Federal Register Vol. 81, No.53,

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 53 (March 18, 2016)

Page Range14689-14946
FR Document

81_FR_53
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
81 FR 14877 - Intent To Request Renewal From OMB of One Current Public Collection of Information: Pipeline Operator Security InformationPDF
81 FR 14943 - Blocking Property of the Government of North Korea and the Workers' Party of Korea, and Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to North KoreaPDF
81 FR 14852 - Medicare Program; Inpatient Prospective Payment Systems; 0.2 Percent ReductionPDF
81 FR 14835 - United States Investment Advisory CouncilPDF
81 FR 14826 - Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC): 2016/2017 Income Eligibility GuidelinesPDF
81 FR 14813 - National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; National Priorities List: Partial Deletion of the Ellisville Superfund SitePDF
81 FR 14869 - Cooperative Research and Development Agreement-Robotic Aircraft for Maritime Public SafetyPDF
81 FR 14872 - National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee; VacanciesPDF
81 FR 14855 - Health Insurance MarketplaceSMPDF
81 FR 14849 - Request for Nominations of Experts To Augment the Science Advisory Board Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee for the Review of the EPA's Draft Toxicological Review of Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX)PDF
81 FR 14864 - Alternative Approaches for Acute Inhalation Toxicity To Address Global Regulatory and Non-Regulatory Data Requirements; Notice of Webinars; Registration InformationPDF
81 FR 14896 - Section 512 Study: Announcement of Public RoundtablesPDF
81 FR 14867 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 14863 - National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 14868 - Collection of Information Under Review by Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0071PDF
81 FR 14870 - Information Collection Request to Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0065PDF
81 FR 14851 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 14871 - Collection of Information Under Review by Office of Management and Budget; OMB Control Number: 1625-0033PDF
81 FR 14732 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Sacramento River, Sacramento, CAPDF
81 FR 14854 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 14836 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 14733 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Sacramento River, Sacramento, CAPDF
81 FR 14734 - Safety Zone; Urbanna Creek, Urbanna, VAPDF
81 FR 14740 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; Final 2016 and 2017 Harvest Specifications for GroundfishPDF
81 FR 14773 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2016 and 2017 Harvest Specifications for GroundfishPDF
81 FR 14837 - Procurement List; Proposed Additions and DeletionsPDF
81 FR 14837 - Procurement List; Additions and DeletionPDF
81 FR 14817 - Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Groundfish Fishery; Recreational Management MeasuresPDF
81 FR 14833 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 39-Dallas, Texas; Authorization of Production Activity; Zale Delaware, Inc.; Subzone 39F (Assembly of Jewelry); Irving, TexasPDF
81 FR 14834 - Authorization of Production Activity; Foreign-Trade Subzone 238B; CEI-Roanoke, LLC (Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Bottling); Roanoke, VirginiaPDF
81 FR 14835 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 45-Portland, Oregon; Authorization of Production Activity; Lam Research Corporation; Subzone 45H (Semiconductor Production Equipment, Subassemblies and Related Parts); Tualatin and Sherwood, OregonPDF
81 FR 14833 - Approval of Expansion of Subzone 78A Nissan North America, Inc.; Smyrna, TennesseePDF
81 FR 14834 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 168-Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation (Passenger Jet Aircraft); Dallas, TexasPDF
81 FR 14834 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 141-Monroe County, New York; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Xerox Corporation; Subzone 141B (Bulk Toner, Toner Cartridges and Photoreceptors); Webster, New YorkPDF
81 FR 14835 - Potassium Permanganate From the People's Republic of China: Continuation of Antidumping Duty OrderPDF
81 FR 14928 - Culturally Significant Object Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “A Portrait of Antinous: In Two Parts” ExhibitionPDF
81 FR 14874 - District of Columbia; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 14846 - National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity MeetingPDF
81 FR 14873 - Maryland; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 14876 - Virginia; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 14874 - Georgia; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 14873 - Oregon; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 14875 - Alaska; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 14932 - Quarterly Rail Cost Adjustment FactorPDF
81 FR 14876 - Mississippi; Amendment No. 4 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
81 FR 14897 - Proposal Review Panel for Physics; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 14898 - Proposal Review Panel for Physics; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 14896 - Proposal Review Panel for Physics; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 14850 - Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of AvailabilityPDF
81 FR 14939 - Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 14851 - Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding CompanyPDF
81 FR 14929 - Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc: Authority To Construct and Operate a Rail Line in Indiana, Illinois and WisconsinPDF
81 FR 14893 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Mine Rescue Teams, Arrangements for Emergency Medical Assistance, and Arrangements for Transportation for Injured PersonsPDF
81 FR 14892 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request for State Retention of Applications and Job OrdersPDF
81 FR 14845 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Study of Title I Schoolwide and Targeted Assistance ProgramsPDF
81 FR 14879 - 2016 National Call for Nominations for Resource Advisory CouncilsPDF
81 FR 14822 - Notice of Request for Extension and Revision of a Currently Approved Information CollectionPDF
81 FR 14934 - Guidelines for the Safe Deployment and Operation of Automated Vehicle Safety TechnologiesPDF
81 FR 14841 - Office of Economic Adjustment; Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO)PDF
81 FR 14829 - Newspapers for Publication of Legal Notices in the Northern RegionPDF
81 FR 14928 - Virginia Disaster #VA-00063PDF
81 FR 14928 - Oregon Disaster #OR-00079PDF
81 FR 14898 - Notice of Permits Issued Under the Antarctic Conservation Act of 1978PDF
81 FR 14927 - Northcreek Mezzanine Fund II, L.P.; License No. 05/05-0315: Notice Seeking Exemption Under Section 312 of the Small Business Investment Act, Conflicts of InterestPDF
81 FR 14927 - Data Collection Available for Public CommentsPDF
81 FR 14895 - Proposed Extension of Information Collection; Coal Mine Dust Sampling DevicesPDF
81 FR 14894 - Proposed Extension of Information Collection; Cleanup Program for Accumulations of Coal and Float Coal Dusts, Loose Coal, and Other CombustiblesPDF
81 FR 14888 - Notice of Proposed Information Collection; Request for Comments for 1029-0117PDF
81 FR 14860 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Investigational New Drug Safety Reporting Requirements for Human Drug and Biological Products and Safety Reporting Requirements for Bioavailability and Bioequivalence Studies in HumansPDF
81 FR 14716 - Establishment of a Petition Process To Review the Eligibility of Countries Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)PDF
81 FR 14855 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Quantitative Information in Direct-to-Consumer Television AdvertisementsPDF
81 FR 14852 - HHS Computer Match No. 1603; DoD-DMDC Match No. 12PDF
81 FR 14700 - Airworthiness Directives; Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. Turboprop EnginesPDF
81 FR 14718 - Use of Materials Derived From Cattle in Human Food and CosmeticsPDF
81 FR 14888 - Truck and Bus Tires From China; DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 14844 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 14839 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
81 FR 14859 - Question-Based Review for the Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls Technical Section of Animal Drug Applications; Draft Guidance for Industry; AvailabilityPDF
81 FR 14804 - Airworthiness Directives; BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co KG Reciprocating EnginesPDF
81 FR 14704 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
81 FR 14820 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Identification of 14 Distinct Population Segments of the Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) and Proposed Revision of Species-Wide ListingPDF
81 FR 14881 - Notice of Filing of Plats of Survey; South DakotaPDF
81 FR 14739 - NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation SupplementPDF
81 FR 14806 - Safety Zone; Willamette River, Portland, ORPDF
81 FR 14889 - Certain Mobile Electronic Devices Incorporating Haptics (Including Smartphones and Smartwatches) and Components Thereof; Institution of InvestigationPDF
81 FR 14850 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission Under Delegated AuthorityPDF
81 FR 14885 - Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program: 2017-2022PDF
81 FR 14881 - Notice of Availability (NOA) of and Request for Comments on the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program MAA104000PDF
81 FR 14902 - Product Change-Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 14902 - Product Change-First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 14877 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Application by Refugee for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability, Form I-602; Extension, Without Change, of a Currently Approved CollectionPDF
81 FR 14862 - Wesley A. McQuerry: Debarment OrderPDF
81 FR 14890 - Kristen Lee Raines, A.P.R.N.; Decision and OrderPDF
81 FR 14892 - Importer of Controlled Substances Application: Cambrex Charles CityPDF
81 FR 14933 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel KAI'OLU; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
81 FR 14934 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel BLACKBIRD X; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
81 FR 14921 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Options Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Related to the Adoption of an Options Exchange Risk Control Standards PolicyPDF
81 FR 14912 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Extending the Deadline for Implementing Rule 6.61(a)(2) and (3)PDF
81 FR 14917 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE MKT LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Extend the Deadline for Implementing Rule 967.1NY(a)(2) and (3)PDF
81 FR 14905 - Order Approving Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Budget and Annual Accounting Support Fee for Calendar Year 2016PDF
81 FR 14920 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 14919 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Revise an Effective Date of Several Previously-Approved Amendments to Rule G-14, on Transaction ReportingPDF
81 FR 14910 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule To Amend the Fees SchedulePDF
81 FR 14906 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change Consisting of Proposed Amendments to Rules G-12 and G-15 To Define Regular-Way Settlement for Municipal Securities Transactions as Occurring on a Two-Day Settlement Cycle and Technical Conforming AmendmentsPDF
81 FR 14902 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Its Price List Effective March 1, 2016PDF
81 FR 14914 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ICE Clear Credit LLC; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change To Provide for the Clearance of Certain Asia-Pacific Credit Default Swap ContractsPDF
81 FR 14916 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending the NYSE Arca Options Fee SchedulePDF
81 FR 14939 - Advisory Group to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue; Charter RenewalPDF
81 FR 14937 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 14938 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 8912PDF
81 FR 14933 - Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel MAH JONG; Invitation for Public CommentsPDF
81 FR 14836 - Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
81 FR 14832 - Advisory Committees ExpirationPDF
81 FR 14867 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
81 FR 14865 - Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods; Notice of Public Meeting; Request for Public InputPDF
81 FR 14863 - Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 14866 - Submission for OMB Review; 30-Day Comment Request; Self-Affirmation Construct ValidityPDF
81 FR 14801 - Special Conditions: Cirrus Design Corporation, Model SF50; Whole Airplane Parachute Recovery SystemPDF
81 FR 14901 - New Postal ProductPDF
81 FR 14844 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Annual and Final Performance Report Data Collection for Arts in Education GranteesPDF
81 FR 14733 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Jamaica Bay and Connecting Waterways, Queens, NYPDF
81 FR 14736 - Findings of Failure To Submit State Implementation Plans Required for Attainment of the 2010 1-Hour Primary Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS)PDF
81 FR 14936 - Hazardous Materials: Delayed ApplicationsPDF
81 FR 14707 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
81 FR 14898 - La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Consideration of Approval of Transfer of License and Conforming AmendmentPDF
81 FR 14698 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
81 FR 14702 - Airworthiness Directives; Quest Aircraft Design, LLC AirplanesPDF
81 FR 14823 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request-Understanding the Anti-Fraud Measures of Large SNAP RetailersPDF
81 FR 14886 - Notice of Availability and Notice of Public Hearings for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Continued Implementation of the 2008 Operating Agreement for the Rio Grande Project, New Mexico and TexasPDF
81 FR 14929 - Additional Designation of a North Korean Entity Pursuant to Executive Order 13382PDF
81 FR 14711 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
81 FR 14878 - Federal Property Suitable as Facilities to Assist the HomelessPDF
81 FR 14808 - Illinois: Final Authorization of State Hazardous Waste Management Program RevisionPDF
81 FR 14829 - Tonto National Forest; Pinal County, AZ; Resolution Copper Project and Land Exchange Environmental Impact StatementPDF
81 FR 14689 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF
81 FR 14693 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF

Issue

81 53 Friday, March 18, 2016 Contents Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 14822-14823 2016-06144 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

See

Food and Nutrition Service

See

Forest Service

Army Army Department NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 14839-14841 2016-06120 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 14851-14852, 14854-14855 2016-06188 2016-06191 Medicare Program: Inpatient Prospective Payment Systems; 0.2 Percent Reduction, 14852 2016-06297 Meetings: Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education; Cancellation, 14855 2016-06206 Privacy Act; Computer Matching Program, 14852-14854 2016-06125 Civil Rights Civil Rights Commission NOTICES Requests for Applications: Advisory Committees, 14832-14833 2016-06080 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Jamaica Bay and Connecting Waterways, Queens, NY, 14733 2016-06068 Sacramento River, Sacramento, CA, 14732-14733 2016-06185 2016-06189 Safety Zones: Urbanna Creek, Urbanna, VA, 14734-14735 2016-06184 PROPOSED RULES Safety Zones: Willamette River, Portland, OR, 14806-14808 2016-06113 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 14868-14872 2016-06190 2016-06192 2016-06193 Cooperative Research and Development Agreements: Robotic Aircraft for Maritime Public Safety, 14869-14870 2016-06208 Requests for Applications: National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee, 14872-14873 2016-06207 Commerce Commerce Department See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Committee for Purchase Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled NOTICES Procurement List; Additions and Deletions, 14837-14838 2016-06180 2016-06181 Copyright Office Copyright Office, Library of Congress NOTICES Announcement of Public Roundtables: Section 512 Study, 14896 2016-06200 Defense Department Defense Department See

Army Department

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 14844 2016-06121 Federal Funding Opportunities: Office of Economic Adjustment, 14841-14844 2016-06142
Drug Drug Enforcement Administration NOTICES Decisions and Orders: Kristen Lee Raines, A.P.R.N., 14890-14892 2016-06103 Importers of Controlled Substances; Applications: Cambrex Charles City, 14892 2016-06102 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Annual and Final Performance Report Data Collection for Arts in Education Grantees, 14844-14845 2016-06070 Study of Title I Schoolwide and Targeted Assistance Programs, 14845-14846 2016-06147 Meetings: National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, 14846-14849 2016-06169 Employment and Training Employment and Training Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: State Retention of Applications and Job Orders, 14892-14893 2016-06149 Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Findings of Failure to Submit State Implementation Plans Required for Attainment of the 2010 1-Hour Primary Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standard, 14736-14739 2016-06063 PROPOSED RULES Final Authorization of State Hazardous Waste Management Program Revision; Illinois, 14808-14813 2016-05816 National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; National Priorities List: Partial Deletion of the Ellisville Superfund Site, 14813-14817 2016-06221 NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.; Weekly Receipts, 14850 2016-06155 Request for Nominations: Experts to Augment the Science Advisory Board Chemical Assessment Advisory Committee for the Review of the EPA's Draft Toxicological Review of Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine, 14849-14850 2016-06203 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 14689-14693 2016-05700 Pratt and Whitney Canada Corp. Turboprop Engines, 14700-14702 2016-06124 Quest Aircraft Design, LLC Airplanes, 14702-14704 2016-05898 The Boeing Company Airplanes, 14693-14716 2016-05249 2016-05842 2016-05900 2016-06001 2016-06117 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: BRP-Powertrain GmbH and Co KG Reciprocating Engines, 14804-14806 2016-06118 Special Conditions: Cirrus Design Corporation, Model SF50; Whole Airplane Parachute Recovery System, 14801-14803 2016-06072 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 14850-14851 2016-06111 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency NOTICES Major Disaster Declarations: Mississippi; Amendment No. 4, 14876 2016-06160 Major Disasters and Related Determinations: Alaska, 14875 2016-06162 District of Columbia, 14874 2016-06170 Georgia, 14874-14875 2016-06165 Maryland, 14873 2016-06168 Oregon, 14873-14874 2016-06164 Virginia, 14876 2016-06167 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Changes in Bank Control: Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company, 14851 2016-06152 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Use of Materials Derived from Cattle in Human Food and Cosmetics, 14718-14732 2016-06123 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Investigational New Drug Safety Reporting Requirements for Human Drug and Biological Products and Safety Reporting Requirements for Bioavailability and Bioequivalence Studies in Humans, 14860-14862 2016-06128 Quantitative Information in Direct-to-Consumer Television Advertisements, 14855-14859 2016-06126 Debarment Orders: Wesley A. McQuerry, 14862-14863 2016-06104 Guidance for Industry: Question-Based Review for the Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls Technical Section of Animal Drug Applications, 14859-14860 2016-06119 Food and Nutrition Food and Nutrition Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Understanding the Anti-Fraud Measures of Large SNAP Retailers, 14823-14826 2016-05896 Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children: 2016/2017 Income Eligibility Guidelines, 14826-14829 2016-06222 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Applications for Subzone Expansion: Nissan North America, Inc., Subzone 78A, Smyrna, TN, 14833-14834 2016-06175 Production Activities: CEI-Roanoke, LLC, Foreign-Trade Subzone 238B, Roanoke, VA, 14834-14835 2016-06177 Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., Foreign-Trade Zone 168, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, 14834 2016-06174 Lam Research Corp., Foreign-Trade Zone 45, Portland, OR, 14835 2016-06176 Xerox Corp., Foreign-Trade Zone 141, Monroe County, NY, 14834 2016-06173 Zale Delaware, Inc., Foreign-Trade Zone 39, Dallas, TX, 14833 2016-06178 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Tonto National Forest; Pinal County, AZ; Resolution Copper Project and Land Exchange, 14829-14832 2016-05781 Newspapers for Publication of Legal Notices in the Northern Region, 14829 2016-06140 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

See

Transportation Security Administration

See

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Federal Property Suitable as Facilities to Assist the Homeless, 14878-14879 2016-05832 Interior Interior Department See

Land Management Bureau

See

Ocean Energy Management Bureau

See

Reclamation Bureau

See

Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 14937-14939 2016-06084 2016-06085 Charter Renewals: Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Committee, 14939 2016-06086 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Potassium Permanganate from the People's Republic of China, 14835 2016-06172 Establishment of the United States Investment Advisory Council, 14835-14836 2016-06231 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Mobile Electronic Devices Incorporating Haptics (Including Smartphones and Smartwatches) and Components Thereof, 14889-14890 2016-06112 Truck and Bus Tires from China, 14888-14889 2016-06122 Justice Department Justice Department See

Drug Enforcement Administration

Labor Department Labor Department See

Employment and Training Administration

See

Mine Safety and Health Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Mine Rescue Teams, Arrangements for Emergency Medical Assistance, and Arrangements for Transportation for Injured Persons, 14893-14894 2016-06150
Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES 2016 National Call for Nominations for Resource Advisory Councils, 14879-14880 2016-06146 Plats of Surveys: South Dakota, 14881 2016-06115 Library Library of Congress See

Copyright Office, Library of Congress

Maritime Maritime Administration NOTICES Requests for Administrative Waivers of the Coastwise Trade Laws: MAH JONG, 14933 2016-06082 Vessel BLACKBIRD X, 14934 2016-06100 Vessel KAI'OLU, 14933-14934 2016-06101 Mine Mine Safety and Health Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Cleanup Program for Accumulations of Coal and Float Coal Dusts, Loose Coal, and Other Combustibles, 14894-14895 2016-06133 Coal Mine Dust Sampling Devices, 14895-14896 2016-06134 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration RULES Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplements, 14739 2016-06114 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Meetings: Guidelines for the Safe Deployment and Operation of Automated Vehicle Safety Technologies, 14934-14936 2016-06143 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Self-affirmation Construct Validity, 14866-14867 2016-06074 Meetings: Advisory Committee on Research on Women's Health, 14863 2016-06075 Alternative Approaches for Acute Inhalation Toxicity to Address Global Regulatory and Non-regulatory Data Requirements; Webinars, 14864-14865 2016-06201 Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods, 14865-14866 2016-06076 National Cancer Institute, 14863-14864 2016-06194 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 14867-14868 2016-06077 National Institute on Aging, 14867 2016-06195 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2016 and 2017 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 14773-14800 2016-06182 Gulf of Alaska; Final 2016 and 2017 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 14740-14773 2016-06183 PROPOSED RULES Endangered and Threatened Species: Identification of 14 Distinct Population Segments of the Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) and Proposed Revision of Species-Wide Listing, 14820-14821 2016-06116 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States: Northeast Groundfish Fishery; Recreational Management Measures, 14817-14820 2016-06179 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 14836-14837 2016-06187 Meetings: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 14836 2016-06081 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Meetings: Proposal Review Panel for Physics, 14896-14898 2016-06154 2016-06156 2016-06157 2016-06158 2016-06159 Permits Issued under the Antarctic Conservation Act, 14898 2016-06137 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Consideration of Approval of Transfer of License and Conforming Amendments: LaCrosse Boiling Water Reactor; Dairyland Power Cooperative, 14898-14901 2016-05957 Ocean Energy Management Ocean Energy Management Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Program, 14881-14885 2016-06109 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program; 2017-2022, 14885-14886 2016-06110 Pipeline Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration NOTICES Special Permit Applications, 14936 2016-06055 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 14901-14902 2016-06071 Postal Service Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 14902 2016-06107 Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 14902 2016-06108 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents EXECUTIVE ORDERS North Korea; Blocking Government and Workers' Party Property and Prohibiting Certain Transactions (EO 13722), 14941-14946 2016-06355 Reclamation Reclamation Bureau NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: 2008 Operating Agreement for the Rio Grande Project, New Mexico and Texas, 14886-14888 2016-05889 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 14920-14921 2016-06094 Approval of Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Budget and Annual Accounting Support Fee for Calendar Year 2016, 14905-14906 2016-06095 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc., 14910-14912 2016-06092 ICE Clear Credit, LLC, 14914-14916 2016-06089 Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, 14906-14910, 14919-14920 2016-06091 2016-06093 New York Stock Exchange, LLC, 14902-14905 2016-06090 NYSE Arca, Inc., 14912-14914, 14916-14917 2016-06088 2016-06097 NYSE MKT LLC, 14917-14919 2016-06096 Options Clearing Corp., 14921-14927 2016-06098 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 14927 2016-06135 Conflict of Interest Exemptions: Northcreek Mezzanine Fund II, L.P., 14927-14928 2016-06136 Disaster Declarations: Oregon, 14928 2016-06138 Virginia, 14928 2016-06139 State Department State Department NOTICES Blocking or Unblocking of Persons and Properties, 14929 2016-05848 Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition: A Portrait of Antinous -- In Two Parts, 14928-14929 2016-06171 Surface Mining Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 14888 2016-06132 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc.: Authority to Construct and Operate a Rail Line in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin; Scoping Meetings, 14929-14932 2016-06151 Quarterly Rail Cost Adjustment Factor, 14932-14933 2016-06161 Trade Representative Trade Representative, Office of United States RULES Establishment of a Petition Process to Review the Eligibility of Countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, 14716-14718 2016-06127 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Maritime Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

See

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

Security Transportation Security Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Pipeline Operator Security Information, 14877 C1--2016--01174 Treasury Treasury Department See

Internal Revenue Service

U.S. Citizenship U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application by Refugee for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability, 14877 2016-06105 Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Meetings: Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, 14939 2016-06153 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Presidential Documents, 14941-14946 2016-06355 Reader Aids

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

To subscribe to the Federal Register Table of Contents LISTSERV electronic mailing list, go to http://listserv.access.thefederalregister.org and select Online mailing list archives, FEDREGTOC-L, Join or leave the list (or change settings); then follow the instructions.

81 53 Friday, March 18, 2016 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-2963; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-016-AD; Amendment 39-18434; AD 2016-06-03] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus Model A319-131, -132, and -133 airplanes; Model A320-232 and -233 airplanes; and Model A321-131, -231, and -232 airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports of forward engine mount attachment pins that were manufactured from discrepant raw material. This AD requires identification and replacement of affected forward engine mount attachment pins. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of a forward engine mount attachment pin, possible loss of an engine in-flight, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective April 22, 2016.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of April 22, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

For Airbus service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus, Airworthiness Office—EIAS, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com.

For Goodrich Aerostructures service information identified in this final rule, contact UTC Aerospace Systems, ATTN: Christopher Newth—V2500 A1/A5 Project Engineer, Aftermarket—Aerostructures; 850 Lagoon Drive, Chula Vista, CA; telephone 619-498-7505; email [email protected]

You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2963.

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-2015-2963; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1405; fax 425-227-1149.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to all Airbus Model A319-131, -132, and -133 airplanes; Model A320-232 and -233 airplanes; and Model A321-131, -231, and -232 airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on July 30, 2015 (80 FR 45462) (“the NPRM”).

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2015-0004, dated January 13, 2015 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Airbus Model A319-131, -132, and -133 airplanes; Model A320-232 and -233 airplanes; and Model A321-131, -231, and -232 airplanes. The MCAI states:

A number of forward engine mount pins, Part Number (P/N) 740-2022-501, intended for IAE V2500 series engines, have been reported as non-compliant with the current certification requirements, due to a quality issue during manufacturing of the raw material. It was also determined that a batch of 88 affected pins are installed on in-service aeroplanes fitted with forward engine mount P/N 745-2010-503 and the serial numbers (s/n) of the affected pins and the [manufacturer serial number] MSN of the related aeroplanes have been identified.

This condition, if not corrected, could lead to forward engine mount pin failure, possibly resulting in in-flight loss of an engine and consequent reduced control of the aeroplane.

For the reasons described above, this [EASA] AD requires identification of the affected forward engine mount pins and removal from service [replacement] of those pins.

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-2015-2963. Comments

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

Request To Clarify Which Attachment Pin Part Numbers May Be Installed

United Airlines (UAL) requested that paragraph (h) of the proposed AD be re-written to clarify which attachment pin part numbers can be used as replacement parts.

We partially agree with the commenter's request. We agree to provide clarification but we do not agree to revise paragraph (h) of this AD. Paragraph (h) of this AD states to replace with a serviceable part having a part number other than part number(P/N) 740-2022-501, and having a serial number that is not identified in figure 1 to paragraphs (h) and (j) of this AD. In other words, the replacement part cannot have a combination of P/N 740-2022-501 and any serial number that is included in figure 1 to paragraphs (h) and (j) of this AD. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

Request To Clarify Which Airplanes Are Not Affected by the Requirements Proposed in the NPRM

JetBlue requested clarification of the intent of paragraph (i) of the proposed AD. JetBlue asserted that the way this paragraph is written it contradicts the requirements in EASA AD 2015-0004, dated January 13, 2015, and the intent of the inspection in paragraph (h) of the proposed AD.

We agree with the commenter's request to clarify the intent of paragraph (i) of this AD. Airplanes with manufacturer serial numbers not identified in figure 2 to paragraph (i) of this AD that have not had an engine replaced after March 1, 2011, are not required to do the actions mandated by paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD, which corresponds to paragraph (2) of the MCAI AD. In paragraph (i) of the proposed AD we inadvertently specified “airplanes with manufacturer serial numbers identified in figure 2 to paragraph (i) of this AD.” We have changed paragraph (i) of this AD to specify “airplanes with manufacturer serial numbers not identified in figure 2 to paragraph (i) of this AD.”

Request To Extend the Compliance Time

UAL requested that the compliance times in paragraph (g) of the proposed AD be extended. UAL stated that this would keep costs down and “make engine removal the most likely time the inspection would occur.” UAL also asserted that the safety concern is overstated based on information in the Goodrich Aerostructures service information. The “Background” paragraph of the Goodrich Aerostructures service information states that “a minor metallurgical discontinuity” was found on some forward engine mount crossbeam to main beam attach pins (P/N 740-2022-501). UAL stated that a minor metallurgical issue should not drive a significant safety concern.

We do not agree with the commenter's request to extend the compliance time. Even a “minor metallurgical discontinuity” can result in a safety concern. Forward engine mount attachment pins that were manufactured from discrepant raw material can lead to the failure of a forward engine mount attachment pin; this condition could result in possible loss of an engine in-flight and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

After considering all of the available information, we have determined that the compliance time, as proposed, represents an appropriate interval of time in which the required actions can be performed in a timely manner with the affected fleet, while still maintaining an adequate level of safety. In developing an appropriate compliance time, we considered the safety implications, parts availability, and normal maintenance schedules for timely accomplishment of the replacement. However, under the provisions of paragraph (m)(1) of this AD, we may approve requests for adjustments to the compliance time if data are submitted to substantiate that such an adjustment would provide an acceptable level of safety. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

Request To Revise the Estimated Costs of Compliance

UAL requested that the estimated costs of compliance in the NPRM be increased from $156,740 to $313,480. UAL also requested that the costs for opening and closing the reversers be mentioned as costs that cannot be calculated. Furthermore, UAL stated that based on the proposed compliance times in paragraph (g) of the proposed AD and the size of the UAL fleet, the proposed requirements would have to be scheduled independently from its maintenance schedule.

We agree with the commenter's request to increase the estimated costs for compliance with the requirements of this AD. We note that these are only estimated costs and may vary based on an airplane's configuration. We also acknowledge that the costs for opening and closing the reversers are not known and are not included in the “Costs of Compliance” paragraph of this AD. However, as specified in the service information, the inspection takes approximately 4 work-hours, with an estimated cost of $313,480 for U.S. operators. We have changed the “Costs of Compliance” paragraph of this AD accordingly.

Request To Refer to Current Service Information

JetBlue Airways (JetBlue) requested that the NPRM be revised to refer to Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1064, Revision 01, dated April 1, 2015; and Goodrich Aerostructures Service Bulletin V2500-NAC-71-0323, Revision 01, dated January 28, 2015. JetBlue noted that the service information for both Airbus and Goodrich Aerostructures had been revised since the NPRM was published.

We agree with the commenter's request and have revised the “Related Service Information under 1 CFR part 51” section and paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD to refer to Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1064, Revision 01, dated April 1, 2015; and Goodrich Aerostructures Service Bulletin V2500-NAC-71-0323, Revision 01, dated January 28, 2015. We have also added new paragraph (l) to this AD to give credit for actions done using Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1064, dated November 5, 2014; and Goodrich Aerostructures Service Bulletin V2500-NAC-71-0323, dated September 18, 2014. We redesignated subsequent paragraphs accordingly.

Request To Allow Use of Airbus or Goodrich Aerostructures Service Information To Accomplish Required Actions

JetBlue requested that paragraph (g) of the proposed AD be revised to allow operators to use either the Airbus service information or the Goodrich Aerostructures service information to do the actions required by that paragraph. JetBlue stated that if the engine is being inspected at the shop, the actions in the Airbus service information would not be accomplished because the Airbus service information addresses inspections of the wing. JetBlue also stated this revision would correspond with the requirements in corresponding EASA AD 2015-0004, dated January 13, 2015.

We do not agree with the commenter's request to allow operators to have the option of doing the actions required by paragraph (g) of this AD in accordance with either the Accomplishment Instructions of the Airbus service information or the Goodrich Aerostructures service information. The Airbus service information includes steps that are considered “required for compliance” (RC) and those steps are not included in the Goodrich Aerostructures service information. In addition, Goodrich Aerostructures Service Bulletin V2500-NAC-71-0323, Revision 01, dated January 28, 2015, does not distinguish between “RC” and non-“RC” steps and refers to the Airbus service bulletin for incorporation of several steps. Therefore, regardless of whether the AD requirements are accomplished “on wing” or “in shop,” operators must use a combination of Airbus and Goodrich Aerostructures service information for accomplishing the AD requirements. We have not changed this AD regarding this issue.

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Related Service Information Under1 CFR Part 51

Airbus has issued Service Bulletin A320-71-1064, Revision 01, dated April 1, 2015; and Goodrich Aerostructures has issued Service Bulletin V2500-NAC-71-0323, Revision 01, dated January 28, 2015. The service information describes procedures for an inspection to determine the serial number of the attachment pins for the forward engine mount crossbeam to main beam for each engine, and replacement of affected pins. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 922 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We also estimate that it will take about 4 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts will cost about $0 per product. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $313,480, or $340 per product.

In addition, we estimate that any necessary follow-on actions will take about 4 work-hours and require parts costing $1,724, for a cost of $2,064 per attachment pin replacement. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need this action.

Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska; and

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

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

§ 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2016-06-03 Airbus: Amendment 39-18434. Docket No. FAA-2015-2963; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-016-AD. (a) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective April 22, 2016.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to the Airbus airplanes, certificated in any category, identified in paragraphs (c)(1), (c)(2), and (c)(3) of this AD, all manufacturer serial numbers.

(1) Model A319-131, -132, and -133 airplanes.

(2) Model A320-232 and -233 airplanes.

(3) Model A321-131, -231, and -232 airplanes.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 71, Power Plant.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by reports of forward engine mount attachment pins that were manufactured from discrepant raw material. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of a forward engine mount attachment pin, possible loss of an engine in-flight, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Identification of Part Numbers for Forward Engine Mount and Attachment Pins

Except as provided by paragraph (i) of this AD, at the earliest of the times specified in paragraphs (g)(1) through (g)(4) of this AD: For each engine, identify the part number of the forward engine mount, and the part number and serial number of the attachment pin for that forward engine mount, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1064, Revision 01, dated April 1, 2015; and Goodrich Aerostructures Service Bulletin V2500-NAC-71-0323, Revision 01, dated January 28, 2015. A review of airplane maintenance records is acceptable in lieu of this identification if the part number of the forward engine mount, and the part number and serial number of the attachment pin for that forward engine mount, can be conclusively determined from that review. If any part number of the forward engine mount, or part number or serial number of the attachment pins for the forward engine mount, cannot be identified: At the earliest of the times specified in paragraphs (g)(1) through (g)(4) of this AD, contact the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA), for identification information.

(1) Within 24 months after the effective date of this AD.

(2) At the next engine removal after the effective date of this AD.

(3) Within 7,500 flight hours after the effective date of this AD.

(4) Within 5,000 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD.

(h) Corrective Actions

If, during any identification required by paragraph (g) of this AD, a forward engine mount having part number (P/N) 745-2010-503 is found, and the attachment pin has P/N 740-2022-501 with any serial number that is included in figure 1 to paragraphs (h) and (j) of this AD: At the earliest of the times specified in paragraphs (g)(1) through (g)(4) of this AD, replace the affected attachment pin with a serviceable part having a part number other than P/N 740-2022-501, and having a serial number that is not identified in figure 1 to paragraphs (h) and (j) of this AD, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1064, Revision 01, dated April 1, 2015; and Goodrich Aerostructures Service Bulletin V2500-NAC-71-0323, Revision 01, dated January 28, 2015.

Figure 1 to Paragraphs (h) and (j) of This AD—Part Numbers and Serial Numbers of Affected Forward Engine Mounts and Attachment Pins Serial Numbers Attachment Pin
  • (P/N 740-2022-501)
  • Forward Engine Mount
  • (P/N 745-2010-503)
  • 1396SC 13665001 1391SC 13655001 1412SC 13689001 1402SC 13669001 1409SC 13683001 1416SC 13697001 1418SC 13701001 1417SC 13699001 1414SC 13693001 1415SC 13695001 1420SC 13705001 1421SC 13707001 1422SC 13709001 1436SC 13737001 1438SC 13741001 1452SC 13769001 1456SC 13777001 1397SC 13667001 1432SC 13729001 1405SC 13675001 1411SC 13687001 1389SC 13651001 1392SC 13657001 1382SC 13637001 1384SC 13641001 1407SC 13679001 1408SC 13681001 1395SC 13663001 1406SC 13677001 1383SC 13639001 1404SC 13673001 1393SC 13659001 1413SC 13691001 1386SC 13645001 1388SC 13649001 1390SC 13653001 1410SC 13685001 1423SC 13711001 1424SC 13713001 1403SC 13671001 1419SC 13703001 1385SC 13643001 1387SC 13647001 1431SC 13727001 1433SC 13731001 1425SC 13715001 1428SC 13721001 1429SC 13723001 1430SC 13725001 1427SC 13719001 1434SC 13733001 1442SC 13749001 1394SC 13661001 1441SC 13747001 1426SC 13717001 1437SC 13739001 1439SC 13743001 1443SC 13751001 1448SC 13761001 1435SC 13735001 1440SC 13745001 1454SC 13773001 1455SC 13775001 1451SC 13767001 1453SC 13771001 1444SC 13753001 1450SC 13765001 1461SC 13787001 1469SC 13817001 1480SC 13839001 1481SC 13841001 1446SC 13757001 1449SC 13763001 1467SC 13813001 1445SC 13755001 1462SC 13789001 1464SC 13793001 1466SC 13811001 1470SC 13819001 1459SC 13783001 1463SC 13791001 1475SC 13829001 1458SC 13781001 1477SC 13833001 1474SC 13827001 1478SC 13835001 1479SC 13837001 1472SC 13823001
    (i) Exception to Paragraph (g) of This AD

    For airplanes with manufacturer serial numbers not identified in figure 2 to paragraph (i) of this AD: If it can be conclusively determined that an engine has not been replaced after March 1, 2011 (the date of manufacture of the first airplane with affected engine mounts), the airplane is not affected by the requirements of paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD.

    Figure 2 to Paragraph (i) of This AD—Airplane Manufacturer Serial Nos. Airplane Manufacturer Serial Nos. 4593 4602 4620 4637 4638 4642 4643 4644 4660 4677 4690 4696 4700 4701 4703 4706 4707 4710 4716 4719 4725 4726 4731 4736 4737 4741 4746 4751 4752 4753 4754 4755 4757 4761 4762 4772 4773 4774 4775 4779 4782 4783 4784 4786 4788 4790 4791 4798 4804 4813 (j) Parts Installation Prohibition

    As of the effective date of this AD, no person may install on any airplane any engine mount attachment pin having P/N 740-2022-501 with a serial number identified in figure 1 to paragraphs (h) and (j) of this AD.

    (k) Special Flight Permits

    Special flight permits, as described in Section 21.197 and Section 21.199 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199), are not allowed.

    (l) Credit for Previous Actions

    This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using the service information specified in paragraphs (l)(1) and (l)(2) of this AD.

    (1) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1064, dated November 5, 2014, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (2) Goodrich Aerostructures Service Bulletin V2500-NAC-71-0323, dated September 18, 2014, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (m) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the International Branch, send it to ATTN: Sanjay Ralhan, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-1405; fax 425-227-1149. Information may be emailed to: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

    (2) Contacting the Manufacturer: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA. If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

    (3) Required for Compliance (RC): If any service information contains procedures or tests that are identified as RC, those procedures and tests must be done to comply with this AD; any procedures or tests that are not identified as RC are recommended. Those procedures and tests that are not identified as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the procedures and tests identified as RC can be done and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition. Any substitutions or changes to procedures or tests identified as RC require approval of an AMOC.

    (n) Related Information

    (1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) EASA Airworthiness Directive 2015-0004, dated January 13, 2015, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2963.

    (2) Airbus service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (o)(3) and (o)(5) of this AD.

    (3) Goodrich Aerostructures service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (o)(4) and (o)(5) of this AD.

    (o) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Airbus Service Bulletin A320-71-1064, Revision 01, dated April 1, 2015.

    (ii) Goodrich Aerostructures Service Bulletin V2500-NAC-71-0323, Revision 01, dated January 28, 2015.

    (3) For Airbus service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus Airworthiness Office—EIAS, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com.

    (4) For Goodrich Aerostructures service information identified in this AD, contact UTC Aerospace Systems, ATTN: Christopher Newth—V2500 A1/A5 Project Engineer, Aftermarket—Aerostructures; 850 Lagoon Drive, Chula Vista, CA; telephone 619-498-7505; email [email protected]

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

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 7, 2016. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05700 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-2961; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-145-AD; Amendment 39-18430; AD 2016-05-12] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2012-15-13, for certain The Boeing Company Model 747-100B SUD, 747-300, 747-400, and 747-400D series airplanes; and Model 747-200B series airplanes having a stretched upper deck. AD 2012-15-13 required inspections for cracking and discrepancies of certain fasteners; modification of the frame-to-tension-tie joints; repetitive post-modification inspections; related investigative and corrective actions if necessary; and repetitive inspections for cracking in the tension tie channels, and repair if necessary. For certain airplanes, AD 2012-15-13 also required an inspection to determine if the angle is installed correctly, and re-installation if necessary; and an inspection at the fastener locations where the tension tie previously attached to the frame prior to certain modifications, and repair if necessary. This new AD adds a new inspection for cracking in the tension tie channels and post-modification inspections of the modified tension ties for cracking, and repair if necessary. This AD was prompted by an evaluation indicated that the upper deck is subject to widespread fatigue damage (WFD). We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the tension ties, shear webs, and frames of the upper deck, which could result in rapid decompression and reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective April 22, 2016.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of April 22, 2016.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain other publications listed in this AD as of September 12, 2012 (77 FR 47267, August 8, 2012).

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain other publication listed in this AD as of November 28, 2007 (72 FR 65655, November 23, 2007).

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at https://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2961.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.govby searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2961; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Bill Ashforth, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6432; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2012-15-13, Amendment 39-17142 (77 FR 47267, August 8, 2012) (“AD 2012-15-13”). AD 2012-15-13 applied to certain The Boeing Company Model 747-100B SUD, 747-300, 747-400, and 747-400D series airplanes; and Model 747-200B series airplanes having a stretched upper deck. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on July 24, 2015 (80 FR 43974) (“the NPRM”). The NPRM was prompted by an evaluation that indicated that the upper deck is subject to WFD. The NPRM proposed to continue to require inspections for cracking and discrepancies of certain fasteners; modification of the frame-to-tension-tie joints; repetitive post-modification inspections; related investigative and corrective actions if necessary; and repetitive inspections for cracking in the tension tie channels, and repair if necessary. For certain airplanes, the NPRM also proposed to continue to require an inspection to determine if the angle is installed correctly, and re-installation if necessary; and an inspection at the fastener locations where the tension tie previously attached to the frame prior to certain modifications, and repair if necessary. The NPRM also proposed to add a new inspection for cracking in the tension tie channels and post-modification inspections of the modified tension ties for cracking, and repair if necessary. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the tension ties, shear webs, and frames of the upper deck, which could result in rapid decompression and reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

    Comments

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

    Support for the NPRM

    United Airlines concurred with the contents of the NPRM.

    Requests To Include Options To Perform Inspections in Revised Service Information

    Boeing and United Parcel Service (UPS) asked that we add a new paragraph to the proposed AD that includes an option to perform the inspections specified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 2, dated May 9, 2014. Boeing stated that these inspections are equivalent to the inspections done in accordance with Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010. UPS recommended that Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 2, dated May 9, 2014, be added to paragraphs (g) through (o) of the proposed AD. UPS noted that, for clarity, the proposed AD should refer to the revised service information rather than relying on paragraph (t)(4) of the proposed AD, which allows alternative methods of compliance (AMOCs) previously approved for AD 2012-15-13 to be approved as AMOCs for the proposed AD.

    We acknowledge the commenters' requests and note that we normally add reference to later revisions of service information in the restated paragraphs of supersedure ADs. However, in most cases, the later revisions do not include new compliance times and the procedures are closely aligned with those in the previous service information. Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 2, dated May 9, 2014, adds alternative compliance times for certain airplanes and refers to different procedures in the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 2, dated May 9, 2014, for accomplishing the actions required by AD 2012-15-13. Therefore, we cannot simply add a reference to paragraphs (g) through (o) of this AD as requested by the commenter. We have determined that, in this case, adding additional paragraphs to this AD to specify the alternative method of compliance, including new compliance times and procedures, is not necessary since Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 2, dated May 9, 2014, was already approved as an AMOC to AD 2012-15-13. As stated by the commenter, paragraph (t)(4) of this AD already allows the use of previous AMOCs, such as Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 2, dated May 9, 2014, as AMOCs for the corresponding provisions of this AD. We have made no change to this AD in this regard.

    Request To Include an Alternative Compliance Time for the Modification

    Boeing and UPS asked that we add a new paragraph to allow an alternative compliance time for airplanes on which the station (STA) 1120, 1160, 1200, and 1220 tension ties were modified during a freighter conversion, as provided in table 4 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014. Boeing stated that the compliance time for modification of those airplanes can be increased because the modification has been done during a freighter conversion. UPS noted that paragraph (p) of the proposed AD should be changed to require modification and all related inspections and corrective actions be accomplished in accordance with Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014, at the applicable time specified in Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 1, dated August 4, 2011; or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014.

    We agree with the commenter to include the alternative compliance times for certain airplanes to accomplish the actions required by paragraph (p) of this AD. We have added a new paragraph (p)(3) to this AD for Group 3 through 5, Configuration 1 airplanes identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014, to specify that operators may accomplish the actions required by paragraph (p) of this AD within the applicable compliance times specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014.

    Conclusion

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

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

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

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

    Related Service Information Under1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014. The service information describes procedures for modifying the tension tie and frame at certain center sections, including related investigative and corrective actions; post-modification inspections for cracking of the tension tie and frame structure and corrective actions; an additional modification; an inspection of all areas of the modified tension ties for cracking; an inspection of the tension tie center section for cracking in certain tension tie channels; and repair.

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 120 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S. operators Retained modification in AD 2012-15-13 (67 airplanes) Between 257 and 263 work-hours × $85 per hour = between $21,845 and $22,355 Between $341,334 and $345,490 Between $363,179 and $367,845 Between $24,332,993 and $24,645,615. Retained post-modification inspections in AD 2012-15-13 (67 airplanes) 6 work-hours × $85 per hour = $510 per inspection cycle $0 $510 per inspection cycle $34,170 per inspection cycle. New inspection 10 work-hours × $85 per hour = $850 $0 $850 $102,000. New post-modification eddy current inspections 216 work-hours × $85 per hour = $18,360 per inspection cycle $0 $18,360 per inspection cycle $2,203,200 per inspection cycle.

    We have received no definitive data that will enable us to provide a cost estimate for the on-condition actions specified in this AD.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2012-15-13, Amendment 39-17142 (77 FR 47267, August 8, 2012), and adding the following new AD: 2016-05-12 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-18430; Docket No. FAA-2015-2961; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-145-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective April 22, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2012-15-13, Amendment 39-17142 (77 FR 47267, August 8, 2012) (“AD 2012-15-13”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 747-100B SUD, 747-300, 747-400, and 747-400D series airplanes; and Model 747-200B series airplanes having a stretched upper deck; certificated in any category; excluding airplanes that have been converted to a large cargo freighter configuration.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 53, Fuselage.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports of cracked and severed tension ties, broken fasteners, and cracks in the frame, shear web, and shear ties adjacent to tension ties for the upper deck. This AD was also prompted by an evaluation by the design approval holder, which indicated that the upper deck is subject to widespread fatigue damage. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the tension ties, shear webs, and frames of the upper deck, which could result in rapid decompression and reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Retained Repetitive Stage 1 Inspections, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (g) of AD 2012-15-13, with no changes. For all airplanes: Do detailed inspections for cracking or discrepancies of the fasteners in the tension ties, shear webs, and frames at body stations (STA) 1120 through 1220, and related investigative and corrective actions as applicable, by doing all actions specified in and in accordance with “Stage 1 Inspection” of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, dated April 21, 2005, except as provided by paragraph (k) of this AD; or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010. As of September 12, 2012 (the effective date of AD 2012-15-13), only Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010, may be used to do the actions required by this paragraph. Do the Stage 1 inspections at the applicable times specified in paragraphs (h) and (i) of this AD, except as provided by paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this AD. Accomplishment of the initial Stage 2 inspection required by paragraph (j) of this AD terminates the requirements of this paragraph. Any applicable related investigative and corrective actions must be done before further flight. Doing the modification required by paragraph (p) of this AD terminates the repetitive inspection requirements of this paragraph.

    (1) Where paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, dated April 21, 2005, specifies a compliance time relative to “the original issue date on this service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance before the specified compliance time after April 26, 2006 (the effective date of AD 2006-06-11, Amendment 39-14520 (71 FR 14367, March 22, 2006)).

    (2) For any airplane that reaches the applicable compliance time for the initial Stage 2 inspection (as specified in Table 1, Compliance Recommendations, under paragraph 1.E., of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, dated April 21, 2005) before reaching the applicable compliance time for the initial Stage 1 inspection: Accomplishment of the initial Stage 2 inspection terminates the Stage 1 inspections.

    (h) Retained Compliance Time for Initial Stage 1 Inspection, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (h) of AD 2012-15-13, with no changes. Do the initial Stage 1 inspection at the earlier of the times specified in paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this AD.

    (1) Inspect at the earlier of the times specified in paragraphs (h)(1)(i) and (h)(1)(ii) of this AD.

    (i) At the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, dated April 21, 2005.

    (ii) Before the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles, or within 250 flight cycles after November 28, 2007 (the effective date of AD 2007-23-18, Amendment 39-15266 (72 FR 65655, November 23, 2007)), whichever occurs later.

    (2) Inspect at the later of the times specified in paragraphs (h)(2)(i) and (h)(2)(ii) of this AD.

    (i) Before the accumulation of 12,000 total flight cycles.

    (ii) Within 50 flight cycles or 20 days, whichever occurs first, after November 28, 2007 (the effective date of AD 2007-23-18, Amendment 39-15266 (72 FR 65655, November 23, 2007)).

    (i) Retained Compliance Times for Repetitive Stage 1 Inspections, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (i) of AD 2012-15-13, with no changes. Repeat the Stage 1 inspection specified in paragraph (g) of this AD at the time specified in paragraph (i)(1) or (i)(2) of this AD, as applicable. Repeat the inspection thereafter at intervals not to exceed 250 flight cycles, until the initial Stage 2 inspection required by paragraph (j) of this AD has been done.

    (1) For airplanes on which the initial Stage 1 inspection has not been accomplished as of November 28, 2007 (the effective date of AD 2007-23-18, Amendment 39-15266 (72 FR 65655, November 23, 2007)): Do the next inspection before the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles, or within 250 flight cycles after the initial Stage 1 inspection done in accordance with paragraph (g) of this AD, whichever occurs later.

    (2) For airplanes on which the initial Stage 1 inspection has been accomplished as of November 28, 2007 (the effective date of AD 2007-23-18, Amendment 39-15266 (72 FR 65655, November 23, 2007)): Do the next inspection at the applicable time specified in paragraph (i)(2)(i) or (i)(2)(ii) of this AD.

    (i) For airplanes that have accumulated fewer than 12,000 total flight cycles as of November 28, 2007 (the effective date of AD 2007-23-18, Amendment 39-15266 (72 FR 65655, November 23, 2007)): Do the next inspection before the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles, or within 250 flight cycles after November 28, 2007, whichever occurs later.

    (ii) For airplanes that have accumulated 12,000 total flight cycles or more as of November 28, 2007 (the effective date of AD 2007-23-18, Amendment 39-15266 (72 FR 65655, November 23, 2007)): Do the next inspection at the later of the times specified in paragraphs (i)(2)(ii)(A) and (i)(2)(ii)(B) of this AD.

    (A) Within 250 flight cycles after accomplishment of the initial Stage 1 inspection.

    (B) Within 50 flight cycles or 20 days, whichever occurs first, after November 28, 2007 (the effective date of AD 2007-23-18, Amendment 39-15266 (72 FR 65655, November 23, 2007)).

    (j) Retained Repetitive Stage 2 Inspections, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (j) of AD 2012-15-13, with no changes. For all airplanes: Do detailed and high frequency eddy current inspections for cracking or discrepancies of the fasteners in the tension ties, shear webs, and frames at STAs 1120 through 1220, and related investigative and corrective actions as applicable, by doing all actions specified in and in accordance with “Stage 2 Inspection” of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, dated April 21, 2005; or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010; except as provided by paragraph (k) of this AD. Do the initial inspections at the earlier of the times specified in paragraphs (j)(1) and (j)(2) of this AD. Repeat the Stage 2 inspection thereafter at the applicable times specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, dated April 21, 2005; or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010. As of September 12, 2012 (the effective date of AD 2012-15-13), only Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010, may be used. Any applicable related investigative and corrective actions must be done before further flight. Accomplishment of the initial Stage 2 inspection ends the repetitive Stage 1 inspections. Doing the modification required by paragraph (p) of this AD terminates the repetitive inspection requirements of this paragraph.

    (1) Before the accumulation of 16,000 total flight cycles, or within 1,000 flight cycles after November 28, 2007 (the effective date of AD 2007-23-18, Amendment 39-15266 (72 FR 65655, November 23, 2007)), whichever occurs later.

    (2) Before the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles, or within 1,000 flight cycles after September 12, 2012 (the effective date of AD 2012-15-13, Amendment 39-17142 (77 FR 47267, August 8, 2012)), whichever occurs later.

    (k) Retained Exception to Corrective Action Instructions, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (k) of AD 2012-15-13, with no changes. If any discrepancy, including but not limited to any crack, broken fastener, loose fastener, or missing fastener is found during any inspection required by paragraph (g), (h), (i), or (j) of this AD, and Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, dated April 21, 2005; or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010; specifies to contact Boeing for appropriate action: Before further flight, repair the discrepancy using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (t) of this AD.

    (l) Retained Stage 2 Inspection: Work at STA 1140, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (l) of AD 2012-15-13, with no changes. For all airplanes: Except as provided by paragraph (o) of this AD, at the time specified in paragraph 1.E, “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010, do an open hole high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection for cracking in the forward and aft tension tie channels at 12 fastener locations inboard of the aluminum straps at STA 1140, and before further flight do all applicable repairs. Do all actions in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010. Repeat the inspections thereafter at the time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010. Doing the modification required by paragraph (p) of this AD terminates the inspection requirements in this paragraph.

    (m) Retained One-Time Inspection for Incorrectly Installed Angles, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (m) of AD 2012-15-13, with no changes. For Group 1, Configuration 1, airplanes as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010: Except as provided by paragraph (o) of this AD, at the time specified in paragraph 1.E, “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010, do a detailed inspection to determine if the angle is installed correctly, and before further flight re-install all angles that were installed incorrectly. Do all actions in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010.

    (n) Retained One-Time Inspection for Cracks in Frames at Previous Tension Tie Locations, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (n) of AD 2012-15-13, with no changes. For Group 1, Configuration 2, airplanes; and Groups 2 and 3 airplanes; as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010: Except as provided by paragraph (o) of this AD, at the time specified in paragraph 1.E, “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010, do an open hole HFEC inspection for cracks at the fastener locations (STAs 1120, 1160, 1200, and 1220) where the tension tie previously attached to the frame prior to modification to the Boeing Special Freighter or Boeing Converted Freighter configuration, and before further flight do all applicable repairs. Do all actions in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010. Doing the modification required by paragraph (p) of this AD terminates the one-time inspection requirements in this paragraph.

    (o) Retained Exception to Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, Dated January 14, 2010, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (o) of AD 2012-15-13, with no changes. Where paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010, specifies a compliance time relative to “the Revision 1 date of this service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance within the specified compliance time after September 12, 2012 (the effective date of AD 2012-15-13).

    (p) Retained Modification and Post-Modification Repetitive Inspections, With Revised Service Information and a New Exception

    This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (p) of AD 2012-15-13, with revised service information and a new exception. Except as provided by paragraphs (p)(1), (p)(2), and (p)(3) of this AD: At the applicable times specified in paragraph 1.E, “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 1, dated August 4, 2011, modify the frame-to-tension-tie joints at STAs 1120 through 1220; do all related investigative and applicable corrective actions; do the repetitive post-modification detailed inspections for cracking of the tension tie and frame structure and all applicable corrective actions; and do the additional modification. Do all actions in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 1, dated August 4, 2011; or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014. Modifying the frame-to-tension-tie joints at STAs 1120 through 1220 terminates the repetitive inspection requirements of paragraphs (g) and (j) of this AD, the inspection requirements of paragraph (l) of this AD, and the one-time inspection requirement of paragraph (n) of this AD. As of the effective date of this AD, only Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014, may be used to accomplish the actions specified in this paragraph.

    (1) Where paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 1, dated August 4, 2011, specifies a compliance time relative to “the original issue date of this service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance within the specified compliance time after September 12, 2012 (the effective date of AD 2012-15-13).

    (2) Where Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 1, dated August 4, 2011; or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014; specifies to contact Boeing for repair instructions or additional modification requirements: Before further flight, repair the cracking or do the additional actions using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (t) of this AD.

    (3) For Group 3 through 5, Configuration 1 airplanes identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014: Operators may accomplish the actions required by paragraph (p) of this AD within the applicable compliance times specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014.

    (q) Retained Credit for Previous Actions, With No Changes

    This paragraph restates the credit provided by paragraph (q) of AD 2012-15-13, with no changes. This paragraph provides credit for the corresponding actions required by paragraph (p) of this AD, if those actions were done before September 12, 2012 (the effective date of AD 2012-15-13), using Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, dated January 8, 2009, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (r) New Repetitive Post-Modification Eddy Current Inspections

    Do an eddy current inspection of all areas of the modified tension ties for cracking, in accordance with Part 3 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014. Do the inspection at the time specified in Table 2 of paragraph 1.E, “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014, except where paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014, specifies a compliance time relative to “the Revision 2 date of this service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance within the specified compliance time after the effective date of this AD. If any crack is found, before further flight, repair the crack using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (t) of this AD. If no crack is found, repeat the inspection thereafter at the intervals specified in paragraph 1.E, “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014.

    (s) New One-Time Surface HFEC Inspections

    Do a surface HFEC inspection of the tension tie center section, for cracking in the forward and aft tension tie channels between STAs 1120 through 1220, in accordance with Part 4 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014. Do the inspection at the applicable time specified in Table 1 or Table 3 of paragraph 1.E, “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014, except where paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014, specifies a compliance time relative to “the Revision 2 date of this service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance within the specified compliance time after the effective date of this AD. If any crack is found, before further flight, repair the crack using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (t) of this AD.

    (t) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (u)(1) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected]

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

    (3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair, alteration, or modification required by this AD if it is approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) that has been authorized by the Manager, Seattle ACO to make those findings. For a repair method to be approved, the repair method, modification deviation, or alteration deviation must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

    (4) AMOCs approved previously for AD 2012-15-13, are approved as AMOCs for the corresponding provisions of this AD.

    (u) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Bill Ashforth, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6432; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    (2) Service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (v)(6) and (v)(7) of this AD.

    (v) 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.

    (3) The following service information was approved for IBR on April 22, 2016.

    (i) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 2, dated May 13, 2014.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (4) The following service information was approved for IBR on September 12, 2012 (77 FR 47267, August 8, 2012).

    (i) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, Revision 1, dated January 14, 2010.

    (ii) Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2559, Revision 1, dated August 4, 2011.

    (5) The following service information was approved for IBR on November 28, 2007 (72 FR 65655, November 23, 2007).

    (i) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2507, dated April 21, 2005.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (6) For service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com.

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

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on February 29, 2016. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05249 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-2459; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-002-AD; Amendment 39-18436; AD 2016-06-05] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 777 airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports of fire and smoke at the engine aft pylon area resulting from fuel leakage caused by a damaged O-ring in the fuel coupling attached to the wing front spar. This AD requires applying sealant to fill the gap between the lower wing panels adjacent to the strut aft vapor barrier. We are issuing this AD to prevent fire and smoke at the engine aft pylon area in the event of a fuel leak, which could cause personal injury during ground operations. A fire spreading back and up to the aft fairing pylon can result in an uncontrolled fire in the strut and ignite the fuel tank.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective April 22, 2016.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of April 22, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-2459.

    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-2015-2459; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kevin Nguyen, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6501; fax: 425-917-6590; 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 certain The Boeing Company Model 777 airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on July 9, 2015 (80 FR 39392). The NPRM was prompted by reports of fire and smoke at the engine aft pylon area resulting from fuel leakage caused by a damaged O ring in the fuel coupling attached to the wing front spar. The fuel was captured by the fuel coupling rubber boot and was discharged into the flammable fluid leakage zone of the strut-to-wing cavity, as intended. However, the fuel did not follow its intended drain paths into the aft strut and lower wing panel drains, but instead followed an unintended drain path through an unsealed gap between the lower wing panels above the strut aft vapor barrier. The leaking fuel then followed gaps and seams in the aft fairing structure to the outside of the strut fairing side panels, ignited after contact with the hot engine exhaust heat shield, and caused a fire and smoke. We are issuing this AD to prevent fire and smoke at the engine aft pylon area in the event of a fuel leak, which could cause personal injury during ground operations. A fire spreading back and up to the aft fairing pylon can result in an uncontrolled fire in the strut and ignite the fuel tank.

    Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We have considered the comments received. Boeing concurred with the NPRM (80 FR 39392, dated July 9, 2015), and FedEx had no technical objection.

    Conclusion

    We reviewed the relevant data, considered the comments received, 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 39392, dated July 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 39392, dated July 9, 2015).

    Related Service Information Under1 CFR Part 51

    We have reviewed Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 777-54-0035, dated October 30, 2014. The service information describes procedures for applying sealant to fill the gap between wing panels. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 196 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S. operators
    Sealant application 3 work-hours × $85 per hour = $255 $0 $255 $49,980
    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2016-06-05 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-18436; Docket No. FAA-2015-2459; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-002-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective April 22, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 777-200, -200LR, -300, -300ER, and -777F series airplanes, certificated in any category, as identified in Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 777-54-0035, dated October 30, 2014.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 54, Nacelles/Pylons.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports of fire and smoke at the engine aft pylon area resulting from fuel leakage caused by a damaged O-ring in the fuel coupling attached to the wing front spar. We are issuing this AD to prevent fire and smoke at the engine aft pylon area in the event of a fuel leak, which could cause personal injury during ground operations. A fire spreading back and up to the aft fairing pylon can result in an uncontrolled fire in the strut and ignite the fuel tank.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Sealant Application

    Within 1,875 days after the effective date of this AD, apply sealant to fill the gap between the lower wing panels adjacent to the strut aft vapor barrier, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 777-54-0035, dated October 30, 2014.

    (h) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

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

    (3) For service information that contains steps that are labeled as Required for Compliance (RC), the provisions of paragraphs (h)(3)(i) and (h)(3)(ii) apply.

    (i) The steps labeled as RC, including substeps under an RC step and any figures identified in an RC step, must be done to comply with the AD. An AMOC is required for any deviations to RC steps, including substeps and identified figures.

    (ii) Steps not labeled as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the RC steps, including substeps and identified figures, can still be done as specified, and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition.

    (4) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair required by this AD if it is approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) that has been authorized by the Manager, Seattle ACO, to make those findings. For a repair method to be approved, the repair must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

    (i) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Kevin Nguyen, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6501; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

    (j) 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) Boeing Special Attention Service Bulletin 777-54-0035, dated October 30, 2014.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com.

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

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 9, 2016. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05900 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-3732; Directorate Identifier 2015-NE-25-AD; Amendment 39-18431; AD 2016-05-13] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. Turboprop Engines AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. (P&WC) PT6A-60AG, -65AG, -67AF, and -67AG turboprop engines. This AD requires removing Woodward fuel control units (FCUs) and installing an FCU that is eligible for installation. This AD was prompted by incidents of corrosion and perforation of the two-ply Cu-Be bellows in Woodward FCUs. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the Woodward FCU and engine, in-flight shutdown, and loss of control of the airplane.

    DATES:

    This AD becomes effective April 22, 2016.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of April 22, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this AD, contact Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp., 1000 Marie-Victorin, Longueuil, Quebec, Canada, J4G 1A1; phone: 800-268-8000; fax: 450-647-2888; Internet: www.pwc.ca. 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-2015-3732.

    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-2015-3732; 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:

    Besian Luga, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7750; 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 10, 2015 (80 FR 69623). The NPRM proposed to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

    There have been in-service incidents involving corrosion and perforation of the two-ply Cu-Be bellows in Woodward Fuel Control Units (FCU) fitted to PT6A-60, -65 and -67 series engines. In certain instances, associated bellows leakage has resulted in loss of engine power, in-flight shutdowns (IFSD) and even accidents. Engines installed on the aeroplanes that are used for crop dusting, due to the operational environment, are more susceptible to corrosion damage to the subject bellows.

    Loss of engine power or shut down in flight by itself usually is not considered a catastrophic event. However, on an aeroplane with single engine installation, an engine power loss or IFSD at a critical phase of flight could adversely affect the safe operation of the aeroplane.

    Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. We received no comments on the NPRM (80 FR 69623, November 10, 2015).

    We updated the revision number and date of P&WC Service Bulletin No. PT6A-72-14389.

    Conclusion

    We reviewed the available data and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD with the changes described previously. We determined that these changes will not increase the economic burden on any operator or increase the scope of this AD.

    Related Service Information Under1 CFR Part 51

    P&WC has issued Service Bulletin (S.B.) No. PT6A-72-14389, Revision No. 4, dated February 3, 2016 (P&WC S.B. No. 14389R4) and S.B. No. PT6A-72-13473, Revision No. 1, dated May 26, 2015 (P&WC S.B. No. 13473R1). The service information describes procedures for replacing Woodward FCUs. 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 341 engines installed on airplanes of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it will take about 1.5 hours per engine to comply with this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per hour. Required parts cost about $1,000 per engine. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $384,478.

    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): 2016-05-13 Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. (Type Certificate previously held by Pratt & Whitney Canada, Inc., Pratt & Whitney Aircraft of Canada, Ltd., and United Aircraft of Canada, Ltd.): Amendment 39-18431; Docket No. FAA-2015-3732; Directorate Identifier 2015-NE-25-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective April 22, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. (P&WC) PT6A-60AG, BS919 and BS1048 with pre-Service Bulletin (S.B.) No. PT6A-72-13402, dated August 12, 2005 configuration; PT6A-65AG, BS708, BS903, BS1101, and BS1102 with pre-S.B. No. PT6A-72-13408, dated July 3, 2006 configuration; PT6A-67AF; and PT6A-67AG turboprop engines with Woodward fuel control units (FCUs), installed.

    (d) Reason

    This AD was prompted by incidents of corrosion and perforation of the two-ply Cu-Be bellows in Woodward FCUs. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the Woodward FCU and engine, in-flight shutdown, and loss of control of the airplane.

    (e) Actions and Compliance

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

    (1) For P&WC PT6A-67AF and PT6A-67AG engines, within 500 flight hours (FHs) or one year after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first, replace the Woodward FCU. Use paragraphs 3.A. and 3.C. of P&WC S.B. No. PT6A-72-14389, Revision No. 4, dated February 3, 2016 to replace the FCU.

    (2) For P&WC PT6A-60AG BS919 and BS1048 engines with pre-S.B. No. PT6A-72-13402 configurations, within 36 months after the effective date of this AD, replace the Woodward FCU. Use paragraph 3.C.(1) and 3.C.(3) of P&WC S.B. No. PT6A-72-13473, Revision No. 1, dated May 26, 2015 to replace the FCU.

    (3) For P&WC PT6A-65AG BS708, BS903, BS1101, and BS1102 engines with pre-S.B. No. PT6A-72-13408 configurations, within 36 months after the effective date of this AD, replace the Woodward FCU. Use paragraphs 3.A.(1) and 3.A.(3) of P&WC S.B. No. PT6A-72-13473, Revision No. 1, dated May 26, 2015 to replace the FCU.

    (f) Credit for Previous Actions

    You may take credit for the actions required by paragraph (e) of this AD if you performed the actions before the effective date of this AD in accordance with P&WC S.B. No. PT6A-72-14389, Revision No. 3, dated January 27, 2011; or S.B. No. PT6A-72-13473, dated March 12, 2015; or S.B. No. PT6A-72-13408, Revision No. 1, dated March 12, 2015; or earlier versions.

    (g) 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]

    (h) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Besian Luga, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7750; fax: 781-238-7199; email: besian.luga[email protected]

    (2) Refer to MCAI Transport Canada AD CF-2015-23, dated July 23, 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 it in Docket No. FAA-2015-3732. You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2015-3732-0002.

    (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) Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) Service Bulletin (S.B.) No. PT6A-72-14389, Revision No. 4, dated February 3, 2016 (P&WC S.B. No. 14389R4).

    (ii) P&WC S.B. No. PT6A-72-13473, Revision No. 1, dated May 26, 2015 (P&WC S.B. No. 13473R1).

    (3) For P&WC service information identified in this AD, contact Pratt & Whitney Corp., 1000 Marie-Victorin, Longueuil, Quebec, Canada, J4G 1A1; phone: 800-268-8000; fax: 450-647-2888; Internet: www.pwc.ca.

    (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 March 2, 2016. Colleen M. D'Alessandro, Manager, Engine & Propeller Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06124 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-5318; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-035-AD; Amendment 39-18437; AD 2016-06-06] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Quest Aircraft Design, LLC Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Quest Aircraft Design, LLC Model KODIAK 100 airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report of limited control yoke movement of the elevator control system due to cushion edging jammed in the elevator control anti-rotation guide slot. This AD requires repetitively inspecting the elevator control system cushion edging for proper condition; replacing the cushion edging; and at a specified time terminating the repetitive inspections by installing wear pads on the elevator bearing assemblies. We are issuing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective April 22, 2016.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of April 22, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this AD, contact Quest Aircraft Design, LLC, 1200 Turbine Drive, Sandpoint, Idaho 83864; telephone: (208) 263-1111; toll free: (866) 263-1112; email: [email protected]; Internet: www.questaircraft.com. You may review copies of the referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for Docket No. FAA-2015-5318.

    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-2015-5318; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (telephone: 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:

    David Herron, Aerospace Engineer, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057; phone: (425) 917-6469; fax: (425) 917-6591; 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 certain Quest Aircraft Design, LLC Model KODIAK 100 airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on November 5, 2015 (80 FR 68477). The NPRM was prompted by a report of limited control yoke movement of the elevator control system due to cushion edging jammed in the elevator control anti-rotation guide slot. The NPRM proposed to require repetitively inspecting the elevator control system cushion edging for proper condition; replacing the cushion edging; and at a specified time terminating the repetitive inspections by installing wear pads on the elevator bearing assemblies. We are issuing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

    Comments

    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. The following presents the comments received on the NPRM (80 FR 68477, November 5, 2015) and the FAA's response to each comment.

    Request To Include Revised Service Bulletin

    Quest Aircraft Design revised one of the related service bulletins and requested that Quest Aircraft Company KODIAK 100 Mandatory Service Bulletin SB14-07, Revision 01, dated November 23, 2015, be incorporated into the final rule AD action.

    We agree. We revised this AD as requested.

    Request To Reference Only the Field Service Instructions

    Quest Aircraft Design stated that the instructions for doing the actions required in the AD are actually contained in the Field Service Instructions (FSIs) issued by Quest Aircraft and that there is no need to include reference to the related service bulletins since they are basically cover letters that point to the FSIs for the instructions. The commenter requested to have the related service bulletins removed from the AD to make the AD clearer to the reader and to eliminate any confusion.

    We agree that the FSIs contain the instructions for completing the actions required in this AD; however, the service bulletins contain additional pertinent information, such as company contact information and FAA approval status that is not included in the associated FSI.

    We do not agree that the service bulletins should be removed from the AD. We did not revise this AD as requested.

    Conclusion

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

    • Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (80 FR 68477, November 5, 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 68477, November 5, 2015).

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

    Related Service Information Under1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed Quest Aircraft Company KODIAK 100 Mandatory Service Bulletin SB14-07, Revision 01, dated November 23, 2015; Quest Aircraft KODIAK Mandatory Service Bulletin SB14-07, dated August 26, 2014; Quest Aircraft Company Field Service Instruction, Elevator Control System—Cushion Edging Inspection, Report No. FSI-105, Revision 00, not dated; Quest Aircraft KODIAK 100 Recommended Service Bulletin SB15-01, dated March 26, 2015; and Quest Aircraft Field Service Instruction, Yoke Anti-Rotation Guide Wear Pad Upgrade, Report No. FSI-108, Revision 00, not dated. The service information describes procedures for repetitively inspecting the cushion edging installed on the elevator control anti-rotation guide for proper condition, wear, and security, and replacing if necessary; and removing the cushion edging and installing wear pads on the pilot and co-pilot arms of the elevator bearing assemblies as a terminating action to the repetitive inspections of the cushion edging. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 60 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S. operators Inspect the cushion edging on each side of the elevator control anti-rotation guide slot .5 work-hour × $85 per hour = $42.50 per inspection Not applicable $42.50 per inspection $2,550 per inspection. Required terminating action for repetitive inspections—replace cushion edging with wear pads 3 work-hours × $85 per hour = $255 $200 $455 $27,300.

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

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Replace cushion edging 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 $20 $105

    According to the manufacturer, some of the costs of this AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage for affected individuals. As a result, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2016-06-06 Quest Aircraft Design, LLC: Amendment 39-18437; Docket No. FAA-2015-5318; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-035-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective April 22, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Quest Aircraft Design, LLC Model KODIAK 100 airplanes, all serial numbers 100-0001 through 100-0149, that are certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC)/Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 2730; Elevator Control System.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by a report of limited control yoke movement due to cushion edging jammed in the elevator control anti-rotation guide slot. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the elevator control system, which could result in loss of control.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Inspect Cushion Edging

    Before further flight April 22, 2016 (after the effective date of this AD) and repetitively thereafter at intervals not to exceed 50 hours time-in-service until the terminating action specified in paragraph (i) of this AD is done, inspect the cushion edging, part number (P/N) M22529/2-3R-25, located on each side of the elevator control anti-rotation guide slot, P/N 100-619-0008, for the pilot and co-pilot control yoke assemblies, following section 5.1 Cushion Edging Inspection of Quest Aircraft Company Field Service Instruction, Elevator Control System—Cushion Edging Inspection, Report No. FSI-105, Revision 00, not dated, as specified in Quest Aircraft KODIAK Mandatory Service Bulletin SB14-07, dated August 26, 2014; and Quest Aircraft Company KODIAK 100 Mandatory Service Bulletin SB14-07, Revision 01, dated November 23, 2015.

    (h) Replace Cushion Edging

    If damage or wear is found during any inspection required in paragraph (g) of this AD, before further flight, replace the cushion edging following section 5.3 of Quest Aircraft Company Field Service Instruction, Elevator Control System—Cushion Edging Inspection, Report No. FSI-105, Revision 00, not dated, as specified in Quest Aircraft KODIAK Mandatory Service Bulletin SB14-07, dated August 26, 2014; and Quest Aircraft Company KODIAK 100 Mandatory Service Bulletin SB14-07, Revision 01, dated November 23, 2015.

    (i) Install Wear Pads (Terminating Action for the Repetitive Inspections)

    Within 1 year after April 22, 2016 (the effective date of this AD), remove the cushion edging, P/N M22529/2-3R-25, installed on the elevator control anti-rotation guide, and install wear pads, P/N 100-619-0037, on the elevator bearing assembly link arm following section 5. Instructions, including all subsections, of Quest Aircraft Field Service Instruction, Yoke Anti-Rotation Guide Wear Pad Upgrade, Report No. FSI-108, Revision 00, not dated, as specified in Quest Aircraft KODIAK 100 Recommended Service Bulletin SB15-01, dated March 26, 2015. Installing all four wear pads on the pilot and co-pilot arms of the elevator bearing assemblies terminates the repetitive inspections required in paragraph (g) of this AD.

    (j) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (k) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected]

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

    (k) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact David Herron, Aerospace Engineer, Seattle ACO, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, Washington 98057; phone: (425) 917-6469; fax: (425) 917-6591; email: [email protected]

    (l) 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) Quest Aircraft Company KODIAK 100 Mandatory Service Bulletin SB14-07, Revision 01, dated November 23, 2015.

    (ii) Quest Aircraft KODIAK Mandatory Service Bulletin SB14-07, dated August 26, 2014.

    (iii) Quest Aircraft Company Field Service Instruction, Elevator Control System—Cushion Edging Inspection, Report No. FSI-105, Revision 00, not dated.

    (iv) Quest Aircraft KODIAK 100 Recommended Service Bulletin SB15-01, dated March 26, 2015.

    (v) Quest Aircraft Field Service Instruction, Yoke Anti-Rotation Guide Wear Pad Upgrade, Report No. FSI-108, Revision 00, not dated.

    (3) For Quest Aircraft Design, LLC service information identified in this AD, contact Quest Aircraft Design, LLC, 1200 Turbine Drive, Sandpoint, Idaho 83864; telephone: (208) 263-1111; toll free: (866) 263-1112; email: [email protected]; Internet: www.questaircraft.com.

    (4) You may view this service information at FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 816-329-4148. In addition, you can access this service information on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-5318.

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

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 10, 2016. Pat Mullen, Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05898 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2016-4227; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-025-AD; Amendment 39-18439; AD 2016-06-08] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for The Boeing Company Model 787-8 and 787-9 airplanes powered by GE GEnx engines. This AD requires revising the airplane flight manual to provide the flight crew a new fan ice removal procedure to reduce the likelihood of engine damage due to fan ice shedding. This AD also requires, for certain airplanes, reworking the fan stator module assembly on GE GEnx-1B Performance Improvement Program (PIP) 2 engines. This AD was prompted by a recent engine fan blade rub event that caused an in-flight non-restartable power loss. We are issuing this AD to prevent reduced fan tip clearance, which could result in engine damage and a possible in-flight non-restartable power loss of one or both engines.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective March 18, 2016.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of March 18, 2016.

    We must receive comments on this AD by May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

    Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact General Electric Company, GE Aviation, Room 285, 1 Neumann Way, Cincinnati, OH 45215; phone: 513-552-3272; email: [email protected] You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-4227.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-4227; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sue Lucier, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6438; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

    We received a report of a significant GE GEnx-1B PIP2 engine fan rub event, apparently caused by partial fan ice shedding and a resulting fan imbalance that in turn caused substantial damage to the engine and an in-flight non-restartable power loss. We continue to investigate this issue with Boeing and GE; however, the engine damage appears to be a result of reduced fan tip clearances common to the GEnx-1B PIP2 engine. The other engine on the event airplane was a GEnx-1B PIP1 configuration that incurred expected wear and minor damage during the icing event and continued to operate normally. The event occurred in icing conditions at an altitude of 20,000 feet. Reduced fan tip clearance, if not corrected, could result in engine damage and a possible in-flight non-restartable power loss of one or both engines. We are issuing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

    Related Service Information Under1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed GE GEnx-1B Service Bulletin 72-0309 R00, dated March 11, 2016, which describes procedures for reworking the fan stator module assembly on GEnx-1B PIP2 engines. 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.

    FAA's Determination

    We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.

    AD Requirements

    This AD requires accomplishing the actions specified in the GE service information described previously. This AD also requires revising the airplane flight manual (AFM) to provide the flight crew a new fan ice removal procedure to reduce the likelihood of engine damage due to fan ice shedding.

    Interim Action

    We consider this AD interim action. The engine manufacturer is currently developing a modification that will address the unsafe condition identified in this AD. Once this modification is developed, approved, and available, we may consider additional rulemaking.

    FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

    An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of this AD. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule because reduced fan tip clearance could result in engine damage and a possible in-flight non-restartable power loss of one or both engines. Therefore, we find that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are impracticable and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

    Comments Invited

    This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety and was not preceded by notice and an opportunity for public comment. However, we invite you to send any written data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include the docket number FAA-2016-4227 and Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-025-AD at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this AD because of those comments.

    We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact we receive about this AD.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 34 airplanes of U.S. registry. We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S. operators
    AFM revision 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 $0 $85 $2,890. Rework 40 work-hours × $85 per hour = $3,400 0 3,400 3,400 (1 affected airplane).
    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2016-06-08 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-18439; Docket No. FAA-2016-4227; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-025-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective March 18, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 787-8 and 787-9 airplanes, certificated in any category, powered by General Electric (GE) GEnx engines.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 72, Engines.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by a recent engine fan blade rub event that caused an in-flight non-restartable power loss. We are issuing this AD to prevent reduced fan tip clearance, which could result in engine damage and a possible in-flight non-restartable power loss of one or both engines.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Revision of Airplane Flight Manual (AFM): Certificate Limitations

    Within 7 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the Certificate Limitations chapter of the applicable Boeing 787 AFM to include the statement provided in figure 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD. This may be done by inserting a copy of this AD into the AFM.

    Figure 1 to Paragraph (g) of This AD Engine Operational Limits Cold Weather Operations Fan Ice Removal In order to avoid possible fan damage and engine failure, when in icing conditions above 12,500 feet MSL, the flight crew must comply with the Cold Weather Operations Additional Fan Ice Removal procedure contained in the Operating Procedures chapter of this manual. (h) AFM Revision: Operating Procedures

    Within 7 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the Operating Procedures chapter of the Boeing 787 AFM to include the statement provided in figure 2 to paragraph (h) of this AD. This may be done by inserting a copy of this AD into the AFM.

    Figure 2 to Paragraph (h) of This AD Cold Weather Operations
  • Additional Fan Ice Removal Procedure
  • This procedure is required when in icing conditions above 12,500 feet MSL, by the Engine Operational Limits Cold Weather Operations Fan Ice Removal limitation contained in the Certificate Limitations chapter of this manual. The language below shall not be modified. During flight in icing conditions (EAI EICAS indication showing) with N1 settings below 85%, or when fan icing is suspected due to high engine vibration, the fan blades must be cleared of any ice. Do the following procedure every 5 minutes on both engines, one engine at a time: Increase to a minimum of 85% N1 momentarily, then resume normal operation.
    (i) Rework

    For airplanes with two engines with engine serial numbers listed in paragraph 1.A., “Effectivity,” of GE GEnx-1B Service Bulletin 72-0309 R00, dated March 11, 2016: On or before March 25, 2016, rework the fan stator module assembly of one of the engines, in accordance with paragraphs 3.A.(1)(b), 3.B., or 3.C. of the Accomplishment Instructions of GE GEnx-1B Service Bulletin 72-0309 R00, dated March 11, 2016.

    (j) Parts Installation Limitation

    As of March 25, 2016, no person may operate an airplane that has two engines with engine serial numbers listed in paragraph 1.A., “Effectivity,” of GE GEnx-1B Service Bulletin 72-0309 R00, dated March 11, 2016, unless at least one engine has been reworked in accordance with paragraph 3.A.(1)(b), 3.B., or 3.C. of the Accomplishment Instructions of GE GEnx-1B Service Bulletin 72-0309 R00, dated March 11, 2016.

    (k) Reporting Provisions

    Although GE GEnx Service Bulletin GEnx-1B 72-0309 R00, dated March 11, 2016, specifies reporting certain tip clearance measurements to GE, this AD does not require any report.

    (l) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (m) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected]

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

    (3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair, modification, or alteration required by this AD if it is approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) that has been authorized by the Manager, Seattle ACO, to make those findings. To be approved, the repair method, modification deviation, or alteration deviation must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

    (m) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Sue Lucier, Aerospace Engineer, Propulsion Branch, ANM-140S, FAA, Seattle ACO, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6438; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    (n) 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) GE GEnx-1B Service Bulletin 72-0309 R00, dated March 11, 2016.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact General Electric Company, GE Aviation, Room 285, 1 Neumann Way, Cincinnati, OH 45215; phone: 513-552-3272; email: [email protected]

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

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 14, 2016. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06117 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2014-0774; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-154-AD; Amendment 39-18438; AD 2016-06-07] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2006-22-15 for all The Boeing Company Model 747-100, 747-100B, 747-100B SUD, 747-200B, 747-200C, 747-200F, 747-300, 747-400, 747-400D, 747-400F, 747SR, and 747SP series airplanes. AD 2006-22-15 required repetitive inspections for cracking of certain panel webs and stiffeners of the nose wheel well (NWW), and corrective actions if necessary; and replacement of certain panels with new panels, which terminates the repetitive inspections. This new AD reduces a compliance time and adds certain inspections and an applicable repair. This AD was prompted by multiple reports of fatigue cracking in the NWW top panel and side panel webs and stiffeners. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the NWW side and top panels, which could result in a NWW depressurization event severe enough to reduce the structural integrity of the fuselage.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective April 22, 2016.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of April 22, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2014-0774.

    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-2014-0774; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Bill Ashforth, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6432; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

    We issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2006-22-15, Amendment 39-14812 (71 FR 64884, November 6, 2006) (“AD 2006-22-15”). AD 2006-22-15 applied to all The Boeing Company Model 747-100, 747-100B, 747-100B SUD, 747-200B, 747-200C, 747-200F, 747-300, 747-400, 747-400D, 747-400F, 747SR, and 747SP series airplanes. The SNPRM published in the Federal Register on September 18, 2015 (80 FR 56407) (“the SNPRM”). We preceded the SNPRM with a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that published in the Federal Register on November 17, 2014 (79 FR 68388) (“the NPRM”). The NPRM proposed to continue to require repetitive inspections for cracking of certain panel webs and stiffeners of the NWW, and corrective actions if necessary; and replacement of certain panels with new panels, which terminates the repetitive inspections. The NPRM proposed to reduce a compliance time and add certain inspections and repair if necessary. The NPRM was prompted by reports of fatigue cracking in the panel webs and stiffeners of the NWW found prior to the inspection threshold of AD 2006-22-15. The SNPRM revised the NPRM by specifying a repetitive inspection interval for a certain NWW area inspection. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the NWW side and top panels, which could result in a NWW depressurization event severe enough to reduce the structural integrity of the fuselage.

    Comments

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

    Support for the SNPRM

    Two commenters supported the SNPRM. One commenter stated that the FAA should continue to execute its administrative power to ensure traveler safety and industry compliance, adding that while the original rule was good, ensuring that specifics are covered and timetables are available is an important improvement.

    Request for Credit for Compliance Times in Previously Approved Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    Boeing requested that we allow credit for the compliance times in previously approved AMOCs, if the compliance times are acceptable according to the SNPRM.

    We agree with the commenter's request. We have revised paragraph (p)(4) of this AD to state that: AMOC actions approved previously for AD 2006-22-15 are approved as AMOCs for the corresponding actions of this AD. In addition, paragraph (p)(4) of this AD states that the compliance times in AMOCs approved previously for AD 2006-22-15 are not approved for the corresponding actions and compliance times in this AD, if this AD specifies an earlier compliance time than that specified in AD 2006-22-15; and that compliance times in AMOCs approved previously for AD 2006-22-15 that meet the requirements of this AD are acceptable.

    Conclusion

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

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

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

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

    Related Service Information Under1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed the following Boeing service bulletins.

    • Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2808, dated November 30, 2012. This service information describes procedures for replacement of the side and top panel webs, support beams, and stiffeners of the NWW; an inspection for cracking of the attaching structural elements that are common to the removed top and side panels of the NWW; repetitive post-modification inspections for cracks in the top and side panel webs and stiffeners; and repairs.

    • Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013. This service information describes procedures for doing inspections for cracking of the NWW side panel and top panel webs and longitudinal stiffeners for cracks, and related investigative and corrective actions.

    • Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013. This service information describes procedures for replacement of the side and top panel webs and certain stiffeners of the NWW; an inspection for cracks in attaching structural elements that are common to the removed top panel and side panels; repetitive post-modification inspections for cracks in the top and side panel webs and stiffeners; and repairs.

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

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD will affect 255 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S.
  • operators
  • Inspections [actions retained from AD 2006-22-15] 119 work-hours × $85 per hour = $10,115 per inspection cycle $0 $10,115 per inspection cycle $2,579,325 per inspection cycle. Modification [actions retained from AD 2006-22-15] Up to 1,346 work-hours × $85 per hour = $114,410 Up to $144,248 Up to $258,658 Up to $65,957,790. Post-modification Inspections [new action] 119 work-hours × $85 per hour = $10,115 per inspection cycle $0 $10,115 per inspection cycle $2,579,325 per inspection cycle.

    We have received no definitive data that would enable us to provide cost estimates for the on-condition actions specified in this AD.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2006-22-15, Amendment 39-14812 (71 FR 64884, November 6, 2006) (“AD 2006-22-15”), and adding the following new AD: 2016-06-07 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-18438; Docket No. FAA-2014-0774; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-154-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective April 22, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2006-22-15, Amendment 39-14812 (71 FR 64884, November 6, 2006) (“AD 2006-22-15”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to all The Boeing Company Model 747-100, 747-100B, 747-100B SUD, 747-200B, 747-200C, 747-200F, 747-300, 747-400, 747-400D, 747-400F, 747SR, and 747SP series airplanes, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 53, Fuselage.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by multiple reports of cracking in the nose wheel well (NWW) top panel and side panel webs and stiffeners. We are issuing this AD to prevent fatigue cracking of the NWW side and top panels, which could result in a NWW depressurization event severe enough to reduce the structural integrity of the fuselage.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Repetitive Inspections and Corrective Actions With New Compliance Times

    Except as specified in paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this AD, at the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013: Do the actions specified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD, and do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions; in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013, except as specified in paragraph (h)(3) of this AD. Do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions before further flight. Repeat the inspections specified in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), and (g)(3) of this AD thereafter at the applicable intervals specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013. The repetitive interval for the inspection of Area 2 specified in table 1 in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013, is 1,000 flight cycles. In table 2 and table 3 in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013, the date “January 27, 2005,” is the effective date of AD 2004-25-23, Amendment 39-13911 (69 FR 76839, December 23, 2004); and the date “May 10, 2005,” is the effective date of AD 2005-09-02, Amendment 39-14070 (70 FR 21141, April 25, 2005; corrected May 25, 2005 (70 FR 29940)).

    (1) Do an external detailed inspection for cracks of the top and sidewall panel webs of the NWW (specified as Area 1 and Area 2 in Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013).

    (2) Do internal detailed and surface high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspections for cracks of the sidewall panel and top panel stiffeners of the NWW (specified as Area 3 in Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013).

    (3) Do an external detailed and ultrasonic testing (UT) inspection for cracks of the top and sidewall panel webs of the NWW (specified as Area 1 and Area 2 in Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013).

    (h) Exceptions to Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, Dated July 11, 2013

    (1) Table 1 in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013, applies to airplanes with less than 15,000 total flight cycles “as of the Revision 5 date of this service bulletin.” For this AD, however, table 1 applies to airplanes with the specified total flight cycles as of the effective date of this AD.

    (2) Table 1 in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013, specifies a compliance time of “13,000 total flight-cycles,” or “within 1,000 flight cycles after the Revision 5 date of this service bulletin,” whichever occurs later. This AD requires compliance before the accumulation of 10,000 total flight cycles or within 1,000 flight cycles after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs later.

    (3) If any cracking or damage is found during any inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD, and Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013, specifies to contact Boeing for appropriate action: Before further flight, repair the cracking or damage using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (p) of this AD.

    (i) NWW Modification

    For airplanes identified in Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013: At the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013, replace the left-side, right-side, and top panels of the NWW, as applicable, with new panels, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013. As of the effective date of this AD, concurrently with doing the replacement specified in Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013, do a detailed inspection for any cracks or damage (including, but not limited to, dents and corrosion) in all attaching structural elements that are common to the removed top panel and side panels, as applicable, and do all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013. If any crack or damage is found, before further flight, repair the cracking or damage using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (p) of this AD. In paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013, the date “December 11, 2006,” is the effective date of AD 2006-22-15.

    (j) Repetitive Post-Modification Inspections

    For airplanes on which the replacement specified in paragraph (i) of this AD has been done: Except as required by paragraph (k) of this AD, at the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013, do the actions specified in paragraphs (j)(1), (j)(2), and (j)(3) of this AD. If any crack is found: Before further flight, repair the cracking using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (p) of this AD. Repeat the inspections specified in paragraphs (j)(1), (j)(2), and (j)(3) of this AD thereafter at the applicable intervals specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013.

    (1) Do an external detailed inspection for cracks in the side panel webs, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013.

    (2) Do an internal detailed inspection and high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection for cracks in the top and side panel stiffeners, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013.

    (3) Do an external detailed inspection for cracks in the top panel web, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013.

    (k) Exception to Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, Dated July 11, 2013

    Where paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013, specifies a compliance time relative to the “Revision 3 date of this service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance within the specified compliance time after the effective date of this AD.

    (l) NWW Modification for Certain Airplanes

    For airplanes identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2808, dated November 30, 2012: At the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2808, dated November 30, 2012, replace the left side, right side, and top panels of the NWW, as applicable, with new panels, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2808, dated November 30, 2012. Concurrently with doing the replacement specified in this paragraph, do a detailed inspection for cracks of the attaching structural elements that are common to the removed top, left side, and right side panels of the NWW, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2808, dated November 30, 2012. If any crack is found, before further flight, repair the cracking using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (p) of this AD.

    (m) Repetitive Post-Modification Inspections for Certain Airplanes

    For airplanes on which the replacement specified in paragraph (l) of this AD has been done: At the applicable time specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2808, dated November 30, 2012, do the actions specified in paragraphs (m)(1), (m)(2), and (m)(3) of this AD. If any crack is found: Before further flight, repair the cracking using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (p) of this AD. Repeat the inspections specified in paragraphs (m)(1), (m)(2), and (m)(3) of this AD thereafter at the applicable intervals specified in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2808, dated November 30, 2012.

    (1) Do an external detailed inspection for cracks in the side panel webs, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2808, dated November 30, 2012.

    (2) Do an internal detailed inspection and HFEC inspection for cracks in the top and side panel stiffeners, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2808, dated November 30, 2012.

    (3) Do an external detailed inspection for cracks in the top panel web, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2808, dated November 30, 2012.

    (n) Terminating Action for Certain Repetitive Inspections

    Replacing the left side, right side, and top panels of the NWW with new panels as specified in paragraph (i) or (l) of this AD terminates the repetitive inspections required by paragraph (g) of this AD.

    (o) Credit for Previous Actions

    (1) This paragraph restates the credit given in paragraph (k) of AD 2006-22-15.

    (i) This paragraph provides credit for the actions required by paragraph (g)(1) of this AD, if those actions were performed before January 27, 2005 (the effective date of AD 2004-25-23, Amendment 39-13911 (69 FR 76839, December 23, 2004)), using Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, dated April 5, 2001, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (ii) This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this AD, if those actions were performed before December 11, 2006 (the effective date of AD 2006-22-15), using a service bulletin identified in paragraph (o)(1)(ii)(A), (o)(1)(ii)(B), or (o)(1)(ii)(C) of this AD, which are not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (A) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 1, dated October 16, 2003.

    (B) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 2, dated November 11, 2004.

    (C) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 3, dated December 23, 2004.

    (2) This paragraph provides credit for the actions required by paragraph (g) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 4, dated February 24, 2005, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (3) This paragraph provides credit for the actions required by paragraphs (i) and (j) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using the service information identified in paragraph (o)(3)(i) or (o)(3)(ii) of this AD.

    (i) Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 1, dated July 28, 2005, which was incorporated by reference in AD 2006-22-15.

    (ii) Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 2, dated May 31, 2007, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

    (p) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (q)(1) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected]

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

    (3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair, modification, or alteration required by this AD if it is approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) that has been authorized by the Manager, Seattle ACO, to make those findings. To be approved, the repair method, modification deviation, or alteration deviation must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

    (4) AMOC actions approved previously for AD 2006-22-15 are approved as AMOCs for the corresponding actions of this AD. The compliance times in AMOCs approved previously for AD 2006-22-15 are not approved for the corresponding actions and compliance times in this AD, if this AD specifies an earlier compliance time than that specified in AD 2006-22-15. Compliance times in AMOCs approved previously for AD 2006-22-15 that meet the requirements of this AD are acceptable.

    (q) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Bill Ashforth, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120S, FAA, Seattle ACO, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6432; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    (2) Service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (r)(3) and (r)(4) of this AD.

    (r) 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) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 747-53A2808, dated November 30, 2012.

    (ii) Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2465, Revision 5, dated July 11, 2013.

    (iii) Boeing Service Bulletin 747-53A2562, Revision 3, dated July 11, 2013.

    (3) For Boeing service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com.

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

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 9, 2016. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06001 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-0495; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-172-AD; Amendment 39-18435; AD 2016-06-04] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 737-300, -400, and -500 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by reports of cracking at certain fastener locations in the window corners of the window belt area. This AD requires repetitive high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspections for fatigue cracking in certain fastener locations in the window corners of the window belt area, and related investigative and corrective actions if necessary. This AD also provides an optional preventive modification that terminates the inspections at the modified location. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking around fastener locations that could cause multiple window corner skin cracks, which could result in rapid decompression and loss of structural integrity of the airplane.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective April 22, 2016.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of April 22, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-0495.

    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-2015-0495; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jennifer Tsakoumakis, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5264; fax: 562-627-5210; 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 certain The Boeing Company Model 737-300, -400, and -500 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on March 24, 2015 (80 FR 15523) (“the NPRM”). The NPRM was prompted by reports of cracking at certain fastener locations in the window corners of the window belt area. The NPRM proposed to require repetitive HFEC inspections for fatigue cracking in certain fastener locations in the window corners of the window belt area, and related investigative and corrective actions if necessary. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking around fastener locations that could cause multiple window corner skin cracks, which could result in rapid decompression and loss of structural integrity of the airplane.

    Comments

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

    Request for Clarification of Location of the Twelve Fastener Inspections

    Southwest Airlines (SWA) requested that a correction be made to paragraph (g) of the proposed AD to clarify the areas for the inspection of the twelve fastener locations. SWA noted that paragraph (g) of the proposed AD stated to inspect locations “at the upper forward and lower aft corners of each window between station (STA) 360 and STA 540 and between STA 727 and STA 908.” SWA stated that between STA 727 and STA 908, Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, specifies the location as the lower forward and upper aft corners.

    We agree with the commenter for the reason provided. We have revised paragraph (g) of this AD to require an inspection of the twelve fastener locations at the upper forward and lower aft corners of each window between STA 360 and STA 540 and at the upper aft and lower forward corners of each window between STA 727 and STA 908.

    Request for Clarification of the Intent of the Inspection Requirements in Paragraph (g) of the Proposed AD

    SWA requested that we clarify the intent of paragraph (g) of the proposed AD. SWA stated that paragraph (g) of the proposed AD states to accomplish the inspections at the times specified in tables 1 and 2 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, and then repeat the inspections at the applicable times specified in tables 1 and 2 until “the terminating action in paragraph (h) of this AD is accomplished,” which is the optional preventive modification in Part 3 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014. SWA stated that, per note (b) in tables 1 and 2, accomplishment of the preventive modification in accordance with Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, is terminating action for both the initial and repeat inspections at the modified locations. SWA stated that paragraph (g) of the proposed AD does not mention the option to accomplish the actions specified in paragraph (h) of the proposed AD in lieu of the initial inspection specified in paragraph (g) of this AD; it only states to “repeat the inspections . . . until the terminating action specified in paragraph (h) of this AD is done.” SWA noted it is unclear if the intent of paragraph (g) of this AD is to require accomplishment of the Part 1 external surface HFEC inspections of the skin prior to accomplishing the Part 3 preventive modification instructions, or if the intent of paragraph (g) of the proposed AD is to provide the operator the option to accomplish paragraph (h) of the proposed AD (preventive modification) in lieu of accomplishing paragraph (g) of the proposed AD (inspections), since the Part 3 modification instructions include open hole HFEC inspections of the skin.

    We agree to provide clarification. Paragraph (g) of this AD is not required at the time of accomplishment of the preventive modification specified in paragraph (h) of this AD. Paragraph (h) of this AD states that the preventive modification (including all applicable related investigative and corrective actions) terminates the inspections in paragraph (g) of this AD. This means all inspections (initial and repetitive) in paragraph (g) of this AD are not required if paragraph (h) of this AD is done. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

    Request for Clarification of Existing Repairs

    SWA requested clarification about existing repairs that meet the requirements of note (a) in tables 1 and 2 of paragraph l.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014. SWA also requested to extend the note to apply to existing repairs that address damage other than cracking, provided that the repairs are evaluated and approved by Boeing via an FAA Form 8100-9. In addition, SWA requested we clarify whether note (a) applies only to reinforcing repairs that encompass all twelve fastener locations at a window corner, or if note (a) also applies to existing non-reinforcing oversize hole repairs.

    We partially agree with the commenter. We agree with adding a paragraph to this AD to provide credit for previously approved repairs to address cracking issues, because Boeing Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) approved repairs installed prior the effective date of this AD are acceptable for terminating the initial and repetitive inspections in the area under the repair. We disagree with allowing any other repair as an alternative method of compliance (AMOC) because other repairs may or may not address the cracking issue. However, operators may request approval of an AMOC for these repairs using the procedures specified in paragraph (l) of this AD.

    We have added new paragraph (g)(1) to this AD to specify that the inspections required by the introductory text of paragraph (g) of this AD may be terminated in areas with repairs installed prior to the effective date of this AD, provided the repairs are reinforcing and address the cracking issue addressed in this AD, and installation was approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes ODA via FAA Form 8100-9.

    Request for Clarification of the Termination of Inspection for Repaired Area for Group 1 Airplanes

    All Nippon Airways (ANA) requested we clarify if, for Group 1 airplanes as identified in paragraph 1.A.1 “Effectivity,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, areas repaired using Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, is terminating action for the repaired area. ANA pointed out that table 1 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, includes this wording.

    We agree to provide clarification. Accomplishing a repair in accordance with Part 6 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, also terminates the inspection of the repaired area for Group 1 airplanes. We have added new paragraph (g)(2) to this AD to specify that repairs done in accordance with Part 6 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, terminate the inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD in only the repaired area for Group 1 airplanes only.

    Request To Include Provisions for Airplanes Previously Inspected, Modified, and/or Repaired

    SWA requested that we revise the NPRM to include provisions for airplanes that were previously inspected, modified, and/or repaired using step 3 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1306, dated September 22, 2010; Revision 1, dated March 17, 2010; Revision 2, dated October 25, 2011; or Revision 3, dated January 22, 2014; as terminating action for the inspections required by paragraph (g) of the proposed AD, as well as any documented deviations that were approved by the Boeing ODA via an FAA Form 8100-9.

    SWA stated that step 3 of Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1306 (all revisions) includes inspection, preventive modification, and repair instructions for the window corner locations addressed by the proposed AD. Figures 8 through 10 of Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1306 (all revisions) provide inspection and preventive modification instructions, which also include instructions for a fastener oversize repair, edge margin requirements, and window forging replacement. Figures 13 through 18 provide external reinforcing repair instructions. Figures 40 through 43 were added in Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1306, Revision 3, dated January 22, 2014, to incorporate the option to replace the window belt panels in lieu of accomplishing the window corner inspections, preventive modification, and approved repairs. SWA stated that it considers the instructions in Step 3 of Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1306 (all revisions) to meet the intent of the proposed AD since the instructions address and eliminate the unsafe condition that prompted the proposed AD.

    We do not agree to revise this AD because Boeing Service Bulletin 737-53-1306 is specific for SWA. We do not consider it appropriate to include various provisions in an AD applicable only to a single operator's unique configuration of affected airplanes. However, SWA may submit a request for an approval of an AMOC using the procedures specified in paragraph (l) of this AD. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

    Requests To Clarify Required Actions

    SWA and ANA requested that we clarify which actions specified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, are required. SWA stated that paragraph (j)(3) of the proposed AD (paragraph (l)(3) in this AD) indicates that steps identified as “RC” (Required for Compliance) in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, must be accomplished “in order to comply with this AD.”

    The commenters noted that there are “RC” steps in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, that are not clearly addressed in the proposed AD. SWA noted that Parts 7 and 8 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, contain steps that are identified as “RC;” however, the proposed AD does not mention the compliance times for these actions. SWA stated that Part 7 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, provides window frame replacement instructions, and steps 5 and 6 in Part 8 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, provide post-repair/post-modification inspection instructions for window frames with short edge margin conditions at the compliance times specified in tables 3, 4, and 8 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014. SWA assumed that actions identified in Table 3 and Table 8 are not required for compliance and that the actions identified in Table 4 are required for compliance. SWA also pointed out that step 10 of Part 2 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, is not “RC,” but could result in accomplishment of Part 7 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, which has “RC” steps.

    We agree to clarify the actions required by this AD. The post-modification and post-repair inspections identified in Table 4 and Table 5 in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, are required by this AD. The accomplishment instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, are unclear. Therefore, we have added new paragraph (i) to this AD to specify the actions identified in Table 4 and Table 5 in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014. We have redesignated subsequent paragraphs accordingly.

    Regarding Part 7 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, if operators chose to do the modification, certain actions specified in Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, are identified as “RC” steps. Within those steps, there is an on-condition action, which specifies to do Part 7; thus, step 1 of Part 7 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014 is required for compliance.

    Steps 2, 3, and 4 of Part 8 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, are referenced in Table 3 and Table 8 in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, and are not required by this AD. We have added new paragraph (k) of this AD to clarify that the post-modification inspections specified in Table 3 and Table 8 in paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, are airworthiness limitations that are required by maintenance and operational rules; therefore, these inspections are not required by this AD. We have redesignated subsequent paragraphs accordingly.

    Request To Clarify Office Responsible for AMOCs

    ANA requested that we clarify the office responsible for AMOCs. ANA stated that paragraph (j) of the proposed AD specifies that the Seattle ACO has the authority to approve AMOCs. However, ANA noted it has seen other ADs for out of production airplanes that refer to the Los Angeles ACO.

    We agree to clarify. The Los Angeles ACO is currently responsible for AMOCs for the airplanes identified in this AD. We have revised paragraphs (l)(1) and (l)(4) of this AD (paragraphs (j)(1) and (j)(4) of the proposed AD) to refer to the Los Angeles ACO.

    Requests for Clarification of Incorrect References

    Boeing and SWA requested that we clarify incorrect references in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014. The commenters stated that note (e) in Figure 5 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, incorrectly references table 2 of paragraph 3.B., Work Instructions, for post repair/modification inspections of short edge margins on window frames. The commenters stated that these references should be to table 3 of paragraph 3.B., Work Instructions. Boeing also identified the notes in figures 9, 10, 11, and 12 as additional locations where the reference to table 2 should be to table 3. The commenters requested that we clarify in this AD that repeat post repair and modification inspections for window frames with short edge margins are defined in table 3 rather than table 2 of paragraph 3.B, Work Instructions, in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014.

    We agree with the commenters that the identified table references in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, are incorrect. We have added new paragraphs (j)(3) and (j)(4) to this AD to specify the correct table references. We have also added new paragraph (j)(5) to this AD to clarify that operators must comply with the edge margin requirements in Table 3 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014. We have also revised paragraphs (g) and (h) of this AD to include references to paragraphs (j)(3), (j)(4), and (j)(5) of this AD.

    Effect of Winglets on Accomplishment of the Proposed Actions

    Aviation Partners Boeing stated that accomplishing Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST01219SE (http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgstc.nsf/0/be866b732f6cf31086257b9700692796/$FILE/ST01219SE.pdf) does not affect the actions specified in the NPRM.

    We concur with the commenter. We have redesignated paragraph (c) of the proposed AD as paragraph (c)(1) of this AD and added new paragraph (c)(2) to this AD to state that installation of STC ST01219SE does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this AD. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01219SE is installed, a “change in product” AMOC approval request is not necessary to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 39.17.

    Conclusion

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

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

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

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

    Related Service Information Under1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014. The service information describes procedures for HFEC inspections for fatigue cracking in certain fastener locations in the window corners of the window belt area, and related investigative and corrective actions. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 142 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

    Estimated Costs: Required Actions Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Cost on U.S. operators Inspection Up to 2,312 work-hours × $85 per hour = $196,520 per inspection cycle $0 Up to $196,520 per inspection cycle Up to $27,905,840 per inspection cycle. Estimated Costs: Required Actions Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Preventive modification 108 work-hours × $85 per hour = $9,180 $0 $9,180

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

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per product Repair Up to 18 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,530 per repair $0 Up to $1,530 per repair. Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2016-06-04 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-18435 ; Docket No. FAA-2015-0495; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-172-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective April 22, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    (1) This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 737-300, -400, and -500 series airplanes, certificated in any category, as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014.

    (2) Installation of Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST01219SE (http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgstc.nsf/0/be866b732f6cf31086257b9700692796/$FILE/ST01219SE.pdf) does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this AD. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01219SE is installed, a ”change in product” alternative method of compliance (AMOC) approval request is not necessary to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 39.17.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 53, Fuselage.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports of fatigue cracking at certain fastener locations in the window corners of the window belt area. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking around the fastener locations that could cause multiple window corner skin cracks, which could result in rapid decompression and loss of structural integrity of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Inspections

    At the applicable time specified in tables 1 and 2 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, except as required by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD: Do external surface high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspections for cracking of the skin at the 12 fastener locations at the upper forward and lower aft corners of each window between station (STA) 360 and STA 540 and at the upper aft and lower forward corners of each window between STA 727 and STA 908, left-side and right-side of the fuselage, at and between stringers S-11 and S-13; and all applicable related investigative and corrective actions; in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, except as required by paragraphs (j)(2), (j)(3), (j)(4), and (j)(5) of this AD. Do all applicable related investigative and corrective actions before further flight. Repeat the inspections at the applicable times specified in tables 1 and 2 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014. Accomplishing the preventive modification specified in paragraph (h) of this AD terminates the repetitive inspections required by this paragraph at the modified location only.

    (1) The inspections required by the introductory text of paragraph (g) of this AD may be terminated in areas with repairs installed prior to the effective date of this AD, provided the repairs are reinforcing and address the cracking issue identified in this AD, and installation was approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) via FAA Form 8100-9.

    (2) For Group 1 airplanes identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014: Window corner crack repairs terminate the inspection required by the introductory text of paragraph (g) of this AD in the repaired area only. The repair, including all applicable related investigative and corrective actions, must be done in accordance with Part 6 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, except as required by paragraphs (j)(2), (j)(3), (j)(4), and (j)(5) of this AD.

    (h) Preventive Modification

    Accomplishment of a preventive modification in the fastener locations in the window corners of the window belt area between STA 360 and STA 540 and between STA 727 and STA 908, left-side and right-side of the fuselage, at and between stringers S-11 and S-13, terminates the inspections required by paragraph (g) of this AD at the modified location only. The modification, including all applicable related investigative and corrective actions, must be done in accordance with Part 3 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, except as required by paragraphs (j)(2), (j)(3), (j)(4), and (j)(5) of this AD.

    (i) Repetitive Inspections, Replacements, and Corrective Actions

    For airplanes having any condition identified in Table 4 or Table 5 of paragraph l.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014: At the applicable times specified in Table 4 and Table 5 of paragraph l.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, do a window frame replacement or an internal detailed inspection for cracks of the window forging around the fastener collars, as applicable, and do all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, except as required by paragraphs (j)(2), (j)(3), (j)(4), and (j)(5) of this AD. Repeat the inspections at the applicable times specified in table 4 and table 5 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014.

    (j) Exceptions to the Service Information Specifications

    (1) Where Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, specifies a compliance time “after the original issue date of this service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance within the specified compliance time after the effective date of this AD.

    (2) Where Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, specifies to contact Boeing for repair instructions: Before further flight, repair the cracking using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (l) of this AD. Although Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, specifies to contact Boeing for repair instructions, and specifies that action as Required for Compliance (RC), this AD requires repair as specified in this paragraph.

    (3) Where note (e) of Figure 5 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, specifies to “Refer to Paragraph 3.B., Work Instructions, Table 2 for edge margin requirements,” operators must comply with Table 3 of paragraph 3.B., “Work Instructions,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, for edge margin requirements.

    (4) Where the notes for fastener codes A and B in figures 9, 10, 11, and 12 of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, refer to “Paragraph 3.B., Work Instructions, Table 2” for edge margin requirements, operators must comply with Table 3 of paragraph 3.B., “Work Instructions,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, for edge margin requirements.

    (5) Where note (e) of figures 6, 7, and 8 and step 1.a.(1) of Part 5 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, specifies to “Refer to Paragraph 3.B., Work Instructions, Table 3 for edge margin requirements,” operators must comply with Table 3 of paragraph 3.B., “Work Instructions,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, for edge margin requirements.

    (k) Post-Repair Inspections/Post-Modification Inspections

    Table 3 and Table 8 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014, specify post-modification airworthiness limitation inspections in compliance to 14 CFR 25.571(a)(3) at the modified locations, which support compliance with 14 CFR 121.1109(c)(2) or 129.109(b)(2). As airworthiness limitations, these inspections are required by maintenance and operational rules. It is therefore unnecessary to mandate them in this AD. Deviations from these inspections require FAA approval, but do not require an alternative method of compliance.

    (l) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (m) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected]

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

    (3) Except as required by paragraph (j)(2) of this AD: For service information that contains steps that are labeled as RC, the provisions of paragraphs (l)(3)(i) and (l)(3)(ii) of this AD apply.

    (i) The steps labeled as RC, including substeps under an RC step and any figures identified in an RC step, must be done to comply with this AD. An AMOC is required for any deviations to RC steps, including substeps and identified figures.

    (ii) Steps not labeled as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the RC steps, including substeps and identified figures, can still be done as specified, and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition.

    (4) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair, modification, or alteration required by this AD if it is approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes ODA that has been authorized by the Manager, Los Angeles ACO, to make those findings. To be approved, the repair method, modification deviation, or alteration deviation must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

    (m) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Jennifer Tsakoumakis, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 3960 Paramount Blvd., Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5264; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

    (n) 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) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-53A1328, dated July 22, 2014.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com.

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

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

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 7, 2016. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05842 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE 15 CFR Part 2017 [Docket Number USTR-2016-0002] RIN 0350-AA07 Establishment of a Petition Process To Review the Eligibility of Countries Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) AGENCY:

    Office of the United States Trade Representative.

    ACTION:

    Interim final rule with request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 (TPEA) requires the President to establish a petition process to review the eligibility of countries for the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). This authority has been delegated to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

    DATES:

    The interim final rule is effective on March 18, 2016. USTR will accept comments on the interim final rule in writing on or before April 18, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    All comments must be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov, docket number USTR-2016-0002.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For procedural questions, please contact Yvonne Jamison, Trade Policy Staff Committee, at 202-395-3475. Direct all other questions to Constance Hamilton, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for African Affairs, at [email protected] or 202-395-9514.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    The AGOA (Title I of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-200) (19 U.S.C. 2466a et seq.), as amended, contains provisions for enhanced trade benefits for eligible sub-Saharan African countries.

    Section 506(c) of the TPEA, which was signed into law on June 29, 2015 (Pub. L. 114-27, sec. 105(d)(3), 129 Stat. 366-367)), requires the President to establish a process to allow any interested person, at any time, to file a petition with USTR concerning the compliance of any sub-Saharan African country listed in section 107 of the AGOA (19 U.S.C. 3706), with the eligibility requirements set forth in section 104 of the AGOA (19 U.S.C. 3703) and the eligibility criteria set forth in section 502 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2462). On February 26, 2016, the President delegated this authority to USTR. See E.O. 13720 of Feb. 26, 2016, 81 FR 11087, Mar. 2, 2016.

    II. Analysis of the Interim Final Rule

    The interim final rule adds 15 CFR part 2017. The new Part 2017 establishes a petition process that supplements the annual (normal cycle) request for public comments on whether a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country is meeting the eligibility criteria and requirements of the AGOA program (see, e.g., 80 FR 48951, Aug. 14, 2015).

    Section 2017.0 defines acronyms used throughout Part 2017.

    Section 2017.1 permits any interested party to submit a petition, at any time, regarding whether a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country meets the eligibility requirements in section 104 of the AGOA and the eligibility criteria in section 502 of the Trade Act of 1974. It requires that a petition adequately identify the country and the concern. A petition indicating the existence of exceptional circumstances warranting an out-of-cycle review must contain a statement of reasons explaining why an out-of-cycle review is warranted.

    Section 2017.2 explains how USTR will process petitions. USTR will consider petitions filed in accordance with the public comment period of the annual (normal cycle) review of all beneficiary countries in conjunction with that review. USTR will consider petitions filed outside of that time frame in the next (normal cycle) annual review. If USTR receives a petition outside of the annual (normal cycle) review process that indicates the existence of exceptional circumstances, the AGOA Implementation Subcommittee will consider whether there is a basis for the initiation of an out-of-cycle review and make recommendations to the Trade Policy Staff Committee, which will, in turn, advise the U.S. Trade Representative. If the U.S. Trade Representative finds that there are exceptional circumstances warranting an out-of-cycle review, within 30 days of that determination USTR will announce a schedule for the review in the Federal Register.

    Section 2017.3 requires USTR to publish a summary of the actions taken in response to petitions in the Federal Register. The notice also will include a list of pending petitions upon which no decision has been made.

    Section 2017.4 provides that all submitted materials will be made available for public inspection at www.regulations.gov other than appropriately designated confidential business information.

    The TPEA extended the AGOA until September 30, 2025. See Pub. L. 114-27, sec. 103, 129 Stat. 364, June 29, 2015. Section 2017.5 provides that the AGOA petition process will expire on that date unless extended by statute.

    III. Requirements for Submission

    All submissions must be in English and must be submitted electronically via http://www.regulations.gov. USTR will not accept hand-delivered submissions. To make a submission using http://www.regulations.gov, enter the docket number USTR-2016-0002 in the “Search for” field on the home page and click “Search.” The site will provide a search-results page listing all documents associated with this docket. Find a reference to this notice by selecting “Notice” under “Document Type” in the “Filter Results by” section on the left side of the screen and click on the link entitled “Comment Now.” The http://www.regulations.gov Web site offers the option of providing comments by filling in a “Type Comment” field or by attaching a document using the “Upload file(s)” field. (For further information on using the http://www.regulations.gov Web site, please consult the resources provided on the Web site by clicking on “How to Use This Site” on the left side of the home page.) The http://www.regulations.gov Web site allows users to provide comments by filling in a “Type Comment” field or by attaching a document using the “Upload file(s)” field. The AGOA Implementation Subcommittee prefers that submissions be provided in an attached document.

    Business Confidential Submissions

    USTR will grant business confidential status to information you submit if you certify that you would not customarily release the information to the public and clearly designate it as confidential business information. You must mark your submission “BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL” at the top and bottom of the cover page and on each succeeding page, and the submission should indicate, via brackets, the specific information that is confidential. Additionally, you must include “Business Confidential” in the “Type Comment” field. If you submit a comment containing business confidential information, you also must submit a separate non-confidential version that is not a part of the same submission as the confidential version, indicating where confidential information has been redacted. The non-confidential version will be placed in the docket and open to public inspection.

    Public Inspection

    All comments we receive, except for information granted “business confidential” status, will be available for public viewing without change, including any personal information you provide, such as your name and address. You can find the comments by entering docket number USTR-2016-0002 in the search field at www.regulations.gov.

    IV. Notice and Public Participation

    USTR is promulgating these changes as an interim final rule in order to meet the statutory deadline for establishment of a petition process. Accordingly, USTR for good cause finds that the notice and publication requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act are unnecessary. See 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B). However, because this type of rulemaking generally requires notice and receipt of public comment, USTR will accept written comments on the interim final rule on or before April 18, 2016.

    V. Effective Date

    For the reasons stated in part IV above, USTR for good cause finds that the interim final rule should become effective on March 18, 2016. See 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

    VI. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    USTR is adopting 15 CFR part 2017 in the form of an interim final rule and not as a proposed rule. Therefore, the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act do not apply. See 5 U.S.C. 601(2), 603(a).

    VII. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The interim final rule does not contain any collections of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. See 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. Consequently, USTR has not submitted any information to the Office of Management and Budget for review.

    List of Subjects in 15 CFR Part 2017

    Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business information, Foreign trade.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, USTR amends 15 CFR by adding part 2017 to read as follows: PART 2017—PETITION PROCESS TO REVIEW ELIGIBILITY OF COUNTRIES UNDER THE AFRICAN GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY ACT (AGOA) Sec. 2017.0 Definitions. 2017.1 Petition for review. 2017.2 Action following receipt of a petition. 2017.3 Publication regarding petitions. 2017.4 Public inspection. 2017.5 Expiration. Authority:

    19 U.S.C. 2466a et seq.; Pub. L. 114-27, sec. 105(d)(3), 129 Stat. 366-367, June 29, 2015; E.O. 13720 of Feb. 26, 2016, 81 FR 11087, Mar. 2, 2016

    § 2017.0 Definitions.

    For purposes of this part:

    AGOA means the African Growth and Opportunity Act, as amended (Title I of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-200) (19 U.S.C. 2466a et seq.).

    TPC means the Trade Policy Committee.

    TPRG means the Trade Policy Review Group.

    TPSC means the Trade Policy Staff Committee.

    USTR means the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

    § 2017.1 Petition for review.

    (a) Any person may submit a petition to USTR in accordance with this section with respect to the compliance of any country listed in section 107 of the AGOA (19 U.S.C. 3706), with the eligibility requirements set forth in section 104 of the AGOA (19 U.S.C. 3703) and the eligibility criteria set forth in section 502 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2462).

    (b) A petition must:

    (1) Identify the sub-Saharan African country that would be subject to the review;

    (2) Indicate the specific eligibility requirement or criterion that the petitioner believes warrants review; and

    (3) Include all available supporting arguments and information to explain why review is warranted.

    (c) A petition requesting an out-of-cycle review under section 111(d)(4) of the AGOA (19 U.S.C. 2466a(d)(4)) must contain a statement indicating the existence of exceptional circumstances warranting the out-of-cycle review.

    (d) The TPSC may request additional information.

    § 2017.2 Action following receipt of a petition.

    (a) USTR will consider a petition received in accordance with the schedule published in the Federal Register for the annual (normal cycle) AGOA review process under section 111 of the AGOA (19 U.S.C. 2466a) in conjunction with that annual review.

    (b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, USTR will consider a petition received at any time other than the time described in paragraph (a) of this section, in accordance with the schedule published in the Federal Register for the next annual (normal cycle) AGOA review process.

    (c)(1) If a petition received at any time other than the time described in paragraph (a), requests an out-of-cycle review under section 111(d)(4) of the AGOA (19 U.S.C. 2466a(d)(4)), within 60 days:

    (i) The AGOA Implementation Subcommittee will review the petition and report to the TPSC whether there are exceptional circumstances warranting an out-of-cycle review;

    (ii) The TPSC will conduct further review as necessary;

    (iii) The TPSC Chair will report the results of the TPSC review to the U.S. Trade Representative; and

    (iv) The U.S. Trade Representative may convene the TPRG or the TPC for further review of the TPSC recommendations and other decisions.

    (2) If the U.S. Trade Representative finds that there are exceptional circumstances warranting an out-of-cycle review, within 30 days of that determination USTR will announce a schedule for the review in the Federal Register. The schedule will include the deadline and guidelines for any party to submit written comments supporting, opposing or otherwise commenting on any proposed action.

    (3) For any out-of-cycle review initiated under this paragraph (c), the AGOA Implementation Subcommittee will consider public input received by the applicable deadline and any other relevant information and report to the TPSC. The TPSC will conduct further review as necessary and prepare recommendations for the U.S. Trade Representative. The U.S. Trade Representative may convene the TPRG or the TPC for further review of recommendations and other decisions. The U.S. Trade Representative will make recommendations to the President, which may include a recommendation that no action be taken.

    § 2017.3 Publication regarding petitions.

    USTR will publish in the Federal Register:

    (a) A list of actions taken in response to a petition, such as the publication of a Presidential proclamation modifying the designation of a country or the application of duty-free treatment with respect to articles from a country pursuant to the AGOA; and

    (b) A list of petitions upon which no decision was made, and thus which are pending further review.

    § 2017.4 Public inspection.

    USTR will make publicly available at www.regulations.gov:

    (a) Any written request, brief or similar submission of information made pursuant to this part; and

    (b) Any stenographic record of any public hearing that may be held pursuant to this part.

    (c)(1) USTR will grant business confidential status and withhold from public disclosure the information submitted if the petitioner certifies that the information customarily would not be released to the public and clearly designates the information as confidential business information.

    (2) To request business confidential status the petitioner must mark the submission “BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL” at the top and bottom of the cover page and on each succeeding page, and the submission should indicate, via brackets, the specific information that is confidential.

    (3) If the submission contains business confidential information, the petitioner also must submit a non-confidential version or summary, indicating where confidential information has been redacted, and a written explanation of why the material should be protected.

    (4) The non-confidential version or summary will be made publicly available at www.regulations.gov.

    (5) A request for exemption of any particular information may be denied if it is determined that such information is not entitled to exemption under law. In the event of such a denial, the information will be returned to the person who submitted it, with a statement of the reasons for the denial.

    § 2017.5 Expiration.

    The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 extended the AGOA until September 30, 2025 (Pub. L. 114-27, sec. 103, 129 Stat. 364). Accordingly, this Part will expire on that date unless extended by statute.

    Florizelle Liser, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for African Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06127 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3290-F6-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Parts 189 and 700 [Docket No. FDA-2004-N-0188; (Formerly 2004N-0081)] RIN 0910-AF47 Use of Materials Derived From Cattle in Human Food and Cosmetics AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; adoption of interim final rule as final with amendments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is issuing a final rule prohibiting the use of certain cattle material to address the potential risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in human food, including dietary supplements, and cosmetics. We have designated the following items as prohibited cattle materials: Specified risk materials (SRMs), the small intestine from all cattle (unless the distal ileum has been removed), material from nonambulatory disabled cattle, material from cattle not inspected and passed, or mechanically separated (MS) (Beef). We are taking this action to minimize human exposure to certain cattle material that could potentially contain the BSE agent.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on April 18, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Johnny Braddy, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-315), Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740, 240-402-1709.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Executive Summary A. Purpose of the Rule

    BSE is a fatal neurological disorder of cattle that has a long incubation period (2 to 8 years). It is transmitted when cattle ingest protein meal containing the BSE infectious agent. Cattle affected by BSE are usually apart from the herd and will show progressively deteriorating behavioral and neurological signs. Cattle will react excessively to noise or touch and will eventually stumble, fall, and experience seizures, coma, and death. Studies have linked variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in humans to exposure to the BSE agent, most likely through human consumption of beef products contaminated with the BSE agent. There is no known treatment of vCJD, and it is invariably fatal.

    The final rule completes a rulemaking process that began with an interim final rule (IFR) in 2004 and was followed by IFRs in 2005 and 2008. The final rule establishes measures to prohibit the use of certain cattle material in FDA-regulated human food and cosmetics to address the potential risk of BSE. Because the United States has had measures in place to prevent the introduction and spread of BSE, including those affirmed in this rule, the risk of human exposure to the BSE agent from FDA-regulated human food and cosmetics is negligible.

    B. Legal Authority

    We are issuing these regulations under the adulteration provisions in sections 402, 409, 601, and under section 701 (21 U.S.C. 342, 348, 361, and 371) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).

    C. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Rule

    The final rule provides definitions for prohibited cattle materials and prohibits their use in human food, dietary supplements, and cosmetics, to address the potential risk of BSE. We designate the following items as prohibited cattle materials: SRMs, the small intestine from all cattle unless the distal ileum has been properly removed, material from nonambulatory disabled cattle, material from cattle not inspected and passed, or MS (Beef). We also confirm that milk and milk products, hides and hide-derived products, tallow that contains no more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities, and tallow derivatives are not prohibited cattle materials. Further, we are amending the final rule to provide a definition of gelatin and to clarify that gelatin is not considered a prohibited cattle material under 21 CFR 189.5(a)(1) and 700.27(a)(1) as long as it is manufactured using the customary industry processes specified. Finally, we are finalizing the process for designating a country as not subject to BSE-related restrictions applicable to FDA regulated human food and cosmetics. Specific requirements regarding record maintenance, retention, and accessibility, for manufacturers and processors of a human food or cosmetic product made with material from cattle were previously finalized (see 71 FR 59653).

    D. Costs and Benefits

    This final rule reaffirms the provisions in the 2004 IFR, as well as the 2005 and 2008 amendments, to address the potential risk of BSE in human food including dietary supplements, and in cosmetics. As the final rule's coverage does not differ from the 2004 IFR and the 2005 and 2008 amendments, no additional costs or benefits will accrue from this rulemaking.

    Table of Contents I. Introduction—what is BSE? II. Background—what Is the history for this rulemaking? III. What is the legal authority for this rulemaking? IV. What comments did we receive? What are our responses? A. Definitions (§§ 189.5(a) and 700.27(a)) B. Requirements (§§ 189.5(b) and 700.27(b)) C. Records (§§ 189.5(c) and 700.27(c)) D. Adulteration (§§ 189.5(d) and 700.27(d)) E. Process for Designating Countries (§§ 189.5(e) and 700.27(e)) F. Other Comments V. Regulatory Impact Analysis A. Overview B. Regulatory Flexibility Act C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 D. Unfunded Mandatory Reform Act of 1995 VI. Environmental Impact, No Significant Impact VII. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 VIII. Federalism IX. References I. Introduction—what is BSE?

    BSE is a progressive and fatal neurological disorder of cattle caused by an unconventional transmissible agent. BSE belongs to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). In the late stages of disease, all TSEs affect the central nervous system of infected animals. However, the distribution of infectivity in the body of the animal and mode of transmission differ according to the species and TSE agent. Other types of TSEs include scrapie in sheep and goats, chronic wasting disease in deer and elk, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans.

    BSE has a long incubation period (2 to 8 years), and is most likely transmitted when tissues from infected cattle are rendered and processed into protein meal, which is then used as an additive in livestock feed (Refs. 1 and 2). The clinical signs of BSE include behavioral, gait, and postural abnormalities. Cattle with the disease often present with increased apprehension, increased reaction to sound and touch, and a swaying gait. These signs may be accompanied by subtle changes in the normal behavior of the cow, such as separation from the herd while at pasture, disorientation, staring, and excessive licking of the nose or flanks. The disease progresses to stumbling and falling, and ends with seizures, coma, and death (Ref. 3).

    Scientific and epidemiological studies have linked vCJD in humans to exposure to the BSE agent, most likely through human consumption of beef products contaminated with the agent. In several cases that occurred in the United Kingdom (UK), it is believed that the persons became infected through transfusion of blood from an asymptomatic infected donor. There is no known treatment of vCJD, and it is invariably fatal (Ref. 4).

    As of June 2, 2014, vCJD has been identified in 229 patients from 12 countries. One hundred seventy-seven probable and confirmed cases of vCJD have been reported in the UK, 27 in France, 5 in Spain, 4 in Ireland, 4 in the United States, 3 in the Netherlands, 2 in Portugal, 2 in Italy, 2 in Canada, and one each from Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan (Ref. 5). In two of the four U.S. cases, exposure to the BSE agent is believed to have occurred while the individuals were residing in the UK. A third case was likely exposed while residing in Saudi Arabia. An investigation of the fourth case found that the patient's exposure to the BSE agent likely occurred before the patient moved to the United States (Ref. 5). In the United States, where measures to prevent the introduction and spread of BSE have been in place for some time, the risk of human exposure to the BSE agent is extremely low. Indeed, in May 2013, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) recognized the effectiveness of these mitigation measures and categorized the United States as negligible BSE risk, in accordance with Chapter 11.4 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (Refs. 6 and 7).

    II. Background—what is the history for this rulemaking?

    In the Federal Register of July 14, 2004 (69 FR 42256), we issued an IFR entitled “Use of Materials Derived From Cattle in Human Food and Cosmetics” (also referred to as “the 2004 IFR”) to prohibit the use of certain cattle material, to address the potential risk of BSE in human food, including dietary supplements, and cosmetics. The 2004 IFR designated the following items as prohibited cattle materials: SRMs, the small intestine from all cattle, material from nonambulatory disabled cattle, material from cattle not inspected and passed or MS (Beef). SRMs include the brain, skull, eyes, trigeminal ganglia, spinal cord, vertebral column (excluding the vertebrae of the tail, the transverse processes of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, and the wings of the sacrum), and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of cattle 30 months of age and older, and the tonsils and distal ileum of the small intestine from all cattle. These restrictions were codified at § 189.5, “Prohibited cattle materials,” and § 700.27, “Use of prohibited cattle materials in cosmetic products.” The requirements in §§ 189.5 and 700.27 are almost identical, except that the latter pertains only to cosmetic products.

    Previously, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published an IFR in the Federal Register on January 12, 2004 (69 FR 1862) (FSIS IFR). The FSIS IFR prohibited certain cattle material from use in meat and meat products. The FSIS IFR designated the same items as SRMs as specified in FDA's 2004 IFR. In the Federal Register of July 13, 2007, FSIS affirmed the FSIS IFR with amendments (72 FR 38700) (“2007 FSIS affirmation”). In the Federal Register of September 7, 2005 (70 FR 53063), we amended our regulations to permit the use of the small intestine of cattle in human food and cosmetics provided the distal ileum portion has been removed properly (also referred to as the “2005 amendment”). The 2005 amendment also clarified that milk and milk products, hides and hide-derived products, and tallow derivatives are not prohibited cattle materials, and we provided for a different method for determining impurities in tallow. FSIS also amended its regulations on September 7, 2005, to permit the use of the small intestine of cattle in human food provided the distal ileum is removed properly (70 FR 53043).

    In the Federal Register of April 17, 2008 (73 FR 20785), we amended our regulations again to provide a process for designating certain countries as not subject to certain BSE-related restrictions (also referred to as the “2008 amendment”). FSIS provided a similar country-specific exception from certain BSE restrictions covered in its regulations.

    We also published a notice in the Federal Register on March 4, 2013 (78 FR 14012) (also referred to as the 2013 notice), reopening the comment period for the interim final rule. We invited comment on our assessment of recently published peer-reviewed scientific studies in which trace amounts of BSE infectivity were found in parts of the small intestines other than the distal ileum of cattle with both experimental and natural occurring BSE.

    In this rule, we are finalizing, with changes related to gelatin, the 2004 IFR, as amended in 2005 and 2008, to restrict certain cattle materials used in human foods and cosmetics that carry a risk of transmitting BSE. The final rule complements similar restrictions that apply to meat and meat products regulated by USDA.

    III. What is the legal authority for this rulemaking?

    We are issuing these regulations under the adulteration provisions in sections 402, 409, 601, and under section 701 of the FD&C Act.

    Under section 402(a)(3) of the FD&C Act, a food is deemed adulterated “if it consists in whole or in part of any filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance, or if it is otherwise unfit for food.” The term “otherwise unfit for food” in section 402(a)(3) of the FD&C Act does not require that a food be filthy, putrid, or decomposed for it to be “otherwise unfit for food.” A food can be “otherwise unfit for food” based on health risks. Further, the possibility of disease transmission to humans from exposure to prohibited cattle material, SRM, MS Beef, material from nonambulatory disabled cattle, and material from cattle not inspected and passed) may present a risk to human health. Under section 402(a)(3) of the FD&C Act, these materials are unfit for food. Under section 402(a)(4) of the FD&C Act, a food is adulterated “if it has been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health.” The failure to ensure that food is prepared, packed, or held under conditions in which prohibited cattle materials do not contaminate the food constitutes an insanitary condition whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health and thus renders the food adulterated under section 402(a)(4) of the FD&C Act. Under section 402(a)(5) of the FD&C Act, food is deemed adulterated if it is, in whole or in part, the product of an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter. Some cattle are not inspected and passed because they have died before slaughter. Material from cattle that die otherwise than by slaughter is adulterated under section 402(a)(5) of the FD&C Act. As further explained in the 2004 IFR, prohibited cattle materials for use in human food are food additives subject to section 409 of the FD&C Act, except when used as dietary ingredients in dietary supplements. The use or intended use of any prohibited cattle material in human food, except for dietary ingredients in dietary supplements, causes the material and the food to be adulterated under section 402(a)(2)(C) of the FD&C Act.

    Under section 601(c) of the FD&C Act, a cosmetic is adulterated “if it has been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health.” The failure to ensure that a cosmetic is prepared, packed, or held under conditions in which prohibited cattle materials do not contaminate the cosmetic constitutes an insanitary condition whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health and, thus, renders the cosmetic adulterated under section 601(c) of the FD&C Act.

    Under section 701(a) of the FD&C Act, we may issue regulations for the efficient enforcement of the FD&C Act. A regulation that requires measures to prevent human food from being unfit for food, from being or bearing an unsafe food additive, from being the product of an animal that died otherwise than by slaughter, and to prevent human food and cosmetics from being held under insanitary conditions, allows for efficient enforcement of the FD&C Act.

    IV. What comments did we receive? What are our responses?

    We received approximately 1,464 comments, each containing one or more issues, to the 2004 IFR, and approximately 20 comments, each containing one or more issues, to the 2005 and 2008 amendments, and 31 comments to the 2013 notice. Animal welfare advocacy organizations, private consultants, consumer groups, foreign governments, Members of Congress, industry, and consumers submitted comments. Comments previously addressed in the 2005 and 2008 amendments, and comments addressing issues outside the scope of this rulemaking (e.g., those addressing potential concerns regarding diseases other than BSE; those addressing animal welfare concerns, which are covered in the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1978 (7 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.) and administered by USDA); the prohibition of the use of materials from nonambulatory animals other than cattle (i.e., deer, elk, and sheep); and those responding to rules issued by other federal agencies will not be addressed in this document.

    To make it easier to identify the comments and FDA's responses, the word “Comment,” in parentheses, appears before the comment's description and the word “Response,” in parentheses, appears before FDA's response. Each comment is numbered to help distinguish between different comments. The number assigned to each comment is purely for organizational purposes and does not signify the comment's value or importance.

    A. Definitions (§§ 189.5(a) and 700.27(a))

    Sections 189.5(a) and 700.27(a) state that the definitions and interpretations of terms in section 201 of the FD&C Act apply (21 U.S.C. 321) and also define the following terms: “prohibited cattle materials,” “inspected and passed,” “mechanically separated,” “nonambulatory disabled cattle,” “specified risk material,” “tallow,” “tallow derivative,” and “gelatin.” Several comments pertained to our regulatory definitions, and we discuss those comments here.

    1. “Prohibited Cattle Materials” (§§ 189.5(a)(1) and 700.27(a)(1))

    The 2004 interim final rule defined “prohibited cattle materials” as specified risk materials, small intestine of all cattle, material from nonambulatory disabled cattle, material from cattle not inspected and passed, or MS (Beef). The 2004 IFR also defined “prohibited cattle material” as not to include tallow that contains “no more than 0.15 percent hexane-insoluble impurities and tallow derivatives.” The 2005 amendment made an exception in the case of the small intestine such that the small intestine would not be considered prohibited cattle material if the distal ileum is removed by a procedure that removes at least 80 inches of the uncoiled and trimmed small intestine in a manner specified in § 189.5(b)(2) (or, in the case of § 700.27, § 700.27(b)(2)) and also changed “hexane-insoluble” to “insoluble” in the definition of “tallow.” The 2005 amendment also excluded hides and hide-derived products, and milk and milk products from the definition of “prohibited cattle materials.” The 2008 amendment provided that FDA may designate a country as not subject to certain BSE-related restrictions applicable to FDA regulated human food and cosmetics.

    We did not receive comments specific to the definition of “prohibited cattle materials at §§ 189.5(a)(1) and 700.27(a)(1), and we have finalized that portion of the definition without change.

    a. Tallow, Tallow Derivatives, Gelatin, Hides and Hide-Derived Products, and Milk and Milk Products (§§ 189.5(a)(1)(i) and 700.27(a)(1)(i))

    (Comment 1) One comment supported the exclusion of hides and hide-derived products from the definition of prohibited cattle materials but said that we need to address the possible cross-contamination of hides and other non-prohibited cattle materials with prohibited cattle materials during slaughter and processing.

    (Response 1) As noted in the 2005 amendment, manufacturers and processors must take precautions to avoid cross contamination of hides and other non-prohibited cattle material with prohibited cattle material during slaughter and processing (70 FR 53063 at 53066). Further, food establishments are subject to the current good manufacturing practice requirements (CGMPs) at 21 CFR part 110, and the failure to take adequate measures to prevent cross-contamination could result in insanitary conditions whereby the food may be rendered injurious to health and, therefore, adulterated under section 402(a)(4) of the FD&C Act.

    (Comment 2) While most comments found the clarification as to the allowable composition of tallow source material used in tallow derivatives in the preamble to the 2005 amendment helpful, one comment suggested that we revise the definition of “prohibited cattle materials” to state that: “Prohibited cattle materials do not include tallow that contains no more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities, tallow derivatives (regardless of the source of tallow), hides and hide-derived products, and milk and milk products.”

    (Response 2) We understand that the intent of the parenthetical “regardless of the source of the tallow” is to make clear that the chemical processes (hydrolysis, transesterification, and saponification) involving high temperature and pressure are sufficiently rigorous even if the starting tallow is, for example, inedible tallow or tallow containing greater than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities. We agree that the processes to produce tallow derivatives are sufficiently rigorous, but believe that by excluding tallow derivatives, without the parenthetical, from the definition of prohibited cattle material, it is clear that we are excluding all tallow derivatives. Prohibited cattle material does not include tallow derivatives. We do not believe the parenthetical “regardless of the source of tallow” is needed.

    (Comment 3) One comment would revise the definition of prohibited cattle materials to emphasize the rigorousness of the processing involved in the production of tallow derivatives (i.e., transesterification or saponification) to minimize the risk of transmitting TSE agents. The comment was concerned that the “lack of alignment” between U.S. and non-U.S. requirements and guidance with respect to tallow derivatives will continue to affect the acceptance of U.S.-origin materials in non-U.S. markets.

    (Response 3) We decline to revise the definition as suggested by the comment. Our objective in developing our BSE regulations for human food and cosmetics, including these involving tallow derivatives, is to apply appropriate measures to safeguard life and health and be no more trade restrictive than necessary to achieve the food and cosmetic safety objective. As to the degree of processing involved in producing tallow derivatives, we addressed this subject in the preamble to the 2004 IFR (69 FR 42256 at 42261) and discussed how tallow derivatives are produced by subjecting tallow to chemical processes (hydrolysis, transesterification, and saponification) that involve high temperature and pressure. We further noted in the 2004 IFR that FDA's Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (TSEAC) considered the safety of tallow and tallow derivatives in 1998 and “determined that the rigorous conditions of manufacture are sufficient to further reduce the BSE risk in tallow derivatives” (69 FR 42256 at 42261).

    We have revised the list of materials not considered prohibited cattle materials at §§ 189.5(a)(1)(i) and 700.27(a)(1)(i) to include gelatin. To ensure that only gelatin derived from customary industry processes qualifies for this exclusion, §§ 189.5(a)(8) and 700.27(a)(8) of the final rule provide that “Gelatin means a product that has been obtained by the partial hydrolysis of collagen derived from hides, connective tissue, and/or bone bones of cattle and swine. Gelatin may be either Type A (derived from an acid-treated precursor) or Type B (derived from an alkali-treated precursor) that has gone through processing steps that include filtration and sterilization or an equivalent process in terms of infectivity reduction.”

    There has been increasing recognition based on scientific evidence as to the safety of gelatin for human use irrespective of the source materials from which it is made. For example, laboratory studies have indicated that gelatin manufacturing processes are capable of reducing inoculated BSE prion titers by at least six to eight orders of magnitude (Ref. 8). The OIE Code does not recommend any restrictions, regardless of the BSE status of a country, in trade of gelatin prepared from bones and intended for food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals including biologicals, or medical devices, among other items (Ref. 9). A 2006 scientific panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)—reviewing a 2003 EFSA Scientific Steering Committee opinion—concluded that there was no support for prohibition of or restrictions on the use of skull and vertebrae of cattle that had passed ante mortem and post mortem inspections in the production of gelatin (Ref. 10). Based on this evidence, we conclude that gelatin manufactured from bovine raw materials using customary industry processes presents a negligible risk of transmitting the agent that causes BSE.

    (b) Cattle Materials Inspected and Passed From Designated Countries (§§ 189.5(a)(1)(ii) and 700.27(a)(1)(ii))

    (Comment 4) One comment supporting a mechanism to designate countries as not subject to certain BSE-related restrictions (provided under § 189.5(a)(1)(ii)) expressed concerns that interested countries would need to go through separate application and evaluation processes at USDA and FDA for a country to receive a USDA and FDA-granted designation. The comment requested that the application and evaluation procedures used by the different U.S. regulating agencies be streamlined to reduce the potential duplication of time and effort by the applying country.

    (Response 4) We understand the concern expressed by the comment. However, as we explained in the 2008 amendment, FDA and USDA have different regulatory responsibilities with respect to preventing BSE and ensuring food safety (73 FR 20785 at 20788). While we have our own evaluation process, we will consult with USDA as part of this process (73 FR 20785 at 20788). Further, we will take into consideration available risk assessments of other competent authorities in conducting our evaluations (73 FR 20785 at 20788.). Although not required, a previous BSE evaluation performed by USDA's FSIS or Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), or by OIE, or by another country or competent authority, could be used by FDA as part of our review (73 FR 20785 at 20788).

    (Comment 5) Several comments from the gelatin industry requested that gelatin be excluded from consideration as a prohibited cattle material. The comments noted that standard industry practice is to produce gelatin using raw materials from animals inspected and passed for human consumption, that SRMs and materials from nonambulatory disabled cattle are excluded, that the safety of gelatin is based on adherence to industry practices, as well as our CGMPs and USDA regulations, and that gelatin made from bovine raw materials undergoes manufacturing processes that inactivate possible BSE infectivity, citing studies by the European Commission (EC) and the Gelatine Manufacturers of Europe. Several comments noted that TSEAC reviewed these studies and concluded on July 17, 2003, that these studies “demonstrate a reduction in infectivity that is sufficient to protect human health.”

    (Response 5) We agree with the comments and have revised §§ 189.5(a)(1)(i) and 700.27(a)(1)(i) to include gelatin in the list of materials not considered “prohibited cattle materials.” We are making this change because gelatin manufactured according to customary industry processes present a negligible risk of transmitting the BSE agent and should not be considered “prohibited cattle materials.”

    (Comment 6) Several comments took issue with an FDA statement appearing in the background section to the 2004 IFR that provided certain products, such as gelatin and collagen, “have traditionally been produced from cattle material deemed inedible by the USDA” (69 FR 42256 at 42261). The comments pointed out that U.S. raw materials used to produce gelatin come from cattle that have been inspected and passed by USDA for human consumption and are produced in accordance with FDA and USDA regulations, and in accordance with applicable FDA human food CGMPs. These comments further noted that only safe raw materials are used to produce gelatin and that SRMs and materials from nonambulatory disabled cattle are excluded. One comment specifically requested that we publish a correction in the Federal Register clarifying that gelatin is not produced from inedible material.

    (Response 6) The quoted statement was included in a broader discussion explaining in part why we were extending similar protections to FDA-regulated human foods and cosmetics as USDA had already imposed in USDA-inspected facilities. We agree that gelatin is manufactured from raw materials that have been inspected and passed for human consumption.

    (Comment 7) Several comments requested that we clarify whether our gelatin guidance document published in 1997 (Ref. 11) will be revoked or revised in light of this regulation. The comments expressed concern that gelatin manufacturers would face an unnecessary regulatory burden depending on whether the product the gelatin is used in is a food product or dietary supplement, or a pharmaceutical product, or for other FDA-regulated uses. The comments also requested that we explicitly state that our gelatin guidance document is no longer applicable for products intended for oral consumption or cosmetic use by humans.

    (Response 7) This final rule supersedes the 1997 guidance with respect to human food and cosmetics. We intend to review the 1997 guidance and will consider withdrawing or revising the guidance, as appropriate, consistent with this final rule.

    2. “Inspected and Passed” (§§ 189.5(a)(2) and 700.27(a)(2))

    The regulations define “inspected and passed” as meaning that the product has been inspected and passed for human consumption by the appropriate regulatory authority, and at the time it was inspected and passed, it was found to be not adulterated. We did not receive comments specific to our definition of “inspected and passed,” and we have finalized the definition without change.

    3. “Mechanically Separated (MS) (Beef)” (§§ 189.5(a)(3) and 700.27(a)(3))

    The regulations define “mechanically separated (MS) (beef)” as a meat food product that is finely comminuted, resulting from the mechanical separation and removal of most bone from the attached skeletal muscle of cattle carcasses or parts of carcasses that meet certain USDA specifications. We did not receive comments specific to our definition of “(MS) (Beef).”

    On our own initiative, we have revised the definition of “mechanically separated (MS) (Beef)” to clarify that 9 CFR 319.5, which we cite in §§ 189.5(a)(3) and 700.27(a)(3), refers to a USDA regulation. Thus, the final rule adds “U.S. Department of Agriculture” before “regulation.”

    4. “Nonambulatory Disabled Cattle” (§§ 189.5(a)(4) and 700.27(a)(4))

    The regulations define “nonambulatory disabled cattle” as cattle that cannot rise from a recumbent position or that cannot walk, including, but not limited to, cattle with broken appendages, severed tendons or ligaments, nerve paralysis, fractured vertebral column, or metabolic conditions.

    (Comment 8) One comment suggested that downer animals should be tested first for BSE and held pending the outcome of the testing before deciding to prohibit the use of material from nonambulatory disabled cattle in human food and cosmetics. If the test results are negative, then the carcass could be used for human food and cosmetics.

    (Response 8) This option is not feasible due to the limitations of currently available tests. No validated ante mortem test for BSE currently exists. Available post mortem tests, although useful for disease surveillance purposes in terms of determining the rate of disease in the population of cattle, are not appropriate as a safety indicator for human food or cosmetics because there is a potentially long period in the life of an infected animal where tests using the current methodology would not detect the disease (Refs. 12 through 14). This is due, in part, to limitations on existing testing methods, which rely on the use of post mortem brain tissue. Experimental evidence demonstrates that for cattle infected orally, certain potentially infective tissues (such as the distal ileum and tonsils) are the first tissues to accumulate infectivity in the incubation period and this infectivity occurs prior to any demonstrated infectivity in brain tissue (Refs. 12 through 14). Therefore, tests conducted on brain tissue may not accurately reflect the potential infectivity in other tissues that develop infectivity earlier, such as the distal ileum.

    As a result, we have finalized the definition of “nonambulatory disabled cattle” without change.

    (Comment 9) One comment stated that our restrictions relating to materials from nonambulatory disabled cattle should not apply to custom slaughtered animals.

    (Response 9) This final rule does not apply to custom slaughtered cattle because such cattle are for the owner's exclusive use and not for use in FDA regulated human food and cosmetics. FDA notes that, in our 2007 affirmation of our interim final rule with amendments, FSIS determined that it cannot permit the custom slaughter or preparation of products of nonambulatory disabled cattle for human food even if it is for the owner's exclusive use because FSIS considers the carcasses of these animals to be adulterated (72 FR 38700 at 38703 to 38704).

    5. “Specified Risk Material” (§§ 189.5(a)(5) and 700.27(a)(5))

    The regulations define “specified risk material” as meaning the brain, skull, eyes, trigeminal ganglia, spinal cord, vertebral column (excluding the vertebrae of the tail, the transverse processes of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, and the wings of the sacrum), and dorsal root ganglia of cattle 30 months and older. The definition also includes tonsils and distal ileum of the small intestine of all cattle as “specified risk material.”

    In the Federal Register of March 4, 2013 (78 FR 14012), we reopened the comment period for the IFR due to new studies showing infectivity in parts of the small intestine other than the distal ileum. We noted that there were studies showing the presence of some infectivity in the proximal ileum, jejunum, ileocecal junction, and colon of cattle with BSE. We also noted that the infectivity levels reported in the studies were lower than the infectivity levels previously demonstrated for the distal ileum (78 FR 14012 at 14013). We put the studies into the administrative record and invited comment on them, and also said that we had tentatively concluded that the effect of these traces of infectivity on the risk of human or ruminant exposure to BSE in the United States is negligible (78 FR 14012). We tentatively concluded that “requiring the removal of additional parts of the small intestine would not provide a measurable risk reduction compared to that already being achieved by removal of the distal ileum in all cattle and that it would be appropriate to finalize our interim final rule without changing any provisions related to the small intestine” (78 FR 14012).

    (Comment 10) One comment asked whether the pituitary gland of cattle is considered an SRM and would have to be removed from the carcass when the brain is removed if the cattle is 30 months of age or older.

    (Response 10) The pituitary gland or hypophysis lies at the base of the brain, contacting the hypothalamus. Anatomically, it is considered part of the brain. Thus, the pituitary gland or hypophysis is considered an SRM in cattle 30 months or age or older and must be removed from the carcass when the brain is removed.

    (Comment 11) One comment requested that the vertebral column not be considered an SRM because the attached DRG as well as the loosely attached spinal cord, which are sources of BSE infectivity, can be safely separated and removed from the vertebral column. (In general terms, DRG are nerves attached to the spinal cord.) The comment did not submit any data in support of its position nor did it explain the method or methods for safely separating and removing the DRG from the vertebral column.

    (Response 11) We decline to revise the rule as suggested by the comment. While the vertebral column has not been shown to harbor BSE infectivity, it does contain tissues (i.e., DRG, spinal cord) that have been shown to be infectious. Technologies are not currently available to safely remove the DRG without removing part of the vertebral column (see 2007 FSIS affirmation, 72 FR 38700 at 38710). The 2007 FSIS affirmation also noted that while the DRG is located within the vertebral bones, it could potentially become dislodged during consumption of bone-in-beef products. Therefore, the vertebral column (excluding the vertebrae of the tail, the transverse processes of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, and the wings of the sacrum) from cattle 30 months of age and older is included in the list of SRMs. We will reconsider this issue if technology becomes available to safely remove the DRG from the vertebral column, but we have finalized the definition of “specified risk material” without change.

    (Comment 12) One comment requested that we revise the definition of SRMs to include meat obtained from vertebral columns processed with Advanced Meat Recovery (AMR) systems because of the instances of DRG and spinal cord being detected in AMR products.

    (Response 12) We decline to revise the rule as suggested by the comment. USDA regulations, at 9 CFR 318.24, provide that vertebral columns of cattle 30 months of age and older (excluding the vertebrae of the tail, the transverse processes of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, and the wings of the sacrum) are SRMs and therefore cannot be used as source materials for AMR systems.

    (Comment 13) One comment stated that, although we noted that the OIE has not designated any intestinal sections other than the distal ileum as SRM, the OIE did not conduct a risk assessment to support that statement.

    (Response 13) We did not intend to imply that the OIE had conducted a risk assessment or studied the new research findings and published its conclusions about the significance to human health. We meant that the OIE had not added parts of the small intestine other than the distal ileum to its recommendations on commodities that should not be traded (Ref. 15).

    (Comment 14) Some comments recommended that the 30-month age cutoff, which provides a basis for designating certain cattle materials as SRMs, should be changed to a 12-month cutoff because of scientific uncertainty about how BSE spreads in cattle, and because the true prevalence of the disease in the United States is not fully known.

    (Response 14) We disagree with these comments. Experimental and epidemiological evidence have clearly linked transmission of BSE to using protein derived from BSE infected cattle as an additive in cattle feed. FDA's 1997 and 2008 BSE feed regulations prohibit this practice. Further, ongoing BSE surveillance conducted by USDA APHIS, which tests approximately 40,000 animals from the highest risk cattle population per year, shows that the prevalence in the United States is less than one case per million adult cattle in the United States (Ref. 16). We therefore believe that the 30-month cutoff is appropriate for the BSE risk status in the United States, as we first discussed in our 2004 IFR (69 FR 42256 at 42259-60).

    (Comment 15) One comment recommended that a 12-month cutoff for purposes of designating certain cattle materials as SRMs would be more prudent given the scientific uncertainty in fully understanding the possible ways that the BSE agent might infect humans.

    (Response 15) We disagree that an additional margin of safety in the age cutoff is needed because of scientific uncertainty about how humans are exposed to the BSE agent. The 30-month cutoff is internationally recognized and well supported by pathogenesis studies that were designed to determine the tissue distribution of the BSE agent as the disease progresses in BSE-infected cattle.

    (Comment 16) Several comments recommended that materials currently designated as SRMs if they are from cattle 30 months of age and older should be considered SRMs regardless of the animal's age and should be prohibited from entering the food supply. According to the comment, a broad prohibition on the use of SRMs regardless of the animal's age would significantly reduce the need of determining the age of each animal, and thereby improve enforcement. Some comments pointed out that, in the absence of a national animal identification system, any determination of an animal's age is based typically on a physical assessment, and such an assessment can be subjective.

    (Response 16) We disagree that the full list of SRMs should be removed from all cattle to eliminate the need for aging the animals. Methods of aging allowed under FSIS regulations, such as documentation and dentition, are reliable for identifying cattle over 30 months of age.

    (Comment 17) One comment recommended that vertebral columns of cattle of all ages should be considered SRMs, not just vertebral columns of cattle 30 months of age and older, but the comment did not provide evidence or data to support the change.

    (Response 17) We disagree with this recommendation. As previously stated in Comment and Response 14, pathogenesis studies support a 30-month cutoff in low BSE prevalence countries like the United States.

    (Comment 18) Several comments noted that available post mortem tests are capable of identifying the presence of the BSE agent only near the end of the animal's incubation period; therefore cattle younger than 30 months of age in the early stages of BSE that do not test positive for the disease may be harboring the BSE agent. The comments suggested that the definition of SRM not exclude certain materials from cattle younger than 30 months.

    (Response 18) We agree about the limitation of BSE test methods, but disagree that the limitations should influence the SRM definition. The 30-month cutoff is based on pathogenesis studies, not on diagnostic capabilities.

    (Comment 19) One comment supported a 12-month cutoff for classifying animal age-related SRMs due to uncertainty surrounding a published study that suggested that there may be another form of TSE in cattle, referred to as bovine amyloidotic spongiform encephalopathy (BASE).

    (Response 19) We do not agree that the 12-month cutoff is necessary for the BASE strain of BSE, also known as L-type BSE. FSIS pointed out in the 2007 FSIS affirmation that the available data on the BASE strain do not indicate that cattle with this form of BSE are more likely to contain higher levels of the infective agent early in the incubation period than cattle with the “typical” BSE strain (72 FR 38700 at 38707). As FSIS concluded, additional study on the BASE form of BSE will be needed to determine its significance.

    (Comment 20) One comment recommended expanding the SRM definition to include the entire head of cattle 30 months of age and older. The comment also stated that cheek and head meat of cattle 12 months of age and older should be removed before the skull is fragmented or split, based on concerns that the head or cheek meat may contain central nervous system materials if the meat is not removed before the skull is fragmented or split. To support its arguments, the comment referred to a 2002 USDA FSIS paper that discussed the prohibition of cheek meat from cattle aged 24 months and older for human food if the meat is not removed before the skull is fragmented or split.

    (Response 20) We disagree that the entire head of cattle 30 months of age and older should be condemned because of concerns that head meat and cheek meat could be contaminated with central nervous system tissue. FSIS regulations (9 CFR 310.22(e)) require that establishment procedures for removal of SRMS at slaughter must address potential contamination of edible materials with specified risk materials. Such procedures would include taking steps to ensure that cheek meat, for example, is not cross-contaminated with brain matter or central nervous system matter.

    (Comment 21) One comment recommended using a 12-month cutoff for purposes of designating certain cattle materials as SRMs so that it would be consistent with the European Union (EU) standard 12-month cutoff period.

    (Response 21) We decline to revise the rule as suggested by the comment. The EU established its BSE requirements because of a small number of BSE cases detected in young animals. These cases are now believed to be the result of cattle being exposed to large exposure doses of the BSE agent at the height of their BSE outbreak, before appropriate mitigations were put in place to reduce high levels of BSE infectivity circulating in their cattle population. In contrast, early control measures were put in place in the United States to protect against the establishment and amplification of BSE in the U.S. cattle population.

    Further, the EC has published a roadmap for relaxing its BSE mitigations, including age cutoffs, because of the downward trend in BSE cases across the EU (Ref. 17).

    (Comment 22) Several comments supported using a 12-month cutoff for purposes of designating certain cattle materials as SRMs because cattle as young as 21 months have tested positive for BSE in the UK and Japan.

    (Response 22) We disagree with these comments. As discussed in the 2004 IFR (69 FR 42256 at 42259), we are aware of documented cases of BSE in the UK in animals younger than 30 months of age. As noted in the 2004 IFR (69 FR 42256 at 42259), at the height of the epidemic in the UK when thousands of animals were being diagnosed with BSE each year, fewer than 20 animals younger than 30 months were confirmed with the disease (Ref. 18). The youngest animal with a confirmed case of BSE was 20 months old (Ref. 19). The occurrence of BSE in young animals in the UK was most likely the result of exposure to a high infective dose of the BSE agent at a young age.

    We also noted in the 2004 IFR the two reported cases of BSE in 21-month and 23-month-old animals in Japan discovered during the testing of animals presented for slaughter (69 FR 42256 at 42259). FSIS addressed a similar comment in the 2007 FSIS affirmation (72 FR 38700 at 38721) and concluded that the available evidence surrounding the two very young cases reported in Japan is insufficient to support any changes in FSIS's existing measures to prevent human exposure to the BSE agent. FSIS referred to a report by EFSA's Scientific Panel on Biological Hazards, which stated that “it is unclear whether the very young cases [reported in Japan] were adequately identified and formally confirmed” (Ref. 20). This same EFSA report concluded that these cases “seem to be epidemiologically peculiar as their cohort would have been expected to yield further cases.”

    (Comment 23) One comment said a 12-month age cutoff would be consistent with the International Review Team (IRT) recommendation that the brain, skull, spinal cord, and vertebral column of cattle over 12 months of age be excluded from both human food and animal food chains unless aggressive surveillance shows that the BSE risk in the United States is minimal (Ref. 21).

    (Response 23) We decline to revise the rule in response to the comment. The IRT was convened at the request of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on December 30, 2003, to review the actions taken by the United States in response to the confirmation of BSE in an imported dairy cow in Washington State on December 23, 2003. The IRT recommended that, among other things, the brain, skull, spinal cord, and vertebral column of cattle over 12 months be excluded from both the human food and animal food chains unless aggressive surveillance proves the BSE risk in the United States to be minimal (Ref. 22). As a follow up to the IRT report, USDA's APHIS conducted the aggressive surveillance and found the BSE prevalence in the United States to be minimal. Therefore, a 30-month cutoff is consistent with the recommendations of the IRT.

    (Comment 24) One comment noted that many countries have imported vast amounts of meat-and-bone meal from countries with BSE-infected cattle, some of which do not have adequate surveillance and other mitigations in place to prevent contamination of the animal feed and human food chains. The comment further noted that these countries may still serve as a source of disease, and if the entire intestine is not designated as SRM, BSE-infected bovine products could be imported and enter the U.S. food or feed supply.

    (Response 24) We disagree that the scenario described provides sufficient justification for designating the entire intestine as SRM. Our trading partners in cattle and cattle derived products are countries that have performed a BSE risk assessment, conducted the required level of BSE surveillance, and have the necessary BSE mitigations in place to meet OIE requirements for negligible or controlled risk status.

    (Comment 25) One comment stated that we should err on the side of caution when it comes to protecting public health and designate the entire length of the intestines as SRM. The comment noted that scientific research demonstrates that immunostaining was observed in the myenteric plexus of the distal ileum in both naturally infected and experimentally challenged cattle with BSE, so one cannot eliminate the possibility of infectivity in other sections because the myenteric plexus exists throughout the entire intestine. Another comment stated that even a trace of BSE infectivity is concern enough to prohibit the use of the jejunum, proximal ileum, ileocecal junction, and colon of cattle.

    (Response 25) We agree that it is reasonable to assume that increasingly sensitive detection methods could demonstrate that BSE infectivity is present anywhere along the intestinal tract, associated either with the enteric nervous system or lymphoreticular tissue. However, all available evidence to date shows that levels outside the distal ileum are much lower than levels in the distal ileum. As we explained in the 2013 notice, our tentative conclusion took into consideration not just the lower levels, but also the other safeguards in place in the United States, the sharp decline in the worldwide incidence of BSE, and the extremely low prevalence of BSE in the U.S. cattle population as indicated by USDA's BSE surveillance program (78 FR 14012). This conclusion is consistent with the recommendation in the 2009 EFSA Scientific Opinion that future consideration of risk associated with infectivity in the intestine take into account the BSE prevalence in cattle at that time (Ref. 18).

    (Comment 26) Comments from the Biological Hazards Unit of EFSA in response to FDA's 2013 notice reopening the comment period clarified EFSA's current thinking on BSE infectivity in bovine intestines. EFSA stated that it had concluded that BSE infectivity in the bovine ileum is found mainly in association with the lymphoid follicles, the ileal Peyer's patches (Refs. 23 through 25). The ileal Peyer's patches are aggregated into a long continuous structure called the ileocecal plate. The ileocecal plate extends the full length of the ileum, and may extend proximally into the jejunum. EFSA concluded that, when assessing the BSE infectious load potentially present in the intestines of BSE-infected cattle, the ileocecal plate should be considered as the main contributor to BSE infectivity in the intestine.

    (Response 26) Since submitting comments to the 2013 notice, the EFSA Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ) published on May 13, 2014, a Scientific Opinion on BSE risk in bovine intestines and mesentery (Ref. 25). This scientific opinion provides additional information about the distribution of intestinal lymphoid tissue with which BSE infectivity is associated in the early stages of disease. EFSA concluded that the BSE infectious load in the intestines is primarily associated with the lymphoid tissue making up the ileocecal plate. According to anatomical data presented in the report, the length of the ileocecal plate could reach four meters (157 inches), with considerable animal-to-animal variation, in cattle younger than 18 month of age, before the ileocecal plate starts to diminish in length as the animal ages. So, while studies to date show that infectivity levels outside the distal ileum are much lower than in the distal ileum, the anatomical data in the report show that in young cattle lymphoid tissue could extend two meters outside (proximal to) the distal ileum. This anatomical data does not alter our decision to leave the SRM definition unchanged. We believe that given the United States and worldwide BSE prevalence data, removal of prohibited cattle materials as required by this rule, together with the other effective BSE mitigations implemented by the U.S. government, provides the appropriate level of protection against human exposure to the BSE agent.

    6. “Tallow” (§§ 189.5(a)(6) and 700.27(a)(6))

    The regulations define “tallow” as the rendered fat of cattle obtained by pressing or by applying any other extraction process to tissues derived directly from discrete adipose tissue masses or to other carcass parts and tissue. The definition also states that tallow must be produced from tissues that are not prohibited cattle materials and must not contain more than 0.15 insoluble impurities as determined by the method entitled “Insoluble Impurities” (AOCS Official Method Ca 3a-46, American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS), 5th Edition, 1997, or another equivalent method.

    (Comment 27) One comment questioned the basis (i.e., underlying data) for selecting the 0.15 percent level as the allowable cutoff for insoluble impurities in tallow, but did not provide evidence or data to support changing the allowable level.

    (Response 27) We discussed the underlying research that provided the basis for permitting tallow to be used in human food and cosmetics if it contains no more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities in the 2004 IFR (69 FR 42256 at 42260 through 42261). In addition, the 0.15 percent cutoff is consistent with the level used by the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) in the BSE chapter of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (Ref. 7). Therefore, we are not making any further changes with respect to using the 0.15 percent level as the allowable cutoff of insoluble impurities.

    7. “Tallow Derivatives” (§§ 189.5(a)(7) and 700.27(a)(7))

    The regulations define “tallow derivative” as any chemical obtained through initial hydrolysis, saponification, or transesterification of tallow. The definition also states that chemical conversion of material obtained by hydrolysis, saponification, or transesterification may be applied to obtain the desired product.

    We did not receive comments specific to our definition of “tallow derivative,” and we have finalized the definition without change.

    8. “Gelatin” (§§ 189.5(a)(8) and 700.27(a)(8))

    Our regulations at §§ 189.5 and 700.27 mention, but do not define, “gelatin.” Thus, on our own initiative, we have decided to define gelatin as a product that has been obtained by the partial hydrolysis of collagen derived from hides, connective tissue, and/or bones of cattle and swine. Gelatin may be either Type A (derived from an acid-treated precursor) or Type B (derived from an alkali-treated precursor) that has gone through processing steps that include filtration and sterilization or an equivalent process in terms of infectivity reduction (Ref. 26).

    B. Requirements (§§ 189.5(b) and 700.27(b))

    The regulations at §§ 189.5(b)(1) and 700.27(b)(1) provide that no human food or cosmetic shall be manufactured from, processed with, or otherwise contain, prohibited cattle materials. We further clarify in §§ 189.5(b)(2) and 700.27(b)(2) that the small intestine is not considered prohibited cattle material as long as the distal ileum is removed by a procedure that removes at least 80 inches of the small intestine or by another procedure that the establishment can show is equally effective at ensuring the distal ileum is completely removed.

    (Comment 28) One comment objected to the use of cattle materials in any products and believed that our “published policy” is much too lenient, but did not provide evidence or data to support this assertion.

    (Response 28) We disagree with the comment's broad generalization. In the absence of data or other information, we do not have a basis on which to evaluate the comment's assertion that our published policy is too lenient.

    (Comment 29) One comment questioned the validity of relying on the Harvard-Tuskegee study to support the restrictions being applied by this regulation to externally applied cosmetics. The comment also questioned whether the restrictions that cover materials derived from cattle not inspected and passed are predicated on unfounded assumptions with respect to potential infectivity.

    (Response 29) The Harvard-Tuskegee study does not specifically address potential human exposure to the BSE agent from cosmetics (69 FR 42256 at 42258), so it was not relied on to support the restrictions applied by the 2004 IFR to externally applied cosmetics. However, we are concerned that cosmetics, because of the ways they are used, could serve as another potential route for BSE infectivity to enter the human system. We therefore conclude that the wide range of cattle-derived ingredients used in cosmetics should not contain prohibited cattle materials (Ref. 27).

    (Comment 30) One comment said that the United States should test every cow for TSEs, extend and enhance the feed ban, enhance surveillance and testing programs to test all cattle destined for human and animal consumption, ban all animal tissue in vaccines and nutritional supplements, and stop feeding ruminant and non-ruminant protein to all species.

    (Response 30) We disagree with the recommendation to change current U.S. BSE control measures. The mitigations currently in place in the U.S. adequately protect human and animal health from BSE. Testing cattle and enhancing surveillance and testing programs fall under the purview of USDA. USDA's surveillance strategy is to target testing on those animals in the cattle population where the disease is most likely to be found if it is present. USDA has concluded that this is the most effective way to meet OIE and domestic surveillance standards. USDA determined that a level of 40,000 samples per year from these targeted, high-risk cattle far exceeds the standards recommended by the OIE (Ref. 16). With respect to animal feed restrictions, FDA's 1997 feed ban prohibited the use of ruminant protein in cattle feed, while the 2008 enhanced feed ban prohibits the use of the highest risk cattle tissues in all animal feed. Lastly, we are not aware of scientific justification for banning all animal tissue in vaccines and nutritional supplements.

    (Comment 31) While many comments supported the use of material from nonambulatory disabled cattle, a few comments requested that these materials be prohibited regardless of the reason for the animal's condition (e.g., obesity, fatigue, stress, nerve paralysis, or physical injury such as a fractured appendage, severed tendon or ligament, or dislocated joint). Other comments were concerned that visual examination was not sufficient for determining whether an animal is safe to be slaughtered. Other comments thought the current prohibition involving nonambulatory disabled cattle is too broad in its application, particularly when applied to animals that are nonambulatory due to clear physical injuries, such as a broken limb.

    (Response 31) We decline to make changes to the rule regarding the prohibition on the use of cattle materials from nonambulatory disabled cattle in human food and cosmetics. As discussed in the 2007 FSIS affirmation, surveillance data from the EU indicate that cattle that cannot rise from a recumbent position are among the cattle that have a greater prevalence of BSE than healthy slaughter cattle, and the typical clinical signs of BSE may not always be observed when cattle are nonambulatory (72 FR 38700 at 38701 to 38706).

    (Comment 32) Several comments requested that SRMs be kept out of all cosmetics over which FDA has jurisdiction.

    (Response 32) Under § 700.27, no cosmetic shall be manufactured from, processed with, or otherwise contain, prohibited cattle materials. This includes SRMs.

    (Comment 33) One comment stated that human consumption of any trace of BSE can be fatal, and that the use of materials derived from cattle should not be allowed in human food and cosmetics.

    (Response 33) We strongly disagree that cattle derived products should not be used in human food and cosmetics. The sharp decline in vCJD cases worldwide demonstrates that internationally recognized BSE mitigations that remove only specified risk materials are highly effective in protecting humans against BSE. (Refs. 4, 22, 28, and 29). We note that the World Health Organization (WHO), in the 2010 update to the WHO Tables on Tissue Infectivity Distribution in Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (Ref. 30), stated that the amount of pathological prion or infectious agent detected by exquisitely sensitive assays may well fall below the threshold of transmissibility for humans, and that consideration also has to be given to the level of infectivity in tissue, the amount of tissue to which a person is exposed, and that oral exposure is a comparatively inefficient route of transmission.

    (Comment 34) One comment stated that one of the most important and still unanswered questions is the significance of atypical BSE with respect to human and animal health. The comment said that if the U.S. government considers atypical BSE to be a sporadic disease, at present there is no means to eliminate cases from the national herd, and thus the food supply. The comment noted that in atypical BSE the extent of infectivity in bovine tissue is unknown, and hence, it would be important to at least remove the tissues having infectivity in classical BSE cases.

    (Response 34) We agree with the comment's assertion that there are still unanswered questions about the significance of atypical BSE with respect to human and animal health. We also agree that if atypical cases are sporadic, their occurrence will continue to be an ongoing rare event in our cattle population. However, based on the available science, we believe that the mitigations currently in place in the United States to protect against classical BSE are adequate to protect against atypical BSE. We note that this was also the conclusion of the OIE Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases. The February 2013 meeting report concluded that “the ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban which mitigates the risk of classical BSE concurrently reduces the recycling of atypical BSE in the cattle populations of the controlled and negligible BSE risk countries within which it is applied.” (Ref. 31).

    C. Records (§§ 189.5(c) and 700.27(c))

    In the 2004 IFR, FDA required that manufacturers and processors of human food and cosmetics that are manufactured from, processed with, or otherwise contain, cattle material must make existing records relevant to compliance available to FDA for inspection and copying. In a companion rulemaking at the same time, FDA proposed a rule entitled “Recordkeeping Requirements for Human Food and Cosmetics Manufactured From, Processed With, or Otherwise Containing Material from Cattle” (69 FR 42275). The rule proposed to require that manufacturers and processors of human food and cosmetics that are manufactured from, processed with, or otherwise contain, material from cattle establish and maintain records sufficient to demonstrate the food or cosmetic is not manufactured from, processed, with, or does not otherwise contain, prohibited cattle materials. The records requirements were finalized in 2006 and incorporated the requirement from the 2004 IFR that existing records relevant to compliance be made available to FDA (71 FR 59653).

    D. Adulteration (§§ 189.5(d) and 700.27(d))

    Under § 189.5(d)(1), failure of a manufacturer or processor to operate in compliance with the requirements or records provisions renders human food adulterated under section 402(a)(4) of the FD&C Act. Under § 700.27(d), failure of a manufacturer or processor to operate in compliance with the requirements or records provisions renders a cosmetic adulterated under section 601(c) of the FD&C Act. Further, under § 189.5(d)(2), human food manufactured from, processed with, or otherwise containing, prohibited cattle materials is unfit for human food and deemed adulterated under section 402(a)(3) of the FD&C Act. Under § 189.5(d)(3), the use or intended use of any prohibited cattle material in human food causes the material and the food to be adulterated under section 402(a)(2)(C) of the FD&C Act if the prohibited cattle material is a food additive, unless it is the subject of a food additive regulation or of an investigational exemption for a food additive under § 170.17.

    We did not receive comments specific to the adulteration provisions, and we have finalized them without change.

    E. Process for Designating Countries (§§ 189.5(e) and 700.27(e))

    Sections 189.5(e) and 700.27(e) establish a process for designating a country as not subject to certain BSE-related restrictions applicable to FDA-regulated human food and cosmetics. A country seeking to be so designated must send a written request to the Director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, including information about the country's BSE case history, risk factors, measures to prevent the introduction and transmission of BSE, and any other relevant information.

    We did not receive comments specific to the process for designating countries, and we have finalized those aspects of the rule without change.

    F. Other Comments

    Several comments addressed matters that were not specific to a particular provision in the IFRs. We address those comments here.

    (Comment 35) Several comments said that prohibiting the use of cattle materials from nonambulatory disabled cattle in human food and cosmetics also should apply to the use of such materials in animal food or feed.

    (Response 35) This final rule applies to the use of cattle materials in human food and cosmetics regulated by FDA. Our regulations in effect at the time of the 2004 IFR prohibited the use of certain protein from mammalian tissues in ruminant feed and have since been revised to prohibit the use of certain cattle-derived risk materials (e.g., the brains and spinal cords from cattle 30 months of age and older, as well as the entire carcass of cattle not inspected and passed for human consumption) in all animal feeds. In a feed rule published in the Federal Register on April 25, 2008 (73 FR 22720), FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) explained that, because of the low prevalence of BSE in the United States, it is not necessary to prohibit all ruminant material from animal feed, nor is it necessary to prohibit all animal or all mammalian products in cattle feed. (See 73 FR 22720 at 22724, as well as similar discussion provided in the preamble to the earlier CVM proposal published in the Federal Register on October 6, 2005 (70 FR 58570 at 58578).)

    (Comment 36) One comment stated that we do not truly know or understand the real risk to the public in regards to vCJD as caused by classical BSE. The comment said that based on results of an appendix tissue survey in the UK, the dose to infect humans may be much smaller than previously considered, and even small amounts of the BSE agent could infect humans resulting in a subclinical disease that may pose a risk to other people via blood transfusions, etc. According to the comment, this is justification for prohibiting the use of the entire intestine for human consumption or cosmetics.

    (Response 36) We are aware of the results of the appendix survey published October 15, 2013, in the British Medical Journal (Ref. 32). We agree that the survey results underscore the need for better understanding of BSE and vCJD. In the appendix survey, 32,441 archived appendix samples collected during surgical operations performed in the UK between 2000 and 2012 were analyzed for the presence of abnormal prion protein. Sixteen samples were positive for abnormal prions. We did not conclude from these findings that they provide the scientific justification to modify our SRM definition to include the entire intestine of cattle. As the article points out, the samples were collected after the large BSE epizootic in the United Kingdom that resulted in a substantial amount of BSE infectivity entering the human food supply. We continue to believe that the SRM definition we are finalizing is appropriate for managing the BSE situation risk in the United States.

    (Comment 37) One comment stated that FDA does not require reporting on CJD, so the United States is unable to track the incidence rate of the disease.

    (Response 37) Tracking the incidence of CJD and vCJD is the responsibility of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC collaborates with the American Association of Neuropathologists, the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center, and State health departments to monitor the prevalence of human prion diseases in the United States (Ref. 33).

    (Comment 38) Several comments were from individuals who had suffered the loss of a loved one from sporadic CJD (sCJD) and were concerned about sCJD risks as well as vCJD risks. Many comments said that, because the etiology of sCJD is unknown, FDA should take every precaution possible to eliminate human exposure to what could potentially be a causative agent of sCJD.

    (Response 38) Although sCJD and vCJD are both prion diseases of humans and are similar in many respects, the available scientific evidence does not support a conclusion that the BSE agent causes sCJD. Therefore, we believe that requiring removal of parts of the small intestines other than the distal ileum would not provide any additional protection against sCJD.

    (Comment 39) A comment inquired as to the impact of sequestration and budget cuts upon the availability of FDA inspectors in slaughter facilities to insure the proper removal of the distal ileum and keep the public safe.

    (Response 39) FDA does not inspect cattle slaughter facilities. They are inspected by USDA under the provisions of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 601).

    (Comment 40) One comment requested that bovine blood-derived products, such as beef blood plasma and fibrinogen, be prohibited until it is more certain that such blood-derived products do not have the potential for transmitting TSEs to humans. While noting the current thinking that the lymphatic system is the primary route of infectivity for TSEs, the comment suggested that TSEs may be transmitted via the blood through cut or abraded skin and damaged oral mucosal tissue.

    (Response 40) We recognize that there are a number of animal species in which blood from TSE-infected animals have been shown to be capable of transmitting the TSE agent, and that there have been several cases in the UK of people acquiring vCJD after receiving transfusions of blood from donors who later were found to have vCJD. However, there is no evidence that blood from infected cattle can transmit the BSE agent to humans when the blood is incorporated into human food or cosmetics. Therefore, the final rule does not prohibit use of cattle blood or impose any special requirements on cattle blood materials that might be used in human food, including dietary supplements, and in cosmetics.

    (Comment 41) One comment said that the U.S. government issued an official communication that it has a longstanding system of interlocking safeguards against BSE that protects public and animal health in the United States and that the most important safeguard is the removal of SRM or the parts of an animal that would contain BSE should an animal have the disease from all animals presented for slaughter in the United States. The comment stated that this could lead the public to believe any tissue that may contain BSE infectivity is removed at slaughter and concluded that this is definitely not the case with certain parts of the intestine and potentially other tissue such as peripheral nerves.

    (Response 41) We understand the concern about how the message on the removal of SRM could be interpreted. We intend for the term SRM to mean the list of tissues identified in our final rule that must be removed from beef products for human consumption. We believe the official communication was correct that the United States has interlocking safeguards in place in addition to removal of specified risk material. These interlocking safeguards include a strong ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban, an ongoing BSE surveillance program capable of detecting the disease at very low levels in the U.S. cattle population, and strict controls on imports of animals and animal products from countries at risk for BSE.

    (Comment 42) One comment expressed concern about the possibility of SRMs getting into the food supply through rendering.

    (Response 42) In edible rendering (applying the rendering process to edible tissues for use as human food) only materials from cattle sources that have been inspected and passed for human consumption and do not contain SRMs or other materials considered to be prohibited cattle materials may be rendered for use in human food and cosmetics. It is the responsibility of manufacturers and processors, including renderers, to take precautions to avoid cross contamination of non-prohibited cattle material with prohibited cattle material during slaughter and processing. In this regard, manufacturers and processors of human food and cosmetics manufactured from, processed with, or that otherwise contain, material from cattle must maintain records sufficient to demonstrate that the human food and cosmetics are not manufactured from, processed with, or otherwise contain, prohibited cattle materials under §§ 189.5(c)(1) and 700.27(c)(1). Further, food establishments are subject to the CGMP requirements in part 110, and failure to take adequate measures to prevent cross-contamination could result in insanitary conditions whereby the food may be rendered injurious to health and, therefore, adulterated under section 402(a)(4) of the FD&C Act.

    V. Regulatory Impact Analysis A. Overview Economic Analysis of Impacts

    We have examined the impacts of the final 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 believe that this final 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 this rule finalizes an existing IFR with no substantive changes, we certify that the final 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 final rule would not result in an expenditure in any year that meets or exceeds this amount.

    This final rule reaffirms the provisions in the 2004 IFR, as well as the 2005 and 2008 amendments, to address the potential risk of BSE in human food including dietary supplements, and in cosmetics. As the final rule's coverage and requirements do not differ from the 2004 IFR and the 2005 and 2008 amendments, no additional costs or benefits will accrue from this rulemaking.

    The summary analysis of benefits and costs included in this document is drawn from the detailed IFR RIA (69 FR 42255 at 42265-42271).

    B. Comments on the IFR RIA

    We received two comments on our interim final regulatory impact analysis and are declining to make changes to the RIA in the final rule.

    (Comment 43) One comment stated that our economic analysis appears to consider only the industries that are end users of cattle materials and to overlook industries that produce intermediate products. As a result, there is no mention of the rule's impact on manufacturers of collagen casings, gelatin, and other intermediate products.

    (Response 43) We disagree. We did estimate the impact of the 2004 IFR (and amendments) to both producers of intermediate cattle-derived products and producers of cattle-derived end products (69 FR 42256 at 42266). In the case of gelatin, depending on the product, we had information on cattle-derived materials manufactured by intermediate producers (i.e., input suppliers to cosmetics manufacturers) or information on end products that contained cattle-derived materials (i.e. foods). Whether our information was on intermediate manufacturers or end products, we estimated the impact of the 2004 IFR on both the upstream and downstream facilities.

    The final rule clarifies that gelatin was never considered a prohibited cattle material. This final rule defines “gelatin” to clarify that gelatin is not considered to be a prohibited cattle material as long as it is manufactured using the customary industry processes specified in the Gelatin Manufacturers Institute of America's (GMIA) Gelatin Manual.

    In the 2005 amendment to the 2004 IFR, we revised the definition of “prohibited cattle materials” that appears at §§ 189.5(a)(1) and 700.27(a)(1) to clarify that “hides and hide-derived products” are not to be considered prohibited cattle materials (70 FR 53063 at 53066). Thus, collagen casings made from hides are not banned by this final rule, since the cattle hides from which they are made are not prohibited cattle materials.

    (Comment 44) One comment stated that the 2004 IFR does not consider the cost to gelatin producers of tracing cattle to their origin, nor does it consider that other cattle-derived ingredients from inedible rendering (i.e., tallow-derived products) are commonly used in cosmetics.

    (Response 44) The final rule does not require users of cattle material to certify from which animal a specific material was derived. Users of cattle-derived material must only maintain records sufficient to demonstrate that cattle derived material is not made from, processed with, or does not otherwise contain prohibited cattle materials. We included the costs of generating and keeping records on cattle-derived material in the BSE recordkeeping rule (71 FR 59653 at 59661).

    Our 2004 IFR analysis (69 FR 42256 at 42267) took into consideration the potential costs to cosmetic manufacturers to switch from inedible rendering to using edible tallow (and derivatives) in cosmetic products. We estimated in the 2004 IFR analysis that the cost of this change would range from $0 to $18 million.

    C. Final Regulatory Impact Analysis 1. Need for Regulation

    This final rule reaffirms the provisions in the 2004 IFR, as well as the 2005 and 2008 amendments, to address the potential risk of BSE in human food including dietary supplements, and in cosmetics. As the final rule's coverage does not differ from the 2004 IFR and the 2005 and 2008 amendments, no additional costs or benefits will accrue from this rulemaking.

    2. Final Rule Coverage

    We have designated certain materials from cattle as “prohibited cattle materials” and banned the use of such materials in human food, including dietary supplements, and in cosmetics. We have designated the following items as prohibited cattle materials: SRMs, the small intestine of all cattle unless the distal ileum is removed, material from nonambulatory disabled cattle, material from cattle not inspected and passed (for human consumption), and mechanically separated MS (Beef). SRMs include the brain, skull, eyes, trigeminal ganglia, spinal cord, vertebral column (excluding the vertebrae of the tail, the transverse processes of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, and the wings of the sacrum), and DRG of cattle 30 months of age and older, and the tonsils and distal ileum of the small intestine from all cattle. These restrictions appear in §§ 189.5 and 700.27 (21 CFR 189.5 and 21 CFR 700.27). Milk and milk products, cattle hides and hide-derived products, tallow that contains no more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities, tallow derivatives (regardless of the tallow source), and gelatin are not prohibited cattle materials. In addition, we may designate a country as not subject to certain BSE-related restrictions following an evaluation of the country's BSE situation.

    3. Costs of the Final Rule

    Because of the 2004 IFR and 2005 and 2008 amendments already in effect, manufacturers and processors of food and cosmetic products using bovine materials such as the brain, skull, and spinal cord are obtaining these ingredients exclusively from cattle younger than 30 months of age. The manufacturers and processors of products that use the tonsils or the distal ileum of small intestine of cattle, material from nonambulatory disabled cattle, material from cattle not inspected and passed for human consumption, or MS (Beef) have found substitutes for those ingredients. To the extent that the 2004 IFR and 2005 and 2008 amendments led to increased use of alternative ingredients or ingredients from cattle under the age of 30 months, exposure to potentially BSE-infected cattle materials was reduced.

    This final rule also clarifies that gelatin made from cattle-derived material is not, and never was, considered a prohibited cattle material so long as it is manufactured using customary industry processes. If there remained in the marketplace any confusion as to the status of gelatin derived from cattle materials, the new definition provided by this final rule should remove that confusion.

    4. Countries Requesting Designation

    To date, New Zealand and Australia have requested and received designation as not subject to certain FDA restrictions on cattle-derived materials. No other countries have applied to the FDA for designation. In the 2008 amendment, we estimated that it would cost a country about $9,000 to assemble a petition package for us to consider, and it would cost us $3,700 to review each package (73 FR 20785 at 20790). We did not receive any comments on these costs.

    5. Benefits of the Final Rule

    The benefits of this final rule are the value of the public health benefits. The public health benefit is the reduction in the risk of the human illness associated with consumption of the agent that causes BSE. In the 2004 IFR and 2005 and 2008 amendments, we were unable to quantify the benefits of these rule-makings, but provided estimates of the illness burden that could be avoided if we reduced the potential exposure to BSE agents.

    In the 2004 IFR we estimated the benefits as the value of preventing a case of vCJD, the human illness that results from being infected from eating contaminated cattle-derived materials. (69 FR 42256 at 42267) The cost of a case of vCJD is the value of a statistical life (VSL) plus the value of preventing a year-long or longer illness that precedes certain death for victims of vCJD. In 2004 we estimated this value to be in the range of $5.7 to $7.1 million. Updating using a central estimate of $369,000 for the value of a statistical life year (VSLY) and a central estimate of $8.3 million for VSL,3 results in a single case of vCJD being valued at about $10 million in 2013 dollars. This estimate included direct medical costs, reduced ability of the ill person to function at home and at work, and the cost of premature death.

    3 VSLY based on Aldy and Viscusi discussion paper 2007 (Ref. 1). VSL is based on EPA National Center for Environmental Economics estimate of $7.4 million in 2006 dollars (Ref. 2).

    As we stated in the 2004 IFR, we do not know the baseline expected annual number of cases, but based on the epidemiology of vCJD in the UK, we anticipated much less than one case of vCJD per year in the United States. Because the IFR and amendments were expected to reduce, rather than eliminate, the risk of exposure to BSE infectious materials, the reduction in the number of cases was estimated to be an unknown fraction of the less than one case annually. We stated in the 2004 IFR RIA that the IFR, in conjunction with USDA's requirements on cattle-derived materials, would help reduce a potential human exposure in the United States that was previously estimated at less than 1 percent (69 FR 1862 at 1867).

    The benefits of this final rule have already been realized as the IFR has been in place since 2004. We do not estimate any additional benefits as a result of this finalizing this IFR.

    VI. Environmental Impact, No Significant Impact

    We have determined under 21 CFR 25.32(m) 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.

    VII. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    The collection of information provisions of this final rule are subject to review by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information in §§ 189.5(e) and 700.27(e), added by the 2008 amendment, have been previously approved under OMB control number 0910-0623. This final rule does not revise the information collection requirements of §§ 189.5(e) and 700.27(e). Therefore we are not submitting this final rule to OMB as a revision of the information collection approved under OMB control number 0910-0623.

    VIII. Federalism

    We have analyzed this final rule in accordance with the principles set forth in Executive Order 13132. We have determined that the rule does not contain policies that 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. Accordingly, we have concluded that the rule does not contain policies that have federalism implications as defined in the Executive order and, consequently, a federalism summary impact statement is not required.

    IX. References

    The following references have been placed 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 they are also available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. FDA has verified the Web site addresses, as of the date this document publishes in the Federal Register, but Web sites are subject to change over time.)

    1. Collee, J. G. and R. Bradley, “BSE: A Decade On—Part I,” The Lancet, 349:636-641, 1997. 2. Anderson, R. M., C. A. Donnelly, N. M. Ferguson, et al., “Transmission Dynamics and Epidemiology of BSE in British Cattle,” Nature, 382:779-788, 1996. 3. Wells, G. A. H., A. C. Scott, C. T. Johnson, et al., “A Novel Progressive Spongiform Encephalopathy in Cattle,” Veterinary Record, 121:419-420, 1987. 4. HHS/CDC, “vCJD (Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease” (fact sheet), accessed online at http://www.cdc.gov/prions/vcjd/about.html. 5. University of Edinburgh, National CJD Research and Surveillance Unit, “Variant CJD Cases Worldwide,” accessed online at http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/documents/worldfigs.pdf. 6. Resolution No. 20, Recognition of the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Risk Status of Member Countries, accessed online at http://www.oie.int/doc/ged/D12483.PDF. 7. Article 11.4 in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (2014), accessed online at http://www.oie.int/index.php?id=169&L=0&htmfile=chapitre_bse.htm#article_bse.1. 8. Grobben A. H., P. J. Steel, D. M. Taylor, and R. A. Somerville, “Inactivation of the Bovine-Spongiform-Encephalopathy (BSE) Agent by the Acid and Alkaline Processes Used in the Manufacture of Bone Gelatin,” Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry, 39:329-338, 2004 and Grobben, A. H., P. J. Steel, D. M. Taylor, R. A. Somerville, et al., “Inactivation of the BSE Agent by Heat and Pressure Process for Manufacturing Gelatin,” Veterinary Record, 157:277-289, 2005. 9. Article 11.4.15 in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (2014), accessed online at http://www.oie.int/index.php?id=169&L=0&htmfile=chapitre_bse.htm#article_bse.15. 10. “Quantitative Assessment of the Human and Animal BSE Risk Posed by Gelatine with Respect to Residual BSE Risk,” European Food Safety Authority Journal, 312:1-29, 2006). Available at http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/312. 11. HHS/FDA, “Guidance for Industry, The Sourcing and Processing of Gelatin to Reduce the Potential Risk Posed by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in FDA-Regulated Products for Human Use,” September 1997, accessed online at http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Guidances/ucm125182.htm. 12. Wells, G. A. H., S. A. C. Hawkins, R. B. Green, et al., “Preliminary Observations on the Pathogenesis of Experimental Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE): An Update,” Veterinary Record, 142:103-106, 1998. 13. Lasmezas, C. I., J-P. Deslys, O. Robain, et al., “Transmission of the BSE Agent to Mice in the Absence of Detectable Abnormal Prion Protein,” Science, 275:402-405, 1997. 14. Race, R., A. Raines, G. J. Raymond, et al., “Long-Term Subclinical Carrier State Precedes Scrapie Replication and Adaptation in a Resistant Species: Analogies to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in Humans,” Journal of Virology, 75(21):10106-10112, 2001. 15. Article 11.4.14 in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (2014), accessed online at http://www.oie.int/index.php?id=169&L=0&htmfile=chapitre_bse.htm#article_bse.14. 16. USDA, APHIS, BSE Ongoing Surveillance Plan, July 20, 2006. Available at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_diseases/bse/downloads/BSE_ongoing_surv_plan_final_71406.pdf. 17. European Commission, the TSE Roadmap, July 15, 2005. Available at http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biosafety/tse_bse/docs/roadmap_en.pdf. 18. Kimberlin, R. H., “Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy: An Appraisal of the Current Epidemic in the United Kingdom,” Intervirology 35: 208-218, 1993. 19. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK, BSE Summary Statistics,” August 2007 accessed online at: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130123162956/http:/www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/bse/statistics/bse/monthly_stats.pdf. 20. “EFSA Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ) Scientific Opinion on BSE Risk in Bovine Intestines on Request from the European Commission,” European Food Safety Authority Journal, vol. 1317, pp. 1-9 (2009). 21. CDC, BSE or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, accessed online at: http://www.cdc.gov/prions/bse/prevalence.html. 22. USDA, The Secretary's Foreign Animal and Poultry Disease Advisory Committee's Subcommittee Report on Measures Relating to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States, February 4, 2004. 23. Hoffmann C., M. Eiden, M. Kaatz, M. Keller, et al., 2011, “BSE Infectivity in Jejunum, Ileum and Ileocaecal Junction of Incubating Cattle,” Veterinary Research, 42, 21. 24. Terry, L. A., S. Marsh, S. J. Ryder, S. A. Hawkins, et al., “Detection of Disease-Specific PrP in the Distal Ileum of Cattle Exposed Orally to the Agent of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy,” Veterinary Record, 152, 387-392, 2003. 25. “EFSA Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ),” 2014 Scientific Opinion on BSE Risk in Bovine Intestines and Mesentery, European Food Safety Authority Journal, vol. 3554, pp. 1-98, (2014). http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/scientific_output/files/main_documents/3554.pdf. 26. Gelatin Manufacturers of America, Gelatin Handbook, 2012. 27. FDA, Cosmetics: An Evaluation of the Risk of Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease from Exposure to Cattle-Derived Protein Used in Cosmetics, accessed online at: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/PotentialContaminants/ucm137012.htm. 28. European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease International Surveillance Network, CJD Surveillance Data 1993-2013, accessed online at: http://www.eurocjd.ed.ac.uk/surveillance%20data%201.html#vcjd-cases. 29. WHO, WHO Media centre, Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Fact sheet N° 180 Revised February 2012, accessed online at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs180/en/. 30. WHO, WHO Tables on Tissue Infectivity Distribution in Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (2010 Update), available at: http://www.who.int/bloodproducts/tablestissueinfectivity.pdf. 31. Report of the Meeting of the OIE Scientific Commission for Animal Diseases, Paris, 4-8 February 2013, http://www.oie.int/doc/ged/D12361.PDF. 32. Gill, O. N., Y. Spencer, A. Richard-Loendt, C. Kelly, et al., “Prevalent Abnormal Prion Protein in Human Appendixes After Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Epizootic: Large Scale Survey,” British Medical Journal 2013;347:f5675 doi: 10.1136/bmj.f5675 (published 15 October 2013). 33. CDC, CDC Surveillance for vCJD, available at: http://www.cdc.gov/prions/vcjd/surveillance.html. List of Subjects 21 CFR Part 189

    Food additives, Food packaging.

    21 CFR Part 700

    Cosmetics, Packaging and containers.

    Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, the interim final rule amending 21 CFR parts 189 and 700, which was published on July 13, 2004, at 69 FR 42255, and amended on September 7, 2005, at 70 FR 53063, and amended on April 17, 2008, at 73 FR 20785, is adopted as a final rule with the following changes:

    PART 189—SUBSTANCES PROHIBITED FROM USE IN HUMAN FOOD 1. The authority citation for part 189 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 321, 342, 348, 371, 381.

    2. Section 189.5 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 189.5 Prohibited cattle materials.

    (a) Definitions. The definitions and interpretations of terms contained in section 201 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) apply to such terms when used in this part. The following definitions also apply:

    (1) Prohibited cattle materials mean specified risk materials, small intestine of all cattle except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, material from nonambulatory disabled cattle, material from cattle not inspected and passed, or mechanically separated (MS)(Beef). Prohibited cattle materials do not include the following:

    (i) Tallow that contains no more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities, tallow derivatives, gelatin, hides and hide-derived products, and milk and milk products, and

    (ii) Cattle materials inspected and passed from a country designated under paragraph (e) of this section.

    (2) Inspected and passed means that the product has been inspected and passed for human consumption by the appropriate regulatory authority, and at the time it was inspected and passed, it was found to be not adulterated.

    (3) Mechanically separated (MS) (Beef) means a meat food product that is finely comminuted, resulting from the mechanical separation and removal of most of the bone from attached skeletal muscle of cattle carcasses and parts of carcasses that meets the specifications contained in 9 CFR 319.5, the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulation that prescribes the standard of identity for MS (Species).

    (4) Nonambulatory disabled cattle means cattle that cannot rise from a recumbent position or that cannot walk, including, but not limited to, those with broken appendages, severed tendons or ligaments, nerve paralysis, fractured vertebral column, or metabolic conditions.

    (5) Specified risk material means the brain, skull, eyes, trigeminal ganglia, spinal cord, vertebral column (excluding the vertebrae of the tail, the transverse processes of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, and the wings of the sacrum), and dorsal root ganglia of cattle 30 months of age and older and the tonsils and distal ileum of the small intestine of all cattle.

    (6) Tallow means the rendered fat of cattle obtained by pressing or by applying any other extraction process to tissues derived directly from discrete adipose tissue masses or to other carcass parts and tissues. Tallow must be produced from tissues that are not prohibited cattle materials or must contain no more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities as determined by the method entitled “Insoluble Impurities” (AOCS Official Method Ca 3a-46), American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS), 5th Edition, 1997, incorporated by reference in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51, or another method equivalent in accuracy, precision, and sensitivity to AOCS Official Method Ca 3a-46. You may obtain copies of the method from AOCS (http://www.aocs.org) 2211 W. Bradley Ave. Champaign, IL 61821. Copies may be examined at the Food and Drug Administration's Main Library, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 2, Third Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20993, 301-796-2039, or 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/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    (7) Tallow derivative means any chemical obtained through initial hydrolysis, saponification, or trans-esterification of tallow; chemical conversion of material obtained by hydrolysis, saponification, or trans-esterification may be applied to obtain the desired product.

    (8) Gelatin means a product that has been obtained by the partial hydrolysis of collagen derived from hides, connective tissue, and/or bone bones of cattle and swine. Gelatin may be either Type A (derived from an acid-treated precursor) or Type B (derived from an alkali-treated precursor) that has gone through processing steps that include filtration and sterilization or an equivalent process in terms of infectivity reduction.

    PART 700—GENERAL 3. The authority citation for part 700 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 321, 331, 352, 355, 361, 362, 371, 374.

    4. Section 700.27 by is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 700.27 Use of prohibited cattle materials in cosmetic products.

    (a) Definitions. The definitions and interpretations of terms contained in section 201 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) apply to such terms when used in this part. The following definitions also apply:

    (1) Prohibited cattle materials mean specified risk materials, small intestine of all cattle except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, material from nonambulatory disabled cattle, material from cattle not inspected and passed, or mechanically separated (MS) (Beef). Prohibited cattle materials do not include the following:

    (i) Tallow that contains no more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities, tallow derivatives, gelatin, hides and hide-derived products, and milk and milk products, and

    (ii) Cattle materials inspected and passed from a country designated under paragraph (e) of this section.

    (2) Inspected and passed means that the product has been inspected and passed for human consumption by the appropriate regulatory authority, and at the time it was inspected and passed, it was found to be not adulterated.

    (3) Mechanically separated (MS) (Beef) means a meat food product that is finely comminuted, resulting from the mechanical separation and removal of most of the bone from attached skeletal muscle of cattle carcasses and parts of carcasses that meets the specifications contained in 9 CFR 319.5, the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulation that prescribes the standard of identity for MS (Species).

    (4) Nonambulatory disabled cattle means cattle that cannot rise from a recumbent position or that cannot walk, including, but not limited to, those with broken appendages, severed tendons or ligaments, nerve paralysis, fractured vertebral column, or metabolic conditions.

    (5) Specified risk material means the brain, skull, eyes, trigeminal ganglia, spinal cord, vertebral column (excluding the vertebrae of the tail, the transverse processes of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, and the wings of the sacrum), and dorsal root ganglia of cattle 30 months of age and older and the tonsils and distal ileum of the small intestine of all cattle.

    (6) Tallow means the rendered fat of cattle obtained by pressing or by applying any other extraction process to tissues derived directly from discrete adipose tissue masses or to other carcass parts and tissues. Tallow must be produced from tissues that are not prohibited cattle materials or must contain no more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities as determined by the method entitled “Insoluble Impurities” (AOCS Official Method Ca 3a-46), American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS), 5th Edition, 1997, incorporated by reference in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51, or another method equivalent in accuracy, precision, and sensitivity to AOCS Official Method Ca 3a-46. You may obtain copies of the method from AOCS (http://www.aocs.org) 2211 W. Bradley Ave. Champaign, IL 61821. Copies may be examined at the Food and Drug Administration's Main Library, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 2, Third Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20993, 301-796-2039 or 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/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    (7) Tallow derivative means any chemical obtained through initial hydrolysis, saponification, or trans-esterification of tallow; chemical conversion of material obtained by hydrolysis, saponification, or trans-esterification may be applied to obtain the desired product.

    (8) Gelatin means a product that has been obtained by the partial hydrolysis of collagen derived from hides, connective tissue, and/or bone bones of cattle and swine. Gelatin may be either Type A (derived from an acid-treated precursor) or Type B (derived from an alkali-treated precursor) that has gone through processing steps that include filtration and sterilization or an equivalent process in terms of infectivity reduction.

    Dated: March 14, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06123 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0093] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Sacramento River, Sacramento, CA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Tower Drawbridge across the Sacramento River, mile 59.0, at Sacramento, CA. The deviation is necessary to allow the community to participate in the Peace Love run. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position during the deviation period.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on March 26, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2016-0093] is available at http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email David H. Sulouff, Chief, Bridge Section, Eleventh Coast Guard District; telephone 510-437-3516, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    California Department of Transportation has requested a temporary change to the operation of the Tower Drawbridge, mile 59.0, over Sacramento River, at Sacramento, CA. The vertical lift bridge navigation span provides a vertical clearance of 30 feet above Mean High Water in the closed-to-navigation position. The draw operates as required by 33 CFR 117.189(a). Navigation on the waterway is commercial and recreational.

    The drawspan will be secured in the closed-to-navigation position from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on March 26, 2016, to allow the community to participate in the Peace Love run. This temporary deviation has been coordinated with the waterway users. No objections to the proposed temporary deviation were raised.

    Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed position may do so at anytime. The bridge will be able to open for emergencies and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

    In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(e), the drawbridge must return to its regular operating schedule immediately at the end of the effective period of this temporary deviation. This deviation from the operating regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. D.H. Sulouff, District Bridge Chief, Eleventh Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06189 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0195] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Jamaica Bay and Connecting Waterways, Queens, NY AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Marine Parkway Bridge across the Jamaica Bay, mile 3.0, at Queens, New York. This deviation is necessary to allow the bridge owner to replace the auxiliary clutch shafts at the bridge.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 7 a.m. on April 4, 2016 to 5 p.m. on April 15, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2016-0159] is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH”. Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Judy Leung-Yee, Project Officer, First Coast Guard District, telephone (212) 514-4330, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Marine Parkway Bridge, mile 3.0, across the Jamaica Bay, has a vertical clearance in the closed position of 55 feet at mean high water and 59 feet at mean low water. The existing bridge operating regulations are found at 33 CFR 117.795(a).

    The waterway is transited by commercial oil barge traffic of various sizes.

    The bridge owner, MTA Bridges and Tunnels, requested a temporary deviation from the normal operating schedule to facilitate auxiliary clutch shafts replacement at the bridge.

    Under this temporary deviation, the Marine Parkway Bridge shall remain in the closed position from 7 a.m. on April 4, 2016 to 5 p.m. April 15, 2016.

    Vessels able to pass under the bridge in the closed position may do so at anytime. The bridge will not be able to open for emergencies and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass.

    The Coast Guard will inform the users of the waterways through our Local Notice and Broadcast to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessel operations can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation. The Coast Guard notified various companies of the commercial oil and barge vessels and they have no objections to the temporary deviation.

    In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(e), the drawbridge must return to its regular operating schedule immediately at the end of the effective period of this temporary deviation. This deviation from the operating regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35.

    Dated: March 14, 2016. C.J. Bisignano, Supervisory Bridge Management Specialist, First Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06068 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0103] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Sacramento River, Sacramento, CA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Tower Drawbridge across the Sacramento River, mile 59.0, at Sacramento, CA. The deviation is necessary to allow the community to participate in the Sactown 10 race. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position during the deviation period.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. on April 3, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2016-0103] is available at http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email David H. Sulouff, Chief, Bridge Section, Eleventh Coast Guard District; telephone 510-437-3516, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    California Department of Transportation has requested a temporary change to the operation of the Tower Drawbridge, mile 59.0, over Sacramento River, at Sacramento, CA. The vertical lift bridge navigation span provides a vertical clearance of 30 feet above Mean High Water in the closed-to-navigation position. The draw operates as required by 33 CFR 117.189(a). Navigation on the waterway is commercial and recreational.

    The drawspan will be secured in the closed-to-navigation position from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. on April 3, 2016, to allow the community to participate in the Sactown 10 race. This temporary deviation has been coordinated with the waterway users. No objections to the proposed temporary deviation were raised.

    Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed position may do so at anytime. The bridge will be able to open for emergencies and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

    In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(e), the drawbridge must return to its regular operating schedule immediately at the and of the effective period of this temporary deviation. This deviation from the operating regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35.

    Dated: March 8, 2016. D.H. Sulouff, District Bridge Chief, Eleventh Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06185 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2016-0174] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Urbanna Creek, Urbanna, VA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for navigable waters within a 200-yard radius of Dozier's Point Urbanna Marina on Urbanna Creek. The safety zone is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment from potential hazards created by a marina fire and the resulting investigation and clean up efforts. Entry of vessels or persons into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Hampton Roads.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective without actual notice from March 18, 2016 through 4 p.m. on April 8, 2016. For the purposes of enforcement, actual notice will be used from 4 p.m. on March 4, 2016 through March 18, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2016-0174 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 Lieutenant Lisa Woodman, Waterways Management, Sector Hampton Roads, Coast Guard; telephone 757-668-5580, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because publishing an NPRM would be “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest,” due to the exigent need to conduct investigations and clean up operations following an explosion and fire that occurred at Dozier's Point Urbanna Marina in Urbanna Creek, Urbanna, VA on the morning of February 29, 2016. Two persons lost their lives in the fire and over 50 boats burned or sustained damage. The nature of the incident and extent of damage makes it impracticable to provide a full comment period due to the lack of time. It is impracticable to publish an NPRM because we must establish this safety zone to continue the prior safety zone that is expiring 4 p.m. on March 4, 2016 that was established for the fire response.

    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. Given the severity of the incident, a delay in enacting this safety zone would be contrary to public interest because recovery actions are necessary to ensure the navigable waters do not contain safety hazards as a result of the explosion and subsequent fire.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231. The Captain of the Port Hampton Roads (COTP) has determined that hazards resulting from the fire as well as clean-up and removal operations will be a safety concern for anyone within a 300-yard radius of the Dozier's Point Urbanna Marina. This rule is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment in the navigable waters within the safety zone while investigative and clean up operations are being conducted in response to the substantial damage which resulted from the fire.

    IV. Discussion of the Rule

    This rule establishes a safety zone from 4 p.m. on March 4, 2016 through 4 p.m. on April 8, 2016. The safety zone will cover all navigable waters within 300 yards of vessels and machinery being used by personnel to conduct recovery operations at Dozier's Point Urbanna Marina. The duration of the zone is intended to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment in these navigable waters while recovery operations are conducted. No vessel or person will be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

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

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

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

    This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location, and duration of the safety zone. The safety zone will impact a small designated area of Urbanna Creek in Urbanna, VA as needed to support clean-up and until recovery operations are complete. The safety zone is in an area where and during a time of year when vessel traffic is normally low. Moreover, the Coast Guard will issue Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the zone.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

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

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

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

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

    C. Collection of Information

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

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

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

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969(42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves a safety zone lasting five weeks that will prohibit entry within 500 yards of vessels and being used by personnel to conduct recovery operations. 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 not required. 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; 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701, 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, 160.5; Pub. L. 107-295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.2.

    2. Add § 165.T05-0174 to read as follows:
    165.T05-0174 Safety Zone, Urbanna Creek; Urbanna, VA

    (a) Definitions. For the purposes of this section, Captain of the Port means the Commander, Sector Hampton Roads. Representative means any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer who has been authorized to act on the behalf of the Captain of the Port.

    (b) Location. The following area is a safety zone: specified waters of the Captain of the Port, Sector Hampton Roads zone, as defined in 33 CFR 3.25-10, waters of Urbanna Creek within a 200-yard radius of Dozier's Point Urbanna Marina in Urbanna, VA.

    (c) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in 165.23 of this part, entry into this zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port, Hampton Roads or his designated representatives.

    (2) The operator of any vessel in the immediate vicinity of this safety zone shall:

    (i) Contact on scene recovery vessels via VHF channel 13 and 16 for passage instructions.

    (ii) If on scene proceed as directed by any commissioned, warrant or petty officer on shore or on board a vessel that is displaying a U.S. Coast Guard Ensign.

    (3) The Captain of the Port, Hampton Roads can be reached through the Sector Duty Officer at Sector Hampton Roads in Portsmouth, Virginia at telephone number (757) 668-5555.

    (4) The Coast Guard Representatives enforcing the safety zone can be contacted on VHF-FM marine band radio channel 13 (165.65Mhz) and channel 16 (156.8 Mhz).

    (d) Enforcement period. This section will be enforced as necessary until 4 p.m. on April 8, 2016.

    Dated: March 4, 2016. Christopher S. Keane, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Hampton Roads.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06184 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR PART 52 [EPA-HQ-OAR-2016-0098; FRL-9943-90-OAR] Findings of Failure To Submit State Implementation Plans Required for Attainment of the 2010 1-Hour Primary Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking a final action to find that several states have failed to submit State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to satisfy certain nonattainment area planning requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for the 2010 1-Hour Primary Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). The purpose of the development and implementation of nonattainment area SIPs is to provide for attainment of the NAAQS as expeditiously as practicable following the designation of an area as nonattainment. These findings of failure to submit establish certain CAA deadlines for the EPA to impose sanctions if a state does not submit a SIP addressing those requirements and for the EPA to promulgate a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) to address any outstanding SIP requirements.

    DATES:

    The effective date of this action is April 18, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    General questions concerning this notice should be addressed to Dr. Larry D. Wallace, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Air Quality Policy Division, Mail Code: C504-2, 109 TW Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709; by telephone (919) 541-0906; or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. General Information A. Notice and Comment Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA)

    Section 553 of the APA, 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), provides that, when an agency for good cause finds that notice and public procedure are impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest, the agency may issue a rule without providing notice and an opportunity for public comment. The EPA has determined that there is good cause for making this final agency action without prior proposal and opportunity for comment because no significant EPA judgment is involved in making a finding of failure to submit SIPs, or elements of SIPs, required by the CAA, where states have made no submissions, or incomplete submissions, to meet the requirement. Thus, notice and public procedures are unnecessary. The EPA finds that this constitutes good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).

    B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information?

    The EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2016-0098 for this action. All documents in the docket are listed on http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business Information or information whose disclosure is restricted by statue. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form through http://www.regulations.gov.

    C. Where do I go if I have a specific state question?

    For questions related to specific states mentioned in this notice, please contact the appropriate EPA Regional office:

    Regional offices States EPA Region I: Dave Conroy, Chief, Air Program Branch, Air Programs Branch, EPA New England, 1 Congress Street, Suite 1100, Boston, MA 02203-2211 New Hampshire. EPA Region III: Cristina Fernandez, Associate Director, Office of Air Program Planning, EPA Region III, 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-2187 Pennsylvania, West Virginia. EPA Region IV: R. Scott Davis, Chief, Air Planning Branch, EPA Region IV, Sam Nunn Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street, 12th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30303-8960 Tennessee, Kentucky. EPA Region V: John Mooney, Chief, Air Programs Branch, EPA Region V, 77 West Jackson Street, Chicago, IL 60604 Michigan, Ohio. EPA Region VI: Guy Donaldson, Chief, Air Planning Section, EPA Region VI, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, TX 75202-2733 Louisiana. EPA Region VII: Michael Jay, Chief, Air Programs Branch, EPA Region 7, 11201 Renner Blvd., Lenexa, Kansas 66219 Iowa. EPA Region VIII: Monica Morales, Chief, Air Program Manager, Air Quality Planning Unit, EPA Region VIII Air Program, 1595 Wynkoop St. (8P-AR), Denver, CO 80202-1129 Montana. EPA Region IX: Matt Lakin, Air Planning Office, EPA Region 9, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105 Arizona. D. How is the preamble organized? Table of Contents I. General Information A. Notice and Comment Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) B. How can I get copies of this document and other related information? C. Where do I go if I have specific state questions? D. How is the preamble organized? II. Background III. Consequences of Findings of Failure To Submit IV. Findings of Failure To Submit for States That Failed To Make a Nonattainment Area SIP Submittal V. Environmental Justice Considerations VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health and Safety Risks H. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution or Use I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority and Low-Income Populations K. Congressional Review Act (CRA) L. Judicial Review II. Background

    In June 2010, the EPA promulgated a new 1-hour primary SO2 NAAQS of 75 parts per billion (ppb), which is met when the 3-year average of the annual 99th percentile of 1-hour daily maximum concentrations does not exceed 75 ppb, as determined in accordance with Appendix T of 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 50. See 40 CFR 50.17(a)-(b). On August 5, 2013, the EPA, as part of a first round of area designations, initially designated 29 areas in 16 states as nonattainment for the 2010 SO2 NAAQS. 78 FR 47191, codified at 40 CFR part 81, subpart C. These initial area designations had an effective date of October 4, 2013.

    Areas designated nonattainment for the SO2 NAAQS are subject to the general nonattainment area planning requirements of CAA section 172 and to the SO2-specific planning requirements of subpart 5 of part D of Title I of the CAA (sections 191 and 192). All components of the SO2 part D nonattainment area SIP, including the emissions inventory, attainment demonstration, reasonably available control measures (RACM) and reasonably available control technology (RACT), reasonable further progress (RFP) plan, and contingency measures, are due to the EPA within 18 months of the effective date of designation of an area under CAA section 191. Thus, the nonattainment area SIPs for areas designated as of October 4, 2013, were due on April 4, 2015. These SIPs are required to demonstrate that their respective areas will attain the NAAQS as expeditiously as practicable, but no later than 5 years from the effective date of designation, or October 4, 2018.

    III. Consequences of Findings of Failure To Submit

    If the EPA finds that a state has failed to make the required SIP submittal or that a submitted SIP is incomplete, then CAA section 179(a) establishes specific consequences, including the imposition of mandatory sanctions for the affected area. Additionally, such a finding also triggers an obligation under CAA section 110(c) for the EPA to promulgate a FIP no later than 2 years from the finding of failure to submit, if the affected state has not submitted, and the EPA has not approved, the required SIP submittal. The statutory attainment date of October 4, 2018, applies to all areas designated nonattainment effective as of October 4, 2013, and not otherwise redesignated to attainment, regardless of the status of the SIP or FIP that applies to that area.

    If the EPA has not affirmatively determined that a state has made the required complete SIP submittal for an area within 18 months of the effective date of this rulemaking, then, pursuant to CAA section 179(a) and (b) and 40 CFR 52.31, the offset sanction identified in CAA section 179(b)(2) will apply in the affected nonattainment area. If the EPA has not affirmatively determined that the state has made a complete submission within 6 months after the offset sanction is imposed, then the highway funding sanction will apply in the affected nonattainment area, in accordance with CAA section 179(b)(1) and 40 CFR 52.31. The sanctions will not take effect, if, within 18 months after the date of these findings, the EPA finds that the affected state has made a complete SIP submittal addressing the deficiency for which the finding was made. Additionally, if the state makes the required SIP submittal and the EPA takes final action to approve the submittal within 2 years of the effective date of these findings, the EPA is not required to promulgate a FIP for the affected nonattainment area, pursuant to CAA section 179(a) and 40 CFR 52.31.

    IV. Findings of Failure To Submit for States That Failed To Make a Nonattainment Area SIP Submittal

    As of the date of signature of this action, six states have made complete SIP submittals for 14 SO2 nonattainment areas designated effective on October 4, 2013.1 In this action, the EPA is making a finding of failure to submit SO2 nonattainment area SIP submittals for 16 areas in 11 states.2 The EPA is finding that the states and areas listed in the table below have failed to submit a complete SIP submittal required under part D of Title 1 of the CAA.

    1 These six states and 14 areas are: Hillsborough County, FL; Nassau County, FL; Lake County, OH; Muskingum River, OH; Steubenville, OH-WV (OH portion); Marion County, IN: Morgan County, IN: Vigo County, IN; South West Indiana, IN; Rhinelander, WI; Jefferson County, MO; Jackson County, MO; Lemont, IL; and, Pekin, IL.

    2 There are currently 29 nonattainment areas in 16 states. However, the sum totals of areas and states with complete SIP submittals versus those without complete submittals are 30 and 17, respectively. The difference in these totals can be attributed to the fact that multiple SIP submittals are required for the two multi-state SO2 nonattainment areas. For example, the EPA received a complete SIP submittal for the OH portion of the Steubenville, OH-WV multi-state nonattainment area, as noted in footnote #1. However, because WV has not made a complete SIP submittal for the area, WV is included in this findings notice for the Steubenville, OH-WV area. The area thus is counted both as an area for which a state (OH) made a complete SIP submittal and as an area for which a state (WV) still owes a complete SIP submittal.

    The EPA notes that the Billings, Montana nonattainment area is listed in this findings notice because the state has failed to submit a complete SIP for the area. However, the EPA has proposed both a clean data determination and a redesignation of the area to attainment in a separate action (81 FR 11727, March 7, 2016). Should the Billings, Montana nonattainment area be redesignated to attainment within the timeframes described above, the state will not be required to submit a nonattainment SIP for the area and no sanctions will take effect for the area. Likewise, the Campbell-Clermont multi-state nonattainment area is listed in this findings notice because Ohio and Kentucky have failed to submit complete SIPs for the area. However, both states have submitted redesignation requests for their respective parts of the Campbell-Clermont multi-state nonattainment area, seeking to have that area redesignated as attainment. The EPA has not yet acted on these requests. Should the EPA propose and then finalize redesignation of the area to attainment within the timeframes described above, neither state will be required to submit a nonattainment SIP for the area and no sanctions will take effect.

    States and SO2 Nonattainment Areas Affected by These Findings of Failure To Submit Regional office State Nonattainment area Region I New Hampshire Central New Hampshire: Hillsborough County (p), Merrimack County (p), Rockingham County (p). Region III Pennsylvania Allegheny: Allegheny County (p). Region III Pennsylvania Beaver: Beaver County (p). Region III Pennsylvania Indiana: Armstrong County (p), Indiana County (p). Region III Pennsylvania Warren: Warren County (p). Region III West Virginia Marshall: Marshall County (p). Region III West Virginia Steubenville (OH-WV): Brooke County, WV (p). Region IV Kentucky Campbell-Clermont (OH-KY): Campbell County, KY (p). Region IV Kentucky Jefferson County: Jefferson County (p). Region IV Tennessee Sullivan County: Sullivan County (p). Region V Michigan Detroit: Wayne County (p). Region V Ohio Campbell-Clermont (OH-KY): Clermont County, OH (p). Region VI Louisiana St. Bernard Parish: St. Bernard Parish. Region VII Iowa Muscatine: Muscatine County (p). Region VIII Montana Billings: Yellowstone County (p). Region IX Arizona Hayden: Gila County (p), Pinal County (p). Region IX Arizona Miami: Gila County (p). Note: Partial counties are indicated in the table above as (p). V. Environmental Justice Considerations

    The EPA believes that the human health or environmental risks addressed by this action will not have disproportionately high or adverse human health or environmental effects on minority, low-income, or indigenous populations because it does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or environment under the SO2 NAAQS. The purpose of this rule is to make findings that the affected states named have failed to submit the required SIPs to provide for timely attainment of the 1-hour primary SO2 NAAQS, which results in certain CAA-required deadlines for actions to provide for such attainment. In finding that certain states have failed to submit a complete SIP that satisfies the nonattainment area plan requirements under section 172 and subpart 5 of part D of Title I of the CAA (sections 191 and 192) for the 1-hour primary SO2 NAAQS, this action does not directly affect the level of protection provided for human health or the environment. However, it is intended that the required actions and deadlines resulting from this notice will lead to greater protection for U.S. citizens, including minority, low-income, or indigenous populations, by reducing exposure to high ambient concentrations of SO2.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

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

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This action does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the PRA. This final rule does not establish any new information collection requirement apart from what is already required by law. This rule relates to the requirement in the CAA for states to submit SIPs under section 172 and subpart 5 of part D of Title I of the CAA (sections 191 and 192) which address the statutory requirements that apply to areas designated as nonattainment for the SO2 NAAQS.

    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    I certify that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the RFA. This action will not impose any requirements on small entities. The rule is a finding that the named states have not submitted the necessary SIP requirements for nonattainment areas to meet the requirements of part D, title I of the CAA.

    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA)

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

    E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

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

    This action does not have tribal implications as specified in Executive Order 13175. This rule finds that several states failed to submit a complete SIP that satisfies the nonattainment area plan requirements under section 172 and subpart 5 of part D of Title I of the CAA (sections 191 and 192) for the 1-hour primary SO2 NAAQS. No tribe is subject to the requirement to submit an implementation plan under section 172 or under subpart 5 of part D of Title I of the CAA. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

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

    The EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 as applying only to those regulatory actions that concern health or safety risks that the EPA has reason to believe may disproportionately affect children, per the definition of “covered regulatory action” in section 2-202 of the Executive Order. This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it is a finding that several states have failed to submit a complete SIP that satisfies the nonattainment area plan requirements under section 172 and subpart 5 of part D of Title I of the CAA for the 1-hour primary SO2 NAAQS and does not directly or disproportionately affect children.

    H. Executive Order 13211: Actions That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution or Use

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

    I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    This rulemaking does not involve technical standards.

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

    The EPA believes the human health or environmental risk addressed by this action will not have potential disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority, low-income, or indigenous populations. In finding that several states have failed to submit a complete SIP that satisfies the nonattainment area plan requirements under section 172 and subpart 5 of part D of Title I of the CAA for the 1-hour primary SO2 NAAQS, this action does not directly affect the level of protection provided to human health or the environment. The results of this evaluation are contained in the Section V of this preamble titled “Environmental Justice Considerations.”

    K. Congressional Review Act (CRA)

    This action is subject to the CRA, and the EPA will submit a rule report to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    L. Judicial Review

    Section 307(b)(l) of the CAA indicates which federal Courts of Appeal have venue for petitions of review of final agency actions by the EPA under the CAA. This section provides, in part, that petitions for review must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (i) when the agency action consists of “nationally applicable regulations promulgated, or final actions taken, by the Administrator,” or (ii) when such action is locally or regionally applicable, if “such action is based on a determination of nationwide scope or effect and if in taking such action the Administrator finds and publishes that such action is based on such a determination.”

    The EPA has determined that this final rule consisting of findings of failure to submit certain of the required SIP provisions is “nationally applicable” within the meaning of section 307(b)(1). This final agency action affects 16 nonattainment areas across the country that are located in 11 states, eight of the 10 EPA Regional offices, and eight different federal circuits, and multiple time zones. In addition, the rule addresses a common core of knowledge and analysis involved in formulating the decision and a common interpretation of the requirements of 40 CFR 51 appendix V applied to determining the completeness of SIPs in states across the country.

    This determination is appropriate because in the 1977 CAA Amendments that revised CAA section 307(b)(l), Congress noted that the Administrator's determination that an action is of “nationwide scope or effect” would be appropriate for any action that has “scope or effect beyond a single judicial circuit.” H.R. Rep. No. 95-294 at 323-324, reprinted in 1977 U.S.C.C.A.N. 1402-03. Here, the scope and effect of this action extends to the five judicial circuits that include the states across the country affected by this action. In these circumstances, section 307(b)(1) and its legislative history authorize the Administrator to find the rule to be of “nationwide scope or effect” and, thus, to indicate that venue for challenges lies in the D.C. Circuit. Accordingly, the EPA is determining that this rule is of nationwide scope or effect. 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 District of Columbia Circuit within 60 days from the date this final action is published in the Federal Register. Filing a petition for review by the Administrator of this final action does not affect the finality of the action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review must be filed and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. Thus, any petitions for review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit within 60 days from the date this final action is published in the Federal Register.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Approval and promulgation of implementation plans, Administrative practice and procedures, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, and Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: March 10, 2016. Janet G. McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06063 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION 48 CFR Part 1852 NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement AGENCY:

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    ACTION:

    Technical amendment.

    SUMMARY:

    NASA is making a technical amendment to the NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (NFS) to provide a needed editorial change.

    DATES:

    Effective: March 18, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Manuel Quinones, NASA, Office of Procurement, Contract and Grant Policy Division, via email at [email protected], or telephone (202) 358-2143.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This final rule amends the NFS to correct 1852.245-70 section heading.

    List of Subjects in 48 CFR Part 1852

    Government procurement.

    Manuel Quinones, NASA FAR Supplement Manager.

    Therefore, 48 CFR part 1852 is amended as follows:

    PART 1852—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES 1. The authority citation for 48 CFR part 1852 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    51 U.S.C. 20113(a) and 48 CFR chapter 1.

    1852.245-70 [Amended]
    2. Amend section 1852.245-70 in the section heading by removing the word “equipment” and adding “property” in its place.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06114 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7510-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 150818742-6210-02] RIN 0648-XE130 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; Final 2016 and 2017 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule; harvest specifications and closures.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS announces final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications, apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2016 and 2017 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the GOA in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

    DATES:

    Harvest specifications and closures are effective at 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 18, 2016, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Electronic copies of the Final Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), and the Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS prepared for this action are available from http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2015 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the GOA, dated November 2015, is available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99510-2252, phone 907-271-2809, or from the Council's Web site at http://www.npfmc.org.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the GOA groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zone of the GOA under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). The Council prepared the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the FMP appear at 50 CFR parts 600, 679, and 680.

    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species, the sum of which must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 116,000 to 800,000 metric tons (mt). Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to publish and solicit public comment on proposed annual TACs, Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limits, and seasonal allowances of pollock and Pacific cod. Upon consideration of public comment received under § 679.20(c)(1), NMFS must publish notice of final harvest specifications for up to two fishing years as annual target TAC, per § 679.20(c)(3)(ii). The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 30 of this document reflect the outcome of this process, as required at § 679.20(c).

    The proposed 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA and Pacific halibut PSC limits were published in the Federal Register on December 9, 2015 (80 FR 76405). Comments were invited and accepted through January 8, 2016. NMFS received two responses, containing five general categories of comments. A summary of the comments and NMFS's responses is found in the Response to Comment section of this rule. In December 2015, NMFS consulted with the Council regarding the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications. After considering public testimony, as well as biological and economic data that were available at the Council's December 2015 meeting, NMFS is implementing the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications, as recommended by the Council. For 2016, the sum of the TAC amounts is 590,809 mt. For 2017, the sum of the TAC amounts is 573,872 mt.

    Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2016 and 2017 Harvest Specifications Removal of Pacific Cod Sideboard Limits for Hook-and-Line Catcher/Processors

    In May 2015, NMFS published a final rule implementing regulations associated with Amendment 45 to the FMP for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Amendment 45) (80 FR 28539, May 19, 2015). Pursuant to § 680.22(e)(1)(ii), NMFS will permanently remove Pacific cod sideboard limits applicable to specified hook-and-line catcher/processors (C/P) in the Western and Central GOA regulatory areas once it receives an affidavit affirming that all eligible participants in these regulatory areas recommend removal of the Crab Rationalization Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. NMFS received an affidavit that all eligible fishery participants in the Western and Central GOA recommend removal of these sideboard limits. Therefore, NMFS is permanently removing the sideboard limits and does not establish 2016 and 2017 Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line C/P sector. These sideboard limits have been removed from Tables 21 and 22 of this rule.

    Revise Maximum Retainable Amounts for Skates

    In December 2014, the Council took final action to reduce the maximum retainable amount (MRA) for skates in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). Per the Council's recommendation, NMFS published a proposed rule to modify regulations that specify the MRA for skates in the GOA (80 FR 39734, July 10, 2015). An MRA is expressed as a percentage and is the maximum amount of a species closed to directed fishing (i.e., skate species) that may be retained on board a vessel relative to the retained amount of other groundfish species or halibut open for directed fishing (basis species). An MRA serves as a management tool to slow the harvest rates of incidental catch species and limit retention up to a maximum percentage of the amount of retained groundfish or halibut on board the vessel. NMFS has established a single MRA percentage for big skate (Raja binoculata), longnose skate (Raja rhina), and for all remaining skate species (Bathyraja spp.). The proposed rule would reduce the MRA for skates in the GOA from 20 percent to 5 percent. The reduced MRA would apply to all vessels directed fishing for groundfish or halibut in the GOA. NMFS anticipates that the proposed regulatory revisions associated with the skate MRA reduction will be effective in 2016.

    Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Specifications

    In December 2015, the Council, its Advisory Panel (AP), and its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) reviewed the most recent biological and harvest information about the condition of groundfish stocks in the GOA. This information was compiled by the Council's GOA Groundfish Plan Team and was presented in the draft 2015 SAFE report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2015 (see ADDRESSES). The SAFE report contains a review of the latest scientific analyses and estimates of each species' biomass and other biological parameters, as well as summaries of the available information on the GOA ecosystem and the economic condition of the groundfish fisheries off Alaska. From these data and analyses, the Plan Team estimates an overfishing level (OFL) and ABC for each species or species group. The 2015 report was made available for public review during the public comment period for the proposed harvest specifications.

    In previous years, the greatest changes from the proposed to the final harvest specifications have been based on recent NMFS stock surveys, which provide updated estimates of stock biomass and spatial distribution, and changes to the models used for producing stock assessments. At the November 2015 Plan Team meeting, NMFS scientists presented updated and new survey results, changes to stock assessment models, and accompanying stock assessment estimates for all groundfish species and species groups that are included in the final 2015 SAFE report. The SSC reviewed this information at the December 2015 Council meeting. Changes from the proposed to the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications are discussed below.

    The final 2016 and 2017 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised methods used to calculate stock biomass. The FMP specifies the formulas, or tiers, to be used to compute OFLs and ABCs. The formulas applicable to a particular stock or stock complex are determined by the level of reliable information available to fisheries scientists. This information is categorized into a successive series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts, with Tier 1 representing the highest level of information quality available and Tier 6 representing the lowest level of information quality available. The Plan Team used the FMP tier structure to calculate OFL and ABC amounts for each groundfish species. The SSC adopted the final 2016 and 2017 OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team for all groundfish species. The Council adopted the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations and the AP's TAC recommendations. The final TAC recommendations were based on the ABCs as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the sum of all TACs within the required OY range of 116,000 to 800,000 mt.

    The Council recommended 2016 and 2017 TACs that are equal to ABCs for pollock, sablefish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, dusky rockfish, rougheye rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, thornyhead rockfish, big skate, longnose skate, other skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses in the GOA. The Council recommended TACs for 2016 and 2017 that are less than the ABCs for Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish in the Western GOA, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole in the Western and Central GOA, “other rockfish” in the Southeast Outside district, and Atka mackerel. The Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the State of Alaska's (State's) guideline harvest levels (GHLs) for Pacific cod so that the ABCs are not exceeded. The shallow-water flatfish, arrowtooth flounder, and flathead sole TACs are set to allow for increased harvest opportunities for these target species while conserving the halibut PSC limit for use in other, more fully utilized fisheries. The “other rockfish” TAC in the Southeast Outside District (SEO) is set to reduce the amount of discards. The Atka mackerel TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch amounts in other fisheries.

    The final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications approved by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) are unchanged from those recommended by the Council and are consistent with the preferred harvest strategy alternative in the EIS (see ADDRESSES). NMFS finds that the Council's recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the biological condition of the groundfish stocks as described in the final 2015 SAFE report. NMFS also finds that the Council's recommendations for OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the total TAC within the OY range. NMFS reviewed the Council's recommended TAC specifications and apportionments, and approves these harvest specifications under 50 CFR 679.20(c)(3)(ii). The apportionment of TAC amounts among gear types and sectors, processing sectors, and seasons is discussed below.

    Tables 1 and 2 list the final 2016 and 2017 OFLs, ABCs, TACs, and area apportionments of groundfish in the GOA. The sums of the 2016 and 2017 ABCs are 727,684 mt and 708,629 mt, respectively, which are higher in 2016 and 2017 than the 2015 ABC sum of 685,597 mt (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015).

    Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts

    NMFS' apportionment of groundfish species is based on the distribution of biomass among the regulatory areas over which NMFS manages the species. Additional regulations govern the apportionment of pollock, Pacific cod, and sablefish. Additional detail on the apportionment of pollock, Pacific cod, and sablefish are described below.

    The ABC for the pollock stock in the combined Western, Central, and West Yakutat Regulatory Areas (W/C/WYK) includes the amount for the GHL established by the State for the Prince William Sound (PWS) pollock fishery. The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and Council have recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water pollock removals from the GOA not exceed ABC recommendations. For 2016 and 2017, the SSC recommended and the Council approved the W/C/WYK pollock ABC, including the amount to account for the State's PWS GHL. At the November 2015 Plan Team meeting, State fisheries managers recommended setting the PWS GHL at 2.5 percent of the annual W/C/WYK pollock ABC. For 2016, this yields a PWS pollock GHL of 6,358 mt, an increase of 1,575 mt from the 2015 PWS GHL of 4,783 mt. For 2017, the PWS pollock GHL is 6,264 mt, an increase of 1,481 mt from the 2015 PWS pollock GHL. The 2016 and 2017 pollock ABCs (247,952 mt and 244,280 mt, respectively) are then apportioned between the W/C/WYK management areas, as described below and detailed in Tables 1 and 2.

    Apportionments of pollock to the W/C/WYK management areas are considered to be “apportionments of annual catch limit (ACLs)” rather than “ABCs.” This more accurately reflects that such apportionments address management, rather than biological or conservation, concerns. In addition, apportionments of the ACL in this manner allow NMFS to balance any transfer of TAC from one area to another pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B) to ensure that the area-wide ACL and ABC are not exceeded.

    NMFS establishes pollock TACs in the Western, Central, West Yakutat Regulatory Areas, and the Southeast Outside District of the GOA (see Tables 1 and 2). NMFS also establishes seasonal apportionments of the annual pollock TAC in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630. These apportionments are divided equally among each of the following four seasons: the A season (January 20 through March 10), the B season (March 10 through May 31), the C season (August 25 through October 1), and the D season (October 1 through November 1) (§ 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), and § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A) and (B)). Additional detail is provided below; Tables 3 and 4 list these amounts.

    The 2016 and 2017 Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the State's GHL for Pacific cod in State waters in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, as well as in PWS. The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and Council recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the GOA not exceed ABC recommendations. Accordingly, the Council set the 2016 and 2017 Pacific cod TACs in the Western, Central, and Eastern Regulatory Areas to account for State GHLs. Therefore, the 2016 and 2017 Pacific cod TACs are less than the ABCs by the following amounts: (1) Western GOA, 12,151 mt; (2) Central GOA, 12,328 mt; and (3) Eastern GOA, 2,196 mt. These amounts reflect the State's 2016 and 2017 GHLs in these areas, which are 30 percent of the Western GOA ABC and 25 percent of the Eastern and Central ABCs.

    NMFS establishes seasonal apportionments of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Sixty percent of the annual TAC is apportioned to the A season for hook-and-line, pot, and jig gear from January 1 through June 10, and for trawl gear from January 20 through June 10. Forty percent of the annual TAC is apportioned to the B season for hook-and-line, pot, and jig gear from September 1 through December 31, and for trawl gear from September 1 through November 1 (§§ 679.23(d)(3) and 679.20(a)(12)). The Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs are allocated among various gear and operational sectors. The Pacific cod sector apportionments are discussed in detail in a subsequent section of this preamble.

    The Council's recommendation for sablefish area apportionments takes into account the prohibition on the use of trawl gear in the SEO District of the Eastern Regulatory Area and makes available 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area ABCs to trawl gear for use as incidental catch in other groundfish fisheries in the WYK District (§ 679.20(a)(4)(i)). Tables 7 and 8 list the final 2016 and 2017 allocations of sablefish TAC to hook-and-line and trawl gear in the GOA.

    Changes From the Proposed 2016 and 2017 Harvest Specifications in the GOA

    In October 2015, the Council's recommendations for the proposed 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (80 FR 76405, December 9, 2015) were based largely on information contained in the final 2014 SAFE report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2014 (see ADDRESSES). The Council proposed that the final OFLs, ABCs, and TACs established for the 2016 groundfish fisheries (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015) be used for the proposed 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications, pending completion and review of the final 2015 SAFE report at its December 2015 meeting.

    As described previously, the SSC adopted the final 2016 and 2017 OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team. The Council adopted the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations and the AP's TAC recommendations for 2016 and 2017. The final 2016 ABCs are higher than the proposed 2016 ABCs published in the proposed 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (80 FR 76405, December 9, 2015) for pollock, shallow-water flatfish, arrowtooth flounder, Pacific ocean perch, rougheye rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, thornyhead rockfish, other rockfish, big skate, sculpins, and octopuses. The final 2016 ABCs are lower than the proposed 2016 and 2017 ABCs for Pacific cod, sablefish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, flathead sole, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, dusky rockfish, longnose skate, other skates, and sharks.

    The final 2017 ABCs are higher than the proposed ABCs for shallow-water flatfish, arrowtooth flounder, Pacific ocean perch, rougheye rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, thornyhead rockfish, other rockfish, big skate, sculpins, and octopuses. The final 2017 ABCs are lower than the proposed ABCs for pollock, Pacific cod, sablefish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, flathead sole, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, dusky rockfish, longnose skate, “other skates,” and sharks. For the remaining target species—Atka mackerel and squids—the Council recommended, and the Secretary approved, the final 2016 and 2017 ABCs that are the same as the proposed 2016 and 2017 ABCs.

    Additional information explaining the changes between the proposed and final ABCs is included in the final 2015 SAFE report, which was not available when the Council made its proposed ABC and TAC recommendations in October 2015. At that time, the most recent stock assessment information was contained in the final 2014 SAFE report. The final 2015 SAFE report contains the best and most recent scientific information on the condition of the groundfish stocks, as previously discussed in this preamble, and is available for review (see ADDRESSES). The Council considered the final 2015 SAFE report in December 2015 when it made recommendations for the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications. In the GOA, the total final 2016 TAC amount is 590,809 mt, an increase of less than one percent from the total proposed 2016 TAC amount of 590,161 mt. The total final 2017 TAC amount is 573,872 mt, a decrease of 3 percent from the total proposed 2017 TAC amount of 590,161 mt. The following table in this preamble summarizes the difference between the proposed and final TACs. Annual stock assessments incorporate a variety of new or revised inputs, such as survey data or catch information, as well as changes to the statistical models used to estimate a species' biomass and population trend.

    Based on changes in the estimates of overall biomass made by stock assessment scientists for 2016 and 2017, as compared to the estimates previously made for 2015 and 2016, the greatest TAC increases are for shallow-water flatfish, Pacific ocean perch, rougheye rockfish, thornyhead rockfish, other rockfish, big skate, and octopuses. Notable increases include those for octopuses and other rockfish. The increase in the octopus ABC and TAC is a result of the increased octopus biomass estimates derived from the 2015 GOA trawl survey. The catch of octopus in the survey was unusually large, with octopus present in more than 15 percent of the survey tows. The estimated octopus biomass for the octopus assemblage is an order of magnitude higher than previous estimates. The rougheye rockfish biomass increase is due to both an increase in the catch in the GOA trawl survey, as well the adoption of a revised statistical model incorporating improvements to growth estimation, and a number of other model changes.

    Based on changes in the estimates of biomass, the greatest decreases in TACs are for Pacific cod, sablefish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, northern rockfish, other skates, and sharks. Notable decreases in TAC include those for deep-water flatfish, rex sole, other skates, and sharks. The GOA trawl survey biomass for deep-water flatfish was the lowest on record. The last full assessment of rex sole was completed in 2011. Incorporating the 2015 trawl survey data and a number of changes to the assessment model resulted in a decrease to estimated biomass, and the corresponding rex sole ABC and TAC. The estimated biomass for other skates decreased due to a combination of the decrease in the survey biomass for other skates and a continue refinement of incorporating a random effects model in the other skates assessment model. Finally, the shark TAC decreased primarily due to the implementation of a random effects model for biomass estimation.

    For all other species and species groups, changes from the proposed to the final TACs are within plus or minus five percent of the proposed TACs. These TAC changes correspond to associated changes in the ABCs and TACs, as recommended by the SSC, AP, and Council.

    Additionally, based on the Council's recommended changes in setting the TACs at amounts below ABCs, the greatest decreases in TACs are for shallow-water flatfish, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, and “other rockfish.” The Council believed, and NMFS concurs, that setting TACs for the three preceding flatfish species equal to ABCs would not reflect anticipated harvest levels accurately, as the Council and NMFS expect halibut PSC limits to constrain these fisheries in 2016 and 2017.

    Detailed information providing the basis for the changes described above is contained in the final 2015 SAFE report. The final TACs are based on the best scientific information available. These TACs are specified in compliance with the harvest strategy described in the proposed and final rules for the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications. The changes in TACs between the proposed rule and this final rule are compared in Table 1a.

    Table 1a—Comparison of Proposed and Final 2016 and 2017 GOA Total Allowable Catch Limits [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentage] Species 2016 and 2017 proposed TAC 2016 Final TAC 2016 Final minus 2016 proposed TAC Percentage difference 2017 Final TAC 2017 Final minus 2017 proposed TAC Percentage difference Pollock 257,178 257,872 694 0 254,200 −2,978 −1 Pacific cod 75,202 71,925 −3,277 −4 62,150 −13,052 −17 Sablefish 9,558 9,087 −471 −5 8,307 −1,251 −13 Shallow-water flatfish 32,877 36,763 3,886 12 34,855 1,978 6 Deep-water flatfish 13,177 9,226 −3,951 −30 9,281 −3,896 −30 Rex sole 8,979 7,493 −1,486 −17 7,507 −1,472 −16 Arrowtooth flounder 103,300 103,300 0 0 103,300 0 0 Flathead sole 27,759 27,832 73 0 27,850 91 0 Pacific ocean perch 21,436 24,437 3,001 14 24,189 2,753 13 Northern rockfish 4,721 4,004 −717 −15 3,768 −953 −20 Shortraker rockfish 1,323 1,286 −37 −3 1,286 −37 −3 Dusky rockfish 4,711 4,686 −25 −1 4,284 −427 −9 Rougheye rockfish 1,142 1,328 186 16 1,325 183 16 Demersal shelf rockfish 225 231 6 3 231 6 3 Thornyhead rockfish 1,841 1,961 120 7 1,961 120 7 Other rockfish 1,811 2,308 497 27 2,308 497 27 Atka mackerel 2,000 2,000 0 0 2,000 0 0 Big skate 3,255 3,814 559 17 3,814 559 17 Longnose skate 3,218 3,206 −12 0 3,206 −12 0 Other skates 2,235 1,919 −316 −14 1,919 −316 −14 Sculpins 5,569 5,591 22 0 5,591 22 0 Sharks 5,989 4,514 −1,475 −25 4,514 −1,475 −25 Squids 1,148 1,148 0 0 1,148 0 0 Octopuses 1,507 4,878 3,371 224 4,878 3,371 224 Total 590,161 590,809 648 0 573,872 −16,289 −3

    The final 2016 and 2017 TAC recommendations for the GOA are within the OY range established for the GOA and do not exceed the ABC for any species or species group. Tables 1 and 2 list the final OFL, ABC, and TAC amounts for GOA groundfish for 2016 and 2017, respectively.

    Table 1—Final 2016 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs of Groundfish for the Western/Central/West Yakutat, Western, Central, Eastern Regulatory Areas, and in the West Yakutat, Southeast Outside, and Gulfwide Districts of the Gulf of Alaska [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Area 1 OFL ABC TAC Pollock 2 Shumagin (610) n/a 56,494 56,494 Chirikof (620) n/a 124,927 124,927 Kodiak (630) n/a 57,183 57,183 WYK (640) n/a 9,348 9,348 W/C/WYK (subtotal) 322,858 254,310 247,952 SEO (650) 13,226 9,920 9,920 Total 336,084 264,230 257,872 Pacific cod 3 W n/a 40,503 28,352 C n/a 49,312 36,984 E n/a 8,785 6,589 Total 116,700 98,600 71,925 Sablefish 4 W n/a 1,272 1,272 C n/a 4,023 4,023 WYK n/a 1,475 1,475 SEO n/a 2,317 2,317 E (WYK and SEO) (subtotal) n/a 3,792 3,792 Total 10,326 9,087 9,087 Shallow-water flatfish 5 W n/a 20,851 13,250 C n/a 19,242 19,242 WYK n/a 3,177 3,177 SEO n/a 1,094 1,094 Total 54,520 44,364 36,763 Deep-water flatfish 6 W n/a 186 186 C n/a 3,495 3,495 WYK n/a 2,997 2,997 SEO n/a 2,548 2,548 Total 11,102 9,226 9,226 Rex sole W n/a 1,315 1,315 C n/a 4,445 4,445 WYK n/a 766 766 SEO n/a 967 967 Total 9,791 7,493 7,493 Arrowtooth flounder W n/a 28,183 14,500 C n/a 107,981 75,000 WYK n/a 37,368 6,900 SEO 12,656 6,900 Total 219,430 186,188 103,300 Flathead sole W n/a 11,027 8,650 C n/a 20,211 15,400 WYK n/a 2,930 2,930 SEO n/a 852 852 Total 42,840 35,020 27,832 Pacific ocean perch 7 W 2,737 2,737 C 17,033 17,033 WYK 2,847 2,847 W/C/WYK subtotal 26,313 22,617 22,617 SEO 2,118 1,820 1,820 Total 28,431 24,437 24,437 Northern rockfish 8 W n/a 457 457 C n/a 3,547 3,547 E n/a 4 Total 4,783 4,004 4,004 Shortraker rockfish 9 W n/a 38 38 C n/a 301 301 E n/a 947 947 Total 1,715 1,286 1,286 Dusky rockfish 10 W n/a 173 173 C n/a 4,147 4,147 WYK n/a 275 275 SEO n/a 91 91 Total 5,733 4,686 4,686 Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish 11 W n/a 105 105 C n/a 707 707 E n/a 516 516 Total 1,596 1,328 1,328 Demersal shelf rockfish 12 SEO 364 231 231 Thornyhead rockfish W n/a 291 291 C n/a 988 988 E n/a 682 682 Total 2,615 1,961 1,961 Other rockfish 13 14 W and C n/a 1,534 1,534 WYK n/a 574 574 SEO n/a 3,665 200 Total 7,424 5,773 2,308 Atka mackerel GW 6,200 4,700 2,000 Big skate 15 W n/a 908 908 C n/a 1,850 1,850 E n/a 1,056 1,056 Total 5,086 3,814 3,814 Longnose skate 16 W n/a 61 61 C n/a 2,513 2,513 E n/a 632 632 Total 4,274 3,206 3,206 Other skates 17 GW 2,558 1,919 1,919 Sculpins GW 7,338 5,591 5,591 Sharks GW 6,020 4,514 4,514 Squids GW 1,530 1,148 1,148 Octopus GW 6,504 4,878 4,878 Total 892,964 727,684 590,809 1 Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2. (W = Western Gulf of Alaska; C = Central Gulf of Alaska; E = Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK = West Yakutat District; SEO = Southeast Outside District; GW = Gulf-wide). 2 The aggregate pollock ABC for the Western, Central, and West Yakutat Regulatory Areas is apportioned among four statistical areas after deducting 2.5 percent of the ABC for the State's pollock GHL fishery. These apportionments are considered subarea ACLs, rather than ABCs, for specification and reapportionment purposes. The ACLs in Areas 610, 620, and 630 are further divided by season, as detailed in Table 3. In the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided into seasonal allowances. 3 The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned 60 percent to the A season and 40 percent to the B season in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA. Pacific cod in the Eastern Regulatory Area is allocated 90 percent for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent for processing by the offshore component. Table 5 lists the final 2016 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments. 4 Sablefish is allocated to trawl and hook-and-line gear in 2016. Table 7 lists the final 2016 allocations of sablefish TACs. 5 “Shallow-water flatfish” means flatfish not including “deep-water flatfish,” flathead sole, rex sole, or arrowtooth flounder. 6 “Deep-water flatfish” means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole. 7 “Pacific ocean perch” means Sebastes alutus. 8 “Northern rockfish” means Sebastes polyspinis. For management purposes the 4 mt apportionment of ABC to the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the “other rockfish” species group. 9 “Shortraker rockfish” means Sebastes borealis. 10 “Dusky rockfish” means Sebastes variabilis. 11 “Rougheye rockfish” means Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 12 “Demersal shelf rockfish” means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper), S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye). 13 “Other rockfish” means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio), S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S. wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergrey), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinis. 14 “Other rockfish” in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The “other rockfish” species group in the SEO District only includes other rockfish. 15 “Big skate” means Raja binoculata. 16 “Longnose skate” means Raja rhina. 17 “Other skates” means Bathyraja spp. Table 2—Final 2017 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs of Groundfish for the Western/Central/West Yakutat, Western, Central, Eastern Regulatory Areas, and in the West Yakutat, Southeast Outside, and Gulfwide Districts of the Gulf of Alaska [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Area 1 OFL ABC TAC Pollock 2 Shumagin (610) n/a 55,657 55,657 Chirikof (620) n/a 123,078 123,078 Kodiak (630) n/a 56,336 56,336 WYK (640) n/a 9,209 9,209 W/C/WYK (subtotal) 289,937 250,544 244,280 SEO (650) 13,226 9,920 9,920 Total 303,163 260,464 254,200 Pacific cod 3 W n/a 34,998 24,499 C n/a 42,610 31,958 E n/a 7,592 5,693 Total 100,800 85,200 62,150 Sablefish 4 W n/a 1,163 1,163 C n/a 3,678 3,678 WYK n/a 1,348 1,348 SEO n/a 2,118 2,118 E (WYK and SEO) (subtotal) n/a 3,466 3,466 Total 9,825 8,307 8,307 Shallow-water flatfish 5 W n/a 19,159 13,250 C n/a 17,680 17,680 WYK n/a 2,919 2,919 SEO n/a 1,006 1,006 Total 50,220 40,764 34,855 Deep-water flatfish 6 W n/a 187 187 C n/a 3,516 3,516 WYK n/a 3,015 3,015 SEO n/a 2,563 2,563 Total 11,168 9,281 9,281 Rex sole W n/a 1,318 1,318 C n/a 4,453 4,453 WYK n/a 767 767 SEO n/a 969 969 Total 9,810 7,507 7,507 Arrowtooth flounder W n/a 28,659 14,500 C n/a 109,804 75,000 WYK n/a 37,999 6,900 SEO n/a 12,870 6,900 Total 196,714 189,332 103,300 Flathead sole W n/a 11,080 8,650 C n/a 20,307 15,400 WYK n/a 2,944 2,944 SEO n/a 856 856 Total 43,060 35,187 27,850 Pacific ocean perch 7 W 2,709 2,709 C 16,860 16,860 WYK 2,818 2,818 W/C/WYK 23,876 22,387 22,387 SEO 973 1,802 1,802 Total 28,141 24,189 24,189 Northern rockfish 8 W n/a 430 430 C n/a 3,338 3,338 E n/a 4 Total 4,501 3,768 3,768 Shortraker rockfish 9 W n/a 38 38 C n/a 301 301 E n/a 947 947 Total 1,715 1,286 1,286 Dusky rockfish10 W n/a 159 159 C n/a 3,791 3,791 WYK n/a 251 251 SEO n/a 83 83 Total 5,253 4,284 4,284 Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish 11 W n/a 105 105 C n/a 705 705 E n/a 515 515 Total 1,592 1,325 1,325 Demersal shelf rockfish 12 SEO 364 231 231 Thornyhead rockfish W n/a 291 291 C n/a 988 988 E n/a 682 682 Total 2,615 1,961 1,961 Other rockfish 1314 W and C n/a 1,534 1,534 WYK n/a 574 574 SEO n/a 3,665 200 Total 7,424 5,773 2,308 Atka mackerel GW 6,200 4,700 2,000 Big skate 15 W n/a 908 908 C n/a 1,850 1,850 E n/a 1,056 1,056 Total 5,086 3,814 3,814 Longnose skate 16 W n/a 61 61 C n/a 2,513 2,513 E n/a 632 632 Total 4,274 3,206 3,206 Other skates 17 GW 2,558 1,919 1,919 Sculpins GW 7,338 5,591 5,591 Sharks GW 6,020 4,514 4,514 Squids GW 1,530 1,148 1,148 Octopus GW 6,504 4,878 4,878 Total 815,875 708,629 573,872 1 Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2. (W = Western Gulf of Alaska; C = Central Gulf of Alaska; E = Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK = West Yakutat District; SEO = Southeast Outside District; GW = Gulf-wide). 2 The aggregate pollock ABC for the Western, Central, and West Yakutat Regulatory Areas is apportioned among four statistical areas after deducting 2.5 percent of the ABC for the State's pollock GHL fishery. These apportionments are considered subarea ACLs, rather than ABCs, for specification and reapportionment purposes. The ACLs in Areas 610, 620, and 630 are further divided by season, as detailed in Table 4. In the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided into seasonal allowances. 3 The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned 60 percent to the A season and 40 percent to the B season in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA. Pacific cod in the Eastern Regulatory Area is allocated 90 percent for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent for processing by the offshore component. Table 6 lists the final 2017 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments. 4 Sablefish is only allocated to trawl gear for 2017. Table 8 lists the final 2017 allocation of sablefish TACs to trawl gear. 5 “Shallow-water flatfish” means flatfish not including “deep-water flatfish,” flathead sole, rex sole, or arrowtooth flounder. 6 “Deep-water flatfish” means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole. 7 “Pacific ocean perch” means Sebastes alutus. 8 “Northern rockfish” means Sebastes polyspinis. For management purposes the 4 mt apportionment of ABC to the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the “other rockfish” species group. 9 “Shortraker rockfish” means Sebastes borealis. 10 “Dusky rockfish” means Sebastes variabilis. 11 “Rougheye rockfish” means Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 12 “Demersal shelf rockfish” means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper), S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye). 13 “Other rockfish” means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio), S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S. wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergrey), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinis . 14 “Other rockfish” in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The “other rockfish” species group in the SEO District only includes other rockfish. 15 “Big skate” means Raja binoculata. 16 “Longnose skate” means Raja rhina. 17 “Other skates” means Bathyraja spp. Apportionment of Reserves

    Section 679.20(b)(2) requires NMFS to set aside 20 percent of each TAC for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses in reserve for possible apportionment at a later date during the fishing year. For 2016 and 2017, NMFS proposed reapportionment of all the reserves in the proposed 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications published in the Federal Register on December 9, 2015 (80 FR 76405). NMFS did not receive any public comments on the proposed reapportionments. For the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications, NMFS reapportioned, as proposed, all the reserves for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. The TACs listed in Tables 1 and 2 reflect reapportionments of reserve amounts for these species and species groups.

    Apportionments of Pollock TAC Among Seasons and Regulatory Areas, and Allocations for Processing by Inshore and Offshore Components

    In the GOA, pollock is apportioned by season and area, and is further allocated for processing by inshore and offshore components. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B), the annual pollock TAC specified for the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA is apportioned into four equal seasonal allowances of 25 percent. As established by § 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively.

    Pollock TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA are apportioned among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A). In the A and B seasons, the apportionments are in proportion to the distribution of pollock biomass based on the four most recent NMFS winter surveys. In the C and D seasons, the apportionments are in proportion to the distribution of pollock biomass based on the four most recent NMFS summer surveys. However, for 2016 and 2017, the Council recommended, and NMFS approves, averaging the winter and summer distribution of pollock in the Central Regulatory Area for the A season instead of using the distribution based on only the winter surveys. The average is intended to reflect the migration patterns and distribution of pollock, and the anticipated performance of the fishery, in that area during the A season for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years. For the A season, the apportionment is based on an adjusted estimate of the relative distribution of pollock biomass of approximately 6 percent, 73 percent, and 21 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. For the B season, the apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass at 6 percent, 85 percent, and 9 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. For the C and D seasons, the apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass at 41 percent, 26 percent, and 33 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively.

    Within any fishing year, the amount by which a seasonal allowance is underharvested or overharvested may be added to, or subtracted from, subsequent seasonal allowances in a manner to be determined by the Regional Administrator (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The rollover amount is limited to 20 percent of the subsequent seasonal apportionment for the statistical area. Any unharvested pollock above the 20-percent limit could be further distributed to the other statistical areas, in proportion to the estimated biomass in the subsequent season in those statistical areas (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The pollock TACs in the WYK and SEO District of 9,348 mt and 9,920 mt, respectively, in 2016, and 9,209 mt and 9,920 mt, respectively, in 2017, are not allocated by season.

    Section 679.20(a)(6)(i) requires the allocation of 100 percent of the pollock TAC in all regulatory areas and all seasonal allowances to vessels catching pollock for processing by the inshore component after subtraction of amounts projected by the Regional Administrator to be caught by, or delivered to, the offshore component incidental to directed fishing for other groundfish species. Thus, the amount of pollock available for harvest by vessels harvesting pollock for processing by the offshore component is that amount that will be taken as incidental catch during directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock, up to the maximum retainable amounts allowed by § 679.20(e) and (f). At this time, these incidental catch amounts of pollock are unknown and will be determined during the fishing year during the course of fishing activities by the offshore component.

    Tables 3 and 4 list the final 2016 and 2017 seasonal biomass distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, area apportionments, and seasonal allowances. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown.

    Table 3—Final 2016 Distribution of Pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA; Seasonal Biomass Distribution, Area Apportionments; and Seasonal Allowances of Annual TAC [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages are rounded to the nearest 0.01] Season 1 Shumagin (Area 610) Chirikof (Area 620) Kodiak (Area 630) Total 2 A (Jan 20-Mar 10) 3,827 6.41% 43,374 72.71% 12,456 20.88% 59,651 B (Mar 10-May 31) 3,826 6.41% 50,747 85.07% 5,083 8.52% 59,651 C (Aug 25-Oct 1) 24,421 40.94% 15,404 25.82% 19,822 33.23% 59,651 D (Oct 1-Nov 1) 24,421 40.94% 15,402 25.82% 19,822 33.23% 59,651 Annual Total 56,494 124,927 57,183 238,604 1 As established by § 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown in this table. 2 The WYK and SEO District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table. Table 4—Final 2017 Distribution of Pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA; Seasonal Biomass Distribution, Area Apportionments; and Seasonal Allowances of Annual TAC [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages are rounded to the nearest 0.01] Season 1 Shumagin (Area 610) Chirikof (Area 620) Kodiak (Area 630) Total 2 A (Jan 20-Mar 10) 3,769 6.41% 42,732 72.71% 12,272 20.88% 58,768 B (Mar 10-May 31) 3,769 6.41% 49,996 85.07% 5,007 8.52% 58,768 C (Aug 25-Oct 1) 24,060 40.94% 15,176 25.82% 19,529 33.23% 58,768 D (Oct 1-Nov 1) 24,060 40.94% 15,175 25.82% 19,529 33.23% 58,768 Annual Total 55,657 123,078 56,336 235,071 1 As established by § 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown in this table. 2 The WYK and SEO District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table. Annual and Seasonal Apportionments of Pacific Cod TAC

    Section 679.20(a)(12)(i) requires the allocation of the Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among gear and operational sectors. Section 679.20(a)(6)(ii) requires the allocation of the Pacific cod TACs in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA between the inshore and offshore components. NMFS allocates the 2016 and 2017 Pacific cod TAC based on these sector allocations annually between the inshore and offshore components in the Eastern GOA; seasonally between vessels using jig gear, catcher vessels (CVs) using hook-and-line gear, C/Ps using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear in the Western GOA; seasonally between vessels using jig gear, CVs less than 50 feet length overall using hook-and-line gear, CVs greater than or equal to 50 feet length overall using hook-and-line gear, C/Ps using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, C/Ps using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear in the Central GOA. The overall seasonal apportionments in the Western and Central GOA are 60 percent of the annual TAC to the A season and 40 percent of the annual TAC to the B season.

    Under § 679.20(a)(12)(ii), any overage or underage of the Pacific cod allowance from the A season will be subtracted from, or added to, the subsequent B season allowance. In addition, any portion of the hook-and-line, trawl, pot, or jig sector allocations that NMFS determines is likely to go unharvested by a sector may be reapportioned to other sectors for harvest during the remainder of the fishery year.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(12)(i)(A) and (B), a portion of the annual Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central GOA will be allocated to vessels with a Federal Fisheries Permit (FFP) that use jig gear before TAC is apportioned among other non-jig sectors. In accordance with the FMP, the annual jig sector allocations may increase to up to 6 percent of the annual Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs, depending on the annual performance of the jig sector (See Table 1 of Amendment 83 to the FMP for a detailed discussion of the jig sector allocation process (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011)). Jig sector allocation increases are established for a minimum of 2 years. NMFS has evaluated the 2015 harvest performance of the jig sector in the Western and Central GOA, and is establishing the 2016 and 2017 Pacific cod apportionments to this sector as follows.

    NMFS allocates the jig sector 3.5 percent of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Western GOA. This is the same amount as the 2015 jig sector allocation, because in 2015 this sector harvested less than 90 percent of the initial 2015 allocation. The 2016 and 2017 allocations include a base allocation of 1.5 percent, and an additional 2.0 percent because this sector harvested greater than 90 percent of its initial 2012 and 2014 allocations in the Western GOA. NMFS also allocates the jig sector 1.0 percent of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Central GOA. This is the same amount as the 2015 jig sector allocation, because in 2015 this sector harvested less than 90 percent of the initial 2015 allocation. The 2016 and 2017 allocations consist of a base allocation of 1.0 percent and no additional increases in the Central GOA. Tables 5 and 6 list the seasonal apportionments and allocations of the 2016 and 2017 Pacific cod TACs.

    Table 5—Final 2016 Seasonal Apportionments and Allocation of Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts in the GOA; Allocations for the Western GOA and Central GOA Sectors and the Eastern GOA Inshore and Offshore Processing Components [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages to the nearest 0.01. Seasonal allowances may not total precisely to annual allocation amount] Regulatory area and sector Annual
  • allocation
  • (mt)
  • A Season Sector
  • percentage of
  • annual non-jig TAC
  • Seasonal
  • allowances
  • (mt)
  • B Season Sector
  • percentage of
  • annual non-jig TAC
  • Seasonal
  • allowances
  • (mt)
  • Western GOA: Jig (3.5% of TAC) 992 N/A 595 N/A 397 Hook-and-line CV 383 0.70 192 0.70 192 Hook-and-line C/P 5,417 10.90 2,982 8.90 2,435 Trawl CV 10,506 27.70 7,579 10.70 2,927 Trawl C/P 657 0.90 246 1.50 410 All Pot CV and Pot C/P 10,397 19.80 5,417 18.20 4,979 Total 28,352 60.00 17,011 40.00 11,341 Central GOA: Jig (1.0% of TAC) 370 N/A 222 N/A 148 Hook-and-line < 50 CV 5,347 9.32 3,411 5.29 1,936 Hook-and-line ≥ 50 CV 2,456 5.61 2,054 1.10 402 Hook-and-line C/P 1,869 4.11 1,504 1.00 365 Trawl CV1 15,226 21.14 7,738 20.45 7,487 Trawl C/P 1,537 2.00 734 2.19 804 All Pot CV and Pot C/P 10,180 17.83 6,528 9.97 3,652 Total 36,984 60.00 22,190 40.00 14,794 Eastern GOA 6,589 Inshore (90% of Annual TAC) 5,930 Offshore (10% of Annual TAC) 659 1 Trawl vessels participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives receive 3.81 percent, or 1,409 mt, of the annual Central GOA TAC (see Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679), which is deducted from the Trawl CV B season allowance (see Table 12).
    Table 6—Final 2017 Seasonal Apportionments and Allocation of Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts in the GOA; Allocations for the Western GOA and Central GOA Sectors and the Eastern GOA Inshore and Offshore Processing Components [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages to the nearest 0.01. Seasonal allowances may not total precisely to annual allocation amount.] Regulatory area and sector Annual
  • allocation
  • (mt)
  • A Season Sector
  • percentage of
  • annual non-jig TAC
  • Seasonal
  • allowances
  • (mt)
  • B Season Sector
  • percentage of
  • annual non-jig TAC
  • Seasonal
  • allowances
  • (mt)
  • Western GOA: Jig (3.5% of TAC) 857 N/A 514 N/A 343 Hook-and-line CV 331 0.70 165 0.70 165 Hook-and-line C/P 4,681 10.90 2,577 8.90 2,104 Trawl CV 9,078 27.70 6,549 10.70 2,530 Trawl C/P 567 0.90 213 1.50 355 All Pot CV and Pot C/P 8,984 19.80 4,681 18.20 4,303 Total 24,499 60.00 14,699 40.00 9,799 Central GOA: Jig (1.0% of TAC) 320 N/A 192 N/A 128 Hook-and-line < 50 CV 4,620 9.32 2,947 5.29 1,673 Hook-and-line ≥ 50 CV 2,122 5.61 1,775 1.10 347 Hook-and-line C/P 1,615 4.11 1,299 1.00 316 Trawl CV 1 13,156 21.14 6,687 20.45 6,470 Trawl C/P 1,328 2.00 634 2.19 694 All Pot CV and Pot C/P 8,797 17.83 5,641 9.97 3,156 Total 31,958 60.00 19,175 40.00 12,783 Eastern GOA Inshore (90% of Annual TAC) Offshore (10% of Annual TAC) 5,693 5,124 569 1 Trawl vessels participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives receive 3.81 percent, or 1,218 mt, of the annual Central GOA TAC (see Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679), which is deducted from the Trawl CV B season allowance (see Table13).
    Allocations of the Sablefish TACs Amounts to Vessels Using Hook-and-Line and Trawl Gear

    Section 679.20(a)(4)(i) and (ii) require allocations of sablefish TACs for each of the regulatory areas and districts to hook-and-line and trawl gear. In the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 80 percent of each TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear, and 20 percent of each TAC is allocated to trawl gear. In the Eastern Regulatory Area, 95 percent of the TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear, and 5 percent is allocated to trawl gear. The trawl gear allocation in the Eastern Regulatory Area may only be used to support incidental catch of sablefish in directed fisheries for other target species (§ 679.20(a)(4)(i)).

    In recognition of the prohibition against trawl gear in the SEO District of the Eastern Regulatory Area, the Council recommended and NMFS approves the allocation of 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the WYK District, making the remainder of the WYK sablefish TAC available to vessels using hook-and-line gear. NMFS allocates 100 percent of the sablefish TAC in the SEO District to vessels using hook-and-line gear. This action results in a 2016 allocation of 190 mt to trawl gear and 1,285 mt to hook-and-line gear in the WYK District, a 2016 allocation of 2,317 mt to hook-and-line gear in the SEO District, and a 2017 allocation of 173 mt to trawl gear in the WYK District. Table 7 lists the allocations of the 2016 sablefish TACs to hook-and-line and trawl gear. Table 8 lists the allocations of the 2017 sablefish TACs to trawl gear.

    The Council recommended that the hook-and-line sablefish TAC be established annually to ensure that this Individual Fishery Quota (IFQ) fishery is conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery and is based on recent sablefish survey information. The Council also recommended that only a trawl sablefish TAC be established for two years so that retention of incidental catch of sablefish by trawl gear could commence in January in the second year of the groundfish harvest specifications. Since there is an annual assessment for sablefish and the final harvest specifications are expected to be published before the IFQ season begins March 19, 2016, the Council recommended that the hook-and-line sablefish TAC be set on an annual basis, rather than for two years, so that the best scientific information available could be considered in establishing the sablefish ABCs and TACs. With the exception of the trawl allocations that were provided to the Rockfish Program cooperatives, directed fishing for sablefish with trawl gear is closed during the fishing year. Also, fishing for groundfish with trawl gear is prohibited prior to January 20. Therefore, it is not likely that the sablefish allocation to trawl gear would be reached before the effective date of the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications.

    Table 7—Final 2016 Sablefish TAC Specifications in the GOA and Allocations to Hook-and-Line and Trawl Gear [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area/District TAC Hook-and-line allocation Trawl
  • allocation
  • Western 1,272 1,017 255 Central 4,023 3,218 805 West Yakutat 1 1,475 1,285 190 Southeast Outside 2,317 2,317 0 Total 9,087 7,837 1,250 1 The trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat and Southeast Outside combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District.
    Table 8—Final 2017 Sablefish TAC Specifications in the GOA and Allocation to Trawl Gear 1 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area/District TAC Hook-and-line allocation Trawl
  • allocation
  • Western 1,163 n/a 233 Central 3,678 n/a 736 West Yakutat 2 1,348 n/a 173 Southeast Outside 2,118 n/a 0 Total 8,307 n/a 1,142 1 The Council recommended that harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota fisheries be limited to 1 year. 2 The trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat and Southeast Outside combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District.
    Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR)

    The recommended 2016 and 2017 DSR TAC is 231 mt, and management of DSR is delegated to the State. The Alaska Board of Fish has apportioned the annual SEO District DSR TACs between the commercial fishery (84 percent) and the sport fishery (16 percent) after deductions were made for anticipated subsistence harvests (7 mt). This results in 2016 and 2017 allocations of 188 mt to the commercial fishery and 36 mt to the sport fishery.

    The State deducts estimates of incidental catch of DSR in the commercial halibut fishery and test fishery mortality from the DSR commercial fishery allocation. In 2015, this resulted in 32 mt being available for the directed commercial DSR fishery apportioned in one DSR district. The State estimated that there was not sufficient DSR quota available to have orderly fisheries in the three other DSR districts. DSR harvest in the halibut fishery is linked to the annual halibut catch limits; therefore the State can only estimate potential DSR incidental catch because halibut catch limits are established by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). Federally permitted CVs using hook-and-line or jig gear fishing for groundfish and Pacific halibut in the SEO District of the GOA are required to retain all DSR (§ 679.20(j)).

    Apportionments to the Central GOA Rockfish Program

    These final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for the GOA include the various fishery cooperative allocations and sideboard limitations established by the Central GOA Rockfish Program. Program participants are primarily trawl CVs and trawl C/Ps, with limited participation by vessels using longline gear. The Rockfish Program assigns quota share and cooperative quota to participants for primary and secondary species, allows participants holding a license limitation program (LLP) license with rockfish quota share to form a rockfish cooperative, and allows holders of C/P LLP licenses to opt out of the fishery. The Rockfish Program also has an entry level fishery for rockfish primary species for vessels using longline gear.

    Under the Rockfish Program, rockfish primary species (Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish) in the Central GOA are allocated to participants after deducting for incidental catch needs in other directed groundfish fisheries. Participants in the Rockfish Program also receive a portion of the Central GOA TAC of specific secondary species (Pacific cod, rougheye rockfish, sablefish, shortraker rockfish, and thornyhead rockfish).

    Additionally, the Rockfish Program establishes sideboard limits to restrict the ability of harvesters operating under the Rockfish Program to increase their participation in other, non-Rockfish Program fisheries. Besides groundfish species, the Rockfish Program allocates a portion of the trawl halibut PSC limit (191 mt) from the third season deep-water species fishery allowance for the GOA trawl fisheries to Rockfish Program participants (§ 679.81(d)), which includes 117 mt to the trawl CV sector and 74 mt to the trawl C/P sector.

    Section 679.81(a)(2)(ii) requires allocations of 5 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 5 mt of northern rockfish, and 30 mt of dusky rockfish to the entry level longline fishery in 2016 and 2017. The allocation for the entry level longline fishery would increase incrementally each year if the catch exceeds 90 percent of the allocation of a species. The incremental increase in the allocation would continue each year until it is the maximum percent of the TAC for that species. In 2015, the catch did not exceed 90 percent of any allocated rockfish species. Therefore, NMFS is not increasing the entry level longline fishery 2016 and 2017 allocations in the Central GOA. Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear. The remainder of the TACs for the rockfish primary species would be allocated to the CV and C/P cooperatives. Table 9 lists the allocations of the 2016 and 2017 TACs for each rockfish primary species to the entry level longline fishery, the incremental increase for future years, and the maximum percent of the TAC for the entry level longline fishery.

    Table 9—Final 2016 and Initial 2017 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species to the Entry Level Longline Fishery in the Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish primary species 2016 and 2017 allocations Incremental increase in 2017 if ≥ 90% of 2016 allocation is harvested Up to
  • maximum %
  • of TAC
  • Pacific ocean perch 5 metric tons 5 metric tons 1% Northern rockfish 5 metric tons 5 metric tons 2% Dusky rockfish 30 metric tons 20 metric tons 5%

    Section 679.81(a)(2) requires allocations of the rockfish primary species among various sectors of the Rockfish Program. Tables 10 and 11 list the final 2016 and 2017 allocations of rockfish primary species in the Central GOA to the entry level longline fishery and Rockfish CV and C/P Cooperatives in the Rockfish Program. NMFS also is setting aside incidental catch amounts (ICAs) for other directed fisheries in the Central GOA of 2,000 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 200 mt of northern rockfish, and 250 mt of dusky rockfish. These amounts are based on recent average incidental catches in the Central GOA by other groundfish fisheries.

    Allocations among vessels belonging to CV or C/P cooperatives are not included in these final harvest specifications. Rockfish Program applications for CV cooperatives and C/P cooperatives are not due to NMFS until March 1 of each calendar year, therefore, NMFS cannot calculate 2016 and 2017 allocations in conjunction with these final harvest specifications. NMFS will post these allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/central-goa-rockfish-program when they become available after March 1.

    Table 10—Final 2016 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species in the Central Gulf of Alaska to the Entry Level Longline Fishery and Rockfish Cooperatives in the Rockfish Program [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Rockfish primary species TAC Incidental catch
  • allowance
  • TAC minus ICA Allocation to the entry level longline1
  • fishery
  • Allocation to the Rockfish Cooperatives 2
    Pacific ocean perch 17,033 1,500 15,533 5 15,528 Northern rockfish 3,547 300 3,247 5 3,242 Dusky rockfish 4,147 250 3,897 30 3,867 Total 24,727 2,050 22,677 40 22,637 1 Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear. 2 Rockfish Cooperatives include vessels in CV and C/P cooperatives.
    Table 11—Final 2017 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species in the Central Gulf of Alaska to the Entry Level Longline Fishery and Rockfish Cooperatives in the Rockfish Program [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Rockfish primary species TAC Incidental catch
  • allowance
  • TAC minus ICA Allocation to the entry level longline1
  • fishery
  • Allocation to the Rockfish Cooperatives 2
    Pacific ocean perch 16,860 1,500 15,360 5 15,355 Northern rockfish 3,338 300 3,038 5 3,033 Dusky rockfish 3,791 250 3,541 30 3,511 Total 23,989 2,050 21,939 40 21,899 1 Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear. 2 Rockfish Cooperatives include vessels in CV and C/P cooperatives.

    Section 679.81(c) requires allocations of rockfish secondary species to CV and C/P cooperatives in the Central GOA. CV cooperatives receive allocations of Pacific cod, sablefish from the trawl gear allocation, and thornyhead rockfish. C/P cooperatives receive allocations of sablefish from the trawl allocation, rougheye rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and thornyhead rockfish. Tables 12 and 13 list the apportionments of the 2016 and 2017 TACs of rockfish secondary species in the Central GOA to CV and C/P cooperatives.

    Table 12—Final 2016 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA to Catcher Vessel and Catcher/Processor Cooperatives [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Rockfish secondary species Annual
  • Central GOA
  • TAC
  • Catcher vessel cooperatives Percentage of
  • TAC
  • Apportionment (mt) Catcher/processor cooperatives Percentage of
  • TAC
  • Apportionment
  • (mt)
  • Pacific cod 36,984 3.81 1,409 0.00 Sablefish 4,023 6.78 273 3.51 141 Shortraker rockfish 301 0.00 40.00 120 Rougheye rockfish 707 0.00 58.87 416 Thornyhead rockfish 988 7.84 77 26.50 262
    Table 13—Final 2017 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA to Catcher Vessel and Cather/Processor Cooperatives [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Rockfish secondary species Annual
  • Central GOA
  • TAC
  • Catcher vessel
  • cooperatives
  • Percentage of
  • TAC
  • Apportionment (mt) Catcher/processor
  • cooperatives
  • Percentage of
  • TAC
  • Apportionment
  • (mt)
  • Pacific cod 31,958 3.81 1,218 0.00 Sablefish 3,678 6.78 249 3.51 129 Shortraker rockfish 301 0.00 40.00 120 Rougheye rockfish 705 0.00 58.87 415 Thornyhead rockfish 988 7.84 77 26.50 262
    Halibut PSC Limits

    Section 679.21(d) establishes the annual halibut PSC limit apportionments to trawl and hook-and-line gear, and authorizes the establishment of apportionments for pot gear. Amendment 95 to the FMP (79 FR 9625, February 20, 2014) implemented measures establishing GOA halibut PSC limits in Federal regulations and reducing the halibut PSC limits in the GOA trawl and hook-and-line groundfish fisheries. These reductions are incorporated into the final 2016 and 2017 halibut PSC limits. For most gear and operational types, the halibut PSC limit reductions were phased-in over 3 years, beginning in 2014 and ending in 2016. The final reduction to PSC limits in 2016 will carry forward to 2017 and subsequent years. In December 2015, the Council incorporated these reductions into its recommended final PSC limits of 1,706 mt for trawl gear, 256 mt for hook-and-line gear, and 9 mt for the DSR fishery.

    The DSR fishery in the SEO District is defined at § 679.21(d)(2)(ii)(A). This fishery is apportioned 9 mt of the halibut PSC limit in recognition of its small-scale harvests of groundfish. NMFS estimates low halibut bycatch in the DSR fishery because (1) the duration of the DSR fisheries and the gear soak times are short, (2) the DSR fishery occurs in the winter when less overlap occurs in the distribution of DSR and halibut, and (3) the directed commercial DSR fishery has a low DSR TAC.

    The FMP authorizes the Council to exempt specific gear from the halibut PSC limits. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, exempts pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories from the non-trawl halibut PSC limit for 2016 and 2017. The Council recommended, and NMFS approves, these exemptions because (1) the pot gear fisheries have low annual halibut bycatch mortality; (2) IFQ program regulations prohibit discard of halibut if any halibut IFQ permit holder on board a catcher vessel holds unused halibut IFQ (§ 679.7(f)(11)); (3) sablefish IFQ fishermen typically hold halibut IFQ permits and are therefore required to retain the halibut they catch while fishing sablefish IFQ; and (4) NMFS estimates negligible halibut mortality for the jig gear fisheries. NMFS estimates that halibut mortality is negligible in the jig gear fisheries given the small amount of groundfish harvested by jig gear, the selective nature of jig gear, and the high survival rates of halibut caught and released with jig gear.

    The best available information on estimated halibut bycatch consists of data collected by fisheries observers during 2015. The calculated halibut bycatch mortality through December 12, 2015, is 1,409 mt for trawl gear and 213 mt for hook-and-line gear for a total halibut mortality of 1,622 mt. This halibut mortality was calculated using groundfish and halibut catch data from the NMFS Alaska Region's catch accounting system. This accounting system contains historical and recent catch information compiled from each Alaska groundfish fishery.

    Section 679.21(d)(4)(i) and (ii) authorizes NMFS to seasonally apportion the halibut PSC limits after consultation with the Council. The FMP and regulations require the Council and NMFS to consider the following information in seasonally apportioning halibut PSC limits: (1) Seasonal distribution of halibut; (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to halibut distribution; (3) expected halibut bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relative to changes in halibut biomass and expected catch of target groundfish species; (4) expected bycatch rates on a seasonal basis; (5) expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons; (6) expected actual start of fishing effort; and (7) economic effects of establishing seasonal halibut allocations on segments of the target groundfish industry. The Council considered information from the 2015 SAFE report, NMFS catch data, State of Alaska catch data, IPHC stock assessment and mortality data, and public testimony when apportioning the halibut PSC limits. NMFS concurs with the Council's recommendations listed in Table 14, which show the final 2016 and 2017 Pacific halibut PSC limits, allowances, and apportionments.

    Sections 679.21(d)(4)(iii) and (iv) specify that any underages or overages of a seasonal apportionment of a PSC limit will be deducted from or added to the next respective seasonal apportionment within the fishing year.

    Table 14—Final 2016 and 2017 Pacific Halibut PSC Limits, Allowances, and Apportionments [Values are in metric tons] Trawl gear Season Percent Amount Hook-and-line gear 1 Other than DSR Season Percent Amount DSR Season Amount January 20-April 1 27.5 469 January 1-June 10 86 221 January 1-December 31 9 April 1-July 1 20 341 June 10-September 1 2 5 July 1-September 1 30 512 September 1-December 31 12 31 September 1-October 1 7.5 128 October 1-December 31 15 256 Total 1,706 257 9 1 The Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limit for hook-and-line gear is allocated to the demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) fishery and fisheries other than DSR. The hook-and-line sablefish fishery is exempt from halibut PSC limits, as are pot and jig gear for all groundfish fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    Section 679.21(d)(3)(ii) authorizes further apportionment of the trawl halibut PSC limit to trawl fishery categories. The annual apportionments are based on each category's proportional share of the anticipated halibut bycatch mortality during the fishing year and optimization of the total amount of groundfish harvest under the halibut PSC limit. The fishery categories for the trawl halibut PSC limits are (1) a deep-water species fishery, composed of sablefish, rockfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, and arrowtooth flounder; and (2) a shallow-water species fishery, composed of pollock, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka mackerel, skates, and “other species” (sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses) (§ 679.21(d)(3)(iii)). Table 15 lists the final 2016 and 2017 apportionments of halibut PSC trawl limits between the trawl gear deep-water and the shallow-water species fishery categories.

    Table 28d to 50 CFR part 679 specifies the amount of the trawl halibut PSC limit that is assigned to the CV and C/P sectors that are participating in the Central GOA Rockfish Program. This includes 117 mt of halibut PSC limit to the CV sector and 74 mt of halibut PSC limit to the C/P sector. These amounts are allocated from the trawl deep-water species fishery's halibut PSC third seasonal apportionment.

    Section 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B) limits the amount of the halibut PSC limit allocated to Rockfish Program participants that could be re-apportioned to the general GOA trawl fisheries to no more than 55 percent of the unused annual halibut PSC apportioned to Rockfish Program participants. The remainder of the unused Rockfish Program halibut PSC limit is unavailable for use by vessels directed fishing with trawl gear for the remainder of the fishing year.

    Table 15—Final 2016 and 2017 Apportionment of Pacific Halibut PSC Trawl Limits Between the Trawl Gear Deep-Water Species Fishery and the Shallow-Water Species Fishery Categories [Values are in metric tons] Season Shallow-water Deep-water 1 Total January 20-April 1 384 85 469 April 1-July 1 85 256 341 July 1-September 1 171 341 512 September 1-October 1 128 Any remainder 128 Subtotal January 20-October 1 768 682 1,450 October 1-December 312 256 Total 1,706 1 Vessels participating in cooperatives in the Central GOA Rockfish Program will receive 191 mt of the third season (July 1 through September 1) deep-water species fishery halibut PSC apportionment. 2 There is no apportionment between trawl shallow-water and deep-water species fishery categories during the fifth season (October 1 through December 31).

    Section 679.21(d)(2)(i)(B) requires that the “other hook-and-line fishery” halibut PSC limit apportionment to vessels using hook-and-line gear must be apportioned between CVs and C/Ps in accordance with § 679.21(d)(2)(iii) in conjunction with these harvest specifications. A comprehensive description and example of the calculations necessary to apportion the “other hook-and-line fishery” halibut PSC limit between the hook-and-line CV and C/P sectors were included in the proposed rule to implement Amendment 83 (76 FR 44700, July 26, 2011) and are not repeated here.

    Pursuant to § 679.21(d)(2)(iii), the hook-and-line halibut PSC limit is apportioned between the CV and C/P sectors in proportion to the total Western and Central GOA Pacific cod allocations, which vary annually based on the proportion of the Pacific cod biomass. Pacific cod is apportioned among these two management areas based on the percentage of overall biomass per area, as calculated in the 2015 Pacific cod stock assessment. Updated information in the final 2015 SAFE report describes this distributional change, which is based on allocating ABC among regulatory areas on the basis of the three most recent stock surveys. The distribution of the total GOA Pacific cod ABC has changed to 41 percent Western GOA, 50 percent Central GOA, and 9 percent Eastern GOA. Therefore, the calculations made in accordance with § 679.21(d)(2)(iii) incorporate the most recent change in GOA Pacific cod distribution with respect to establishing the annual halibut PSC limits for the CV and C/P hook-and-line sectors. The annual halibut PSC limits are divided into three seasonal apportionments, using seasonal percentages of 86 percent, 2 percent, and 12 percent.

    For 2016 and 2017, NMFS apportions halibut PSC limits of 128 mt and 129 mt to the hook-and-line CV and hook-and-line C/P sectors, respectively. Table 16 lists the final 2016 and 2017 apportionments of halibut PSC limits between the hook-and-line CV and hook-and-line C/P sectors.

    No later than November 1 of each year, NMFS will calculate the projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit by either of the hook-and-line sectors for the remainder of the year. The projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit is made available to the other hook-and-line sector for the remainder of that fishing year if NMFS determines that an additional amount of halibut PSC is necessary for that sector to continue its directed fishing operations (§ 679.21(d)(2)(iii)(C)).

    Table 16—Final 2016 and 2017 Apportionments of the “Other Hook-and-Line Fisheries” Annual Halibut PSC Allowance Between the Hook-and-Line Gear Catcher Vessel and Catcher/Processor Sectors [Values are in metric tons] “Other than DSR”
  • allowance
  • Hook-and-line sector Sector annual
  • amount
  • Season Seasonal
  • percentage
  • Sector
  • seasonal
  • amount
  • 257 Catcher Vessel 129 January 1-June 10 86 111 June 10-September 1 2 3 September 1-December 31 12 15 Catcher/Processor 128 January 1-June 10 86 110 June 10-September 1 2 3 September 1-December 31 12 15
    Estimates of Halibut Biomass and Stock Condition

    The IPHC annually assesses the abundance and potential yield of the Pacific halibut using all available data from the commercial and sport fisheries, other removals, and scientific surveys. Additional information on the Pacific halibut stock assessment may be found in the IPHC's 2015 Pacific halibut stock assessment (December 2015), available on the IPHC Web site at www.iphc.int. The IPHC considered the 2015 Pacific halibut stock assessment at its January 2016 annual meeting when it set the 2016 commercial halibut fishery catch limits.

    Halibut Discard Mortality Rates

    To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut incidental catch rates, discard mortality rates (DMRs), and estimates of groundfish catch to project when a fishery's halibut bycatch mortality allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. The DMRs are based on the best information available, including information contained in the annual SAFE report.

    NMFS is implementing the halibut DMRs developed and recommended by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) and the Council for the 2016 and 2017 GOA groundfish fisheries for use in monitoring the 2016 and 2017 halibut bycatch allowances (see Tables 14, 15 and 16). The IPHC developed these DMRs for the 2016 and 2017 GOA fisheries using the 10-year mean DMRs for those fisheries. Long-term average DMRs were not available for some fisheries, so rates from the most recent years were used. For the skate, sculpin, shark, squid, and octopus target fisheries, where not enough halibut mortality data are available, the mortality rate of halibut caught in the Pacific cod fishery for that gear type was recommended as a default rate. The IPHC and Council staff will analyze observer data annually and recommend changes to the DMRs when a fishery DMR shows large variation from the mean. A discussion of the DMRs and how they are established is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). Table 17 lists the final 2016 and 2017 DMRs.

    Table 17—Final 2016 and 2017 Halibut Discard Mortality Rates for Vessels Fishing in the Gulf of Alaska [Values are percent of halibut assumed to be dead] Gear Target fishery Mortality
  • rate
  • (%)
  • Hook-and-line Other fisheries1 10 Pacific cod 10 Rockfish 10 Trawl Arrowtooth flounder 76 Deep-water flatfish 62 Flathead sole 67 Non-pelagic pollock 58 Other fisheries1 62 Pacific cod 62 Pelagic pollock 65 Rex sole 72 Rockfish 65 Sablefish 59 Shallow-water flatfish 66 Pot Other fisheries1 15 Pacific cod 15 1 Other fisheries includes all gear types for skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, octopuses, and hook-and-line sablefish.
    Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limits

    Amendment 93 to the GOA FMP (77 FR 42629, July 20, 2012) established separate Chinook salmon PSC limits in the Western and Central GOA in the directed pollock fishery. These limits require NMFS to close the pollock directed fishery in the Western and Central regulatory areas of the GOA if the applicable limit is reached (§ 679.21(h)(6)). The annual Chinook salmon PSC limits in the pollock directed fishery of 6,684 salmon in the Western GOA and 18,316 salmon in the Central GOA are set at § 679.21(h)(2)(i) and (ii). In addition, all salmon (regardless of species) taken in the pollock directed fisheries in the Western and Central GOA must be retained until the manager of a shoreside processor or stationary floating processor has accurately recorded the number of salmon by species in the eLandings groundfish landing report; and if an observer is present at the processing facility that takes delivery of the catch, the observer is provided an opportunity to count the number of salmon and to collect any scientific data or biological samples from the salmon (§ 679.21(h)(4)).

    Amendment 97 to the FMP (79 FR 71350, December 2, 2014) established an initial annual PSC limit of 7,500 Chinook salmon for the non-pollock groundfish fisheries. This limit is apportioned among three sectors: 3,600 Chinook salmon to trawl C/Ps, 1,200 Chinook salmon to trawl catcher vessels participating in the Central GOA Rockfish Program, and 2,700 Chinook salmon to trawl catcher vessels not participating in the Central GOA Rockfish Program that are fishing for groundfish species other than pollock (§ 679.21(i)(3)). NMFS will monitor the Chinook salmon PSC in the non-pollock GOA groundfish fisheries and close an applicable sector if it reaches its Chinook salmon PSC limit.

    The Chinook salmon PSC limit for two sectors, trawl C/Ps and trawl catcher vessels not participating in the Central GOA Rockfish Program, may be increased in subsequent years based on the performance of these two sectors and their ability to minimize their use of their respective Chinook salmon PSC limits. If either or both of these two sectors limits its use of Chinook salmon PSC to a specified threshold amount in 2015, that sector will receive an incremental increase to its 2016 Chinook salmon PSC limit (§ 679.21(i)(3)). In 2015, the trawl C/P sector did not exceed 3,120 Chinook salmon PSC; therefore the 2016 trawl C/Ps Chinook salmon PSC limit will be 4,080 Chinook salmon. In 2015, the Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector exceeded 2,340 Chinook salmon PSC; therefore the 2016 Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector limit will be 2,700 Chinook salmon.

    American Fisheries Act (AFA) Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel Groundfish Harvest and PSC Limits

    Section 679.64 establishes groundfish harvesting and processing sideboard limitations on AFA C/Ps and CVs in the GOA. These sideboard limits are necessary to protect the interests of fishermen and processors who do not directly benefit from the AFA from those fishermen and processors who receive exclusive harvesting and processing privileges under the AFA. Section 679.7(k)(1)(ii) prohibits listed AFA C/Ps from harvesting any species of groundfish in the GOA. Additionally, § 679.7(k)(1)(iv) prohibits listed AFA C/Ps from processing any pollock harvested in a directed pollock fishery in the GOA and any groundfish harvested in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA.

    AFA CVs that are less than 125 ft (38.1 meters) length overall, have annual landings of pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands less than 5,100 mt, and have made at least 40 groundfish landings from 1995 through 1997 are exempt from GOA sideboard limits under § 679.64(b)(2)(ii). Sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA are based on their traditional harvest levels of TAC in groundfish fisheries covered by the FMP. Section 679.64(b)(3)(iv) establishes the groundfish sideboard limitations in the GOA based on the retained catch of non-exempt AFA CVs of each sideboard species from 1995 through 1997 divided by the TAC for that species over the same period.

    Tables 18 and 19 list the final 2016 and 2017 groundfish sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs. NMFS will deduct all targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA CVs from the sideboard limits listed in Tables 18 and 19.

    Table 18—Final 2016 GOA Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel (CV) Groundfish Harvest Sideboard Limits [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments by season/gear Area/component Ratio of
  • 1995-1997
  • non-exempt
  • AFA CV catch to 1995-1997 TAC
  • Final 2016 TACs Final 2016 non-exempt
  • AFA CV sideboard limit
  • Pollock A Season, January 20-March 10 Shumagin (610) 0.6047 3,827 2,314 Chirikof (620) 0.1167 43,374 5,062 Kodiak (630) 0.2028 12,456 2,526 B Season, March 10-May 31 Shumagin (610) 0.6047 3,826 2,313 Chirikof (620) 0.1167 50,747 5,922 Kodiak (630) 0.2028 5,083 1,031 C Season, August 25-October 1 Shumagin (610) 0.6047 24,421 14,767 Chirikof (620) 0.1167 15,404 1,798 Kodiak (630) 0.2028 19,822 4,020 D Season, October 1-November 1 Shumagin (610) 0.6047 24,421 14,767 Chirikof (620) 0.1167 15,402 1,797 Kodiak (630) 0.2028 19,822 4,020 Annual WYK (640) 0.3495 9,348 3,267 SEO (650) 0.3495 9,920 3,467 Pacific cod A Season,1 January 1-June 10 W 0.1331 17,011 2,264 C 0.0692 22,190 1,536 B Season,2 September 1-December 31 W 0.1331 11,341 1,509 C 0.0692 14,794 1,024 Annual E inshore 0.0079 5,930 47 E offshore 0.0078 659 5 Sablefish Annual, trawl gear W 0.0000 255 C 0.0642 805 52 E 0.0433 190 8 Flatfish, Shallow-water Annual W 0.0156 13,250 207 C 0.0587 19,242 1,130 E 0.0126 4,271 54 Flatfish, deep-water Annual W 0.0000 186 C 0.0647 3,495 226 E 0.0128 5,545 71 Rex sole Annual W 0.0007 1,315 1 C 0.0384 4,445 171 E 0.0029 1,733 5 Arrowtooth flounder Annual W 0.0021 14,500 30 C 0.0280 75,000 2,100 E 0.0002 13,800 3 Flathead sole Annual W 0.0036 8,650 31 C 0.0213 15,400 328 E 0.0009 3,782 3 Pacific ocean perch Annual W 0.0023 2,737 6 C 0.0748 17,033 1,274 E 0.0466 4,667 217 Northern rockfish Annual W 0.0003 457 0 C 0.0277 3,547 98 Shortraker rockfish Annual W 0.0000 38 C 0.0218 301 7 E 0.0110 947 10 Dusky rockfish Annual W 0.0001 173 0 C 0.0000 4,147 E 0.0067 366 2 Rougheye rockfish Annual W 0.0000 105 C 0.0237 707 17 E 0.0124 516 6 Demersal shelf rockfish Annual SEO 0.0020 231 0 Thornyhead rockfish Annual W 0.0280 291 8 C 0.0280 988 28 E 0.0280 682 19 Other rockfish Annual C 0.1699 1,534 261 E 0.0000 774 Atka mackerel Annual Gulfwide 0.0309 2,000 62 Big skates Annual W 0.0063 908 6 C 0.0063 1,850 12 E 0.0063 1,056 7 Longnose skates Annual W 0.0063 61 0 C 0.0063 2,513 16 E 0.0063 632 4 Other skates Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 1,919 12 Sculpins Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 5,591 35 Sharks Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 4,514 28 Squids Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 1,148 7 Octopuses Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 4,878 31 1 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. 2 The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.
    Table 19—Final 2017 GOA Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel (CV) Groundfish Harvest Sideboard Limits [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments by season/gear Area/component Ratio of 1995-1997 non-exempt AFA CV catch to 1995-1997 TAC Final 2017 TACs Final 2017 non-exempt AFA CV sideboard limit Pollock A Season, January 20-March 10 Shumagin (610) 0.6047 3,769 2,279 Chirikof (620) 0.1167 42,732 4,987 Kodiak (630) 0.2028 12,272 2,489 B Season, March 10-May 31 Shumagin (610) 0.6047 3,769 2,279 Chirikof (620) 0.1167 49,996 5,835 Kodiak (630) 0.2028 5,007 1,015 C Season, August 25-October 1 Shumagin (610) 0.6047 24,060 14,549 Chirikof (620) 0.1167 15,176 1,771 Kodiak (630) 0.2028 19,529 3,960 D Season, October 1-November 1 Shumagin (610) 0.6047 24,060 14,549 Chirikof (620) 0.1167 15,175 1,771 Kodiak (630) 0.2028 19,529 3,960 Annual WYK (640) 0.3495 9,209 3,219 SEO (650) 0.3495 9,920 3,467 Pacific cod A Season,1 January 1-June 10 W 0.1331 14,699 1,956 C 0.0692 19,175 1,327 B Season,2 September 1-December 31 W 0.1331 9,799 1,304 C 0.0692 12,783 885 Annual E inshore 0.0079 5,124 40 E offshore 0.0078 569 4 Sablefish Annual, trawl gear W 0.0000 233 C 0.0642 736 47 E 0.0433 173 8 Flatfish, Shallow-water Annual W 0.0156 13,250 207 C 0.0587 17,680 1,038 E 0.0126 3,925 49 Flatfish, deep-water Annual W 0.0000 187 C 0.0647 3,516 227 E 0.0128 5,578 71 Rex sole Annual W 0.0007 1,318 1 C 0.0384 4,453 171 E 0.0029 1,736 5 Arrowtooth flounder Annual W 0.0021 14,500 30 C 0.0280 75,000 2,100 E 0.0002 13,800 3 Flathead sole Annual W 0.0036 8,650 31 C 0.0213 15,400 328 E 0.0009 3,800 3 Pacific ocean perch Annual W 0.0023 2,709 6 C 0.0748 16,860 1,261 E 0.0466 4,620 215 Northern rockfish Annual W 0.0003 430 0 C 0.0277 3,338 92 Shortraker rockfish Annual W 0.0000 38 C 0.0218 301 7 E 0.0110 947 10 Dusky rockfish Annual W 0.0001 159 0 C 0.0000 3,791 E 0.0067 334 2 Rougheye rockfish Annual W 0.0000 105 C 0.0237 705 17 E 0.0124 515 6 Demersal shelf rockfish Annual SEO 0.0020 231 0 Thornyhead rockfish Annual W 0.0280 291 8 C 0.0280 988 28 E 0.0280 682 19 Other rockfish Annual W/C 0.1699 1,534 261 E 0.0000 774 Atka mackerel Annual Gulfwide 0.0309 2,000 62 Big skates Annual W 0.0063 908 6 C 0.0063 1,850 12 E 0.0063 1,056 7 Longnose skates Annual W 0.0063 61 0 C 0.0063 2,513 16 E 0.0063 632 4 Other skates Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 1,919 12 Sculpins Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 5,591 35 Sharks Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 4,514 28 Squids Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 1,148 7 Octopuses Annual Gulfwide 0.0063 4,878 31 1 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. 2 The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. Non-Exempt AFA Catcher Vessel Halibut PSC Limits

    The halibut PSC sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA are based on the aggregate retained groundfish catch by non-exempt AFA CVs in each PSC target category from 1995 through 1997 divided by the retained catch of all vessels in that fishery from 1995 through 1997 (§ 679.64(b)(4)). Table 20 lists the final 2016 and 2017 non-exempt AFA CV halibut PSC limits for vessels using trawl gear in the GOA, respectively. The 2016 and 2017 seasonal apportionments of trawl halibut PSC limits between the deep-water and shallow-water species fisheries categories proportionately incorporate reductions made to the annual trawl halibut PSC limits and associated seasonal apportionments (see Table 14).

    Table 20—Final 2016 and 2017 Non-Exempt AFA CV Halibut Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) Limits for Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the GOA [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Season Season dates Target fishery Ratio of 1995-1997 non-exempt AFA CV retained catch to total retained catch 2016 and 2017 PSC limit 2016 and 2017 non-exempt AFA CV PSC limit 1 January 20-April 1 shallow-water 0.340 384 131 deep-water 0.070 85 6 2 April 1-July 1 shallow-water 0.340 85 29 deep-water 0.070 256 18 3 July 1-September 1 shallow-water 0.340 171 58 deep-water 0.070 341 24 4 September 1-October 1 shallow-water 0.340 128 44 deep-water 0.070 0 0 5 October 1-December 31 all targets 0.205 256 52 Total: 1,706 362 Non-AFA Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Limitations

    Section 680.22 establishes groundfish catch limits for vessels with a history of participation in the Bering Sea snow crab fishery to prevent these vessels from using the increased flexibility provided by the Crab Rationalization Program to expand their level of participation in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Sideboard limits restrict these vessels' catch to their collective historical landings in each GOA groundfish fishery (except the fixed-gear sablefish fishery). Sideboard limits also apply to catch made using an LLP license derived from the history of a restricted vessel, even if that LLP license is used on another vessel.

    The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of Amendments 18 and 19 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP) (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005), Amendment 34 to the Crab FMP (76 FR 35772, June 20, 2011), Amendment 83 to the GOA FMP (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011), and Amendment 45 to the Crab FMP (80 FR 28539, May 19, 2015).

    Tables 21 and 22 list the final 2016 and 2017 groundfish sideboard limitations for non-AFA crab vessels. All targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-AFA crab vessels or associated LLP licenses will be deducted from these sideboard limits.

    Table 21—Final 2016 GOA Non-American Fisheries Act Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Sideboard Limits [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Season/gear Area/component/
  • gear
  • Ratio of 1996-2000 non-AFA
  • crab vessel
  • catch to 1996-2000 total
  • harvest
  • Final 2016
  • TACs
  • Final 2016
  • non-AFA crab
  • vessel sideboard limit
  • Pollock A Season, January 20-March 10 Shumagin (610) 0.0098 3,827 38 Chirikof (620) 0.0031 43,374 134 Kodiak (630) 0.0002 12,456 2 B Season, March 10-May 31 Shumagin (610) 0.0098 3,826 37 Chirikof (620) 0.0031 50,747 157 Kodiak (630) 0.0002 5,083 1 C Season, August 25-October 1 Shumagin (610) 0.0098 24,421 239 Chirikof (620) 0.0031 15,404 48 Kodiak (630) 0.0002 19,822 4 D Season, October 1-November 1 Shumagin (610) 0.0098 24,421 239 Chirikof (620) 0.0031 15,402 48 Kodiak (630) 0.0002 19,822 4 Annual WYK (640) 0.0000 9,348 SEO (650) 0.0000 9,920 Pacific cod A Season,1 January 1-June 10 W Jig 0.0000 17,011 W Hook-and-line CV 0.0004 17,011 7 W Pot CV 0.0997 17,011 1,696 W Pot C/P 0.0078 17,011 133 W Trawl CV 0.0007 17,011 12 C Jig 0.0000 22,190 C Hook-and-line CV 0.0001 22,190 2 C Pot CV 0.0474 22,190 1,052 C Pot C/P 0.0136 22,190 302 C Trawl CV 0.0012 22,190 27 B Season 2 W Jig 0.0000 11,341 Jig Gear: June 10-December 31 W Hook-and-line CV 0.0004 11,341 5 All other gears: September 1-December 31 W Pot CV 0.0997 11,341 1,131 W Pot C/P 0.0078 11,341 88 W Trawl CV 0.0007 11,341 8 C Jig 0.0000 14,794 C Hook-and-line CV 0.0001 14,794 1 C Pot CV 0.0474 14,794 701 C Pot C/P 0.0136 14,794 201 C Trawl CV 0.0012 14,794 18 Annual E inshore 0.0110 5,930 65 E offshore 0.0000 659 Sablefish Annual, trawl gear W 0.0000 255 C 0.0000 805 E 0.0000 190 Flatfish, shallow-water Annual W 0.0059 13,250 78 C 0.0001 19,242 2 E 0.0000 4,271 Flatfish, deep-water Annual W 0.0035 186 1 C 0.0000 3,495 E 0.0000 5,545 Rex sole Annual W 0.0000 1,315 C 0.0000 4,445 E 0.0000 1,733 Arrowtooth flounder Annual W 0.0004 14,500 6 C 0.0001 75,000 8 E 0.0000 13,800 Flathead sole Annual W 0.0002 8,650 2 C 0.0004 15,400 6 E 0.0000 3,782 Pacific ocean perch Annual W 0.0000 2,737 C 0.0000 17,033 E 0.0000 4,667 Northern rockfish Annual W 0.0005 457 0 C 0.0000 3,547 Shortraker rockfish Annual W 0.0013 38 0 C 0.0012 301 0 E 0.0009 947 1 Dusky rockfish Annual W 0.0017 173 0 C 0.0000 4,147 E 0.0000 366 Rougheye rockfish Annual W 0.0067 105 1 C 0.0047 707 3 E 0.0008 516 0 Demersal shelf rockfish Annual SEO 0.0000 231 Thornyhead rockfish Annual W 0.0047 291 1 C 0.0066 988 7 E 0.0045 682 3 Other rockfish Annual W/C 0.0033 1,534 5 E 0.0000 774 Atka mackerel Annual Gulfwide 0.0000 2,000 Big skate Annual W 0.0392 908 36 C 0.0159 1,850 29 E 0.0000 1,056 Longnose skate Annual W 0.0392 61 2 C 0.0159 2,513 40 E 0.0000 632 Other skates Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 1,919 34 Sculpins Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 5,591 98 Sharks Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 4,514 79 Squids Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 1,148 20 Octopuses Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 4,878 86 1 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. 2 The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.
    Table 22—Final 2017 GOA Non-American Fisheries Act Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Sideboard Limits [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Season/gear Area/component/gear Ratio of 1996-2000 non-AFA
  • crab vessel
  • catch to 1996-
  • 2000 total
  • harvest
  • Final 2017
  • TACs
  • Final 2017
  • non-AFA
  • crab vessel
  • sideboard limit
  • Pollock A Season, January 20-March 10 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.0098
  • 0.0031
  • 3,769
  • 42,732
  • 37
  • 132
  • Kodiak (630) 0.0002 12,272 2 B Season, March 10-May 31 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.0098
  • 0.0031
  • 3,769
  • 49,996
  • 37
  • 155
  • Kodiak (630) 0.0002 5,007 1 C Season, August 25-October 1 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.0098
  • 0.0031
  • 24,060
  • 15,176
  • 236
  • 47
  • Kodiak (630) 0.0002 19,529 4 D Season, October 1-November 1 Shumagin (610)
  • Chirikof (620)
  • 0.0098
  • 0.0031
  • 24,060
  • 15,175
  • 236
  • 47
  • Kodiak (630) 0.0002 19,529 4 Annual WYK (640) 0.0000 9,209 SEO (650) 0.0000 9,920 Pacific cod A Season 1 W Jig 0.0000 14,699 January 1-June 10 W Hook-and-line CV 0.0004 14,699 6 W Pot CV 0.0997 14,699 1,466 W Pot C/P 0.0078 14,699 115 W Trawl CV 0.0007 14,699 10 C Jig 0.0000 19,175 C Hook-and-line CV 0.0001 19,175 2 C Pot CV 0.0474 19,175 909 C Pot C/P 0.0136 19,175 261 C Trawl CV 0.0012 19,175 23 B Season 2 W Jig 0.0000 9,799 Jig Gear: June 10-December 31 W Hook-and-line CV 0.0004 9,799 4 All other gears: W Pot CV 0.0997 9,799 977 September 1-December 31 W Pot C/P 0.0078 9,799 76 W Trawl CV 0.0007 9,799 7 C Jig 0.0000 12,783 C Hook-and-line CV 0.0001 12,783 1 C Pot CV 0.0474 12,783 606 C Pot C/P 0.0136 12,783 174 C Trawl CV 0.0012 12,783 15 Annual E inshore
  • E offshore
  • 0.0110
  • 0.0000
  • 5,125
  • 569
  • 56
    Sablefish Annual, trawl gear W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0000
  • 0.0000
  • 0.0000
  • 233
  • 736
  • 173
  • Flatfish, shallow-water Annual W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0059
  • 0.0001
  • 0.0000
  • 13,250
  • 17,680
  • 3,925
  • 78
  • 2
  • Flatfish, deep-water Annual W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0035
  • 0.0000
  • 0.0000
  • 187
  • 3,516
  • 5,578
  • 1
    Rex sole Annual W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0000
  • 0.0000
  • 0.0000
  • 1,318
  • 4,453
  • 1,736
  • -
    Arrowtooth flounder Annual W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0004
  • 0.0001
  • 0.0000
  • 14,500
  • 75,000
  • 13,800
  • Flathead sole Annual W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0002
  • 0.0004
  • 0.0000
  • 8,650
  • 15,400
  • 3,800
  • 2
  • 6
  • Pacific ocean perch Annual W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0000
  • 0.0000
  • 0.0000
  • 2,709
  • 16,860
  • 4,620
  • Northern rockfish Annual W
  • C
  • 0.0005
  • 0.0000
  • 430
  • 3,338
  • 0
    Shortraker rockfish Annual W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0013
  • 0.0012
  • 0.0009
  • 38
  • 301
  • 947
  • 0
  • 0
  • 1
  • Dusky rockfish Annual W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0017
  • 0.0000
  • 0.0000
  • 159
  • 3,791
  • 334
  • 0
    Rougheye rockfish Annual W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0067
  • 0.0047
  • 0.0008
  • 105
  • 705
  • 515
  • 1
  • 3
  • 0
  • Demersal shelf rockfish Annual SEO 0.0000 231 Thornyhead rockfish Annual W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0047
  • 0.0066
  • 0.0045
  • 291
  • 988
  • 682
  • 1
  • 7
  • 3
  • Other rockfish Annual W/C
  • E
  • 0.0033
  • 0.0000
  • 1,534
  • 774
  • 5
    Atka mackerel Annual Gulfwide 0.0000 2,000 Big skate Annual W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0392
  • 0.0159
  • 0.0000
  • 908
  • 1,850
  • 1,056
  • 36
  • 29
  • Longnose
  • skate
  • Annual W
  • C
  • E
  • 0.0392
  • 0.0159
  • 0.0000
  • 61
  • 2,513
  • 632
  • 2
  • 40
  • Other skates Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 1,919 34 Sculpins Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 5,591 98 Sharks Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 4,514 79 Squids Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 1,148 20 Octopuses Annual Gulfwide 0.0176 4,878 86 1 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. 2 The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.
    Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations

    The Rockfish Program establishes three classes of sideboard provisions: CV groundfish sideboard restrictions, C/P rockfish sideboard restrictions, and C/P opt-out vessel sideboard restrictions. These sideboards are intended to limit the ability of rockfish harvesters to expand into other fisheries.

    CVs participating in the Rockfish Program may not participate in directed fishing for dusky rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and northern rockfish in the West Yakutat district and Western GOA from July 1 through July 31. Also, CVs may not participate in directed fishing for arrowtooth flounder, deep-water flatfish, and rex sole in the GOA from July 1 through July 31 (§ 679.82(d)).

    C/Ps participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives are restricted by rockfish and halibut PSC sideboard limits. These C/Ps are prohibited from directed fishing for dusky rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and northern rockfish in the West Yakutat district and Western GOA from July 1 through July 31. Holders of C/P-designated LLP licenses that opt out of participating in a Rockfish Program cooperative will be able to access that portion of each sideboard limit that is not assigned to rockfish cooperatives. Tables 23 and 24 list the final 2016 and 2017 Rockfish Program C/P sideboard limits in the West Yakutat district and the Western GOA. Due to confidentiality requirements associated with fisheries data, the sideboard limits for the West Yakutat district are not displayed.

    Table 23—Final 2016 Rockfish Program Harvest Limits for the Catcher/Processor Sector in the West Yakutat District and Western GOA [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area Fishery C/P sector
  • (% of TAC)
  • Final 2016 TACs Final 2016
  • C/P limit
  • West Yakutat District Dusky rockfish Confidential 1 275 Confidential.1 Pacific ocean perch Confidential 1 2,847 Confidential.1 Western GOA Dusky rockfish 72.3 173 125. Pacific ocean perch 50.6 2,737 1,385. Northern rockfish 74.3 457 340. 1 Not released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data, as established by NMFS and the State of Alaska.
    Table 24—Final 2017 Rockfish Program Harvest Limits for the Catcher/Processor Sector in the West Yakutat District and Western GOA [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area Fishery C/P sector
  • (% of TAC)
  • Final 2017 TACs Final 2017
  • C/P limit
  • West Yakutat District Dusky rockfish Confidential 1 251 Confidential.1 Pacific ocean perch Confidential 1 2,818 Confidential.1 Western GOA Dusky rockfish 72.3 159 115. Pacific ocean perch 50.6 2,709 1,371. Northern rockfish 74.3 430 319. 1 Not released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data, as established by NMFS and the State of Alaska.

    Under the Rockfish Program, the C/P sector is subject to halibut PSC sideboard limits for the trawl deep-water and shallow-water species fisheries from July 1 through July 31. No halibut PSC sideboard limits apply to the CV sector, as vessels participating in cooperatives receive a portion of the annual halibut PSC limit. C/Ps that opt out of the Rockfish Program would be able to access that portion of the deep-water and shallow-water halibut PSC sideboard limit not assigned to C/P rockfish cooperatives. The sideboard provisions for C/Ps that elect to opt out of participating in a rockfish cooperative are described in § 679.82(c), (e), and (f). Sideboard limits are linked to the catch history of specific vessels that may choose to opt out. After March 1, NMFS will determine which C/Ps have opted-out of the Rockfish Program in 2016, and will know the ratios and amounts used to calculate opt-out sideboard ratios. NMFS will then calculate any applicable opt-out sideboards and post these allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/central-goa-rockfish-program. Table 25 lists the 2016 and 2017 Rockfish Program halibut PSC limits for the C/P sector. These halibut PSC limits proportionately incorporate reductions made to the annual trawl halibut PSC limits and associated season apportionments (see Table 14).

    Table 25—Final 2016 and 2017 Rockfish Program Halibut Mortality Limits for the Catcher/Processor Sector [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Sector Shallow-water
  • species fishery
  • halibut PSC
  • sideboard ratio
  • (percent)
  • Deep-water
  • species fishery
  • halibut PSC
  • sideboard ratio
  • (percent)
  • 2016 and 2017
  • halibut
  • mortality limit
  • (mt)
  • Annual shallow-
  • water species
  • fishery halibut
  • PSC sideboard
  • limit
  • (mt)
  • Annual deep-
  • water species
  • fishery halibut
  • PSC sideboard
  • limit
  • (mt)
  • Catcher/processor 0.10 2.50 1,706 2 43
    Amendment 80 Program Groundfish and PSC Sideboard Limits

    Amendment 80 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (Amendment 80 Program) established a limited access privilege program for the non-AFA trawl C/P sector. The Amendment 80 Program established groundfish and halibut PSC catch limits for Amendment 80 Program participants to limit the ability of participants eligible for the Amendment 80 Program to expand their harvest efforts in the GOA.

    Section 679.92 establishes groundfish harvesting sideboard limits on all Amendment 80 program vessels, other than the F/V Golden Fleece, to amounts no greater than the limits listed in Table 37 to 50 CFR part 679. Under § 679.92(d), the F/V Golden Fleece is prohibited from directed fishing for pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, dusky rockfish, and northern rockfish in the GOA.

    Groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels operating in the GOA are based on their average aggregate harvests from 1998 through 2004. Tables 26 and 27 list the final 2016 and 2017 sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. NMFS will deduct all targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by Amendment 80 Program vessels from the sideboard limits in Tables 26 and 27.

    Table 26—Final 2016 GOA Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments and
  • allocations by season
  • Area Ratio of Amendment 80 sector
  • vessels 1998-2004 catch to TAC
  • 2016 TAC
  • (mt)
  • 2016 Amendment 80
  • vessel sideboards
  • (mt)
  • Pollock A Season, January 20-February 25 Shumagin (610) 0.003 3,827 11 Chirikof (620) 0.002 43,374 87 Kodiak (630) 0.002 12,456 25 B Season, March 10-May 31 Shumagin (610) 0.003 3,826 11 Chirikof (620) 0.002 50,747 101 Kodiak (630) 0.002 5,083 10 C Season, August 25-September 15 Shumagin (610) 0.003 24,421 73 Chirikof (620) 0.002 15,404 31 Kodiak (630) 0.002 19,822 40 D Season, October 1-November 1 Shumagin (610) 0.003 24,421 73 Chirikof (620) 0.002 15,402 31 Kodiak (630) 0.002 19,822 40 Annual WYK (640) 0.002 9,348 19 Pacific cod A Season,1 January 1-June 10 W 0.020 17,011 340 C 0.044 22,190 976 B Season,2 September 1-December 31 W 0.020 11,341 227 C 0.044 14,794 651 Annual WYK 0.034 6,589 224 Pacific ocean perch Annual W 0.994 2,737 2,721 WYK 0.961 2,847 2,736 Northern rockfish Annual W 1.000 457 457 Dusky rockfish Annual W 0.764 173 132 WYK 0.896 275 246 1 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. 2 The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.
    Table 27—Final 2017 GOA Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments and
  • allocations by season
  • Area Ratio of Amendment 80 sector
  • vessels 1998-2004 catch to TAC
  • 2017 TAC
  • (mt)
  • 2017 Amendment 80
  • vessel sideboards
  • (mt)
  • Pollock A Season, January 20-February 25 Shumagin (610) 0.003 3,769 11 Chirikof (620) 0.002 42,732 85 Kodiak (630) 0.002 12,272 25 B Season, March 10-May 31 Shumagin (610) 0.003 3,769 11 Chirikof (620) 0.002 49,996 100 Kodiak (630) 0.002 5,007 10 C Season, August 25-September 15 Shumagin (610) 0.003 24,060 72 Chirikof (620) 0.002 15,176 30 Kodiak (630) 0.002 19,529 39 D Season, October 1-November 1 Shumagin (610) 0.003 24,060 72 Chirikof (620) 0.002 15,175 30 Kodiak (630) 0.002 19,529 39 Annual WYK (640) 0.002 9,209 18 Pacific cod A Season,1 January 1-June 10 W 0.020 14,699 294 C 0.044 19,175 844 B Season,2 September 1-December 31 W 0.020 9,799 196 C 0.044 12,783 562 Annual WYK 0.034 5,694 194 Pacific ocean perch Annual W 0.994 2,709 2,693 WYK 0.961 2,818 2,708 Northern rockfish Annual W 1.000 430 430 Dusky rockfish Annual W 0.764 159 121 WYK 0.896 251 225 1 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. 2 The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

    The PSC sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels in the GOA are based on the historic use of halibut PSC by Amendment 80 Program vessels in each PSC target category from 1998 through 2004. These values are slightly lower than the average historic use to accommodate two factors: allocation of halibut PSC cooperative quota under the Central GOA Rockfish Program and the exemption of the F/V Golden Fleece from this restriction (§ 679.92(b)(2)). Table 28 lists the final 2016 and 2017 halibut PSC limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. These tables incorporate the maximum percentages of the halibut PSC sideboard limits that may be used by Amendment 80 Program vessels as contained in Table 38 to 50 CFR part 679. These halibut PSC limits proportionately incorporate the reductions made to the annual trawl halibut PSC limits and associated seasonal apportionments (see Table 14). Additionally, residual amounts of a seasonal Amendment 80 sideboard halibut PSC limit may carry forward to the next season limit (§ 679.92(b)(2)).

    Table 28—Final 2016 and 2017 Halibut PSC Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels in the GOA [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Season Season dates Target fishery Historic
  • Amendment 80
  • use of the
  • annual halibut
  • PSC limit catch
  • (ratio)
  • 2016 and 2017
  • annual PSC
  • limit
  • (mt)
  • 2016 and 2017
  • Amendment 80
  • vessel PSC
  • limit
  • 1 January 20-April 1 shallow-water 0.0048 1,706 8 deep-water 0.0115 1,706 20 2 April 1-July 1 shallow-water 0.0189 1,706 32 deep-water 0.1072 1,706 183 3 July 1-September 1 shallow-water 0.0146 1,706 25 deep-water 0.0521 1,706 89 4 September 1-October 1 shallow-water 0.0074 1,706 13 deep-water 0.0014 1,706 2 5 October 1-December 31 shallow-water 0.0227 1,706 39 deep-water 0.0371 1,706 63 Total 474
    Directed Fishing Closures

    Pursuant to § 679.20(d)(1)(i), if the Regional Administrator determines (1) that any allocation or apportionment of a target species or species group allocated or apportioned to a fishery will be reached; or (2) with respect to pollock and Pacific cod, that an allocation or apportionment to an inshore or offshore component or sector allocation will be reached, the Regional Administrator may establish a directed fishing allowance (DFA) for that species or species group. If the Regional Administrator establishes a DFA and that allowance is or will be reached before the end of the fishing year, NMFS will prohibit directed fishing for that species or species group in the specified GOA regulatory area or district (§ 679.20(d)(1)(iii)).

    The Regional Administrator has determined that the TACs for the species listed in Table 29 are necessary to account for the incidental catch of these species in other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years.

    Table 29—2016 and 2017 Directed Fishing Closures in the GOA [Amounts for incidental catch in other directed fisheries are in metric tons] Target Area/component/gear Incidental catch amount and year
  • (if amounts differ
  • by year)
  • Pollock all/offshore not applicable.1 Sablefish 2 all/trawl 1,250 (2016), 1,142 (2017). Pacific cod Western, catcher/processor, trawl
  • Central, catcher/processor, trawl
  • 657 (2016), 567 (2017).
  • 1,537 (2016), 1,328 (2017).
  • Shortraker rockfish 2 all 1,286. Rougheye rockfish 2 all 1,328 (2016).
  • 1,325 (2017).
  • Thornyhead rockfish 2 all 1,961. Other rockfish all 2,308. Atka mackerel all 2,000. Big skate all 3,814. Longnose skate all 3,206. Other skates all 1,919. Sharks all 4,514. Squids all 1,148. Octopuses all 4,878. 1 Pollock is closed to directed fishing in the GOA by the offshore component under § 679.20(a)(6)(i). 2 Closures not applicable to participants in cooperatives conducted under the Central GOA Rockfish Program.

    Consequently, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species or species groups listed in Table 29 as zero mt. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for those species, areas, gear types, and components in the GOA listed in Table 29. These closures will remain in effect through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2017.

    Section 679.64(b)(5) provides for management of AFA CV groundfish harvest limits and PSC bycatch limits using directed fishing closures and PSC closures according to procedures set out at §§ 679.20(d)(1)(iv), 679.21(d)(6), and 679.21(e)(3)(v). The Regional Administrator has determined that, in addition to the closures listed above, many of the non-exempt AFA CV sideboard limits listed in Tables 18 and 19 are necessary as incidental catch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iv), the Regional Administrator sets the DFAs for the species and species groups in Table 30 at zero mt. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing by non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA for the species and specified areas listed in Table 30. These closures will remain in effect through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2017.

    Table 30—2016 and 2017 Non-Exempt AFA CV Sideboard Directed Fishing Closures for All Gear Types in the GOA [Amounts for incidental catch in other directed fisheries are in metric tons] Species Regulatory area/district Incidental catch amount Pacific cod Eastern 47 (inshore) and 5 (offshore) [2016]. 40 (inshore) and 4 (offshore) [2017]. Shallow-water flatfish Eastern 54 in 2016, 49 in 2017. Deep-water flatfish Western 0. Rex sole Eastern and Western 5 and 1. Arrowtooth flounder Eastern and Western 3 and 30. Flathead sole Eastern and Western 3 and 31. Pacific ocean perch Western 6. Northern rockfish Western 0. Dusky rockfish Entire GOA 2. Demersal shelf rockfish SEO District 0. Sculpins Entire GOA 35. Squids Entire GOA 7.

    Section 680.22 provides for the management of non-AFA crab vessel sideboards using directed fishing closures in accordance with § 680.22(e)(2) and (3). The Regional Administrator has determined that the non-AFA crab vessel sideboards listed in Tables 21 and 22 are insufficient to support a directed fishery and has set the sideboard DFA at zero mt, with the exception of Pacific cod pot CV sector apportionments in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Therefore, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing by non-AFA crab vessels in the GOA for all species and species groups listed in Tables 21 and 22, with the exception of the Pacific cod pot CV sector apportionments in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas.

    Closures implemented under the 2015 and 2016 GOA harvest specifications for groundfish (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015) remain effective under authority of these final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications, and are posted at the following Web site: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/infobulletins/search. While these closures are in effect, the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a fishing trip. These closures to directed fishing are in addition to closures and prohibitions found at 50 CFR part 679. NMFS may implement other closures during the 2016 and 2017 fishing years as necessary for effective conservation and management.

    Comments and Responses

    NMFS received two comment letters containing five substantive comments during the public comment period on the proposed 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA. No changes were made to this final rule in response to the comment letters received. These comments are summarized and responded to below.

    Comment 1: Each commenter expressed general support for the GOA harvest specifications.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges these comments.

    Comment 2: The removal of catch limits, such as the Pacific cod sideboard limits established for hook-and-line C/Ps, should not be implemented as described in the proposed GOA harvest specifications.

    Response: As described in the preamble of this notice and in the proposed 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for the GOA (80 FR 76405, December 9, 2015), NMFS previously published a final rule implementing regulations associated with Amendment 45 to the FMP for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Amendment 45) (80 FR 28539, May 19, 2015). Regulations implemented through Amendment 45 directly affect the harvest specifications process for establishing sideboard limits for a specific industry sector. Amendment 45 requires that NMFS permanently remove Pacific cod sideboard limits applicable to specified hook-and-line catcher/processors (C/P) in the Western and Central GOA regulatory areas once it receives an affidavit affirming that all eligible participants in these regulatory areas recommend removal of the sideboard limits. NMFS received an affidavit that all eligible fishery participants in the Western and Central GOA recommend removal of these sideboard limits. By removing the Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line C/P sector from Tables 21 and 22 of this rule, NMFS incorporates the regulatory changes made under Amendment 45 into this final rule.

    Comment 3: Hook-and-line gear has hazardous effects on local species and ecosystems. For example, if fishing line is lost or improperly discarded in the ocean, it will likely be consumed by a wide variety of animals such as birds, marine mammals, and fish. Because Laysan albatross dive for their prey, increased fishing in hook-and-line fishery may increase the mortality of this species from entanglements.

    Response: Hook-and-line gear is a legal gear type in the Gulf of Alaska for Pacific cod and a variety of other species. Hook-and-line gear is authorized under both the FMP (available at http://www.npfmc.org/wp-content/PDFdocuments/fmp/GOA/GOAfmp.pdf) and regulations at 50 CFR part 679. NMFS monitors the catch of all federally-managed groundfish species in the GOA, by gear type, as part of its fisheries monitoring and catch accounting procedures. This catch information is incorporated into the annual SAFE reports prepared to assess the biomass and population trends for groundfish species (see ADDRESSES). The annual SAFE report includes an “Ecosystem Considerations” chapter that describes and discusses the latest trends associated with physical, environmental, ecosystem, and fisheries components of the GOA. The Plan Team, SSC, and Council use this information during the annual harvest specifications as it considers current and future environmental trends that may affect the TAC limits.

    NMFS regularly monitors the effects of hook-and-line fisheries and other commercial fisheries on marine mammal stocks. For example, the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) requires NMFS to review marine mammal stock assessment reports annually for stocks designated as strategic, annually for stocks where there are significant new information available, and at least once every 3 years for all other stocks. Each marine mammal stock assessment includes, when available, estimates of annual human-caused mortality and serious injury from interactions with commercial fisheries and subsistence hunters. These data are used to evaluate the progress of each fishery towards achieving the MMPA's goal of zero fishery-related mortality and serious injury of marine mammals. The most recent (2014) Alaska Marine Mammal stock assessment was released in August 2015 and can be downloaded at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/sars/region.htm. In addition, further information on the effects of commercial fisheries can be found in section 5.3.10 of the SIR.

    The Alaska Region has been actively addressing seabird incidental take in hook-and-line fisheries off Alaska since 1989. The seabird-related responsibilities and activities include: Consultations under the Endangered Species Act, data collection by fishery observers, public and industry outreach and education, research, regulatory action to employ multiple seabird avoidance measures, and participation in the development of actions to reduce the incidental take of seabirds in Alaska fisheries. NMFS has implemented and revised seabird avoidance measures to mitigate interactions between the federal hook-and-line fisheries and seabirds (see 62 FR 23176, April 29, 1997; 63 FR 1930, January 13, 2004; 72 FR 71610, December 18, 2007; 74 FR 13355, March 27, 2009). Currently, operators of vessels longer than 26 ft LOA using hook-and-line gear are required to comply with regulatory seabird avoidance measures (see 50 CFR 679.24(e)(2). Section 5.3.9 of the SIR notes, 2013 seabird estimated bycatch numbers for the combined groundfish fisheries are the lowest since NMFS began estimating bycatch in 1993 (see also http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/REFM/REEM/Seabirds/Seabird%20bycatch%202007%20to%202013_Alaskan%20Gndfish_Dec2014.pdf).

    Comment 4: Hook-and-line fishing will have an effect on average sizes of certain species of fish. For example, hook-and-line gear tends to catch older, larger Pacific cod because smaller fish are unable to be hooked. This leads to a shift in the Pacific cod population dynamic. Smaller fish will prey on smaller organisms such as zooplankton, putting increased pressure on the foundation of the foodweb. Therefore, NMFS should revise the harvest specifications to limit the use of hook-and-line gear.

    Response: Pacific cod is a stock fished by multiple gear types. Amendment 83 to the FMP (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011) implemented regulations on the amounts of the Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs allocated to the hook-and-line sectors. Changing the amount of these regulatory allocations for hook-and-line gear is outside the scope of these final 2016 and 2017 harvest specification for the GOA. The Environmental Assessment for Amendment 83 determined that Amendment 83 would not significantly impact the quality of the human environment. In addition, all beneficial and adverse impacts of the proposed action have been addressed to reach the conclusion of no significant impacts (https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/analyses/earirfrfa0911.pdf).

    The primary categories of information considered in the stock assessment are catch, abundance, and biology. The catch data includes the gear type and length, the abundance data (biomass and numbers of fish) from surveys includes length and age, and the biological data includes information on fish size, age, reproductive rates, and movement. The effects of using hook-and-line gear is incorporated in the stock assessment and informs NMFS on changes in Pacific cod population dynamics. Also, an evaluation of the effects of the GOA Pacific cod fisheries on the ecosystem is conducted annually in the Ecosystem Considerations chapter and in the groundfish SAFE. The Ecosystems Consideration chapter includes detailed information and updates on the status and trends of ecosystem components, like zooplankton, as well as either early signals of direct human effects on ecosystem components that might warrant management intervention or evidence of the efficacy of previous management actions. Based on the Ecosystem Considerations chapter in the 2015 SAFE report, NMFS concludes that the current GOA Pacific cod fishery does not produce population-level impacts to marine species or change ecosystem-level attributes beyond the range of natural variation.

    Comment 5: Trawl fishing should not be allowed in the GOA because of negative environmental consequences such as disturbing non-target species and increased sedimentation in the ocean. Therefore, NMFS should revise the harvest specifications to limit the use of trawl fishing gear.

    Response: Trawl gear is a legal gear type in the Gulf of Alaska for a variety of groundfish species. Similar to hook-and-line gear, pelagic and non-pelagic trawl gear are authorized under both the FMP and regulations at 50 CFR part 679.

    The Council and NMFS have taken a variety of measures to control the use of trawl gear and the impacts of trawl gear on non-target species and marine habitat. In a recent example, NMFS established a no-trawl protection area in Marmot Bay, northeast of Kodiak Island and required the use of modified nonpelagic trawl gear when fishing for flatfish in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA (79 FR 2794), January 16, 2014). The Council conducts a complete review of Essential Fish Habitat once every 5 years, and regularly solicits proposals on Habitat Areas of Particular Concern and/or conservation and enhancement measures to minimize potential adverse effects from fishing. More broadly, the Council and NMFS have incorporated habitat provisions set forth in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act into the FMP (available at http://www.npfmc.org, see Section 4.2).

    Classification

    NMFS has determined that these final harvest specifications are consistent with the FMP and with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.

    This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563.

    NMFS prepared an EIS for this action (see ADDRESSES) and made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 13, 2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the EIS. In January 2015, NMFS prepared a Supplemental Information Report (SIR) for this action. Copies of the EIS, ROD, and SIR for this action are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The EIS analyzes the environmental consequences of the groundfish harvest specifications and alternative harvest strategies on resources in the action area. The EIS found no significant environmental consequences of this action and its alternatives. The preferred alternative is a harvest strategy in which TACs are set at a level that falls within the range of ABCs recommended by the Council's SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve the OY specified in the FMP. The SIR evaluates the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (SEIS) for the 2016 and 2017 groundfish harvest specifications.

    An SEIS should be prepared if (1) the agency makes substantial changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental concerns, or (2) significant new circumstances or information exist relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts (40 CFR 1502.9(c)(1)). After reviewing the information contained in the SIR and SAFE reports, the Regional Administrator has determined that (1) approval of the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications, which were set according to the preferred harvest strategy in the EIS, do not constitute a substantial change in the action; and (2) there are no significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the action or its impacts. Additionally, the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications will result in environmental impacts within the scope of those analyzed and disclosed in the EIS. Therefore, supplemental National Environmental Policy Act documentation is not necessary to implement the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications.

    Section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that, when an agency promulgates a final rule under section 553 of Title 5 of the United States Code, after being required by that section, or any other law, to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency shall prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA).

    Section 604 describes the required contents of a FRFA: (1) A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule; (2) a statement of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, a statement of the assessment of the agency of such issues, and a statement of any changes made in the proposed rule as a result of such comments; (3) the response of the agency to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration in response to the proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any change made to the proposed rule in the final rule as a result of the comments; (4) a description of and an estimate of the number of small entities to which the rule will apply or an explanation of why no such estimate is available; (5) a description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the rule, including an estimate of the classes of small entities which will be subject to the requirement and the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the report or record; (6) a description of the steps the agency has taken to minimize the significant economic impact on small entities consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other significant alternatives to the rule considered by the agency which affect the impact on small entities was rejected.

    A description of this action, its purpose, and its legal basis are contained at the beginning of the preamble to this final rule and are not repeated here.

    NMFS published the proposed rule on December 9, 2015 (80 FR 76405). NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) to accompany this action, and included a summary in the proposed rule. The comment period closed on January 8, 2016. No comments were received on the IRFA or the economic impacts of the rule more generally.

    The entities directly regulated by this action include (1) entities operating vessels with groundfish FFPs catching FMP groundfish in Federal waters; (2) all entities operating vessels, regardless of whether they hold groundfish FFPs, catching FMP groundfish in the state-waters parallel fisheries; and (3) all entities operating vessels fishing for halibut inside three miles of the shore (whether or not they have FFPs).

    The Small Business Administration has established size standards for all major industry sectors in the United States. A business primarily involved in finfish harvesting is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual gross receipts not in excess of $20.5 million, for all its affiliated operations worldwide. Fishing vessels are considered small entities if their total annual gross receipts, from all their activities combined, are less than $20.5 million. The IRFA estimates the number of harvesting vessels that are considered small entities, but these estimates may overstate the number of small entities because (1) some vessels may also be active as tender vessels in the salmon fishery, fish in areas other than Alaska and the West Coast, or generate revenue from other non-fishing sources; and (2) all affiliations are not taken into account, especially if the vessel has affiliations not tracked in available data (i.e., ownership of multiple vessel or affiliation with processors) and may be misclassified as a small entity.

    Based on data from 2014 fishing activity, there were 915 individual catcher vessel entities with gross revenues meeting small entity criteria. Of these entities, 853 used hook-and-line gear, 97 used pot gear, and 34 used trawl gear (some of these entities used more than one gear type, thus the counts of entities using the different gear types do not sum to the total number of entities above). Four individual catcher/processors met the small entity criterion; three used hook-and-line gear, and one used trawl gear. Catcher/processor gross revenues were not reported for confidentiality reasons, however hook-and-line small entities had average gross revenues of $400,000, small pot entities had average gross revenues of $740,000, and small trawl entities had average gross revenues of $2.5 million.

    Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, of GOA rockfish cooperatives, or of Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab rationalization cooperatives and, therefore, under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) it is the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the cooperative that must meet the threshold. Vessels that participate in these cooperatives are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. These relationships are accounted for, along with corporate affiliations among vessels, to the extent that they are known, in the estimated number of small entities. If affiliations exist of which NMFS is unaware, or if entities had non-fishing revenue sources, the estimates above may overstate the number of directly regulated small entities.

    This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting requirements.

    NMFS considered other, alternative harvest strategies when choosing the preferred harvest strategy (Alternative 2) in December 2006. These included the following:

    • Alternative 1: Set TACs to produce fishing mortality rates, F, that are equal to maxFABC, unless the sum of the TACs is constrained by the OY established in the FMPs. This is equivalent to setting TACs to produce harvest levels equal to the maximum permissible ABCs, as constrained by OY. The term “maxFABC” refers to the maximum permissible value of FABC under Amendment 56 to the groundfish FMPs. Historically, the TAC has been set at or below the ABC, therefore, this alternative represents a likely upper limit for setting the TAC within the OY and ABC limits.

    • Alternative 3: For species in Tiers 1, 2, and 3, set TAC to produce F equal to the most recent 5-year average actual F. For species in Tiers 4, 5, and 6, set TAC equal to the most recent 5-year average actual catch. For stocks with a high level of scientific information, TACs would be set to produce harvest levels equal to the most recent 5-year average actual fishing mortality rates. For stocks with insufficient scientific information, TACs would be set equal to the most recent 5-year average actual catch. This alternative recognizes that for some stocks, catches may fall well below ABCs, and recent average F may provide a better indicator of actual F than FABC does.

    • Alternative 4: (1) Set TACs for rockfish species in Tier 3 at F75%. Set TACs for rockfish species in Tier 5 at F=0.5M. Set spatially explicit TACs for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the GOA. (2) Taking the rockfish TACs as calculated above, reduce all other TACs by a proportion that does not vary across species, so that the sum of all TACs, including rockfish TACs, is equal to the lower bound of the area OY (116,000 mt in the GOA). This alternative sets conservative and spatially explicit TACs for rockfish species that are long-lived and late to mature and sets conservative TACs for the other groundfish species.

    • Alternative 5: (No Action) Set TACs at zero.

    These four alternatives do not meet the objectives of this action although they have a smaller adverse economic impact on small entities than the preferred alternative. The Council rejected these alternatives as harvest strategies in 2006, and the Secretary did so in 2007.

    Alternative 1 selected harvest rates that will allow fishermen to harvest stocks at the level of ABCs, unless total harvests are constrained by the upper bound of the GOA OY of 800,000 metric tons. The sums of ABCs in 2016 and 2017 are 727,684 mt and 708,629 mt, respectively. The sums of the TACs in 2016 and 2017 are 590,809 mt and 573,872 mt, respectively. Thus, although the sum of ABCs in each year is less than 800,000 metric tons, the sums of the TACs in each year are less than the sums of the ABCs.

    In most cases, the Council has set TACs equal to ABCs. The divergence between aggregate TACs and aggregate ABCs reflects a variety of special species- and fishery-specific circumstances:

    • Pacific cod TACs are set equal to 70 percent in the Western GOA and 75 percent in the Central GOA of the Pacific cod ABCs in each year to account for the guideline harvest levels (GHL) set by the State of Alaska for its GHL Pacific cod fisheries (30 and 25 percent, respectively, of the Western and Central GOA ABCs). Thus, the difference between the Federal TACs and ABCs does not actually reflect a Pacific cod harvest below the Pacific cod ABC, as the balance is available for the State's cod GHL fisheries.

    • Shallow-water flatfish and flathead sole TACs are set below ABCs in the Western and Central GOA regulatory areas. Arrowtooth flounder TACs are set below ABC in all GOA regulatory areas. Catches of these flatfish species rarely, if ever, approach the proposed ABCs or TACs. Important trawl fisheries in the GOA take halibut PSC, and are constrained by limits on the allowable halibut PSC mortality. These limits may force the closure of trawl fisheries before they have harvested the available groundfish ABC. Thus, actual harvests of groundfish in the GOA routinely fall short of some ABCs and TACs. Markets can also constrain harvests below the TACs, as has been the case with arrowtooth flounder, in the past. These TACs are set to allow for increased harvest opportunities for these targets while conserving the halibut PSC limit for use in other, more fully utilized, fisheries.

    • The other rockfish TAC is set below the ABC in the Southeast Outside district based on several factors. In addition to conservation concerns for the rockfish species in this group, there is a regulatory prohibition against using trawl gear east of 140° W. longitude. Because most species of other rockfish are caught exclusively with trawl gear, the catch of such species with other gear types, such as hook-and-line, is low. The commercial catch of other rockfish in the Eastern regulatory area, which includes the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside districts, has ranged from approximately 70 mt to 248 mt per year over the last decade.

    • The GOA-wide Atka mackerel TAC is set below the ABC. The estimates of survey biomass continue to be unreliable in the GOA. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS agrees that the Atka mackerel TAC in the GOA be set at an amount to support incidental catch in other directed fisheries.

    Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 years of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the most recent 5 years of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). This alternative is inconsistent with the objectives of this action, because it does not take account of the most recent biological information for this fishery.

    Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all species to reduce TACs from the upper end of the OY range in the GOA to its lower end of 116,000 mt. Overall, this would reduce 2016 TACs by about 80 percent. This would lead to significant reductions in harvests of species by small entities. While production declines in the GOA would undoubtedly be associated with price increases in the GOA, these increases would still be constrained by the availability of substitutes, and are very unlikely to offset revenue declines from smaller production. Thus, this action would have a detrimental economic impact on small entities.

    Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, may also address conservation issues, but would have a significant adverse economic impact on small entities.

    Impacts on marine mammals resulting from fishing activities conducted under this rule are discussed in the EIS and SIR (see ADDRESSES).

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness for this rule because delaying this rule would be contrary to the public interest. The Plan Team review occurred in November 2015, and Council consideration and recommendations occurred in December 2015. Accordingly, NMFS' review could not begin until January 2016. For all fisheries not currently closed because the TACs established under the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015) were not reached, it is possible that they would be closed prior to the expiration of a 30-day delayed effectiveness period, because their TACs could be reached within that period. If implemented immediately, this rule would allow these fisheries to continue because the new TACs implemented by this rule are higher than the ones under which they are currently fishing.

    Certain fisheries, such as those for pollock and Pacific cod, are intensive, fast-paced fisheries. Other fisheries, such as those for sablefish, flatfish, rockfish, Atka mackerel, skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses, are critical as directed fisheries and as incidental catch in other fisheries. U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch the TAC allocations in many of these fisheries. If this rule allowed for a 30-day delay in effectiveness and if a TAC were reached during those 30 days, NMFS would close directed fishing or prohibit retention for the applicable species. Any delay in allocating the final TACs in these fisheries would cause confusion to the industry and potential economic harm through unnecessary discards, thus undermining the intent of this rule. Waiving the 30-day delay allows NMFS to prevent economic loss to fishermen that could otherwise occur should the 2016 TACs be reached. Determining which fisheries may close is impossible because these fisheries are affected by several factors that cannot be predicted in advance, including fishing effort, weather, movement of fishery stocks, and market price. Furthermore, the closure of one fishery has a cascading effect on other fisheries by freeing-up fishing vessels, allowing them to move from closed fisheries to open ones, increasing the fishing capacity in those open fisheries, and causing them to close at an accelerated pace.

    In fisheries subject to declining sideboard limits, a failure to implement the updated sideboard limits before initial season's end could deny the intended economic protection to the non-sideboarded sectors. Conversely, in fisheries with increasing sideboard limits, economic benefit could be denied to the sideboard limited sectors.

    If the final harvest specifications are not effective by March 19, 2016, which is the start of the 2016 Pacific halibut season as specified by the IPHC, the hook-and-line sablefish fishery will not begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. This would result in confusion for the industry and economic harm from unnecessary discard of sablefish that are caught along with Pacific halibut, as both hook-and-line sablefish and Pacific halibut are managed under the same IFQ program. Immediate effectiveness of the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications will allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season.

    In addition, the immediate effectiveness of this action is required to provide consistent management and conservation of fishery resources based on the best available scientific information. This is particularly true for those species that have lower 2016 ABCs and TACs than those established in the 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015). Immediate effectiveness also would give the fishing industry the earliest possible opportunity to plan and conduct its fishing operations with respect to new information about TACs. Therefore, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

    Small Entity Compliance Guide

    This final rule is a plain language guide to assist small entities in complying with this final rule as required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This final rule's primary purpose is to announce the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the groundfish fisheries of the GOA. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits and associated management measures for groundfish during the 2016 and 2017 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the FMP. This action affects all fishermen who participate in the GOA fisheries. The specific amounts of OFL, ABC, TAC, and PSC are provided in tables to assist the reader. NMFS will announce closures of directed fishing in the Federal Register and information bulletins released by the Alaska Region. Affected fishermen should keep themselves informed of such closures.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540 (f), 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105-277; Pub. L. 106-31; Pub. L. 106-554; Pub. L. 108-199; Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 109-241; Pub. L 109-479.

    Dated: March 14, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06183 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 150916863-6211-02] RIN 0648-XE202 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2016 and 2017 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule; closures.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS announces final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2016 and 2017 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

    DATES:

    Effective from 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 18, 2016, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS, and the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) prepared for this action are available from http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2015 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2015, as well as the SAFE reports for previous years, are available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99510-2252, phone 907-271-2809, or from the Council's Web site at http://www.npfmc.org/.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600.

    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum TAC for all groundfish species must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see § 679.20(a)(1)(i)). This final rule specifies the TAC at 2.0 million mt for both 2016 and 2017. NMFS also must specify apportionments of TAC, prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances, and prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by § 679.21; seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC; Amendment 80 allocations; and Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by § 679.20(b)(1)(ii). The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 26 of this action satisfy these requirements.

    Section 679.20(c)(3)(i) further requires NMFS to consider public comment on the proposed annual TACs (and apportionments thereof) and PSC allowances, and to publish final harvest specifications in the Federal Register. The proposed 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications and PSC allowances for the groundfish fishery of the BSAI were published in the Federal Register on December 9, 2015 (80 FR 76425). Comments were invited and accepted through January 8, 2016. NMFS received two letters of comment on the proposed harvest specifications with fourteen substantive comments. These comments are summarized and responded to in the “Response to Comments” section of this rule. NMFS consulted with the Council on the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications during the December 2015 Council meeting in Anchorage, AK. After considering public comments, as well as biological and economic data that were available at the Council's December meeting, NMFS implements the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council.

    Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Harvest Specifications

    The final ABC levels for Alaska groundfish are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. In general, the development of ABCs and overfishing levels (OFLs) involves sophisticated statistical analyses of fish populations. The FMP specifies a series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts based on the level of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier 1 represents the highest level of information quality available while Tier 6 represents the lowest.

    In December 2015, the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Advisory Panel (AP), and Council reviewed current biological and harvest information about the condition of the BSAI groundfish stocks. The Council's Plan Team compiled and presented this information in the final 2015 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries, dated November 2015 (see ADDRESSES). The SAFE report contains a review of the latest scientific analyses and estimates of each species' biomass and other biological parameters, as well as summaries of the available information on the BSAI ecosystem and the economic condition of groundfish fisheries off Alaska. NMFS notified the public and asked for review of the 2015 SAFE report in the notice of proposed harvest specifications. From these data and analyses, the Plan Team recommended an OFL and ABC for each species or species category at the November 2015 Plan Team meeting.

    In December 2015, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed the Plan Team's recommendations. The final TAC recommendations were based on the ABCs as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the sum of the TACs within the required OY range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million mt. As required by annual catch limit rules for all fisheries (74 FR 3178, January 16, 2009), none of the Council's recommended TACs for 2016 or 2017 exceeds the final 2016 or 2017 ABCs for any species category. The Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) approves the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council. NMFS finds that the Council's recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the preferred harvest strategy and the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 2015 SAFE report that was approved by the Council.

    Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2016 and 2017 Harvest Specifications

    On November 30, 2015, the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF), a regulatory body for the State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game (State), established a guideline harvest level (GHL) in State waters between 164 and 167 degrees west longitude in the Bering Sea subarea (BS) equal to 6.4 percent of the Pacific cod ABC for the BS. The action by the State required a downward adjustment of the 240,000 mt proposed 2016 and 2017 Bering Sea subarea Pacific cod TAC because the combined TAC and GHL was greater than the proposed ABC of 255,000 mt. The maximum permissible TAC after subtraction of the GHL is 238,680 mt for the BS. The BOF for the State established a GHL in State waters in the Aleutian Islands subarea (AI) equal to 27 percent of the Pacific cod ABC for the AI. The action by the State does not require a downward adjustment of the proposed Aleutian Islands subarea Pacific cod TAC because the combined TAC and GHL, 17,600 mt, is less than the proposed ABC.

    At its June 2015 meeting, the Council recommended reductions to the BSAI halibut PSC limits by 21 percent through Amendment 111 to the FMP. A notice of availability associated with those recommendations was published on October 29, 2015 (80 FR 66486). The specific reductions are 25 percent for Amendment 80 cooperatives, 15 percent for BSAI trawl limited access fisheries, 20 percent for CDQ fisheries, and 15 percent for non-trawl fisheries. NMFS will publish regulations implementing trawl and non-trawl BSAI halibut PSC limit reductions in 2016, upon approval by the Secretary of a final rule to implement Amendment 111. Upon implementation of the reductions, the 2016 and 2017 halibut PSC limits under this action will be superseded by Amendment 111 and reduced.

    Changes From the Proposed 2016 and 2017 Harvest Specifications for the BSAI

    The Council's recommendations for the proposed 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (80 FR 76425, December 9, 2015) were based largely on information contained in the 2014 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries. Through the proposed harvest specifications, NMFS notified the public that these harvest specifications could change, as the Council would consider information contained in the final 2015 SAFE report, recommendations from the Plan Team, SSC, and AP committees, and public testimony when making its recommendations for final harvest specifications at the December 2015 Council meeting. NMFS further notified the public that, as required by the FMP and its implementing regulations, the sum of the TACs must be within the OY range of 1.4 million and 2.0 million mt.

    Information contained in the 2015 SAFE reports indicates biomass changes for several groundfish species from the 2014 SAFE reports. The 2015 report was made available for public review during the public comment period for the proposed harvest specifications. At the December 2015 Council meeting, the SSC recommended the 2016 and 2017 ABCs for many species based on the best and most recent information contained in the 2015 SAFE reports. This recommendation resulted in an ABC sum total for all BSAI groundfish species in excess of 2 million mt for both 2016 and 2017. Based on the SSC ABC recommendations and the 2015 SAFE reports, the Council recommends increasing Bering Sea pollock by 30,000 mt in 2016 and 30,643 in 2017. In terms of percentage, the largest increases in TACs were for Bogoslof area pollock and BSAI squid. These increases were to account for higher incidental catch needs than were specified in the proposed 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications. The changes to TAC between the proposed and final harvest specifications are based on the most recent scientific and economic information and are consistent with the FMP, regulatory obligations, and harvest strategy as described in the proposed harvest specifications. These changes are compared in Table 1A.

    Table 1 lists the Council's recommended final 2016 OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ reserve amounts of the BSAI groundfish; and Table 2 lists the Council's recommended final 2017 OFL, ABC, TAC, ITAC, and CDQ reserve amounts of the BSAI groundfish. NMFS concurs in these recommendations. The final 2016 and 2017 TAC recommendations for the BSAI are within the OY range established for the BSAI and do not exceed the ABC for any species or species group. The apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and seasons is discussed below.

    TABLE 1—Final 2016 Overfishing Level (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), Total Allowable Catch (TAC), Initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ Reserve Allocation of Groundfish in the BSAI 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Area 2016 OFL ABC TAC ITAC 2 CDQ 3 Pollock 4 BS 3,910,000 2,090,000 1,340,000 1,206,000 134,000 AI 39,075 32,227 19,000 17,100 1,900 Bogoslof 31,906 23,850 500 500 0 Pacific cod 5 BS 390,000 255,000 238,680 213,141 25,539 AI 23,400 17,600 12,839 11,465 1,374 Sablefish BS 1,304 1,151 1,151 950 158 AI 1,766 1,557 1,557 1,265 263 Yellowfin sole BSAI 228,100 211,700 144,000 128,592 15,408 Greenland turbot BSAI 4,194 3,462 2,873 2,442 n/a BS n/a 2,673 2,673 2,272 286 AI n/a 789 200 170 0 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI 94,035 80,701 14,000 11,900 1,498 Kamchatka flounder BSAI 11,100 9,500 5,000 4,250 0 Rock sole BSAI 165,900 161,000 57,100 50,990 6,110 Flathead sole 6 BSAI 79,562 66,250 21,000 18,753 2,247 Alaska plaice BSAI 49,000 41,000 14,500 12,325 0 Other flatfish 7 BSAI 17,414 13,061 2,500 2,125 0 Pacific ocean perch BSAI 40,529 33,320 31,900 28,143 n/a BS n/a 8,353 8,000 6,800 0 EAI n/a 7,916 7,900 7,055 845 CAI n/a 7,355 7,000 6,251 749 WAI n/a 9,696 9,000 8,037 963 Northern rockfish BSAI 14,689 11,960 4,500 3,825 0 Rougheye rockfish 8 BSAI 693 561 300 255 0 BS/EAI n/a 179 100 85 0 CAI/WAI n/a 382 200 170 0 Shortraker rockfish BSAI 690 518 200 170 0 Other rockfish 9 BSAI 1,667 1,250 875 744 0 BS n/a 695 325 276 0 AI n/a 555 550 468 0 Atka mackerel BSAI 104,749 90,340 55,000 49,115 5,885 BS/EAI n/a 30,832 28,500 25,451 3,050 CAI n/a 27,216 16,000 14,288 1,712 WAI n/a 32,292 10,500 9,377 1,124 Skates BSAI 50,215 42,134 26,000 22,100 0 Sculpins BSAI 52,365 39,725 4,500 3,825 0 Sharks BSAI 1,363 1,022 125 106 0 Squids BSAI 6,912 5,184 1,500 1,275 0 Octopuses BSAI 3,452 2,589 400 340 0 TOTAL 5,324,080 3,236,662 2,000,000 1,791,97 197,225 1 These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District. 2 Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is put into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species, ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 5). 3 For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 10.7 percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland turbot, “other flatfish,” Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, “other rockfish,” skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program. 4 Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual BS subarea pollock TAC after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (4.0 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: inshore—50 percent; catcher/processor—40 percent; and motherships—10 percent. Under § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400 mt) is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. 5 The BS Pacific cod TAC is reduced by 6.4 percent from the Bering Sea subarea ABC to account for the State of Alaska's (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the Bering Sea subarea. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set less than 27 percent of the Aleutian Islands subarea ABC to account for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea. 6 “Flathead sole” includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder). 7 “Other flatfish” includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice. 8 “Rougheye rockfish” includes Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 9 “Other rockfish” includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2 (BS = Bering Sea subarea, AI = Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI = Eastern Aleutian district, CAI = Central Aleutian district, WAI = Western Aleutian district.) Table 1A—Comparison of Final 2016 and 2017 With Proposed 2016 and 2017 Total Allowable Catch in the BSAI [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Area1 2016 final TAC 2016
  • proposed TAC
  • 2016
  • difference from
  • proposed
  • 2016
  • percentage
  • difference from
  • proposed
  • 2017 final TAC 2017
  • proposed TAC
  • 2017
  • difference from
  • proposed
  • 2017
  • percentage
  • difference from
  • proposed
  • Pollock BS 1,340,000 1,310,000 30,000 2.3 1,340,643 1,310,000 30,643 2.3 AI 19,000 19,000 0 0.0 19,000 19,000 0 0.0 Bogoslof 500 100 400 400.0 500 100 400 400.0 Pacific cod BS 238,680 240,000 −1,320 −0.5 238,680 240,000 −1,320 −0.5 AI 12,839 9,422 3,417 36.3 12,839 9,422 3,417 36.3 Sablefish BS 1,151 1,211 −60 −5.0 1,052 1,211 −159 −13.1 AI 1,557 1,637 −80 −4.9 1,423 1,637 −214 −13.1 Yellowfin sole BSAI 144,000 149,000 −5,000 −3.4 144,000 149,000 −5,000 −3.4 Greenland turbot BS 2,673 2,448 225 9.2 2,673 2,448 225 9.2 AI 200 200 0 0.0 200 200 0 0.0 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI 14,000 22,000 −8,000 −36.4 14,000 22,000 −8,000 −36.4 Kamchatka flounder BSAI 5,000 6,500 −1,500 −23.1 5,000 6,500 −1,500 −23.1 Rock sole BSAI 57,100 69,250 −12,150 −17.5 57,100 69,250 −12,150 −17.5 Flathead sole BSAI 21,000 24,250 −3,250 −13.4 21,000 24,250 −3,250 −13.4 Alaska plaice BSAI 14,500 18,500 −4,000 −21.6 14,500 18,500 −4,000 −21.6 Other flatfish BSAI 2,500 3,620 −1,120 −30.9 2,500 3,620 −1,120 −30.9 Pacific ocean perch BS 8,000 8,021 −21 −0.3 7,953 8,021 −68 −0.8 EAI 7,900 7,970 −70 −0.9 7,537 7,970 −433 −5.4 CAI 7,000 7,000 0 0.0 7,000 7,000 0 0.0 WAI 9,000 9,000 0 0.0 9,000 9,000 0 0.0 Northern rockfish BSAI 4,500 3,250 1,250 38.5 4,500 3,250 1,250 38.5 Rougheye rockfish BS/EAI 100 149 −49 −32.9 100 149 −49 −32.9 CAI/WAI 200 200 0 0.0 200 200 0 0.0 Shortraker rockfish BSAI 200 250 −50 −20.0 200 250 −50 −20.0 Other rockfish BS 325 325 0 0.0 325 325 0 0.0 AI 550 555 −5 −0.9 550 555 −5 −0.9 Atka mackerel EAI/BS 28,500 27,317 1,183 4.3 28,500 27,317 1,183 4.3 CAI 16,000 17,000 −1,000 −5.9 16,000 17,000 −1,000 −5.9 WAI 10,500 10,500 0 0.0 10,500 10,500 0 0.0 Skates BSAI 26,000 25,700 300 1.2 26,000 25,700 300 1.2 Sculpins BSAI 4,500 4,700 −200 −4.3 4,500 4,700 −200 −4.3 Sharks BSAI 125 125 0 0.0 125 125 0 0.0 Squid BSAI 1,500 400 1,100 275.0 1,500 400 1,100 275.0 Octopuses BSAI 400 400 0 0.0 400 400 0 0.0 TOTAL BSAI 2,000,000 2,000,000 0 0.0 2,000,000 2,000,000 0 0.0 1 Bering Sea subarea (BS), Aleutian Islands subarea (AI), Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI), Eastern Aleutian District (EAI), Central Aleutian District (CAI), and Western Aleutian District (WAI).
    Table 2—Final 2017 Overfishing Level (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), Total Allowable Catch (TAC), Initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ Reserve Allocation of Groundfish in the BSAI 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Area 2017 OFL ABC TAC ITAC 2 CDQ 3 Pollock 4 BS 3,540,000 2,019,000 1,340,643 1,206,579 134,064 AI 44,455 36,664 19,000 17,100 1,900 Bogoslof 31,906 23,850 500 500 0 Pacific cod 5 BS 412,000 255,000 238,680 213,141 25,539 AI 23,400 17,600 12,839 11,465 1,374 Sablefish BS 1,241 1,052 1,052 447 39 AI 1,681 1,423 1,423 302 27 Yellowfin sole BSAI 219,200 203,500 144,000 128,592 15,408 Greenland turbot BSAI 7,416 6,132 2,873 2,442 n/a BS n/a 4,734 2,673 2,272 286 AI n/a 1,398 200 170 0 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI 84,156 72,216 14,000 11,900 1,498 Kamchatka flounder BSAI 11,700 10,000 5,000 4,250 0 Rock sole BSAI 149,400 145,000 57,100 50,990 6,110 Flathead sole 6 BSAI 77,544 64,580 21,000 18,753 2,247 Alaska plaice BSAI 46,800 39,100 14,500 12,325 0 Other flatfish 7 BSAI 17,414 13,061 2,500 2,125 0 Pacific ocean perch BSAI 38,589 31,724 31,490 27,779 n/a BS n/a 7,953 7,953 6,760 0 EAI n/a 7,537 7,537 6,731 806 CAI n/a 7,002 7,000 6,251 749 WAI n/a 9,232 9,000 8,037 963 Northern rockfish BSAI 14,085 11,468 4,500 3,825 0 Rougheye rockfish 8 BSAI 855 694 300 255 0 EBS/EAI n/a 216 100 85 0 CAI/WAI n/a 478 200 170 0 Shortraker rockfish BSAI 690 518 200 170 0 Other rockfish 9 BSAI 1,667 1,250 875 744 0 BS n/a 695 325 276 0 AI n/a 555 550 468 0 Atka mackerel BSAI 99,490 85,840 55,000 49,115 5,885 EAI/BS n/a 29,296 28,500 25,451 3,050 CAI n/a 25,860 16,000 14,288 1,712 WAI n/a 30,684 10,500 9,377 1,124 Skates BSAI 47,674 39,943 26,000 22,100 0 Sculpins BSAI 52,365 39,725 4,500 3,825 0 Sharks BSAI 1,363 1,022 125 106 0 Squids BSAI 6,912 5,184 1,500 1,275 0 Octopuses BSAI 3,452 2,589 400 340 0 TOTAL 4,935,455 3,128,135 2,000,000 1,790,446 196,895 1 These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District. 2 Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is put into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species, ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 5). 3 For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 10.7 percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland turbot, “other flatfish,” Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, “other rockfish,” skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program. 4 Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual BS subarea pollock TAC after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (4.0 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: Inshore—50 percent; catcher/processor—40 percent; and motherships—10 percent. Under § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400 mt) is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. 5 The BS Pacific cod TAC is reduced by 6.4 percent from the Bering Sea subarea ABC to account for the State of Alaska's (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the Bering Sea subarea. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set less than 27 percent of the Aleutian Islands subarea ABC to account for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea. 6 “Flathead sole” includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder). 7 “Other flatfish” includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice. 8 “Rougheye rockfish” includes Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 9 “Other rockfish” includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2 (BS = Bering Sea subarea, AI = Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI = Eastern Aleutian district, CAI = Central Aleutian district, WAI = Western Aleutian district.) Groundfish Reserves and the Incidental Catch Allowance (ICA) for Pollock, Atka Mackerel, Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, Yellowfin Sole, and Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch

    Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) requires NMFS to reserve 15 percent of the TAC for each target species, except for pollock, hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species, in a non-specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires that NMFS allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish for the fixed-gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires that NMFS allocate 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocations of sablefish and 10.7 percent of the Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder TACs to the respective CDQ reserves. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires that NMFS allocate 10.7 percent of the TAC for Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod to the CDQ reserves. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) and 679.31(a) also require that 10 percent of the BSAI pollock TACs be allocated to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA (see § 679.20(a)(5)(ii)). With the exception of the hook-and-line and pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the regulations do not further apportion the CDQ allocations by gear.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS allocates a pollock ICA of 4.0 percent of the BS subarea pollock TAC after subtracting the 10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS' examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2000 through 2015. During this 16-year period, the pollock incidental catch ranged from a low of 2.4 percent in 2006 to a high of 4.8 percent in 2014, with a 16-year average of 3.2 percent. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS establishes a pollock ICA of 2,400 mt of the AI subarea TAC after subtracting the 10-percent CDQ DFA. This allowance is based on NMFS' examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 through 2015. During this 13-year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from a low of 5 percent in 2006 to a high of 17 percent in 2014, with a 13-year average of 8 percent.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS allocates ICAs of 5,000 mt of flathead sole, 6,000 mt of rock sole, 3,500 mt of yellowfin sole, 10 mt of WAI Pacific ocean perch, 75 mt of CAI Pacific ocean perch, 200 mt of EAI Pacific ocean perch, 40 mt of WAI Atka mackerel, 75 mt of CAI Atka mackerel, and 1,000 mt of EAI and BS subarea Atka mackerel TAC after subtracting the 10.7 percent CDQ reserve. These ICA allowances are based on NMFS' examination of the incidental catch in other target fisheries from 2003 through 2015.

    The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified reserve by species or species group. Any amount of the reserve may be apportioned to a target species category that contributed to the non-specified reserves during the year, provided that such apportionments do not result in overfishing (see § 679.20(b)(1)(i)). The Regional Administrator has determined that the ITACs specified for the species listed in Table 1 need to be supplemented from the non-specified reserve because U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch the full TAC allocations. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(b)(3), NMFS is apportioning the amounts shown in Table 3 from the non-specified reserve to increase the ITAC for shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, “other rockfish,” sharks, and octopuses by 15 percent of the TAC in 2016 and 2017.

    Table 3—Final 2016 and 2017 Apportionment of Reserves to ITAC Categories [Amounts are in metric tons] Species-area or subarea 2016 ITAC 2016 reserve amount 2016 final ITAC 2017 ITAC 2017 reserve amount 2017 final ITAC Shortraker rockfish-BSAI 170 30 200 170 30 200 Rougheye rockfish-BS/EAI 85 15 100 85 15 100 Rougheye rockfish-CAI/WAI 170 30 200 170 30 200 Other rockfish-Bering Sea subarea 276 49 325 276 49 325 Other rockfish-Aleutian Islands subarea 468 82 550 468 82 550 Sharks 106 19 125 106 19 125 Octopuses 340 60 400 340 60 400 Total 1,615 285 1,900 1,615 285 1,900 Allocation of Pollock TAC Under the American Fisheries Act (AFA)

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that the BS subarea pollock TAC be apportioned, after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ program and 4.0 percent for the ICA, as a DFA as follows: 50 percent to the inshore sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor (C/P) sector, and 10 percent to the mothership sector. In the BS subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10), and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-November 1) (§ 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)). The AI-directed pollock fishery allocation to the Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock remaining in the AI subarea after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and 2,400 mt for the ICA (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(ii)). In the AI subarea, the total A season apportionment of the TAC is less than or equal to 40 percent of the ABC and the remainder of the TAC is allocated to the B season. Tables 4 and 5 list these 2016 and 2017 amounts.

    The Steller sea lion protection measure final rule (79 FR 70286, November 25, 2014) sets harvest limits for pollock in the A season (January 20 to June 10) in Areas 543, 542, and 541, see § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6). In Area 543, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. In Area 542, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 15 percent of the Aleutian Islands ABC. In Area 541, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 30 percent of the Aleutian Islands ABC.

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific requirements regarding BS subarea pollock allocations. First, it requires that 8.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the C/P sector be available for harvest by AFA catcher vessels (CVs) with C/P sector endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator receives a cooperative contract that allows the distribution of harvest among AFA C/Ps and AFA CVs in a manner agreed to by all members. Second, AFA C/Ps not listed in the AFA are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the C/P sector. Tables 4 and 5 list the 2016 and 2017 allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 21 through 26 list the AFA C/P and CV harvesting sideboard limits. The tables for the pollock allocations to the BS subarea inshore pollock cooperatives and open access sector will be posted on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

    Tables 4 and 5 also list seasonal apportionments of pollock and harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The harvest within the SCA, as defined at § 679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to no more than 28 percent of the annual DFA before 12:00 noon, April 1, as provided in § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C). The A season pollock SCA harvest limit will be apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector's allocated percentage of the DFA. Tables 4 and 5 list these 2016 and 2017 amounts by sector.

    TABLE 4—Final 2016 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed Fishing Allowances (DFA)1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Area and sector 2016 Allocations 2016 A season1 A season DFA SCA Harvest
  • limit 2
  • 2016 B season1 B season DFA
    Bering Sea subarea TAC 1 1,340,000 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 134,000 53,600 37,520 80,400 ICA 1 48,240 n/a n/a n/a AFA Inshore 578,880 231,552 162,086 347,328 AFA Catcher/Processors 3 463,104 185,242 129,669 277,862 Catch by C/Ps 423,740 169,496 n/a 254,244 Catch by CVs 3 39,364 15,746 n/a 23,618 Unlisted C/P Limit 4 2,316 926 n/a 1,389 AFA Motherships 115,776 46,310 32,417 69,466 Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 202,608 n/a n/a n/a Excessive Processing Limit 6 347,328 n/a n/a n/a Total Bering Sea DFA 1,157,760 463,104 324,173 694,656 Aleutian Islands subarea ABC 32,227 n/a n/a n/a Aleutian Islands subarea TAC 1 19,000 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 1,900 760 n/a 1,140 ICA 2,400 1,200 n/a 1,200 Aleut Corporation 14,700 10,931 n/a 3,769 Area harvest limit 7 541 9,668 n/a n/a n/a 542 4,834 n/a n/a n/a 543 1,611 n/a n/a n/a Bogoslof District ICA 8 500 n/a n/a n/a 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the BS subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4.0 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (C/P)—40 percent, and mothership sector—10 percent. In the BS subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the pollock directed fishery. 2 In the BS subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels delivering to listed catcher/processors. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processors sector's allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 8 The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for ICA only and are not apportioned by season or sector. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.
    Table 5-Final 2017 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed Fishing Allowances (DFA) 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Area and sector 2017 Allocations 2017 A season 1 A season DFA SCA Harvest
  • limit 2
  • 2017 B season 1 B season DFA
    Bering Sea subarea TAC 1 1,340,643 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 134,064 53,626 37,538 80,439 ICA 1 48,263 n/a n/a n/a AFA Inshore 579,158 231,663 162,164 347,495 AFA Catcher/Processors 3 463,326 185,330 129,731 277,996 Catch by C/Ps 423,943 169,577 n/a 254,366 Catch by CVs 3 39,383 15,753 n/a 23,630 Unlisted C/P Limit 4 2,317 927 n/a 1,390 AFA Motherships 115,832 46,333 32,433 69,499 Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 202,705 n/a n/a n/a Excessive Processing Limit 6 347,495 n/a n/a n/a Total Bering Sea DFA 1,158,316 463,326 324,328 694,989 Aleutian Islands subarea ABC 36,664 n/a n/a n/a Aleutian Islands subarea TAC 1 19,000 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 1,900 760 n/a 1,140 ICA 2,400 1,200 n/a 1,200 Aleut Corporation 14,700 12,706 n/a 1,994 Area harvest limit 7 541 10,999 n/a n/a n/a 542 5,500 n/a n/a n/a 543 1,833 n/a n/a n/a Bogoslof District ICA 8 500 n/a n/a n/a 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the BS subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4.0 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (C/P)—40 percent, and mothership sector—10 percent. In the BS subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the pollock directed fishery. 2 In the BS subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processors sector's allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 8 The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for ICA only and are not apportioned by season or sector. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.
    Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TACs

    Section 679.20(a)(8) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and non-trawl gear sector (Tables 6 and 7). The percentage of the ITAC for Atka mackerel allocated to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is listed in Table 33 to part 679 and in § 679.91. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 2 percent of the EAI and the BS subarea Atka mackerel ITAC may be allocated to vessels using jig gear. The percent of this allocation is recommended annually by the Council based on several criteria, including the anticipated harvest capacity of the jig gear fleet. The Council recommended, and NMFS approves, a 0.5 percent allocation of the Atka mackerel ITAC in the EAI and BS subarea to the jig gear sector in 2015 and 2016. This percentage is applied to the Atka mackerel TAC after subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA.

    Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC into two equal seasonal allowances. Section 679.23(e)(3) sets the first seasonal allowance for directed fishing with trawl gear from January 20 through June 10 (A season), and the second seasonal allowance from June 10 through December 31 (B season). Section 679.23(e)(4)(iii) applies Atka mackerel seasons to CDQ Atka mackerel fishing. The ICA and jig gear allocations are not apportioned by season.

    Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) limit Atka mackerel catch within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to this part and located west of 178° W longitude to no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543, and equally divide the annual TAC between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3). Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires that the annual TAC in Area 543 will be no more than 65 percent of the ABC in Area 543. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(D) requires that any unharvested Atka mackerel A season allowance that is added to the B season be prohibited from being harvested within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to this part and located in Areas 541, 542, and 543.

    Tables 6 and 7 list these 2016 and 2017 Atka mackerel seasons, area allowances, and the sector allocations. The 2017 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2016.

    Table 6—Final 2016 Seasonal and Spatial Allowance, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance and Amendment 80 Allocations of the BSAI ATKA Mackerel TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector 1 Season 234 2016 Allocation by area Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea Central Aleutian District 5 Western Aleutian District TAC n/a 28,500 16,000 10,500 CDQ reserve Total 3,050 1,712 1,124 A 1,525 856 562 Critical Habitat n/a 514 337 B 1,525 856 562 Critical Habitat n/a 514 337 ICA Total 1,000 75 40 Jig 6 Total 122 0 0 BSAI trawl limited access Total 2,433 1,421 0 A 1,216 711 0 Critical Habitat n/a 426 0 B 1,216 711 0 Critical Habitat n/a 426 0 Amendment 80 sectors Total 21,895 12,792 9,337 A 10,948 6,396 4,668 B 10,948 6,396 4,668 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative Total 6 12,349 7,615 5,742 A 6,175 3,808 2,871 Critical Habitat n/a 2,285 1,723 B 6,175 3,808 2,871 Critical Habitat n/a 2,285 1,723 Alaska Seafood Cooperative Total 6 9,546 5,177 3,595 A 4,773 2,589 1,798 Critical Habitat n/a 1,553 1,079 B 4,773 2,589 1,798 Habitat n/a 1,553 1,079 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31. 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of critical habitat; (a)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and (a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC. 6 Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Table 7—Final 2017 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance, and Amendment 80 Allocation of the BSAI ATKA Mackerel TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector 1 Season 234 2017 Allocation by area Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea 5 Central Aleutian District 5 Western Aleutian District 5 TAC n/a 28,500 16,000 10,500 CDQ reserve Total 3,050 1,712 1,124 A 1,525 856 562 Critical Habitat n/a 514 337 B 1,525 856 562 Critical Habitat n/a 514 337 ICA Total 1,000 75 40 Jig 6 Total 122 0 0 BSAI trawl limited access Total 2,433 1,421 0 A 1,216 711 0 Critical Habitat n/a 426 0 B 1,216 711 0 Critical Habitat n/a 426 0 Amendment 80 sectors 7 Total 21,895 12,792 9,337 A 10,948 6,396 4,668 B 10,948 6,396 4,668 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31. 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of critical habitat; (a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and (a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC. 6 Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. 7 The 2017 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2016. NMFS will post 2017 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in December 2016. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC

    The Council separated BS and AI subarea OFLs, ABCs, and TACs for Pacific cod in 2014 (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) allocates 10.7 percent of the BS TAC and AI TAC to the CDQ program. After CDQ allocations have been deducted from the respective BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, the remaining BS and AI Pacific cod TACs are combined for calculating further BSAI Pacific cod sector allocations. However, if the non-CDQ Pacific cod TAC is or will be reached in either the BS or AI subareas, NMFS will prohibit non-CDQ directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea as provided in § 679.20(d)(1)(iii).

    Sections 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocate the Pacific cod TAC in the combined BSAI TAC, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ program, as follows: 1.4 percent to vessels using jig gear; 2.0 percent to hook-and-line and pot CVs less than 60 ft (18.3 m) length overall (LOA); 0.2 percent to hook-and-line CVs greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 48.7 percent to hook-and-line C/P; 8.4 percent to pot CVs greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 1.5 percent to pot C/Ps; 2.3 percent to AFA trawl C/Ps; 13.4 percent to non-AFA trawl C/Ps; and 22.1 percent to trawl CVs. The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. For 2016 and 2017, the Regional Administrator establishes an ICA of 500 mt based on anticipated incidental catch by these sectors in other fisheries.

    The ITAC allocation of Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector is established in Table 33 to part 679 and § 679.91. The 2017 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2016.

    The Pacific cod ITAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see §§ 679.20(a)(7) and 679.23(e)(5)). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(B) and (C), any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance will become available at the beginning of the next seasonal allowance.

    Section 679.20(a)(7)(vii) requires the Regional Administrator to establish an Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit based on Pacific cod abundance in Area 543. Based on the 2015 stock assessment, the Regional Administrator determined the Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit to be 26.3 percent of the AI Pacific cod TAC for 2016 and 2017. NMFS will first subtract the State GHL Pacific cod amount from the AI Pacific cod ABC. Then NMFS will determine the harvest limit in Area 543 by multiplying the percentage of Pacific cod estimated in Area 543 by the remaining ABC for AI Pacific cod. Based on these calculations, the Area 543 harvest limit is 3,379 mt.

    The CDQ and non-CDQ season allowances by gear based on the 2016 and 2017 Pacific cod TACs are listed in Tables 8 and 9, and are based on the sector allocation percentages of Pacific cod set forth at §§ 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) and 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(A) and the seasonal allowances of Pacific cod set forth at § 679.23(e)(5).

    Table 8—Final 2016 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific Cod TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Gear sector Percent 2016 Share of gear sector total 2016 Share of sector total 2016 Seasonal apportionment Seasons Amount BS TAC n/a 238,680 n/a n/a n/a BS CDQ n/a 25,539 n/a see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a BS non-CDQ TAC n/a 213,141 n/a n/a n/a AI TAC n/a 12,839 n/a n/a n/a AI CDQ n/a 1,374 n/a see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a AI non-CDQ TAC n/a 11,465 n/a n/a n/a Western Aleutian Island Limit n/a 3,379 n/a n/a n/a Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 100 224,606 n/a n/a n/a Total hook-and-line/pot gear 60.8 136,561 n/a n/a n/a Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 n/a 500 n/a see § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(B) n/a Hook-and-line/pot sub-total n/a 136,061 n/a n/a n/a Hook-and-line catcher/processor 48.7 n/a 108,983 Jan 1-Jun 10 55,581 Jun 10-Dec 31 53,402 Hook-and-line catcher vessel ≥ 60 ft LOA 0.2 n/a 448 Jan 1-Jun 10 228 Jun 10-Dec 31 219 Pot catcher/processor 1.5 n/a 3,357 Jan 1-Jun 10 1,712 Sept 1-Dec 31 1,645 Pot catcher vessel ≥ 60 ft LOA 8.4 n/a 18,798 Jan 1-Jun 10 9,587 Sept 1-Dec 31 9,211 Catcher vessel < 60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear 2 n/a 4,476 n/a n/a Trawl catcher vessel 22.1 49,638 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 36,732 Apr 1-Jun 10 5,460 Jun 10-Nov 1 7,446 AFA trawl catcher/processor 2.3 5,166 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 3,874 Apr 1-Jun 10 1,291 Jun 10-Nov 1 0 Amendment 80 13.4 30,097 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 22,573 Apr 1-Jun 10 7,524 Jun 10-Nov 1 0 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative n/a n/a 4,751 Jan 20-Apr 1 3,563 Apr 1-Jun 10 1,188 Jun 10-Dec 31 0 Alaska Seafood Cooperative n/a n/a 25,346 Jan 20-Apr 1 19,010 Apr 1-Jun 10 6,337 Jun 10-Dec 31 0 Jig 1.4 3,144 n/a Jan 1-Apr 30 1,887 Apr 30-Aug 31 629 Aug 31-Dec 31 629 1 The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains. 2 The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 500 mt for 2016 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Table 9—Final 2017 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific Cod TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Gear sector Percent 2017 Share of gear sector total 2017 Share of sector total 2017 Seasonal apportionment Seasons Amount BS TAC n/a 238,680 n/a n/a n/a BS CDQ n/a 25,539 n/a see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a BS non-CDQ TAC n/a 213,141 n/a n/a n/a AI TAC n/a 12,839 n/a n/a n/a AI CDQ n/a 1,374 n/a see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a AI non-CDQ TAC n/a 11,465 n/a n/a n/a Western Aleutian Island Limit n/a 3,379 n/a n/a n/a Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 n/a 224,606 n/a n/a n/a Total hook-and-line/pot gear 60.8 136,561 n/a n/a n/a Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 n/a 500 n/a see § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(B) n/a Hook-and-line/pot sub-total n/a 136,061 n/a n/a n/a Hook-and-line catcher/processor 48.7 n/a 108,983 Jan 1-Jun 10 55,581 Jun 10-Dec 31 53,402 Hook-and-line catcher vessel ≥ 60 ft LOA 0.2 n/a 448 Jan 1-Jun 10 228 Jun 10-Dec 31 219 Pot catcher/processor 1.5 n/a 3,357 Jan 1-Jun 10 1,712 Sept 1-Dec 31 1,645 Pot catcher vessel ≥ 60 ft LOA 8.4 n/a 18,798 Jan 1-Jun 10 9,587 Sept 1-Dec 31 9,211 Catcher vessel < 60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear 2 n/a 4,476 n/a n/a Trawl catcher vessel 22.1 49,638 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 36,732 Apr 1-Jun 10 5,460 Jun 10-Nov 1 7,446 AFA trawl catcher/processor 2.3 5,166 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 3,874 Apr 1-Jun 10 1,291 Jun 10-Nov 1 0 Amendment 80 13.4 30,097 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 22,573 Apr 1-Jun 10 7,524 Jun 10-Dec 31 0 Jig 1.4 3,144 n/a Jan 1-Apr 30 1,887 Apr 30-Aug 31 629 Aug 31-Dec 31 629 1 The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains. 2 The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 500 mt for 2017 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Sablefish Gear Allocation

    Sections 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require allocation of the sablefish TAC for the BS and AI subareas between trawl and hook-and-line or pot gear sectors. Gear allocations of the TAC for the BS subarea are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TACs for the AI subarea are 25 percent for trawl gear and 75 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires NMFS to apportion 20 percent of the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish to the CDQ reserve. Additionally, § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1) requires that 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocation of sablefish from the non-specified reserves, established under § 679.20(b)(1)(i), be assigned to the CDQ reserve. The Council recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be established biennially. The harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear and pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fisheries will be limited to the 2016 fishing year to ensure those fisheries are conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery. Concurrent sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries will reduce the potential for discards of halibut and sablefish in those fisheries. The sablefish IFQ fisheries will remain closed at the beginning of each fishing year until the final harvest specifications for the sablefish IFQ fisheries are in effect. Table 10 lists the 2016 and 2017 gear allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts.

    Table 10—Final 2016 and 2017 Gear Shares and CDQ Reserve of BSAI Sablefish TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Subarea and gear Percent of TAC 2016 Share of TAC 2016 ITAC 2016 CDQ Reserve 2017 Share of TAC 2017 ITAC 2017 CDQ Reserve Bering Sea: Trawl 1 50 576 489 43 526 447 39 Hook-and-line/pot gear 2 50 576 460 115 n/a n/a n/a Total 100 1,151 950 158 526 447 39 Aleutian Islands: Trawl 1 25 389 331 29 356 302 27 Hook-and-line/pot gear 2 75 1,168 934 234 n/a n/a n/a Total 100 1,557 1,265 263 356 302 27 1 Except for the sablefish hook-and-line or pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the reserve. The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after the subtracting these reserves. 2 For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the allocated TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants. The Council recommended that specifications for the hook-and-line gear sablefish IFQ fisheries be limited to one year. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Allocation of the AI Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACs

    Sections 679.20(a)(10)(i) and (ii) require that NMFS allocate AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TAC between the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ reserve and an ICA for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-trawl gear. The allocation of the ITAC for AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole to the Amendment 80 sector is established in accordance with Tables 33 and 34 to part 679 and § 679.91.

    The 2017 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2016. Tables 11 and 12 list the 2016 and 2017 allocations of the AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs.

    Table 11—Final 2016 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment 80 Allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector Pacific ocean perch Eastern Aleutian District Central Aleutian District Western Aleutian District Flathead
  • sole
  • BSAI Rock
  • sole
  • BSAI Yellowfin sole BSAI
    TAC 7,900 7,000 9,000 21,000 57,100 144,000 CDQ 845 749 963 2,247 6,110 15,408 ICA 200 75 10 5,000 6,000 3,500 BSAI trawl limited access 685 618 161 0 0 14,979 Amendment 80 6,169 5,558 7,866 13,753 44,990 110,113 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative 3,271 2,947 4,171 1,411 11,129 43,748 Alaska Seafood Cooperative 2,898 2,611 3,695 12,342 33,861 66,365 Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    Table 12—Final 2017 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment 80 Allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector Pacific ocean perch Eastern Aleutian District Central Aleutian District Western Aleutian District Flathead sole BSAI Rock

  • sole
  • BSAI Yellowfin sole BSAI TAC 7,537 7,002 9,000 21,000 57,100 144,000 CDQ 806 749 963 2,247 6,110 15,408 ICA 200 75 10 5,000 6,000 3,500 BSAI trawl limited access 653 618 161 0 0 14,979 Amendment 80 1 5,877 5,560 7,866 13,753 44,990 110,113 1 The 2017 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2016. NMFS will publish 2017 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in December 2016. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    Section 679.2 defines the ABC surplus for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole as the difference between the annual ABC and TAC for each species. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii) establishes ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The ABC surpluses and the ABC reserves are necessary to mitigate the operational variability, environmental conditions, and economic factors that may constrain the CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperatives from achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve at or below the ABC surplus for each species thus maintaining the TAC below ABC limits. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves will be allocated as CDQ reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The Amendment 80 ABC reserves shall be the ABC reserves minus the CDQ ABC reserves. Section 679.91(i)(2) establishes each Amendment 80 cooperative ABC reserve to be the ratio of each cooperatives' quota share units and the total Amendment 80 quota share units, multiplied by the Amendment 80 ABC reserve for each respective species. Table 13 lists the 2016 and 2017 ABC surplus and ABC reserves for BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole.

    Table 13—Final 2016 and 2017 ABC Surplus, Community Development Quota (CDQ) ABC Reserves, and Amendment 80 ABC Reserves in the BSAI for Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector 2016 Flathead sole 2016 Rock sole 2016 Yellowfin sole 2017 Flathead sole 2017 Rock sole 2017 Yellowfin sole ABC 66,250 161,100 211,700 64,580 145,000 203,500 TAC 21,000 57,100 144,000 21,000 57,100 144,000 ABC surplus 45,250 104,000 67,700 43,580 87,900 59,500 ABC reserve 45,250 104,000 67,700 43,580 87,900 59,500 CDQ ABC reserve 4,842 11,128 7,244 4,663 9,405 6,367 Amendment 80 ABC reserve 40,408 92,872 60,456 38,917 78,495 53,134 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for 2016 1 4,145 22,974 24,019 n/a n/a n/a Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 2016 1 36,263 69,898 36,437 n/a n/a n/a 1 The 2017 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2016. PSC Limits for Halibut, Salmon, Crab, and Herring

    Section 679.21(e) sets forth the BSAI PSC limits. Reductions to the BSAI halibut PSC limits are expected to be implemented in 2016, pending Secretarial approval of Amendment 111 and the effective date of publication of a final rule. On implementation of the reductions, the 2016 and 2017 halibut PSC limits under this action will be superseded by Amendment 111 and reduced. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iv) and (e)(2), the 2016 and 2017 BSAI halibut mortality limits are 3,675 mt for trawl fisheries and 900 mt for the non-trawl fisheries. Sections 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(2) and 679.21(e)(4)(i)(A) allocate 326 mt of the trawl halibut mortality limit and 7.5 percent, or 67 mt, of the non-trawl halibut mortality limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program.

    Section 679.21(e)(4)(i) authorizes apportioning the non-trawl halibut PSC limit into PSC bycatch allowances among six fishery categories. Tables 15 and 16 list the fishery bycatch allowances for the trawl fisheries, and Table 17 lists the fishery bycatch allowances for the non-trawl fisheries.

    Pursuant to Section 3.6 of the FMP, the Council recommends, and NMFS agrees, that certain specified non-trawl fisheries be exempt from the halibut PSC limit. As in past years, after consulting with the Council, NMFS exempts pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories from halibut bycatch restrictions for the following reasons: (1) The pot gear fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality; (2) NMFS estimates halibut mortality for the jig gear fleet to be negligible because of the small size of the fishery and the selectivity of the gear; and (3) the IFQ program requires legal-size halibut to be retained by vessels using hook-and-line gear if a halibut IFQ permit holder or a hired master is aboard and is holding unused halibut IFQ (subpart D of 50 CFR part 679). In 2015, total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the BSAI was approximately 38,149 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality of about 3 mt.

    The 2015 jig gear fishery harvested about 29 mt of groundfish. Most vessels in the jig gear fleet are exempt from observer coverage requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on halibut bycatch in the jig gear fishery. However, as mentioned above, NMFS estimates the jig gear sector will have a negligible amount of halibut bycatch mortality because of the selective nature of jig gear and the low mortality rate of halibut caught with jig gear and released.

    Section 679.21(f)(2) annually allocates portions of either 47,591 or 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limits among the AFA sectors, depending on past catch performance and on whether Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreements are formed. If an AFA sector participates in an approved Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreement, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 60,000 PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). If no Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreement is approved, or if the sector has exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6), then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector, as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). In 2016, the Chinook salmon PSC limit is 60,000 and the AFA sector Chinook salmon allocations are seasonally allocated with 70 percent of the allocation for the A season pollock fishery, and 30 percent of the allocation for the B season pollock fishery as stated in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). The basis for these PSC limits is described in detail in the final rule implementing management measures for Amendment 91 (75 FR 53026, August 30, 2010). NMFS publishes the approved Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreements, 2016 allocations, and reports at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/bycatch/default.htm when they become available.

    Section 679.21(e)(1)(viii) specifies 700 fish as the 2016 and 2017 Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI subarea pollock fishery. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(3)(i) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, to the AI subarea PSQ for the CDQ program, and allocates the remaining 647 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries.

    Section 679.21(e)(1)(vii) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2016 and 2017 non-Chinook salmon PSC limit in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area (CVOA). Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(3)(ii) allocates 10.7 percent, or 4,494 non-Chinook salmon in the CVOA as the PSQ for the CDQ program, and allocates the remaining 37,506 non-Chinook salmon in the CVOA as the PSC limit for the non-CDQ fisheries.

    PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on abundance and spawning biomass. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1) allocates 10.7 percent from each trawl gear PSC limit specified for crab as a PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program.

    Based on the 2015 survey data, the red king crab mature female abundance is estimated to be at 18.6 million red king crabs, which is above the threshold of 8.4 million red king crabs, and the effective spawning biomass is estimated at 46.5 million lbs (21,092 mt). Based on the criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(i), the 2016 and 2017 PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear is 97,000 animals. This limit derives from the mature female abundance of more than 8.4 million king crab and the effective spawning biomass estimate of less than 55 million lb (24,948 mt).

    Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2) establishes criteria under which NMFS must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). The regulations limit the RKCSS red king crab bycatch limit to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC limit, based on the need to optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red king crab bycatch. In December 2015, the Council recommended and NMFS concurs that the red king crab bycatch limit be equal to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC limit within the RKCSS (Table 15).

    Based on 2015 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) abundance is estimated at 329 million animals. Pursuant to criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 2016 and 2017 C. bairdi crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 830,000 animals in Zone 1, and 2,520,000 animals in Zone 2. In Zone 1, C. bairdi abundance was estimated to be greater than 270 million and less than 400 million animals. In Zone 2, C. bairdi abundance was estimated to be greater than 290 million animals and less than 400 million animals.

    Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iii), the PSC limit for snow crab (C. opilio) is based on total abundance as indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab PSC limit is set at 0.1133 percent of the BS abundance index minus 150,000 crab. Based on the 2015 survey estimate of 4.288 billion animals, the calculated C. opilio crab PSC limit is 4,708,314 animals.

    Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(v), the PSC limit of Pacific herring caught while conducting any trawl operation for BSAI groundfish is 1 percent of the annual eastern BS herring biomass. The best estimate of 2016 and 2017 herring biomass is 263,098 mt. This amount was developed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game based on spawning location estimates. Therefore, the herring PSC limit for 2016 and 2017 is 2,361 mt for all trawl gear as listed in Tables 14 and 15.

    Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A) requires PSQ reserves to be subtracted from the total trawl PSC limits. The 2015 PSC limits assigned to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors are specified in Table 35 to part 679. The resulting allocations of PSC limit to CDQ PSQ, the Amendment 80 sector, and the BSAI trawl limited access fisheries are listed in Table 10. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iv) and § 679.91(d) through (f), crab and halibut trawl PSC limits assigned to the Amendment 80 sector are then further allocated to Amendment 80 cooperatives as PSC cooperative quota as listed in Table 18. PSC cooperative quota assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives is not allocated to specific fishery categories. In 2016, there are no vessels in the Amendment 80 limited access sector. The 2017 PSC allocations between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2016. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(B) requires NMFS to apportion each trawl PSC limit not assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives into PSC bycatch allowances for seven specified fishery categories.

    Section 679.21(e)(5) authorizes NMFS, after consulting with the Council, to establish seasonal apportionments of PSC amounts for the BSAI trawl limited access and Amendment 80 limited access sectors in order to maximize the ability of the fleet to harvest the available groundfish TAC and to minimize bycatch. The factors to be considered are (1) seasonal distribution of prohibited species, (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish species, (3) PSC bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relevant to prohibited species biomass, (4) expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the year, (5) expected start of fishing effort, and (6) economic effects of seasonal PSC apportionments on industry sectors. The Council recommended and NMFS approves the seasonal PSC apportionments in Tables 15 and 16 to maximize harvest among gear types, fisheries, and seasons while minimizing bycatch of PSC based on the above criteria.

    Table 14—Final 2016 and 2017 Apportionment of Prohibited Species Catch Allowances to Non-Trawl Gear, The Cdq Program, Amendment 80, and the Bsai Trawl Limited Access Sectors PSC species and area1 Non-trawl PSC remaining after CDQ PSQ2 Non-trawl PSC remaining after CDQ PSQ2 Total trawl PSC Trawl PSC remaining after CDQ PSQ2 CDQ PSQ reserve2 Amendment 80 sector3 BSAI trawl limited access fishery Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI 900 832 3,675 3,349 393 2,325 875 Herring (mt) BSAI n/a n/a 2,631 n/a n/a n/a n/a Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 n/a n/a 97,000 86,621 10,379 43,293 26,489 C. opilio (animals) COBLZ n/a n/a 4,708,314 4,204,524 503,790 2,066,524 1,351,334 C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1 n/a n/a 830,000 741,190 88,810 312,115 348,285 C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2 n/a n/a 2,520,000 2,250,360 269,640 532,660 1,053,394 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of zones. 2 Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(2) allocates 326 mt of the trawl halibut mortality limit and § 679.21(e)(4)(i)(A) allocates 7.5 percent, or 67 mt, of the non-trawl halibut mortality limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program. The PSQ reserve for crab species is 10.7 percent of each crab PSC limit. 3 The Amendment 80 program reduced apportionment of the trawl PSC limits by 150 mt for halibut mortality and 20 percent for crab. These reductions are not apportioned to other gear types or sectors. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Table 15—Final 2016 and 2017 Herring and Red King Crab Savings Subarea Prohibited Species Catch Allowances for All Trawl Sectors Fishery Categories Herring (mt) BSAI Red king crab
  • (animals)
  • Zone 1
  • Yellowfin sole 179 n/a Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 1 29 n/a Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish 19 n/a Rockfish 13 n/a Pacific cod 40 n/a Midwater trawl pollock 2,151 n/a Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 2,3 199 n/a Red king crab savings subarea non-pelagic trawl gear 4 n/a 24,250 Total trawl PSC 2,631 97,000 1 “Other flatfish” for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 2 Pollock other than pelagic trawl pollock, Atka mackerel, and “other species” fishery category. 3 “Other species” for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. 4 In December 2015 the Council recommended that the red king crab bycatch limit for non-pelagic trawl fisheries within the RKCSS be limited to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance (see § 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2)). Note: Species apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.
    Table 16—Final 2016 and 2017 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowances for the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Sector BSAI trawl limited
  • access fisheries
  • Prohibited species and area 1 Halibut
  • mortality
  • (mt) BSAI
  • Red king crab
  • (animals)
  • Zone 1
  • C. opilio (animals) COBLZ C. bairdi (animals) Zone 1 Zone 2
    Yellowfin sole 167 23,338 1,273,886 293,234 1,005,879 Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 2 0 0 0 0 0 Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish 0 0 0 0 0 Rockfish April 15-December 31 5 0 2,104 0 849 Pacific cod 453 2,954 54,298 50,816 42,424 Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 3 250 197 21,046 4,235 4,242 Total BSAI trawl limited access PSC 875 26,489 1,351,334 348,285 1,053,394 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. 2 “Other flatfish” for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 3 “Other species” for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.
    Table 17—Final 2016 and 2017 Halibut Prohibited Species by Catch Allowances for Non-Trawl Fisheries [Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI] Non-trawl fisheries Seasons Catcher/processor Catcher vessel All Non-Trawl Pacific cod Total Pacific cod 760 15 n/a January 1-June 10 455 10 n/a June 10-August 15 190 3 n/a August 15-December 31 115 2 n/a Non-Pacific cod non-trawl-Total May 1-December 31 n/a n/a 58 Groundfish pot and jig n/a n/a n/a Exempt. Sablefish hook-and-line n/a n/a n/a Exempt. Total for all non-trawl PSC n/a n/a n/a 833 Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Table 18—Final 2016 Prohibited Species by Catch Allowance for the BSAI Amendment 80 Cooperatives Cooperative Prohibited species and zones 1 Halibut
  • mortality (mt) BSAI
  • Red king crab (animals)
  • Zone 1
  • C. opilio
  • (animals) COBLZ
  • C. bairdi (animals) Zone 1 Zone 2
    Alaska Groundfish Cooperative 632 12,459 650,551 82,136 137,369 Alaska Seafood Cooperative 1,693 30,834 1,415,973 229,979 395,291 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of zones. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.
    Halibut Discard Mortality Rates (DMR)

    To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut bycatch rates, DMRs, and estimates of groundfish catch to project when a fishery's halibut bycatch mortality allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. The DMRs are based on the best information available, including information contained in the annual SAFE report.

    NMFS is implementing the halibut DMRs developed and recommended by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) and the Council for the 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish fisheries for use in monitoring the 2016 and 2017 halibut bycatch allowances (see Tables 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18). The IPHC and the Council developed these DMRs for the 2016 and 2017 BSAI fisheries using the 10-year mean DMRs for those fisheries. Long-term average DMRs were not available for some fisheries, so rates from the most recent years were used. For the skate, sculpin, shark, squid, and octopus target fisheries, where not enough halibut mortality data are available, the mortality rate of halibut caught in the Pacific cod fishery for that gear type was recommended as a default rate. The IPHC and Council staff will analyze observer data annually and recommend changes to the DMRs when a fishery DMR shows large variation from the mean. A discussion of the DMRs and how they are established is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). Table 19 lists the 2016 and 2017 DMRs.

    Table 19—Final 2016 and 2017 Pacific Halibut Discard Mortality Rates for the BSAI Gear Fishery Halibut discard
  • mortality rate
  • (percent)
  • Non-CDQ hook-and-line Greenland turbot 11 Other species.1 9 Pacific cod 9 Rockfish 9 Non-CDQ trawl Alaska plaice 66 Arrowtooth flounder 84 Atka mackerel 82 Flathead sole 72 Greenland turbot 82 Kamchatka flounder 84 Non-pelagic pollock 81 Pelagic pollock 88 Other flatfish 2 63 Other species.1 66 Pacific cod 66 Rockfish 83 Rock sole 86 Sablefish 66 Yellowfin sole 84 Non-CDQ Pot Other species.1 9 Pacific cod 9 CDQ trawl Atka mackerel 82 Arrowtooth flounder 84 Flathead sole 79 Kamchatka flounder 84 Non-pelagic pollock 86 Pelagic pollock 90 Pacific cod 87 Greenland turbot 89 Rockfish 70 Rock sole 86 Yellowfin sole 85 CDQ hook-and-line Greenland turbot 10 Pacific cod 10 CDQ pot Pacific cod 1 Sablefish 41 1 “Other species” includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. 2 “Other flatfish” includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), Alaska plaice, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder.
    Directed Fishing Closures

    In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator may establish a DFA for a species or species group if the Regional Administrator determines that any allocation or apportionment of a target species has been or will be reached. If the Regional Administrator establishes a DFA, and that allowance is or will be reached before the end of the fishing year, NMFS will prohibit directed fishing for that species or species group in the specified subarea or district (see § 697.20(d)(1)(iii)). Similarly, pursuant to § 679.21(e), if the Regional Administrator determines that a fishery category's bycatch allowance of halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, or C. opilio crab for a specified area has been reached, the Regional Administrator will prohibit directed fishing for each species in that category in the specified area.

    Based on historic catch patterns and anticipated fishing activity, the Regional Administrator has determined that the groundfish allocation amounts in Table 20 will be necessary as incidental catch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years. Consequently, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species and species groups in Table 20 as zero. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these sectors and species in the specified areas effective at 1200 hrs, A.l.t., March 18, 2016, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2017. Also, for the BSAI trawl limited access sector, bycatch allowances of halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, and C. opilio crab listed in Table 20 are insufficient to support directed fisheries. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.21(e)(7), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these sectors and fishery categories in the specified areas effective at 1200 hrs, A.l.t., March 18, 2016, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2017.

    Table 20—2016 and 2017 Directed Fishing Closures 1 [Groundfish and halibut amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in number of animals] Area Sector Species 2016 Incidental catch allowance 2017 Incidental catch allowance Bogoslof District All Pollock 500 500 Aleutian Islands subarea All ICA pollock 2,400 2,400 “Other rockfish” 2 550 550 Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access ICA Atka mackerel 1,000 1,000 Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea All Rougheye rockfish 100 100 Eastern Aleutian District Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access ICA Pacific ocean perch 200 200 Central Aleutian District Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access ICA Atka mackerel 75 75 ICA Pacific ocean perch 75 75 Western Aleutian District Non-amendment 80, CDQ and BSAI trawl limited access ICA Atka mackerel 40 40 ICA Pacific ocean perch 10 10 Western and Central Aleutian Districts All Rougheye rockfish 200 200 Bering Sea subarea All Pacific ocean perch 6,800 6,760 “Other rockfish” 2 325 325 ICA pollock 48,240 48,263 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands All Northern rockfish 3,825 3,825 Shortraker rockfish 200 200 Skates 22,100 22,100 Sculpins 3,825 3,825 Sharks 125 125 Squids 1,275 1,275 Octopuses 400 400 Hook-and-line and pot gear ICA Pacific cod 500 500 Non-amendment 80 and CDQ ICA flathead sole 5,000 5,000 ICA rock sole 6,000 6,000 Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access ICA yellowfin sole 3,500 3,500 BSAI trawl limited access Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish—halibut mortality, red king crab Zone 1, C. opilio COBLZ, C. bairdi Zone 1 and 2 0 0 Turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish—halibut mortality, red king crab Zone 1, C. opilio COBLZ, C. bairdi Zone 1 and 2 0 0 Rockfish—red king crab Zone 1 0 0 1 Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679. 2 “Other rockfish” includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish.

    Closures implemented under the final 2015 and 2016 BSAI harvest specifications for groundfish (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) remain effective under authority of these final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications, and are posted at the following Web sites: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/cm/info_bulletins/ and http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries_reports/reports/. While these closures are in effect, the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a fishing trip. These closures to directed fishing are in addition to closures and prohibitions found at 50 CFR part 679.

    Listed AFA Catcher/Processor Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to § 679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is responsible for restricting the ability of listed AFA C/Ps to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the pollock directed fishery. These restrictions are set out as “sideboard” limits on catch. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Table 21 lists the 2016 and 2017 AFA C/P sideboard limits.

    All harvest of groundfish sideboard species by listed AFA C/Ps, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted from the sideboard limits in Table 21. However, groundfish sideboard species that are delivered to listed AFA C/Ps by CVs will not be deducted from the 2016 and 2017 sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps.

    Table 21—Final 2016 and 2017 Listed BSAI American Fisheries Act Catcher/Processor Groundfish Sideboard Limits [Amounts are in metric tons] Target species Area/season 1995-1997 Retained catch Total catch Ratio of
  • retained catch to total catch
  • 2016 ITAC available to trawl C/Ps 1 2016 AFA C/P side-board limit 2017 ITAC available to trawl C/Ps1 2017 AFA C/P side-board limit
    Sablefish trawl BS 8 497 0.016 489 8 447 7 AI 0 145 0 331 0 302 0 Atka mackerel Central AI A season 2 n/a n/a 0.115 7,144 822 8,000 920 Central AI B season 2 n/a n/a 0.115 7,144 822 8,000 920 Western AI A season 2 n/a n/a 0.2 4,688 938 5,250 1,050 Western AI B season 2 n/a n/a 0.2 4,688 938 5,250 1,050 Rock sole BSAI 6,317 169,362 0.037 50,990 1,887 50,990 1,887 Greenland turbot BS 121 17,305 0.007 2,272 16 2,272 16 AI 23 4,987 0.005 170 1 170 1 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI 76 33,987 0.002 11,900 24 11,900 24 Kamchatka flounder BSAI 76 33,987 0.002 4,250 9 4,250 9 Flathead sole BSAI 1,925 52,755 0.036 18,753 675 18,753 675 Alaska plaice BSAI 14 9,438 0.001 12,325 12 12,325 12 Other flatfish BSAI 3,058 52,298 0.058 2,125 123 2,125 123 Pacific ocean perch BS 12 4,879 0.002 6,800 14 6,760 14 Eastern AI 125 6,179 0.02 7,055 141 6,731 135 Central AI 3 5,698 0.001 6,251 6 6,251 6 Western AI 54 13,598 0.004 8,037 32 8,037 32 Northern rockfish BSAI 91 13,040 0.007 3,825 27 3,825 27 Shortraker rockfish BSAI 50 2,811 0.018 200 4 200 4 Rougheye rockfish EBS/EAI 50 2,811 0.018 100 2 100 2 CAI/WAI 50 2,811 0.018 200 4 200 4 Other rockfish BS 18 621 0.029 325 9 325 9 AI 22 806 0.027 550 15 550 15 Skates BSAI 553 68,672 0.008 22,100 177 22,100 177 Sculpins BSAI 553 68,672 0.008 3,825 31 3,825 31 Sharks BSAI 553 68,672 0.008 125 1 125 1 Squids BSAI 73 3,328 0.022 1,275 28 1,275 28 Octopuses BSAI 553 68,672 0.008 400 3 400 3 1 Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C). 2 The seasonal apportionment of Atka mackerel in the open access fishery is 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. Listed AFA catcher/processors are limited to harvesting no more than zero in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea, 20 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Western Aleutian District, and 11.5 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Central Aleutian District.

    Section 679.64(a)(2) and Tables 40 and 41 of part 679 establish a formula for calculating PSC sideboard limits for listed AFA C/Ps. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007).

    PSC species listed in Table 22 that are caught by listed AFA C/Ps participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue against the 2016 and 2017 PSC sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps. Section 679.21(e)(3)(v) authorizes NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA C/Ps once a 2016 or 2017 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 22 is reached.

    Crab or halibut PSC caught by listed AFA C/Ps while fishing for pollock will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” fishery categories under § 679.21(e)(3)(iv).

    Table 22—Final 2016 and 2017 BSAI AFA Listed Catcher/Processor Prohibited Species Sideboard Limits PSC species and area 1 Ratio of PSC catch to total PSC 2016 and 2017 PSC available to trawl vessels after subtraction of PSQ 2 2016 and 2017 AFA catcher/
  • processor sideboard limit 2
  • Halibut mortality BSAI n/a n/a 286 Red king crab zone 1 0.007 86,621 606 C. opilio (COBLZ) 0.153 4,204,524 643,292 C. bairdi Zone 1 0.14 741,190 103,767 C. bairdi Zone 2 0.05 2,250,360 112,518 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. 2 Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.
    AFA Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to § 679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is responsible for restricting the ability of AFA CVs to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the pollock directed fishery. Section 679.64(b) establishes a formula for setting AFA CV groundfish and PSC sideboard limits for the BSAI. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Tables 23 and 24 list the 2016 and 2017 AFA CV sideboard limits.

    All catch of groundfish sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA CVs, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted from the 2016 and 2017 sideboard limits listed in Table 23.

    Table 23—Final 2016 and 2017 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel BSAI Groundfish Sideboard Limits [Amounts are in metric tons] Species/gear Fishery by area/season Ratio of 1995-1997 AFA CV catch to 1995-1997 TAC 2016 initial TAC 1 2016 AFA catcher vessel sideboard
  • limits
  • 2017 initial TAC 1 2017 AFA catcher vessel sideboard
  • limits
  • Pacific cod/Jig gear BSAI 0 n/a 0 n/a 0 Pacific cod/Hook-and-line CV ≥ 60 feet LOA BSAI Jan 1-Jun 10 0.0006 228 0 228 0 BSAI Jun 10-Dec 31 0.0006 219 0 219 0 Pacific cod pot gear CV BSAI Jan 1-Jun 10 0.0006 9,587 6 9,587 6 BSAI Sept 1-Dec 31 0.0006 9,211 6 9,211 6 Pacific cod CV < 60 feet LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear BSAI 0.0006 4,476 3 4,476 3 Pacific cod trawl gear CV BSAI Jan 20-Apr 1 0.8609 36,732 31,623 36,732 31,623 BSAI Apr 1-Jun 10 0.8609 5,460 4,701 5,460 4,701 BSAI Jun 10-Nov 1 0.8609 7,446 6,410 7,446 6,410 Sablefish trawl gear BS 0.0906 489 44 447 40 AI 0.0645 331 21 302 19 Atka mackerel Eastern AI/BS Jan 1-Jun 10 0.0032 12,725 41 12,725 41 Eastern AI/BS Jun 10-Nov 1 0.0032 12,725 41 12,725 41 Central AI Jan 1-Jun 10 0.0001 7,144 1 7,144 1 Central AI Jun 10-Nov 1 0.0001 7,144 1 7,144 1 Western AI Jan 1-Jun 10 0 4,688 0 4,688 0 Western AI Jun 10-Nov 1 0 4,688 0 4,688 0 Rock sole BSAI 0.0341 50,990 1,739 50,990 1,739 Greenland turbot BS 0.0645 2,272 147 2,272 147 AI 0.0205 170 3 170 3 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI 0.069 11,900 821 11,900 821 Kamchatka flounder BSAI 0.069 4,250 293 4,250 293 Alaska plaice BSAI 0.0441 12,325 544 12,325 544 Other flatfish BSAI 0.0441 2,125 94 2,125 94 Flathead sole BS 0.0505 18,753 947 18,753 947 Pacific ocean perch BS 0.1 6,800 680 6,760 676 Eastern AI 0.0077 7,055 54 6,731 52 Central AI 0.0025 6,251 16 6,251 16 Western AI 0 8,037 0 8,037 0 Northern rockfish BSAI 0.0084 3,825 32 3,825 32 Shortraker rockfish BSAI 0.0037 200 1 200 1 Rougheye rockfish EBS/EAI 0.0037 100 0 100 0 CAI/WAI 0.0037 200 1 200 1 Other rockfish BS 0.0048 325 2 325 2 AI 0.0095 550 5 550 5 Skates BSAI 0.0541 22,100 1,196 22,100 1,196 Sculpins BSAI 0.0541 3,825 207 3,825 207 Sharks BSAI 0.0541 125 7 125 7 Squids BSAI 0.3827 1,275 488 1,275 488 Octopuses BSAI 0.0541 400 22 400 22 1 Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, and rock sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC of that species after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C).

    Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 24 that are caught by AFA CVs participating in any groundfish fishery for groundfish other than pollock will accrue against the 2016 and 2017 PSC sideboard limits for the AFA CVs. Sections 679.21(d)(7) and 679.21(e)(3)(v) authorize NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for AFA CVs once a 2016 or 2017 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 24 is reached. The PSC that is caught by AFA CVs while fishing for pollock in the BSAI will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” fishery categories under § 679.21(e)(3)(iv).

    Table 24—Final 2016 and 2017 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Prohibited Species Catch Sideboard Limits for the BSAI 1 PSC species and area 1 Target fishery
  • category 2
  • AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit ratio 2016 and 2017 PSC limit after subtraction of PSQ reserves 3 2016 and 2017 AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit 3
    Halibut Pacific cod trawl n/a n/a 887 Pacific cod hook-and-line or pot n/a n/a 2 Yellowfin sole total n/a n/a 101 Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 4 n/a n/a 228 Greenland turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish 5 n/a n/a 0 Rockfish n/a n/a 2 Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 6 n/a n/a 5 Red king crab Zone 1 n/a 0.299 86,621 25,900 C. opilio COBLZ n/a 0.168 4,204,524 706,360 C. bairdi Zone 1 n/a 0.33 741,190 244,593 C. bairdi Zone 2 n/a 0.186 2,250,360 418,567 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. 2 Target fishery categories are defined at § 679.21(e)(3)(iv). 3 Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. 4 “Other flatfish” for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 5 Arrowtooth for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder. 6 “Other species” for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses.
    AFA Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel Sideboard Directed Fishing Closures

    Based on historical catch patterns, the Regional Administrator has determined that many of the AFA C/P and CV sideboard limits listed in Tables 25 and 26 are necessary as incidental catch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iv), the Regional Administrator establishes the sideboard limits listed in Tables 25 and 26 as DFAs. Because many of these DFAs will be reached before the end of 2016, the Regional Administrator has determined, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), that NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing by listed AFA C/Ps for the species in the specified areas set out in Table 25, and directed fishing by non-exempt AFA CVs for the species in the specified areas set out in Table 26.

    Table 25—Final 2016 and 2017 American Fisheries Act Listed Catcher/Processor Sideboard Directed Fishing Closures 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Area Gear types 2016 Sideboard limit 2017 Sideboard limit Sablefish trawl BS trawl 8 7 AI trawl 0 0 Rock sole BSAI all 1,887 1,887 Greenland turbot BS all 17 16 AI all 1 1 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI all 24 24 Kamchatka flounder BSAI all 9 9 Alaska plaice BSAI all 12 12 Other flatfish 2 BSAI all 123 123 Flathead sole BSAI all 675 675 Pacific ocean perch BS all 14 14 Eastern AI all 141 135 Central AI all 6 6 Western AI all 32 32 Northern rockfish BSAI all 27 27 Shortraker rockfish BSAI all 4 4 Rougheye rockfish EBS/EAI all 2 2 CAI/WAI all 4 4 Other rockfish 3 BS all 9 9 AI all 15 15 Skates BSAI all 177 177 Sculpins BSAI all 31 31 Sharks BSAI all 1 1 Squids BSAI all 28 28 Octopuses BSAI all 3 3 1 Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679. 2 “Other flatfish” includes all flatfish species, except for halibut, Alaska plaice, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 3 “Other rockfish” includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. Table 26—Final 2016 and 2017 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Sideboard Directed Fishing Closures 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Area Gear types 2016 Sideboard limit 2017 Sideboard limit BSAI hook-and-line CV ≥ 60 feet LOA 0 0 BSAI pot CV ≥ 60 feet LOA 12 12 BSAI hook-and-line or pot CV < 60 feet LOA 3 3 BSAI jig 0 0 Sablefish BS trawl 44 40 AI trawl 21 19 Atka mackerel Eastern AI/BS all 82 82 Central AI all 2 2 Western AI all 0 0 Greenland turbot BS all 147 147 AI all 3 3 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI all 821 821 Kamchatka flounder BSAI all 293 293 Alaska plaice BSAI all 544 544 Other flatfish 2 BSAI all 94 94 Flathead sole BSAI all 947 947 Rock sole BSAI all 1,739 1,739 Pacific ocean perch BS all 680 676 Eastern AI all 54 52 Central AI all 16 16 Western AI all 0 0 Northern rockfish BSAI all 32 32 Shortraker rockfish BSAI all 1 1 Rougheye rockfish BS/EAI all 0 0 CAI/WAI all 1 1 Other rockfish 3 BS all 2 2 AI all 5 5 Skates BSAI all 1,196 1,196 Sculpins BSAI all 207 207 Sharks BSAI all 7 7 Squids BSAI all 488 488 Octopuses BSAI all 22 22 1 Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679. 2 “Other flatfish” includes all flatfish species, except for halibut, Alaska plaice, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 3 “Other rockfish” includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. Response to Comments

    NMFS received two letters with fourteen substantive comments during the public comment period for the proposed BSAI groundfish harvest specifications. No changes were made to the final rule in response to comment letters received. NMFS' response to the public comments on the proposed BSAI groundfish harvest specifications is provided below.

    Comment 1: The allocation of the sablefish TAC between trawl gear and hook-and-line or pot gear in the Bering Sea should be revised to match the allocation percentages used to apportion the Aleutian Islands sablefish TAC. That would mean that the Bering Sea sablefish TAC would be allocated 25 percent to trawl gear and 75 percent to hook-and-line or pot gear, rather than allocating 50 percent of the Bering Sea sablefish TAC to each gear category. Doing so would decrease the adverse impacts, such as bycatch and habitat damage, that trawl gear would have in the Bering Sea sablefish fishery.

    Response: The allocation of the BSAI sablefish TACs between trawl gear and hook-and-line gear or pot gear is required by regulations at § 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv). Revising these allocations is outside of the scope of this action.

    Comment 2: The use of trawl gear to catch sablefish in the BSAI results in the bycatch of other species and destruction of habitat.

    Response: Trawl gear is a legal gear type in the BSAI for a variety of groundfish species. Pelagic and non-pelagic trawl gears are authorized under both the FMP and regulations at 50 CFR part 679. Additionally, most of the sablefish harvested in the BSAI is caught by hook-and-line or pot gear, not trawl gear. The catch reports on the Alaska Region's Web site show that from 2010 through 2015 the highest trawl catch was 18 percent of the Bering Sea trawl gear TAC compared to hook-and-line or pot gear at 63 percent of the Bering Sea hook-and-line or pot gear TAC (see https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries-catch-landings).

    The Council and NMFS have taken a variety of measures to control the use of trawl gear and the impacts of trawl gear on non-target species and habitat. Examples of the former include prohibiting the use of trawl gear or certain types of trawl gear in some groundfish fisheries and requiring that the trawl sweeps of nonpelagic trawl gear be elevated a minimum distance off the sea floor (75 FR 61642, October 6, 2010). The Council and NMFS have also established a variety of restrictions and prohibitions associated with bycatch in the BSAI groundfish fisheries, including prohibitions against directing fishing for some species, as well as regulations designed to minimize the bycatch of prohibited species by trawl gear. Examples of habitat conservation measures include identifying essential fish habitat and establishing geographic area closures to trawl gear. The use of trawl gear in the BSAI groundfish fisheries is consistent with the National Standards 1 and 5 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which require the prevention of overfishing while achieving optimum yield from each fishery and consideration of efficiency in the use of fish resources.

    Comment 3: The Council made a good start toward minimizing halibut bycatch in the BSAI groundfish fisheries by reducing halibut PSC limits through the BSAI FMP Amendment 111. However, the Council and NMFS need to take additional action to achieve further bycatch reduction to comply with Magnuson-Stevens Act requirements.

    Response: The Council and NMFS are committed to minimizing halibut bycatch in the BSAI consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act obligations to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable and to achieve, on a continuing basis, optimum yield from the groundfish fisheries. Pursuant to section 3.6.2.1.4 of the FMP, the Secretary, after consultation with the Council, considers the following information when evaluating measures to minimize halibut bycatch in the BSAI fisheries:

    1. Estimated change in halibut biomass and stock condition;

    2. potential impacts on halibut stocks and fisheries;

    3. potential impacts on groundfish fisheries;

    4. estimated bycatch mortality during prior years;

    5. expected halibut bycatch mortality;

    6. methods available to reduce halibut bycatch mortality;

    7. the cost of reducing halibut bycatch mortality; and

    8. other biological and socioeconomic factors that affect the appropriateness of a specific bycatch mortality limit in terms of FMP objectives.

    Pursuant to section 3.6.2.1.4 of the FMP, annual BSAI-wide Pacific halibut bycatch mortality limits for trawl and non-trawl gear fisheries are established in regulations and may be amended by regulatory amendment. NMFS will publish regulations implementing trawl and non-trawl BSAI halibut PSC limit reductions in 2016, upon approval by the Secretary of a final rule to implement Amendment 111.

    The Council and NMFS will continue to evaluate the need to implement additional measures to minimize halibut bycatch in the BSAI groundfish fisheries consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act obligations. In evaluating the need for further halibut bycatch reduction measures, the Council and NMFS must balance, for example, National Standard 9 obligations to minimize halibut bycatch to the extent practicable with National Standard 1 obligations to achieve optimum yield from the BSAI groundfish fisheries on a continuing basis, and National Standard 8 obligations to minimize adverse economic consequences on fishing communities to the extent practicable.

    Comment 4: Halibut bycatch or PSC levels differ among the various groundfish fisheries. NMFS should take into consideration halibut bycatch rates associated with the groundfish fisheries when establishing groundfish harvest limits.

    Response: NMFS interprets this comment as requesting NMFS to establish TACs based on the relative rates of halibut PSC use among the groundfish fisheries and that groundfish fisheries with higher bycatch rates should receive lower TAC amounts. NMFS disagrees that setting TACs based on halibut bycatch rates would necessarily minimize halibut bycatch to the extent practicable. Annual BSAI-wide Pacific halibut bycatch mortality limits for trawl and non-trawl gear fisheries are established in regulations. Therefore, while reducing the TAC in a particular fishery may limit halibut bycatch in that target fishery, sectors have the ability to target other species and may encounter higher halibut bycatch rates in those fisheries. Thus, fishing sectors may still reach the halibut PSC limit as a result. In addition, it is important for multispecies trawl fisheries to have several options for target species to allow this sector to avoid target fisheries with high halibut bycatch rates. Setting a TAC so low that the directed fishery cannot open limits the ability of sectors to move between target fisheries to avoid high halibut bycatch rates. As described previously in this rule, NMFS will publish regulations implementing trawl and non-trawl BSAI halibut PSC limit reductions in 2016, upon approval by the Secretary of a final rule to implement Amendment 111.

    Comment 5: The Council approved a TAC for arrowtooth flounder that was 600% higher than the TAC recommended by the AP. Arrowtooth flounder has the highest average halibut bycatch mortality rate of all target groundfish fisheries. Had the Council followed the AP's arrowtooth flounder TAC recommendation, the TACs could have resulted in higher overall wholesale values and optimum yield for both the groundfish and halibut fisheries.

    Response: The AP's TAC recommendations were higher than the Council's for pollock (34,392 mt), yellowfin sole (6,000 mt), Pacific ocean perch (724 mt), and Atka mackerel (4,500 mt). NMFS has determined that the Council ultimately recommended TACs that more efficiently utilized fishery resources. The Council considered halibut bycatch in the BSAI groundfish fisheries and the importance of the fishery resources to the fishing communities, while also achieving optimum yield in the groundfish fisheries within the statutory 2 million metric ton limit.

    As described in response to Comment 4, a significant reduction in the arrowtooth flounder TACs would likely have little impact on minimizing halibut bycatch. Annual BSAI-wide Pacific halibut bycatch mortality limits for trawl and non-trawl gear fisheries are established in regulations. While significantly reducing the arrowtooth flounder TAC would prevent opening the directed fishery for arrowtooth flounder and would limit halibut bycatch in that fishery, such action would not necessarily minimize halibut bycatch.

    For example, if a reduced arrowtooth flounder TAC prevents this directed fishery from opening, multispecies trawl sectors that typically target arrowtooth flounder have the ability to target other species. However, the multispecies trawl fishery would have fewer targeting options and a limited ability to move between target fisheries to avoid high halibut PSC in seasons and areas with higher halibut bycatch rates. Thus, the multispecies trawl sectors may still reach the halibut PSC limit notwithstanding significant reductions in the arrowtooth flounder TAC. Further, eliminating the opportunity to target arrowtooth flounder may jeopardize continued optimum yield in the groundfish fisheries because the multispecies trawl fishery may be closed early if it is unable to avoid halibut bycatch and reaches the halibut PSC limits during seasons and areas with higher halibut bycatch rates.

    The Council recognized that some of the AP's TAC recommendations, including arrowtooth flounder, would not be sufficient to allow for a directed fishery or support incidental catch in other fisheries. In 2015, more than 5,000 mt of arrowtooth flounder was taken in targets other than arrowtooth flounder in the BSAI. At the AP's arrowtooth flounder TAC recommendation of 2,000 mt, all of the TAC would be taken in other fisheries, NMFS would not open directed fishing for arrowtooth, and would be required to prohibit retention of arrowtooth flounder. This would require regulatory discards of arrowtooth flounder when the TAC was reached. Despite prohibiting retention, the incidental catch of arrowtooth flounder would still exceed 2,000 mt, unless catch in the target fisheries with the highest arrowtooth flounder incidental catch (pollock, Pacific cod, and yellowfin sole) were also greatly curtailed. Curtailment of these fisheries may jeopardize continued optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries.

    The Council set the arrowtooth TAC at 14,000 mt to acknowledge that arrowtooth flounder is targeted as part of the annual fishing plan for some of the fleet. Also, arrowtooth flounder is an important ecosystem component as a predator and may impact the biomass of other species. The 2014 arrowtooth flounder stock assessment indicates that nearly half of the adult diet is comprised of juvenile pollock (47%) followed by adult pollock (19%), and euphausiids (9%). The Ecosystem Considerations chapter states predation by arrowtooth flounder has exceeded cannibalism as the largest source of predation mortality of age-1 pollock since 2007.

    Comment 6: At their October 2015 meeting, the Council stated that it would consider halibut bycatch in making TAC recommendations for the final 2016 and 2017 BSAI harvest specifications. However, the Council failed to consider halibut bycatch in the groundfish fisheries when it ultimately made TAC recommendations. Therefore, NMFS' acceptance of the Council's recommended TACs for the 2016 and 2017 BSAI harvest specifications would be arbitrary, capricious, and irrational.

    Response: As stated in responses to Comments 4 and 5, the Council did consider halibut bycatch in various groundfish fisheries in making TAC recommendations for the final 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications. Also, the Council considered the potential effects of groundfish harvest on directed halibut fisheries and the health of the halibut resource, while also recognizing a shared responsibility to maintain the viability of halibut commercial, sport, and personal use fisheries, and the communities dependent on them. Halibut was one of many bycatch species that the Council balanced with the groundfish TACs, and the arrowtooth flounder fishery received the greatest percentage decrease of any species from the proposed harvest specifications. Also, the Council acknowledged the voluntary efforts in 2015 by the Amendment 80 sector to reduce halibut PSC.

    Comment 7: The proposed groundfish harvest specifications stated that the proposed OFL, ABCs, and TACs are subject to change pending completion of the final 2015 SAFE report and the Council's recommendations for final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications during its December Council meeting. This statement is an admission that the proposed rule is a placeholder. Therefore, the proposed groundfish harvest specifications failed to give adequate public notice and an opportunity for public comment and do not comply with the Administrative Procedure Act.

    Response: The proposed 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications provided adequate notice and opportunity for the public to comment consistent with obligations under the Administrative Procedure Act. NMFS published the Council's recommended TACs from the October 2015 meeting in the proposed harvest specifications. NMFS explained in the preamble to the proposed harvest specifications that some of the final harvest specifications could differ from the proposed specifications. The preamble stated that changes to the proposed BSAI harvest specifications in the final rule would likely be based on updated scientific information included in the 2015 SAFE, Groundfish Plan Team recommendations, information from the December 2015 Scientific and Statistical Committee and Advisory Panel meetings, public testimony, and relevant written comment. The preamble to the proposed BSAI groundfish harvest specifications also stated that the Council could recommend changes to the proposed harvest specifications if warranted on the basis of bycatch considerations, management uncertainty, or socioeconomic considerations, or if required in order to cause the sum of the TACs to fall within the OY range. Finally, the preamble stated that changes in groundfish biomass trends could affect the Council's recommended final harvest specifications, but that the groundfish harvest specifications must comply with governing statutes, regulations, and the FMP. Based on information provided in the proposed harvest specifications, interested members of the public were aware of issues involved in establishing the final harvest specification levels and therefore had adequate notice of information relevant to the final harvest specifications. The public has had the opportunity to comment on all parts of this process.

    Comment 8: The 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications are not consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act National Standard 1 obligations to achieve optimum yield. The AP's groundfish TAC recommendations would be far more responsive to the Magnuson-Stevens Act National Standard 1 because they could have resulted in higher estimated overall wholesale values to the groundfish sector, as well as higher quotas and value in the directed halibut fishery.

    Response: As mentioned in the response to Comments 4 and 5, the AP's TAC recommendations are not guaranteed to lower halibut PSC. Also, while in a single year it may be more profitable overall to shift the fisheries to pollock and Atka mackerel, this could significantly reduce revenues or force out of business those fishermen and vessels from the flatfish sector. In years of lower pollock and Atka mackerel abundance, the absence of these vessels could create far smaller groundfish catches, and on a continuing basis create harvests below the optimum yield.

    Comment 9: The 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications are not consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act National Standard 3. The groundfish and halibut stocks are clearly interrelated in the Bering Sea ecosystem, as is evident by the high bycatch rates in certain groundfish species, which disproportionately impacts the directed halibut fishermen.

    Response: NMFS interprets this comment as suggesting that NMFS should manage halibut as a unit or in close coordination with the BSAI groundfish fisheries. NMFS does not directly manage halibut or halibut fisheries through the implementation of the 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications. NMFS implements the BSAI groundfish harvest specifications under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Actions taken by the Council to manage halibut fisheries are developed under the authority of the Halibut Act, and National Standard 3 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act does not apply. Section 5.2.1 of the FMP describes that the IPHC manages the Pacific halibut stocks in its jurisdiction through regulations implementing the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (16 U.S.C. 773-773k).

    Halibut is not managed under the FMP. However the Council and NMFS manage halibut bycatch limits under the FMP and believe that treatment of halibut as a prohibited species is appropriate. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, it is the Council's responsibility to recommend management measures that minimize halibut bycatch in the groundfish fisheries to the extent practicable. As described previously in this rule, NMFS expects to publish regulations implementing trawl and non-trawl BSAI halibut PSC limit reductions in 2016, pending Secretarial approval of a final rule to implement Amendment 111 and the effective date of the final rule.

    Comment 10: The 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications are not consistent with National Standard 4 obligations to ensure allocations are fair and equitable. The AP's recommended TACs would have achieved a far more equitable allocation of the halibut resource as a whole.

    Response: NMFS interprets this comment as suggesting that the BSAI groundfish harvest specifications are not consistent with National Standard 4 because lower groundfish TACs for specific fisheries would have reduced halibut bycatch in the groundfish fisheries and more fairly reallocated the unused halibut to the directed halibut fishery. NMFS disagrees. NMFS does not allocate halibut through the groundfish harvest specifications. As described in response to Comment 3, Section 3.6.2.1.4 of the FMP requires that annual BSAI-wide Pacific halibut bycatch mortality limits for trawl and non-trawl gear fisheries be established in regulations and may be amended by regulatory amendment. The halibut PSC limits are not an allocation of halibut bycatch in the groundfish fishery. Rather, the halibut PSC limits impose an absolute limit on the amount of halibut bycatch that may be caught in the trawl and non-trawl groundfish fisheries. NMFS uses the halibut PSC limits to minimize the amount of halibut bycatch in the groundfish fisheries to the extent practicable.

    Further, as described in response to Comment 4, a reduction in groundfish TACs would likely have little impact on reducing halibut bycatch. For example, while significantly reducing the arrowtooth flounder TAC might limit halibut bycatch in that fishery, sectors targeting arrowtooth flounder have the ability to target other species. These sectors may still reach the halibut PSC limit notwithstanding reductions in the TACs. Therefore, the AP's recommended TACs would not likely result in reduced halibut bycatch in the groundfish fisheries or increase the availability of halibut for directed halibut users.

    Comment 11: The 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications are not consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act National Standard 5. The AP's recommended TACs optimize harvest by the groundfish sector and PSC reduction.

    Response: NMFS has determined that the 2016 and 2017 groundfish harvest specifications are consistent with National Standard 5. National Standard 5 requires the conservation and management measures shall, where practicable, consider efficiency in the utilization of fishery resources. The 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications establish groundfish harvest limits that result in as efficient a fishery as is practicable. The BSAI harvest specifications allow for the combined groundfish fisheries to harvest up to the statutory 2 million metric ton OY limit with the least amount of regulatory discards and economic waste as is practicable.

    NMFS interprets this Comment 11 as suggesting that the AP's recommended TAC reductions for some groundfish species and increases in TACs for other groundfish species would have resulted in greater halibut PSC reduction and greater efficiency in the utilization of the BSAI groundfish and halibut fisheries. NMFS disagrees. While the AP's recommended TACs would have resulted in different distributions of gains and burdens among the various BSAI groundfish sectors, the AP's recommended TACs would not have resulted in an increase in efficiency of the groundfish and halibut fisheries. Although significant TAC reductions in some groundfish species would have allowed for increases in TACs for other groundfish species, the AP's recommended TACs would likely have increased costs for some fisheries and resulted in increased regulatory discards.

    For example, if NMFS implemented the AP's arrowtooth flounder TAC recommendation, NMFS would not open directed fishing for arrowtooth and would reserve the 2,000 mt arrowtooth TAC for incidental take in other directed fisheries. Incidental take of arrowtooth in other fisheries would likely reach the 2,000 mt TAC early in the fishing season. Pursuant to § 679.20(d)(2), NMFS would require that arrowtooth flounder be treated as a prohibited species for the remainder of the year, and incidental catch arrowtooth flounder would be required to be discarded.

    Further, as stated in response to Comments 4 and 5, the AP's recommended TAC reductions would not contribute to the objective of reducing halibut bycatch in the groundfish fisheries. While significant TAC reductions in particular fisheries may limit halibut bycatch in those target fisheries, sectors have the ability to target other species and may encounter higher halibut bycatch rates in those fisheries. Thus, fishing sectors may still reach the halibut PSC limit. For the forgoing reasons, NMFS has determined that the Council's recommended BSAI groundfish TACs provide for as efficient a fishery as is practicable.

    Comment 12: The 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications are not consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act National Standard 6 obligations to take into account contingencies in the fisheries and fishery resources. The BSAI halibut fishery and dependent halibut fishermen and communities are facing an extraordinary situation with low halibut quotas that threaten their participation in the fisheries. National Standard 6 requires an FMP to be flexible and responsive to such variations. The BSAI groundfish harvest specifications do not take this contingency into account.

    Response: The 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications do take this contingency into account. Some of the largest TAC reductions from the proposed rule are in the flatfish fisheries, with arrowtooth flounder having the highest percentage reduction. However, further reducing flatfish TACs could prevent flatfish fishermen from adapting to variations in their fisheries. As stated in previous responses to comments, potentially significantly reducing revenues or forcing out of business fishermen that are dependent on flatfish could jeopardize achieving optimum yield if variations in the pollock biomass produce lower available pollock TACs.

    Comment 13: The 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications are not consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act National Standard 8 obligations to take into account the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities, their sustained participation in those fisheries, and minimization of adverse impacts on such communities to the extent practicable. The sustained participation of St. Paul and other Bering Sea communities in the halibut fishery is clearly in jeopardy. The AP's recommendation demonstrated practicable allocations of groundfish TACs that would be consistent with National Standard 8 and could result in higher economic value to the groundfish sector.

    Response: The 2016 and 2017 BSAI harvest specifications are consistent with National Standard 8. The impact of the BSAI groundfish fisheries, and in particular the arrowtooth flounder fishery, on halibut bycatch mortality was one of the many environmental and socioeconomic considerations that the Council evaluated in making the TAC recommendations for the 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications. In recommending the final TACs for all groundfish fisheries, the Council took into account the importance of both the halibut and groundfish fisheries to communities that depend on them. The Council evaluated the burdens groundfish fishery communities would experience from significant TAC reductions with the benefits of such TAC reductions that would flow to the communities that rely on directed halibut fisheries. NMFS determined that significant TAC reductions in some groundfish fisheries would likely adversely impact communities dependent on groundfish fisheries, potentially increase halibut PSC use, and would provide little benefit to the communities that depend on the halibut resources.

    Comment 14: The 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications are not consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act National Standard 9 obligations to minimize bycatch and to minimize mortality of such bycatch. The AP's recommended TACs showed a practicable way to minimize halibut bycatch, resulting in the potential for over 840,000 pounds of savings.

    Response: The 2016 and 2017 BSAI groundfish harvest specifications are consistent with National Standard 9. As described in several previous comments, NMFS disagrees that the AP's recommended TACs would have minimized halibut bycatch. The AP's recommended TAC reductions would have resulted in increased bycatch and regulatory discards of some groundfish species, and potentially increased halibut PSC use.

    For example, the AP's arrowtooth flounder TAC would have required the regulatory discard of large amounts of arrowtooth flounder and hindered the ability of some fishermen to reduce halibut bycatch. Further, the Council also considered bycatch of other prohibited species such as salmon, crab, and herring in various groundfish fisheries. The Council and NMFS are committed to minimizing bycatch in the BSAI groundfish fisheries consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act obligations to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable and to achieve, on a continuing basis, optimum yield from the groundfish fisheries. As described in responses to previous comments, NMFS will publish regulations implementing trawl and non-trawl BSAI halibut PSC limit reductions in 2016, upon approval by the Secretary of a final rule to implement Amendment 111 and the publication of the final rule.

    Classification

    NMFS has determined that these final harvest specifications are consistent with the FMP and with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.

    This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563.

    NMFS prepared an EIS that covers this action (see ADDRESSES) and made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 13, 2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the EIS. In January 2016, NMFS prepared a Supplemental Information Report (SIR) for this action. Copies of the EIS, ROD, and SIR for this action are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The EIS analyzes the environmental consequences of the groundfish harvest specifications and alternative harvest strategies on resources in the action area. The EIS found no significant environmental consequences of this action and its alternatives. The SIR evaluates the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (SEIS) for the 2016 and 2017 groundfish harvest specifications.

    An SEIS should be prepared if (1) the agency makes substantial changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental concerns; or (2) significant new circumstances or information exist relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts (40 CFR 1502.9(c)(1)). After reviewing the information contained in the SIR and SAFE reports, the Regional Administrator has determined that (1) approval of the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications, which were set according to the preferred harvest strategy in the EIS, do not constitute a change in the action; and (2) there are no significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the action or its impacts. Additionally, the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications will result in environmental impacts within the scope of those analyzed and disclosed in the EIS. Therefore, supplemental NEPA documentation is not necessary to implement the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications.

    Section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that, when an agency promulgates a final rule under section 553 of Title 5 of the United States Code, after being required by that section, or any other law, to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency shall prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA).

    Section 604 describes the required contents of a FRFA: (1) A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule; (2) a statement of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, a statement of the assessment of the agency of such issues, and a statement of any changes made in the proposed rule as a result of such comments; (3) the response of the agency to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration in response to the proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any change made to the proposed rule in the final rule as a result of the comments; (4) a description of and an estimate of the number of small entities to which the rule will apply or an explanation of why no such estimate is available; (5) a description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the rule, including an estimate of the classes of small entities which will be subject to the requirement and the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the report or record; (6) a description of the steps the agency has taken to minimize the significant economic impact on small entities consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other significant alternatives to the rule considered by the agency which affect the impact on small entities was rejected.

    A description of this action, its purpose, and its legal basis are contained at the beginning of the preamble to this final rule and are not repeated here.

    NMFS published the proposed rule on December 9, 2015 (80 FR 76425). The rule was accompanied by an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA), which was summarized in the proposed rule. The comment period closed on January 8, 2016. No comments were received on the IRFA.

    The entities directly regulated by this action are those that receive allocations of groundfish in the exclusive economic zone of the BSAI, and in parallel fisheries within State of Alaska waters, during the annual harvest specifications process. These directly regulated entities include the groundfish CVs and C/Ps active in these areas. Direct allocations of groundfish are also made to certain organizations, including the CDQ groups, AFA C/P and inshore CV sectors, Aleut Corporation, and Amendment 80 cooperatives. These entities are, therefore, also considered directly regulated.

    The Small Business Administration has established size standards for all major industry sectors in the United States. A business primarily involved in finfish harvesting is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual gross receipts not in excess of $20.5 million, for all its affiliated operations worldwide. The IRFA estimates the number of harvesting vessels that are considered small entities, but these estimates may overstate the number of small entities because (1) some vessels may also be active as tender vessels in the salmon fishery, fish in areas other than Alaska and the West Coast, or generate revenue from other non-fishing sources; and (2) all affiliations are not taken into account, especially if the vessel has affiliations not tracked in available data (i.e., ownership of multiple vessel or affiliation with processors) and may be misclassified as a small entity. Because some catcher vessels and catcher/processors meet this size standard, they are considered to be small entities for the purposes of this analysis.

    The estimated directly regulated small entities include approximately 190 catcher vessels, two catcher/processors, and six CDQ groups. Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, GOA rockfish cooperatives, or crab rationalization cooperatives, and, since under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) it is the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the cooperative that must meet the “under $20.5 million” threshold, they are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. Thus, the estimate of 190 catcher vessels may be an overstatement of the number of small entities. Average gross revenues were $446,000 for small hook-and-line vessels, $1.31 million for small pot vessels, and $2.28 million for small trawl vessels. Revenue data for catcher/processors is confidential; however, in 2014, NMFS estimates that there are two catcher/processor small entities with gross receipts less than $20.5.

    This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting requirements.

    The significant alternatives were those considered as alternative harvest strategies when the Council selected its preferred harvest strategy (Alternative 2) in December 2006. These included the following:

    • Alternative 1: Set TAC to produce fishing mortality rates, F, that are equal to maxFABC, unless the sum of the TAC is constrained by the OY established in the FMPs. This is equivalent to setting TAC to produce harvest levels equal to the maximum permissible ABC, as constrained by OY. The term “maxFABC” refers to the maximum permissible value of FABC under Amendment 56 to the groundfish FMPs. Historically, the TAC has been set at or below the ABC; therefore, this alternative represents a likely upper limit for setting the TAC within the OY and ABC limits.

    • Alternative 3: For species in Tiers 1, 2, and 3, set TAC to produce F equal to the most recent 5-year average actual F. For species in Tiers 4, 5, and 6, set TAC equal to the most recent 5-year average actual catch. For stocks with a high level of scientific information, TAC would be set to produce harvest levels equal to the most recent 5-year average actual fishing mortality rates. For stocks with insufficient scientific information, TAC would be set equal to the most recent 5-year average actual catch. This alternative recognizes that for some stocks, catches may fall well below ABC, and recent average F may provide a better indicator of actual F than FABC does.

    • Alternative 4: (1) Set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 3 at F75%. Set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 5 at F=0.5M. Set spatially explicit TAC for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the BSAI. (2) Taking the rockfish TAC as calculated above, reduce all other TAC by a proportion that does not vary across species, so that the sum of all TAC, including rockfish TAC, is equal to the lower bound of the area OY (1,400,000 mt in the BSAI). This alternative sets conservative and spatially explicit TAC for rockfish species that are long-lived and late to mature, and sets conservative TAC for the other groundfish species.

    • Alternative 5: Set TAC at zero.

    Alternative 2 is the preferred alternative chosen by the Council: Set TAC that fall within the range of ABC recommended through the Council harvest specifications process and TACs recommended by the Council. Under this scenario, F is set equal to a constant fraction of maxFABC. The recommended fractions of maxFABC may vary among species or stocks, based on other considerations unique to each. This is the method for determining TAC that has been used in the past.

    Alternatives 1, 3, 4, and 5 do not meet the objectives of this action, although they have a smaller adverse economic impact on small entities than the preferred alternative. The Council rejected these alternatives as harvest strategies in 2006, and the Secretary of Commerce did so in 2007. Alternative 1 would lead to TAC limits whose sum exceeds the fishery OY, which is set out in statute and the FMP. As shown in Table 1 and Table 2, the sum of ABCs in 2016 and 2017 would be 3,236,662 and 3,143,135 million mt, respectively. Both of these are substantially in excess of the fishery OY for the BSAI. This result would be inconsistent with the objectives of this action, in that it would violate the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, Public Law 108-199, Section 803(c), and the FMP for the BSAI groundfish fishery, which both set a 2 million mt maximum harvest for BSAI groundfish.

    Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 years' worth of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the most recent 5 years' worth of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). This alternative is also inconsistent with the objectives of this action, because it does not take into account the most recent biological information for this fishery.

    Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all species to reduce TAC from the upper end of the OY range in the BSAI, to its lower end. This result would lead to significant reductions in harvests of species by small entities. While reductions of this size could be associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these increases is very uncertain, and NMFS has no confidence that they would be sufficient to offset the volume decreases and leave revenues unchanged. Thus, this action would have an adverse economic impact on small entities, compared to the preferred alternative.

    Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, may also address conservation issues, but would have a significant adverse economic impact on small entities.

    Impacts on marine mammals resulting from fishing activities conducted under this rule are discussed in the EIS (see ADDRESSES).

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness for this rule, because delaying this rule is contrary to the public interest. Plan Team review occurred in November 2015, and Council consideration and recommendations occurred in December 2015. Accordingly, NMFS' review could not begin until after the December 2015 Council meeting, and after the public had time to comment on the proposed action. If this rule's effectiveness is delayed, fisheries that might otherwise remain open under these rules may prematurely close based on the lower TACs established in the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015). If implemented immediately, this rule would allow these fisheries to continue fishing without worrying about a potential closure because the new TAC limits are higher than the ones under which they are currently fishing. Certain fisheries, such as those for pollock and Pacific cod are intensive, fast-paced fisheries. Other fisheries, such as those for flatfish, rockfish, skates, sculpins, sharks, and octopuses, are critical as directed fisheries and as incidental catch in other fisheries. U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch the TAC allocations in these fisheries. Any delay in allocating the final TAC limits in these fisheries would cause confusion in the industry and potential economic harm through unnecessary discards. Determining which fisheries may close is impossible because these fisheries are affected by several factors that cannot be predicted in advance, including fishing effort, weather, movement of fishery stocks, and market price. Furthermore, the closure of one fishery has a cascading effect on other fisheries by freeing up fishing vessels, allowing them to move from closed fisheries to open ones, increasing the fishing capacity in those open fisheries and causing them to close at an accelerated pace.

    Additionally, in fisheries subject to declining sideboards, delaying this rule's effectiveness could allow some vessels to inadvertently reach or exceed their new sideboard levels. Because sideboards are intended to protect traditional fisheries in other sectors, allowing one sector to exceed its new sideboards by delaying this rule's effectiveness would effectively reduce the available catch for sectors without sideboard limits. Moreover, the new TAC and sideboard limits protect the fisheries from being overfished. Thus, the delay is contrary to the public interest in protecting traditional fisheries and fish stocks.

    If the final harvest specifications are not effective by March 19, 2016, which is the start of the 2016 Pacific halibut season as specified by the IPHC, the hook-and-line sablefish fishery will not begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. Delayed effectiveness of this action would result in confusion for sablefish harvesters and economic harm from unnecessary discard of sablefish that are caught along with Pacific halibut, as both hook-and-line sablefish and Pacific halibut are managed under the same IFQ program. Immediate effectiveness of the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications will allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. Also, immediate effectiveness of this action is required to provide consistent management and conservation of fishery resources based on the best available scientific information. This is particularly true of those species that have lower 2016 ABC and TAC limits than those established in the 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015). Immediate effectiveness also would give the fishing industry the earliest possible opportunity to plan and conduct its fishing operations with respect to new information about TAC limits. Therefore, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

    Small Entity Compliance Guide

    This final rule is a plain language guide to assist small entities in complying with this final rule as required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This final rule's primary purpose is to announce the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the groundfish fisheries of the BSAI. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits and associated management measures for groundfish during the 2016 and 2017 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the FMP. This action directly affects all fishermen who participate in the BSAI fisheries. The specific amounts of OFL, ABC, TAC, and PSC are provided in tables to assist the reader. NMFS will announce closures of directed fishing in the Federal Register and information bulletins released by the Alaska Region. Affected fishermen should keep themselves informed of such closures.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540(f); 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105-277; Pub. L. 106-31; Pub. L. 106-554; Pub. L. 108-199; Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 109-241; Pub. L. 109-479.

    Dated: March 14, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06182 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 53 Friday, March 18, 2016 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 23 [Docket No. FAA-2016-3462; Notice No. 23-16-01-SC] Special Conditions: Cirrus Design Corporation, Model SF50; Whole Airplane Parachute Recovery System AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed special conditions.

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes special conditions for the Cirrus Design Corporation (Cirrus), model SF50 airplane. This airplane will have a novel or unusual design feature(s) associated with a whole airplane parachute recovery system. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These proposed special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards.

    DATES:

    Send your comments on or before May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2016-3462 using any of the following methods:

    Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

    Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    Hand Delivery of Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m., and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.

    Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change, to http://regulations.gov, including any personal information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket Web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAA docket, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-19478), as well as at http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov.

    Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read athttp://www.regulations.gov at any time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m., and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Bob Stegeman, Federal Aviation Administration, Aircraft Certification Service, Small Airplane Directorate, ACE-111, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone (816) 329-4140; facsimile (816) 329-4090.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    We invite interested people to take part in this rulemaking by sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. We ask that you send us two copies of written comments.

    We will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed late if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change these special conditions based on the comments we receive.

    Background

    On September 9, 2008, Cirrus Design Corporation applied for a type certificate for their new SF50 airplane. The SF50 is a seven seat (five adults and two children), pressurized, retractable gear, carbon composite, single engine jet airplane. The airplane will have a Maximum Take-Off Weight of 6,000 pounds, a Maximum Operating Speed of 250 Knots Calibrated Airspeed (KCAS), and a Maximum Operating Altitude of 28,000 feet.

    Cirrus proposes the installation of a whole airplane ballistic parachute system (BPS) called the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). This installation couples the BPS with the automatic flight controls. The CAPS will be installed as standard equipment on the SF50 airplane. Unlike the SR20 and SR22 airplanes CAPS, the SF50 CAPS is a supplemental system and no credit for the system will be used to meet part 23 requirements. The SF50 CAPS design will require some performance enhancements over existing technology used in other CAPSs.

    The system will consist of the recovery parachute, activation and deployment systems, and autopilot functions. The SF50 CAPS will be designed for a higher gross weight, maximum activation speed, and maximum operating altitude.

    Whole airplane parachute recovery systems are intended to save the lives of the occupants in life-threatening situations for which normal emergency procedures have been exhausted. Potential emergencies include, but are not limited to—loss of power or thrust; loss of airplane control; pilot disorientation; pilot incapacitation with a passenger on board; mechanical or structural failure; icing; and accidents resulting from pilot negligence or error. The recovery system should prioritize protection from most probable hazards, but it is not reasonable to expect it to protect occupants from every possible situation.

    This technology, which was originally developed for ultralight and experimental aircraft, was first approved for general aviation airplanes with a Supplemental Type Certificate for the Cessna model 150/152 airplanes. The FAA issued special conditions for these airplanes to incorporate ballistic recovery systems on October 22, 1987 (Special Condition No. 23-ACE-33; Ballistic Recovery System, Inc., Modified Cessna 150/A150 Series Airplanes and 152/A152 Model Airplanes to Incorporate the GARD-150 System; Docket No. 037CE) (FR Doc. 87-26420, November 11, 1987). These special conditions were later modified for the other general aviation airplanes (Special Condition No. 23-ACE-76; Ballistic Recovery Systems, Modified for Small General Aviation Airplanes; Docket No. 118CE) (FR Doc. 94-16233, August 5, 1994), including the Cirrus Design Corporation SR20 airplanes (Special Condition No. 23-ACE-88, Ballistic Recovery Systems Cirrus SR20 Installation, Docket No. 136CE) (FR Doc. 97-27504, October 15, 1997.

    The previously FAA-approved BPS consists of a parachute packed in a compartment within the airframe. A solid propellant rocket motor, adjacent to the parachute pack, extracts the parachute. A mechanical pull handle mounted within reach of the pilot and copilot or passenger activates the system. At least two separate independent actions are necessary to activate the system.

    In addition to a normal BPS, the SF50 CAPS system will incorporate an airbag to assist deployment and a system for sequencing deployment and interfacing with the airplane's avionics. The avionics interface is intended to bring the airplane within a valid deployment envelope speed (67-160 KCAS).

    The SF50 CAPS is a non-required system that differs from other BPS in that it will interact with the flight control system and other airplane systems. The baseline special conditions must incorporate the required level of safety for the normal BPS as well as the aspect that interfaces with the airplane. Since it is a non required system, additional latitude exists to evaluate and substantiate the system so it will present no additional hazards.

    Type Certification Basis

    Under the provisions of 14 CFR 21.17, Cirrus Design Corporation must show that the SF50 meets the applicable provisions of part 23, as amended by amendments 23-1 through 23-62 thereto.

    If the Administrator finds that the applicable airworthiness regulations (i.e., 14 CFR part 23) do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the SF50 because of a novel or unusual design feature, special conditions are prescribed under the provisions of § 21.16.

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

    In addition to the applicable airworthiness regulations and special conditions, the SF50 must comply with the fuel vent and exhaust emission requirements of 14 CFR part 34 and the noise certification requirements of 14 CFR part 36 and the FAA must issue a finding of regulatory adequacy under § 611 of Public Law 92-574, the “Noise Control Act of 1972.”.

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

    Novel or Unusual Design Features

    The SF50 will incorporate the following novel or unusual design features: A whole-airplane parachute recovery system that is a supplemental safety system and unlike any previously approved BPS, will add enhancements that assist deployment and autopilot functions that work to bring the airplane into an acceptable deployment envelope.

    Discussion

    This system is a non-required system that will interact with the flight control system. These special conditions must incorporate the required level of safety for the normal ballistic parachute system as established by Special Condition 23-ACE-76 in addition to the aspect that interfaces with the airplane.

    The FAA revised § 23.1309, Equipment, systems, and installations, in amendment 23-62 (76 FR 75736, December 2, 2011) to address two different types of equipment and systems installed in the airplane. This system operates at the limit of the normal operating envelope and challenges normal expectations of such a supplemental system. Amendment 23-62 preamble states: Section 23.1309 lists the qualifiers “under the airplane operating and environmental conditions”.

    Section 23.1309, amendment 23-62 preamble also describes two actions for the applicant. First, the applicant must consider the full normal operating envelope of the airplane, as defined by the Airplane Flight Manual, with any modification to that envelope associated with abnormal or emergency procedures and any anticipated flightcrew action. Second, the applicant must consider the anticipated external and internal airplane environmental conditions, as well as any additional conditions where equipment and systems are assumed to “perform as intended”.

    Section 23.1309(a)(2) requires analysis of any installed equipment or system with potential failure conditions that are catastrophic, hazardous, major, or minor, to determine their impact on the safe operation of the airplane. The applicant must show that they do not adversely affect proper functioning of the equipment, systems, or installations covered by § 23.1309 and do not otherwise adversely influence the safety of the airplane or its occupants.

    Section 23.1309(a)(2) does not mandate that non-required equipment and systems function properly during all airplane operations once in service, provided all potential failure conditions have no effect on the safe operation of the airplane. The equipment or system must function in the manner expected by the manufacturer's operating manual for the equipment or system. An applicant's statement of intended function must be sufficiently detailed so the FAA can evaluate whether the system is appropriate for its intended function(s).

    To incorporate the intent of amendment 23-62, the FAA proposes issuing these special conditions to include previous BPS special conditions, address the interaction CAPS with other airplane systems, and that it is a non-required system. The system must function within specified manufacturer's limits while operated within the manufacturers recommended envelope. Since it is a non-required system, the means of substantiation have been altered to reflect the bounds of the operating envelope, the means of analysis that can be substantiated with overlapping lower-level testing/analysis, and relieve in-flight deployment to avoid unnecessary expense and the inherent danger in performing this test.

    All special condition requirements must meet two fundamental criteria:

    • The installed system must not introduce unacceptable hazards prior to or after activation.

    • The applicant must show that the system does not adversely affect proper functioning of the equipment, systems, or installations covered by § 23.1309 and do not otherwise adversely influence the safety of the airplane or its occupants.

    The applicant does not have to prove or demonstrate that the system works in flight. Applicability

    As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the SF50. Should Cirrus apply at a later date for a change to the type certificate to include another model incorporating the same novel or unusual design feature, the special conditions would apply to that model as well.

    Conclusion

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 23

    Aircraft, Aviation safety, Signs and symbols.

    The authority citation for these special conditions is as follows:

    Authority:

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

    The Proposed Special Conditions Accordingly, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes the following special conditions as part of the type certification basis for Cirrus SF50 airplanes.

    1. Whole Airplane Parachute Recovery System With Flight Control and Deployment Augmentation.

    (a) System Validation.

    (1) The applicant must demonstrate by test, or analysis supported by test, that the system will not cause an unacceptable hazard or otherwise exceed the system deployment design loads for the critical flight conditions.

    (2) The recovery system activation envelope must include speeds at or near VS up to at least Vo. The applicant must satisfactorily demonstrate by test, or by analysis supported by test, the logic and automatic control interface that allow the recovery system activation over this speed range.

    (b) Occupant Restraint.

    Each seat in the airplane must be equipped with an approved restraint system, which will protect the occupants from serious head and upper torso injuries during a recovery system deployment and ground impact at the critical load conditions.

    (c) Parachute Performance.

    (1) A 1.5 factor of safety applied to the limit load must be used for all components of the recovery system as well as the attachment structure, the cabin structure surrounding the occupants, and any interconnecting structure of the airplane. Limit loads are defined as the parachute deployment forces developed within the operational envelope of the system. Lower factors of safety for airplane weight and velocity may be used, so that when combined in the energy equation, represent a 1.5 factor of safety of the energy equation.

    (2) Stitching must be of a type that will not ravel when broken.

    (3) The applicant must show via test, or analysis supported by test, that with the recovery parachute deployed and the airplane structure damaged, the airplane impact during touchdown will result in an occupant environment in which serious injury to the occupants is improbable.

    (4) The applicant must show via test, or analysis supported by test, that with the recovery parachute deployed, the airplane can impact the ground in various adverse weather conditions, including winds up to 15 knots, without endangering the airplane occupants at and after touchdown.

    (d) System Function and Operations.

    (1) The installation design and location of the extraction device must consider fire hazards associated with the activation of the parachute system and reduce this potential as much as possible without compromising function of the extraction device.

    (2) A system safety analysis will be conducted on the recovery system that will consider the effects of annunciated and un-annunciated failures. This analysis will address both losses of function as well as malfunction (including un-commanded system activation). The applicant must show that they do not adversely affect proper functioning of the equipment, systems, or installations covered by § 23.1309, and do not otherwise adversely influence the safety of the airplane or its occupants. It must be shown that reliable and functional deployment in the adverse weather conditions that the airplane is approved for have been considered. For example, if the airplane is certified for flight in icing conditions, and flight test in icing reveals that ice may cover the deployment area, then the possible adverse effects of ice or an ice layer covering the parachute deployment area should be analyzed.

    (3) The recovery system must be designed to safeguard against inadvertent activation. Two separate and intentional actions will be required to activate the system.

    (4) It must be demonstrated that the system can be activated without difficulty by occupants of various sizes, from a 10th percentile female to a 90th percentile male, while sitting in the pilot or copilot seat.

    (5) The system must be labeled for identification, function, and operating limitations.

    (6) The airplane must be equipped with ASTM F 2316-06 conforming placards suitable to draw attention of first responders. Section 11 of ASTM F 2316-06, specifies that the airplane should be marked with a “danger” placard placed adjacent to the exit point of each rocket/parachute, an “identifying” placard attached to each rocket, and “warning” placard(s) applied where occupant(s) enter the airplane or where rescue personnel can readily see the placard(s).

    (e) Design and Construction.

    (1) All components of the system must be protected against deterioration due to weathering, corrosion, and abrasion.

    (2) Adequate provisions must be made for ventilation and drainage of the system compartments and associated structure to ensure the sound condition of the system.

    (f) Materials and workmanship.

    (1) The suitability and durability of materials used for parts, the failure of which could adversely affect safety, must—

    i. Be established by experience or tests;

    ii. Meet approved specifications that ensure their having the strength and other properties assumed in the design data; and

    iii. Take into account the effects of environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, expected in service.

    (2) Workmanship must be of a high standard.

    (3) The parachute(s) must be identified with a data panel that defines the Manufacturer, Date of Manufacture, Part Number, and Serial Number.

    (g) Systems Maintenance and Inspection.

    (1) Instructions for continued airworthiness must be prepared for the system that meet the requirements of § 23.1529.

    (2) Adequate means must be provided to permit the close examination of the system components to ensure proper functioning, alignment, lubrication, and adjustment during the required inspection of the system.

    (h) Operating Limitations.

    (1) Operating limitations must be prescribed to ensure proper operation of the system. A detailed discussion of the system, including operation, limitations, and deployment envelope must be included in the Airplane Flight Manual.

    (2) Operating limitations must be prescribed for inspecting and overhauling the system components at approved intervals.

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 10, 2016. Pat Mullen, Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06072 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2016-2042; Directorate Identifier 2016-NE-02-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co KG Reciprocating Engines AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co KG Rotax 912 F2, 912 F3, 912 F4, 912 S2, 912 S3, 912 S4, 914 F2, 914 F3, and 914 F4 reciprocating engines. This proposed AD was prompted by a design change introduced by the manufacturer that relocated the engine cylinder head temperature sensor to a different location and converted it to a coolant temperature sensor. This proposed AD would require re-identification of the engine model and concurrent modification of the aircraft to indicate the maximum coolant temperature limit. We are proposing this AD to prevent exceeding engine coolant temperature limits, which could result in loss of engine coolant, damage to the engine, and loss of control of the airplane.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by May 17, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

    For service information identified in this NPRM, contact BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co KG, Rotaxstrasse 1, A-4623 Gunskirchen, Austria; Internet: http://www.FLYROTAX.com. 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.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-2042; or in person at the Docket Operations office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed 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 in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Robert Green, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7754; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2016-2042; Directorate Identifier 2016-NE-02-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD based on those comments.

    We will post all comments we receive, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information you provide. We will also post a report summarizing each substantive verbal contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed AD.

    Discussion

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA AD 2015-0240, dated December 18, 2015 (referred to hereinafter as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

    A design change of the engine cylinder heads was introduced by BRP-Powertrain in March 2013 which modifies the engine/aircraft interfaces by substituting the previous cylinder head temperature (CHT) measurement (limit temperature 135 °C/150 °C) with a coolant temperature (CT) measurement (limit temperature 120 °C).

    The design change was communicated on 15 May 2013 by BRP-Powertrain Service Instruction (SI) 912-020R7/914-022R7 (single document) but was not identified by a change of the engine model designation or of the engine P/N but only through the cylinder head P/N and the position of the temperature sensor.

    Consequently, engines with the new cylinder heads (installed during production or replaced in-service during maintenance) may be installed on an aircraft without concurrent modification of that aircraft, instructions for which should be provided by the type certificate (TC) holder or the supplemental type certificate (STC) holder, as applicable. In this case, the coolant temperature with a maximum engine operating limit of 120 °C (valid for engines operated with water diluted glycol coolant) is displayed on a CHT indicator with a typical limit marking (red radial/range) of more than 120 °C.

    BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co KG introduced a design change that relocated the engine cylinder head temperature sensor from the top of the cylinder to a new location and converted it to a coolant temperature sensor. The coolant temperature maximum engine operating limit is now less than the cylinder head temperature maximum operating limit. 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-2016-2042.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co KG has issued Service Bulletin (SB) SB-912-068/SB-914-049 (one document), dated April 16, 2015. The service information describes procedures for re-identification of the type plate for certain BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co KG Rotax 912 and 914 engines. 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 NPRM.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

    This product has been approved by the aviation authority of Austria, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the European Community, EASA has notified us of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all information provided by EASA and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design. This proposed AD would require re-identification of the engine model and the concurrent modification of the aircraft to indicate maximum coolant temperature limit.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects about 40 engines installed on aircraft of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 5 hours per engine to inspect and re-identify the type plate. The average labor rate is $85 per hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $17,000.

    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 proposed AD would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. This proposed AD would 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 proposed regulation:

    (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.

    The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the FAA proposes to amend 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): BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co KG (formerly BRP-Rotax GmbH & Co KG, Bombardier-Rotax GmbH & Co. KG, and Bombardier-Rotax GmbH): Docket No. FAA-2016-2042; Directorate Identifier 2016-NE-02-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by May 17, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co KG Rotax model 912 F2, 912 F3, 912 F4, 912 S2, 912 S3, 912 S4, 914 F2, 914 F3, and 914 F4 reciprocating engines with a cylinder head that has a part number (P/N) listed in Figure 1 to paragraph (c) of this AD and that is installed in position 2 or 3.

    Figure 1 to Paragraph (c) of This AD—Post-Modification Cylinder Head P/N Engine model Cylinder head P/N 912 F2, 912 F3, 912 F4, 914 F2, 914 F3, and 914 F4 P/N 413235 or P/N 413236. 912 S2, 912 S3, and 912 S4 P/N 413185. (d) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a design change introduced by the manufacturer that relocated the engine cylinder head temperature sensor to a new location and converted it to a coolant temperature sensor. We are issuing this AD to prevent exceeding coolant temperature limits, which could result in loss of engine coolant, damage to the engine, and loss of control of the airplane.

    (e) Actions and Compliance

    Comply with this AD within 6 months after the effective date of this AD, unless already done.

    (1) For engines with cylinder heads that have a P/N listed in Figure 1 to paragraph (c) of this AD installed on both position 2 and position 3, change the engine model designation on the engine type data plate to include a “-01” suffix. Use paragraph 3.1.1 of BRP-Powertrain Service Bulletin (SB) SB-912-068/SB-914-049, dated April 16, 2015, to make this change.

    (2) For engines with only one cylinder head having a P/N listed in Figure 1 to paragraph (c) of this AD installed in position 2 or 3, do one of the following:

    (i) Replace the cylinder heads having P/Ns listed in Figure 1 to paragraph (c) of this AD with a P/N 623682 cylinder head on Rotax 912 F2, 912 F3, 912 F4, 914 F2, 914 F3, and 914 F4 engines and with a P/N 623687 cylinder head on Rotax 912 S2, 912 S3, and 912 S4 engines. If you complete the actions in paragraph (e)(2)(i), no further action is required. Or,

    (ii) Install eligible cylinder heads with P/Ns identified in Figure 1 to paragraph (c) of this AD on both cylinder head positions 2 and 3 and change the engine model designation of the engine type data plate in accordance with paragraph (e)(1) of this AD.

    (3) For engines re-identified in accordance with paragraph (e)(1) or (e)(2)(ii) of this AD, before further flight, modify the aircraft cockpit instrumentation and related documentation to indicate a maximum coolant temperature limit of 120 degrees Celsius using FAA-approved procedures. These re-identified engines remain eligible for installation on approved aircraft-engine combinations.

    (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 Robert Green, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7754; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

    (2) For more information about the installation modifications described in paragraph (e)(3) of this AD, contact Jim Rutherford, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust Ave. Room 301, Kansas City, MO; phone: 816-329-4165; fax: 816-329-4090; email: [email protected]

    (3) Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency, AD 2015-0240, dated December 18, 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 it in Docket No. FAA-2016-2042.

    (4) BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co KG Service Bulletin (SB) SB-912-068/SB-914-049 (one document), dated April 16, 2015, can be obtained from BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co KG, using the contact information in paragraph (g)(6) of this proposed AD.

    (5) The following aircraft service information contains FAA-approved procedures for complying with paragraph (e)(3) of this AD and can be obtained from BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co. KG, using the contact information in paragraph (g)(6) of this proposed AD:

    Figure 2 to Paragraph (g) of This AD—Aircraft Type/Model and Service Information Type/model(s) SB Aquila AT01 SB-AT01-029 TECNAM P92, P2002 and P2006T SB-183-CS TECNAM P2008 JC SB-185-CS Diamond H 36 “Dimona” and HK 36 “Super Dimona” OSB 36-111 Diamond DV 20 “Katana” OSB 20-066 Diamond (Canada) DA20-A1 “Katana” SB Da20-72-04 M&D AVO 68 “Samburo” TM 808-31 Scheibe SF 25 C and SF 36 R SI_02-14

    (6) For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact BRP-Powertrain GmbH & Co. KG, Rotaxstrasse 1, A-4623 Gunskirchen, Austria; phone: +43 7246 6010; fax: +43 7246 601 9130; email: [email protected]; Internet: www.rotax-aircraft-engines.com.

    (7) 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.

    Issued in Burlington, Massachusetts, on March 11, 2016. Colleen M. D'Alessandro, Manager, Engine & Propeller Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06118 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2016-0163] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Willamette River, Portland, OR AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard proposes to establish a safety zone for certain waters of the Willamette River in the vicinity of Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, OR. This action is necessary to provide for the safety of life on these navigable waters for the duration of the marine event on July 10, 2016. This proposed rulemaking would prohibit persons and vessels from being in the safety zone unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Sector Columbia River or a designated representative. We invite your comments on this proposed rulemaking.

    DATES:

    Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before April 18, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2016-0163 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions about this proposed rulemaking, call or email Ken Lawrenson, Waterways Management Division, Marine Safety Unit Portland, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 503-240-9319, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking § Section U.S.C. United States Code II. Background, Purpose, and Legal Basis

    On December 22, 2015, the Human Access Project notified the Coast Guard that it will be conducting a marine event from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 10, 2016, for The Big Float. This event will be a group inner-tube float of the Willamette River in downtown Portland from the Marquam Bridge to Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The Captain of the Port Sector Columbia River (COTP) has determined that the potential hazards associated with this marine event would be a safety concern for anyone transiting between the Hawthorne Bridge and Marquam Bridge. The purpose of this rulemaking is to ensure the safety of persons, vessels, and the navigable waters before, during, and after the scheduled event. The Coast Guard proposes this rulemaking under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231.

    III. Discussion of Proposed Rule

    The COTP proposes to establish a safety zone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 7, 2016. The safety zone would cover all navigable waters within a straight line from the Hawthorne Bridge to the Marquam Bridge extending approximately 200 yards from the shore east into the Willamette River. The duration of the zone is intended to ensure the safety of event participants, vessels and these navigable waters during the event scheduled from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.. No vessel or person would be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative. The regulatory text we are proposing appears at the end of this document.

    IV. Regulatory Analyses

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

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

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

    This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location, duration, and time-of-day of the safety zone. Vessel traffic, including passenger vessels and barges, would be able to transit around this safety zone which would impact only a small designated area of the Willamette River. Moreover, the Coast Guard would issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the zone, and the rule would allow vessels to seek permission to enter the zone.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

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

    If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this proposed rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    C. Collection of Information

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

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This proposed rule involves a safety zone that would prohibit entry within 200 yards of the Tom McCall Waterfront Park between the Hawthorne Bridge and Marquam Bridge. Normally such actions are categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist and 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 proposed rule.

    G. Protest Activities

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

    V. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions.

    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086).

    Documents mentioned in this NPRM as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

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

    2. Add § 165.T13-0163 to read as follows:
    § 165.T13-0163 Safety Zone; The Big Float, Willamette River, Portland, OR

    (a) Regulated area. The following regulated area is a safety zone: all navigable waters of the Willamette River, in Portland, Oregon, enclosed by the Hawthorne Bridge, the Marquam Bridge, and west of a line beginning at the Hawthorne Bridge at approximate location 45°30′50″ N.; 122°40′21″ W., and running south to the Marquam Bridge at approximate location 45° 30′27″ N.; 122°40′11″ W.

    (b) Definitions. As used in this section—

    Designated representative means Coast Guard Patrol Commanders, including Coast Guard coxswains, petty officers, and other officers operating Coast Guard vessels, and Federal, state, and local officers designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port Sector Columbia River in the enforcement of the regulated area.

    Non-participant persons and vessels means persons and vessels that are not participating in the event and are therefore prohibited from entering, transiting through, anchoring in, or remaining within the regulated area unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Sector Columbia River or a designated representative.

    (c) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in 33 CFR part 165, subpart C, non-participant persons and vessels are prohibited from entering, transiting through, anchoring in, or remaining within the regulated area identified in paragraph (a) of this section unless authorized by Captain of the Port Sector Columbia River or a designated representative.

    (2) Non-participant persons and vessels may request authorization to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the regulated area by contacting the Captain of the Port Sector Columbia River or a designated representative via VHF radio on channel 16. If authorization is granted by the Captain of the Port Sector Columbia River or a designated representative, all persons and vessels receiving such authorization must comply with the instructions of the Captain of the Port Sector Columbia River or a designated representative.

    (d) Enforcement period. This safety zone will be enforced for the duration of the marine event on July10, 2016.

    Dated: March 10, 2016. D.J. Travers, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, Sector Columbia River.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06113 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 271 [EPA-R05-RCRA-2015-0555; FRL-9943-72-Region 5] Illinois: Final Authorization of State Hazardous Waste Management Program Revision AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    Illinois has applied to EPA for Final Authorization of the changes to its hazardous waste program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). EPA has reviewed Illinois' application with regards to federal requirements, and is proposing to authorize the state's changes.

    DATES:

    Comments on this proposed rule must be received on or before April 18, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R05-RCRA-2015-0555 by one of the following methods:

    http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

    Email: [email protected]

    Mail: Gary Westefer, Illinois Regulatory Specialist, LR-8J, U.S. EPA, Region 5, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

    Hand Delivery: Gary Westefer, LR-8J, U.S. EPA, Region 5, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604. Such deliveries are only accepted during the normal business hours of operation; special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID Number EPA-R05-RCRA-2015-0555. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online athttp://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or email. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters or any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epagov/epahome/dockets.htm.

    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some of the information is not publicly available; e.g., CBI or other information for which disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy. You may view and copy Illinois' application from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following addresses: U.S. EPA Region 5, LR-8J, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, contact: Gary Westefer (312) 886-7450; or Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, 1021 North Grand Avenue, East, Springfield, Illinois, contact: Todd Marvel (217) 524-5024.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gary Westefer, Illinois Regulatory Specialist, U.S. EPA Region 5, LR-8J, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604, (312) 886-7450, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Why are revisions to state programs necessary?

    States which have received final authorization from EPA under RCRA Section 3006(b) of RCRA, 42 U.S.C. 6926(b), must maintain a hazardous waste program that is equivalent to, consistent with, and no less stringent than the federal program. As the federal program changes, states must change their programs and request EPA to authorize the changes. Changes to state programs may be necessary when federal or state statutory or regulatory authority is modified or when certain other changes occur. Most commonly, states must change their programs because of changes to EPA's regulations in 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) parts 124, 260 through 266, 268, 270, 273, and 279.

    B. What decisions have we made in this rule?

    We have made a tentative decision that Illinois' application to revise its authorized program meets all of the statutory and regulatory requirements established by RCRA. Therefore, we propose to grant Illinois final authorization to operate its hazardous waste program with the changes described in the authorization application. Illinois will have responsibility for permitting treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) within its borders (except in Indian Country) and for carrying out the aspects of the RCRA program described in its revised program application, subject to the limitations of the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA). New federal requirements and prohibitions imposed by federal regulations that EPA promulgates under the authority of HSWA take effect in authorized states before they are authorized for the requirements. Thus, EPA will implement those requirements and prohibitions in Illinois, including issuing permits, until the state is granted authorization to do so.

    C. What will be the effect if Illinois is authorized for these changes?

    If Illinois is authorized for these changes, a facility in Illinois subject to RCRA will have to comply with the authorized state requirements instead of the corresponding federal requirements in order to comply with RCRA. Additionally, such facilities will have to comply with any applicable federal requirements such as, for example, HSWA regulations issued by the EPA for which the state has not received authorization. Illinois continues to have enforcement authorities and responsibilities under its state hazardous waste program for RCRA violations, but EPA retains its authority under RCRA sections 3007, 3008, 3013, and 7003, which include among others, authority to:

    1. Conduct inspections which may include but are not limited to requiring monitoring, tests, analyses and/or reports;

    1. Enforce RCRA requirements which may include but are not limited to suspending, terminating, modifying and/or revoking permits; and

    3. Take enforcement actions regardless of whether the state has taken its own actions.

    The action to approve these revisions will not impose additional requirements on the regulated community because the regulations for which Illinois is requesting authorization are already effective under state law, and will not be changed by the act of authorization.

    D. What happens if EPA receives adverse comments on this action?

    If EPA receives adverse comments on this authorization, we will address all public comments in a later Federal Register. You may not have another opportunity to comment. If you want to comment on this authorization, you must do so at this time.

    E. What has Illinois previously been authorized for?

    Illinois initially received final authorization effective January 31, 1986 (51 FR 3778, January 30, 1986) to implement the RCRA hazardous waste management program. Subsequently the EPA granted authorization for changes to the Illinois program effective March 5, 1988 (53 FR 126, January 5, 1988); April 30, 1990 (55 FR 7320, March 1, 1990); June 3, 1991 (56 FR 13595, April 3, 1991); August 15, 1994 (59 FR 30525, June 14, 1994); May 14, 1996, (61 FR 10684, March 15, 1996); and October 4, 1996 (61 FR 40520, August 5, 1996).

    F. What changes are we proposing with today's action?

    On October 19, 2015, Illinois submitted a final program revision application, seeking authorization of changes in accordance with 40 CFR 271.21. We have determined that Illinois' hazardous waste program revisions satisfy all of the requirements necessary to qualify for Final Authorization. We are now proposing to authorize, subject to receipt of written comments that oppose this action, Illinois' hazardous waste program revision. We propose to grant Illinois Final Authorization for the following program changes:

    Description of Federal requirement Federal Register date and page Analogous State authority Universal Waste Rule: General Provisions, Checklist 142A May 11, 1995, 60 FR 25492 35 IAC 703.123; 720.101; 721.105; 722.110; 722.111; 724.101; 725.101; 728.101; 733.101; 733.103; 733.105; 733.106; 733.111; 733.112; 733.114; 733.115; 733.116; 733.117; 733.118; 733.119; 733.120; 733.131; 733.132; 733.134; 733.135; 733.136; 733.137; 733.138; 733.139; 733.140; 733.151; 733.152; 733.153; 733.154; 733.155; 733.156; 733.160; 733.161; 733.162; 733.170; Effective April 15, 1998. Universal Waste Rule: Specific Provisions for Batteries, Checklist 142B May 11, 1995, 60 FR 25492 35 IAC 703.123; 720.110; 721.106; 721.109; 724.101; 725.101; 726.180; 728.101; 733.102; 733.106; 733.113(a),(b),(c); 733.114; 733.133(a),(b),(c); 733.134; Effective April 15, 1998. Universal Waste Rule: Specific Provisions for Pesticides, Checklist 142C May 11, 1995, 60 FR 25492 35 IAC 703.123; 720.110; 721.109; 724.101; 725.101; 728.101; 733.101; 733.103; 733.106; 733.113(a),(b),(c); 733.114; 733.132; 733.133(a),(b),(c); 733.134; Effective April 15, 1998. Universal Waste Rule: Specific Provisions for Thermostats, Checklist 142D May 11, 1995, 60 FR 25492 35 IAC 703.123; 720.110; 721.109; 724.101; 725.101; 728.101; 733.101; 733.104; 733.106; 733.113(a),(b),(c); 733.114; 733.133(a),(b),(c); 733.134; Effective April 15, 1998. Universal Waste Rule: Provisions for Petitions to Add a New Universal Waste, Checklist 142E May 11, 1995, 60 FR 25492 35 IAC 720.120; 720.123; 733.180; 733.181; Effective April 15, 1998. RCRA Expanded Public Participation, Checklist 148 December 11, 1995, 60 FR 63417 35 IAC 702.110; 703.183; 703.191; 703.192; 703.193; 703.220; 703.223; 703.225; 703.232; 703.248; Effective December 16,1997. Identification and Listing of Hazardous Waste; Amendments to Definition of Solid Waste, Checklist 150 March 26, 1996, 61 FR 13103 35 IAC 721.104; Effective December 16, 1997. Imports and Exports of Hazardous Waste, Checklist 152 April 12, 1996, 61 FR 16290 35 IAC 721.106; 722.110; 722.153; 722.156; 722.158; 722.180; 722.181; 722.182; 722.183; 722.184; 722.185; 722.186; 722.187; 722.189; 723.110; 723.120; 724.112; 724.171; 725.112; 725.171; 726.170; 733.120; 733.140; 733.156; 733.170; Effective December 16, 1997. Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities and Hazardous Waste Generators; Organic Air Emission Standards for Tanks, Surface Impoundments and Containers, Checklist, 154; as amended: Checklist 154.1; as amended: Checklist 154.2; as amended: Checklist 154.3; as amended: Checklist 154.4; as amended: Checklist 154.5; as amended: Checklist 154.6 November 25, 1996, 61 FR 59931; November 25, 1996, 61 FR 59931; December 12, 1994, 59 FR 62896; May 19, 1995, 60 FR 26828; September 29, 1995, 60 FR 50426; November 13, 1995, 60 FR 56952; February 9, 1996, 61 FR 4903; June 5, 1996, 61 FR 28508. 35 IAC 702.181; 703.184; 703.201; 703.202; 703.203; 703.213; 720.111; 721.106; 722.134; 724.113; 724.115; 724.173; 724.177; 724.279; 724.300; 724.332; 724.701; 724.930; 724.933; 724.934; 724.935; 724.950; 724.955; 724.958; 724.964; 724.980; 724.981; 724.982; 724.983; 724.984; 724.985; 724.986; 724.987; 724.988; 724.989; 724.990; 724.991; 725.101; 725.113; 725.115; 725.173; 725.177; 725.278; 725.302; 725.331; 725.930; 725.933; 725.934; 725.935; 725.950; 725.955; 725.958; 725.964; 725.980; 725.981; 725.982; 725.983; 725.984; 725.985; 725.986; 725.987; 725.988; 725.989; 725.990; 725.991; 725 Appendix F; Effective September 28, 1998. Land Disposal Restrictions: Phase III—Emergency Extension of the K088 Capacity Variance, Checklist 155 January 14, 1997, 62 FR 1992 35 IAC 728.139; Effective September 28, 1998. Land Disposal Restrictions: Phase IV—Treatment Standards for Wood Preserving Wastes, Paperwork Reduction and Streamlining, Exemptions From RCRA for Certain Processed Materials and Miscellaneous Hazardous Waste Provisions, Checklist 157 May 12, 1997, 62 FR 25998 35 IAC 721.104; 721.106; 728.101; 728.104; 728.107; 728.109; 728.130; 728.140; 728.142; 728.144; 728 Appendix F; 728 Appendix G; 728 Appendix H; Effective September 28, 1998. Hazardous Waste Management System; Testing and Monitoring Activities, Checklist 158 June 13, 1997, 62 FR 32452 35 IAC 720.111; 724.934; 724.963; 724 Appendix I; 725.934; 725.963; 726.204; 726.206; 726.207; 726 Appendix I; Effective September 28, 1998. Land Disposal Restrictions: Phase III—Emergency Extension of the K088 National Capacity Variance, Checklist 160 July 14, 1997, 62 FR 37694 35 IAC 728.139; Effective January 19, 1999. Organic Air Emission Standards for Tanks, Surface Impoundments and Containers; Clarification and Technical Amendment, Checklist 163 December 8, 1997, 62 FR 64636 35 IAC 703.183; 724.115; 724.173; 724.930; 724.933; 724.950; 724.960; 724.962; 724.964; 724.980; 724.982; 724.983; 724.984; 724.985; 724.986; 724.987; 724.989; 725.115; 725.173; 725.930; 725.933; 725.950; 725.960; 725.962; 725.964; 725.980; 725.981; 725.982; 725.983; 725.984; 725.985; 725.986; 725.987; 725.988; 725.990; 725 Appendix F; Effective January 19, 1999. Kraft Mill Steam Stripper Exclusion, Checklist 164 April 15, 1998, 63 FR 18504 35 IAC 721.104; Effective January 19, 1999. Emergency Revisions of LDR Treatment Standards, Checklist 172 September 9, 1998, 63 FR 48124 35 IAC 728.134; Effective July 26, 1999. Land Disposal Restrictions Treatment Standards (Spent Potliners), Checklist 173 September 24, 1998, 63 FR 51254 35 IAC 728.139; 728.140; Effective July 26, 1999. Universal Waste Rule; Technical Amendment (Conditionally Optional), Checklist 176 December 24, 1998, 63 FR 71225 35 IAC 726.180; 733.106; Effective July 26, 1999. Organic Air Emission Standards, Checklist 177 January 21, 1999, 64 FR 3381 35 IAC 722.134; 724.931; 724.980; 724.983; 724.984; 724.986; 725.980; 725.984; 725.985; 725.987; Effective January 21, 2000. Test Procedures for the Analysis of Oil and Grease and Non-Polar Material, Checklist 180 May 14, 1999, 64 FR 26315 35 IAC 720.111; Effective January 21, 2000. NESHAPS: Final Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Hazardous Waste Combustors (MACT Rule), Checklist 182 as amended: Checklist 182.1 September 30, 1999, 64 FR 52827, November 19, 1999, 64 FR 63209 35 IAC 703.205; 703.208; 703.221; 703.232; 703 Appendix A; 720.110; 721.138; 724.440; 724.701; 725.440; 726.200; 726.201; 726.205; 726.212; 726 Appendix H; Effective June 20, 2000. Waste Water Treatment Sludges from Metal Finishing Industry; 180 Day Accumulation Time, Checklist 184 March 8, 2000, 65 FR 12378 35 IAC 722.134; Effective January 11, 2001. Organobromine Production Wastes, Checklist 185 March 17, 2000, 65 FR 14472 35 IAC 721.132; 721.133; 721 Appendix G; 721 Appendix H; 728.133; 728.140; 728.148; Effective January 11, 2001. NESHAPS: Final Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Hazardous Waste Combustors, Checklist 188 as amended: Second Technical Correction, Checklist 188.1 as amended: Checklist 188.2. July 10, 2000, 65 FR 42292, May 14, 2001, 66 FR 24270, July 3, 2001, 66 FR 35087 35 IAC 703.280; 721.138; 724.440; Effective July 9, 2001. Chlorinated Aliphatics Listing and LDRs for Newly Identified Wastes, Checklist 189 November 8, 2000, 65 FR 67068 35 IAC 721.132; 721 Appendix G; 721 Appendix H; 728.133; 728.140; 728.148; Effective July 9, 2001. Deferral pf Phase IV Standards for PCBs as a Constituent Subject to Treatment in Soil, Checklist 190 December 26, 2000, 65 FR 81373 35 IAC 728.132; 728.148; 728.149; 728 Appendix C; Effective July 9, 2001. Storage, Treatment, Transportation and Disposal of Mixed Waste, Checklist 191 May 16, 2001, 66 FR 27218 35 IAC 726.310; 726.320; 726.325; 726.330; 726.335; 726.340; 726.345; 726.350; 726.355; 726.360; 726.405; 726.410; 726.415; 726.420; 726.425; 726.430; 726.435; 726.440; 726.445; 726.450; 726.455; 726.460; Effective April 22, 2002. Change of EPA Mailing Address, Additional Technical Amendments and Corrections, Checklist 193 June 28, 2001, 66 FR 34374 35 IAC 720.111; Effective April 22, 2002. Hazardous Air Pollutant Standards for Combustors: Interim Standards, Checklist 197 February 13, 2002, 67 FR 6792 35 IAC 703.205; 703.208; 703.221; 703.232; 703.320; 724.440; 725.440; 726.200; Effective February 14, 2003. Hazardous Air Pollutant Standards for Combustors; Corrections, Checklist 198 February 14, 2002, 67 FR 6968 35 IAC 703.280; 726.200; Effective February 14, 2003. Land Disposal Restrictions: National Treatment Variance To Designate New Treatment Subcategories for Radioactively Contaminated Cadmium-, Mercury-, and Silver-Containing Batteries, Checklist 201 November 21, 2002, 67 FR 62618 35 IAC 728.140; Effective July 17, 2003. NESHAP: Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Hazardous Waste Combustors—Corrections, Checklist 202 December 19, 2002, 67 FR 77687 35 IAC 703.205; 703.208; 703.221; 703.232; Effective July 17, 2003. NESHAP: Surface Coating of Automobiles and Light Duty Trucks, Checklist 205 October 26, 2004, 69 FR 22601 35 IAC 724.950; Effective February 23, 2006. Hazardous Waste Management System; Modification of the Hazardous Waste Manifest System, Checklist 207, as Amended: Checklist 207.1 March 4, 2005, 70 FR 10776 June 16, 2005, 70 FR 35034 35 IAC 720.110; 721.107; 722.120; 722.121; 722.127; 722.132; 722.133; 722.134; 722.154; 722.160; 722 Appendix 8700-22; 733.120; 733.121; 724.170; 724.171; 724.172; 724.176; 725.170; 725.171; 725.172; 725.176; Effective February 23, 2006. Standardized Permit for RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Facilities, Checklist 210 September 8, 2005, 70 FR 53420 35 IAC 702.101; 702.110; 702.120; 702,125; 703.125; 703.191; 703.192; 703.238; 703.260; 703.270; 703.272; 703.350; 703.351; 703.352; 703.353; 705.102; 705.128; 705.300; 705.301; 705.302; 705.303; 705.304; 720.110; 720.111; 721.107; 727.100; 727.110; 727.130; 727.150; 727.170; 727.190; 727.210; 727.240; 727.270; 727.290; 727.900; 727 Appendix A; Effective December 20, 2006. NESHAP: Final Standards for Hazardous Waste Combustors (Phase I Final Replacement Standards and Phase II), Checklist 212 October 12, 2005, 70 FR 59402 35 IAC 703.110; 703.189; 703.205; 703.208; 703.210; 703.211; 703.221; 703.232; 703.241; 703.280; 703.320; 703 Appendix A; 720.111; 724.440; 725.440; 726.200; Effective December 20, 2006. G. Which revised state rules are different from the federal rules?

    Illinois has not applied for the federal requirements at 40 CFR 260.21, 264.149, 264.150, 265.149, 265.150, 268.5, 268.6, 268.42(b), 268.44, and 270.3. EPA will continue to implement those requirements.

    More Stringent Rules

    In 35 IAC 722.122 and 722.123(a)(4), Illinois requires more manifest copies than the Federal rules. In 35 IAC 724.213(d)(3) Illinois adds requirements to the contingent corrective measures plan found in 40 CFR 264.113(e)(4)(i). In 35 IAC 722.141, 724.175 and 725.175, Illinois requires an annual report instead of the biennial report required in 40 CFR 262.22, 264.75, and 265.75. Illinois has added 35 IAC 724.156(i) to facilitate State notification. In 35 IAC 725.245, Illinois does not allow the extension of time to submit the financial test and corporate guarantee documents to the agency as federally allowed in 40 CFR 265.145(e)(4). In 35 IAC 725.414, Illinois prohibits all liquids in landfills; the federal rules allow for exceptions in 40 CFR 265.314(f)(1) and (2). Illinois' 35 IAC Part 729 prohibits disposal of certain hazardous wastes in landfills. This part has no direct equivalent Federal part, but is a counterpart of the land ban regulations at 40 CFR part 268 and the landfill requirements at 40 CFR parts 264 and 265. In 35 IAC 728.106(e) Illinois requires at least a 90 day notice when a facility wants to make changes to unit design; EPA in 40 CFR 268.6(e) only requires a 30 day notice. In 35 IAC 703.271(e) Illinois adds some additional cases where a permit must be modified.

    Broader in Scope Rules

    In 35 IAC 721.103(g), Illinois does not allow the exemption allowed in the federal rules at 40 CFR 261.3(g)(4). In 35 IAC 739.146, Illinois adds subsection (a)(6) which covers special waste (35 IAC part 808). This special waste is not regulated in the RCRA subtitle C program. 35 IAC 739.146(a)(6) adds information requirements. The same requirements are also added in 35 IAC 739.156, 739.165, and 739.174.

    Universal Waste Lamps Rules Not Authorized

    Illinois allows Lamp Crushing under its current version of the Universal Waste Rule (35 IAC 733.105, 733.113(d), 733.133(d), and 733.134(e)), and has not applied for authorization of the Universal Waste Lamps Rule. In the future, EPA will determine whether to prohibit crushing of lamps, or decide under what conditions lamp crushing may be permitted. Until the issue is resolved, no state that allows crushing may be authorized for the Universal Waste Lamps rule and the Illinois version of the Universal Waste Lamps Rule is not part of the Illinois authorized program.

    H. Who handles permits after the final authorization takes effect?

    Illinois will issue permits for all the provisions for which it is authorized and will administer the permits it issues. EPA will continue to administer any RCRA hazardous waste permits or portions of permits which EPA issues prior to the effective date of the proposed authorization until they expire or are terminated. We will not issue any more new permits or new portions of permits for the provisions listed in the Table above after the effective date of the authorization. EPA will continue to implement and issue permits for HSWA requirements for which Illinois is not yet authorized.

    I. How does today's action affect Indian Country (18 U.S.C. 1151) in Illinois?

    Illinois is not authorized to carry out its hazardous waste program in “Indian Country,” as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1151. Indian Country includes:

    1. All lands within the exterior boundaries of Indian Reservations within or abutting the State of Illinois;

    2. Any land held in trust by the U.S. for an Indian tribe; and

    3. Any other land, whether on or off an Indian reservation that qualifies as Indian Country.

    Therefore, this action has no effect on Indian Country. EPA retains the authority to implement and administer the RCRA program on these lands. J. How does proportionate share liability affect Illinois' RCRA Program

    Illinois' RCRA authorities are not impacted by the proportionate share liability (PSL) provision of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, 415 ILCS 5/58.9(a)(1). Section 58.9(a)(1) provides, in pertinent part:

    “Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Act to the contrary, . . . in no event may the Agency, the State of Illinois, or any person bring an action pursuant to this Act or the Groundwater Protection Act to require any person to conduct remedial action or to seek recovery of costs for remedial activity conducted by the State of Illinois or any person beyond the remediation of releases of regulated substances that may be attributed to being proximately caused by such person's act of omission or beyond such person's proportionate degree of responsibility for costs of the remedial action of releases of regulated substances that were proximately caused or contributed to by 2 or more persons.”

    Section 58.9 is part of Title XVII (Site Remediation Program) of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act. Title XVII does not apply to a particular site if “ . . . (ii) the site is a treatment, storage, or disposal site for which a permit has been issued, or that is subject to closure requirements under federal or state solid or hazardous waste laws” (415 ILCS 5/58.1(a)(2)(ii)). Hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities under Subtitle C of RCRA fall within the exclusion at section 58.1(a)(2)(ii). These facilities are subject to closure and post-closure care requirements under the Act (415 ILCS 5/22.17) and Illinois program rules that are identical in substance to federal rules at 40 CFR 264 (35 Ill. Adm. Code 724). The Illinois Appellate Court has held that the PSL does not apply to sites that are outside the scope of Title XVII. People of the State of Illinois v. State Oil, 822 NE. 2d 876 (Ill. App. 2004). Therefore the exclusion at Section 58.1(a)(2)(ii) renders Title XVII, including section 58.9, inapplicable to sites upon which RCRA regulated facilities are located. Based on this exclusion, and as indicated by the Illinois Attorney General in the Attorney General Statement included in the State's October 19, 2015 final program revision application, the PSL provision does not impact the adequacy of Illinois' RCRA authorities.

    K. What is codification and is EPA codifying Illinois' hazardous waste program as authorized in this rule?

    Codification is the process of placing the state's statutes and regulations that comprise the state's authorized hazardous waste program into the Code of Federal Regulations. We do this by referencing the authorized state rules in 40 CFR part 272. Illinois' authorized rules, up to and including those revised June 3, 1991, have previously been codified through the incorporation-by-reference effective March 31, 1992 (57 FR 3722, January 31, 1992). We reserve the amendment of 40 CFR part 272, subpart O for the codification of Illinois' program changes until a later date.

    L. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    This proposed rule only authorizes hazardous waste requirements pursuant to RCRA 3006 and imposes no requirements other than those imposed by state law (see Supplementary Information, Section A. Why are Revisions to State Programs Necessary?). Therefore, this rulemaking complies with applicable executive orders and statutory provisions as follows:

    1. Executive Order 18266: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review

    The Office of Management and Budget has exempted this rule from its review under Executive Orders 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and Executive Order 13563 (76 FR 3821 January 21, 2011).

    2. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rulemaking does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    3. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This proposed rule authorizes state requirements for the purpose of RCRA 3006 and imposes no additional requirements beyond those required by state law. Accordingly, I certify that this rulemaking will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).

    4. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Because this rulemaking approves pre-existing requirements under state law and does not impose any additional enforceable duty beyond that required by state law, it 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).

    5. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) does not apply to this proposed rule because it will not have federalism implications (i.e., 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).

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

    Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000) does not apply to this proposed rule because it will not have tribal implications (i.e., substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, or 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).

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

    This proposed rule is not subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), because it is not economically significant as defined in Executive Order 12866 and because the EPA does not have reason to believe the environmental health or safety risks addressed by this action present a disproportionate risk to children.

    8. Executive Order 13211: Actions that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This proposed rule is not subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001), because it is not a significant regulatory action as defined in Executive Order 12866.

    9. National Technology Transfer Advancement Act

    EPA approves state programs as long as they meet criteria required by RCRA, so it would be inconsistent with applicable law for EPA, in its review of a state program, to require the use of any particular voluntary consensus standard in place of another standard that meets the requirements of RCRA. Thus, the requirements of section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) do not apply to this proposed rule.

    10. Executive Order 12988

    As required by Section 3 of Executive Order 12988 (61 FR 4729, February 7, 1996), in issuing this proposed rule, EPA has taken the necessary steps to eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity, minimize potential litigation, and provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct.

    11. Executive Order 12630: Evaluation of Risk and Avoidance of Unanticipated Takings

    EPA has complied with Executive Order 12630 (53 FR 8859, March 18, 1988) by examining the takings implications of the rulemaking in accordance with the Attorney General's Supplemental Guidelines for the Evaluation of Risk and Avoidance of Unanticipated Takings issued under the executive order.

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

    Because this rulemaking proposes authorization of pre-existing state rules and imposes no additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law and there are no anticipated significant adverse human health or environmental effects, the proposed rule is not subject to Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 271

    Environmental protection, Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business information, Hazardous materials transportation, Hazardous waste, Indians-lands, Intergovernmental relations, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Authority:

    This action is issued under the authority of sections 2002(a), 3006, and 7004(b) of the Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6912(a), 6926, 6974(b).

    Dated: February 29, 2016. Robert Kaplan, Acting Regional Administrator, Region 5.
    [FR Doc. 2016-05816 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 300 [EPA-HQ-SFUND-1983-0002; FRL-9943-94-Region 7] National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan; National Priorities List: Partial Deletion of the Ellisville Superfund Site AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; notice of intent.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 is issuing a Notice of Intent to Delete the Callahan property, Operable Unit 3 (OU3) (Parcel ID 22U220242) of the Ellisville Superfund Site (Site) located at 210 Strecker Road in Wildwood, Missouri (E1/2, NW1/4, SE1/4, S31, T45N, R04E), from the National Priorities List (NPL) and requests public comments on this proposed action. The NPL, promulgated pursuant to section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended, is an appendix of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). The EPA and the State of Missouri, through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), have determined that all appropriate response actions at the Callahan property, OU3, under CERCLA, have been completed. However, this deletion does not preclude future actions under Superfund.

    This partial deletion pertains to all media (soil and groundwater) of the Callahan property, OU3 of the Ellisville Superfund site. The Ellisville Superfund Bliss property, Operable Unit 2, and the Rosalie property, Operable Unit 1, will remain on the NPL and are not being considered for deletion as part of this action.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before April 18, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID no. EPA-HQ-SFUND-1983-0002, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line 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.

    Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the site information repositories. The locations and viewing hours of the site information repositories are:

    The EPA Region 7, 11201 Renner Boulevard, Lenexa, KS open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Daniel Boone Branch Library, 300 Clarkson Road, Ellisville, MO open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Laura Price, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7, 11201 Renner Boulevard, Lenexa, Kansas 66219, email: [email protected] and phone number: 913-551-7130.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document “we,” “us,” or “our” refer to EPA. This section provides additional information by addressing the following:

    I. Introduction II. NPL Deletion Criteria III. Deletion Procedures IV. Basis for Intended Partial Site Deletion I. Introduction

    EPA Region 7 announces its intent to delete the Callahan property, OU3 of the Ellisville Superfund Site, from the National Priorities List (NPL) and requests public comment on this proposed action. The NPL constitutes appendix B of 40 CFR 300, which is the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), which EPA promulgated pursuant to section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended. EPA maintains the NPL as those sites that appear to present a significant risk to public health, welfare, or the environment. Sites on the NPL may be the subject of remedial actions financed by the Hazardous Substance Superfund (Fund). This partial deletion of the Callahan property, OU3, is proposed in accordance with 40 CFR 300.425(e) and is consistent with the Notice of Policy Change: Partial Deletion of Sites Listed on the National Priorities List. 60 FR 55466 (November 1, 1995). As described in 300.425(e)(3) of the NCP, a portion of a site deleted from the NPL remains eligible for Fund-financed remedial action if future conditions warrant such actions.

    EPA will accept comments on the proposal to partially delete this site for thirty (30) days after publication of this document in the Federal Register.

    Section II of this document explains the criteria for deleting sites from the NPL. Section III discusses procedures that EPA is using for this action. Section IV discusses the Callahan property, OU3 of the Ellisville Superfund Site and demonstrates how it meets the deletion criteria.

    II. NPL Deletion Criteria

    The NCP establishes the criteria that EPA uses to delete sites from the NPL. In accordance with 40 CFR 300.425(e), sites may be deleted from the NPL where no further response is appropriate. In making such a determination pursuant to 40 CFR 300.425(e), EPA will consider, in consultation with the State, whether any of the following criteria have been met:

    i. Responsible parties or other persons have implemented all appropriate response actions required;

    ii. all appropriate Fund-financed response under CERCLA has been implemented, and no further response action by responsible parties is appropriate; or

    iii. the remedial investigation has shown that the release poses no significant threat to public health or the environment and, therefore, the taking of remedial measures is not appropriate.

    III. Deletion Procedures

    The following procedures apply to deletion of Callahan property, OU3 of the Ellisville Site:

    (1) EPA consulted with the State before developing this Notice of Intent for Partial Deletion.

    (2) EPA has provided the state 30 working days for review of this notice prior to publication of it today.

    (3) In accordance with the criteria discussed above, EPA in consultation with the state, has determined that no further response is appropriate.

    (4) The State of Missouri, through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, has concurred with the deletion of the Callahan Subsite property, OU3 of the Ellisville Superfund Site, from the NPL.

    (5) Concurrently, with the publication of this Notice of Intent for Partial Deletion in the Federal Register, a notice is being published in a major local newspaper, Eureka-Wildwood Patch. The newspaper announces the 30-day public comment period concerning the Notice of Intent for Partial Deletion of the Site from the NPL.

    (6) The EPA placed copies of documents supporting the proposed partial deletion in the deletion docket and made these items available for public inspection and copying at the Site information repositories identified above.

    If comments are received within the 30-day comment period on this document, EPA will evaluate and respond accordingly to the comments before making a final decision to delete the Callahan property, OU3. If necessary, EPA will prepare a Responsiveness Summary to address any significant public comments received. After the public comment period, if EPA determines, in consultation with the State, it is still appropriate to delete the Callahan property, OU3 of the Ellisville Superfund Site, the Regional Administrator will publish a final Notice of Partial Deletion in the Federal Register. Public notices, public submissions and copies of the Responsiveness Summary, if prepared, will be made available to interested parties and included in the site information repositories listed above.

    Deletion of a portion of a site from the NPL does not itself create, alter, or revoke any individual's rights or obligations. Deletion of a portion of a site from the NPL does not in any way alter EPA's right to take enforcement actions, as appropriate. The NPL is designed primarily for informational purposes and to assist EPA management. Section 300.425(e)(3) of the NCP states that the deletion of a site from the NPL does not preclude eligibility for future response actions, should future conditions warrant such actions.

    IV. Basis for Partial Site Deletion

    The following information provides EPA's rationale for deleting the Callahan property, OU3 of the Ellisville Superfund Site from the NPL:

    Site Background and History Site Location

    The Ellisville Superfund Site (Site) (EPA ID MOD980633010) is located in St. Louis County, approximately 20 miles from downtown St. Louis, Missouri. The Site is comprised of three non-contiguous operable units the Bliss property, OU2 (11.6 acres), the Callahan property, OU3 (8 acres), and the Rosalie property, OU1 (85 acres). The population of St. Louis County is 998,954 people, according to the 2010 census. The counties that surround St. Louis County are Saint Charles, Franklin, and Jefferson Counties. The area immediately around the Site is comprised of single-family detached residential dwellings. The Site is located in the watershed of Caulks Creek, a tributary of Bonhomme Creek that enters the Missouri river. The geology of the Site is underlain by unconsolidated deposits that rest on the Mississippian-aged Osagean Series limestone bedrock with solution-enlarged joints. Below the Mississippian-aged Osagean Series limestone lies the Maquoketa Formation that provides a relatively impermeable shale aquitard.

    National Priorities List Designation

    The Site was proposed for inclusion on the NPL on December 30, 1982 (47 FR 58476). It was listed for final inclusion on the NPL September 8, 1983 (48 FR 40658-40673).

    Operable Units (OUs) Descriptions Not Proposed for Deletion

    The Rosalie property, OU1 is an 85-acre tract of land in which four acres were contaminated. The Rosalie property, OU1 was discovered in 1980 when a sewer worker encountered buried drums during an excavation. Drummed liquid and solid wastes were disposed of in and near Caulks Creeks. The Rosalie property OU1 cleanup remedy included the excavation of drums from four locations and the removal of contaminated soil from two of these locations. The drums and contaminated soils were disposed of at an EPA approved hazardous waste facility. Over 200 drums including one and five gallon buckets of chemical wastes were removed from the property. Of the 200 drums, only 45 contained suspected hazardous waste materials. Confirmation soil samples were collected to verify the effectiveness of the cleanup and the excavated areas were backfilled with clean soil and reseeded.

    The Bliss property, OU2 is located at 149 Strecker Road in the city of Wildwood, Missouri. Features on the Bliss property include a residential house, one mobile home, an enclosed horse arena with associated buildings and stables. The MDNR began investigating the site in 1980, when an informant reported illegal dumping of hazardous waste at the property. Russell Bliss owned and operated the Bliss Waste Oil Company during the 1960s and 1970s at the site. The business engaged in the transportation and disposal of waste oil products, industrial wastes, and chemical wastes. These wastes were disposed of in pits, buried in drums, and liquid wastes were dumped on the surface of the ground. Cleanup activities began February 6, 1996, and the permit for the incinerator at Times Beach was issued March 15, 1996, for the treatment of dioxin contaminated waste. Dioxin contaminated soil was removed according to the approved health-based action levels of 1 ppb at the surface and 10 ppb at a depth of 12 inches, except fill areas where the action level was 1 ppb at all depths. In the creek, the dioxin action levels were 1 ppb to 2 feet, depths greater than 2 feet were cleaned up to 10 ppb. Air monitoring and temporary containment structures were erected to ensure and prevent airborne contaminants from migrating off-site. At the end of the cleanup on the Bliss property OU2, 480 drums were removed and 252 soil confirmation samples were collected. A total of 24,478 tons of dioxin contaminated soil were excavated, removed, and incinerated at the Times Beach incinerator. Another 581 tons of non-dioxin contaminated soil were also excavated and removed to either LWD, Inc. landfill or Rollins Environmental Services landfill both Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permitted landfills. Groundwater investigations at the Bliss property, OU2 are ongoing.

    Operational Unit Description Proposed for Deletion and Historic Activities

    The Callahan property, OU3, is located at 210 Strecker Road in the city of Wildwood, Missouri. Features on the Callahan property include a small pond and barn. The small pond receives drainage from the northern portion of the parcel and is located above the former drum burial area (fill area). The terrain at the Callahan property slopes downward to the south from Strecker Road forming two drainage ways (below the fill area) that intersect at an intermittent Caulks Creek tributary near the southernmost property boundary.

    In August 1980, the MDNR received an eyewitness report that drums were being buried near a barn on the Callahan property. A follow up investigation revealed a disposal area of approximately 150 feet × 150 feet. During additional investigations, several drums were unearthed and sampled. Sample results determined that the drums contained paint-related wastes and solvents. The MDNR subsequently requested assistance from the EPA to address the buried drums, and a removal action (RA) was immediately initiated. Under section 104 of CERCLA, the RA took place during December 1981 to February 1982, when 1,205 drums were removed from the disposal area. Of these 1,205 drums, 613 contained hazardous waste, which were over packed and staged in two areas on the site for off-site disposal. Approximately 500 cubic yards of excavated soil was returned to the excavated drum burial area as backfill (Tetra Tech EM Inc. 2005).

    Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS)

    The Remedial Investigation field activities on the Callahan property, OU3 occurred in 1983 in which seven soil samples (ELL-21—ELL-25, ELL-31, ELL-32) and two surface water samples (ELL-26 and ELL-27) were collected. Soil results exceed the EPAs current residential RSLs at ELL-31 and ELL-32 for methylene chloride and oxirane. Surface water results were non-detect for contaminants of concern.

    The Feasibility Study identified remedial action objectives that were to control the erosion and stabilize the fill area where drums had been excavated. In addition, the plastic cover, blocks, barbed-wire fence, the drum storage areas, and gravel from the previous response action were also to be removed and properly disposed.

    Selected Remedy

    On July 10, 1985, the Record of Decision for the Ellisville site was signed. The remedy selected for the Callahan property, OU3 was to control erosion and slippage of the fill area, remove the plastic cover, blocks, barbed-wire fence, drum storage areas, and gravel and properly dispose of them. The shallow groundwater beneath the Callahan property is a non-potable water bearing zone due to insufficient yield. There is no reasonably anticipated use of site groundwater and no available groundwater exposure route for receptors. The ROD did thus not require any groundwater response.

    In December 1999, James Properties hired Brucker Engineering to conduct a Phase II Environmental Assessment on the Callahan property. During that investigation, five composite samples were collected and analyzed for dioxin, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, and metals (arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, and silver). All sample results were non-detect for contaminants of concern. A magnetic survey was also conducted during the investigation that showed no evidence of buried metal drums. A Site Removal Evaluation was conducted by the MDNR on January 31, 2005, to determine if any residual soil contamination remained at the Callahan property at concentrations that would warrant further response. A total of 29 soil and five sediment samples were collected during January 31, 2005 through February 2, 2005. All samples were analyzed for base neutral/acid extractables, pesticides/herbicides, PCBs, metals (arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, and silver), and dioxin. Results exceeded the EPA's current residential Regional Screening Levels (RSL's) for soil at monitoring location EU-6 for ethylbenzene, tetrachloroethene, and 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene.

    The EPA conducted an expanded site review in September 2011 on the Callahan property. A total of 34 soil samples were collected. Dioxin, metals (arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, and silver), PCBs, SVOCs, and VOCs were analyzed on one or more samples. Results exceeded the EPA's current Residential RSL's for soil at soil borings SB-25 (lead), SB-26 (bis-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate), SB-27 (lead), SB-44 (benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, ethylbenzene), and ditch grab #1 (arochlor 1248). Shallow groundwater was also investigated with no detections of contaminants of concern being identified.

    Time Critical Removal Action (RA)

    Based on the 2011 expanded site review, on September 13, 2012, the EPA issued an Action Memorandum authorizing funding for a Time Critical Removal Action at the Callahan property, OU3. Specific actions were undertaken at the site to eliminate the threats to human health and the environment from contamination found remaining in place. These actions included the excavation, transportation, and disposal of VOCs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and lead-contaminated waste/soils from the Site to a permitted disposal facility and restoration of the Site. The factors from the NCP that justified a removal action at the Site detailed in the Action memorandum are outlined below.

    1. 300.415(b)(2)(i)—Actual or potential exposure to nearby human populations, animals or the food chain from hazardous substances, or pollutants, or contaminants.

    The Site is located within 50 feet of a residential home that is located in a residential neighborhood. If the soils were to be brought to the surface, perhaps during a future housing development, the chances of this waste being spread across an area could expose current and future residents to these contaminants.

    2. 300.415(b)(2)(ii)—Actual or potential contamination of drinking water supplies or sensitive ecosystems;

    The EPA placed a monitoring well in the area where the buried waste was located. Groundwater results from the monitoring well were non-detect for contaminants of concern. However, due to the karst topography, at the site, one monitoring well would not be sufficient to identify if contamination had or had not migrated to the groundwater. If the contamination had not migrated to the groundwater, given time, contaminants could have leached and migrated to groundwater. Given that the bedrock is karst, it was in the EPA's best interest to prevent contamination from entering the groundwater system.

    3. 300.415(b)(2)(v)—Weather conditions that may cause hazardous substances or pollutants or contaminants to migrate or be released;

    Contaminated soils at the Callahan property had the potential to erode/leach from its current buried location. The contaminated soil was buried between a pond and the top of a drainage way that emptied into Caulks Creek. Caulks Creek is a major creek that runs through multiple sub-divisions in the area. It was foreseeable, since the waste was buried at shallow depths, that heavy rains could cause the hillside to become unstable releasing the buried waste into the drainage way.

    4. 300.415(b)(2)(vii)—The lack of other appropriate Federal or state response mechanisms to respond to the release.

    No other Federal or state authorities existed that would be able to provide response actions at the Site.

    The RA was conducted during November 27, 2012, through December 6, 2012. Contaminated soil was removed by an excavator and then placed directly into dump trucks for disposal at the Milam Landfill in East St. Louis, Illinois. During the removal action, a PID photoionization detector (PID) was used for real-time air monitoring to ensure that VOCs generated during the excavation activities were below acceptable criteria levels within the immediate area surrounding the excavation pit, as well as along the site perimeter adjacent to residential properties bordering the site. A personal air sampler was also used to measure lead concentrations in the breathing zone of workers during excavation activities. Elevated levels of lead in the breathing zone were not observed during the removal action.

    Excavation activities proceeded first by visual observation, once visual indicators were no longer observed, the soil was then screened using a PID for VOCs and an x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer for metals (lead in particular). At the completion of the excavation, seven confirmation soil samples and one stockpile confirmation sample (CA-SW-01, CA-EW-01, CA-EW-02, CA-WW-01, CA-WW-02, CA-NW-01, CA-NW-02, and CA-OVRSTK-01) were collected for laboratory analysis. All confirmation samples were analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, metals (arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, and silver), and PCBs. Analytical results for all confirmation samples were compared to the current EPA RSLs. All results were below RSLs except those for arsenic. However, arsenic results were below the average background concentration of 10.561 ppm for St. Louis County soils (USGS 2012), and no additional cleanup was required.

    The excavation of contaminated soil on the Callahan property, OU3 was completed on December 6, 2012. A total of 2,056 tons of contaminated soil and debris, including drum fragments and metal pieces, were excavated and transported to the Milam Landfill for proper disposal as non-hazardous “special waste.” The landfill accepted the waste based on disposal characterization sampling results (from November 2012), which had indicated that contaminated soil at the site did not contain hazardous constituents above acceptable levels or leach constituents above corresponding regulatory toxicity characteristic leaching procedure limits. The final excavated area was approximately 21 feet long on the south wall, 75 feet on the east wall, 70 feet on the north wall, and 82 feet on the west wall. The depth of the excavated area ranged from 5 to 15 feet.

    Following completion of the soil excavation, the excavation was backfilled and the site restored. One grab sample of off-site backfill material (CAL-BF-1) and one grab sample of off-site topsoil (CA-TPSL-01) were collected to confirm that the backfill material and topsoil did not contain contaminants above levels of concern. The samples were analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, and metals (arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, and silver). Laboratory results demonstrated that the backfill and topsoil samples did not contain any contaminants above current EPA RSLs.

    Following completion of backfilling, the site was restored in accordance with verbal agreements between the EPA and the property owner. The excavated area was completed with a swale that included rip-rap to serve as a drainage route, while the remaining portion of the site property was restored by hydro-seeding. The swale was approximately 8 feet wide by 150 feet long, and the rock used for rip-rap was 6 to 8 inch Gabien stone. Following completion of site restoration activities, the removal action was considered complete.

    Cleanup Levels

    The cleanup levels for the Callahan RA were the current EPAs RSLs. The process used during the RA was to excavate all visibly stained and/or odorous soils then field screen the excavation walls using an XRF and a PID. Once completed, confirmation soil samples were collected and submitted for analysis to ensure that all contaminants above RSLs had been excavated and removed from the site. Once the confirmation analytical results confirmed that levels were below RSLs, the excavated area was backfilled with clean material.

    Community Involvement

    The EPA has worked extensively with the Wildwood community through a variety of communication vehicles including but not limited to local speaking engagements, city council meetings, conducting public meetings, coverage on radio, television, and in local and national newspapers. The EPA also prepared letters and fact sheets that were distributed to mailing list recipients as well as hand-distributed to residences including information on the EPA Web site.

    The EPA has been performing outreach to Wildwood citizens, elected officials, the media, and others since becoming involved in the project in 1980 in an effort to convey information about the hazards and activities of the Site. The EPA has participated in numerous formal and informal meetings to explain the EPA's role and commitment in Wildwood to convey information about the Superfund process and to provide general information about the site and its contamination.

    Determination That the Criteria for Deletion Have Been Met

    In accordance with 40 CFR 300.425(e), Region 7 of the EPA finds that the Callahan property, OU3 of the Ellisville Superfund site (the subject of this deletion) meets the substantive criteria for partial NPL deletions. Activities at the Callahan property were completed consistent with the Action Memo and the Statement of Work, and the EPA policies and procedures. The EPA analytical methods were used for all investigations, including confirmation sampling and various levels of data validation as appropriate. The QA/QC program was rigorous and in conformance with the EPA standards. The EPA has determined that all analytical results were accurate to the degree necessary to assure satisfactory execution of the investigation and removal activities. All confirmation analytical results for soil samples were compared to the current EPA RSLs. All results were below the EPA RSLs except those for arsenic; however, all arsenic results were below the average concentration of 10.561 ppm for St. Louis County soils (USGS 2012).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 300

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Chemicals, Hazardous waste, Hazardous substances, Intergovernmental relations, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Superfund, Water pollution control, Water supply.

    Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1321(c)(2); 42 U.S.C. 9601-9657; E.O. 12777, 56 FR 54757, 3 CFR, 1991 Comp., p.351; E.O. 12580, 52 FR 2923, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p.193.

    Dated: February 26, 2016. Mark Hague, Regional Administrator, Region 7.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06221 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 160120042-6042-01] RIN 0648-BF69 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Groundfish Fishery; Recreational Management Measures AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    This action corrects an error in the Gulf of Maine haddock closed season in the proposed rule to implement 2016 recreational groundfish management measures for Gulf of Maine cod and haddock. NMFS is also extending the public comment period to provide additional time for the public to submit comments on the corrected measure.

    DATES:

    The public comment period for the proposed rule published at 81 FR 11168, March 3, 2016, is extended from March 18, 2016, to March 25, 2016. Comments must be received no later than March 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2016-0011, by either of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.

    1. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0011-0001.

    2. Click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and

    3. Enter or attach your comments.

    —OR—

    Mail: Submit written comments to: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, “Comments on groundfish recreational fishing management measures.”

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    In support of the proposed action, NMFS prepared a supplemental environmental assessment (EA) to Framework Adjustment 55 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. The Framework 55 EA was prepared by the New England Fishery Management Council. Copies of the Framework 55 EA and supplemental EA are available from: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. The Framework 55 EA and supplement are also accessible via the Internet at: http://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/sustainable/species/multispecies/.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mark Grant, Sector Policy Analyst, phone: 978-281-9145; email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Proposed Modifications to Recreational Management Measures

    On March 3, 2016, NMFS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (81 FR 11168) to increase recreational fishing opportunities for Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod and haddock starting May 1, 2016. The proposed changes would allow anglers to retain one cod per day during the months of August and September, and retain up to 15 haddock per day for most of the fishing year.

    Need for Modification

    NMFS intended to propose measures that were recommended by the New England Fishery Management Council. However, the proposed rule contained errors in the dates that GOM haddock possession would be prohibited. The New England Fishery Management Council recommended that haddock possession be prohibited in the GOM from March 1 through April 14, but NMFS inadvertently proposed a closed season from April 15 through April 30. Only the dates in the proposed rule and supplemental EA were incorrect. All of the information and analysis in the rule and supplemental EA were based on the correct dates and, therefore, are unaffected by this error. The final supplemental EA also will include the corrected dates. Table 1 in this rule summarizes the corrected proposed measures compared to the current fishing year 2015 measures.

    Table 1—Corrected Proposed Changes to GOM Cod and Haddock Recreational Management Measures Stock Current 2015 measures Per day possession limit (fish per angler) Minimum fish size Season when possession is permitted Proposed 2016 measures Per day possession limit (fish per angler) Minimum fish size Season when possession is permitted GOM Cod Possession Prohibited Year-Round 1 24 inches (61.0 cm) August 1-September 30. GOM Haddock 3 17 inches (43.2 cm) May 1, 2015-August 31, 2015 and November 1, 2015-February 29, 2016 15 17 inches (43.2 cm) Year Round Except March 1-April 14. * The recreational cod prohibition is proposed to be rescinded in Framework 55. This action would establish the actual recreational fishing effort regulations if the prohibition is removed.

    The proposed rule published March 3, 2016 (81 FR 11168), contained additional detail on the recent stock assessments and the increase to recreational catch limits for GOM cod and GOM haddock that are included in Framework Adjustment 55; the bio-economic model used to estimate 2016 recreational GOM cod and haddock mortality under various combinations of minimum sizes, possession limits, and closed seasons; and how management alternatives and the proposed measures were developed (see ADDRESSES). That information is not repeated here. Additional information and analyses on these alternatives is included in a supplemental Environmental Assessment (see ADDRESSES). Table 2 in this rule compares the estimated fishing year 2016 mortality of GOM cod and GOM haddock by the corrected management alternatives.

    Table 2—Estimated Fishing Year 2016 Mortality of GOM Cod and Haddock by Corrected Management Alternative* Alternative Haddock Bag limit Size limit (in/cm) Open season Total mortality (mt) Total mortality as percent of quota Cod Bag limit Size limit (in/cm) Open season Total mortality (mt) Total mortality as percent of quota Angler trips Current Recreational Measures 3 17/43.2 Waves 3, 4, 6, 1 405 44 0 n/a Closed 66 42 117,139 2016 RAP Recommendation 15 17/43.2 All year, except March 1-April 14 709 76 1 24/61.0 Jul—Aug. 132 84 168,125 2016 Committee Recommendation 15 17/43.2 All year, except March 1-April 14 707 76 1 24/61.0 Sept—Oct. 114 73 167,549 2016 Council Recommendation 15 17/43.2 All year, except March 1-April 14 707-709 76 1 24/61.0 Aug—Sept. 114-132 73-84 167,549-168,125 * The model cannot split a wave of data; the numbers provided under alternative 4 are a range between alternatives 2 and 3. Council recommended Framework 55 fishing year 2016 GOM haddock recreational catch limit = 928 mt. Council recommended Framework fishing year 2016 GOM cod recreational catch limit = 157 mt. Public Comment Extension

    The public comment period for the original proposed rule ends on March 18, 2016. We provided a 15-day comment period for this rule which, coupled with extensive public comment periods at three different Council-related meetings during the development of this action, would provide sufficient opportunity for public input on the proposed measures. Because of the need to correct an error in the proposed rule, we have extended the comment period for an additional 7 days until March 25, 2016, to allow public comment on the corrected measures. These measures need to be in effect on May 1, 2016, and recreational fishing businesses and fishermen are currently scheduling fishing trips. This correction will provide them with additional information to assist their planning efforts. Because the proposed measures would increase fishing opportunities, announcing a final decision on these measures quickly will provide additional support to recreational fishing businesses.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: March 14, 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 648, as published at 81 FR 11168, March 3, 2016, is proposed to be further amended as follows:

    PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. In § 648.89, revise paragraphs (c)(1)(ii), (c)(2), and (c)(8) to read as follows:
    § 648.89 Recreational and charter/party vessel restrictions.

    (c) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (ii) Each person on a private recreational fishing vessel, fishing from August 1 through September 30, may possess no more than one cod per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1); with the exception that each person on a private recreational vessel in possession of cod caught outside the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1) may transit this area with more than one such cod per person up to the possession limit specified at § 648.89(c)(1)(i), provided all bait and hooks are removed from fishing rods and any cod on board has been gutted and stored.

    (2) Charter or party vessels. (i) Each person on a charter/party fishing vessel permitted under this part and not fishing under a NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip may possess unlimited cod when fishing outside of the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (ii) Each person on a charter or party vessel permitted under this part, fishing from August 1 through September 30, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, may possess no more than one cod per day in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1); with the exception that each person on a charter or party vessel in possession of cod caught outside the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1) may transit this area with more than one such cod up to any possession limit under § 648.89(c)(2)(ii), provided all bait and hooks are removed from fishing rods and any cod on board has been gutted and stored.

    (iii) For purposes of counting fish, fillets will be converted to whole fish at the place of landing by dividing the number of fillets by two. If fish are filleted into a single (butterfly) fillet, such fillet shall be deemed to be from one whole fish.

    (iv) Cod harvested by a charter or party vessel with more than one person aboard may be pooled in one or more containers. Compliance with the possession limits will be determined by dividing the number of fish on board by the number of persons on board. If there is a violation of the possession limits on board a vessel carrying more than one person, the violation shall be deemed to have been committed by the owner or operator of the vessel.

    (v) Cod must be stored so as to be readily available for inspection.

    (8) Haddock—(i) Outside the Gulf of Maine—(A) Private recreational vessels. Each person on a private recreational vessel may possess unlimited haddock in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing outside of the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (B) Charter or party vessels. Each person on a charter or party fishing vessel permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, may possess unlimited haddock in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing outside of the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (ii) Gulf of Maine—(A) Private recreational vessels. Each person on a private recreational vessel in possession of haddock caught outside the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1) may transit this area with more than the GOM haddock possession limit specified at § 648.89(c)(8)(ii) up to the possession limit specified at § 648.89(c)(8)(i), provided all bait and hooks are removed from fishing rods and any haddock on board has been gutted and stored.

    (1) May through February. Each person on a private recreational fishing vessel, fishing from May 1 through February 28 (February 29 in leap years), may possess no more than 15 haddock per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (2) March 1 through April 14. When fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1), persons aboard private recreational fishing vessels may not fish for or possess any haddock from March 1 through April 14.

    (3) April 15 through April 30. Each person on a private recreational fishing vessel, fishing from April 15 through April 30, may possess no more than 15 haddock per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (B) Charter or party vessels. Each person on a charter or party fishing vessel permitted under this part, and not fishing under a NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, in possession of haddock caught outside the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1) may transit this area with more than GOM haddock possession limit per person up to the possession limit specified at § 648.89(c)(8)(i), provided all bait and hooks are removed from fishing rods and any haddock on board has been gutted and stored.

    (1) May through February. Each person on a charter or party fishing vessel permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, fishing from May 1 through February 28 (or 29 in leap years), may possess no more than 15 haddock per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (2) March 1 through April 14. When fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1), persons aboard a charter or party fishing vessel permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, may not fish for or possess any haddock from March 1 through April 14.

    (3) April 15 through April 30. Each person on a charter or party fishing vessel permitted under this part, and not fishing under the NE multispecies DAS program or on a sector trip, fishing from April 15 through April 30, may possess no more than 15 haddock per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ when fishing in the GOM Regulated Mesh Area specified in § 648.80(a)(1).

    (iii) For purposes of counting fish, fillets will be converted to whole fish at the place of landing by dividing the number of fillets by two. If fish are filleted into a single (butterfly) fillet, such fillet shall be deemed to be from one whole fish.

    (iv) Haddock harvested in or from the EEZ by private recreational fishing boats or charter or party boats with more than one person aboard may be pooled in one or more containers. Compliance with the possession limit will be determined by dividing the number of fish on board by the number of persons on board. If there is a violation of the possession limit on board a vessel carrying more than one person, the violation shall be deemed to have been committed by the owner or operator of the vessel.

    (v) Haddock must be stored so as to be readily available for inspection.

    [FR Doc. 2016-06179 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 223 and 224 RIN 0648-XC751 Endangered and Threatened Species; Identification of 14 Distinct Population Segments of the Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) and Proposed Revision of Species-Wide Listing AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; notice of availability of monitoring plan and opening of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    We, NMFS, in collaboration with Federal and state partners, have drafted a monitoring plan (MP) for the distinct population segments (DPSs) of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) that we did not propose to list as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), in our proposed revision of the species-wide listing. This document announces the availability of the draft MP and opens a 30-day public comment period on it.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by April 18, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments to Marta Nammack, National ESA Listing Coordinator, NMFS Headquarters. You may submit comments, identified by FDMS Docket Number NOAA-NMFS-2015-0035 by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Hand-delivery: National ESA Listing Coordinator, Protected Resources Office, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13536, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

    Mail: NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13536, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

    All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

    The draft MP, along with the proposed revision of the humpback whale species-wide listing (80 FR 22304; April 21, 2015) and the Biological Review Team's Status Review Report (Bettridge et al., 2015) upon which the proposed revision relies upon can be found on the NMFS Web site at: http://nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Marta Nammack, Office of Protected Resources, Silver Spring, MD (301) 427-8469.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On April 21, 2015, we published a proposal to divide the globally listed endangered humpback whale into 14 DPSs, remove the current species-level listing, and in its place list 2 DPSs as endangered and 2 DPSs as threatened. The remaining 10 DPSs were not proposed for listing because we determined that they are not threatened or endangered under the ESA.

    Section 4(g)(1) of the ESA requires that NMFS: “. . . implement a system in cooperation with the States to monitor effectively for not less than five years the status of all species which have recovered to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to this Act [the ESA] are no longer necessary and which, in accordance with the provisions of this section, have been removed from either of the lists published under subsection (c).” General guidance for monitoring plan development is provided by recommendations jointly developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NMFS (USFWS and NMFS 2008). This guidance, called the “Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan Guidance,” clarified that: “The primary goal of PDM is to monitor the species to ensure the status does not deteriorate, and if a substantial decline in the species . . . or an increase in threats is detected, to take measures to halt the decline so that re-proposing it as a threatened or endangered species is not needed.” Although our determination that certain DPSs of humpback whale no longer qualify for listing is not technically a “delisting,” for the reasons explained in the proposed listing rule, we find that it is appropriate to monitor the status of the populations that will no longer be listed if the proposed rule is finalized. This is consistent with the intent of section 4(g)(1) of the Act. 16 U.S.C. 1533(g)(1). The Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan guidance thus guides us in our development of a monitoring plan for those humpback whale DPSs.

    Pursuant to ESA section 4(g)(1), we have drafted a MP for the humpback whale DPSs that we did not propose to list as threatened or endangered.

    Public Comments Solicited

    We are notifying the public of the availability of a draft MP and providing the public an opportunity to submit comments on the draft MP for 30 days. The comment period shall be limited to 30 days because the statutory deadline for our final listing determination on the proposed rule is April 21, 2016, and we must finalize the MP by this date, too. We will consider all comments we receive during the comment period and incorporate suggestions, as appropriate, before finalizing the MP. Please submit any comments to the ADDRESSES listed above.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

    Dated: March 14, 2016. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06116 Filed 3-17-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 53 Friday, March 18, 2016 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service [Docket No. AMS-FV-15-0069; FV16-981-1] Notice of Request for Extension and Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection AGENCY:

    Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), this notice announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) intention to request an extension for and revision of a currently approved information collection for Almonds Grown in California, Marketing Order No. 981.

    DATES:

    Comments on this notice must be received by May 17, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning this notice. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Indepen