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates) and if it has combined annual receipts, not in excess of $20.5 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide (See 79 FR 33647; June 12, 2014). For marinas and charter/party boats, a small business now defined as one with annual receipts, not in excess of $7.5 million. For purposes of rulemaking, NMFS is applying the $20.5 million standard to catcher processors (C/Ps) because Pacific whiting C/Ps are involved in the commercial harvest of finfish. A wholesale business servicing the fishing industry is a small business if it employs 100 or fewer persons on a full time, part time, temporary, or other basis, at all its affiliated operations worldwide. Effective February 26, 2016, a seafood processor is a small business if it is independently owned and operated, not dominant in its field of operation, and employs 750 or fewer persons on a full time, part time, temporary, or other basis, at all its affiliated operations worldwide (See NAICS 311710 at 81 FR 4469; January 26, 2016).

    Small organizations. The RFA defines small organizations as any nonprofit enterprise that is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.

    Small governmental jurisdictions. The RFA defines small governmental jurisdictions as governments of cities, counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts with populations of less than 50,000.

    This proposed rule would allocate 17.5% of the U.S. Total Allowable Catch of Pacific whiting for 2016 to Pacific Coast Indian tribes that have a Treaty right to harvest groundfish. This allocation percentage was used for the 2015 fishery. The entities that this rule directly impacts are the Makah Tribe and the following in the non-tribal fisheries: Quota share (QS) holders in the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program—Trawl Fishery; vessels in the Mothership Coop (MS) Program—Whiting At-sea Trawl Fishery; and the C/P Coop Whiting At-sea Trawl Fishery. These entities determine how much of their allocations are to be actually fished and what vessels are allowed to fish their allocations. This rule proposes to allocate fish to the Makah Tribe. Based on groundfish ex-vessel revenues and on tribal enrollments (the population size of each tribe), the Makah Tribe is considered a small entity.

    Currently, the Shorebased IFQ Program is composed of 172 Quota Share permits/accounts, 152 vessel accounts, and 44 first receivers. The MS fishery is currently composed of a single coop, with six mothership processor permits, and 34 Mothership/Catcher-Vessel (MS/CV) endorsed permits, with three permits each having two catch history assignments. The C/P Program is composed of 10 C/P permits owned by three companies that have formed a single co-op. Many companies participate in two sectors and some participate in all three sectors. All of the 34 mothership catch history assignments are associated with a single mothership co-op and all ten of the catcher-processor permits are associated with a co-op. These co-ops are considered large entities from several perspectives; they have participants that are large entities, whiting co-op revenues exceed or have exceeded the $20.5 million, or co-op members are connected to American Fishing Act permits or co-ops where the NMFS Alaska Region has determined they are all large entities (79 FR 54597; September 12, 2014). After accounting for cross participation, multiple QS account holders, and affiliation through ownership, NMFS estimates that there are 103 non-tribal entities directly affected by these proposed regulations, 89 of which are considered “small” businesses.

    For the years 2011 to 2015, the total whiting fishery (tribal and non-tribal) averaged harvests of approximately 205,000 mt annually, worth over $52 million in ex-vessel revenues. As the U.S. whiting TAC has been highly variable during this time, so have harvests. In the past five years, harvests have ranged from 160,000 mt (2012) to 264,000 mt (2014). Ex-vessel revenues have also varied in the same period, with annual ex-vessel revenues ranging from $25 million (2015) to $65 million (2013 and 2014). Total whiting harvest in 2015 was approximately 151,000 mt worth $25 million, at an ex-vessel price of $167 per mt. In 2014, harvest was 264,000 tons, and ex-vessel revenues were over $64 million with an average ex-vessel price of $240 per mt. The prices for whiting are largely determined by the world market for groundfish, because most of the whiting harvested is exported. Poor world market conditions led to a decrease in prices in 2015. There was no tribal catch of Pacific whiting in 2015, and overall, a lower percentage of the commercial TAC was harvested than in prior years.

    The use of ex-vessel values does not take into account the wholesale or export value of the fishery, or the costs of harvesting and processing whiting into a finished product. The latest available economic data indicates that in 2012, motherships received $30.3 million in wholesale revenue, C/Ps received $51 million, and shoreside processors $55 million. The Pacific whiting fishery harvests almost exclusively Pacific whiting. While bycatch of other species occurs, the fishery is constrained by bycatch limits on key overfished species. This is a high-volume fishery with low ex-vessel prices per pound. This fishery also has seasonal aspects based on the distribution of whiting off the west coast.

    Since 1996, there has been a tribal allocation of the U.S. Pacific whiting TAC. Tribal fisheries undertake a mixture of fishing activities that are similar to the activities that non-tribal fisheries undertake. Tribal harvests have been delivered to both shoreside plants and at-sea processors. These processing facilities also process fish harvested by non-tribal fisheries.

    This proposed rule would allocate 17.5% of Pacific whiting to the tribal fishery, and would ultimately determine how much is left for allocation to the non-tribal sectors. The amount of whiting allocated to both the tribal and non-tribal sectors is based on the U.S. TAC. From the U.S. TAC, small amounts of whiting that account for research catch and for bycatch in other fisheries are deducted. The amount of the tribal allocation is also deducted directly from the TAC. After accounting for these deductions, the remainder is the commercial harvest guideline. This guideline is then allocated among the three non-tribal sectors as follows: 34 percent for the C/P Coop Program; 24 percent for the MS Coop Program; and 42 percent for the Shorebased IFQ Program.

    The effect of the tribal allocation on non-tribal fisheries will depend on the level of tribal harvests relative to their allocation and the reapportioning process. Total whiting harvest in 2015 was approximately 151,000 mt worth $25 million, at an ex-vessel price of $167 per mt. Assuming a similar TAC and ex-vessel price in 2016, if the Treaty Tribes were to harvest 17.5%, the approximate value of that harvest would be $4.4 million. If the Treaty Tribes do not harvest their entire allocation, there are opportunities during the year to reapportion unharvested tribal amounts to the non-tribal fleets. For example, in 2015, NMFS executed one such reapportionment. The best available information through September 14, 2015, indicated that at least 30,000 mt of the tribal allocation would not be harvested by December 31, 2015. To allow for full utilization the resource, NMFS reapportioned 30,000 mt on September 16, 2015, to the Shorebased IFQ Program, C/P Coop and MS Coop in proportion to each sector's original allocation. Reapportioning this amount was expected to allow for greater attainment of the TAC while not limiting tribal harvest opportunities for the remainder of the year. The revised Pacific whiting allocations for 2015 following the reapportionment were: Tribal 26,888 mt; C/P Coop 100,873 mt; MS Coop 71,204 mt; and Shorebased IFQ Program 214,607 mt.

    NMFS considered two alternatives for this action: the “No-Action” and the “Proposed Action.” NMFS did not consider a broader range of alternatives to the proposed allocation. The tribal allocation is based primarily on the requests of the tribes. These requests reflect the level of participation in the fishery that will allow them to exercise their treaty right to fish for whiting. Under the Proposed Action alternative, NMFS proposes to set the tribal allocation percentage at 17.5%, as requested by the tribes. This would yield a tribal allocation of between 17,842 and 71,110 mt for 2016. Consideration of a percentage lower than the tribal request of 17.5% is not appropriate in this instance. As a matter of policy, NMFS has historically supported the harvest levels requested by the tribes. Based on the information available to NMFS, the tribal request is within their tribal treaty rights. A higher percentage would arguably also be within the scope of the treaty right. However, a higher percentage would unnecessarily limit the non-tribal fishery.

    Under the No-Action alternative, NMFS would not make an allocation to the tribal sector. This alternative was considered, but the regulatory framework provides for a tribal allocation on an annual basis only. Therefore, the no-action alternative would result in no allocation of Pacific whiting to the tribal sector in 2016, which would be inconsistent with NMFS' responsibility to manage the fishery consistent with the tribes' treaty rights. Given that there is a tribal request for allocation in 2016, this alternative received no further consideration.

    NMFS believes this proposed rule would not adversely affect small entities. The reapportioning process allows unharvested tribal allocations of whiting, fished by small entities, to be fished by the non-tribal fleets, benefitting both large and small entities. Nonetheless, NMFS has prepared an IRFA and is requesting comments on this conclusion. See ADDRESSES.

    There are no reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements in the proposed rule.

    No Federal rules have been identified that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this action.

    Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, this proposed rule was developed after meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials from the area covered by the FMP. Consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act at 16 U.S.C. 1852(b)(5), one of the voting members of the Pacific Council is a representative of an Indian tribe with federally recognized fishing rights from the area of the Council's jurisdiction. In addition, NMFS has coordinated specifically with the tribes interested in the whiting fishery regarding the issues addressed by this rule.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Indian fisheries.

    Dated: March 3, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. and 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.

    2. In § 660.50, revise paragraph (f)(4) to read as follows:
    § 660.50 Pacific Coast treaty Indian fisheries.

    (f) * * *

    (4) Pacific whiting. The tribal allocation for 2016 will be 17.5% of the U.S. TAC.

    [FR Doc. 2016-05254 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 47 Thursday, March 10, 2016 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service [Document Number AMS-NOP-16-0003; NOP-15-09] National Organic Program; Notice of Availability of National List Petition Guidelines AGENCY:

    Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) is announcing the availability of NOP 3011, National List Petition Guidelines. These guidelines apply to petitions that request an amendment to the NOP's National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). The National List identifies the synthetic substances that may be used and the nonsynthetic substances that may not be used in organic production. The National List also identifies the non-organic substances that may be used in organic handling. The National List Petition Guidelines are based upon the May 2, 2014, recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board and modify the information to be included in a petition. This notice also clarifies the information to be submitted for all types of petitions that request amendments to the National List. This notice and NOP 3011 replace the previous petition guidelines that were published in the Federal Register on January 18, 2007 (72 FR 2167).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: The petition guidelines announced by this notice of availability are effective on March 11, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Petitions should be submitted to National List Manager, USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 2642-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250-0268 or via email to [email protected] Electronic submission by email is preferred.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    National List Manager, National Organic Program, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 2642-South, STOP 0268; Washington, DC 20250-0268; Telephone (202) 720-3252; Fax: (202) 205-7808.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), as amended (7 U.S.C. 6501 et seq.), authorizes the establishment of the National Organic Program including the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). This National List identifies the synthetic substances that may be used and the nonsynthetic substances that may not be used in organic production, and also identifies the non-organic substances that may be used in organic handling. The OFPA and USDA organic regulations, in section 205.105, specifically prohibit the use of any synthetic substance for organic production and handling unless the synthetic substance is on the National List. Section 205.105 also requires that any non-organic, nonsynthetic substance used in organic handling must also be on the National List. Since the USDA organic regulations became effective on October 21, 2002, the National List has been amended through rulemaking by the National List Petition Process and the National List Sunset Process. The guidelines contained in this notice apply only to the National List Petition Process.

    The ability for any person to petition to amend the National List is authorized by the OFPA (7 U.S.C. 6518(n)) and the USDA organic regulations, in section 205.607. This authorization provides that any person may petition the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) for the purpose of having a substance evaluated by the NOSB for recommendation to the Secretary for inclusion on or removal from the National List. The NOSB is authorized to review petitions under specified evaluation criteria in OFPA (7 U.S.C. 6518(m)), and forward recommendations for amending the National List to the Secretary.

    At its April 29-May 2, 2014, public meeting in San Antonio, Texas, the NOSB issued two recommendations concerning the National List petition process. This notice announces the availability of revised petition guidelines which are based upon these NOSB recommendations.

    II. NOSB Recommendations Confidential Business Information

    The NOSB issued a recommendation at its April 29-May 2, 2014, public meeting addressing the inclusion of confidential business information (CBI) in petitions.1 The NOSB recommended that the National List petition process be revised to eliminate the provision for confidential business information. The NOSB indicated the importance of transparency in the petition process, the right of the public to fully know the materials included in or on certified organic products, and the potential for an untenable administrative burden of management of CBI. AMS has reviewed the recommendation and has accepted the recommendation. The updated petition guidelines do not contain the previous provision that allowed for the submission of confidential business information by petitioners.

    1 NOSB Recommendation, Confidential Business Information in Petitions, May 2, 2014. Available on the NOP Web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NOP%20Materials%20Final%20Rec%20Confidential%20Business%20Info.pdf.

    Update of Petition Process

    The NOSB also issued a recommendation at its April 29-May 2, 2014, public meeting that addressed other changes to the petition and technical review process.2 The NOSB recommended several updates to clarify how to submit complete petitions, explain to petitioners what to expect in the petition process, make the review process for the NOSB clearer and more consistent, and provide transparency about these processes to the public. AMS has reviewed the recommendation and has updated the current guidelines to align with the NOSB recommendation. Updates in the NOSB recommendation that pertain to parts of the NOSB Policy and Procedures Manual and Technical Review Process will be addressed through separate actions. The changes affecting the National List petition guidelines include the following: (1) Requesting the petitioners indicate the OFPA category for substances used in organic production; (2) abbreviated requirements for petitions that request a change to annotations for substances already listed; (3) elimination of references to Confidential Business Information; (4) clarification of requirements for petitions requesting the addition, removal, or amendment of an annotation for a listed substance; and (5) other language changes for clarity. As part of the revision to the petition guidelines, NOP has also included within NOP 3011 answers to common questions about the petition process, such as the role of the NOP, role of the NOSB, and the criteria used to evaluate petitions.

    2 NOSB Recommendation, Update of the Petition and Technical Review Process, May 2, 2014. Available on the NOP Web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NOP%20Materials%20Final%20Rec%20Update%20on%20Petition%20and%20TR%20Process.pdf.

    III. Availability of National List Petition Guidelines

    The procedure document titled “National List Petition Guidelines” (NOP 3011) is now available from the NOP through “The Program Handbook: Guidance and Instructions for Certifying Agents and Certified Operations.” This Handbook provides those who own, manage, or certify organic operations with guidance and instructions that can assist them in complying with the USDA organic regulations. The current edition of the Program Handbook is available online at http://www.ams.usda.gov/.

    IV. Electronic Access

    Persons with access to Internet may obtain the petition guidelines at the NOP's Web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop. Requests for hard copies of the petition guidelines can be obtained by submitting a written request to the person listed in the ADDRESSES section of this Notice.

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 6501-6522.

    Dated: March 3, 2016. Elanor Starmer, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05399 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-02-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS-2015-0106] Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Importation of Sand Pears From China AGENCY:

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Revision to and extension of approval of an information collection; comment request.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request a revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with the regulations for the importation of sand pears from China into the United States.

    DATES:

    We will consider all comments that we receive on or before May 9, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2015-0106.

    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2015-0106, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2015-0106 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information on the regulations for the importation of sand pears from China, contact Mr. Marc Philips, Senior Regulatory Policy Specialist, RCC, IRM, PHP, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-2114. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2727.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Importation of Sand Pears From China.

    OMB Control Number: 0579-0390.

    Type of Request: Revision to and extension of approval of an information collection.

    Abstract: The Plant Protection Act (PPA, 7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.) authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to restrict the importation, entry, or interstate movement of plants, plant products, and other articles to prevent the introduction of plant pests into the United States or their dissemination within the United States. Regulations authorized by the PPA concerning the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world are contained in “Subpart—Fruits and Vegetables” (7 CFR 319.56-1 through 319.56-74).

    Section 319.56-57 of the regulations provides the requirements for the importation of sand pears from China into the United States. The regulations require the use of information collection activities, including test and certification of propagative material, trapping system, operational workplan, recordkeeping, production site registration, inspection of registered production sites, investigation for recertification of production sites, packinghouse registration and inspection, packinghouse tracking system, certification of treatment and review of treatment records, handling procedures, notification of detections by registered production sites and packinghouses, audits, monitoring of treatment, mitigation measures at production sites and packinghouses, labeling, numbered seals, and phytosanitary certificates with an additional declaration.

    When comparing the regulations to the information collection activities that were previously approved, we found that several of the information collection activities above were not included. We have adjusted the overall estimates of burden accordingly.

    We are asking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve our use of these information collection activities, as described, for an additional 3 years.

    The purpose of this notice is to solicit comments from the public (as well as affected agencies) concerning our information collection. These comments will help us:

    (1) Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through use, as appropriate, of automated, electronic, mechanical, and other collection technologies; e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Estimate of burden: The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 0.006 hours per response.

    Respondents: Producers and importers of sand pears from China and national plant protection organization officials of China.

    Estimated annual number of respondents: 29.

    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 2,083.

    Estimated annual number of responses: 60,411.

    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 384 hours. (Due to averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per response.)

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 4th day of March 2016. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05462 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [Docket No. APHIS-2016-0001] Notice of Request for Revision to and Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Importation of Fresh Bananas From the Philippines Into the Continental United States AGENCY:

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Revision to and extension of approval of an information collection; comment request.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request a revision to and extension of approval of an information collection associated with the regulations for the importation of fresh bananas from the Philippines into the continental United States.

    DATES:

    We will consider all comments that we receive on or before May 9, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0001.

    Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2016-0001, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

    Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2016-0001 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information on the regulations for the importation of fresh bananas from the Philippines into the continental United States, contact Mr. Marc Philips, Senior Regulatory Policy Specialist, RCC, IRM, PHP, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-2114. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Ms. Kimberly Hardy, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2727.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Importation of Fresh Bananas From the Philippines Into the Continental United States.

    OMB Control Number: 0579-0394.

    Type of Request: Revision to and extension of approval of an information collection.

    Abstract: The Plant Protection Act (PPA, 7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.) authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to restrict the importation, entry, or interstate movement of plants, plant products, and other articles to prevent the introduction of plant pests into the United States or their dissemination within the United States. Regulations authorized by the PPA concerning the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States from certain parts of the world are contained in “Subpart—Fruits and Vegetables” (7 CFR 319.56-1 through 319.56-74).

    Section 319.56-58 of the regulations provides the requirements for the importation of bananas from the Philippines into the continental United States. The regulations require the use of information collection activities, including operational workplans, recordkeeping, production site registration, monitoring and oversight of registered production sites, fruit fly trapping to establish places of production with low pest prevalence, investigations, certification of harvest stage, carton markings, shipping documents, and phytosanitary certificates with an additional declaration.

    When comparing the regulations to the information collection activities that were previously approved, we found that several of the information collection activities above were not included. We have adjusted the overall estimates of burden accordingly.

    We are asking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve our use of these information collection activities, as described, for an additional 3 years.

    The purpose of this notice is to solicit comments from the public (as well as affected agencies) concerning our information collection. These comments will help us:

    (1) Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    (2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    (3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    (4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through use, as appropriate, of automated, electronic, mechanical, and other collection technologies; e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    Estimate of burden: The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 0.0076 hours per response.

    Respondents: Producers and importers of bananas from the Philippines and national plant protection organization officials of the Philippines.

    Estimated annual number of respondents: 41.

    Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 3,924.

    Estimated annual number of responses: 160,891.

    Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 1,219 hours. (Due to averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per response.)

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 4th day of March 2016. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05464 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food and Nutrition Service Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request—Information Collection for the National School Lunch Program AGENCY:

    Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on this information collection. This is a revision of the FNS-640 Administrative Review Data Report associated with the currently approved information collection for the National School Lunch Program.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before May 9, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions that were used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments may be sent to: Sarah Smith-Holmes, Division Director, Program Monitoring and Operational Support, Child Nutrition Division, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302-1594. Comments may also be submitted via fax to the attention of Sarah Smith-Holmes at 703-305-2879 or via email to [email protected] Comments will also be accepted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov, and follow the online instructions for submitting comments electronically.

    All written comments will be open for public inspection at the office of the Food and Nutrition Service during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday) at 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22302.

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval. All comments will be a matter of public record.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of this information collection should be directed to Sarah Smith-Holmes at the address indicated above or by phone at 703-605-3223.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: 7 CFR Part 210, National School Lunch Program.

    Form: FNS-640.

    OMB Control Number: 0584-0006.

    Expiration Date: March 31, 2016.

    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection.

    Abstract: The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA), as amended, authorizes the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to safeguard the health and well-being of the nation's children and provide free or reduced price school lunches to qualified students through subsidies to schools. Section 10 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1779) requires the Secretary of Agriculture to prescribe such regulations as deemed necessary to carry out this Act and the NSLA (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.). Pursuant to that provision, the Secretary has issued 7 CFR part 210, which sets forth policies and procedures for the administration and operation of the NSLP. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides States with general and special cash assistance and donations of foods to assist schools in serving nutritious lunches to children each school day. Participating State agencies must conduct administrative reviews to monitor compliance with Program requirements. FNS collects Program data from State agencies on FNS forms that have been approved by OMB. The FNS-640 form collects information from these administrative reviews conducted by the State agency. The FNS-640 Coordinated Review Effort (CRE) Data Report is currently approved as part of this information collection. The title of the FNS-640 form is being changed to “Administrative Review Data Report” and FNS is proposing revisions to reflect changes to the administrative review process and revisions to incorporate the form into an electronic report for the Food Program Reporting System (FPRS). Upon approval of the proposed revisions by OMB, the reporting burden for this form will be merged into the FPRS information collection, OMB control # 0584-0594, expiration date 06/30/2017. The reporting and recordkeeping burden hours associated with this revision are not changing.

    This information collection is required to administer and operate this program in accordance with the NSLA. All of the reporting and recordkeeping requirements associated with the NSLP are currently approved by the Office of Management and Budget and are in force. This is a revision of the currently approved information collection.

    Affected Public: (1) State agencies; (2) School Food Authorities; and (3) schools.

    Number of Respondents: 121,210 (56 State agencies (SAs), 19,822 school food authorities (SFAs), and 101,332 schools.

    Number of Responses per Respondent: 4.14573.

    Total Annual Responses: 502,504.

    Reporting Time per Response: 0.7038758.

    Estimated Annual Reporting Burden: 353,700.

    Number of Recordkeepers: 121,210 (56 SAs, 19,822 SFAs, 101,332 schools).

    Number of Records per Record Keeper: 406.294827.

    Estimated Total Number of Records: 49,246,996.

    Recordkeeping Time per Response: 0.19326446.

    Total Estimated Recordkeeping Burden: 9,517,694.

    Annual Recordkeeping and Reporting Burden: 9,871,395.

    Current OMB Inventory for Part 210: 9,871,395.

    Difference (change in burden with this renewal): 0.

    Refer to the table below for estimated total annual burden for each type of respondent.

    Affected public Estimated number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total annual responses Estimated
  • average hours per response
  • Estimated total burden
  • (hours)
  • Reporting State Agencies 56 122 6,832 7.7762 53,127 School Food Authorities 19,822 15 293,008 0.956653 280,307 Schools 101,332 2 202,664 0.1 20,266 Total Estimated Reporting Burden 121,210 502,504 353,700 Recordkeeping State Agencies 56 1419 79,464 1.5913 126,451 School Food Authorities 19,822 20 396,440 4.5380 1,799,045 Schools 101,332 481 48,771,092 0.15567 7,592,199 Total Estimated Recordkeeping Burden 121,210 49,246,996 9,517,695 Total of Reporting and Recordkeeping Reporting 121,210 4.14573 502,504 0.703875 353,700 Recordkeeping 121,210 510.264 49,246,996 0.184631055 9,517,695 Total 49,749,500 9,871,395
    Dated: February 29, 2016. Telora T. Dean, Acting Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05312 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-30-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food and Nutrition Service Agency Information Collection Activities: Study of WIC Food Package Costs and Cost Containment AGENCY:

    Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice invites the general public and other public agencies to comment on this proposed information collection. This collection is a new Information Collection for The Study of WIC Food Package Costs and Cost Containment.

    DATES:

    Written comments on this notice must be received on or before May 9, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions that were used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to: Anna Potter, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Support, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 1004, Alexandria, VA 22302. Comments may also be submitted via fax to the attention of Anna Potter at 703-305-2576 or via email to [email protected]. Comments will also be accepted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov, and follow the online instructions for submitting comments electronically.

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval. All comments will be a matter of public record.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of this information collection should be directed to Anna Potter at 703-305-2719.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Study of WIC Food Package Costs and Cost Containment.

    Form Number: N/A.

    OMB Number: Not Yet Assigned.

    Expiration Date: Not Yet Determined.

    Type of Request: New collection.

    Abstract: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides supplemental foods to safeguard the health of low-income pregnant and post-partum women, infants, and children up to 5 years of age who are at nutritional risk. In an effort to ensure the best use of available funds and to provide for participation by eligible individuals, WIC State agencies (SAs) are responsible for implementing food package and other cost containment measures. FNS has funded this study to gather information on the types of cost-containment practices used by the 90 WIC SAs, assess the effectiveness of various practices, and identify those practices that constrain the cost of WIC foods with minimal increases to administrative costs and no adverse effects on WIC program outcomes such as participant satisfaction, retention, and consumption of WIC foods. The findings will be used by FNS to share with WIC SAs food item cost containment practices that are effective at reducing WIC food costs.

    The information collection subject to this notice includes the following:

    1. Telephone interviews with WIC directors in all 90 WIC SAs: Needed to obtain information on cost containment measures, reasons for implementing certain cost containment strategies and not others, opinions on effects on program outcomes, and challenges of implementing and maintaining measures.

    2. Collection of administrative costs of practices, administrative WIC data, and electronic benefit transfer (EBT) data in 12 WIC SAs: Administrative data are needed to assess administrative costs and examine participant characteristics, food package prescriptions, indicators of health, and income; EBT data are needed to examine WIC food selections, benefit redemption, and WIC food costs.

    3. Telephone interviews with 2,895 WIC participants in 12 WIC SAs: Needed to provide information on WIC participants' satisfaction with WIC foods, consumption, and preferences; access to WIC vendors and food package items; specific special diets or food allergies; and demographic characteristics.

    4. Telephone interviews with 375 former WIC participants in 3 WIC SAs: Needed to provide information on whether/which cost containment practices may have contributed to WIC participants leaving the program and why.

    Affected Public: State, local, and tribal governments; individuals/households.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: The estimated total number of respondents is 3,372. This total includes 90 WIC directors; 12 WIC SA staff; 2,895 WIC participants; and 375 former WIC participants.

    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: The WIC directors, WIC participants, and former WIC participants will respond once to one telephone survey. The 12 WIC SA staff will respond twice to provide administrative data at two points in time (in one year). All respondents will be contacted with advance communications (letters, emails, and/or phone calls), and WIC directors and WIC SA staff will also be contacted with follow-up communications (reminders and thank-you emails).

    Estimated Total Annual Responses: The estimated number of total annual responses is 9,863, including advance communications, completed and attempted interviews, data collections, and follow-up communications. The 9,863 responses are based on the sum of 8,372 advance communications, completed interviews, data collections, and follow-up communications, and 1,491 attempted contacts and interviews.

    Estimated Time per Response: Response times overall may vary from 0.05 hours to 2 hours, depending on the activity and respondent group. The estimated time per interview (or administrative data collection) ranges from 0.33 hours to 2 hours, depending on actual activity and respondent group. The overall average time per respondent is 0.21 hours (13 minutes). Specifically, public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average—

    • 0.92 hours (55 minutes) for each of the 90 WIC directors (this includes 10 minutes for advance and follow-up activities and 45 minutes to complete the telephone interview).

    • 5 hours (300 minutes) for each of the 12 WIC SA staff (this includes 60 minutes for advance and follow-up activities and 4 hours to gather administrative and EBT data and information on the administrative costs of practices).

    • 0.6 hours (36 minutes) for each of the 4,136 WIC participants sampled for the survey (this includes 3 minutes for advance communication, 30 minutes for those who complete the telephone interview, and 3 minutes for those who do not complete the interview).

    • 0.43 (26 minutes) for each of the 625 former WIC participants sampled for the survey (this includes 3 minutes for advance communication, 20 minutes for those who complete the telephone interview, and 3 minutes for those who do not complete the interview).

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: The estimated total annual burden is estimated to be 2,086 hours (including advance and follow-up communication, completed and attempted interviews, and completed data collection). See the table below for estimated total annual burden for each type of respondent.

    Data collection activity Respondents Estimated
  • number of
  • respondents
  • Frequency of Response Total annual responses Average
  • burden hours
  • per response
  • Total annual
  • burden
  • estimate
  • (hours)
  • Advance communications (letter/email) WIC directors 90 1 90 0.083 7.5 Telephone interview WIC directors 90 1 90 0.75 67.5 Follow-up communications (reminder/thank-you emails) WIC directors 90 1 90 0.083 7.5 Advance communications (letter/email/phone call) WIC SA staff 12 2 24 0.5 12 Administrative and EBT data collection and submission WIC SA staff 12 2 24 4 96 Follow-up communications (reminder or clarification emails/phone calls, thank-you emails) WIC SA staff 12 2 24 0.5 12 Advance communications (letter) WIC participants 4,136 1 4,136 0.05 206.8 Telephone survey: completed interviews WIC participants 2,895 1 2,895 0.50 1,447.5 Telephone survey: attempted interviews WIC participants 1,241 1 1,241 0.05 62.0 Advance letters WIC former participants 625 1 625 0.05 31.3 Telephone survey: completed interviews WIC former participants 375 1 375 0.33 123.8 Telephone survey: attempted interviews WIC former participants 250 1 250 0.05 12.5 Total 3,372 9,863 0.21 2,086.3
    Dated: February 25, 2016. Audrey Rowe, Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05338 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-30-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    On behalf of the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA), 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: Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.

    Title: Interim Procedures for Considering Requests under the Commercial Availability Provision of the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement.

    Form Number(s): N/A.

    OMB Control Number: 0625-0273.

    Type of Request: Regular submission.

    Burden Hours: 89.

    Number of Respondents: 16 (10 for Requests; 3 for Responses; 3 for Rebuttals).

    Average Hours per Response: 8 hours per Request; 2 hours per Response; and 1 hour per Rebuttal.

    Needs and Uses:

    Title II, Section 203(o) of the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act (the “Act”) [Pub. L. 112-43] implements the commercial availability provision provided for in Article 3.25 of the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (the “Agreement”). The Agreement entered into force on October 31, 2012. Subject to the rules of origin in Annex 4.1 of the Agreement, and pursuant to the textile provisions of the Agreement, a fabric, yarn, or fiber produced in Panama or the United States and traded between the two countries is entitled to duty-free tariff treatment. Annex 3.25 of the Agreement also lists specific fabrics, yarns, and fibers that the two countries agreed are not available in commercial quantities in a timely manner from producers in Panama or the United States. The items listed in Annex 3.25 are commercially unavailable fabrics, yarns, and fibers. Articles containing these items are entitled to duty-free or preferential treatment despite containing inputs not produced in Panama or the United States.

    The list of commercially unavailable fabrics, yarns, and fibers may be changed pursuant to the commercial availability provision in Chapter 3, Article 3.25, Paragraphs 4-6 of the Agreement. Under this provision, interested entities from Panama or the United States have the right to request that a specific fabric, yarn, or fiber be added to, or removed from, the list of commercially unavailable fabrics, yarns, and fibers in Annex 3.25 of the Agreement.

    Pursuant to Chapter 3, Article 3.25, paragraph 6 of the Agreement, which requires that the President publish procedures for parties to exercise the right to make these requests, Section 203(o)(4) of the Act authorizes the President to establish procedures to modify the list of fabrics, yarns, or fibers not available in commercial quantities in a timely manner in either the United States or Panama as set out in Annex 3.25 of the Agreement. The President delegated the responsibility for publishing the procedures and administering commercial availability requests to the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (“CITA”), which issues procedures and acts on requests through the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Textiles and Apparel (“OTEXA”) (See Proclamation No. 8894, 77 FR 66507, November 5, 2012).

    The intent of the Commercial Availability Procedures is to foster the use of U.S. and regional products by implementing procedures that allow products to be placed on or removed from a product list, in a timely manner, and in a manner that is consistent with normal business practice. The procedures are intended to facilitate the transmission of requests; allow the market to indicate the availability of the supply of products that are the subject of requests; make available promptly, to interested entities and the public, information regarding the requests for products and offers received for those products; ensure wide participation by interested entities and parties; allow for careful review and consideration of information provided to substantiate requests and responses; and provide timely public dissemination of information used by CITA in making commercial availability determinations.

    CITA must collect certain information about fabric, yarn, or fiber technical specifications and the production capabilities of Panamanian and U.S. textile producers to determine whether certain fabrics, yarns, or fibers are available in commercial quantities in a timely manner in the United States or Panama, subject to Section 203(o) of the Act.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit.

    Frequency: Varies.

    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

    OMB Desk Officer: Wendy Liberante, (202) 395-3647.

    Copies of the above information collection proposal can be obtained by calling or writing Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, (202) 482-0336, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to OIRA [email protected] or fax to (202) 075-5806.

    Dated: March 7, 2016. Glenna Mickelson, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05375 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    On behalf of the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA), 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: Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.

    Title: Interim Procedures for Considering Requests from the Public for Textile and Apparel Safeguard Actions on Imports from Panama.

    Form Number(s): N/A.

    OMB Control Number: 0625-0274.

    Type of Request: Regular submission.

    Burden Hours: 24.

    Number of Respondents: 6 (1 for Request; 5 for Comments).

    Average Hours per Response: 4 hours for a Request; and 4 hours for each Comment.

    Average Annual Cost to Public: $960.

    Needs and Uses: Title III, subtitle B, section 321 through section 328 of the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act (the “Act”) [Pub. L. 112-43] implements the textile and apparel safeguard provisions, provided for in Article 3.24 of the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (the “Agreement”). This safeguard mechanism applies when, as a result of the elimination of a customs duty under the Agreement, a Panamanian textile or apparel article is being imported into the United States in such increased quantities, in absolute terms or relative to the domestic market for that article, and under such conditions as to cause serious damage or actual threat thereof to a U.S. industry producing a like or directly competitive article. In these circumstances, Article 3.24 permits the United States to increase duties on the imported article from Panama to a level that does not exceed the lesser of the prevailing U.S. normal trade relations (NTR)/most-favored-nation (MFN) duty rate for the article or the U.S. NTR/MFN duty rate in effect on the day the Agreement entered into force.

    The Statement of Administrative Action accompanying the Act provides that the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA) will issue procedures for requesting such safeguard measures, for making its determinations under section 322(a) of the Act, and for providing relief under section 322(b) of the Act.

    In Proclamation No. 8894 (77 FR 66507, November 5, 2012), the President delegated to CITA his authority under subtitle B of title III of the Act with respect to textile and apparel safeguard measures.

    CITA must collect information in order to determine whether a domestic textile or apparel industry is being adversely impacted by imports of these products from Panama, thereby allowing CITA to take corrective action to protect the viability of the domestic textile or apparel industry, subject to section 322(b) of the Act.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households; businesses or other for-profit organizations.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

    Copies of the above information collection proposal can be obtained by calling or writing Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, (202) 482-0336, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to OIRA [email protected] or fax to (202) 975-5806.

    Dated: March 7, 2016. Glenna Mickelson, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05376 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Economics and Statistics Administration Commerce Data Advisory Council Meeting AGENCY:

    Economic and Statistics Administration, Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Public Meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Economic and Statistics Administration (ESA) is giving notice of the fourth meeting of the Commerce Data Advisory Council (CDAC). The CDAC will discuss economic data as well as other Council matters. The CDAC will meet in a plenary session on May 5th and 6th, 2016. Last-minute changes to the schedule are possible, which could prevent giving advance public notice of schedule adjustments.

    DATES:

    May 5-6, 2016. On May 5th, the meeting will begin at approximately 9:00 a.m. and end at approximately 5:00 p.m. (ET). On May 6th, the meeting will begin at approximately 9:00 a.m. and end at approximately 1:00 p.m. (ET).

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at Google—New York, 76 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011.

    The meeting is open to the public. Members of the public are welcome to observe the business of the meeting in person or via webcast on the CDAC Web site linked to http://www.esa.gov. A public comment session is scheduled on Friday, May 6th, 2016. The public is invited to make statements or ask questions in person. The public may also submit statements or questions via the CDAC Twitter handle: #CDACMTG, the CDAC email address, or: [email protected] (subject line “MAY 2016 CDAC Meeting Public Comment”), or by letter to the Director of External Communication and DFO, CDAC, Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, 1401 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20230. Submissions by letter will be included in the record for the meeting if received by Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

    Entry Requirements: If you plan to attend the meeting in person, you must complete registration on line no later than Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

    http://www.eventbrite.com/e/department-of-commerce-data-advisory-council-cdac-may-2016-meeting-tickets-22470209000

    The meeting is physically accessible to persons with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Director of External Communication as soon as possible, preferably two weeks prior to the meeting.

    Seating is available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Burton Reist, [email protected], Director of External Communication and DFO, CDAC, Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, 1401 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20230, telephone (202) 482-3331.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The CDAC is comprised of 19 members, the Commerce Chief Data Officer, and the Economic and Statistics Administration. The Council provides an organized and continuing channel of communication between recognized experts in the data industry (collection, compilation, analysis, dissemination and privacy protection) and the Department of Commerce. The CDAC provides advice and recommendations, to include process and infrastructure improvements, to the Secretary, DOC and the DOC data-bureau leadership on ways to make Commerce data easier to find, access, use, combine and disseminate. The aim of this advice shall be to maximize the value of Commerce data to all users including governments, businesses, communities, academia, and individuals.

    The Committee is established in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Title 5, United States Code, Appendix 2, Section 10(a)(b)).

    Dated: March 2, 2016. Austin Durrer, Chief of Staff for Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, Economics and Statistics Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05314 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-122-856, A-570-032] Certain Iron Mechanical Transfer Drive Components From Canada and the People's Republic of China: Postponement of Preliminary Determinations of Antidumping Duty Investigations AGENCY:

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

    DATES:

    Effective March 10, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stephen Baily at (202) 482-0193 (Canada); Krisha Hill or Jonathan Hill at (202) 482-4037 and (202) 482-3518, respectively (the People's Republic of China (the PRC)); AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On November 25, 2015, the Department of Commerce (Department) initiated antidumping duty investigations on certain iron mechanical transfer drive components from Canada and the PRC.1 Section 733(b)(1)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), and 19 CFR 351.205(b)(1) state the Department will make a preliminary determination no later than 140 days after the date of the initiation. The current deadline for the preliminary determinations of these investigations is no later than April 11, 2016.2

    1See Certain Iron Mechanical Transfer Drive Components from Canada and the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Investigations, 80 FR 73716 (November 25, 2015).

    2 The current deadline of April 11, 2016, accounts for the four-day tolling of deadlines pursuant to inclement weather in January 2016. See January 27, 2016, Memorandum to the Record from Ron Lorentzen, Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, entitled “Tolling of Administrative Deadlines as a Result of the Government Closure during Snowstorm `Jonas'.”

    Postponement of Preliminary Determinations

    On February 19, 2016, TB Woods Incorporated (Petitioner) made a timely request, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.205(e), for postponement of the preliminary determinations, in order to provide the Department with sufficient time to develop the record in these proceedings through additional questionnaires, which Petitioner will in turn need time to analyze and possibly comment on. Because there are no compelling reasons to deny Petitioner's request, in accordance with section 733(c)(1)(A) of the Act, the Department is postponing the deadline for the preliminary determinations by 50 days.

    For the reasons stated above, the Department, in accordance with section 733(c)(1)(A) of the Act, is postponing the deadline for the preliminary determinations to no later than 190 days after the date on which the Department initiated these investigations. Therefore, the new deadline for the preliminary determinations is May 31, 2016. In accordance with section 735(a)(1) of the Act, the deadline for the final determinations of these investigations will continue to be 75 days after the date of the preliminary determinations, unless postponed at a later date.

    This notice is issued and published pursuant to section 733(c)(2) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(f)(1).

    Dated: March 2, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05448 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-928] Uncovered Innerspring Units From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of the Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2014-2015 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the “Department”) is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on uncovered innerspring units from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”), for the period of review (“POR”), February 1, 2014, to January 31, 2015. The Department preliminarily determines that Macao Commercial and Industrial Spring Mattress Manufacturer (“Macao Commercial”) had no reviewable shipments of subject merchandise during the POR. We also preliminarily determine that East Grace Corporation (“East Grace”) has not established its entitlement to separate rate status and, therefore, is being treated as part of the PRC-wide entity. Interested parties are invited to comment on these preliminary results.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: March 10, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kenneth Hawkins, AD/CVD Operations, Office V, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-6491.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On February 19, 2009, the Department published in the Federal Register an antidumping duty order on uncovered innerspring units from the PRC.1 On June 30, 2014, the Department received a request from Petitioner 2 to conduct an administrative review of East Grace and Macao Commercial.3 On April 3, 2015, the Department initiated this review based on Petitioner's review request.4 On May 11, 2015, the Department issued its standard antidumping duty questionnaires to East Grace and Macao Commercial.5 Macao Commercial provided timely responses to the Department's initial and supplemental questionnaires. East Grace did not respond to the Department's standard questionnaire and has not participated in this proceeding.

    1See Notice of Antidumping Duty Order: Uncovered Innerspring Units from the People's Republic of China, 74 FR 7661 (February 19, 2009) (“Order”).

    2 The Petitioner is Leggett & Platt Inc. (hereinafter “Petitioner”).

    3See Request for Antidumping Administrative Review of the Antidumping Duty Order on Uncovered Innerspring Units from the People's Republic of China, dated February 27, 2015.

    4See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 18202 (April 3, 2015) (“Initiation Notice”). We note that the Initiation Notice appeared to identify “Macao Commercial” and “Industrial Spring Mattress Manufacturer” as two separate companies. However, the name of the single company for which a review was requested was actually “Macao Commercial and Industrial Spring Mattress Manufacturer,” and we clarify now that this is the correct name of the company under review.

    5See Letter to East Grace Corporation, dated May 11, 2015, and Letter to Macao Commercial and Industrial Spring Mattress Manufacturer, dated May 11, 2015.

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise subject to the order is uncovered innerspring units composed of a series of individual metal springs joined together in sizes corresponding to the sizes of adult mattresses (e.g., twin, twin long, full, full long, queen, California king and king) and units used in smaller constructions, such as crib and youth mattresses. Uncovered innersprings are classified under subheading 9404.29.9010 and have also been classified under subheadings 9404.10.0000, 9404.29.9005, 9404.29.9011, 7326.20.0070, 7320.20.5010, 7320.90.5010, or 7326.20.0071 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). The HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes only; the written description of the scope of the order is dispositive.6

    6 For a full description of the scope of the Order, see Decision Memorandum from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, entitled “Preliminary Results of 2014-2015 Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Uncovered Innerspring Units from the People's Republic of China” (“Preliminary Decision Memorandum”), issued concurrently with and adopted by this notice.

    Methodology

    The Department conducted this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(B) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). For a full description of the methodology underlying our conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.7 The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (“ACCESS”). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov, and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the internet at http://www.trade.gov/enforcement/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    7 A list of topics discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum is provided at Appendix I to this notice.

    Preliminary Determination of No Shipments

    In its certified response to the Department's standard antidumping duty questionnaire, Macao Commercial stated that it had no shipments of PRC origin innersprings to the United States during the POR. Between June 6, 2015 and December 24, 2015, the Department issued supplemental questionnaires to Macao Commercial to verify this no shipments claim. Additionally, to corroborate Macao Commercial's no shipments claim, the Department submitted a formal query to U.S. Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”), the results of which did not provide any evidence that contradicts Macao Commercial's claim of no shipments. Thus, the Department preliminarily determines that Macao Commercial had no shipments of innerspring units of PRC origin to the United States during the POR and, therefore, had no reviewable entries.8 In addition, consistent with the Department's practice in nonmarket economy cases, the Department finds that it is appropriate not to rescind the review, in part, in these circumstances, but rather to complete the review with respect to Macao Commercial and issue appropriate instructions to CBP based on the final results of the review.9

    8 For more detail see Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    9See Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694, 65694-95 (October 24, 2011).

    Companies That Did Not Establish Their Eligibility for a Separate Rate

    In our Initiation Notice, we stated, “{f}or exporters and producers who submit a separate-rate status application or certification and subsequently are selected as mandatory respondents, these exporters and producers will no longer be eligible for separate rate status unless they respond to all parts of the questionnaire as mandatory respondents.” 10 East Grace was selected as a mandatory respondent in the instant review, but East Grace failed to respond to the Department's antidumping duty questionnaire, and East Grace did not submit a no-shipments certification. Therefore, we preliminarily find that East Grace is no longer eligible for separate rate status and that the PRC-wide entity includes East Grace.11

    10See Initiation Notice, 80 FR at 18203.

    11See section 776(b) of the Act.

    We also note that the Department's change in policy 12 regarding conditional review of the PRC-wide entity applies to this administrative review.13 Under this policy, the PRC-wide entity will not be under review unless a party specifically requests, or the Department self-initiates, a review of the entity. Because no party requested a review of the PRC-wide entity in this review, the PRC-wide entity is not under review and therefore its rate is not subject to change. The rate previously established for the PRC-wide entity in this proceeding is 234.51 percent.

    12See Antidumping Proceedings: Announcement of Change in Department Practice for Respondent Selection in Antidumping Duty Proceedings and Conditional Review of the Nonmarket Economy Entity in NME Antidumping Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 65963 (November 4, 2013).

    13 Under this policy, the PRC-wide entity will not be under review unless a party specifically requests, or the Department self-initiates, a review of the entity. Because no party requested a review of the PRC-wide entity in this review, the entity is not under review.

    Public Comment and Opportunity To Request a Hearing  14

    Interested parties may submit case briefs within 30 days after the date of publication of these preliminary results of review.15 Rebuttals to case briefs, which must be limited to issues raised in the case briefs, must be filed within five days after the time limit for filing case briefs.16 Parties who submit arguments are requested to submit with the argument (a) a statement of the issue, (b) a brief summary of the argument, and (c) a table of authorities.17 Parties submitting briefs should do so pursuant to the Department's electronic filing system, ACCESS.

    14 Normally, the Department discloses to interested parties the calculations performed in connection with a preliminary results result of review within five days of the date of publication of the notice of preliminary results in the Federal Register, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b). However, because the Department has preliminarily determined that East Grace is ineligible for a separate rate and that Macao Commercial had no shipments during the POR, there are no calculations to disclose.

    15See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii).

    16See 19 CFR 351.309(d).

    17See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2), (d)(2).

    Any interested party may request a hearing within 30 days of publication of this notice.18 Hearing requests should contain the following information: (1) The party's name, address, and telephone number; (2) the number of participants; and (3) a list of the issues to be discussed. Oral presentations will be limited to issues raised in the briefs.19 If a request for a hearing is made, parties will be notified of the time and date for the hearing to be held at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.20

    18See 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    19Id.

    20See 19 CFR 351.310(d).

    The Department intends to issue the final results of this administrative review, which will include the results of our analysis of any issues raised in case briefs, within 120 days of publication of these preliminary results in the Federal Register, unless extended, pursuant to section 751(a)(3)(A) of the Act.

    Assessment Rates

    Upon issuance of the final results, the Department will determine, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review.21 The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the publication date of the final results of this review. We intend to instruct CBP to liquidate relevant entries from the PRC-wide entity (including East Grace) at the current rate for the PRC-wide entity (i.e., 234.51 percent). For Macao Commercial, which we preliminarily find had no shipments during the POR, we intend to instruct CBP to liquidate any suspended entries of subject merchandise that entered under that exporter's case number (i.e., at that exporter's rate) at the PRC-wide rate.22

    21See 19 CFR 351.212(b).

    22Id.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the final results of this review for shipments of the subject merchandise from the PRC entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date, as provided by sections 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For any companies listed that have a separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be that established in the final results of this review (except, if the rate is zero or de minimis, then zero cash deposit will be required); (2) for previously investigated or reviewed PRC and non-PRC exporters not listed that received a separate rate in a prior segment of this proceeding, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the existing exporter-specific rate; (3) for all PRC exporters of subject merchandise that have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be that for the PRC-wide entity; and (4) for all non-PRC exporters of subject merchandise which have not received their own rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the PRC exporter that supplied that non-PRC exporter. These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Importers

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

    These preliminary results are being issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.221(b)(4).

    Dated: March 2, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I

    List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum:

    1. Summary 2. Case History 3. Scope of the Order 4. Discussion of the Methodology a. Non-Market Economy Status b. Companies that Did Not Establish Their Eligibility for a Separate Rate c. Preliminary Determination of No Shipments 5. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2016-05404 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-475-818] Certain Pasta From Italy: Amended Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) is amending the Final Results1 of the antidumping duty administrative review of certain pasta (pasta) from Italy to correct a ministerial error. The period of review (POR) is July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014.

    1See Certain Pasta From Italy: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014, 81 FR 8043 (February 17, 2016) (Final Results).

    DATES:

    Effective March 10, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Joy Zhang, AD/CVD Operations, Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-1168.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On February 10, 2016, the Department disclosed to interested parties its calculations for the Final Results. 2 On February 17, 2016, the Department received a timely filed ministerial error allegation from La Molisana, S.p.A. (La Molisana) regarding the Department's final margin calculation.3

    2See Memorandum to Eric Greynolds, Program Manager, AD/CVD Operations, Office III from Joy Zhang, Case Analyst, “2013-2014 Antidumping Duty Administrative Review of Certain Pasta from Italy—Final Results, Sales Analysis Memorandum for La Molisana,” dated February 10, 2016 (Final Results Calculations).

    3See Letter from La Molisana, “Certain Pasta From Italy: A-475-818; Request for Correction of Clerical Error Pursuant to 17 CFR Section 351.224(f),” dated February 16, 2016.

    Period of Review

    The POR covered by this review is July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014.

    Scope of the Order

    Imports covered by the order are shipments of certain non-egg dry pasta. The merchandise subject to review is currently classifiable under items 1901.90.90.95 and 1902.19.20 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the merchandise subject to the order is dispositive.4

    4 For a full description of the scope of the order, see the “Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Partial Rescission: Certain Pasta from Italy; 2013-2014” from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, dated February 9, 2016 (Issues and Decision Memorandum) and incorporated herein by reference.

    Ministerial Errors

    Section 751(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”), and 19 CFR 351.224(f) defines a ministerial error as an error “in addition, subtraction, or other arithmetic function, clerical errors resulting from inaccurate copying, duplication, or the like, and any other type of unintentional error which {the Department} considers ministerial.” We analyzed La Molisana's ministerial error comments and determined, in accordance with section 751(h) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.224(e), that there was a ministerial error in our margin calculation for La Molisana for the Final Results. For a complete discussion of the alleged error, see the Department's Ministerial Error Memorandum.5

    5See “Amended Final Results of the 2013-2014 Administrative Review of the Antidumping Duty Order on Certain Pasta from Italy: Allegation of Ministerial Error,” dated concurrently with this notice (“Ministerial Error Memorandum”).

    In accordance with section 751(h) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.224(e), we are amending the Final Results. Specifically, we are amending the weighted-average dumping margin for La Molisana as well as for the companies that were not selected for individual examination, who were assigned the rate determined for La Molisana.6 The revised weighted-average dumping margins for the affected companies are detailed below.

    6See Final Results, 80 FR at 61362.

    Amended Final Results

    As a result of correcting for the ministerial error, we determined the following amended weighted-average dumping margins 7 for the period July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014:

    7 The margin for the non-examined companies was based on the calculated weighted-average margin of La Molisana (the sole mandatory respondent receiving an above de minimis margin in these final results).

    Producer and/or
  • exporter
  • Weighted-average dumping margin
  • (percent)
  • La Molisana S.p.A 6.43 Rummo S.p.A., Lenta Lavorazione, Pasta Castiglioni, and Rummo S.p.A. Molino e Pastificio (collectively, the Rummo Group) 0.00 Pastificio Andalini S.p.A. 6.43 Delverde Industrie Alimentari S.p.A 6.43
    Duty Assessment/Case Deposits

    The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the date of publication of these amended final results to liquidate shipments of subject merchandise produced and/or exported by respondents listed above entered, or withdrawn form warehouse, for consumption on or after July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014.

    Pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act, the Department also intends to instruct CBP to collect cash deposits of estimated dumping duties, in the amounts shown above for each of the respective companies shown above, on shipments of subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after February 17, 2016, the date of publication of the Final Results. For all non-reviewed firms, we will instruct CBP to continue to collect cash deposits at the most-recent company-specific or all-others rate applicable to the company, as appropriate. These cash deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Administrative Protective Order

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective orders (“APO”) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3), which continues to govern business proprietary information in this segment of the proceeding. Timely written notification of the return/destruction of APO materials, or conversion to judicial protective order, is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    Disclosure

    We will disclose the calculations performed for these amended final results to interested parties within five business days of the date of the publication of this notice in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    We are issuing and publishing this notice in accordance with sections 751(h) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.224(e).

    Dated: March 4, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05407 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-489-817] Oil Country Tubular Goods From Turkey: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With the Final Determination of the Countervailing Duty Investigation AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    On February 22, 2016, the United States Court of International Trade (CIT) sustained 1 the Department of Commerce's (the Department) final results of a redetermination 2 issued pursuant to the CIT's remand orders in Borusan Mannesmann Boru Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.S. and Borusan Istikbal Ticaret v. United States, 61 F. Supp. 3d 1306 (CIT April 22, 2015) (Borusan) and Maverick Tube Corporation v. United States, Consol. Court No. 14-00229, Slip Op. 15-59 (CIT June 15, 2015) (Maverick) 3 , with respect to the Department's Final Determination of the countervailing duty (CVD) investigation of oil country tubular goods from Turkey.4 Consistent with the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in Timken Co. v. United States, 893 F.2d 337 (Fed. Cir. 1990) (Timken), as clarified by Diamond Sawblades Mfrs. Coalition v. United States, 626 F.3d 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (Diamond Sawblades), the Department is notifying the public that the Court's final judgment in this case is not in harmony with the Final Determination, and that the Department is amending the Final Determination with respect to Borusan Mannesmann Boru Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. (Borusan), Toscelik Profil ve Sac Endustrisi A.S. (Toscelik), and the “all others” rate.

    1See Maverick Tube Corporation v. United States, CIT Consol. Court No. 14-00229, Slip Op. 16-16 (February 22, 2016).

    2See Final Results of Remand Redetermination, Court No. 14-00229, dated August 31, 2015, available at: http://ia.ita.doc.gov/remands/ (Remand Redetermination).

    3 On June 22, 2015, the CIT granted a motion to consolidate Court No. 14-00214 into Consolidated Court No. 14-00229.

    4See Certain Oil Country Tubular Goods From the Republic of Turkey: Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Final Affirmative Critical Circumstances Determination, 79 FR 41964 (July 18, 2014) (Final Determination). The Department issued a countervailing duty order in this proceeding on September 10, 2014. See Certain Oil Country Tubular Goods From India and the Republic of Turkey: Countervailing Duty Orders and Amended Affirmative Final Countervailing Duty Determination for India, 79 FR 53688 (September 10, 2014) (Order).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: March 3, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Peter Zukowski or Nicholas Czajkowski, AD/CVD Operations, Office I, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC, 20230; telephone (202) 482-0189 or (202) 482-1395, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    In Borusan, the CIT remanded for further consideration the Department's finding of distortion in the Turkish hot-rolled steel (HRS) market, the Department's selection of a HRS benchmark, and the Department's application of facts available with adverse inferences with respect to purchases of HRS by the respondent Borusan. In Maverick, the CIT remanded issues pertaining to the Department's HRS benchmark calculations as well and, in addition, the Department's benchmark valuation for a parcel of land that the Government of Turkey (GOT) granted to the respondent Toscelik in 2008 for less than adequate remuneration (LTAR).

    On August 31, 2015, the Department issued its Remand Redetermination. In its Remand Redetermination, the Department, under protest, conducted a new HRS market analysis consistent with the Court's remand order, determined that under that specific analysis the HRS market was not distorted in Turkey, and pursuant to section 19 CFR 351.511(a)(2)(ii), determined to use transaction prices in Turkey as a benchmark to calculate the benefit from the provision of HRS to Borusan and Toscelik during the period of investigation.5 In addition, the Department revised the benchmark valuation to calculate the benefit Toscelik received from the provision of the land parcel for LTAR.6 The resulting calculations have changed the countervailing duty rates calculated for Borusan, Toscelik, and the all others rate.

    5Remand Redetermination at 18.

    6Id. at 28.

    As explained above, on February 22, 2016, the CIT affirmed the Department's Remand Redetermination.

    Timken Notice

    In its decision in Timken, as clarified by Diamond Sawblades, the CAFC held that, pursuant to section 516A(e) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), the Department must publish a notice of a court decision that is not “in harmony” with a Department determination and must suspend liquidation of entries pending a “conclusive” court decision. The CIT's February 22, 2016, final judgment affirming the Remand Redetermination constitutes a final decision of that court which is not in harmony with the Final Determination. This notice is published in fulfillment of the publication requirements of Timken. Accordingly, the Department will continue suspension of liquidation of the subject merchandise pending expiration of the period of appeal or, if appealed, pending a final and conclusive court decision.

    Amended Final Determination

    Because there is now a final court decision with respect to the Final Determination, the Department amends its Final Determination. The Department finds that the following revised net countervailable subsidy rates exist:

    Producer/exporter Net subsidy rate
  • (percent)
  • Borusan Istikbal Ticaret, Borusan Mannesmann Boru Sanayi, Borusan Mannesmann Boru Yatirim Holding A.S., and Borusan Holding A.S 2.39 Tosyali Dis Ticaret A.S, Tosçelik Profil ve Sac Endustrisi A.S., Tosyali Elektrik Enerjisi Toptan Satis Ith. Ihr. A.S., Tosyali Demir Celik San. A.S., and Tosyali Holding A.S * 0.95 All Others 2.39 * De minimis.

    Because the revised countervailable subsidy rate for Toscelik is de minimis, there is now a negative countervailing duty determination for Toscelik. Accordingly, the Department will instruct United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to continue suspension of liquidation of Toscelik's subject merchandise, but set the cash deposit rate for Toscelik to zero pending a final and conclusive court decision.

    For Borusan, the Department will instruct CBP to set the cash deposit rate to the rate listed above, again, pending a final and conclusive court decision.

    In the Final Determination, in accordance with section 705(c)(5)(A) of the Act, for companies not individually investigated, we applied an “all-others” rate of 9.21 percent. This rate was calculated as the average of the rates determined for Borusan and Toscelik (15.89 and 2.53, respectively).7 As noted above, Toscelik's amended countervailable subsidy rate is de minimis. Section 705(c)(5)(i) of the Act stipulates that the “all-others” rate should exclude zero and de minimis rates calculated for the companies individually investigated. Therefore, for purposes of this amended Final Determination, the Department will instruct CBP that the “all-others” cash deposit rate is to be amended to Borusan's revised calculated subsidy rate, 2.39 percent.

    7See Final Determination, 79 FR at 41965.

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 516A(e)(1), 705(c)(1)(B), and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: March 4, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05408 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-851] Certain Preserved Mushrooms From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2014-2015 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    On November 6, 2015, the Department of Commerce (the Department) published the Preliminary Results of the 2014-2015 administrative review of the antidumping duty order on Certain Preserved Mushrooms from the People's Republic of China.1 The period of review (POR) is February 1, 2014, through January 31, 2015. This review covers one mandatory respondent, Linyi City Kangfa Foodstuff Drinkable Co., Ltd. (Kangfa). In the Preliminary Results, we determined that Kangfa is not eligible for a separate rate and, therefore is part of the PRC-wide entity. The Department invited interested parties to comment on the Preliminary Results. No parties commented. Accordingly, our final results remain unchanged from the Preliminary Results.

    1See Certain Preserved Mushrooms from the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, and Rescission in Part, 80 FR 68836 (November 6, 2015) (Preliminary Results), and the accompanying Decision Memorandum (Preliminary Decision Memorandum).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: March 10, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael J. Heaney or Robert James, AD/CVD Operations, Office VI, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-4475 or (202) 482-0649, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On November 6, 2015, the Department published the Preliminary Results. We invited interested parties to comment on the Preliminary Results, but no comments were received. Also, as explained in the memorandum from the Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement & Compliance, the Department has exercised its authority to toll all administrative deadlines due to the recent closure of the Federal Government. All deadlines in this segment of the proceeding have been extended by four business days. The revised deadline for the final results is now March 11, 2016.2

    2See Memorandum to the File from Ron Lorentzen, Acting A/S for Enforcement & Compliance, “Tolling of Administrative Deadlines As a Result of the Government Closure During Sniwstorm Jonas” dated January 27, 2016.

    Scope of the Order

    The products covered by this order are certain preserved mushrooms, whether imported whole, sliced, diced, or as stems and pieces. The certain preserved mushrooms covered under this order are the species Agaricus bisporus and Agaricus bitorquis. “Certain Preserved Mushrooms” refers to mushrooms that have been prepared or preserved by cleaning, blanching, and sometimes slicing or cutting. These mushrooms are then packed and heated in containers including, but not limited to, cans or glass jars in a suitable liquid medium, including, but not limited to, water, brine, butter or butter sauce. Certain preserved mushrooms may be imported whole, sliced, diced, or as stems and pieces. Included within the scope of this order are “brined” mushrooms, which are presalted and packed in a heavy salt solution to provisionally preserve them for further processing.3

    3 On June 19, 2000, the Department affirmed that “marinated,” “acidified,” or “pickled” mushrooms containing less than 0.5 percent acetic acid are within the scope of the antidumping duty order. See Recommendation Memorandum-Final Ruling of Request by Tak Fat, et al. for Exclusion of Certain Marinated, Acidified Mushrooms from the Scope of the Antidumping Duty Order on Certain Preserved Mushrooms from the People's Republic of China,” dated June 19, 2000. On February 9, 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld this decision. See Tak Fat v. United States, 396 F.3d 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2005).

    Excluded from the scope of this order are the following: (1) All other species of mushroom, including straw mushrooms; (2) all fresh and chilled mushrooms, including “refrigerated” or “quick blanched mushrooms;” (3) dried mushrooms; (4) frozen mushrooms; and (5) “marinated,” “acidified,” or “pickled” mushrooms, which are prepared or preserved by means of vinegar or acetic acid, but may contain oil or other additives.

    The merchandise subject to this order is classifiable under subheadings: 2003.10.0127, 2003.10.0131, 2003.10.0137, 2003.10.0143, 2003.10.0147, 2003.10.0153, and 0711.51.0000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and Customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this order is dispositive.

    Final Determination of No Shipments

    In the Preliminary Results, we preliminarily determined that (1) the exporter/producer combination of Dezhou Kaihang Agricultural Science Technology Co., Ltd. (Dezhou Kaihang)/Fujian Haishan Foods Co., Ltd. (Fengyu); (2) the exporter/producer combination of Fujian Haishan Foods Co., Ltd. (Fujian Haishan)/Zhangzhou Hongda Import & Export Trading Co., Ltd. (Hongda); (3) Guangxi Jisheng Foods, Inc. (Guangxi Jisheng), (4) Xiamen International Trade & Industrial Co., Ltd. (XITIC); and (5) Zhangzhou Gangchang Canned Foods Co., Ltd. (Gangchang) did not have any reviewable entries during the POR. In particular, we found that (1) Dezhou Kaihang/Fengyu, (2) Fujian Haishan/Hongda, (3) Guangxi Jisheng, (4) XITIC and (5) Gangchang all submitted timely certifications of no shipments, entries, or sales of subject merchandise during the POR and we did not receive any information from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) indicating there were reviewable entries for those companies during the POR.

    Consistent with the Department's assessment practice in non-market economy cases, we stated in the Preliminary Results that the Department would not rescind the review in these circumstances but, rather, would complete the review with respect to Dezhou Kaihang/Fengyu, Fujian Haishan/Hongda, Guangxi Jisheng, XITIC, and Gangchang and issue appropriate instructions to CBP based on the final results of the review.4 We did not receive any comments following our Preliminary Results with respect to this issue. As such, in these final results, we continue to determine that Dezhou Kaihang/Fengyu, Fujian Haishan/Hongda, Guangxi Jisheng, XITIC, and Gangchang had no reviewable entries of subject merchandise during the POR.

    4See Preliminary Results, 80 FR at 68837.

    Final Results of Review

    In our Preliminary Results, we found that mandatory respondent Kangfa failed to establish its eligibility for a separate rate and preliminarily determined to treat Kangfa as part of the PRC‐wide entity.5 We also found that the remaining 51 exporters subject to this review did not establish their eligibility for separate rate status and that they were, thus, part of the PRC-wide entity.

    5See id. at 68838.

    No parties commented on these Preliminary Results. Therefore, in these final results, we continue to determine that all 51 of these exporters are part of the PRC-wide entity. Each of these entities are listed in the attached Appendix. Because no party requested a review of the PRC-wide entity and the Department no longer considers the PRC-wide entity as an exporter conditionally subject to administrative reviews, we did not conduct a review of the PRC-wide entity, and the entity's rate is not subject to change in this review.6

    6See Antidumping Proceedings: Announcement of Change in Department Practice for Respondent Selection in Antidumping Duty Proceedings and Conditional Review of the Nonmarket Economy Entity in NME Antidumping Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 65963 (November 4, 2013).

    Assessment Rates

    Pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act) and 19 CFR 351.212(b), the Department has determined, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries of subject merchandise covered by this review. The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the date of publication of these final results of review. The Department intends to instruct CBP to liquidate entries of subject merchandise from the exporters identified above as being part of the PRC-wide entity (including Kangfa) at the PRC-wide rate, i.e., 308.33 percent.

    Pursuant to a refinement in the Department's practice, if the Department determines that an exporter had no shipments of the subject merchandise, any suspended entries that entered under that exporter's case number (i.e., at that exporter's rate) will be liquidated at the PRC-wide rate.7 As noted above, the Department determines that Dezhou Kaihang/Fengyu, Fujian Haishan/Hongda, Guangxi Jisheng, XITIC, and Gangchang did not have any reviewable transactions during the POR. As a result, any suspended entries that entered under these exporters' case numbers will be liquidated at the PRC-wide rate.

    7See Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694 (October 24, 2011).

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective for all shipments of subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date of the final results of this administrative review, as provided by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For previously investigated or reviewed PRC and non-PRC exporters which are not under review in this segment of the proceeding but received a separate rate in a previous segment, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the exporter-specific rate published for the most recently-completed period; (2) for all PRC exporters of subject merchandise which have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be that for the PRC-wide entity (i.e., 308.33 percent); and (3) for all non-PRC exporters of subject merchandise which have not received their own rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the PRC exporter(s) that supplied the non-PRC exporter. These cash deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Importers

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

    Notification Regarding Administrative Protective Order

    This notice also serves as a final reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3), which continues to govern business proprietary information in this segment of the proceeding. Timely written notification of the return or destruction of APO materials, or conversion to judicial protective order, is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    We are issuing and publishing these results and this notice in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i) of the Act.

    Dated: March 4, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix Companies Included in the PRC Wide Entity

    The PRC Entity includes the following 51 entities: (1) Agrogentra & Co., Ltd., (2) Ayecue (Liaocheng) Foodstuff Co., Ltd, (3) Blue Field (Sichuan) Food Industrial Co., Ltd., (4) Casia Global Logistics Co., Ltd., (5) Changzhou Chen Rong- Da Carpet Co., Ltd., (6) China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Import & Export Corp., (7) China Processed Food Import & Export Co., (8) DHL ISC (Hong Kong) Limited, (9) Dujiangyan Xingda Foodstuff Co., Ltd., (10) Fujian Blue Lake Foods Co., Ltd., (11) Fujian Golden Banyan Foodstuffs Industrial Co., Ltd., (12) Fujian Pinghe Baofeng Canned Foods, (13) Fujian Yuxing Fruits and Vegetables Foodstuffs Development Co., Ltd., (14) Fujian Zishan Group Co., Ltd., (15) Guangxi Eastwing Trading Co., Ltd., (16) Guangxi Hengyang Industrial & Commercial Dev., Ltd., (17) Guangxi Hengyong Industrial & Commercial Dev. Ltd., (18) Inter-Foods (Dongshan) Co., Ltd., (19) Jiangxi Cereal Oils Foodstuffs, (20) Joy Foods (Zhangzhou) Co., Ltd., (21) Kangfa, (22) Longhai Guangfa Food Co., Ltd., (23) Primera Harvest (Xiangfan) Co., Ltd., (24) Shandong Jiufa Edible Fungus Corporation, Ltd., (25) Shandong Xinfa Agricultural Science Corporation Ltd., (26) Shandong Yinfeng Rare Fungus Corporation, Ltd., (27) Shenzhen Syntrans International Logistics Co., Ltd., (28) Sun Wave Trading Co., Ltd., (29) Sunrise Food Industry & Commerce, (30) Shouguang Sunrise Industry & Commerce Co., Ltd., (31) Thuy Duong Transport And Trading Service JSC, (32) Tianjin Fulida Supply Co., Ltd., (33) Xiamen Aukking Imp. & Exp. Co., Ltd., (34) Xiamen Carre Food Co., Ltd., (35) Xiamen Choice Harvest Imp., (36) Xiamen Greenland Import & Export Co., Ltd., (37) Xiamen Gulong Import & Export Co., Ltd., (38) Xiamen Huamin Imp. & Exp. Co., Ltd., (39) Xiamen Jiahua Import & Export Trading Co., Ltd., (40) Xiamen Longhuai Import & Export Co., Ltd., (41) Xiamen Longhuai Imp. & Exp. Co., Ltd., (42) Xiamen Longstar Lighting Co., Ltd., (43) Xiamen Sungiven Import & Export Co., Ltd., (44) Zhangzhou Golden Banyan Foodstuffs Industrial Co., Ltd., (45) Zhangzhou Long Mountain Foods Co., Ltd., (46) Zhangzhou Longhai Minhui Industry & Trade Co., Ltd., (47) Zhangzhou Tan Co., Ltd., (48) Zhangzhou Tongfa Foods Industry Co., Ltd., (49) Zhangzhou Yuxing Imp. & Exp. Trading Co., Ltd., (50) Zhejiang Iceman Food Co., Ltd., and (51) Zhejiang Iceman Group Co., Ltd.

    [FR Doc. 2016-05409 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Renewable Energy Trade Mission to Mexico; May 16-19, 2016 AGENCY:

    International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, is amending the Notice published at 80 FR 76658 (December 10, 2015), regarding the executive-led Renewable Energy Trade Mission to Mexico, scheduled for May 16-19, 2016, to extend the date of the application deadline from March 4, 2016 to the new deadline of March 17, 2016. Applications received after March 17, 2016, will be considered only if space and scheduling constrains permit and participation fees must be paid by March 31, 2016.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Amendments to Revise the Dates.

    Background

    Due to the recent personnel changes, applications for this Mission will now be accepted through March 17, 2016 (and after that date if space remains and scheduling constraints permit). Interested U.S. companies and trade associations/organizations providing renewable energy equipment, technology, and services which have not already submitted an application are encouraged to do so.

    The U.S. Department of Commerce will review applications and make selection decisions on a staggered basis. The applicants selected will be notified as soon as possible.

    Contact Information

    Ethel M. Azueta Glen, International Trade Specialist, Trade Missions, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230, Tel: 202-482-5388, Fax: 202-482-9000, [email protected]

    Frank Spector, Director, Trade Missions Program.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05411 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-533-810] Stainless Steel Bar From India: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2014-2015 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on stainless steel bar (SSB) from India.1 The period of review (POR) is February 1, 2014, through January 31, 2015. This review covers two producers or exporters of the subject merchandise: Ambica Steels Limited (Ambica), and Bhansali Bright Bars Pvt. Ltd. (Bhansali). We preliminarily find that Ambica and Bhansali have not made sales of the subject merchandise at prices below normal value. Interested parties are invited to comment on these preliminary results.

    1See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 18202 (April 3, 2015).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: March 10, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jennifer Shore, or Joseph Shuler, AD/CVD Operations, Office I, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-2778, or (202) 482-1293, respectively.

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise subject to the order is SSB from India. The SSB subject to the order is currently classifiable under subheadings 7222.10.00, 7222.11.00, 7222.19.00, 7222.20.00, 7222.30.00 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes. The written description is dispositive.2

    2 A full description of the scope of the order is contained in the memorandum to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, “Decision Memorandum for Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Stainless Steel Bar from India; 2014-2015” (Preliminary Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with these results and hereby adopted by this notice.

    Methodology

    The Department is conducting this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(B) and (2) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). Normal value is calculated in accordance with section 773 of the Act.

    For a full description of the methodology underlying our conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum. A list of topics discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum is provided as Appendix I to this Notice. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov, and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Preliminary Results of the Review  3

    3 The Department exercised its discretion to toll all administrative deadlines due to a closure of the Federal Government. See Memorandum to the Record from Ron Lorentzen, Acting A/S for Enforcement & Compliance, regarding “Tolling of Administrative Deadlines As a Result of the Government Closure During Snowstorm Jonas,” dated January 27, 2016. All deadlines in this segment of the proceeding have been extended by four business days. The revised deadline for the preliminary results of this administrative review is now March 4, 2016.

    As a result of this review, we preliminarily determine that the following weighted-average dumping margins exist for the respondents for the period February 1, 2014, through January 30, 2015.

    Producer or exporter Weighted-average dumping margin
  • (percent)
  • Ambica Steels Limited 0.00 Bhansali Bright Bars Private Limited 0.00
    Disclosure and Public Comment

    The Department intends to disclose to interested parties the calculations performed in connection with these preliminary results within five days of the date of publication of this notice.4 Interested parties may submit case briefs no later than 30 days after the date of publication of the preliminary results.5 Rebuttal briefs, limited to the issues raised in the case briefs, may be filed no later than five days after the submission of case briefs.6 Parties who submit case briefs or rebuttal briefs in this proceeding are encouraged to submit with each argument: (1) A statement of the issue; (2) a brief summary of the argument; and (3) a table of authorities.7 All case and rebuttal briefs must be filed electronically using ACCESS, and must also be served on interested parties.8 An electronically filed document must be received successfully in its entirety by the Department's electronic records system, ACCESS, by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the date that the document is due. Executive summaries should be limited to five pages total, including footnotes.

    4See 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    5See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii); see also 19 CFR 351.303 (for general filing requirements).

    6See 19 CFR 351.309(d)(1).

    7See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2) and (d)(2).

    8See 19 CFR 351.303(f).

    Interested parties who wish to request a hearing must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce, using Enforcement and Compliance's ACCESS system within 30 days of publication of this notice.9 Hearing requests should contain the party's name, address, and telephone number, the number of participants, and a list of the issues to be discussed. If a request for a hearing is made, we will inform parties of the scheduled date for the hearing which will be held at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, at a time and location to be determined. Parties should confirm by telephone the date, time, and location of the hearing.

    9See 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    Unless the deadline is extended pursuant to section 751(a)(2)(B)(iv) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213(h)(2), the Department intends to issue the final results of this administrative review, including the results of our analysis of the issues raised by the parties in their case and rebuttal briefs, within 120 days after the publication of these preliminary results, pursuant to section 751(a)(3)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213(h)(1).

    Assessment Rates

    For Ambica and Bhansali, upon issuance of the final results, the Department shall determine, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review. If Ambica's and Bhansali's weighted-average dumping margins are not zero or de minimis (i.e., less than 0.50 percent) in the final results of this review, we will calculate importer-specific assessment rates on the basis of the ratio of the total amount of dumping calculated for each importer's examined sales and the total entered value of those sales in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1). Where Ambica and Bhansali did not report entered value, we will calculate importer specific assessment rates for the merchandise in question by aggregating the dumping margins calculated for all U.S. sales to each importer and dividing this amount by the total quantity of those sales.

    We will instruct CBP to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review when the importer-specific assessment rate calculated in the final results of this review is not zero or de minimis. Where either the respondent's weighted-average dumping margin is zero or de minimis, 10 or an importer-specific assessment rate is zero or de minimis, we will instruct CBP to liquidate the appropriate entries without regard to antidumping duties.

    10See Antidumping Proceedings: Calculation of the Weighted-Average Dumping Margin and Assessment Rate in Certain Antidumping Duty Proceedings; Final Modification, 77 FR 8101 (February 14, 2012).

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

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective for all shipments of the subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date of the final results of this administrative review, as provided by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) The cash deposit rate for Bhansali and Ambica will be the rate established in the final results of this review, except if the rate is de minimis within the meaning of 19 CFR 351.106(c)(1) (i.e., less than 0.50 percent), in which case the cash deposit rate will be zero; (2) for previously reviewed or investigated companies not participating in this review, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the company-specific rate published for the most recent period; (3) if the exporter is not a firm covered in this review, a prior review, or the original investigation, but the manufacturer is, the cash deposit rate will be the rate established for the most recent period for the manufacturer of the merchandise; and (4) the cash deposit rate for all other manufacturers or exporters will continue to be 12.45 percent, the all-others rate established in the less-than-fair-value investigation.11 These requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    11See Notice of Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Stainless Steel Bar from India, 59 FR 66915, 66921 (December 28, 1994).

    Notification to Importers

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

    The Department is issuing and publishing these results in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: March 4, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope of Order IV. Discussion of the Methodology 1. Determination of Comparison Method 2. Results of the Differential Pricing Analysis V. Date of Sale VI. Product Comparisons VII. Export Price VIII. Normal Value A. Comparison Market Viability B. Affiliated Party Transactions and Arm's Length Test C. Level of Trade (LOT) D. Cost of Production Analysis 1. Calculation of Cost of Production (COP) 2. Test of Comparison Market Sales Prices 3. Results of the COP Test E. Calculation of Normal Value Based on Comparison Market Prices IX. Currency Conversion X. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2016-05449 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-549-822] Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From Thailand; Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, Rescission of Review, in Part, and Preliminary Determination of No Shipments; 2014-2015 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Department) is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain frozen warmwater shrimp (shrimp) from Thailand. The review covers 163 producers/exporters of the subject merchandise.1 The Department selected two mandatory respondents for individual examination, Mayao 2 and Thai Union.3 The period of review (POR) is February 1, 2014, through January 31, 2015. We preliminarily determine that sales to the United States have been made below normal value and, therefore, are subject to antidumping duties. Additionally, we preliminarily determine that certain companies for which we initiated a review did not have any shipments during the POR. If these preliminary results are adopted in the final results of this review, we will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. We invite interested parties to comment on these preliminary results.

    1See Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From India and Thailand: Notice of Initiation of Antidumping Duty Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 16634 (Mar. 30, 2015) (Initiation Notice).

    2 Mayao consists of the following companies: A Foods 1991 Co., Limited and May Ao Foods Co., Ltd.

    3 Thai Union consists of the following affiliated companies: Thai Union Frozen Product Co., Ltd., Thai Union Seafood Company Limited, Pakfood Public Company Limited, Asia Pacific (Thailand) Co., Ltd., Chaophraya Cold Storage Co. Ltd., Okeanos Co. Ltd., Okeanos Food Co. Ltd., and Takzin Samut co. Ltd.

    DATES:

    Effective March 10, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dennis McClure or Alice Maldonado, AD/CVD Operations, Office II, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-5973 and (202) 482-4682, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As explained in the memorandum from the Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement & Compliance, the Department has exercised its discretion to toll all administrative deadlines due to the recent closure of the Federal Government. All deadlines in this segment of the proceeding have been extended by four business days. The revised deadline for the preliminary results of this review is now March 4, 2016.4

    4See Memorandum to the Record from Ron Lorentzen, Acting A/S for Enforcement & Compliance, regarding “Tolling of Administrative Deadlines As a Result of the Government Closure During Snowstorm Jonas,” dated January 27, 2016.

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise subject to the order is certain frozen warmwater shrimp.5 The product is currently classified under the following Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) item numbers: 0306.17.00.03, 0306.17.00.06, 0306.17.00.09, 0306.17.00.12, 0306.17.00.15, 0306.17.00.18, 0306.17.00.21, 0306.17.00.24, 0306.17.00.27, 0306.17.00.40, 1605.21.10.30, and 1605.29.10.10. Although the HTSUS numbers are provided for convenience and for customs purposes, the written product description remains dispositive.

    5 For a complete description of the scope of the Order, see “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Results of the Administrative Review of the Antidumping Duty Order on Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from Thailand, from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance (Preliminary Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with this notice.

    Methodology

    The Department is conducting this review in accordance with section 751(a)(2) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). Export price is calculated in accordance with section 772 of the Act. Normal value is calculated in accordance with section 773 of the Act.

    For a full description of the methodology underlying our conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov, and it is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at http://trade.gov/enforcement/frn/index.html. The signed and the electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content. A list of the topics discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum is attached as the Appendix to this notice.

    Partial Rescission of Review

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), the Secretary will rescind an administrative review, in whole or in part, if the parties that requested a review withdraw the request within 90 days of the date of publication of the notice of initiation of the requested review. This review was initiated on March 30, 2015.6 Two producers/exporters of shrimp in Thailand, Gallant Ocean (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (Gallant Ocean) and Southport Seafood Co., Ltd. (Southport), withdrew their requests for review on May 28, 2015, which is within the 90-day deadline.7 While no other party requested an administrative review of Southport, we received other requests for review of Gallant Ocean. Therefore, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), and consistent with our practice, we are rescinding this review only with respect to Southport. We are continuing the administrative review with respect to Gallant Ocean because we received properly-filed requests for a review of this company, and we did not receive timely withdrawal of review requests from all parties with respect to it.

    6See Initiation Notice.

    7See letters from Gallant Ocean and Southport, “AD Administrative Review of Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from Thailand: Certification of No Shipments and Withdrawal of Request for Administrative Review,” dated May 28, 2015.

    Preliminary Determination of No Shipments

    Among the companies under review, four companies properly filed statements reporting that they made no shipments of subject merchandise to the United States during the POR.8 Based on the certifications submitted by two of these companies and our analysis of CBP information, we preliminarily determine that the following companies had no reviewable transactions during the POR: (1) Gallant Ocean; and (2) Lucky Union Foods Co., Ltd. The Department finds that it is not appropriate to preliminarily rescind the review with respect to these companies but, rather, to complete the review with respect to these companies and issue appropriate instructions to CBP based on the final results of this review.9

    8 For a full explanation of the Department's analysis, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    9See Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From Thailand; Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, Partial Rescission of Review, Preliminary Determination of No Shipments; 2012-2013, 79 FR 15951, 15952 (March 24, 2014), unchanged in Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From Thailand: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, Final Determination of No Shipments, and Partial Rescission of Review; 2012-2013, 79 FR 51306 (August 28, 2014).

    With respect to the two remaining companies, Marine Gold Products Ltd (Marine Gold)10 and Thai Union Manufacturing Company Limited (Thai Union Manufacturing), we preliminarily find that there is insufficient evidence on the record of this review to conclude that these companies made no shipments of subject merchandise to the United States during the POR. Therefore, we are continuing to include both Marine Gold and Thai Union Manufacturing in this administrative review for purposes of the preliminary results. However, we requested additional information from CBP with respect to any potential entries made by these companies during the POR, and we will consider this information in making a final determination on this issue for purposes of the final results.

    10 Shrimp produced and exported by Marine Gold was excluded from the AD Thailand order effective February 1, 2012. See Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From Thailand: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, Partial Rescission of Review, and Revocation of Order (in Part); 2011-2012, 78 FR at 42497, 42499 (July 16, 2013) (2011-2012 Thai Shrimp). Accordingly, we are conducting this administrative review with respect to Marine Gold only for shrimp produced in Thailand where Marine Gold acted as either the producer or the exporter (but not both).

    Preliminary Results of the Review

    As a result of this review, we preliminarily determine that weighted-average dumping margins exist for the respondents for the period February 1, 2014, through January 31, 2015, as follows:

    Producer/exporter Dumping margin
  • (percent)
  • A Foods 1991 Co., Limited/May Ao Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 Thai Union Frozen Products Public Co., Ltd/Thai Union Seafood Co., Ltd/Pakfood Public Company Limited/Okeanos Food Co., Ltd/Okeanos Co. Ltd/Asia Pacific (Thailand) Co., Ltd.,/Chaophraya Cold Storage Co. Ltd/Takzin Samut Co. Ltd 0.00

    Review-Specific Average Rate Applicable to the Following Non-Selected Companies:11

    11 This rate is based on the rates for the respondents that were selected for individual review, excluding rates that are zero, de minimis or based entirely on facts available. See section 735(c)(5)(A) of the Act.

    Producer/exporter Dumping margin
  • (percent)
  • A. Wattanachai Frozen Products Co., Ltd 1.36 A.P. Frozen Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 A.S. Intermarine Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 ACU Transport Co., Ltd 1.36 Ampai Frozen Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 Anglo-Siam Seafoods Co., Ltd 1.36 Apex Maritime (Thailand) Co., Ltd 1.36 Apitoon Enterprise Industry Co., Ltd 1.36 Applied DB 1.36 Asian Seafood Coldstorage (Sriracha) 1.36 Asian Seafoods Coldstorage Public Co., Ltd/Asian Seafoods Coldstorage (Suratthani) Co./STC Foodpak Ltd 1.36 Assoc. Commercial Systems 1.36 B.S.A. Food Products Co., Ltd 1.36 Bangkok Dehydrated Marine Product Co., Ltd 1.36 C Y Frozen Food Co., Ltd 1.36 C.P. Mdse 1.36 C.P. Merchandising Co., Ltd 1.36 CP Retailing and Marketing Co., Ltd 1.36 C.P. Intertrade Co. Ltd 1.36 Calsonic Kansei (Thailand) Co., Ltd 1.36 Century Industries Co., Ltd 1.36 Chaivaree Marine Products Co., Ltd 1.36 Chaiwarut Company Limited 1.36 Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Co., Ltd 1.36 Charoen Pokphand Petrochemical Co., Ltd 1.36 Chonburi LC 1.36 Chue Eie Mong Eak 1.36 Commonwealth Trading Co., Ltd 1.36 Core Seafood Processing Co., Ltd 1.36 CPF Food Products Co., Ltd 1.36 Crystal Frozen Foods Co., Ltd and/or Crystal Seafood 1.36 Daedong (Thailand) Co. Ltd 1.36 Daiei Taigen (Thailand) Co., Ltd 1.36 Daiho (Thailand) Co., Ltd 1.36 Dynamic Intertransport Co., Ltd 1.36 Earth Food Manufacturing Co., Ltd 1.36 F.A.I.T. Corporation Limited 1.36 Far East Cold Storage Co., Ltd 1.36 Fimex VN 1.36 Findus (Thailand) Ltd 1.36 Fortune Frozen Foods (Thailand) Co., Ltd 1.36 Frozen Marine Products Co., Ltd 1.36 Gallant Ocean (Thailand) Co., Ltd * Gallant Seafoods Corporation 1.36 Global Maharaja Co., Ltd 1.36 Golden Sea Frozen Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 Golden Thai Imp. & Exp. Co., Ltd 1.36 Good Fortune Cold Storage Co. Ltd 1.36 Good Luck Product Co., Ltd 1.36 Grobest Frozen Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 Gulf Coast Crab Intl. 1.36 H.A.M. International Co., Ltd 1.36 Haitai Seafood Co., Ltd 1.36 Handy International (Thailand) Co., Ltd 1.36 Heng Seafood Limited Partnership 1.36 Heritrade 1.36 HIC (Thailand) Co., Ltd 1.36 High Way International Co., Ltd 1.36 I.T. Foods Industries Co., Ltd 1.36 Inter-Oceanic Resources Co., Ltd 1.36 Inter-Pacific Marine Products Co., Ltd 1.36 I.S.A. Value Co., Ltd 1.36 K & U Enterprise Co., Ltd 1.36 K Fresh 1.36 K. D. Trading Co., Ltd 1.36 K.L. Cold Storage Co., Ltd 1.36 KF Foods Limited 1.36 Kiang Huat Sea Gull Trading Frozen Food Public Co., Ltd 1.36 Kibun Trdg 1.36 Kingfisher Holdings Ltd 1.36 Kitchens of the Oceans (Thailand) Company, Ltd 1.36 Klang Co., Ltd 1.36 Kongphop Frozen Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 Lee Heng Seafood Co., Ltd 1.36 Leo Transports 1.36 Li-Thai Frozen Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 Lucky Union Foods Co., Ltd * Magnate & Syndicate Co., Ltd 1.36 Mahachai Food Processing Co., Ltd 1.36 Mahachai Marine Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 Marine Gold Products Ltd 1.36 Merit Asia Foodstuff Co., Ltd 1.36 Merkur Co., Ltd 1.36 Ming Chao Ind Thailand 1.36 N&N Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 N.R. Instant Produce Co., Ltd 1.36 Namprik Maesri Ltd Part. 1.36 Narong Seafood Co., Ltd 1.36 Nongmon SMJ Products 1.36 Ongkorn Cold Storage Co., Ltd/Thai-Ger Marine Co., Ltd 1.36 Pacific Queen Co., Ltd 1.36 Pakpanang Coldstorage Public Co., Ltd 1.36 Penta Impex Co., Ltd 1.36 Pinwood Nineteen Ninety Nine 1.36 Piti Seafood Co., Ltd 1.36 Premier Frozen Products Co., Ltd 1.36 Preserved Food Specialty Co., Ltd 1.36 Queen Marine Food Co., Ltd 1.36 Rayong Coldstorage (1987) Co., Ltd 1.36 S&D Marine Products Co., Ltd 1.36 S&P Aquarium 1.36 S&P Syndicate Public Company Ltd 1.36 S. Chaivaree Cold Storage Co., Ltd 1.36 S. Khonkaen Food Industry Public Co., Ltd and/or S. Khonkaen Food Ind. Public 1.36 S.K. Foods (Thailand) Public Co. Limited 1.36 Samui Foods Company Limited 1.36 Saota Seafood Factory 1.36 SB Inter Food Co., Ltd 1.36 SCT Co., Ltd 1.36 Sea Bonanza Food Co., Ltd 1.36 SEA NT'L CO., LTD. 1.36 Seafoods Enterprise Co., Ltd 1.36 Seafresh Fisheries/Seafresh Industry Public Co., Ltd 1.36 Search and Serve 1.36 Sethachon Co., Ltd 1.36 Shianlin Bangkok Co., Ltd 1.36 Shing Fu Seaproducts Development Co. 1.36 Siam Food Supply Co., Ltd 1.36 Siam Haitian Frozen Food Co., Ltd 1.36 Siam Intersea Co., Ltd 1.36 Siam Marine Products Co. Ltd 1.36 Siam Ocean Frozen Foods Co. Ltd 1.36 Siamchai International Food Co., Ltd 1.36 Smile Heart Foods Co. Ltd 1.36 SMP Products, Co., Ltd 1.36 Star Frozen Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 Starfoods Industries Co., Ltd 1.36 Suntechthai Intertrading Co., Ltd 1.36 Surapon Foods Public Co., Ltd/Surat Seafoods Public Co., Ltd 1.36 Surapon Nichirei Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 Suratthani Marine Products Co., Ltd 1.36 Suree Interfoods Co., Ltd 1.36 T.S.F. Seafood Co., Ltd 1.36 Tep Kinsho Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 Teppitak Seafood Co., Ltd 1.36 Tey Seng Cold Storage Co., Ltd 1.36 Thai Agri Foods Public Co., Ltd 1.36 Thai Hanjin Logistics Co., Ltd 1.36 Thai Mahachai Seafood Products Co., Ltd 1.36 Thai Ocean Venture Co., Ltd 1.36 Thai Patana Frozen 1.36 Thai Prawn Culture Center Co., Ltd 1.36 Thai Royal Frozen Food Co., Ltd 1.36 Thai Spring Fish Co., Ltd 1.36 Thai Union Manufacturing Company Limited 1.36 Thai World Imports and Exports Co., Ltd 1.36 Thai Yoo Ltd, Part. 1.36 The Siam Union Frozen Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 The Union Frozen Products Co., Ltd/Bright Sea Co., Ltd 1.36 Trang Seafood Products Public Co., Ltd 1.36 Transamut Food Co., Ltd 1.36 Tung Lieng Tradg 1.36 United Cold Storage Co., Ltd 1.36 UTXI Aquatic Products Processing Company 1.36 V. Thai Food Product Co., Ltd 1.36 Wann Fisheries Co., Ltd 1.36 Xian-Ning Seafood Co., Ltd 1.36 Yeenin Frozen Foods Co., Ltd 1.36 YHS Singapore Pte 1.36 ZAFCO TRDG 1.36 * No shipments or sales subject to this review.
    Disclosure and Public Comment

    The Department intends to disclose the calculations performed in connection with these preliminary results to interested parties within five days after the date of publication of this notice.12 Interested parties may submit cases briefs to the Department no later than 30 days after the date of publication of this notice.13 Rebuttal briefs, limited to issues raised in the case briefs, may be filed no later than five days after the time limit for filing case briefs.14 Parties who submit case briefs or rebuttal briefs in this proceeding are encouraged to submit with each argument: (1) A statement of the issue; (2) a brief summary of the argument; and (3) a table of authorities.15 Case and rebuttal briefs should be filed using ACCESS.16

    12See 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    13See 19 CFR 351.309(c)

    14See 19 CFR 351.309(d).

    15See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2) and (d)(2).

    16See 19 CFR 351.303.

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.310(c), interested parties who wish to request a hearing must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, filed electronically via ACCESS. An electronically-filed document must be received successfully in its entirety by ACCESS by 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice.17 Hearing requests should contain: (1) The party's name, address, and telephone number; (2) the number of participants; and (3) a list of issues to be discussed. Issues raised in the hearing will be limited to issues raised in the briefs. If a request for a hearing is made, parties will be notified of the time and date for the hearing to be held at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.18

    17See 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    18Id.

    The Department intends to issue the final results of this administrative review, including the results of its analysis raised in any written briefs, not later than 120 days after the publication date of this notice, pursuant to section 751(a)(3)(A) of the Act.

    Assessment Rates

    Upon issuance of the final results, the Department shall determine, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review.19

    19See 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1).

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1), where Mayao and Thai Union reported the entered value for of their U.S. sales, we calculated importer-specific ad valorem duty assessment rates based on the ratio of the total aount of antidumping duties calculated for the examined sales to the total entered value of the sales for which entered value was reported. Where Mayao and Thai Union have not reported entered value, we calculated the entered value in order to calculate the assessment rates. Where either the respondent's weighted-average dumping margin is zero or de minimis within the meaning of 19 CFR 351.106(c), or an importer-specific rate is zero or de minimis, we will instruct CBP to liquidate the appropriate entries without regard to antidumping duties.

    For the companies which were not selected for individual review, we will assign an assessment rate based on the average 20 of the cash deposit rates calculated for the companies selected for mandatory review (i.e., Mayao and Thai Union), excluding any which are de minimis or determined entirely on adverse facts available. The final results of this review shall be the basis for the assessment of antidumping duties on entries of merchandise covered by the final results of this review and for future deposits of estimated duties, where applicable.21

    20 This rate will be calculated as discussed in footnote 11, above.

    21See section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act.

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

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following deposit requirements will be effective for all shipments of the subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date of the final results of this administrative review, as provided by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) The cash deposit rate for each specific company listed above will be that established in the final results of this review, except if the rate is less than 0.50 percent and, therefore, de minimis within the meaning of 19 CFR 351.106(c)(1), in which case the cash deposit rate will be zero; (2) for previously reviewed or investigated companies not participating in this review, the cash deposit will continue to be the company-specific rate published for the most recently completed segment; (3) if the exporter is not a firm covered in this review, or the original less-than-fair-value (LTFV) investigation, but the manufacturer is, the cash deposit rate will be the rate established for the most recent segment for the manufacturer of the merchandise; and (4) the cash deposit rate for all other manufacturers or exporters will continue to be 5.34 percent, the all-others rate made effective by the Section 129 Determination. 22 These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    22See Implementation of the Findings of the WTO Panel in United States Antidumping Measure on Shrimp from Thailand: Notice of Determination under Section 129 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act and Partial Revocation of the Antidumping Duty Order on Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from Thailand, 74 FR 5638 (January 30, 2009) (Section 129 Determination).

    Notification to Importers

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

    We are issuing and publishing these results in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: March 4, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum 1. Summary 2. Background 3. Scope of the Order 4. Treatment of Voluntary Respondents 5. Rescission of Review, In Part 6. Preliminary Determination of No Shipments 7. Discussion of the Methodology a. Normal Value Comparisons b. Determination of Comparison Method c. Results of Differential Pricing Analysis d. Product Comparisons e. Export Price/Constructed Export Price f. Normal Value i. Home Market Viability ii. Affiliated-Party Transactions and Arm's-Length Test iii. Level of Trade iv. Cost of Production Analysis 1. Calculation of Cost of Production 2. Test of Comparison Market Sales Prices 3. Results of the COP Test v. Calculation of Normal Value Based on Comparison Market Prices 8. Currency Conversion 9. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2016-05454 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Request for Applicants for Appointment to the United States Section of the United States-Turkey Business Council AGENCY:

    International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In December 2009, the Governments of the United States and Turkey agreed to establish a U.S.-Turkey Business Council. This notice announces membership opportunities for appointment as U.S. representatives to the U.S. Section of the Council for a term beginning January 2016 and ending December 2016.

    DATES:

    Applications for immediate consideration to fill current vacancies should be received no later than March 24. Applications will continue to be accepted until March 31 to fill any additional vacancies that may arise.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please send applications to Aileen Wall, Junior International Trade Specialist, Office of Europe, U.S. Department of Commerce, either by email at [email protected], or by mail to U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 331918014, Washington, DC 20230.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Aileen Wall, Junior International Trade Specialist, Office of Europe, U.S. Department of Commerce, telephone: 202-482-5229.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Under Secretary for International Trade of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Ministry of Economy of Turkey co-chair the U.S.-Turkey Business Council, pursuant to the Terms of Reference signed on May 25, 2010, by the U.S. and Turkish Governments, which set forth the objectives and structure of the Council. The Terms of Reference may be viewed at: http://www.trade.gov/mac/terms-of-reference-us-turkey-business-council.asp.

    The Council is intended to facilitate the exchange of information and encourage bilateral discussions of business and economic issues, including promoting bilateral trade and investment and improving the business climate in each country. The Council brings together the respective business communities of the United States and Turkey to discuss such issues of mutual interest and to communicate their joint recommendations to the U.S. and Turkish Governments. The Council consists of the U.S. and Turkish co-chairs and a Committee comprised of private sector members. The Committee is composed of two Sections of private sector members, a U.S. Section and a Turkish Section, each consisting of approximately ten to twelve members, representing the views and interests of their respective private sector business communities. Each government will appoint the members to its respective Section. The Committee will provide joint recommendations to the two governments that reflect private sector views, needs, and concerns regarding creation of an environment in which the private sectors of both countries can partner, thrive, and enhance bilateral commercial ties that could form the basis for expanded trade and investment between the United States and Turkey.

    The Department of Commerce is seeking applicants for membership on the U.S. Section of the Committee to fill four current vacancies and any additional vacancies that may arise during the current member appointment term. Each applicant must be a senior-level executive of a U.S.-owned or controlled company that is incorporated in and has its main headquarters located in the United States and that is currently doing business in Turkey. Each applicant also must be a U.S. citizen, or otherwise legally authorized to work in the United States, and be able to travel to Turkey and locations in the United States to attend official Council meetings, as well as U.S. Section and Committee meetings. In addition, the applicant may not be a registered foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended.

    Evaluation of applications for membership in the U.S. Section by eligible individuals will be based on the following criteria:

    —A demonstrated commitment by the applicant's company to the Turkish market either through exports or investment. —A demonstrated strong interest by the applicant's company in Turkey and its economic development. —The ability by the applicant to offer a broad perspective on the business environment in Turkey, including cross-cutting issues that affect the entire business community. —The ability by the applicant to initiate and be responsible for activities in which the Council will be active.

    Members will be selected on the basis of who will best carry out the objectives of the Council as stated in the Terms of Reference establishing the U.S.-Turkey Business Council. In selecting members of the U.S. Section, the Department of Commerce will also seek to ensure that the Section represents a diversity of business sectors and geographical locations, as well as a cross-section of small, medium, and large-sized firms.

    U.S. members will receive no compensation for their participation in Council-related activities. They shall not be considered as special government employees. Individual private sector members will be responsible for all travel and related expenses associated with their participation in the Council, including attendance at Committee and Section meetings. Only appointed members may participate in official Council meetings; substitutes and alternates may not be designated. Members will normally serve for two-year terms, but may be reappointed.

    To apply for membership, please submit the following information as instructed in the ADDRESSES and DATES captions above:

    1. Name(s) and title(s) of the applicant(s);

    2. Name and address of the headquarters of the applicant's company;

    3. Location of incorporation of the applicant's company;

    4. Percentage share of U.S. citizen ownership in the company;

    5. Size of the company in terms of number of employees;

    6. Dollar amount of the company's export trade to Turkey;

    7. Dollar amount of the company's investments in Turkey;

    8. Nature of the company's investments, operations or interest in Turkey;

    9. An affirmative statement that the applicant is a U.S. citizen or otherwise legally authorized to work in the United States;

    10. An affirmative statement that the applicant is neither registered nor required to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended;

    11. An affirmative statement that the applicant meets all other eligibility requirements;

    12. A brief statement of why the applicant should be considered;

    13. A brief statement of how the applicant meets the four listed criteria, including information about the candidate's ability to initiate and be responsible for activities in which the Council will be active.

    Applications will be considered as they are received. All candidates will be notified of whether they have been selected.

    Dated: March 4, 2016. Stephen Alley, Acting Director of the Office of European Country Affairs (OECA).
    [FR Doc. 2016-05350 Filed 3-9-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DA-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-552-802] Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Partial Rescission of Review; 2014-2015 AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    In response to requests from interested parties, the Department of Commerce (“Department”) is conducting an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain frozen warmwater shrimp from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (“Vietnam”) for the period of review February 1, 2014, through January 31, 2015. The Department preliminarily determines that sales by the Minh Phu Group 1 and Stapimex,2 the two mandatory respondents, were made below normal value (“NV”). Interested parties are invited to comment on these preliminary results.3

    1 Minh Phu Seafood Corporation, Minh Qui Seafood Co., Ltd., Minh Phat Seafood Co., Ltd., and Minh Phu Hau Giang Seafood Joint Stock Company (collectively, the “Minh Phu Group”). The Department previously collapsed the companies within the Minh Phu Group in the ninth administrative review. See Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, 2013-2014, 80 FR 55328 (September 15, 2015). There have been no changes since the preceding administrative review regarding the corporate or legal structure of the companies within the Minh Phu Group. Thus, we continue to find that these companies are affiliated and comprise a single entity to which we will assign a single rate.

    2 Soc Trang Seafood Joint Stock Company (“Stapimex”).

    3 Further, as explained in the memorandum from the Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement & Compliance, the Department has exercised its discretion to toll all administrative deadlines due to the recent closure of the Federal Government. All deadlines in this segment of the proceeding have been extended by four business days. The revised deadline for the preliminary results of this review is now March 4, 2016. See Memorandum to the Record, from Ron Lorentzen, Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, “Tolling of Administrative Deadlines as a Result of the Government Closure during Snowstorm Jonas,” dated January 27, 2016.

    DATES:

    Effective: March 10, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Irene Gorelik or Robert Palmer, AD/CVD Operations, Office V, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-6905, or (202) 482-9068, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Scope of the Order

    The merchandise subject to the Order is certain frozen warmwater shrimp. The product is currently classified under the following Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) item numbers: 0306.17.00.03, 0306.17.00.06, 0306.17.00.09, 0306.17.00.12, 0306.17.00.15, 0306.17.00.18, 0306.17.00.21, 0306.17.00.24, 0306.17.00.27, 0306.17.00.40, 1605.21.10.30, and 1605.29.10.10. Although the HTSUS numbers are provided for convenience and for customs purposes, the written product description, available in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum, remains dispositive.4

    4 For a complete description of the Scope of the Order, see Memorandum to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, titled “Decision Memorandum for Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review: Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; 2014-2015,” dated concurrently with and adopted by this notice (“Preliminary Decision Memorandum”).

    Methodology

    The Department conducted this review in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”). Constructed export prices and export prices were calculated in accordance with section 772 of the Act. Because Vietnam is a nonmarket economy within the meaning of section 771(18) of the Act, NV was calculated in accordance with section 773(c) of the Act.

    For a full description of the methodology underlying our conclusions, see Preliminary Decision Memorandum. The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via the Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (“ACCESS”). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov and in the Central Records Unit, room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the internet at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic versions of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Preliminary Determination of No Shipments

    Based on our analysis of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) information and information provided by a number of companies, we preliminarily determine that 15 companies 5 did not have any reviewable transactions during the POR. In addition, the Department finds, consistent with its refinement to its assessment practice in non-market economy cases, that it is appropriate not to rescind the review in part in these circumstances, but to complete the review with respect to these 15 companies and issue appropriate instructions to CBP based on the final results of the review.6 For additional information regarding this determination, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    5 These 15 companies are: (1) BIM Seafood Joint Stock Company; (2) Bien Dong Seafood Co., Ltd.; (3) Cafatex Fishery Joint Stock Corporation; (4) Camranh Seafoods Processing Enterprise Pte.; (5) Coastal Fisheries Development Corporation; (6) Bentre Forestry Aquaproduct Import-Export Joint Stock Company; (7) Fine Foods Co.; (8) Gallant Ocean (Vietnam) Co., Ltd.; (9) Long Toan Frozen Aquatic Products Joint Stock Company; (10) Nhat Duc Co., Ltd.; (11) Ngo Bros Seaproducts Import-Export One Member Company Limited; (12) Thong Thuan Seafood Company Limited; (13) Tacvan Seafoods Company; (14) Tan Phong Phu Seafood Co., Ltd.; and (15) Vinh Hoan Corporation.

    6See Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694 (October 24, 2011) (“Assessment Notice”); see also “Assessment Rates” section below.

    Partial Rescission of Review

    On July 2, 2015, both Petitioner and ASPA filed timely withdrawals of their review requests for Seavina Joint Stock Company.7 Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), the Department will rescind an administrative review, in whole or in part, if the party that requested the review withdraws its request within 90 days of the date of publication of the notice of initiation of the requested review. Because both Petitioner and ASPA withdrew their requests for administrative review of Seavina Joint Stock Company within 90 days of the date of publication of the Initiation Notice, and no other interested party requested a review of this company, the Department is rescinding this review with respect to Seavina Joint Stock Company, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1).

    7See Petitioner's and ASPA's July 2, 2015, “Partial Withdrawal of Request for Review.”

    Preliminary Results of Review

    The Department finds that 51 companies for which a review was requested have not established eligibility for a separate rate and are considered to be part of the Vietnam-wide entity for these preliminary results.8 The Department's change in policy regarding conditional review of the Vietnam-wide entity applies to this administrative review.9 Under this policy, the Vietnam-wide entity will not be under review unless a party specifically requests, or the Department self-initiates, a review of the entity. Because no party requested a review of the Vietnam-wide entity, the entity is not under review and the entity's rate is not subject to change. For companies for which a review was requested and that have established eligibility for a separate rate, the Department preliminarily determines that the following weighted-average dumping margins exist:

    8See Appendix II for a full list of the 51 companies; see also Preliminary Decision Memorandum, at 12-13.

    9See Antidumping Proceedings: Announcement of Change in Department Practice for Respondent Selection in Antidumping Duty Proceedings and Conditional Review of the Nonmarket Economy Entity in NME Antidumping Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 65963 (November 4, 2013).

    10 Due to the issues we have had in the past with variations of exporter names related to this Order, we remind exporters that the names listed in the rate box are the exact names, including spelling and punctuation which the Department will provide to CBP and which CBP will use to assess POR entries and collect cash deposits. See, e.g., Minh Phu Seafood Corporation's Separate Rate Certification dated May 4, 2015, at Attachment A, page 1, where Minh Phu Seafood Corporation stated that the initiated name of “Minh Phu Seafood Export Import Corporation (and affiliates Minh Qui Seafood Co. Ltd. and Minh Phat Seafood Co., Ltd.) and/or Minh Phu Seafood Export Import Corporation (and affiliates Minh Qui Seafood Co. Ltd. and Minh Phat Seafood Co., Ltd.) (collectively “Minh Phu Group”)” was requested for initiation as such by Petitioners but that “the company does not use this combined name.” Indeed, many of the names requested for review by Petitioners and ASPA are, in fact, non-existent combinations of company names.

    Exporter 10 Weighted-average
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • Minh Phu Group: Minh Phu Seafood Corp., aka Minh Phu Seafood Corporation, aka Minh Qui Seafood Co., Ltd., aka Minh Phat Seafood Co., Ltd., aka Minh Phu Hau Giang Seafood Joint Stock Company 2.86 Soc Trang Seafood Joint Stock Company, aka Stapimex 4.78 Bac Lieu Fisheries Joint Stock Company 3.56 C.P. Vietnam Corporation 3.56 Cadovimex Seafood Import-Export and Processing Joint Stock Company 3.56 Camau Frozen Seafood Processing Import Export Corporation, aka Camau Seafood Factory No. 4 3.56 Can Tho Import Export Fishery Limited Company 3.56 Camau Seafood Processing and Service Joint Stock Corporation 3.56 Cuulong Seaproducts Company 3.56 Gallant Dachan Seafood Co., Ltd. 3.56 Green Farms Seafood Joint Stock Company 3.56 Hai Viet Corporation 3.56 Investment Commerce Fisheries Corporation 3.56 Kim Anh Company Limited, aka Kim Anh Co., Ltd. 3.56 Minh Hai Export Frozen Seafood Processing Joint-Stock Company 3.56 Minh Hai Joint-Stock Seafoods Processing Company 3.56 Nha Trang Fisheries Joint Stock Company 3.56 Nha Trang Seafoods Group: Nha Trang Seaproduct Company, aka NT Seafoods Corporation, aka Nha Trang Seafoods—F89 Joint Stock Company, aka NTSF Seafoods Joint Stock Company, aka 3.56 Ngoc Tri Seafood Joint Stock Company 3.56 Phuong Nam Foodstuff Corp. 3.56 Quang Minh Seafood Co., Ltd. 3.56 Quoc Viet Seaproducts Processing Trading and Import-Export Co., Ltd. 3.56 Sao Ta Foods Joint Stock Company, aka Fimex VN, aka Saota Seafood Factory 3.56 Seaprimexco Vietnam 3.56 Taika Seafood Corporation 3.56 Thong Thuan Company Limited, aka T&T Co., Ltd 3.56 Thuan Phuoc Seafoods and Trading Corporation 3.56 Trong Nhan Seafood Company Limited 3.56 UTXI Aquatic Products Processing Corporation, aka Hoang Phuong Seafood Factory, aka Hoang Phong Seafood Factory 3.56 Viet Foods Co., Ltd. 3.56 Vietnam Clean Seafood Corporation 3.56 Viet I-Mei Frozen Foods Co., Ltd. 3.56
    Disclosure and Public Comment

    The Department will disclose the calculations used in our analysis to parties in this review within five days of the date of publication of this notice. Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii), interested parties may submit case briefs no later than 30 days after the publication of these preliminary results, and rebuttal comments within five days after the time limit for filing case briefs. Parties who submit case briefs or rebuttal briefs are requested to submit with the argument: (1) A statement of the issue; (2) a brief summary of the argument; and (3) a table of authorities.11 Rebuttal briefs must be limited to issues raised in the case briefs.12

    11See 19 CFR 351.309(c) and (d).

    12See 19 CFR 351.309(d)(2).

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.310(c), interested parties who wish to request a hearing must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice. Requests should contain: (1) The party's name, address and telephone number; (2) the number of participants; and (3) a list of issues parties intend to discuss. Issues raised in the hearing will be limited to those raised in the respective case and rebuttal briefs. If a request for a hearing is made, the Department intends to hold the hearing at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, at a date and time to be determined.13 Parties should confirm by telephone the date, time, and location of the hearing two days before the scheduled date. Interested parties are invited to comment on the preliminary results of this review.

    13See 19 CFR 351.310(d).

    The Department intends to issue the final results of this administrative review, including the results of our analysis of issues raised in the written comments, within 120 days of publication of these preliminary results in the Federal Register.

    Assessment Rates

    Upon issuance of the final results, the Department will determine, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review.14 The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the publication date of the final results of this review. For any individually examined respondent whose weighted average dumping margin is above de minimis (i.e., is 0.50 percent or more) in the final results of this review, the Department will calculate importer-specific assessment rates on the basis of the ratio of the total amount of dumping calculated for the importer's examined sales and the total entered value of sales, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1).15 We will instruct CBP to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review when the importer-specific assessment rate calculated in the final results of this review is above de minimis. Where either the respondent's weighted-average dumping margin is zero or de minimis, or an importer-specific assessment rate is zero or de minimis, we will instruct CBP to liquidate the appropriate entries without regard to antidumping duties. For the final results, if we continue to treat the 51 companies identified above as part of the Vietnam-wide entity, we will instruct CBP to apply an ad valorem assessment rate of 25.76 percent to all entries of subject merchandise during the POR which were produced and/or exported by those companies.

    14See 19 CFR 351.212(b).

    15 In these preliminary results, the Department applied the assessment rate calculation method adopted in Antidumping Proceedings: Calculation of the Weighted-Average Dumping Margin and Assessment Rate in Certain Antidumping Proceedings; Final Modification, 77 FR 8101 (February 14, 2012).

    The final results of this review shall be the basis for the assessment of antidumping duties on entries of merchandise covered by the final results of this review and for future deposits of estimated duties, where applicable.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the final results of this administrative review for shipments of the subject merchandise from Vietnam entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date, as provided by sections 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For the companies listed above, which have a separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be that established in the final results of this review (except, if the rate is zero or de minimis, then zero cash deposit will be required); (2) for previously investigated or reviewed Vietnam and non-Vietnam exporters not listed above that received a separate rate in a prior segment of this proceeding, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the existing exporter-specific rate; (3) for all Vietnam exporters of subject merchandise that have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate, the cash deposit rate will be the existing rate for the Vietnam-wide entity of 25.76 percent; and (4) for all non-Vietnam exporters of subject merchandise which have not received their own rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the Vietnam exporter that supplied that non-Vietnam exporter. These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Importers

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

    This determination is issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.221(b)(4).

    Dated: March 3, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum 1. Summary 2. Background 3. Extension of Preliminary Results 4. Respondent Selection 5. Scope of the Order 6. Partial Rescission of Review 7. Preliminary Determination of No Shipments 8. Non-Market Economy Country 9. Separate Rates 10. Separate Rate Calculation 11. Vietnam-Wide Entity 12. Surrogate Country and Surrogate Value Data a. Surrogate Country b. Economic Comparability c. Significant Producers of Comparable Merchandise d. Data Availability e. Public Availability and Broad-Market Average f. Specificity g. Contemporaneity and Tax and Duty Exclusive 13. Date of Sale 14. Comparisons to Normal Value a. Determination of Comparison Method b. Results of the Differential Pricing Analysis 15. U.S. Price a. Export Price b. Constructed Export Price 16. Normal Value a. Exclusion Requests 17. Factor Valuations 18. Currency Conversion 19. Verification 20. Conclusion Appendix II Companies Subject to Review Determined To Be Part of the Vietnam-Wide Entity 1. Amanda Foods (Vietnam) Ltd. Ngoc Tri Seafood Company (Amanda's affiliate) 2. Amanda Seafood Co., Ltd. 3. An Giang Coffee JSC 4. Anvifish Joint Stock Co. 5. Asia Food Stuffs Import Export Co., Ltd. 6. B.O.P. Limited Co. 7. Binh An Seafood Joint Stock Company 8. Can Tho Agricultural and Animal Product Import Export Company (“CATACO”) Can Tho Agricultural and Animal Products Imex Company Can Tho Agricultural and Animal Products Import Export Company (“CATACO”) Can Tho Agricultural Products Can Tho Agricultural Products 9. Can Tho Import Export Seafood Joint Stock Company (CASEAMEX) 10. Cau Tre Enterprise (C. T. E.) 11. Cautre Export Goods Processing Joint Stock Company 12. CL Fish Co., Ltd. (Cuu Long Fish Company) 13. Danang Seaproducts Import Export Corporation (“Seaprodex Danan