Federal Register Vol. 81, No.58,

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 58 (March 25, 2016)

Page Range16053-17057
FR Document

81_FR_58
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
81 FR 16053 - Building National Capabilities for Long-Term Drought ResiliencePDF
81 FR 16264 - Notice of Unsafe Condition Involving Commercial Motor Vehicles Affected by Volvo Trucks North America's Safety Recall and Out-of-Service DeclarationPDF
81 FR 16102 - Disestablishment of Danger Zone for Meteorological Rocket Launching Facility, Shemya Island Area, AKPDF
81 FR 16093 - Disestablishment of Danger Zone for Meteorological Rocket Launching Facility, Shemya Island Area, AKPDF
81 FR 16174 - Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; The National Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Contingency Plan RegulationPDF
81 FR 16173 - FY2016 Supplemental Funding for Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) GranteesPDF
81 FR 16139 - United States Manufacturing Council: Meeting of the United States Manufacturing CouncilPDF
81 FR 16099 - Identifying and Reducing Regulatory BurdensPDF
81 FR 16142 - Patent Quality Metrics for Fiscal Year 2017 and Request for Comments on Improving Patent Quality MeasurementPDF
81 FR 16196 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Information Resource Center Customer Satisfaction SurveyPDF
81 FR 16194 - 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Surveys of Community Development Marketplace Project Inventory and Recipients and Providers of HUD Technical Assistance and TrainingPDF
81 FR 16211 - National Historic Landmarks Committee of the National Park System Advisory Board MeetingPDF
81 FR 16138 - Notice of Final Results of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review: Drawn Stainless Steel Sinks From the People's Republic of ChinaPDF
81 FR 16213 - Notice of April 20-21, 2016, Meeting of the Preservation Technology and Training BoardPDF
81 FR 16212 - Notice of 2016 Meeting Schedule for Gettysburg National Military Park Advisory CommissionPDF
81 FR 16213 - Request for Nominations for the Gettysburg National Military Park Advisory CommissionPDF
81 FR 16203 - Contract Support CostsPDF
81 FR 16204 - Yavapai-Apache Nation of the Camp Verde Indian Reservation Liquor CodePDF
81 FR 16154 - Application for New Awards; Native American and Alaska Native Children in School ProgramPDF
81 FR 16162 - National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and AccreditationPDF
81 FR 16074 - Operations in Rural Areas Under the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z); Interim Final RulePDF
81 FR 16097 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian IslandsPDF
81 FR 16096 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod in the Aleutian Islands Subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management AreaPDF
81 FR 16184 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 16184 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 16145 - Procurement List; DeletionsPDF
81 FR 16145 - Procurement List Proposed Additions and DeletionsPDF
81 FR 16146 - Procurement List; DeletionsPDF
81 FR 16282 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 16154 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Study of the Title III Native American and Alaska Native Children in School (NAM) ProgramPDF
81 FR 16191 - Towing Safety Advisory CommitteePDF
81 FR 16127 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 16137 - In the Matter of: Nutveena Sirirojnananont, 399 Maplewood Avenue, Portmouth, NH 03801; Order Denying Export PrivilegesPDF
81 FR 16254 - Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program; TxDOT Audit ReportPDF
81 FR 16175 - Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of AvailabilityPDF
81 FR 16214 - Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public InterestPDF
81 FR 16176 - Privacy Act System of RecordsPDF
81 FR 16207 - Privacy Act of 1974, as Amended; Notice To Amend an Existing System of RecordsPDF
81 FR 16190 - Proposed Collection; 60-Day Comment Request: Request for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Line To Be Approved for Use in NIH Funded Research (OD)PDF
81 FR 16224 - Notice of Submission for Approval: Information Collection 3206-0258; Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions (SF 85P) and Supplemental Questionnaire for Selected Positions (SF 85P-S)PDF
81 FR 16187 - Meeting of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and NutritionPDF
81 FR 16188 - Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Minority HealthPDF
81 FR 16215 - Certain Height Adjustable Desk Platforms and Components Thereof Commission Determination Not To Review an Initial Determination Granting a Joint Motion To Terminate the Investigation on the Basis of Settlement; Termination of InvestigationPDF
81 FR 16278 - Proposed Collection of Information: FHA New Account Request, Transition Request, and Transfer RequestPDF
81 FR 16168 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
81 FR 16166 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
81 FR 16279 - Office of Foreign Assets ControlPDF
81 FR 16141 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 16183 - Notice of the General Services Administration's Labor-Management Relations Council MeetingPDF
81 FR 16224 - Final Adoption of Updated Federal Elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National CapitalPDF
81 FR 16210 - Notice of Public Meeting for the Coastal Oregon Resource Advisory CouncilPDF
81 FR 16280 - Financial Research Advisory CommitteePDF
81 FR 16188 - Final Effect of Designation of a Class of Employees for Addition to the Special Exposure CohortPDF
81 FR 16281 - 2016 Report on the Terrorism Risk Insurance ProgramPDF
81 FR 16265 - Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; VisionPDF
81 FR 16200 - Draft Environmental Impact Statement; Eastern Collier Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan; Collier County, FloridaPDF
81 FR 16215 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection, eComments Requested; Extension Without Change of a Previously Approved Collection Application for Registration Under Domestic Chemical Diversion Control Act of 1993, Renewal Application for Registration Under Domestic Chemical Diversion Control Act of 1993; DEA Forms 510, 510APDF
81 FR 16216 - Notice Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Oil Pollution ActPDF
81 FR 16252 - San Jacinto Transportation Company, Inc.-Operation Exemption-SJRE-Railroad SeriesPDF
81 FR 16202 - Endangered Species; Marine Mammals; Issuance of PermitsPDF
81 FR 16197 - Endangered Species; Receipt of Applications for PermitPDF
81 FR 16229 - Premise Capital, LLC, et al.; Notice of ApplicationPDF
81 FR 16251 - North Carolina & Atlantic Railroad Co., Inc.-Lease and Operation Exemption-North Carolina Department of TransportationPDF
81 FR 16252 - BNSF Railway Company-Trackage Rights Exemption-State of Washington, Department of TransportationPDF
81 FR 16251 - Gulf & Ohio Railways, Inc., H. Peter Claussen and Linda C. Claussen-Continuance in Control Exemption-North Carolina & Atlantic Railroad Co., Inc.PDF
81 FR 16199 - Information Collection Request Sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Approval; Annual Certification of Hunting and Sport Fishing Licenses IssuedPDF
81 FR 16223 - Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH)PDF
81 FR 16172 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
81 FR 16163 - Combined Notice of Filings # 1PDF
81 FR 16168 - Commission Information Collection Activities (FERC-714 and FERC-730); Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 16170 - Commission Information Collection Activities; (FERC-556, FERC-606, and FERC-607); Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 16164 - NextEra Energy Power Marketing, LLC Northeast Energy Associates, a Limited Partnership v. ISO New England Inc.; Notice of ComplaintPDF
81 FR 16168 - Notice of Commission Staff AttendancePDF
81 FR 16165 - Pike County Light & Power Company; Notice of ApplicationPDF
81 FR 16167 - Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of ApplicationPDF
81 FR 16164 - Combined Notice of Filings #2PDF
81 FR 16059 - AssessmentsPDF
81 FR 16136 - Notice of Request for Extension of a Currently Approved Information CollectionPDF
81 FR 16186 - General Principles for Evaluating the Abuse Deterrence of Generic Solid Oral Opioid Drugs Products; Draft Guidance for Industry; AvailabilityPDF
81 FR 16127 - Inviting Applications for Rural Cooperative Development GrantsPDF
81 FR 16217 - Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) 2014; Lower Living Standard Income Level (LLSIL)PDF
81 FR 16189 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 16190 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
81 FR 16189 - National Institute on Aging; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 16270 - NHTSA Enforcement Guidance Bulletin 2016-01; Guidance on Submission and Treatment of Manufacturer Communications to Dealers, Owners, or Purchasers About a Defect or NoncompliancePDF
81 FR 16277 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Information Collection Renewal; Comment Request; Minimum Security Devices and Procedures, Reports of Suspicious Activities, and Bank Secrecy Act Compliance ProgramPDF
81 FR 16253 - Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee Meeting on Transport Airplane and Engine IssuesPDF
81 FR 16253 - Petition for Exemption; Summary of Petition Received; Wittman Regional AirportPDF
81 FR 16141 - Fisheries of the South Atlantic; Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR); Pre-Assessment Webinar for South Atlantic Red Snapper and Gray TriggerfishPDF
81 FR 16229 - Product Change-Priority Mail Express Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 16229 - Product Change-Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 16228 - Product Change-Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 16228 - Product Change-Parcel Select Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 16229 - Product Change-Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 16192 - Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee; VacanciesPDF
81 FR 16247 - Northern Lights Fund Trust and Princeton Fund Advisors, LLC; Notice of ApplicationPDF
81 FR 16245 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ICE Clear Credit LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change To Revise the ICC Operational Risk Management FrameworkPDF
81 FR 16238 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ISE Mercury, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Schedule of FeesPDF
81 FR 16248 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; International Securities Exchange, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Eliminate the Strict Concentration Limits on Primary Market MakersPDF
81 FR 16240 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ISE Mercury, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Schedule of FeesPDF
81 FR 16227 - Product Change-Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 16228 - Product Change-Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 16228 - Product Change-First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 16226 - New Postal ProductPDF
81 FR 16095 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 2016 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for South Atlantic Vermilion SnapperPDF
81 FR 16190 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 16282 - Proposed Information Collection (Alternate Signer Certification (VA Form 21-0972)); Activity: Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 16283 - Proposed Information Collection (Marital Status Questionnaire, VA Form 21P-0537); Activity: Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 16227 - New Postal ProductPDF
81 FR 16269 - Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncompliancePDF
81 FR 16268 - Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncompliancePDF
81 FR 17057 - Acquisition of Items for Which Federal Prison Industries Has a Significant Market SharePDF
81 FR 17055 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Costs Related to Counterfeit Electronic Parts (DFARS Case 2016-D010)PDF
81 FR 17053 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Treatment of Interagency and State and Local Purchases (DFARS Case 2016-D009)PDF
81 FR 17051 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Instructions for the Wide Area WorkFlow Reparable Receiving Report (DFARS Case 2016-D004)PDF
81 FR 17050 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Prohibition on Use of Any Cost-Plus System of Contracting for Military Construction and Military Family Housing Projects (DFARS Case 2015-D040)PDF
81 FR 17048 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Prohibition on Requiring the Use of Fire-resistant Rayon Fiber (DFARS Case 2016-D012)PDF
81 FR 17047 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Buy American and Balance of Payments Program-Clause Prescription (DFARS Case 2015-D037)PDF
81 FR 17045 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Clauses With Alternates-Small Business Programs (DFARS Case 2015-D017)PDF
81 FR 17044 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Extension and Modification of Contract Authority for Advanced Component Development and Prototype Units (DFARS Case 2015-D008)PDF
81 FR 17042 - Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Warranty Tracking of Serialized Items (DFARS Case 2014-D026)PDF
81 FR 16146 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 16147 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 16094 - Approval of Air Quality State Implementation Plans (SIP); State of Iowa; Infrastructure SIP Requirements for the 2008 Lead National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS); CorrectionPDF
81 FR 16102 - Approval of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New Jersey, Carbon Monoxide Maintenance PlanPDF
81 FR 16147 - One-Time Deauthorization of Water Resources ProjectsPDF
81 FR 16250 - Public Notice; 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Smart Traveler Enrollment ProgramPDF
81 FR 16107 - Odometer Disclosure RequirementsPDF
81 FR 16198 - Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, Canyon, Payette, Owyhee, and Washington Counties, ID, and Malheur County, OR; Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Record of Decision for Final Environmental Impact StatementPDF
81 FR 16217 - Advisory Board; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 16892 - Exempt Chemical Preparations Under the Controlled Substances ActPDF
81 FR 16140 - Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Request for Public CommentsPDF
81 FR 16140 - Science Advisory Board (SAB)PDF
81 FR 16100 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH HelicoptersPDF
81 FR 16193 - Federal Property Suitable as Facilities To Assist the HomelessPDF
81 FR 16085 - Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Eye and Face ProtectionPDF
81 FR 16275 - Hazardous Materials: Notice of Applications for Special PermitsPDF
81 FR 16276 - Hazardous Materials: Notice of Applications for Special PermitsPDF
81 FR 16286 - Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline SilicaPDF

Issue

81 58 Friday, March 25, 2016 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Food and Nutrition Service

See

Rural Business-Cooperative Service

PROPOSED RULES Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens, 16099-16100 2016-06852
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection RULES Operations in Rural Areas under the Truth in Lending Act, 16074-16084 2016-06834 Fiscal Bureau of the Fiscal Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: FHA New Account Request, Transition Request, and Transfer Request, 16278-16279 2016-06807 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 16184-16186 2016-06829 2016-06830 Coast Guard Coast Guard NOTICES Meetings: Towing Safety Advisory Committee, 16191-16192 2016-06822 Requests for Applications: Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee, 16192-16193 2016-06749 Commerce Commerce Department See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

Patent and Trademark Office

Committee for Purchase Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled NOTICES Procurement List; Additions and Deletions, 16145-16146 2016-06827 2016-06825 2016-06826 Comptroller Comptroller of the Currency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Minimum Security Devices and Procedures, Reports of Suspicious Activities, and Bank Secrecy Act Compliance Program, 16277-16278 2016-06758 Defense Acquisition Defense Acquisition Regulations System RULES Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Buy American and Balance of Payments Program -- Clause Prescription, 17047-17048 2016-06723 Clauses with Alternates -- Small Business Programs, 17045-17047 2016-06722 Extension and Modification of Contract Authority for Advanced Component Development and Prototype Units, 17044-17045 2016-06721 Prohibition on Requiring the Use of Fire-resistant Rayon Fiber, 17048-17049 2016-06724 Warranty Tracking of Serialized Items, 17042-17044 2016-06720 PROPOSED RULES Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Costs Related to Counterfeit Electronic Parts, 17055-17056 2016-06728 Instructions for the Wide Area WorkFlow Reparable Receiving Report, 17051-17053 2016-06726 Prohibition on Use of any Cost-Plus System of Contracting for Military Construction and Military Family Housing Projects, 17050-17051 2016-06725 Treatment of Interagency and State and Local Purchases, 17053-17055 2016-06727 NOTICES Acquisition of Items for Which Federal Prison Industries Has a Significant Market Share, 17057 2016-06729 Defense Department Defense Department See

Defense Acquisition Regulations System

See

Engineers Corps

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 16146-16147 2016-06716 2016-06719
Drug Drug Enforcement Administration NOTICES Exempt Chemical Preparations under the Controlled Substances Act, 16892-17040 2016-06624 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Study of the Title III Native American and Alaska Native Children in School (NAM) Program, 16154 2016-06823 Applications for New Awards: Native American and Alaska Native Children in School Program, 16154-16162 2016-06838 Meetings: National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation, 16162-16163 2016-06837 Employment and Training Employment and Training Administration NOTICES Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act 2014; Lower Living Standard Income Level, 16217-16223 2016-06764 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Engineers Engineers Corps RULES Disestablishment of Danger Zone for Meteorological Rocket Launching Facility, Shemya Island Area, AK, 16093-16094 2016-06860 PROPOSED RULES Disestablishment of Danger Zone for Meteorological Rocket Launching Facility, Shemya Island Area, AK, 16102 2016-06861 NOTICES One-Time Deauthorization of Water Resources Projects, 16147-16153 2016-06695 Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Iowa; Infrastructure SIP Requirements for the 2008 Lead National Ambient Air Quality Standard; Correction, 16094-16095 2016-06705 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: New Jersey; Carbon Monoxide Maintenance Plan, 16102-16107 2016-06704 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: The National Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Contingency Plan, 16174-16175 2016-06855 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc., 16175-16176 2016-06817 Funding Availability: Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grantees, 16173-16174 2016-06854 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Helicopters, 16100-16102 2016-06530 NOTICES Meetings: Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee Meeting on Transport Airplane and Engine Issues, 16253 2016-06757 Petitions for Exemptions; Summaries, 16253-16254 2016-06756 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 16176-16183 2016-06815 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation RULES Assessments, 16059-16074 2016-06770 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 16168-16172 2016-06776 2016-06777 Applications: Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC, 16167 2016-06772 Pike County Light and Power Co., 16165-16166 2016-06773 Combined Filings, 16163-16164, 16166-16168, 16172-16173 2016-06771 2016-06778 2016-06779 2016-06805 2016-06806 Complaints: NextEra Energy Power Marketing, LLC Northeast Energy Associates, LP v. ISO New England Inc., 16164-16165 2016-06775 Staff Attendance, 16168 2016-06774 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration NOTICES Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program; TxDOT Audit Report, 16254-16264 2016-06819 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Notice of Unsafe Condition Involving Commercial Motor Vehicles Affected by Volvo Trucks North America's Safety Recall and Out-of-Service Declaration, 16264-16265 2016-06880 Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications: Vision, 16265-16267 2016-06794 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Annual Certification of Hunting and Sport Fishing Licenses Issued, 16199-16200 2016-06781 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, Canyon, Payette, Owyhee, and Washington Counties, ID, and Malheur County, OR, 16198-16199 2016-06628 Eastern Collier Multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan; Collier County, Florida, 16200-16202 2016-06792 Permits: Endangered Species, 16197-16198 2016-06786 Endangered Species; Marine Mammals, 16202-16203 2016-06787 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration NOTICES Draft Guidance for Industry: General Principles for Evaluating the Abuse Deterrence of Generic Solid Oral Opioid Drugs Products, 16186-16187 2016-06766 Food and Nutrition Food and Nutrition Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 16127 2016-06821 Foreign Assets Foreign Assets Control Office NOTICES Blocking or Unblocking of Persons and Properties, 16279-16280 2016-06804 General Services General Services Administration NOTICES Meetings: General Services Administration's Labor-Management Relations Council, 16183 2016-06802 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

See

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

NOTICES Designation of a Class of Employees for Addition to the Special Exposure Cohort, 16188-16189 2016-06797 Meetings: Advisory Committee on Minority Health, 16188 2016-06809 President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, 16187-16188 2016-06810
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals Surveys of Community Development Marketplace Project Inventory and Recipients and Providers of HUD Technical Assistance and Training, 16194-16196 2016-06849 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Information Resource Center Customer Satisfaction Survey, 16196-16197 2016-06850 Federal Property Suitable as Facilities to Assist the Homeless, 16193-16194 2016-06489 Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Meetings: Contract Support Costs; Tribal Consultations, 16203-16204 2016-06841 Yavapai-Apache Nation of the Camp Verde Indian Reservation Liquor Code, 16204-16207 2016-06840 Industry Industry and Security Bureau NOTICES Denials of Export Privileges: Nutveena Sirirojnananont, 16137-16138 2016-06820 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 16207-16210 2016-06813
International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Drawn Stainless Steel Sinks from the People's Republic of China, 16138-16139 2016-06847 Meetings: United States Manufacturing Council, 16139-16140 2016-06853 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Complaints: Certain Motorized Self-Balancing Vehicles, 16214-16215 2016-06816 Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Height Adjustable Desk Platforms and Components Thereof, 16215 2016-06808 Justice Department Justice Department See

Drug Enforcement Administration

See

National Institute of Corrections

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for Registration under Domestic Chemical Diversion Control Act; Renewal Application for Registration under Domestic Chemical Diversion Control Act, 16215-16216 2016-06790 Proposed Consent Decree under the Oil Pollution Act, 16216-16217 2016-06789
Labor Department Labor Department See

Employment and Training Administration

See

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Meetings: Coastal Oregon Resource Advisory Council, 16210-16211 2016-06799 National Capital National Capital Planning Commission NOTICES Final Adoption of Updated Federal Elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital, 16224 2016-06800 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration PROPOSED RULES Odometer Disclosure Requirements, 16107-16126 2016-06665 NOTICES Guidance: Submission and Treatment of Manufacturer Communications to Dealers, Owners, or Purchasers about a Defect or Noncompliance, 16270-16275 2016-06759 Petitions for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance: Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, 16269-16270 2016-06731 Cooper Tire and Rubber Co., 16268-16269 2016-06730 National Institute Corrections National Institute of Corrections NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Board, 16217 2016-06625 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Request for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Line to be Approved for Use in NIH Funded Research, 16190 2016-06812 Meetings: National Institute on Aging, 16189-16190 2016-06761 2016-06762 2016-06763 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic: South Atlantic Vermilion Snapper; Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure, 16095-16096 2016-06737 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: Pacific Cod in the Aleutian Islands Subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, 16096-16097 2016-06831 Pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; Reallocation, 16097-16098 2016-06832 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 16141-16142 2016-06803 Meetings: Fisheries of the South Atlantic; Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review; Pre-Assessment Webinar for South Atlantic red snapper and gray triggerfish, 16141 2016-06755 Science Advisory Board, 16140-16141 2016-06554 Small Business Innovation Research Request for Comments, 16140 2016-06555 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Meetings: Gettysburg National Military Park Advisory Commission, 16212-16213 2016-06844 National Historic Landmarks Committee of the National Park System Advisory Board, 16211-16212 2016-06848 Preservation Technology and Training Board, 16213 2016-06846 Requests for Nominations: Gettysburg National Military Park Advisory Commission, 16213-16214 2016-06843 Occupational Safety Health Adm Occupational Safety and Health Administration RULES Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica, 16286-16890 2016-04800 Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Eye and Face Protection, 16085-16093 2016-06359 NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, 16223-16224 2016-06780 Patent Patent and Trademark Office NOTICES Patent Quality Metrics for Fiscal Year 2017 and Request for Comments on Improving Patent Quality Measurement, 16142-16145 2016-06851 Personnel Personnel Management Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions and Supplemental Questionnaire for Selected Positions, 16224-16226 2016-06811 Pipeline Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration NOTICES Hazardous Materials; Applications for Special Permits, 16275-16277 2016-05921 2016-05922 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 16226-16227 2016-06732 2016-06733 2016-06738 Postal Service Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 16228 2016-06739 2016-06740 Parcel Select Negotiated Service Agreement, 16228 2016-06751 Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 16228 2016-06752 Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 16229 2016-06753 Priority Mail Express Negotiated Service Agreement, 16229 2016-06754 Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 16227-16229 2016-06741 2016-06742 2016-06743 2016-06750 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS Long-Term Drought Resilience; Building National Capabilities (Memorandum of March 21, 2016), 16053-16058 2016-06901 Rural Business Rural Business-Cooperative Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 16136-16137 2016-06767 2016-06768 Requests for Applications: Rural Cooperative Development Grants, 16127-16136 2016-06765 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Applications: Northern Lights Fund Trust and Princeton Fund Advisors, LLC, 16247-16248 2016-06748 Premise Capital, LLC, et al., 16229-16238 2016-06785 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: ICE Clear Credit, LLC, 16245-16247 2016-06747 International Securities Exchange, LLC, 16248-16250 2016-06745 ISE Mercury, LLC, 16238-16245 2016-06744 2016-06746 State Department State Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, 16250-16251 2016-06693 Substance Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 16190-16191 2016-06736 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Continuance in Control Exemptions: Gulf and Ohio Railways, Inc., H. Peter Claussen and Linda C. Claussen; North Carolina and Atlantic Railroad Co., Inc., 16251 2016-06782 Lease and Operation Exemptions: North Carolina and Atlantic Railroad Co., Inc.; North Carolina Department of Transportation, 16251-16252 2016-06784 Operation Exemptions: San Jacinto Transportation Co., Inc.; SJRE-Railroad Series, 16252-16253 2016-06788 Trackage Rights Exemptions: BNSF Railway Co.; State of Washington, Department of Transportation, 16252 2016-06783 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

See

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

Treasury Treasury Department See

Bureau of the Fiscal Service

See

Comptroller of the Currency

See

Foreign Assets Control Office

NOTICES 2016 Report on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, 16281 2016-06795 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 16282 2016-06824 Request for Applications: Financial Research Advisory Committee, 16280-16281 2016-06798
Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Alternate Signer Certification, 16282-16283 2016-06735 Marital Status Questionnaire, 16283 2016-06734 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Labor Department, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 16286-16890 2016-04800 Part III Justice Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, 16892-17040 2016-06624 Part IV Defense Department, Defense Acquisition Regulations System, 17042-17056 2016-06723 2016-06722 2016-06721 2016-06724 2016-06720 2016-06728 2016-06726 2016-06725 2016-06727 17057 2016-06729 Reader Aids

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

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81 58 Friday, March 25, 2016 Rules and Regulations FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION 12 CFR Part 327 RIN 3064-AE40 Assessments AGENCY:

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

Pursuant to the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) and the FDIC's authority under section 7 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDI Act), the FDIC is imposing a surcharge on the quarterly assessments of insured depository institutions with total consolidated assets of $10 billion or more. The surcharge will equal an annual rate of 4.5 basis points applied to the institution's assessment base (with certain adjustments). If the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF or fund) reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent before July 1, 2016, surcharges will begin July 1, 2016. If the reserve ratio has not reached 1.15 percent by that date, surcharges will begin the first day of the calendar quarter after the reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent. (Lower regular quarterly deposit insurance assessment (regular assessment) rates will take effect the quarter after the reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent.) Surcharges will continue through the quarter that the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.35 percent, but not later than December 31, 2018. The FDIC expects that surcharges will commence in the second half of 2016 and that they should be sufficient to raise the DIF reserve ratio to 1.35 percent in approximately eight quarters, i.e., before the end of 2018. If the reserve ratio does not reach 1.35 percent by December 31, 2018 (provided it is at least 1.15 percent), the FDIC will impose a shortfall assessment on March 31, 2019, on insured depository institutions with total consolidated assets of $10 billion or more. The FDIC will provide assessment credits (credits) to insured depository institutions with total consolidated assets of less than $10 billion for the portion of their regular assessments that contribute to growth in the reserve ratio between 1.15 percent and 1.35 percent. The FDIC will apply the credits each quarter that the reserve ratio is at least 1.38 percent to offset the regular deposit insurance assessments of institutions with credits.

DATES:

This rule will become effective on July 1, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Munsell W. St. Clair, Chief, Banking and Regulatory Policy Section, Division of Insurance and Research, (202) 898-8967; Nefretete Smith, Senior Attorney, Legal Division, (202) 898-6851; and James Watts, Senior Attorney, Legal Division (202) 898-6678.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Comments

On October 22, 2015, the FDIC's Board of Directors (Board) authorized publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) to impose a surcharge on the quarterly assessments of insured depository institutions with total consolidated assets of $10 billion or more.

The NPR was published in the Federal Register on November 6, 2015.1 The FDIC sought comment on every aspect of the proposed rule and on alternatives. The FDIC received a total of eight letters. Of these letters, four were from trade groups and four were from banks. Comments are discussed in the relevant sections below.

1 See 80 FR 68780 (Nov. 6, 2015).

II. Policy Objectives

The FDIC maintains a fund in order to assure the agency's capacity to meet its obligations as insurer of deposits and receiver of failed banks.2 The FDIC considers the adequacy of the DIF in terms of the reserve ratio, which is equal to the DIF balance divided by estimated insured deposits. A higher minimum reserve ratio reduces the risk that losses from bank failures during a downturn will exhaust the DIF and reduces the risk of large, procyclical increases in deposit insurance assessments to maintain a positive DIF balance.

2 As used in this final rule, the term “bank” has the same meaning as “insured depository institution” as defined in section 3 of the FDI Act, 12 U.S.C. 1813(c)(2).

The Dodd-Frank Act, enacted on July 21, 2010, contained several provisions to strengthen the DIF.3 Among other things, it: (1) Raised the minimum reserve ratio for the DIF to 1.35 percent (from the former minimum of 1.15 percent); 4 (2) required that the reserve ratio reach 1.35 percent by September 30, 2020; 5 and (3) required that, in setting assessments, the FDIC “offset the effect of [the increase in the minimum reserve ratio] on insured depository institutions with total consolidated assets of less than $10,000,000,000.” 6

3 Public Law 111-203, 334, 124 Stat. 1376, 1539 (12 U.S.C. 1817(note)).

4 12 U.S.C. 1817(b)(3)(B). The Dodd-Frank Act also removed the upper limit on the designated reserve ratio (which was formerly capped at 1.5 percent).

5 12 U.S.C. 1817(note).

6 12 U.S.C. 1817(note). The Dodd-Frank Act also: (1) eliminated the requirement that the FDIC provide dividends from the fund when the reserve ratio is between 1.35 percent and 1.5 percent; (2) eliminated the requirement that the amount in the DIF in excess of the amount required to maintain the reserve ratio at 1.5 percent of estimated insured deposits be paid as dividends; and (3) granted the FDIC's authority to declare dividends when the reserve ratio at the end of a calendar year is at least 1.5 percent, but granted the FDIC sole discretion in determining whether to suspend or limit the declaration of payment or dividends, 12 U.S.C. 1817(e)(2)(A)-(B).

Both the Dodd-Frank Act and the FDI Act grant the FDIC broad authority to implement the requirement to achieve the 1.35 percent minimum reserve ratio. In particular, under the Dodd-Frank Act, the FDIC is authorized to take such steps as may be necessary for the reserve ratio to reach 1.35 percent by September 30, 2020.7 Furthermore, under the FDIC's special assessment authority in section 7(b)(5) of the FDI Act, the FDIC may impose special assessments in an amount determined to be necessary for any purpose that the FDIC may deem necessary.8

7 12 U.S.C. 1817(note).

8 12 U.S.C. 1817(b)(5).

In the FDIC's view, the Dodd-Frank Act requirement to raise the reserve ratio to the minimum of 1.35 percent by September 30, 2020 reflects the importance of building the DIF in a timely manner to withstand future economic shocks. Increasing the reserve ratio faster reduces the likelihood of procyclical assessments, a key policy goal of the FDIC that is supported in the academic literature and acknowledged by banks.9

9 In 2011, the FDIC Board of Directors adopted a comprehensive, long-range management plan for the DIF that is designed to reduce procyclicality in the deposit insurance assessment system. Input from bank executives and industry trade group representatives favored steady, predictable assessments and found high assessment rates during crises objectionable. In addition, economic literature points to the role of regulatory policy in minimizing procyclical effects. See, for example: 75 FR 66272 and George G. Pennacchi, 2004. “Risk-Based Capital Standards, Deposit Insurance and Procyclicality,” FDIC Center for Financial Research Working Paper No. 2004-05.

The purpose of the final rule is to meet the Dodd-Frank Act requirements in a manner that appropriately balances several considerations, including the goal of reaching the minimum reserve ratio reasonably promptly in order to strengthen the fund and reduce the risk of pro-cyclical assessments, the goal of maintaining stable and predictable assessments for banks over time, and the projected effects on bank capital and earnings. The primary mechanism described below for meeting the statutory requirements—surcharges on regular assessments—will ensure that the reserve ratio reaches 1.35 percent without inordinate delay (likely in 2018) and will ensure that assessments are allocated equitably among banks responsible for the cost of reaching the minimum reserve ratio.

III. Background

The Dodd-Frank Act gave the FDIC greater discretion to manage the DIF than it had previously, including greater discretion in setting the target reserve ratio, or designated reserve ratio (DRR), which the FDIC must set annually.10 The Board has set a 2 percent DRR for each year starting with 2011.11 The Board views the 2 percent DRR as a long-term goal.

10 12 U.S.C. 1817(b)(3)(A)(i).

11 A DRR of 2 percent was based on a historical analysis as well as on the statutory factors that the FDIC must consider when setting the DRR. In its historical analysis, the FDIC analyzed historical fund losses and used simulated income data from 1950 to 2010 to determine how high the reserve ratio would have to have been before the onset of the two banking crises that occurred during this period to maintain a positive fund balance and stable assessment rates.

By statute, the FDIC also operates under a Restoration Plan while the reserve ratio remains below 1.35 percent.12 The Restoration Plan, originally adopted in 2008 and subsequently revised, is designed to ensure that the reserve ratio will reach 1.35 percent by September 30, 2020.13

12 12 U.S.C. 1817(b)(3)(E).

13 75 FR 66293 (Oct. 27, 2010).

In February 2011, the FDIC adopted a final rule that, among other things, contained a schedule of deposit insurance assessment rates that apply to regular assessments that banks pay. The FDIC noted when it adopted these rates that, because of the requirement making banks with $10 billion or more in assets responsible for increasing the reserve ratio from 1.15 percent to 1.35 percent, “assessment rates applicable to all insured depository institutions need only be set high enough to reach 1.15 percent” before the statutory deadline of September 30, 2020.14 The February 2011 final rule left to a later date the method for assessing banks with $10 billion or more in assets for the amount needed to reach 1.35 percent.15

14 See 76 FR 10673, 10683 (Feb. 25, 2011).

15 76 FR at 10683. The Restoration Plan originally stated that the FDIC would pursue rulemaking on the offset in 2011, 75 FR 66293 (Oct. 27, 2010), but in 2011 the Board decided to postpone rulemaking until a later date.

In the February 2011 final rule, the FDIC also adopted a schedule of lower regular assessment rates that will go into effect once the reserve ratio of the DIF reaches 1.15 percent.16 These lower regular assessment rates will apply to all banks' regular assessments. Regular assessments paid under the schedule of lower rates are intended to raise the reserve ratio gradually to the long-term goal of 2 percent.

16 76 FR at 10717; see also 12 CFR 327.10(b). The FDIC adopted this schedule of lower assessment rates following its historical analysis of the long-term assessment rates that would be needed to ensure that the DIF would remain positive without raising assessment rates even during a banking crisis of the magnitude of the two banking crises of the past 30 years. On June 16, 2015, the Board adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking that would revise the risk-based pricing methodology for established small institutions. See 80 FR 40838 (July 13, 2015). On January 21, 2016, the Board adopted a second notice of proposed rulemaking that would revise parts of the proposal adopted by the Board in 2015. The revised proposal would leave the overall range of initial assessment rates and the assessment revenue expected to be generated unchanged from the current assessment system for established small institutions. See 81 FR 6108 (Feb. 4, 2016).

The FDIC expects that, under the current assessment rate schedule, the DIF reserve ratio will reach 1.15 percent in the first half of 2016.

IV. Description of the Final Rule A. Surcharges Surcharge Rate and Duration

As proposed in the NPR, to implement the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act, and pursuant to the FDIC's authority in section 7 of the FDI Act,17 the FDIC is adding a surcharge to the regular assessments of banks with $10 billion or more in assets. Also as proposed in the NPR, the surcharge will begin the quarter after the DIF reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent and will continue until the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.35 percent, but no later than the fourth quarter of 2018.18 For each quarter, the FDIC will notify banks that will be subject to the surcharge and inform those banks of the amount of the surcharge within the timeframe that applies to notification of regular assessment amounts.19

17 12 U.S.C. 1817.

18 As discussed below, this rule will become effective on July 1, 2016. If the reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent before that date, surcharges will begin July 1, 2016. If the reserve ratio has not reached 1.15 percent by that date, surcharges will begin the first day of the calendar quarter after the reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent.

19 As with regular assessments, surcharges will be paid one quarter in arrears, based on the bank's previous quarter data and will be due on the 30th day of the last month of the quarter. (If the payment date is not a business day, the collection date will be the previous business day.) Thus, for example, if the surcharge is in effect for the first quarter of 2017, the FDIC will notify banks that are subject to the surcharge of the amount of each bank's surcharge obligation no later than June 15, 2017, 15 days before the first quarter 2017 surcharge payment due date of June 30, 2017 (which is also the payment due date for first quarter 2017 regular assessments). The notice may be included in the banks' invoices for their regular assessment.

As proposed in the NPR, the annual surcharge rate will be 4.5 basis points, which the FDIC expects will be sufficient to raise the reserve ratio from 1.15 percent to 1.35 percent in 8 quarters, before the end of 2018.

Comments Received

The FDIC received several comments on the surcharge rate and estimated surcharge period. In a joint comment letter, three trade groups stated that a “strong” majority of large banks that they surveyed favored an alternative discussed in the NPR of charging lower surcharges over a longer period and imposing a shortfall assessment only if the reserve ratio has not reached 1.35 percent by a date nearer the statutory deadline. Specifically, the trade groups proposed an annual surcharge of no more than 2.25 basis points to reach 1.35 percent in 14 quarters, and a shortfall, if needed, to be assessed in the first quarter of 2020.20 A few other commenters supported the three trade groups' proposal.

20 The trade groups noted that leaving the current assessment rate schedule in place when the reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent would be roughly equivalent to an annual surcharge of no more than 2.25 basis points to reach 1.35 percent in 14 quarters.

One commenter supported an alternative discussed in the NPR of foregoing surcharges entirely and, if the reserve ratio does not reach 1.35 percent by a deadline sometime near the statutory deadline, imposing a delayed shortfall assessment at the end of the following quarter.

On the other hand, the joint comment letter submitted by the three trade groups did note that a few large banks surveyed supported the proposed surcharge rate and timeline in the NPR, while a few others favored a one-time assessment once the reserve ratio first reaches 1.15 percent (an alternative also discussed in the NPR). One bank in its comment letter also preferred a one-time assessment just after the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent in order to raise the reserve ratio closer to 1.35 percent (but not all the way to 1.35 percent) sooner than would occur under the proposal. Another trade group preferred charging surcharges over a shorter timeframe—four quarters—but found that the proposal in the NPR and a one-time assessment just after the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent were also reasonable options.

In the FDIC's view, the final rule strikes an appropriate balance among these options after considering: (1) The statutory deadline for reaching the minimum reserve ratio; (2) the importance of strengthening the fund's ability to withstand a spike in losses; (3) the goal of reducing the risk of larger assessments for the entire industry in a future period of stress; and (4) the effects on the capital and earnings of surcharged banks.

The FDIC expects that surcharges will result in the reserve ratio reaching 1.35 percent in 2018. Reaching the statutory target reasonably promptly and in advance of the statutory deadline has benefits. First, it strengthens the fund so that it can better withstand an unanticipated spike in losses from bank failures or the failure of one or more large banks.

Second, it reduces the risk of the banking industry facing unexpected, large assessment rate increases in a future period of stress. Once the reserve ratio reaches 1.35 percent, the September 30, 2020 deadline in the Dodd-Frank Act will have been met and will no longer apply. If the reserve ratio later falls below 1.35 percent, even if that occurs before September 30, 2020, the FDIC will have a minimum of eight years to return the reserve ratio to 1.35 percent, reducing the likelihood of a large increase in assessment rates.21 In contrast, if a spike in losses occurs before the reserve ratio reaches 1.35 percent, the Dodd-Frank Act deadline will remain in place, which could require that the entire banking industry—including banks with less than $10 billion in assets, if the reserve ratio falls below 1.15 percent—pay for the increase in the reserve ratio within a relatively short time. The final rule, therefore, reduces the risk of higher assessments being imposed at a time when the industry might not be as healthy and prosperous and could less afford to pay.

21 See generally 12 U.S.C. 1817(b)(3)(E)(ii).

In addition, large banks will account for future surcharges in the quarterly report of condition and income (Call Report) and other banking regulatory reports based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) as quarterly expenses, as they do for regular assessments, effectively spreading the cost of the requirement over approximately eight quarters in a simple, predictable manner.

In contrast, a longer surcharge period or a delayed one-time assessment without surcharges would reduce the fund's ability to withstand a spike in losses and increase the risk of larger assessments for the entire industry in a future period of stress.

Five comment letters also stated that, rather than imposing a separate surcharge at a uniform rate, the FDIC should implement surcharges in a risk-based manner.22 One commenter argued that a risk-based surcharge would provide incentives to manage risk. Some commenters suggested foregoing a surcharge and instead leaving in place the current risk-based assessment rate schedule when the reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent, rather than the lower one that is scheduled to go into effect. One commenter also recommended that surcharges be integrated into risk-based assessments in a way that maintains banks' incentives to hold long-term unsecured debt.23

22 Suggested methods for implementing a risk-based surcharge included a surcharge based on a multiple of a bank's initial base assessment rate, a variable-rate surcharge, or imposing the surcharge only on the weakest or riskiest banks.

23 A bank's total base assessment rate can vary from its initial base assessment rate as the result of three possible adjustments. One of these adjustments, the unsecured debt adjustment, lowers a bank's assessment rate based on the bank's ratio of long-term unsecured debt to the bank's assessment base. 12 CFR 327.9(d).

The final rule uses a flat-rate surcharge. As one commenter acknowledged, while the FDI Act requires that regular assessments be risk-based, no such requirement exists for special assessments.24 In fact, the most recent special assessment, imposed in 2009, was also a flat rate assessment, and, in 1996, Congress imposed a flat-rate special assessment on banks that held deposits insured by the Savings Association Insurance Fund.25 In addition, nothing in the Dodd-Frank Act requires a risk-based assessment to raise the minimum reserve ratio from 1.15 percent to 1.35 percent.

24 Compare 12 U.S.C. 1817(b)(1), requiring a risk-based deposit insurance assessment system, with 12 U.S.C. 1817(b)(5), which allows the FDIC to impose special assessments and contains no requirement that they be risk-based.

25 See 74 FR 25639 (May 29, 2009); 61 FR 53834 (Oct. 16, 1996).

Banks subject to the surcharge will continue to pay risk-based regular deposit insurance assessments. As a result, they will still have the incentives they now have to prudently manage risk and to issue long-term unsecured debt.

Moreover, because banks' risk profiles change over time, aggregate assessments using a risk-based surcharge would be more prone to vary than will a flat-rate surcharge. This variance would reduce the predictability of surcharge revenue and create additional uncertainty regarding the needed rates and the time required for the reserve ratio to reach 1.35 percent. Banks themselves would have less predictable surcharge assessments.

Banks Subject to the Surcharge

As proposed in the NPR, the banks subject to the surcharge (large banks) will be determined each quarter based on whether the bank was a “large institution” or “highly complex institution” for purposes of that quarter's regular assessments.26 Generally, this includes institutions with total assets of $10 billion or more; however, an insured branch of a foreign bank whose assets as reported in its most recent quarterly Report of Assets and Liabilities of U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banks equaled or exceeded $10 billion will also be considered a large bank and will be subject to the surcharge.27 28

26 In general, a “large institution” is an insured depository institution with assets of $10 billion or more as of December 31, 2006 (other than an insured branch of a foreign bank or a highly complex institution) or a small institution that reports assets of $10 billion or more in its quarterly reports of condition for four consecutive quarters. 12 CFR 327.8(f). If an institution classified as large reports assets of less than $10 billion in its quarterly reports of condition for four consecutive quarters, the FDIC will reclassify the institution as small beginning the following quarter. 12 CFR 327.8(e). In general, a “highly complex institution” is: (1) An insured depository institution (excluding a credit card bank) that has had $50 billion or more in total assets for at least four consecutive quarters that is controlled by a U.S. parent holding company that has had $500 billion or more in total assets for four consecutive quarters, or controlled by one or more intermediate U.S. parent holding companies that are controlled by a U.S. holding company that has had $500 billion or more in assets for four consecutive quarters; or (2) a processing bank or trust company. If an institution classified as highly complex fails to meet the definition of a highly complex institution for four consecutive quarters (or reports assets of less than $10 billion in its quarterly reports of condition for four consecutive quarters), the FDIC will reclassify the institution beginning the following quarter. 12 CFR 327.8(g). In general, a “small institution” is an insured depository institution with assets of less than $10 billion as of December 31, 2006, or an insured branch of a foreign institution. 12 CFR 327.8(e).

27 Assets for foreign banks are reported in FFIEC 002 report (Report of Assets and Liabilities of U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banks), Schedule RAL, line 3, column A.

28 For purposes of the final rule, a large bank also includes a small institution if, while surcharges were in effect, the small institution was the surviving institution or resulting institution in a merger or consolidation with a large bank or if the small institution acquired all or substantially all of the assets or assumed all or substantially all of the deposits of a large bank.

Comments Received

The FDIC received two comments from trade groups on which banks should be subject to the surcharge. One commenter suggested that the surcharge should not apply to mid-size banks and should only apply to highly complex banks, while another commenter proposed that the surcharge be restricted to only the largest banks, those considered “too big to fail,” or those controlling a large share of industry assets. As an alternative to their suggestions, both commenters proposed that the FDIC increase the $10 billion deduction from large banks' assessment bases for the surcharge (discussed below), for example, to $25 billion or $50 billion, which would effectively exempt banks with total assets under these threshold amounts from surcharges.

The FDIC has identified no compelling basis to distinguish between large banks based on any particular asset size or other profile. Further, the final rule is consistent with the statutory language. The Dodd-Frank Act requires the FDIC to “offset the effect of [the increase in the minimum reserve ratio] on insured depository institutions with total consolidated assets of less than $10,000,000,000,” and unlike other parts of the Act, there is no indication that section 334(e) should apply only to banks of a certain size or that engage in certain activities. The apparent purpose of the Act's requirement was to insulate banks with less than $10 billion in total assets from the cost of the increase in the minimum reserve ratio. The final rule appropriately meets this requirement.

The FDIC is cognizant of the concerns of large banks near the $10 billion threshold. As a practical matter, the $10 billion deduction from large banks' assessment bases for the surcharge has the effect of shifting the burden of the surcharges towards larger banks. While, as discussed later, the purpose of the $10 billion deduction is to avoid a “cliff effect” for banks near the $10 billion asset threshold, it has the concomitant effect of benefitting large banks closer in size to the $10 billion asset threshold relatively more than larger banks, since the relative effect of the $10 billion deduction decreases as asset size increases. As reflected in Table 1, based on data as of December 31, 2015, the simple average effective surcharge rate (the surcharge rate if applied to a bank's regular quarterly deposit insurance assessment base) for banks with assets between $10 billion and $50 billion will be approximately half the simple average effective rate for banks with assets greater than $100 billion. In fact, with lower regular assessment rates scheduled to take effect when the reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent, more than half (36 out of 67) of large banks with total assets between $10 billion and $50 billion and roughly one-third of all large banks are expected to pay an effective assessment rate, even with the surcharge, that is lower than their current assessment rate.

Table 1—Effective Annual Assessment Rates by Size Group [Based on data as of December 31, 2015] Assets
  • (in $ billions)
  • Number of banks Average
  • effective
  • surcharge
  • rate *
  • $10 to $50 67 2.11 $50 to $100 15 3.73 Over $100 26 4.23 All Large 108 2.85 * The average is a simple average.
    Banks' Assessment Bases for the Surcharge

    Pursuant to the broad authorities under the Dodd-Frank Act and the FDI Act, including the authority to determine the assessment amount, which includes defining an appropriate assessment base for the surcharge (the surcharge base), each large bank's surcharge base for any given quarter will equal its regular quarterly deposit insurance assessment base (regular assessment base) for that quarter with certain adjustments.29

    29 Public Law 111-203, 334(e), 124 Stat. 1376, 1539 (12 U.S.C. 1817(note)); 12 U.S.C. 1817(b)(5). For purposes of regular assessments, the Dodd-Frank Act defines the assessment base with respect to an insured depository institution as an amount equal to the average consolidated total assets of the insured depository institution during the assessment period; minus the sum of the average tangible equity of the insured depository institution during the assessment period, and in the case of an insured depository institution that is a custodial bank (as defined by the FDIC, based on factors including the percentage of total revenues generated by custodial businesses and the level of assets under custody) or a banker's bank (as that term is used in . . . (12 U.S.C. 24)), an amount that the FDIC determines is necessary to establish assessments consistent with the definition under section 7(b)(1) of the [Federal Deposit Insurance] Act (12 U.S.C. 1817(b)(1)) for a custodial bank or a banker's bank. 12 U.S.C. 1817(note).

    The first adjustment under the final rule differs from the NPR, but is similar to an alternative method of determining the surcharge base on which the NPR requested comment. The NPR would have added the entire regular assessment bases of affiliated small banks to the surcharge bases of large bank affiliates, but sought comment on an alternative that would add only the amount of any increase in the regular assessment bases of affiliated small banks. In response to a joint comment letter from three trade groups and after balancing all the considerations expressed in the NPR, the FDIC has decided to add to a large bank's surcharge base each quarter only the cumulative net increase in the aggregate regular assessment bases of affiliated small banks above the aggregate regular assessment bases as of December 31, 2015 of affiliated small banks as of that date that is in excess of an effective annual rate of 10 percent.30 31

    30 As used in this final rule, the term “affiliate” has the same meaning as defined in section 3 of the FDI Act, 12 U.S.C. 3(w)(6), which references the Bank Holding Company Act (“any company that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with another company”). 12 U.S.C. 1841(k).

    The term “small bank” is synonymous with the term “small institution” as it is defined in 12 CFR 327.8(e) and used in existing portions of 12 CFR part 327 for purposes of regular assessments, except that it excludes: (1) An insured branch of a foreign bank whose assets as reported in its most recent most recent quarterly Call Report equal or exceed $10 billion; and (2) a small institution that, while surcharges are in effect, is the surviving or resulting institution in a merger or consolidation with a large bank or that acquired of all or substantially all of the assets or assumed all or substantially all of the deposits of a large bank.

    31 The final rule measures the net increase in affiliated small banks' assessment bases from December 31, 2015, which is the latest possible date that ensures that banks do not engage in avoidance behavior between issuance of the final rule and its effective date.

    The cumulative net increase in excess of an effective annual rate of 10 percent in the aggregate regular assessment bases of affiliated small banks will be calculated by compounding a quarterly rate of approximately 2.41 percent from December 31, 2015. Thus, for example, at the end of September 2016 (3 quarters after December 31, 2015), assuming that surcharges are in effect, the final rule will add to a large bank's surcharge base for that quarter any cumulative net increase in the aggregate regular assessment bases of affiliated small banks in excess of approximately 7.41 percent (approximately 2.41 percent per quarter compounded for 3 quarters). Similarly, at the end of March 2017 (5 quarters after December 31, 2015), assuming that surcharges are in effect, the final rule will add to a large bank's surcharge base for that quarter any cumulative net increase in the aggregate regular assessment bases of affiliated small banks in excess of approximately 12.65 percent (approximately 2.41 percent per quarter compounded for 5 quarters).

    A net increase in affiliated small banks' assessment bases includes any increase resulting from a merger or consolidation with an unaffiliated insured depository institution. A net decrease in the aggregate regular assessment bases of affiliated small banks below their aggregate regular assessment bases as of December 31, 2015 will not reduce the surcharge bases of affiliated large banks.

    To prevent assessment avoidance, if a banking organization with at least one large bank but no small banks acquires or establishes a small bank after December 31, 2015, the entire assessment base of the small bank will be apportioned among the surcharge bases of large banks in the holding company in the manner discussed below. Also, if a large bank in a banking organization with multiple large bank affiliates becomes a small bank during the surcharge period, its entire assessment base will be apportioned among the surcharge bases of its large bank affiliates in the manner discussed below.

    As of December 31, 2015, 19 banking organizations had both large and small banks.

    Adding cumulative growth in excess of an effective annual rate of 10 percent in the regular assessment bases of affiliated small banks to the assessment bases of their large bank affiliates limits the ability of large banks to reduce their surcharges (and potentially shift costs to other large banks) either by transferring assets and liabilities to existing or new affiliated small banks or by growing the businesses of affiliated small banks instead of the large bank without unduly constraining the normal growth of the affiliated small banks.32

    32 As noted in the NPR, however, some large banks may be able to shift the burden of the surcharge by transferring assets and liabilities to a nonbank affiliate, or by shrinking or limiting growth.

    Including only the amount of any cumulative net increase that is in excess of an effective annual rate of 10 percent in the aggregate regular assessment bases of affiliated small banks, rather than their entire assessment bases as proposed in the NPR, will have only a very small effect on total surcharge revenue and is unlikely to increase the number of quarters that surcharges are in effect.

    The second adjustment is as proposed in the NPR. It deducts $10 billion from a large bank's regular assessment base (as increased by the first adjustment) to produce the surcharge base. Deducting $10 billion from each large bank's assessment base for the surcharge avoids a “cliff effect” for banks near the $10 billion asset threshold, thereby ensuring equitable treatment. Otherwise, a bank with just over $10 billion in assets would pay significant surcharges, while a bank with $9.9 billion in assets would pay none. The $10 billion reduction reduces incentives for banks to limit their growth to stay below $10 billion in assets, or to reduce their size to below $10 billion in assets, solely to avoid surcharges.

    In a banking organization that includes more than one large bank, both (1) the $10 billion deduction, and (2) the cumulative net increase in affiliated small banks' regular assessment bases exceeding a 10 percent effective annual rate will be apportioned among all large banks in the banking organization in proportion to each large bank's regular assessment base for that quarter.33 Appendix 1 gives examples of the calculation of the surcharge base for a banking organization that has more than one large bank and for a banking organization that has both large and small banks.

    33 As of December 31, 2015, 9 banking organizations had multiple affiliated large banks.

    Comments Received

    The FDIC received one joint comment letter from three trade groups related to the first adjustment. As proposed in the NPR, the first adjustment would have added the entire regular assessment bases of affiliated small banks to the surcharge bases of large bank affiliates. The joint comment letter opposed adding any portion of the assessment bases of small bank affiliates to large banks, but argued that, if any addition were to occur, it should be limited to no more than any increase in the assessment bases of small bank affiliates above “normal growth” after surcharges begin.34 As described above, the final rule uses the net increase in excess of a 10 percent effective annual rate in the aggregate regular assessment bases of affiliated small banks above their aggregate regular assessment bases as of December 31, 2015.

    34 The joint comment letter argued that the proposed addition of the entire regular assessment bases of affiliated small banks to the surcharge bases of large bank affiliates “would abrogate the intent of [Sec.] 334 [of the Dodd-Frank Act] by imposing de facto assessment surcharges on small banks affiliated with large banks, albeit indirectly by assessing their larger affiliates,” and, therefore, these small banks would not receive a full offset for their contribution towards raising the reserve ratio from 1.15 percent to 1.35 percent. In fact, however, small bank affiliates of large banks will not pay any surcharge assessment and will be entitled to credits on the same basis as all other small banks.

    The joint comment letter also argued that Sec. 334 of the Dodd-Frank Act does not authorize the FDIC to augment large banks' assessment bases with those of their small bank affiliates. In fact, however, the Dodd-Frank Act and the FDI Act give the FDIC broad authority to determine the amount of any special assessments, including the surcharges, and thus an appropriate assessment base for the surcharge. See Public Law 111-203, 334(e), 124 Stat. 1376, 1539 (12 U.S.C. 1817(note)); 12 U.S.C. 1817(b)(5). The FDI Act contains no provisions mandating any particular assessment base for a special assessment.

    The FDIC received three comments related to the second adjustment, the deduction of $10 billion from a large bank's assessment base and apportioning the deduction among all large banks in the banking organization. Two commenters proposed a larger deduction (discussed above). A joint comment letter submitted by three trade groups proposed that bank holding companies with multiple large banks be allowed to deduct $10 billion for each large bank, arguing that limiting large banks in a bank holding company to a single $10 billion deduction “discriminates against banking organizations with multiple affiliated large banks.”

    The provisions in the final rule regarding the second deduction are unchanged from those proposed in the NPR. Allocation of the $10 billion deduction among affiliated large banks ensures that banking organizations of a similar size (in terms of large bank assessment bases) pay a similar surcharge. Thus, a banking organization with multiple large banks will not have an advantage over other similarly sized banking organizations that have only one large bank because, instead of deducting $10 billion from each large bank in the organization, the deduction will be apportioned among the multiple affiliated large banks.

    Moreover, allowing each large bank in a banking organization to take a $10 billion deduction could, in effect, penalize the large majority of banking organizations that do not have more than one large bank by increasing the risk that surcharges would last longer than envisioned under the proposal.

    B. Shortfall Assessment

    The FDIC expects that surcharges combined with regular assessments will raise the reserve ratio to 1.35 percent before December 31, 2018. It is possible, however, that unforeseen events could result in higher DIF losses or faster insured deposit growth than expected, or that banks may take steps to reduce or avoid quarterly surcharges. While not expected, these events or actions could prevent the reserve ratio from reaching 1.35 percent by the end of 2018. In this case, provided the reserve ratio is at least 1.15 percent, the FDIC will impose a shortfall assessment on large banks.35

    35 In the unlikely event that the reserve ratio is below 1.15 percent on December 31, 2018, the FDIC will impose a shortfall assessment at the end of the calendar quarter immediately following the first calendar quarter after December, 31, 2018, in which the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent. The aggregate amount of such a shortfall assessment will equal 0.2 percent of estimated insured deposits at the end of the calendar quarter in which the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent. If surcharges have been in effect (that is, if the reserve ratio reaches but then falls below 1.15 percent before December 31, 2018), the shortfall assessment will be imposed on the banks described in the text using average surcharge bases as described in the text. If surcharges have never been in effect: (1) The banks subject to the shortfall assessment will be the banks that were large banks as of the calendar quarter in which the reserve ratio first reached or exceeded 1.15 percent; and (2) an individual large bank's share of the shortfall assessment will be proportional to the average of what its surcharge bases would have been over the four calendar quarters ending with the calendar quarter in which the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent. The shortfall assessment will be collected on the 30th day of the last month of the quarter after the assessment was imposed. If that date is not a business day, the collection date will be the previous business day.

    If the reserve ratio remains or is projected to remain below 1.15 percent for a prolonged period after 2018 (and never reaches 1.35 percent), the FDIC Board may have to consider increases to regular assessment rates on all banks (in addition to the shortfall assessment on banks with $10 billion or more in assets) in order to achieve the minimum reserve ratio of 1.35 percent by the September 30, 2020 statutory deadline.

    The provisions in the final rule regarding the shortfall assessment are as proposed in the NPR. If the reserve ratio has not reached 1.35 percent by the end of 2018, the FDIC will impose a shortfall assessment on large banks on March 31, 2019 and collect it on June 30, 2019.36 The aggregate amount of the shortfall assessment will equal 1.35 percent of estimated insured deposits on December 31, 2018 minus the actual fund balance on that date.

    36 The FDIC will notify each bank subject to a shortfall assessment of its share of the shortfall assessment no later than 15 days before payment is due.

    If a shortfall assessment is needed, it will be imposed on any bank that was a large bank in any quarter during the period that surcharges are in effect (the surcharge period). Each large bank's share of any shortfall assessment will be proportional to the average of its surcharge bases (the average surcharge base) during the surcharge period. If a bank was not a large bank during a quarter of the surcharge period, its surcharge base will be deemed to equal zero for that quarter.37

    37 Thus, for example, if a large bank were subject to a shortfall assessment because it had been subject to a surcharge for only one quarter of the surcharge period, the bank's surcharge base for seven quarters would be deemed to be zero and its average surcharge base would be its single positive surcharge base divided by eight (assuming that the surcharge period had lasted eight quarters).

    If a bank of any size acquires—through merger or consolidation—a large bank that had paid surcharges for one or more quarters, the acquiring bank will be subject to a shortfall assessment and its average surcharge base will be increased by the average surcharge base of the acquired bank.38

    38 With respect to surcharges and shares of any shortfall assessment, a surviving or resulting bank in a merger or consolidation includes any bank that acquires all or substantially all of another bank's assets or assumes all or substantially all of another bank's deposits.

    A large bank's share of the total shortfall assessment will equal its average surcharge base divided by the sum of the average surcharge bases of all large banks subject to the shortfall assessment. Using an average of surcharge bases ensures that anomalous growth or shrinkage in a large bank's assessment base will not subject it to a disproportionately large or small share of any shortfall assessment.

    Comments Received

    In addition to the comments discussed above regarding the duration of the surcharge and timing of any required corresponding shortfall assessment, the FDIC received two other comments on the shortfall assessment. One commenter suggested that the shortfall assessment, in addition to the surcharges, should only be applied to “highly complex” banks. Another commenter stated that the shortfall assessment and surcharges should be risk-based.

    For the reasons discussed previously in connection with the surcharge assessment, the shortfall assessment in the final rule is as proposed in the NPR. If a shortfall assessment is necessary, the expected revenue based on the calculation method adopted will be much more predictable than the expected revenue from a risk-based method. In previous special assessments, the FDIC used a uniform rate, rather than a risk-based rate, and large banks will continue to pay risk-based regular assessments. Moreover, as also noted above, neither the statute nor its legislative history suggest that only highly complex banks should be responsible for raising the reserve ratio from 1.15 percent to 1.35 percent. The statute requires that the FDIC offset the effect of the increase in the minimum reserve ratio on banks with less than $10 billion in consolidated assets.

    C. Payment Mechanism for the Surcharge and Any Shortfall Assessment

    Each large bank is required to take any actions necessary to allow the FDIC to debit its share of the surcharge from the bank's designated deposit account used for payment of its regular assessment. Similarly, each large bank subject to any shortfall assessment is required to take any actions necessary to allow the FDIC to debit its share of the shortfall assessment from the bank's designated deposit account used for payment of its regular assessment. Before the dates that payments are due, each bank must ensure that sufficient funds to pay its obligations are available in the designated account for direct debit by the FDIC. Failure to take any such action or to fund the account will constitute nonpayment of the assessment. Penalties for nonpayment will be as provided for nonpayment of a bank's regular assessment.39

    39 See 12 CFR 308.132(c)(3)(v).

    Comments Received

    The FDIC received no comments on this part of the proposal. The final rule adopts this part of the proposal without change.

    D. Additional Provisions Regarding Mergers, Consolidations and Terminations of Deposit Insurance

    Under existing regulations, a bank that is not the resulting or surviving bank in a merger or consolidation must file a Call Report for every assessment period prior to the assessment period in which the merger or consolidation occurs. The surviving or resulting bank is responsible for ensuring that these Call Reports are filed. The surviving or resulting bank is also responsible and liable for any unpaid assessments on behalf of the bank that is not the resulting or surviving bank.40 Unpaid assessments also include any unpaid surcharges and shares of a shortfall assessment under the final rule.

    40 12 CFR 327.6(a).

    Thus, for example, a large bank's first quarter 2017 surcharge (assuming that the surcharge is in effect then), which will be collected on June 30, 2017, will include the large bank's own first quarter 2017 surcharge plus any unpaid first quarter 2017 or earlier surcharges owed by any large bank it acquired between April 1, 2017 and June 30, 2017 by merger or through the acquisition of all or substantially all of the acquired bank's assets. The acquired bank will be required to file Call Reports through the first quarter of 2017 and the acquiring bank will be responsible for ensuring that these Call Reports were filed.

    Existing regulations also provide that, for an assessment period in which a merger or consolidation occurs, total consolidated assets for the surviving or resulting bank include the total consolidated assets of all banks that are parties to the merger or consolidation as if the merger or consolidation occurred on the first day of the assessment period. Tier 1 capital (which is deducted from total consolidated assets to determine a bank's regular assessment base) is to be reported in the same manner.41 These provisions will also apply to surcharges and shares of any shortfall assessment under the final rule.

    41 12 CFR 327.6(b).

    Existing regulations also provide that, when the insured status of a bank is terminated and the deposit liabilities of the bank are not assumed by another bank, the bank whose insured status is terminating must, among other things, continue to pay assessments for the assessment periods that its deposits are insured, but not thereafter.42 These provisions will also apply to surcharges and shares of any shortfall assessment under the final rule.

    42 12 CFR 327.6(c).

    Finally, in the case of one or more transactions in which one bank voluntarily terminates its deposit insurance under the FDI Act and sells certain assets and liabilities to one or more other banks, each bank must report the increase or decrease in assets and liabilities on the Call Report that is due after the transaction date and the banks will be assessed accordingly under existing FDIC assessment regulations. The bank whose insured status is terminating must, among other things, continue to pay assessments for the assessment periods that its deposits are insured. The same process will also apply to surcharges and shares of any shortfall assessment under the final rule.

    Comments Received

    The FDIC received no comments on this part of the proposal. The final rule adopts this part of the proposal without change.

    E. Credits for Small Banks 43

    43 Large banks will not receive a refund or credit if surcharges bring the reserve ratio above 1.35 percent. Thus, for example, if the reserve ratio is 1.34 percent at the end of September 2018 and is 1.37 percent at the end of December 2018, large banks will not receive a refund or credit for the two basis points in the reserve ratio above 1.35 percent. Similarly, large banks will not receive a refund or credit if a shortfall assessment brings the reserve ratio above 1.35 percent.

    While the reserve ratio remains between 1.15 percent and 1.35 percent, some portion of the deposit insurance assessments paid by small banks will contribute to increasing the reserve ratio. To meet the Dodd-Frank Act requirement to offset the effect on small banks of raising the reserve ratio from 1.15 percent to 1.35 percent, the FDIC will provide assessment credits to these banks for the portion of their assessments that contribute to the increase from 1.15 percent to 1.35 percent.44 The provisions in the final rule governing how credits are calculated and awarded are as proposed in the NPR. The FDIC will apply credits to reduce future regular deposit insurance assessments.

    44 Small banks will not be entitled to any credits for the quarter in which a shortfall is assessed because large banks will be responsible for the entire remaining amount needed to raise the reserve ratio to 1.35 percent.

    Aggregate Amount of Credits

    As proposed in the NPR, to determine the aggregate amount of credits awarded small banks, the FDIC will first calculate 0.2 percent of estimated insured deposits (the difference between 1.35 percent and 1.15 percent) on the date that the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.35 percent.45 The amount that small banks contributed to this increase in the DIF through regular assessments—and the resulting aggregate amount of credits to be awarded small banks—will equal the small banks' portion of all large and small bank regular assessments during the “credit calculation period” times an amount equal to the increase in the DIF calculated above less surcharges. (The “credit calculation period” covers the period beginning the quarter after the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent through the quarter that the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.35 percent (or December 31, 2018, if the reserve ratio has not reached 1.35 percent by then).) Surcharges will be subtracted from the increase in the DIF calculated above before determining the amount by which small banks contributed to that increase because surcharges are intended to increase the reserve ratio above 1.15 percent, not to maintain it at 1.15 percent.46

    45 If the reserve ratio does not reach 1.35 percent by December 31, 2018, the amount calculated will be the increase in the DIF needed to raise the DIF reserve ratio from 1.15 percent to the actual reserve ratio on December 31, 2018; that amount equals the DIF balance on December 31, 2018 minus 1.15 percent of estimated insured deposits on that date.

    46 If total assessments, including surcharges, during the credit calculation period are less than or equal to the increase in the DIF calculated above, the aggregate amount of credits to be awarded small banks will equal the aggregate amount of regular assessments paid by small banks during the credit calculation period.

    This method of determining the aggregate small bank credit implicitly assumes that all non-assessment revenue (for example, investment income) during the credit calculation period will be used to maintain the fund at a 1.15 percent reserve ratio and that regular assessment revenue will be used to maintain the fund at that reserve ratio only to the extent that other revenue is insufficient. Essentially, the method attributes reserve ratio growth to assessment revenue as much as possible and, with one exception, maximizes the amount of the aggregate small bank assessment credit. The exception is the assumption that all surcharge payments contribute to growth of the reserve ratio (to the extent of that growth), which is consistent with the purpose of the surcharge payments.

    The FDIC projects that the aggregate amount of credits will total approximately $1 billion, but the actual amount of credits may differ.

    Comments Received

    The FDIC received only one comment on the proposed method of determining the aggregate amount of small bank credits. That comment, from a trade group, supported the proposal.

    Individual Small Banks' Credits

    As proposed in the NPR, credits will be awarded to any bank, including a small bank affiliate of a large bank, that was a small bank at some time during the credit calculation period. An individual small bank's share of the aggregate credit (a small bank's credit share) will be proportional to its credit base, defined as the average of its regular assessment bases during the credit calculation period.47 48 If, before the DIF reserve ratio reaches 1.35 percent, a small bank acquires another small bank through merger or consolidation, the acquiring small bank's regular assessment bases for purposes of determining its credit base will include the acquired bank's regular assessment bases for those quarters during the credit calculation period that were before the merger or consolidation. No small bank can receive more in credits than it (and any small bank acquired through merger or consolidation) paid during the credit calculation period in regular assessments while it is a small bank not subject to the surcharge.

    47 When determining the credit base, a small bank's assessment base is deemed to equal zero for any quarter in which it is a large bank.

    48 Call Report amendments after the payment date for the final quarter of the surcharge period do not affect a bank's credit share.

    By making a small bank's credit share proportional to its credit base rather than, for example, its actual assessments paid, the final rule reduces the chances that a riskier bank assessed at higher than average rates will receive credits for these higher rates. The final rule thus reduces the incentive for banks to take on higher risk.

    Comments Received

    The FDIC received no comments on this part of the proposal.

    Successors

    If any bank acquires a bank with credits through merger or consolidation after the DIF reserve ratio reaches 1.35 percent, the acquiring bank will acquire the credits of the acquired small bank. Other than through merger or consolidation, credits are not transferable.49 Also, credits held by a bank that fails or ceases being an insured depository institution will expire. These provisions are as proposed in the NPR.

    49 A joint comment letter from three trade groups recommended that the FDIC allow a small bank to sell or transfer its credits. The final rule does not adopt this recommendation because of the small amount of expected credits, the short period they are expected to last, and the low number of banks that used transfer provisions in the past. The credits to be awarded pursuant to this final rule are expected to be relatively small (approximately $1 billion in credits compared to approximately $4.7 billion in credits awarded pursuant to the Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Act of 2005 (Reform Act). See 71 FR 61374 (Oct. 18, 2006) implementing one-time assessment credits awarded pursuant to the Reform Act. Credits awarded under the Reform Act also lasted considerably longer than the credits to be awarded under the final rule are expected to last. Over 50 percent of banks still had credits remaining under the Reform Act after five quarters and over 20 percent had credits remaining after eight quarters, while virtually all banks are expected to use up credits awarded under the final rule in five quarters or less. In addition, although the credits awarded under the Reform Act were transferrable, 71 FR at 61377, only one-half percent of banks (36 banks) actually transferred them (other than through merger). Similarly, although the FDIC allowed banks to transfer unused portions of approximately $45.7 billion in assessments that were prepaid at the end of 2009, 74 FR, 59056, 59060 (Nov. 17, 2009), only 20 banks actually transferred any of their prepaid assessment amounts (again, other than through merger). While credits are not transferrable under the final rule, the final rule provides that all banks may use credits to fully offset their assessments, and the final rule provides that credits may be used earlier than proposed in the NPR—when the reserve ratio reaches 1.38 percent, rather than 1.40 percent.

    Use of Credits

    After the reserve ratio reaches 1.38 percent (and provided that it remains at or above 1.38 percent), the FDIC will automatically apply a small bank's credits to reduce its regular deposit insurance assessment up to the full amount of the bank's credits or assessment, whichever is less.50 51 52 In response to comments, this portion of the final rule differs from the proposal in two ways. First, the final rule allows credit use as long as the reserve ratio is at or above 1.38 percent, rather than when it is at or above 1.40 percent as proposed in the NPR. Under the FDI Act, the Board is required to adopt a restoration plan if the reserve ratio falls below 1.35 percent. Allowing credit use only when the reserve ratio is at or above 1.38 percent should provide sufficient cushion for the DIF to remain above 1.35 percent in the event of rapid growth in insured deposits and ensure that credit use alone will not result in the reserve ratio falling below 1.35 percent. Allowing credit use before the reserve ratio reaches this level, however, would create a greater risk of the reserve ratio falling below 1.35 percent, triggering the need for a restoration plan.53

    50 The amount of credits applied each quarter will not be recalculated as the result of subsequent amendments to the quarterly Call Reports or the quarterly Reports of Assets and Liabilities of U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banks. Credit amounts may not be used to pay Financing Corporation (FICO) assessments. See section 21(f) of the Federal Home Loan Bank Act, 12 U.S.C. 1441(f).

    51 A joint comment from three trade groups expressed concern that credits could be viewed as assets on a bank's balance sheet and, therefore, included in the bank's assessment base. The commenters recommended that the FDIC revise “the assessments pricing formula” for small institutions so that credits are not assessed. Assessment credits awarded pursuant to the Reform Act were not recognized as assets for accounting purposes. See 71 FR 61374 (Oct. 18, 2006). Even if the credits to be awarded pursuant to this final rule are recognized as assets under GAAP, the FDIC would not adopt the commenters' recommendation. Revising assessments in this manner so that credits are not assessed is equivalent to excluding credits from small institutions' assessment bases. Except as specifically authorized by statute, the FDIC does not exclude assets, even securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies, from banks' assessment bases. Moreover, as discussed in a previous footnote, the credits to be awarded under the final rule are expected to be relatively small, are expected to last only two to five quarters for most small banks, and would have only a minimal effect on small institutions' assessments even if treated as assets.

    52 Any credits in excess of a bank's assessment will be used to fully offset a bank's entire deposit insurance assessments in future quarters until credits are exhausted, as long as the reserve ratio exceeds 1.38 percent.

    53 Also, allowing credit use before the reserve ratio reaches 1.35 percent, as one trade group suggested, would delay the reserve ratio's reaching 1.35 percent and would add complexity because credits would have to be estimated and later adjusted, since the actual amount of credits will not be known until the reserve ratio reaches 1.35 percent.

    Second, the final rule provides that credits available to an institution may be used to offset the institution's entire quarterly insurance assessment, rather than limiting credit use to an annual rate of 2 basis points as proposed in the NPR.

    Notices of Credits

    As soon as practicable after the DIF reserve ratio reaches 1.35 percent, the FDIC will notify each small bank of the FDIC's preliminary estimate of the small bank's credit and the manner in which the credit was calculated (the notice). The estimate will be based on information derived from the FDIC's official system of records. The FDIC will provide the notice through FDICconnect or other means in accordance with existing practices for assessment invoices.54

    54 See generally 12 CFR 327.2(b).

    After the initial notice, periodic updated notices will be provided to reflect adjustments that may be made as the result of credit use, requests for review of credit amounts, or any subsequent merger or consolidation.

    Requests for Review and Appeals

    The final rule includes provisions that allow a small bank that disagrees with the FDIC's computation of, or basis for, its credits to request review or appeal. These provisions are unchanged from those proposed in the NPR.

    The FDIC received no comments on this part of the proposal.

    V. Economic Effects

    The FDIC estimates that it will collect approximately $10 billion in surcharges and award approximately $1 billion in credits to small banks, although actual amounts may vary from these estimates. The FDIC projects that a shortfall assessment will be unnecessary.

    As discussed above, the benefits of the final rule will be to quickly strengthen the fund's ability to withstand an unanticipated spike in losses and reduce the risk of larger assessments for the entire industry. Under the final rule, the cost of raising the minimum reserve ratio will be spread over approximately eight quarters and calculated in a simple, predictable manner.

    A. Accounting Treatment

    Based on FDIC analysis, banks subject to the surcharge will not account for future surcharges or a possible shortfall assessment as a present liability or a recognized loss contingency in the Call Report and other banking regulatory reports based on GAAP because the surcharges do not relate to a current condition or event giving rise to a liability under Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Topic 450, Contingencies. Surcharges will become recognized loss contingencies in a then current quarter if (i) the bank is in existence during that quarter; and (ii) the bank is a large bank as of that quarter and, therefore, subject to the surcharge. Surcharges are based on the bank's regular assessment bases in future periods, and recognized in regulatory reports for those periods, just as regular assessments are now (where each assessment is accounted for as a liability and expensed for the quarter it is assessed). A shortfall assessment will be a recognized loss contingency if (i) the reserve ratio has not reached 1.35 percent by the end of 2018; and (ii) the bank has been subject to a surcharge.

    B. Capital and Earnings Analysis

    Consistent with section 7(b)(2)(B) of the FDI Act, the analysis that follows estimates the effects of a 4.5 basis point surcharge on the equity capital and earnings of large banks.55 Because small banks will not pay surcharges, surcharges will affect neither their capital nor their earnings; however, the analysis also estimates the effect of credits on small bank earnings.

    55 Equity capital is defined as tier 1 capital for this purpose.

    The FDIC has estimated the effect of a 4.5 basis-point surcharge on large banks' earnings in two ways. First, as a percentage of adjusted earnings, to take into account the savings projected to result from lower assessment rates implemented in the future when the reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent. Second, as a percentage of current earnings. Current earnings are assumed to equal pre-tax income before extraordinary and other items from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015. Adjusted earnings are current earnings plus the savings to be gained by large banks from lower future assessments that will result from the lower assessment rate schedule that will apply to regular assessments once the reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent.

    Assumptions and Data

    The analysis is based on large banks as of December 31, 2015. As of that date, there were 108 large banks. Banks are merger-adjusted, except for failed bank acquisitions, for purposes of determining income.

    Although the surcharge is expected to continue for 8 quarters, the analysis examines the effect of the surcharge over one year. Each large bank's surcharge base is calculated as of December 31, 2015. Data from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 are used to calculate each large bank's current earnings and adjusted earnings. Capital for each large bank is the amount reported as of December 31, 2015. The analysis assumes that current earnings equal pre-tax income before extraordinary and other items from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015. Using this measure eliminates the potentially transitory effects of extraordinary items and taxes on profitability. In calculating the effect on capital and banks' ability to maintain a leverage ratio of at least 4 percent (the minimum capital requirement 56 ), however, the analysis considers the effective after-tax cost of assessments.57 The analysis assumes that the large banks do not transfer the surcharge to customers in the form of changes in borrowing rates, deposit rates, or service fees.

    56 See 12 CFR 324.10(a).

    57 Since deposit insurance assessments are a tax-deductible operating expense, increases in assessment expenses can lower taxable income and decreases in the assessment rate can raise taxable income.

    Projected Effects

    For all or almost all large banks, the effective surcharge annual rate measured against large banks' regular assessment base will be less than the nominal surcharge rate of 4.5 basis points because of the $10 billion deduction. The FDIC projects that the net effect of lower assessment rates that go into effect when the reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent and the imposition of the surcharge will result in lower assessments for approximately one-third of all large banks. Specifically, the analysis estimates that 37 of the 108 large banks will pay lower assessments in the future than they pay currently.

    The analysis reveals no significant capital effects from the surcharge. All large institutions continue to maintain a 4 percent leverage ratio, at a minimum, both before and after the imposition of the surcharge.58

    58 Of the 108 large banks, 107 continue to maintain a leverage ratio of at least 4 percent. The other large bank is an insured branch of a foreign bank and does not report income in its quarterly financial filings, so its regulatory capital ratios cannot be calculated.

    The annual surcharge also represents only a small percentage of bank earnings for most large banks. In the aggregate, the annual surcharge absorbs 2.33 percent of total large bank adjusted earnings and 2.36 percent of total large bank current earnings.

    Table 2.A shows that as of December 31, 2015, for 83 percent of all large banks (86 large banks) the surcharge represents 3 percent or less of adjusted annual earnings. For 92 percent (96 large banks), the surcharge represents 5 percent or less of adjusted annual earnings. Only 8 large banks' adjusted annual earnings are affected by more than 5 percent, with the maximum effect on any single bank being 9.6 percent.

    Table 2.A—The Effect of the Final Rule on Adjusted Earnings of Individual Large Banks Large banks Surcharge relative to adjusted earnings Population Number Percentage of total large banks Assets Total
  • ($ in billions)
  • Percentage of total large banks
    Equal to 0% 2 2 21 0 Between 0% and 1% 23 22 604 5 Between 1% and 2% 32 31 1,925 15 Between 2% and 3% 29 28 6,608 51 Between 3% and 4% 6 6 2,473 19 Between 4% and 5% 4 4 444 3 Over 5% 8 8 828 6 All Large Banks 104 100 12,904 100 Notes: (1) Effect of Surcharge on Current Earnings: Mean = 2.17%; Median = 1.88%; Max = 9.61%; Min = 0.00%. (2) Four large banks were excluded from the original population of 108. One large bank is an insured branch of a foreign bank and does not report income in its quarterly financial filings and the other three large banks reported negative income. Figures may not add to totals due to rounding.

    When evaluating the effect of the surcharge on current earnings (that is, excluding the gains projected from lower future regular assessments), the effect of surcharges is slightly greater, as expected, but the results are not materially different. Table 2.B shows that, for 82 percent of large banks as of December 31, 2015, (85 large banks), the surcharge represents 3 percent or less of current earnings. For 91 percent (95 large banks), the surcharge represents 5 percent or less of current earnings. Only 9 large banks' current earnings are affected by more than 5 percent, with the maximum effect on any single bank being 10.11 percent.

    Table 2.B—The Effect of the Final Rule on Current Earnings of Individual Large Banks Large banks Surcharge relative to
  • current earnings
  • Population Number Percentage of total large banks Assets Total
  • ($ in billions)
  • Percentage of total large banks
    Equal to 0 2 2 21 0 Between 0% and 1% 23 22 604 5 Between 1% and 2% 31 30 1,906 15 Between 2% and 3% 29 28 6,568 51 Between 3% and 4% 7 7 2,532 20 Between 4% and 5% 3 3 171 1 Over 5% 9 9 1,101 9 All Large Banks 104 100 12,904 100 Notes: (1) Effect of Surcharge on Current Earnings: Mean = 2.23%; Median = 1.90%; Max = 10.11%; Min = 0.00%. (2) Four large banks were excluded from the original population of 108. One large bank is an insured branch of a foreign bank and does not report income in its quarterly financial filings and the other three large banks reported negative income. Figures may not add to totals due to rounding.

    Finally, credits will result in a small increase in the income of small banks. Small bank annual earnings are estimated to increase between 2.5 and 2.7 percent due to these credits.

    The FDIC received five comments noting the effects of the surcharge on banks' capital and earnings, including the effects of banks' ability to pay dividends or to grow. As discussed above, however, FDIC analysis reveals no significant capital effects on large banks from the surcharge. On average, the annual surcharge would absorb about 2.4 percent of large bank annual income.

    VI. Alternatives Considered

    In the NPR, the FDIC solicited comments on several alternatives.

    Under the first alternative presented, the FDIC would forego surcharges and instead impose a one-time assessment, similar to a shortfall assessment, at the end of the quarter after the DIF reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent. As previously discussed, the FDIC received two comments supporting this alternative. These comments are discussed earlier.

    The second alternative would also forego surcharges and, if the reserve ratio does not reach 1.35 percent by a date sometime near the statutory deadline, impose a shortfall assessment at the end of the following quarter, to be collected at the end of the next quarter. The FDIC received one comment supporting this alternative, and a few banks surveyed by three trade groups submitting a joint comment letter also supported this alternative. These comments are also previously discussed.

    The FDIC solicited comment on additional alternatives that are essentially variations of certain aspects of the surcharge proposal, including the method of determining the surcharge base, the method of allocating credits, and the length of the surcharge period. Comments in response to these alternatives are discussed in the relevant sections.

    VII. Effective Date

    This rule will become effective on July 1, 2016. If the reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent before that date, surcharges will begin July 1, 2016. If the reserve ratio has not reached 1.15 percent by that date, surcharges will begin the first day of the calendar quarter after the reserve ratio reaches 1.15 percent.

    VIII. Regulatory Analysis and Procedure A. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires that an agency, in connection with a notice of final rulemaking, prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis describing the impact of the rule on small entities or certify that the final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.59 Certain types of rules, such as rules of particular applicability relating to rates or corporate or financial structures, or practices relating to such rates or structures, are expressly excluded from the definition of the term “rule” for purposes of the RFA.60 This final rule relates directly to the rates imposed on insured depository institutions for deposit insurance. For this reason, the requirements of the RFA do not apply. Nonetheless, the FDIC is voluntarily undertaking a regulatory flexibility analysis.

    59 See 5 U.S.C. 604, 605(b).

    60 5 U.S.C. 601.

    As of December 31, 2015, of 6,191 FDIC-insured institutions,61 there were 4,921 small insured depository institutions as that term is defined for purposes of the RFA (i.e., those with $550 million or less in assets).62 As described in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of the preamble, the purpose of this final rule is to meet the Dodd-Frank Act requirements to increase the DIF reserve ratio from 1.15 to 1.35 by September 30, 2020, and offset the effect of that increase on banks with less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets. The final rule meets those requirements in a manner that appropriately balances several considerations, including the goal of reaching the statutory minimum reserve ratio reasonably promptly in order to strengthen the fund and reduce the risk of pro-cyclical assessments, the goal of maintaining stable and predictable assessments for banks over time, and the projected effects on bank capital and earnings. Both the Dodd-Frank Act and the FDI Act grant the FDIC broad authority to implement the requirement to offset the effect of the increase in the minimum reserve ratio on banks with less than $10 billion in total assets.

    61 The total at December 31, 2015, includes 6,182 insured commercial banks and savings institutions and 9 insured U.S. branches of foreign banks.

    62 Throughout this RFA analysis, a “small institution” or “small insured depository institution” refers to an institution with assets of $550 million or less. As of December 31, 2015, one insured branch of a foreign bank had less than $550 million in assets and is included in the small insured depository institution total.

    The final rule affects small entities to the extent that they are eligible for credits in exchange for their contributions toward raising the DIF reserve ratio from 1.15 percent to 1.35 percent. The FDIC will apply these credits to future regular assessments, resulting in estimated average savings of 2.4 to 2.6 percent of annual earnings for small insured depository institutions.

    The final rule does not directly impose any “reporting” or “recordkeeping” requirements, and the compliance requirements for the final rule would not exceed (and, in fact, would be the same as) existing compliance requirements for the current risk-based deposit insurance assessment system for small banks.63 The FDIC is unaware of any duplicative, overlapping or conflicting federal rules.64 The final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of those terms as used in the RFA and the FDIC so certifies.65

    63 5 U.S.C. 604.

    64 5 U.S.C. 605.

    65 5 U.S.C. 605.

    B. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    The final rule has been determined to be a “major rule” within the meaning of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) (Title II, Pub. L. 104-121) by the Office of Management and Budget.

    C. Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act

    The Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act requires that the FDIC, in determining the effective date and administrative compliance requirements of new regulations that impose additional reporting, disclosure, or other requirements on insured depository institutions, consider, consistent with principles of safety and soundness and the public interest, any administrative burdens that such regulations would place on depository institutions, including small depository institutions, and customers of depository institutions, as well as the benefits of such regulations.66 Subject to certain exceptions, new regulations and amendments to regulations prescribed by a Federal banking agency which impose additional reporting, disclosures, or other new requirements on insured depository institutions shall take effect on the first day of a calendar quarter which begins on or after the date on which the regulations are published in final form.67 In accordance with these provisions and as discussed above, the FDIC considered any administrative burdens, as well as benefits, that the final rule would place on depository institutions and their customers in determining the effective date and administrative compliance requirements of the final rule. Thus, the final rule will be effective no earlier than the first day of a calendar quarter that begins after publication of the rule.

    66 12 U.S.C. 4802(a).

    67 12 U.S.C. 4802(b).

    D. Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”) of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521, the FDIC may not conduct or sponsor, and the respondent is not required to respond to, an information collection unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) control number.

    This final rule does not revise FDIC's Assessments Information Collection 3064-0057, Quarterly Certified Statement Invoice for Deposit Insurance Assessment. The FDIC will continue to obtain the information necessary to calculate the surcharge assessment and assessment credits from the Call Report. Therefore, no submission to OMB need be made.

    E. The Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999—Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

    The FDIC has determined that the final rule will not affect family well-being within the meaning of section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, enacted as part of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999 (Pub. L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681).

    F. Solicitation of Comments on Use of Plain Language

    Section 722 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, Public Law 106-102, 113 Stat. 1338, 1471 (Nov. 12, 1999), requires the Federal banking agencies to use plain language in all proposed and final rulemakings published in the Federal Register after January 1, 2000. The FDIC invited comments on how to make this proposal easier to understand. No comments addressing this issue were received.

    List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 327

    Bank deposit insurance, Banks, Banking, Savings associations.

    For the reasons set forth above, the FDIC amends part 327 as follows:

    PART 327—ASSESSMENTS 1. The authority citation for 12 CFR part 327 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 1441, 1813, 1815, 1817-19, 1821.

    2. Revise § 327.11 to read as follows:
    § 327.11 Surcharges and assessments required to raise the reserve ratio of the DIF to 1.35 percent.

    (a) Surcharge—(1) Institutions subject to surcharge. The following insured depository institutions are subject to the surcharge described in this paragraph:

    (i) Large institutions, as defined in § 327.8(f);

    (ii) Highly complex institutions, as defined in § 327.8(g); and

    (iii) Insured branches of foreign banks whose assets are equal to or exceed $10 billion, as reported in Schedule RAL of the branch's most recent quarterly Report of Assets and Liabilities of U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banks.

    (2) Surcharge period. The surcharge period shall begin the later of the first day of the assessment period following the assessment period in which the reserve ratio of the DIF first reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent, or the assessment period beginning on July 1, 2016. The surcharge period shall continue through the earlier of the assessment period ending December 31, 2018, or the end of the assessment period in which the reserve ratio of the DIF first reaches or exceeds 1.35 percent.

    (3) Notification of surcharge. The FDIC shall notify each insured depository institution subject to the surcharge of the amount of such surcharge no later than 15 days before such surcharge is due, as described in paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

    (4) Payment of any surcharge. Each insured depository institution subject to the surcharge shall pay to the Corporation any surcharge imposed under paragraph (a) of this section in compliance with and subject to the provisions of §§ 327.3, 327.6 and 327.7. The payment date for any surcharge shall be the date provided in § 327.3(b)(2) for the institution's quarterly certified statement invoice for the assessment period in which the surcharge was imposed.

    (5) Calculation of surcharge. An insured depository institution's surcharge for each assessment period during the surcharge period shall be determined by multiplying 1.125 basis points times the institution's surcharge base for the assessment period.

    (i) Surcharge base—Insured depository institution that has no affiliated insured depository institution subject to the surcharge. The surcharge base for an assessment period for an insured depository institution subject to the surcharge that has no affiliated insured depository institution subject to the surcharge shall equal:

    (A) The institution's deposit insurance assessment base for the assessment period, determined according to § 327.5; plus

    (B) The greater of the increase amount determined according to paragraph (a)(5)(iii) of this section or zero; minus

    (C) $10 billion; provided, however, that an institution's surcharge base for an assessment period cannot be negative.

    (ii) Surcharge base—insured depository institution that has one or more affiliated insured depository institutions subject to the surcharge. The surcharge base for an assessment period for an insured depository institution subject to the surcharge that has one or more affiliated insured depository institutions subject to the surcharge shall equal:

    (A) The institution's deposit insurance assessment base for the assessment period, determined according to § 327.5; plus

    (B) The greater of the institution's portion, determined according to paragraph (a)(5)(v) of this section, of the increase amount determined according to paragraph (a)(5)(iii) of this section or zero; minus

    (C) The institution's portion, determined according to paragraph (a)(5)(v) of this section, of $10 billion; provided, however, that an institution's surcharge base for an assessment period cannot be negative.

    (iii) Surcharge base—determination of increase amount. The increase amount for an assessment period shall equal:

    (A) The amount of the aggregate deposit insurance assessment bases for the assessment period, determined according to § 327.5, of all of the institution's affiliated insured depository institutions that are not subject to the surcharge, minus

    (B) The product of the increase multiplier set out in paragraph (a)(5)(iv) of this section and the aggregate deposit insurance assessment bases, determined according to § 327.5, as of December 31, 2015, of all of the small institutions, as defined in § 327.8(e), that were the institution's affiliated insured depository institutions for the assessment period ending December 31, 2015.

    (iv) Increase multiplier for the assessment periods during the surcharge period. During the surcharge period, the increase multiplier shall be the amount prescribed in the following schedule:

    Increase Multipliers for the Assessment Periods During the Surcharge Period For the assessment period ending— September 30, 2016 1.0740995 December 31, 2016 1.1000000 March 31, 2017 1.1265251 June 30, 2017 1.1536897 September 30, 2017 1.1815094 December 31, 2017 1.2100000 March 31, 2018 1.2391776 June 30, 2018 1.2690587 September 30, 2018 1.2996604 December 31, 2018 1.3310000

    (A) For the assessment period ending September 30, 2016, the increase multiplier shall be 1.0740995.

    (B) For the assessment period ending December 31, 2016, the increase multiplier shall be 1.1000000.

    (C) For the assessment period ending March 31, 2017, the increase multiplier shall be 1.1265251.

    (D) For the assessment period ending June 30, 2017, the increase multiplier shall be 1.1536897.

    (E) For the assessment period ending September 30, 2017, the increase multiplier shall be 1.1815094.

    (F) For the assessment period ending December 31, 2017, the increase multiplier shall be 1.2100000.

    (G) For the assessment period ending March 31, 2018, the increase multiplier shall be 1.2391776.

    (H) For the assessment period ending June 30, 2018, the increase multiplier shall be 1.2690587.

    (I) For the assessment period ending September 30, 2018, the increase multiplier shall be 1.2996604.

    (J) For the assessment period ending December 31, 2018, the increase multiplier shall be 1.33100000.

    (v) Surcharge base—institution's portion. For purposes of paragraphs (a)(5)(ii)(B) and (C) of this section, an institution's portion shall equal the ratio of the institution's deposit insurance assessment base for the assessment period, determined according to § 327.5, to the sum of the institution's deposit insurance assessment base for the assessment period, determined according to § 327.5, and the deposit insurance assessment bases for the assessment period, determined according to § 327.5, of all of the institution's affiliated insured depository institutions subject to the surcharge.

    (vi) For the purposes of this section, an affiliated insured depository institution is an insured depository institution that meets the definition of “affiliate” in section 3 of the FDI Act, 12 U.S.C. 1813(w)(6).

    (6) Effect of mergers and consolidations on surcharge base. (i) If an insured depository institution acquires another insured depository institution through merger or consolidation during the surcharge period, the acquirer's surcharge base will be calculated consistent with § 327.6 and § 327.11(a)(5). For the purposes of the surcharge, a merger or consolidation means any transaction in which an insured depository institution merges or consolidates with any other insured depository institution, and includes transactions in which an insured depository institution either directly or indirectly acquires all or substantially all of the assets, or assumes all or substantially all of the deposit liabilities of any other insured depository institution where there is not a legal merger or consolidation of the two insured depository institutions.

    (ii) If an insured depository institution not subject to the surcharge is the surviving or resulting institution in a merger or consolidation with an insured depository institution that is subject to the surcharge or acquires all or substantially all of the assets, or assumes all or substantially all of the deposit liabilities, of an insured depository institution subject to the surcharge, then the surviving or resulting insured deposit institution or the insured depository institution that acquires such assets or assumes such deposit liabilities is subject to the surcharge.

    (b) Shortfall assessment.—(1) Institutions subject to shortfall assessment. Any insured depository institution that was subject to a surcharge under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, in any assessment period during the surcharge period described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, shall be subject to the shortfall assessment described in this paragraph (b). If surcharges under paragraph (a) of this section have not been in effect, the insured depository institutions subject to the shortfall assessment described in this paragraph (b) will be the insured depository institutions described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section as of the assessment period in which the reserve ratio of the DIF reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent.

    (2) Notification of shortfall. The FDIC shall notify each insured depository institution subject to the shortfall assessment of the amount of such institution's share of the shortfall assessment described in paragraph (b)(5) of this section no later than 15 days before such shortfall assessment is due, as described in paragraph (b)(3) of this section.

    (3) Payment of any shortfall assessment. Each insured depository institution subject to the shortfall assessment shall pay to the Corporation such institution's share of any shortfall assessment as described in paragraph (b)(5) of this section in compliance with and subject to the provisions of §§ 327.3, 327.6 and 327.7. The payment date for any shortfall assessment shall be the date provided in § 327.3(b)(2) for the institution's quarterly certified statement invoice for the assessment period in which the shortfall assessment is imposed.

    (4) Amount of aggregate shortfall assessment. (i) If the reserve ratio of the DIF is at least 1.15 percent but has not reached or exceeded 1.35 percent as of December 31, 2018, the shortfall assessment shall be imposed on March 31, 2019, and shall equal 1.35 percent of estimated insured deposits as of December 31, 2018, minus the actual DIF balance as of that date.

    (ii) If the reserve ratio of the DIF is less than 1.15 percent and has not reached or exceeded 1.35 percent by December 31, 2018, the shortfall assessment shall be imposed at the end of the assessment period immediately following the assessment period that occurs after December 31, 2018, during which the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent and shall equal 0.2 percent of estimated insured deposits as of the end of the calendar quarter in which the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent.

    (5) Institutions' shares of aggregate shortfall assessment. Each insured depository institution's share of the aggregate shortfall assessment shall be determined by apportioning the aggregate amount of the shortfall assessment among all institutions subject to the shortfall assessment in proportion to each institution's shortfall assessment base as described in this paragraph.

    (i) Shortfall assessment base if surcharges have been in effect. If surcharges have been in effect, an institution's shortfall assessment base shall equal the average of the institution's surcharge bases during the surcharge period. For purposes of determining the average surcharge base, if an institution was not subject to the surcharge during any assessment period of the surcharge period, its surcharge base shall equal zero for that assessment period.

    (ii) Shortfall assessment base if surcharges have not been in effect. If surcharges have not been in effect, an institution's shortfall assessment base shall equal the average of what its surcharge bases would have been over the four assessment periods ending with the assessment period in which the reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent. If an institution would not have been subject to a surcharge during one of those assessment periods, its surcharge base shall equal zero for that assessment period.

    (6) Effect of mergers and consolidations on shortfall assessment. (i) If an insured depository institution, through merger or consolidation, acquires another insured depository institution that paid surcharges for one or more assessment periods, the acquirer will be subject to a shortfall assessment and its average surcharge base will be increased by the average surcharge base of the acquired institution, consistent with paragraph (b)(5) of this section.

    (ii) For the purposes of the shortfall assessment, a merger or consolidation means any transaction in which an insured depository institution merges or consolidates with any other insured depository institution, and includes transactions in which an insured depository institution either directly or indirectly acquires all or substantially all of the assets, or assumes all or substantially all of the deposit liabilities of any other insured depository institution where there is not a legal merger or consolidation of the two insured depository institutions.

    (c) Assessment credits. (1)(i) Eligible Institutions. For the purposes of this paragraph (c) an insured depository institution will be considered an eligible institution, if, for at least one assessment period during the credit calculation period, the institution was a credit accruing institution.

    (ii) Credit accruing institutions. A credit accruing institution is an institution that, for a particular assessment period, is not:

    (A) A large institution, as defined in § 327.8(f);

    (B) A highly complex institution, as defined in § 327.8(g); or

    (C) An insured branch of a foreign bank whose assets are equal to or exceed $10 billion, as reported in Schedule RAL of the branch's most recent quarterly Report of Assets and Liabilities of U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banks.

    (2) Credit calculation period. The credit calculation period shall begin the first day of the assessment period after the reserve ratio of the DIF reaches or exceeds 1.15 percent, and shall continue through the earlier of the assessment period that the reserve ratio of the DIF reaches or exceeds 1.35 percent or the assessment period that ends December 31, 2018.

    (3) Determination of aggregate assessment credit awards to all eligible institutions. The FDIC shall award an aggregate amount of assessment credits equal to the product of the fraction of quarterly regular deposit insurance assessments paid by credit accruing institutions during the credit calculation period and the amount by which the DIF increase, as determined under paragraph (c)(3)(ii) or (iii) of this section, exceeds total surcharges imposed under paragraph (b) of this section; provided, however, that the aggregate amount of assessment credits cannot exceed the aggregate amount of quarterly deposit insurance assessments paid by credit accruing institutions during the credit calculation period.

    (i) Fraction of quarterly regular deposit insurance assessments paid by credit accruing institutions. The fraction of assessments paid by credit accruing institutions shall equal quarterly deposit insurance assessments, as determined under § 327.9, paid by such institutions for each assessment period during the credit calculation period, divided by the total amount of quarterly deposit insurance assessments paid by all insured depository institutions during the credit calculation period, excluding the aggregate amount of surcharges imposed under paragraph (b) of this section.

    (ii) DIF increase if the DIF reserve ratio has reached 1.35 percent by December 31, 2018. If the DIF reserve ratio has reached 1.35 percent by December 31, 2018, the DIF increase shall equal 0.2 percent of estimated insured deposits as of the date that the DIF reserve ratio first reaches or exceeds 1.35 percent.

    (iii) DIF Increase if the DIF reserve ratio has not reached 1.35 percent by December 31, 2018. If the DIF reserve ratio has not reached 1.35 percent by December 31, 2018, the DIF increase shall equal the DIF balance on December 31, 2018, minus 1.15 percent of estimated insured deposits on that date.

    (4) Determination of individual eligible institutions' shares of aggregate assessment Credit.

    (i) Assessment credit share. To determine an eligible institution's assessment credit share, the aggregate assessment credits awarded by the FDIC shall be apportioned among all eligible institutions in proportion to their respective assessment credit bases, as described in paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section.

    (ii) Assessment credit base. An eligible institution's assessment credit base shall equal the average of its quarterly deposit insurance assessment bases, as determined under § 327.5, during the credit calculation period, as defined in paragraph (c)(2) of this section. An eligible institution's credit base shall be deemed to equal zero for any assessment period during which the institution was not a credit accruing institution.

    (iii) Limitation. The assessment credits awarded to an eligible institution shall not exceed the total amount of quarterly deposit insurance assessments paid by that institution for assessment periods during the credit calculation period in which it was a credit accruing institution.

    (5) Effect of merger or consolidation on assessment credit base. If an eligible institution acquires another eligible institution through merger or consolidation before the reserve ratio of the DIF reaches 1.35 percent, the acquirer's quarterly deposit insurance assessment base (for purposes of calculating the acquirer's assessment credit base) shall be deemed to include the acquired institution's deposit insurance assessment base for the assessment periods during the credit calculation period that were prior to the merger or consolidation and in which the acquired institution was a credit accruing institution.

    (6) Effect of call report amendments. Amendments to the quarterly Reports of Condition and Income or the quarterly Reports of Assets and Liabilities of U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banks that occur subsequent to the payment date for the final assessment period of the credit calculation period shall not affect an eligible institution's credit share.

    (7) Award and notice of assessment credits—(i) Award of assessment credits. As soon as practicable after the earlier of either December 31, 2018, or the date on which the reserve ratio of the DIF reaches 1.35 percent, the FDIC shall notify an eligible institution of the FDIC's preliminary estimate of such institution's assessment credits and the manner in which the FDIC calculated such credits.

    (ii) Notice of assessment credits. The FDIC shall provide eligible institutions with periodic updated notices reflecting adjustments to the institution's assessment credits resulting from requests for review or appeals, mergers or consolidations, or the FDIC's application of credits to an institution's quarterly deposit insurance assessments.

    (8) Requests for review and appeal of assessment credits. Any institution that disagrees with the FDIC's computation of or basis for its assessment credits, as determined under this paragraph (c), may request review of the FDIC's determination or appeal that determination. Such requests for review or appeal shall be filed pursuant to the procedures set forth in paragraph (d) of this section.

    (9) Successors. If an insured depository institution acquires an eligible institution through merger or consolidation after the reserve ratio of the DIF reaches 1.35 percent, the acquirer is successor to any assessment credits of the acquired institution.

    (10) Mergers and consolidation include only legal mergers and consolidation. For the purposes of this paragraph (c), a merger or consolidation does not include transactions in which an insured depository institution either directly or indirectly acquires the assets of, or assumes liability to pay any deposits made in, any other insured depository institution, but there is not a legal merger or consolidation of the two insured depository institutions.

    (11) Use of credits. (i) The FDIC shall apply assessment credits awarded under paragraph (c) of this section to an institution's deposit insurance assessments, as calculated under § 327.9, only for assessment periods in which the reserve ratio of the DIF exceeds 1.38 percent.

    (ii) The FDIC shall apply assessment credits to reduce an institution's quarterly deposit insurance assessments by each institution's remaining credits. The assessment credit applied to each institution's deposit insurance assessment for any assessment period shall not exceed the institution's total deposit insurance assessment for that assessment period.

    (iii) The amount of credits applied each quarter will not be recalculated as a result of amendments to the quarterly Reports of Condition and Income or the quarterly Reports of Assets and Liabilities of U.S. Branches and Agencies of Foreign Banks pertaining to any quarter in which credits have been applied.

    (12) Transfer or sale of credits. Other than through merger or consolidation, credits may not be sold or transferred.

    (d) Request for review and appeals of assessment credits. (1) An institution that disagrees with the basis for its assessment credits, or the Corporation's computation of its assessments credits under paragraph (c) of this section and seeks to change it must submit a written request for review and any supporting documentation to the FDIC's Director of the Division of Finance.

    (2) Timing. (i) Any request for review under this paragraph must be submitted within 30 days from

    (A) The initial notice provided by the FDIC to the insured depository institution under paragraph (c)(7) of this section stating the FDIC's preliminary estimate of an eligible institution's assessment credit and the manner in which the assessment credit was calculated; or

    (B) Any updated notice provided by the FDIC to the insured depository institution under paragraph (c)(7) of this section.

    (ii) Any requests submitted after the deadline in paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section will be considered untimely filed and the institution will be subsequently barred from submitting a request for review of its assessment credit.

    (3) Process of review. (i) Upon receipt of a request for review, the FDIC shall temporarily freeze the amount of the assessment credit being reviewed until a final determination is made by the Corporation.

    (ii) The FDIC may request, as part of its review, additional information from the insured depository institution involved in the request and any such information must be submitted to the FDIC within 21 days of the FDIC's request;

    (iii) The FDIC's Director of the Division of Finance, or his or her designee, will notify the requesting institution of his or her determination of whether a change is warranted within 60 days of receipt by the FDIC of the request for review, or if additional information had been requested from the FDIC, within 60 days of receipt of any such additional information.

    (4) Appeal. If the requesting institution disagrees with the final determination from the Director of the Division of Finance, that institution may appeal its assessment credit determination to the FDIC's Assessment Appeals Committee within 30 days from the date of the Director's written determination. Notice of the procedures applicable to an appeal before the Assessment Appeals Committee will be included in the Director's written determination.

    (5) Adjustments to assessment credits. Once the Director of the Division of Finance, or the Assessment Appeals Committee, as appropriate, has notified the requesting bank of its final determination, the FDIC will make appropriate adjustments to assessment credit amounts consistent with that determination. Adjustments to an insured depository institution's assessment credit amounts will not be applied retroactively to reduce or increase the quarterly deposit insurance assessment for a prior assessment period.

    3. In § 327.35, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 327.35 Application of credits.

    (a) Subject to the limitations in paragraph (b) of this section, the amount of an eligible insured depository institution's one-time credit shall be applied to the maximum extent allowable by law against that institution's quarterly assessment payment under subpart A of this part, after applying assessment credits awarded under § 327.11(c), until the institution's credit is exhausted.

    Note:

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

    Appendix 1 Example Calculations of Surcharge Bases in Banking Organizations With Multiple Large Banks and Affiliated Small Banks

    Table 1.1 gives an example of the calculation of the surcharge base for a banking organization that comprises three large banks but no affiliated small banks.

    Table 1.1—Example Application of $10 Billion Deduction Within a Banking Organization [$ in billions] Affiliated large banks Assessment base A Share of $10 billion
  • deduction
  • % B
  • (A/$116)
  • $ C
  • (B * $10)
  • Surcharge base A−C
    #1 $25.00 21.6 $2.16 $22.84 #2 55.00 47.4 4.74 50.26 #3 36.00 31.0 3.10 32.90 Total 116.00 100 10.00 106.00 * Some figures are rounded for simplicity of presentation.

    The next tables give an example of the calculation of the surcharge base for a banking organization that comprises three large banks and two affiliated small banks. Table 1.2 shows the applicable amounts by which affiliated small banks' December 31, 2015 regular assessment bases will be multiplied to determine growth at a 10 percent effective annual rate. (The amounts in the table are calculated by compounding a quarterly rate of approximately 2.41 percent from December 31, 2015, to achieve a 10 percent effective annual rate.) Table 1.3 shows the calculation of the gross amount of the first adjustment (the net increase in affiliated small banks' assessment bases after December 31, 2015). Table 1.4 shows the apportionment of the first adjustment and the second adjustment (the $10 billion deduction) among the large banks in the banking organization.

    The first adjustment calculates the cumulative net increase from December 31, 2015, in affiliated small banks' aggregate assessment bases in excess of an effective annual rate of 10 percent. In the example shown in Table 1.3, affiliated small bank X had an assessment base of $2.00 billion as of December 31, 2015, and affiliated small bank Y had an assessment base of $6.00 billion, or $8.00 billion in aggregate. On March 31, 2017, affiliated small bank X has increased its assessment base to $6.01 billion, and affiliated small bank Y has decreased its assessment base to $5.00 billion, so the affiliated small banks' aggregate assessment base is $11.01 billion. The amount of growth in excess of an effective annual rate of 10 percent is calculated by first multiplying the amount corresponding with March 31, 2017 in Table 1.2 (1.1265251) by the affiliated small banks aggregate assessment base of $8.00 billion as of December 31, 2015, and then subtracting the product from the affiliated small banks' aggregate assessment base of $11.01 billion as of March 31, 2017. The resulting amount, $2.00 billion, is the gross amount of the first adjustment.

    The second adjustment deducts $10 billion from large banks' assessment bases. Both adjustments are apportioned among all large bank affiliates in a holding company in proportion to each large bank's regular assessment base. As shown in Table 1.4, each affiliated large bank's share of the banking organization's assessment base (the large bank share) is calculated by dividing the affiliated large bank's assessment base by the sum of all affiliated large bank assessment bases. Next, each large bank's share is multiplied by the gross amount ($2.0 billion) of the first adjustment, as calculated in Table 1.3, and the product is added to each large bank's surcharge base. Finally, each large bank's share is multiplied by the $10 billion deduction, and the product is subtracted from each large bank's surcharge base as increased by the first adjustment. The remaining amount constitutes each large bank's surcharge base for the quarter.

    Table 1.2—Multiplier Amounts For the assessment period ending— September 30, 2016 1.0740995 December 31, 2016 1.1000000 March 31, 2017 1.1265251 June 30, 2017 1.1536897 September 30, 2017 1.1815094 December 31, 2017 1.2100000 March 31, 2018 1.2391776 June 30, 2018 1.2690587 September 30, 2018 1.2996604 December 31, 2018 1.3310000 Table 1.3—Example Calculation of the Gross Amount of the First Adjustment [Net increase in affiliated small banks' assessment bases after December 31, 2015] [$ in billions] * Affiliated small banks Assessment base Year-end
  • 2015
  • First quarter 2017 Growth under a 10% effective
  • annual rate,
  • compounded
  • quarterly
  • Growth in excess of 10% effective
  • annual rate
  • A B C = A * 1.1265 D = B−C X $2.00 $6.01 Y 6.00 5.00 Total 8.00 11.01 $9.01 $2.00 * Some figures are rounded for simplicity of presentation.
    Table 1.4—Example Apportionment of the First Adjustment and the Second Adjustment (the $10 Billion Deduction) Among the Large Banks in a Banking Organization [$ in billions] * Affiliated large banks Assessment base Share of
  • affiliated large banks'
  • assessment bases
  • (%)
  • Share of
  • affiliated small banks'
  • assessment bases
  • Share of $10 billion
  • deduction
  • Surcharge base
    E F
  • (E/$113)
  • G
  • (F * D)
  • H
  • (F * $10)
  • E + G − H
    #1 $35.0 31.0 $0.62 $3.10 $32.52 #2 22.0 19.5 0.39 1.95 20.44 #3 56.0 49.6 0.99 4.96 52.04 Total 113.0 100.0 2.00 10.00 105.00 * Some figures are rounded for simplicity of presentation.

    By order of the Board of Directors.

    Dated at Washington, DC, this 15th day of March, 2016. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Valerie J. Best, Assistant Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06770 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION 12 CFR Part 1026 [Docket No. CFPB-2016-0013] RIN 3170-AA59 Operations in Rural Areas Under the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z); Interim Final Rule AGENCY:

    Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

    ACTION:

    Interim final rule with request for public comment.

    SUMMARY:

    This interim final rule amends certain provisions of Regulation Z in light of title LXXXIX of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, entitled the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act, Public Law 114-94. The amendments to Regulation Z concern two matters: The eligibility of certain small creditors that operate in rural or underserved areas for special provisions that permit the origination of balloon-payment qualified mortgages and balloon-payment high cost mortgages and for an exemption from the requirement to establish an escrow account for higher-priced mortgage loans and the determination of whether an area is rural for the purposes of Regulation Z.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on March 31, 2016. Comments may be submitted on or before April 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CFPB-2016-0013 or RIN 3170-AA59, by any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected] Include Docket No. CFPB-2016-0013 or RIN 3170-AA59 in the subject line of the email.

    Electronic: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1275 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20002.

    Instructions: All submissions should include the agency name and docket number or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) for this rulemaking. Because paper mail in the Washington, DC area and at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) is subject to delay, commenters are encouraged to submit comments electronically. In general, all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov. In addition, comments will be available for public inspection and copying at 1275 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20002, on official business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. eastern time. You can make an appointment to inspect the documents by telephoning (202) 435-7275.

    All comments, including attachments and other supporting materials, will become part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. Sensitive personal information, such as account numbers or Social Security numbers, should not be included. Comments will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Carl Owens, Terry J. Randall, or James Wylie, Counsels, Office of Regulations, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552, at (202) 435-7700.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Summary of Interim Final Rule

    The Bureau is issuing this interim final rule to amend Regulation Z to address the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act of 2015 (HELP Rural Communities Act or the Act), which was enacted on December 4, 2015.1 The Act has two substantive sections. First, the Act broadened the class of creditors that may be eligible under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) for provisions that relieve burden for small, rural mortgage creditors.2 Second, it requires the Bureau to establish a process under which a person may apply to have an area designated by the Bureau as a rural area for purposes of a Federal consumer financial law.3 On March 3, 2016, the Bureau published a rule establishing the application process mandated by the Act.4 This interim final rule addresses the Act's amendments to TILA and defines the term “area” for purposes of the application process.

    1 Public Law 114-94 (2015).

    2 Public Law 114-94, section 89003 (2015).

    3 Public Law 114-94, section 89002 (2015).

    4 Application Process for Designation of Rural Area under Federal Consumer Financial Law, 81 FR 11099 (Mar. 3, 2016).

    This interim final rule is implementing Congress's intention to expand the cohort of small creditors that are eligible for a special provision of Regulation Z that permits origination of balloon-payment qualified mortgages under § 1026.43(f) and for an exemption from the requirement to establish an escrow account for higher-priced mortgages (escrow exemption) under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii). The Act's amendments to TILA authorize the Bureau to extend the special provision and exemption to certain small creditors that operate in rural or underserved areas, and remove TILA's prior limitation that eligible creditors must operate predominantly in such areas.5 In addition to the special provision and escrow exemption addressed in the Act, to promote consistent regulatory requirements and reduce unwarranted burdens on small creditors, the interim final rule also expands eligibility for a special provision which allows rural, small creditors to originate high cost mortgages with balloon-payment terms (balloon-payment high cost mortgages) under § 1026.32(d)(1)(ii)(C).

    5 Public Law 114-94, section 89003 (2015).

    To expand eligibility for the special provisions and exemption, the interim final rule revises § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A), which specifies the level of operations in rural or underserved areas at which a creditor is eligible for the special provisions and exemption. Under the interim final rule, a creditor satisfies the rural-or-underserved component of the eligibility criteria if the creditor originated a covered transaction secured by a property located in a rural or underserved area in the preceding calendar year or, if the application for the transaction was received before April 1 of the current calendar year, during either of the two preceding calendar years. The interim final rule also amends the current eligibility criteria for the escrow exemption to ensure that creditors that established escrow accounts solely to comply with the current rule will be eligible for the exemption if they otherwise meet its criteria under this interim final rule.

    In addition to addressing the Act's amendments to TILA, this rule also amends § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A), which sets forth the rule for determining whether an area is rural for the purposes of Regulation Z, by inserting a reference to any areas designated as rural through the application process mandated by the Act. This amendment also establishes that, consistent with the current definition of rural area in Regulation Z, only counties or census blocks are eligible areas for the purpose of the application process established by the Bureau pursuant to the Act. The Bureau is soliciting comments on the interim final rule's amendments to Regulation Z.

    II. Background

    In response to an unprecedented cycle of expansion and contraction in the mortgage market that sparked the most severe U.S. recession since the Great Depression, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), signed into law on July 21, 2010.6 In the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress significantly amended the statutory requirements governing mortgage practices.7

    6 Public Law 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010).

    7See title XIV of the Dodd-Frank Act, Public Law 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010) (codified in scattered sections of titles 12, 15, and 42 of the United States Code).

    As part of these changes, Congress vested the Bureau with specific authority to modify certain requirements with respect to small creditors operating predominantly in rural or underserved areas. TILA sections 129C(b)(2)(E)(iv)(I) and 129D(c)(1) granted the Bureau the discretion to create a special provision allowing origination of balloon-payment qualified mortgages, even though balloon-payment mortgages are otherwise precluded from being considered qualified mortgages, and an exemption from the requirement to establish an escrow account for higher-priced mortgage loans.8 TILA limited the cohort of creditors to which the Bureau may grant the special provision and exemption to include only small creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas.

    8See Escrow Requirements Under the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z), 78 FR 4726, 4736 (Jan. 22, 2013) (January 2013 Escrows Final Rule); Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage Standards Under the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z) January 2013 ATR Final Rule, 78 FR 6408, 6538 (Jan. 30, 2013) (January 2013 ATR Final Rule).

    The Bureau issued several rules in early 2013 to implement these new statutory requirements.9 As directed by Congress, the Bureau considered the issues facing rural, small creditors and determined that it was appropriate to exercise its discretion under TILA to reduce burden on certain small creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas. Accordingly, the Bureau established a special provision allowing origination of balloon-payment qualified mortgages, even though balloon-payment mortgages are otherwise precluded from being considered qualified mortgages, and an exemption from the pre-existing requirement to establish an escrow account for higher-priced mortgage loans.10 To synchronize the treatment of balloon-payment loans for purposes of qualified mortgages and high cost mortgages, the Bureau exercised discretionary authority under TILA section 129(p)(1) to establish a special provision allowing creditors that satisfy the same eligibility criteria as the special provision and exemption to originate high cost mortgages with balloon-payment features.11

    9See, e.g., January 2013 Escrows Final Rule, 78 FR 4726 (Jan. 22, 2013); January 2013 ATR Final Rule, 78 FR 6408 (Jan. 30, 2013); High Cost Mortgage and Homeownership Counseling Amendments to the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z) and Homeownership Counseling Amendments to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X), 78 FR 6856 (Jan. 31, 2013) (2013 HOEPA Final Rule); Ability-to-Repay and Qualified Mortgage Standards Under the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z), 78 FR 35430 (June 12, 2013) (May 2013 ATR Final Rule); Amendments to the 2013 Mortgage Rules Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (Regulation B), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X), and the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z), 78 FR 60382, 60416 (Oct. 1, 2013) (September 2013 Final Rule).

    10See January 2013 Escrows Final Rule, 78 FR 4726, 4736 (Jan. 22, 2013); January 2013 ATR Final Rule, 78 FR 6408, 6538 (Jan. 30, 2013).

    11 Section 1026.32(d)(1)(ii)(C); 2013 HOEPA Final Rule, 78 FR 6856, 6921-22 (Jan. 31, 2013) (adopting same criteria for eligibility as the 2013 ATR Final Rule to promote consistency and facilitate compliance).

    The Bureau adopted a single test to determine whether a small creditor operated predominantly in rural or underserved areas for the purposes of eligibility for the special provisions and exemption.12 In adopting this test, the Bureau stated that it interpreted the use of “predominantly” in the statute to “[indicate] a portion greater than half” 13 and therefore conditioned eligibility on whether the small creditor extended more than 50 percent of its total first-lien covered transactions 14 on properties that are located in areas designated as either rural or underserved.15

    12See §§ 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) (establishing test to determine whether the creditor operates predominantly in a rural or underserved area for purposes of escrow exemption); 1026.43(f)(1)(vi) (referring to criterion set forth in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) for purposes of eligibility to originate balloon-payment qualified mortgages); § 1026.32(d)(1) (referring to the criteria set forth in § 1026.43(f)(1)(i) through (vi) and 1026.43(f)(2)).

    13 2013 Escrows Final Rule, 78 FR 4726, 4736 (Jan. 22, 2013).

    14 “Covered transaction” is defined in § 1026.43(b)(1) to mean a consumer credit transaction that is secured by a dwelling, as defined in § 1026.2(a)(19), including any real property attached to a dwelling, other than a transaction exempt from coverage under § 1026.43(a).

    15 2013 Escrows Final Rule, 78 FR 4726, 4736 (Jan. 22, 2013).

    In the spring of 2013, the Bureau adopted provisions establishing a two-year transition period during which small creditors that did not operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas could originate balloon-payment qualified mortgages. The Bureau explained that the transition period provided time for small creditors to make changes to their business practices, and noted the particular challenges posed by existing balloon-payment loans that would be due for renewal in the near term. The Bureau also stated that the transition period would give it time to study whether the definitions of rural or underserved should be adjusted.16 In the fall of 2013, the Bureau extended the same two-year transition period to balloon-payment high cost mortgages for the same reasons that it established the transition period for balloon-payment qualified mortgages.17 The Bureau did not make any changes to the escrow exemption in these rules.

    16 May 2013 ATR Final Rule, 78 FR 35430, 35488-89 (June 12, 2013) (adopting § 1026.43(e)(6)).

    17 September 2013 Final Rule, 78 FR 60382, 60413 (Oct. 1, 2013) (amending § 1026.32(d)(1)(ii)(C)).

    In the fall of 2015, the Bureau adopted revisions that affected the special provisions and the escrow exemption.18 As part of these revisions, the Bureau expanded eligibility for the exemption and special provisions by raising the loan origination limit for determining eligibility for small creditor status from no more than 500 applicable loans to no more than 2,000 applicable loans. In addition, the Bureau broadened the definition of “rural” by adding census blocks that are not in urban areas as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau to the existing county-based definition. The Bureau noted that the special provisions and exemption facilitate the ability of rural, small creditors to provide access to mortgage credit for consumers they serve. At that time, the Bureau also extended the temporary provisions that allow certain small creditors to make balloon-payment qualified mortgages and balloon-payment high cost mortgages regardless of whether they operated predominantly in rural or underserved areas for an additional three and a half months.19 The Bureau explained that it extended the temporary provisions to provide time for small creditors to understand how the changes that the Bureau was making to the definition of rural would affect their status and to make any necessary adjustments to their business practices. The transition period expires on April 1, 2016.

    18 Amendments Relating to Small Creditors and Rural or Underserved Areas Under the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z), 80 FR 59944 (Oct. 2, 2015) (October 2015 Small Creditor Final Rule).

    19Id.

    Just over two months after the Bureau adopted these revisions, on December 4, 2015, the HELP Rural Communities Act was enacted into law.20 The Act broadened the class of creditors that may be eligible under TILA for the special provision allowing origination of balloon-payment qualified mortgages and for the escrow exemption.21 Prior to the HELP Rural Communities Act amendments, both TILA sections 129C(b)(2)(E)(iv)(I) and 129D(c)(1), the sections under which the Bureau exercised its authority to create the special provision and exemption, limited eligibility to small creditors that “operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas.” The Act struck the term “predominantly” from both sections.22 In addition, the Act requires the Bureau to establish a temporary application process to have an area designated by the Bureau as a rural area for purposes of a Federal consumer financial law.23

    20 Public Law 114-94 (2015).

    21 Public Law 114-94, section 89003 (2015); see also Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of the Conference, H.R. 22, Title LXXXIX—Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities at 55-56, http://transportation.house.gov/uploadedfiles/joint_explanatory_statement.pdf.

    22 Public Law 114-94, section 89003 (2015).

    23 Public Law 114-94, section 89002 (2015).

    On March 3, 2016, the Bureau published a procedural rule in the Federal Register to establish the application process mandated by the Act.24 Pursuant to that process, the Bureau will begin accepting applications for areas to be designated as rural areas on March 31, 2016, and the application process will terminate on December 4, 2017.25 The Bureau is issuing this interim final rule to amend Regulation Z to exercise the authority granted to the Bureau by the Act's amendments to TILA and to insert a reference to rural areas designated through the application process mandated by the Act.

    24 Application Process for Designation of Rural Area under Federal Consumer Financial Law, 81 FR 11099 (Mar. 3, 2016).

    25 The Bureau will consider any application received before April 8, 2017. The Bureau may not consider an application received on or after April 8, 2017, if it determines that it is not possible to complete the statutorily designed potential 240-day application process for that application by the sunset date, based on the time remaining, the complexity of the application, and any other relevant factors. Id.

    III. Legal Authority

    The Bureau is issuing this final rule pursuant to its authority under TILA and the Dodd-Frank Act. TILA, as amended by the Dodd-Frank Act and the HELP Rural Communities Act, provides specific statutory bases for the Bureau's interim final rule. TILA section 129D(c) authorizes the Bureau to exempt, by regulation, a creditor from the requirement (in section 129D(a)) that escrow accounts be established for higher-priced mortgage loans if the creditor operates in rural or underserved areas, retains its mortgage loans in portfolio, does not exceed (together with all affiliates) a total annual mortgage loan origination limit set by the Bureau, and meets any asset-size threshold, and any other criteria, the Bureau may establish. TILA section 129C(b)(2)(E) authorizes the Bureau to provide, by regulation, that certain balloon-payment mortgages originated by small creditors receive qualified mortgage status, even though qualified mortgages are otherwise prohibited from having balloon-payment features.

    With respect to the high cost mortgage provisions of TILA section 129, TILA section 129(p), as amended by the Dodd-Frank Act, grants the Bureau the authority to create exemptions to the restrictions on high cost mortgages and to expand the protections that apply to high cost mortgages. Under TILA section 129(p)(1), the Bureau may exempt specific mortgage products or categories from any or all of the prohibitions specified in TILA section 129(c) through (i), if the Bureau finds that the exemption is in the interest of the borrowing public and will apply only to products that maintain and strengthen homeownership and equity protections. Among these referenced provisions of TILA is section 129(e), the prohibition on balloon payments for high cost mortgages.

    In addition, as amended by the Dodd-Frank Act, TILA section 105(a) authorizes the Bureau to prescribe regulations to carry out the purposes of TILA. Under section 105(a), such regulations may contain such additional requirements, classifications, differentiations, or other provisions, and may provide for such adjustments and exceptions for all or any class of transactions, as in the judgment of the Bureau are necessary or proper to effectuate the purposes of TILA, to prevent circumvention or evasion thereof, or to facilitate compliance therewith. Dodd-Frank Act section 1100A clarified the Bureau's TILA section 105(a) authority by amending that section to provide express authority to prescribe regulations that contain “additional requirements” that the Bureau finds are necessary or proper to effectuate the purposes of TILA, to prevent circumvention or evasion thereof, or to facilitate compliance therewith.

    In addition, section 1061 of the Dodd-Frank Act transferred to the Bureau the “consumer financial protection functions” previously vested in certain other Federal agencies, including the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board). The term “consumer financial protection function” is defined to include “all authority to prescribe rules or issue orders or guidelines pursuant to any Federal consumer financial law, including performing appropriate functions to promulgate and review such rules, orders, and guidelines.” 26 Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, including section 1061 of the Dodd-Frank Act, along with TILA and certain subtitles and provisions of title XIV of the Dodd-Frank Act, are Federal consumer financial laws.27 In addition, section 1022(b)(1) of the Dodd-Frank Act authorizes the Bureau to prescribe rules “as may be necessary or appropriate to enable the Bureau to administer and carry out the purposes and objectives of the Federal consumer financial laws, and to prevent evasions thereof.” TILA is a Federal consumer financial law. Accordingly, the Bureau is exercising its authority under Dodd-Frank Act section 1022(b) to issue rules that carry out the purposes and objectives of TILA.

    26 Dodd-Frank Act section 1061(a)(1)(A), 12 U.S.C. 5581(a)(1)(A).

    27 Dodd-Frank Act section 1002(14), 12 U.S.C. 5481(14) (defining “Federal consumer financial law” to include the “enumerated consumer laws,” the provisions of title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, and the laws for which authorities are transferred under title X subtitles F and H of the Dodd-Frank Act); Dodd-Frank Act section 1002(12), 12 U.S.C. 5481(12) (defining “enumerated consumer laws” to include TILA); Dodd-Frank section 1400(b), 12 U.S.C. 5481(12) note (defining “enumerated consumer laws” to include certain subtitles and provisions of Dodd-Frank Act title XIV).

    IV. Administrative Procedure Act

    To the extent that notice and comment would otherwise be required, the Bureau finds that there is good cause due to the exigencies created by the HELP Rural Communities Act to publish this interim final rule without notice and comment and for the rule to be effective less than 30 days after publication.28 It is necessary to finalize the interim final rule before April 1, 2016, for the reasons discussed below. As a result, the Bureau finds that it is impracticable both to provide notice and accept comment on the amendments to Regulation Z before finalizing the rule and to provide a 30-day period between publication and when the rule is effective.29

    28 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B); 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

    29 This finding also satisfies the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 808(2), allowing the interim final rule to become effective notwithstanding the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 801 for the same reasons discussed in this section.

    A. Revisions to Effectuate the Amendments to TILA

    This interim final rule revises certain provisions in Regulation Z to effectuate the HELP Rural Communities Act's amendments to TILA, which broadened the cohort of creditors that may be eligible under TILA for the special provision permitting origination of balloon-payment qualified mortgages and for the escrow exemption.30 Prior to these amendments to TILA, eligibility was limited to creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas. Congress struck the word “predominantly” from the TILA sections.31

    30 Public Law 114-94, section 89003 (2015).

    31Id.

    These amendments to TILA, which were effective upon enactment on December 4, 2015, create uncertainty and confusion for creditors that are not currently eligible for the special provisions and exemption. For example, these creditors may question how the Act changes their eligibility for the special provisions and exemption. This uncertainty may lead these creditors to change their business practices, potentially imposing burden and costs on creditors to update their policies and procedures, make changes to their technology, and train staff. This uncertainty also creates legal risks for these creditors. They may mistakenly believe that the amendments to TILA automatically broadened the regulatory exemption and may take steps that might lead them out of compliance with the requirements in Regulation Z.

    With respect to the special provisions pertaining to balloon-payment features, the consequences of this confusion can be avoided if the interim final rule is effective before April 1, 2016. Currently, the rural-or-underserved aspect of the eligibility criteria for the special provisions has no practical effect because, under temporary provisions that expire on April 1, 2016, creditors that meet all of the other eligibility criteria for the special provisions may originate balloon-payment qualified mortgages and balloon-payment high cost mortgages even if they do not satisfy the rural-or-underserved component of the test.32 If the temporary provisions expire before the Bureau resolves the uncertainty created by the amendments to TILA by revising the rural-or-underserved component of the eligibility criteria in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A), creditors face significant confusion about the status of the exemptions, which may cause the potential legal risks described above and may impose unnecessary burden and costs on newly eligible creditors. The amendment to TILA, striking “predominantly,” suggests that Congress intended to expand eligibility for the special provision to additional creditors that operate in rural or underserved areas, but that do not operate “predominantly” in rural or underserved areas, and thereby reduce burden on this expanded cohort of small creditors. To exercise the Bureau's authority consistent with that intent while avoiding imposing unnecessary burden and costs on newly eligible small creditors, the revisions to the rural-or-underserved test in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) must take effect prior to the April 1, 2016, expiration of the temporary provisions. If new § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) is not effective before the temporary provisions expire, newly eligible small creditors would have to change their business practices temporarily to comply with the requirements imposed by the current rule and then, later, when the revisions to the rule were effective, would have to change their business practices again to reverse course. To avoid imposing these unnecessary burdens and costs, the amendment to the rural-or-underserved test under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) and conforming changes to the commentary must take effect before April 1, 2016.

    32 12 CFR 1026.43(e)(6); 1026.32(d)(1)(ii)(C).

    The need to clarify the amendment to TILA's effect on the escrow exemption is also urgent because the requirement that creditors operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas to be eligible for the escrow exemption currently applies and will continue to apply as long as the current version of § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) is still in effect. In light of the Act, creditors now face uncertainty surrounding the status of their eligibility for the exemption. As noted above, some creditors that are not eligible for the current exemption may be under the mistaken impression that the amendments to TILA automatically broadened the regulatory exemption and that they are no longer required to establish escrow accounts for higher-priced mortgage loans. This confusion creates legal risks for these creditors. In addition, some creditors may be uncertain about whether establishing an escrow account to comply with current law will disqualify them from the escrow exemption in the future, because creditors generally are not eligible for the escrow exemption if they maintain escrow accounts for any extension of consumer credit secured by real property or a dwelling that it or its affiliate currently services that were established after January 1, 2016.33 Some creditors may be adjusting their business practices as a result of this uncertainty. To resolve this uncertainty, the interim final rule's revisions to both the rural-or-underserved test under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A), discussed above, and the “no harm” provision under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1) must be effective. The “no harm” provision ensures that any creditors that are currently ineligible for the escrow exemption, but that would qualify under the interim final rule, do not lose eligibility for the escrow exemption because of escrow accounts they established pursuant to requirements in the current rule. The amendments to both sections must take effect urgently to resolve the uncertainty surrounding the exemption and eliminate the legal risks described above.

    33 12 CFR 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1).

    B. Amendments Related to the Application Process

    The amendment to the definition of rural area under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A) must take effect by March 31, 2016. New § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A)(3) amends Regulation Z to refer to the application process mandated by the Act, which requires the Bureau to establish the application process by March 3, 2016.34 The statute's inclusion of a deadline for establishing the application process suggests that Congress intended the Bureau to begin accepting applications as promptly after March 3, 2016, as possible. Accordingly, the Bureau's procedural rule established March 31, 2016, as the date when it would begin accepting applications. To provide potential applicants with notice of the types of areas for which they may submit applications before the Bureau begins accepting applications, it is necessary for new § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A)(3) to be effective by March 31, 2016.

    34 Public Law 114-94, section 89002 (2015).

    V. Section-by-Section Analysis Section 1026.35 Requirements for Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans 35(b) Escrow Accounts 35(b)(2)(iii) 35(b)(2)(iii)(A)

    Section 1026.35(b)(2)(iii) currently provides that an escrow account need not be established for a higher-priced mortgage loan by small creditors if four conditions identified in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) through (D) are satisfied at the time of consummation. Under current § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A), a creditor satisfies the rural-or-underserved component of the eligibility criteria if, during the preceding calendar year or, if the application for the transaction was received before April 1 of the current calendar year, during either of the two preceding calendar years, a creditor extended more than 50 percent of its total covered transactions secured by first liens on properties that are located in rural or underserved areas. This provision is consistent with the statutory provision as adopted by the Dodd-Frank Act requiring that, in order for the Bureau to have the authority to grant the exemption, the creditor must operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas. The Bureau is revising § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) to remove the “more than 50 percent” aspect of the test and condition eligibility on a creditor extending one covered transaction secured by a first lien on a property located in a rural or underserved area.

    The Bureau is revising § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) to reflect Congress's intent to expand the cohort of small creditors eligible for the special provision and exemptions by amending TILA sections 129C(b)(2)(E)(iv)(I) and 129D(c)(1) by removing “predominantly” from the statute. These sections of TILA relate to special provisions and an exemption that applies to certain small creditors operating in rural or underserved areas. Previously, TILA section 129C(b)(2)(E)(iv)(I) permitted the Bureau, by regulation, to define qualified mortgage as including a balloon loan for certain small creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas. Similarly, TILA section 129D(c)(1) permitted the Bureau, by regulation, to exempt certain small creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas from the requirement to establish an escrow account under TILA section 129D(a) in certain circumstances. The Act amended both provisions of TILA by striking the word “predominantly” and thereby extending the class of eligible creditors under TILA for the special provisions that permit balloon-payment qualified mortgages and for the escrow exemption.35

    35 Public Law 114-94, section 89003 (2015).

    The Bureau previously issued regulations exercising its authority under TILA sections 129C(b)(2)(E)(iv)(I) and 129D(c)(1).36 In addition, the Bureau also issued regulations using discretionary authority under TILA section 129(p)(1) to allow certain small creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas to originate balloon-payment high cost mortgages.37 In October 2015, the Bureau finalized amendments to Regulation Z that broadened the definition of small creditor and rural area and thereby expanded the number of eligible creditors.38

    36See January 2013 Escrows Final Rule, 78 FR 4726 (Jan. 22, 2013); January 2013 ATR Final Rule, 78 FR 6408 (Jan. 30, 2013); May 2013 ATR Final Rule, 78 FR 35430 (June 12, 2013); October 2015 Small Creditor Final Rule, 80 FR 59944 (Oct. 2, 2015).

    37 Section 1026.32(d)(1)(ii)(C); 2013 HOEPA Final Rule, 78 FR 6856, 6921-22 (Jan. 31, 2013) (adopting same criteria for eligibility as the 2013 ATR Final Rule to promote consistency and “facilitate compliance”).

    38 October 2015 Small Creditor Final Rule, 80 FR 59944 (Oct. 2, 2015).

    Regulation Z uses a single test to determine whether a small creditor operates predominantly in rural or underserved areas for the purposes of eligibility for the two balloon-payment special provisions and the escrow exemption.39 In adopting this test, the Bureau stated that it interpreted the use of “predominantly” in the statute to “[indicate] a portion greater than half” and therefore conditioned eligibility on whether the small creditor extended more than 50 percent of its total first-lien covered transactions on properties that are located in areas designated as either rural or underserved.40 The Bureau is revising § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) to remove the “more than 50 percent” aspect of the current test for purposes of the eligibility for the escrow exemption, the eligibility to originate balloon-payment qualified mortgages, and the eligibility to originate balloon-payment high cost mortgages.41 Under these revisions, a creditor operates in a rural or underserved area if the creditor extended at least one first-lien covered transaction on a property that is located in a rural or underserved area in the previous calendar year, or if the application for the transaction was received before April 1 of the current calendar year, during either of the two preceding calendar years. The Bureau is also making conforming revisions to comment 35(b)(2)(iii)-1.

    39 12 CFR 1026.35(b)(2)(iii).

    40 January 2013 Escrows Final Rule, 78 FR 4726, 4736 (Jan. 22, 2013); January 2013 ATR Final Rule, 78 FR 6408, 6543 (Jan. 30, 2013).

    41 Allowing § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A), as revised by this rule, to continue to apply for purposes of eligibility to originate balloon-payment high cost mortgages promotes consistency between the Bureau's ability-to-repay requirements and the high cost mortgage requirements and facilitates compliance for creditors who operate in these areas. See 2013 HOEPA Final Rule, 78 FR 6856, 6921-22 (Jan. 31, 2013). The special provisions and exemptions facilitate the ability of small creditors that operate in rural or underserved areas to provide access to mortgage credit for consumers they serve.

    When the Bureau adopted the “more than 50 percent” aspect of the test, it stated that it was implementing the use of “predominantly” in the statute.42 The amendments in section 89003 of the Act, striking “predominantly,” suggest that Congress intended to expand eligibility for the exemption to additional creditors that operate in rural or underserved areas, but that do not operate “predominantly” in those areas by currently making “more than 50 percent” of their covered transactions in such areas, and to thereby reduce burden on this expanded cohort of small creditors.

    42 January 2013 Escrows Final Rule, 78 FR 4726, 4736 (Jan. 22, 2013); January 2013 ATR Final Rule, 78 FR 6408, 6543 (Jan. 30, 2013).

    The Bureau believes that TILA sections 129C(b)(2)(E)(iv)(I) and 129D(c)(1), as revised by the Act, are ambiguous with respect to what it means to “operate in a rural area,” and are subject to various possible reasonable interpretations. The Bureau believes that the one-loan test adopted by revised § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) is a reasonable interpretation of these provisions of TILA and is appropriate at this time in light of the recent regulatory context, including Congress's decision to remove the term that the Bureau had relied on to establish the “more than 50 percent” aspect of the test from the statute and the limited data currently available upon which to base consideration of other potentially reasonable interpretations. Furthermore, as discussed above in part IV, the Bureau believes that the amendments must take effect before April 1, 2016, to provide timely guidance for creditors who may have uncertainty about the effect of the Act on § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) and need to make prompt decisions for the near term about their business operations in light of the Act's amendments, including whether to apply for an area to be designated as rural.43 This certainty is critical to such creditors now, for purposes of making near-term business decisions, notwithstanding the Bureau's intent to monitor and potentially to revisit this interpretation in the future, as discussed below. The Bureau requests comment concerning any information or data relevant to the revisions to § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) in addition to the information or data discussed in part VII below.

    43 Application Process for Designation of Rural Area under Federal Consumer Financial Law, 81 FR 11099 (Mar. 3, 2016).

    The nearer term practical effect of the revisions to § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) is that they will likely preserve, for the most part, the current status of many small creditors eligible for the special provisions. As discussed above, under temporary provisions that expire on April 1, 2016, creditors that meet all of the other eligibility criteria for the special provisions may originate balloon-payment qualified mortgages and balloon-payment high cost mortgages even if they do not satisfy the rural-or-underserved component of the test.44 Consequently, this final rule effectively adds to the special provisions' eligibility criteria a new prerequisite that the entity issue at least one loan in a rural or underserved area.

    44 12 CFR 1026.43(e)(6); § 1026.32(d)(1)(ii)(C).

    The Bureau intends to monitor the market closely and thoroughly for negative effects on consumers or unintended effects on the mortgage market as a result of these revisions to § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A). The Bureau expects to have better information available for analyzing these effects and considering other potentially reasonable interpretations of “operates in rural or underserved areas” in the future, including more data available from the National Survey of Mortgage Borrowers (NSMB), as well as the National Mortgage Database (NMDB).45

    45See http://www.fhfa.gov/Homeownersbuyer/Pages/National-Survey-of-Mortgage-Borrowers.aspx. See also http://www.consumerfinance.gov/reports/technical-reports-national-survey-of-mortgage-borrowers-and-national-mortgage-database/. The NSMB is one component of the NMDB project, a multi-year project being jointly undertaken by the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Bureau. For the Bureau, the NMDB project will support policymaking and research efforts and help identify and understand emerging mortgage and housing market trends. The Bureau expects to use the NMDB, among other purposes, in support of the market monitoring called for by the Dodd-Frank Act, including understanding how mortgage debt affects consumers and for retrospective rule review required by the statute. The Bureau can use the NSMB to gather additional information about balloon-payment loans, escrow accounts, and creditors operating rural or underserved areas and the NMDB to provide additional data relevant to a future rulemaking involving creditors that operate in rural areas. For example, the Bureau may be able to use NSMB data to monitor the self-reported number of consumers that have a mortgage with a balloon feature. The Bureau can monitor the self-reported number of consumers that had an escrow account at origination. The Bureau can track the areas where either mortgages with balloon features or loans without escrow accounts are prevalent. The Bureau may also be able to extrapolate the number of loans that the creditor providing the loan originated, allowing the Bureau to focus on creditors operating predominantly in rural or underserved areas if necessary.

    At least one year after the effective date of this rule, and further dependent on when the Bureau believes newly available information may support considering additional rulemaking related to § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A), the Bureau intends to invite public comment on the effect of these revisions to § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A). If better information available to the Bureau, including further information provided by the public, shows that the revisions to § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) have had unintended effects on the mortgage market or negative effects on consumers, the Bureau intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to exercise its authority to implement a revised test under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A). The Bureau requests comment on the optimal scope of the exemption for these creditors that the Bureau should consider as new data becomes available, and in what timeframe the Bureau should consider undertaking additional rulemaking related to the exemption. The Bureau also requests comment, including relevant data, on whether the revisions will result in expanded access to credit.

    35(b)(2)(iii)(D) 35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1)

    Section 1026.35(b)(1) generally requires a creditor to establish an escrow account for a higher-priced mortgage loan secured by a first lien on a consumer's principal dwelling. Section 1026.35(b)(2)(iii) provides an exemption from that requirement for certain small creditors. Section 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D) makes creditors that maintain existing escrow accounts ineligible for that exemption, with certain exceptions. One such exception, § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1), currently excludes escrow accounts established on or after April 1, 2010, and before January 1, 2016, from counting for purposes of the limitation in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D). The Bureau is revising § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1) to extend the excluded period to May 1, 2016. The Bureau believes that the period should be extended to accommodate creditors who established escrow accounts after January 1, 2016, to comply with the previous requirement. Some of these creditors who did not previously satisfy the rural-or-underserved test under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) may now qualify under the newly revised rural-or-underserved test. Creditors should not be precluded from qualifying under the newly revised test based solely on their having established escrow accounts to comply with requirements that the Bureau is now revising.

    35(b)(2)(iv)(A) 35(b)(2)(iv)(A)(3)

    Section 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A) currently considers an area as rural during a calendar year if it is: A county that is neither in a metropolitan statistical area nor in a micropolitan statistical area that is adjacent to a metropolitan statistical area; or a census block that is not in an urban area, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau using the latest decennial census of the United States. The Bureau is adding new § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A)(3) to add to this definition an area that has been designated as rural pursuant to the application process established under section 89002 of the Act.46

    46 Public Law 114-94, title LXXXIX (2015).

    As discussed above, on March 3, 2016, the Bureau published a procedural rule in the Federal Register establishing an application process through which a person may apply to have an area designated by the Bureau as a rural area for purposes of a Federal consumer financial law.47 New § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A)(3) defines rural area to include a county or a census block that has been designated as rural by the Bureau pursuant to the application process established under section 89002 of the Act. This amendment is necessary to incorporate areas designated as rural through that application process into the definition of rural area set forth in Regulation Z. Per the statute, designations through this process are time-limited and expire on December 4, 2017.

    47 Application Process for Designation of Rural Area under Federal Consumer Financial Law, 81 FR 11099 (Mar. 3, 2016).

    The Bureau interprets the term “rural area,” as that term is used in section 89002 of the Act, to be an area comprising counties or census blocks. For reasons set forth in the section-by-section analysis of the October 2015 amendments to § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A), the Bureau adopted counties or census blocks as the appropriate units of analysis for its rural classification scheme and rejected alternative proposals.48 Because the Act did not define the term “rural area” and did not revise this interpretation, the Bureau believes that Congress intended for the new designation process to be consistent with the current rural designation scheme and thus intended for the continued use of counties and census blocks as the units of analysis for defining rural areas for purposes of § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A). Accordingly, only counties or census blocks are eligible for designation as rural under the application process, consistent with the interpretation of rural area already set forth in Regulation Z.

    48 October 2015 Small Creditor Final Rule, 80 FR 59943, 59955 (Oct. 2, 2015).

    The Bureau is also making conforming changes to comments 35(b)(2)(iv)-1.i and -2.i.

    Section 1026.43 Minimum Standards for Transactions Secured by a Dwelling 43(f) Balloon-Payment Qualified Mortgages Made by Certain Creditors 43(f)(1) Exemption 43(f)(1)(vi)

    The Bureau is revising comment 43(f)(1)(vi)-1 to remove references to the “more than 50 percent” test and replace them with references to the test under revised § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) for the reasons discussed above in the section-by-section analysis of that section and to add references to new § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A)(3) for the reasons discussed above in the section-by-section analysis of that section. The Bureau is revising the examples provided in the comment to reflect the revised test.

    43(f)(2)(ii)

    The Bureau is revising comment 43(f)(2)(ii)-1 to remove references to the “more than 50 percent” test and replace them with references to the revised test under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) for the reasons discussed above in the section-by-section analysis of that section.

    VI. Effective Date

    This interim final rule is effective on March 31, 2016.

    VII. Dodd-Frank Act Section 1022(b) Analysis A. Overview

    In developing the final rule, the Bureau has considered potential benefits, costs, and impacts.49 The Bureau has consulted, or offered to consult with, the prudential regulators, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including regarding consistency with any prudential, market, or systemic objectives administered by such agencies.

    49 Specifically, § 1022(b)(2)(A) of the Dodd-Frank Act calls for the Bureau to consider the potential benefits and costs of a regulation to consumers and covered persons, including the potential reduction of access by consumers to consumer financial products or services; the impact on depository institutions and credit unions with $10 billion or less in total assets as described in section 1026 of the Dodd-Frank Act; and the impact on consumers in rural areas.

    The discussion below considers the benefits, costs, and impacts of expanding eligibility of certain small creditors that operate in rural or underserved areas for special provisions that permit originations of balloon-payment qualified mortgages and for the escrow exemption for higher-priced mortgage loans (HPMLs).50 The Bureau does not possess the data to evaluate the number of creditors that would benefit from the amendment to the extension of the “no harm provision” 51 for the escrow exemption. This rule also applies the current definition of eligible “areas” (i.e., counties or census blocks) used for existing rural designations to the new application process to have an area designated as rural by the Bureau. The impacts of that definition were previously considered and discussed in the October 2015 Small Creditor Final Rule. This 1022(b) analysis assumes this existing definition of area for purposes of analyzing the costs, benefits, and impacts of this rule.

    50 As explained in the section-by-section analysis above, the exception to the general prohibition on balloon-payment features for high cost mortgages in the 2013 HOEPA Final Rule is also affected by the final provisions. The Bureau estimates that there were about 1,000 high cost mortgage loans across all creditors in the U.S. in 2014. The Bureau believes that the number of high cost loans that also had a balloon feature and were originated by a small creditor that was not already qualified for this provision is negligible. The Bureau does not expect this to change in the future. Therefore, the Bureau believes that the effect of the final rule on the rural balloon-payment provision in the 2013 HOEPA Final Rule is relatively small, in terms of both the consumers and covered persons affected, and thus does not merit further discussion in this 1022(b) analysis.

    51 12 CFR 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1).

    The Bureau has chosen to evaluate the benefits, costs, and impacts of this rule relative to the current regulatory structure, including the October 2015 Small Creditor Final Rule.52 The baseline considers economic attributes of the relevant market.

    52 The Bureau has discretion in future rulemakings to choose the relevant provisions to discuss and to choose the most appropriate baseline for that particular rulemaking.

    The Bureau has relied on a variety of data sources to consider the potential benefits, costs and impacts of this rule.53 However, in some instances, the requisite data are not available or are quite limited. Data with which to quantify the benefits of this rule are particularly limited. As a result, portions of this analysis rely in part on general economic principles to provide a qualitative discussion of the benefits, costs, and impacts of the final rule.

    53 The quantitative estimates in this analysis are based upon data and statistical analyses performed by the Bureau. To estimate counts and properties of mortgages for entities that do not report under HMDA, the Bureau has matched HMDA data to Call Report data and National Mortgage Licensing System data and has statistically projected estimated loan counts for those depository institutions that do not report these data either under HMDA or on the NCUA Call Report. The Bureau has projected originations of higher-priced mortgage loans in a similar fashion for depositories that do not report under HMDA. These projections use Poisson regressions that estimate loan volumes as a function of an institution's total assets, employment, mortgage holdings, and geographic presence.

    The primary source of data used in this analysis is 2013 data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). The empirical analysis also uses data from the 4th quarter 2013 bank and thrift Call Reports 54 and the 4th quarter 2013 credit union Call Reports from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to identify financial institutions and their characteristics. Appropriate projections have been made to account for gaps in the data, including, for example, institutions that do not report under HMDA. The Bureau also used data from the National Survey of Mortgage Borrowers.55

    54 Every national bank, State member bank, and insured nonmember bank is required by its primary Federal regulator to file consolidated Reports of Condition and Income, also known as Call Reports, for each quarter as of the close of business on the last day of each calendar quarter (the report date). The specific reporting requirements depend upon the size of the bank and whether it has any foreign offices. For more information, see http://www2.fdic.gov/call_tfr_rpts/.

    55See http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201508_cfpb_national-survey-of-mortgage-borrowers-technical-report-15-02.pdf.

    This rule expands the number of institutions that, under special provisions, are eligible to originate certain types of qualified mortgages and to take advantage of an exemption from the requirement to establish an escrow account for HPMLs under the January 2013 ATR Final Rule, the May 2013 ATR Final Rule, the January 2013 Escrows Final Rule, and the 2015 October Small Creditor Final Rule.56

    56See, January 2013 ATR Final Rule, 78 FR 6408 (Jan. 30, 2013); May 2013 ATR Final Rule, 78 FR 35430 (June 12, 2013); January 2013 Escrows Final Rule, 78 FR 4726 (Jan. 22, 2013); October 2015 Small Creditor Final Rule, 80 FR 59944 (Oct. 2, 2015).

    These special provisions and exemption are only available to small creditors that operate in rural or underserved areas (rural small creditors). Rural small creditors can originate qualified mortgages with balloon-payment features, as long as these loans are kept in portfolio and other requirements are met. These qualified mortgages with balloon-payment features are deemed to comply with the ability-to-repay requirement as long as these loans have an APR of less than 3.5 percentage points over APOR for a comparable transaction.57 Also, rural small creditors are generally allowed to originate higher-priced mortgage loans without setting up an escrow account for property taxes and insurance.

    57 Note that currently, due to a temporary exemption in the May 2013 Qualified Mortgage Final Rule, all small creditors are allowed to originate qualified mortgages with balloon-payment features.

    The Bureau discussed the benefits and costs of expanding the number of creditors eligible for the special provisions and exemption in detail in its 2015 October Small Creditor Final Rule Section 1022(b)(2) discussion.58 Thus, the Bureau refers to that discussion for detailed explanations of effects and only provides here the numerical estimates of creditors and consumers affected.

    58 October 2015 Small Creditor Final Rule, 80 FR 59944, 59961-67 (Oct. 2, 2015).

    B. Potential Benefits and Costs to Consumers and Covered Persons Covered Persons Benefits and Costs

    Based on the 2013 data, the Bureau estimated in its 2015 October Small Creditor Final Rule that about 4,100 out of the 10,400 small creditors would qualify as rural based on the revised definitions and “predominantly” test as it had been defined by the Bureau. Based on the same data, roughly an additional 6,000 small creditors will qualify as rural under the new provisions. Approximately 300 small creditors did not make any loans in rural or underserved areas in 2013, but may do so going forward.

    The roughly 6,000 small creditors that will qualify as rural under this rule originated approximately 1.1 million loans, including 360,000 portfolio loans and 70,000 HPMLs in 2013. The Bureau is unaware of how many of these loans were balloon loans. However, estimates from the National Survey of Mortgage Borrowers indicate that about 4 percent of the loans in rural areas had a balloon feature and about 2 percent of the loans in non-rural areas had a balloon feature. The Bureau does not know and lacks a method for estimating how many creditors who are newly eligible for the escrow exemption will choose to stop providing escrow accounts when originating HPMLs.

    All methods of compliance under current law remain available to covered persons when this rule becomes effective.59 Thus, a covered person that is in compliance with current law will not need to take any additional action under the final rule; however, it might choose to do so to benefit from the special provisions and exemption.

    59 This discussion takes into account the temporary provisions that expire on April 1, 2016, that allow small creditors to originate balloon-payment qualified mortgages and balloon-payment high cost mortgages regardless of their operations in rural or underserved areas.

    Consumer Benefits and Costs

    As the Bureau noted in its 2015 October Small Creditor Final Rule that similarly expanded the set of creditors eligible for the special provisions, consumer benefit from the final provisions of this rule is a potential expansion or avoidance of contraction in access to credit. The Bureau outlined its analysis of the available data on access to credit in its 2015 October Small Creditor Final Rule, and that analysis still applies. Prior to its 2015 October Small Creditor Final Rule, the Bureau received numerous comments suggesting that more creditors should be eligible for the special provisions and exemption above in order to expand access to credit.

    As noted in the 2015 October Small Creditor Final Rule, the potential cost to consumers is the reduction of certain consumer protections as compared to the baseline established by the January 2013 ATR Final Rule, the May 2013 ATR Final Rule, and the January 2013 Escrows Final Rule. This rule would further reduce consumer protections from the 2015 October Small Creditor Final Rule. These consumer protections include a consumer's private cause of action against a creditor for violating the general ability-to-repay requirements for balloon loans and the requirement that every higher-priced mortgage loan have an associated escrow account for the payment of property taxes and insurance for five years.

    The number of consumers affected is the same as the number of loans discussed above.

    C. Impact on Covered Persons With No More Than $10 Billion in Assets

    The only covered persons affected by this rule are those with no more than $10 billion in assets. The effect on these covered persons is described above.

    D. Impact on Access to Credit

    The Bureau does not believe that there will be an adverse impact on access to credit resulting from the final provisions. Moreover, it is possible that there will be an expansion of access to credit.

    E. Impact on Rural Areas

    Despite the Bureau's estimate that balloon loans are about twice as frequent in rural areas, this rule is not likely to disproportionately impact non-rural areas. The approximately 4,100 small creditors that operate predominantly in rural areas are already eligible for the special provisions and for the exemption due to the 2015 October Small Creditor Final Rule, and are thus unaffected by this rule.

    VIII. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is required, the Regulatory Flexibility Act does not require an initial or final regulatory flexibility analysis.60

    60 5 U.S.C. 603(a), 604(a).

    IX. Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), Federal agencies are generally required to obtain Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for information collection requirements before implementation. The collections of information related to Regulation Z have been previously reviewed and approved by OMB in accordance with the PRA and assigned OMB Control Number 3170-0015 (Regulation Z). Under the PRA, the Bureau may not conduct or sponsor, and, notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person is not required to respond to an information collection unless the information collection displays a valid control number assigned by OMB.

    Consistent with the discussion in Section 1022(b)(2), the Bureau has determined that this rule does not impose any new or revised information collection requirements (recordkeeping, reporting, or disclosure requirements) on covered entities or members of the public that would constitute collections of information requiring OMB approval under the PRA.

    List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 1026

    Advertising, Appraisal, Appraiser, Banking, Banks, Consumer protection, Credit, Credit unions, Mortgages, National banks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Savings associations, Truth in lending.

    Authority and Issuance

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Bureau amends Regulation Z, 12 CFR part 1026, as set forth below:

    PART 1026—TRUTH IN LENDING (REGULATION Z) 1. The authority citation for part 1026 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 2601, 2603-2605, 2607, 2609, 2617, 3353, 5511, 5512, 5532, 5581; 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.

    Subpart E—Special Rules for Certain Home Mortgage Transactions
    2. Section 1026.35 is amended by revising paragraphs (b)(2)(iii)(A), (b)(2)(iii)(D)(1), and (b)(2)(iv)(A) to read as follows:
    § 1026.35 Requirements for higher-priced mortgage loans.

    (b) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (iii) * * *

    (A) During the preceding calendar year, or, if the application for the transaction was received before April 1 of the current calendar year, during either of the two preceding calendar years, the creditor extended a covered transaction, as defined by § 1026.43(b)(1), secured by a first lien on a property that is located in an area that is either “rural” or “underserved,” as set forth in paragraph (b)(2)(iv) of this section;

    (D) * * *

    (1) Escrow accounts established for first-lien higher-priced mortgage loans for which applications were received on or after April 1, 2010, and before May 1, 2016; or

    (iv) * * *

    (A) An area is “rural” during a calendar year if it is:

    (1) A county that is neither in a metropolitan statistical area nor in a micropolitan statistical area that is adjacent to a metropolitan statistical area, as those terms are defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and as they are applied under currently applicable Urban Influence Codes (UICs), established by the United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS);

    (2) A census block that is not in an urban area, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau using the latest decennial census of the United States; or

    (3) A county or a census block that has been designated as rural by the Bureau pursuant to the application process established under section 89002 of the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act, Public Law 114-94, title LXXXIX (2015). The provisions of this paragraph (b)(2)(iv)(A)(3) shall cease to have any force or effect on December 4, 2017.

    3. In Supplement I to Part 1026Official Interpretations: A. Under Section 1026.35—Requirements for Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans: i. Under Paragraph 35(b)(2)(iii), paragraph 1.i is revised. ii. Under Paragraph 35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1), paragraph 1 is revised. iii. Under Paragraph 35(b)(2)(iv), paragraphs 1.i and 2.i are revised. B. Under Section 1026.43—Minimum Standards for Transactions Secured by a Dwelling: i. Under Paragraph 43(f)(1)(vi), paragraph 1.i is revised. ii. Under Paragraph 43(f)(2)(ii), paragraph 1 is revised.

    The revisions read as follows:

    Supplement I to Part 1026—Official Interpretations Subpart E—Special Rules for Certain Home Mortgage Transactions Section 1026.35—Requirements for Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans 35(b) Escrow Accounts 35(b)(2) Exemptions Paragraph 35(b)(2)(iii)

    1. * * *

    i. During the preceding calendar year, or during either of the two preceding calendar years if the application for the loan was received before April 1 of the current calendar year, a creditor extended a first-lien covered transaction, as defined in § 1026.43(b)(1), secured by a property located in an area that is either “rural” or “underserved,” as set forth in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv).

    A. In general, whether the rural-or-underserved test is satisfied depends on the creditor's activity during the preceding calendar year. However, if the application for the loan in question was received before April 1 of the current calendar year, the creditor may instead meet the rural-or-underserved test based on its activity during the next-to-last calendar year. This provides creditors with a grace period if their activity meets the rural-or-underserved test (in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A)) in one calendar year but fails to meet it in the next calendar year.

    B. A creditor meets the rural-or-underserved test for any higher-priced mortgage loan consummated during a calendar year if it extended a first-lien covered transaction in the preceding calendar year secured by a property located in a rural-or-underserved area. If the creditor does not meet the rural-or-underserved test in the preceding calendar year, the creditor meets this condition for a higher-priced mortgage loan consummated during the current calendar year only if the application for the loan was received before April 1 of the current calendar year and the creditor extended a first-lien covered transaction during the next-to-last calendar year that is secured by a property located in a rural or underserved area. The following examples are illustrative:

    1. Assume that a creditor extended during 2016 a first-lien covered transaction that is secured by a property located in a rural or underserved area. Because the creditor extended a first-lien covered transaction during 2016 that is secured by a property located in a rural or underserved area, the creditor can meet this condition for exemption for any higher-priced mortgage loan consummated during 2017.

    2. Assume that a creditor did not extend during 2016 a first-lien covered transaction secured by a property that is located in a rural or underserved area. Assume further that the same creditor extended during 2015 a first-lien covered transaction that is located in a rural or underserved area. Assume further that the creditor consummates a higher-priced mortgage loan in 2017 for which the application was received in November 2017. Because the creditor did not extend during 2016 a first-lien covered transaction secured by a property that is located in a rural or underserved area, and the application was received on or after April 1, 2017, the creditor does not meet this condition for exemption. However, assume instead that the creditor consummates a higher-priced mortgage loan in 2017 based on an application received in February 2017. The creditor meets this condition for exemption for this loan because the application was received before April 1, 2017, and the creditor extended during 2015 a first-lien covered transaction that is located in a rural or underserved area.

    Paragraph 35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(1)

    1. Exception for certain accounts. Escrow accounts established for first-lien higher-priced mortgage loans for which applications were received on or after April 1, 2010, and before May 1, 2016, are not counted for purposes of § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D). For applications received on and after May 1, 2016, creditors, together with their affiliates, that establish new escrow accounts, other than those described in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(2), do not qualify for the exemption provided under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii). Creditors, together with their affiliates, that continue to maintain escrow accounts established for first-lien higher-priced mortgage loans for which applications were received on or after April 1, 2010, and before May 1, 2016, still qualify for the exemption provided under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii) so long as they do not establish new escrow accounts for transactions for which they received applications on or after May 1, 2016, other than those described in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(D)(2), and they otherwise qualify under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii).

    Paragraph 35(b)(2)(iv)

    1. * * *

    i. Under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A), an area is rural during a calendar year if it is: A county that is neither in a metropolitan statistical area nor in a micropolitan statistical area that is adjacent to a metropolitan statistical area; a census block that is not in an urban area, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau using the latest decennial census of the United States; or a county or a census block that has been designated as “rural” by the Bureau pursuant to the application process established in 2016. See Application Process for Designation of Rural Area under Federal Consumer Financial Law; Procedural Rule, 81 FR 11099 (Mar. 3, 2016). Metropolitan statistical areas and micropolitan statistical areas are defined by the Office of Management and Budget and applied under currently applicable Urban Influence Codes (UICs), established by the United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS). For purposes of § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A)(1), “adjacent” has the meaning applied by the USDA-ERS in determining a county's UIC; as so applied, “adjacent” entails a county not only being physically contiguous with a metropolitan statistical area but also meeting certain minimum population commuting patterns. A county is a “rural” area under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A)(1) if the USDA-ERS categorizes the county under UIC 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12. Descriptions of UICs are available on the USDA-ERS Web site at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/urban-influence-codes/documentation.aspx. A county for which there is no currently applicable UIC (because the county has been created since the USDA-ERS last categorized counties) is a rural area only if all counties from which the new county's land was taken are themselves rural under currently applicable UICs.

    2. Examples. i. An area is considered “rural” for a given calendar year based on the most recent available UIC designations by the USDA-ERS and the most recent available delineations of urban areas by the U.S. Census Bureau that are available at the beginning of the calendar year. These designations and delineations are updated by the USDA-ERS and the U.S. Census Bureau respectively once every ten years. As an example, assume a creditor makes first-lien covered transactions in Census Block X that is located in County Y during calendar year 2017. As of January 1, 2017, the most recent UIC designations were published in the second quarter of 2013, and the most recent delineation of urban areas was announced in the Federal Register in 2012, see U.S. Census Bureau, Qualifying Urban Areas for the 2010 Census, 77 FR 18652 (Mar. 27, 2012). To determine whether County Y is rural under the Bureau's definition during calendar year 2017, the creditor can use USDA-ERS's 2013 UIC designations. If County Y is not rural, the creditor can use the U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 delineation of urban areas to determine whether Census Block X is rural and is therefore a “rural” area for purposes of § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A). In addition, an area is considered “rural” if it is a county or a census block that has been designated as rural by the Bureau using the application process established in 2016. See Application Process for Designation of Rural Area under Federal Consumer Financial Law; Procedural Rule, 81 FR 11099 (Mar. 3, 2016). Designations under this process are time-limited and expire on December 4, 2017.

    Section 1026.43—Minimum Standards for Transactions Secured by a Dwelling 43(f) Balloon-Payment Qualified Mortgages Made By Certain Creditors 43(f)(1) Exemption. Paragraph 43(f)(1)(vi)

    1. * * *

    i. During the preceding calendar year or during either of the two preceding calendar years if the application for the transaction was received before April 1 of the current calendar year, the creditor extended a first-lien covered transaction, as defined in § 1026.43(b)(1), on a property that is located in an area that is designated either “rural” or “underserved,” as defined in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv), to satisfy the requirement of § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A) (the rural-or-underserved test). Pursuant to § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv), an area is considered to be rural if it is: A county that is neither in a metropolitan statistical area, nor a micropolitan statistical area adjacent to a metropolitan statistical area, as those terms are defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget; a census block that is not in an urban area, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau using the latest decennial census of the United States; or a county or a census block that has been designated as “rural” by the Bureau pursuant to the application process established in 2016. See Application Process for Designation of Rural Area under Federal Consumer Financial Law; Procedural Rule, 81 FR 11099 (Mar. 3, 2016). An area is considered to be underserved during a calendar year if, according to HMDA data for the preceding calendar year, it is a county in which no more than two creditors extended covered transactions secured by first liens on properties in the county five or more times.

    A. The Bureau determines annually which counties in the United States are rural or underserved as defined by § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A)(1) or § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(B) and publishes on its public Web site lists of those counties to assist creditors in determining whether they meet the criterion at § 1026.35(b)(2)(iii)(A). Creditors may also use an automated tool provided on the Bureau's public Web site to determine whether specific properties are located in areas that qualify as “rural” or “underserved” according to the definitions in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv) for a particular calendar year. In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau may also provide on its public Web site an automated address search tool that specifically indicates if a property address is located in an urban area for purposes of the Census Bureau's most recent delineation of urban areas. For any calendar year that begins after the date on which the Census Bureau announced its most recent delineation of urban areas, a property is located in an area that qualifies as “rural” according to the definitions in § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv) if the search results provided for the property by any such automated address search tool available on the Census Bureau's public Web site do not identify the property as being in an urban area. A property is also located in an area that qualifies as “rural,” if the Bureau has designated that area as rural under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv)(A)(3) and published that determination in the Federal Register. See Application Process for Designation of Rural Area under Federal Consumer Financial Law; Procedural Rule, 81 FR 11099 (Mar. 3, 2016).

    B. For example, if a creditor extended during 2017 a first-lien covered transaction that is secured by a property that is located in an area that meets the definition of rural or underserved under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv), the creditor meets this element of the exception for any transaction consummated during 2018.

    C. Alternatively, if the creditor did not extend in 2017 a transaction that meets the definition of rural or underserved test under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv), the creditor satisfies this criterion for any transaction consummated during 2018 for which it received the application before April 1, 2018, if it extended during 2016 a first-lien covered transaction that is secured by a property that is located in an area that meets the definition of rural or underserved under § 1026.35(b)(2)(iv).

    Paragraph 43(f)(2)(ii)

    1. Transfer to another qualifying creditor. Under § 1026.43(f)(2)(ii), a balloon-payment qualified mortgage under § 1026.43(f)(1) may be sold, assigned, or otherwise transferred at any time to another creditor that meets the requirements of § 1026.43(f)(1)(vi). That section requires that a creditor: (1) Extended a first-lien covered transaction, as defined in § 1026.43(b)(1), on a property located in a rural or underserved area; (2) together with all affiliates, extended no more than 2,000 first-lien covered transactions that were sold, assigned, or otherwise transferred by the creditor or its affiliates to another person, or that were subject at the time of consummation to a commitment to be acquired by another person; and (3) have, together with its affiliates that regularly extended covered transactions secured by first liens, total assets less than $2 billion (as adjusted for inflation). These tests are assessed based on transactions and assets from the calendar year preceding the current calendar year or from either of the two calendar years preceding the current calendar year if the application for the transaction was received before April 1 of the current calendar year. A balloon-payment qualified mortgage under § 1026.43(f)(1) transferred to a creditor that meets these criteria would retain its qualified mortgage status even if it is transferred less than three years after consummation.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Richard Cordray, Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06834 Filed 3-22-16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 4810-AM-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Occupational Safety and Health Administration 29 CFR Parts 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918, and 1926 [Docket No. OSHA-2014-0024] RIN 1218-AC87 Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards; Eye and Face Protection AGENCY:

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Labor.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    On March 13, 2015, OSHA published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to revise its eye and face protection standards for general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, longshoring, and construction by updating the references to national consensus standards approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). OSHA received no significant objections from commenters and therefore is adopting the amendments as proposed. This final rule updates the references in OSHA's eye and face standards to reflect the most recent edition of the ANSI/International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) eye and face protection standard. It removes the oldest-referenced edition of the same ANSI standard. It also amends other provisions of the construction eye and face protection standard to bring them into alignment with OSHA's general industry and maritime standards.

    DATES:

    This final rule becomes effective on April 25, 2016. The incorporation by reference of certain standards listed in the rule was approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of April 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    In accordance with 28 U.S.C. 2112(a), OSHA designates Ann S. Rosenthal, Associate Solicitor of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Office of the Solicitor, Room S-4004, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, to receive petitions for review of the final rule.

    The address for OSHA's docket office is: Docket Office, Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-2350. (OSHA's TTY number is (877) 889-5627)). The hours of operation for the OSHA Docket Office are 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., e.t. In addition, addresses and phone numbers for OSHA's state and regional offices can be found at http://www.osha.gov/about.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    General information and press inquiries: Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA Office of Communications, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-1999; email: [email protected]

    Technical information: Ken Stevanus, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Room N-3609, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-2260; fax: (202) 693-1663; email: [email protected]

    Copies of this Federal Register notice: Electronic copies of this Federal Register notice are available at http://www.regulations.gov. This Federal Register notice, as well as news releases and other relevant information, also are available at OSHA's Web page at http://www.osha.gov.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents I. Executive Summary II. Background A. Overview and Procedural Background B. Incorporation by Reference Under 1 CFR part 51 III. Summary and Explanation of the Final Rule A. Revisions to OSHA's Eye and Face Protection Standards B. Discussion of Comments IV. Agency Determinations A. Legal Considerations B. Final Economic Analysis and Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification C. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 D. Federalism E. State Plan States F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 G. Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments V. Authority and Signature I. Executive Summary

    This final rule updates eye and face protection requirements in OSHA's general industry, shipyard employment, marine terminals, longshoring, and construction standards. The changes involve incorporation by reference of the latest ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010 standard on Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection Devices and removal of the oldest ANSI (Z87.1-1989) version of the same standard. In addition, OSHA is modifying the language in its construction standard to make it more consistent with the general and maritime industry standards.

    This new rule will allow employers to continue to follow the existing ANSI standards referenced or allow employers to follow the latest version of the same ANSI/ISEA standard. Employers are not required to update or replace protection devices solely as a result of this rule and may continue to follow their current and usual practices for their eye and face protection. Therefore, this rule has no compliance or economic burdens associated with it.

    II. Background A. Overview and Procedural Background

    OSHA requires employers to ensure that their employees use eye and face protection where necessary to protect them against flying objects, splashes or droplets of hazardous chemicals, and other workplace hazards that could injure their eyes and face. OSHA's standards state that the protection employers provide must meet specified consensus standards. For operations covered by OSHA's general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, and marine terminals standards, the protection must comply with one of the following standards: ANSI Z87.1-2003, ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), and ANSI Z87.1-1989. Alternatively, the employer may show that the devices used are at least as effective as one of these consensus standards (29 CFR 1910.133(b); 29 CFR 1915.153(b); 29 CFR 1917.91(a)(1); 29 CFR 1918.101(a)(1)). The construction standard requires that eye and face protection meet the requirements of ANSI Z87.1-1968 (29 CFR 1926.102(a)(2)).

    As a part of its ongoing efforts to update its standards with the latest versions of national consensus standards, (see 69 FR 68283), OSHA last updated its eye and face protection standards in 2009 (74 FR 46350). That effort did not address the eye and face protection requirements in the construction standard, which had been revised in 1993, and during the 2009 rulemaking OSHA received several comments suggesting that the construction requirements be updated as well. After the new ANSI/ISEA 87.1-2010 standard was published, OSHA decided to again update its eye and face protection requirements.

    Before publishing a proposal, OSHA consulted the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) on May 8, 2014, as required by 29 CFR 1911.10. OSHA presented two options to ACCSH. The first option replaced all eye and face protection provisions in the construction standard with those of the general industry and maritime standards, except those that were unique to the construction industry standard. The second option substituted only the three most current (ANSI/ISEA and ANSI) standards for the outdated ANSI standard currently cited, or allowed the employer to show that the protection was at least as protective as one of those standards. The remaining provisions of the construction standard were unchanged except for the removal of Table E-1, which referenced the outdated ANSI standard. The Committee selected the first option and passed a motion recommending that the Agency move forward in the rulemaking process. (See ACCSH meeting minutes, ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0004; see also Options presented to ACCSH, ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0003).

    On March 13, 2015, OSHA published an NPRM in the Federal Register to revise its eye and face protection standards. For the general industry and maritime standards, OSHA proposed updating the ANSI standard references by deleting ANSI Z87.1-1989 and replacing it with ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010 (80 FR 13295). In addition, in the NPRM, the Agency proposed deleting the reference to ANSI Z87.1-1968 in its construction standard at 29 CFR 1926.102, and replacing it with the references to the same three consensus standards (including Z87.1-2010) cited in the proposed general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, and marine terminals standards. As recommended by ACCSH, OSHA also proposed other changes to the construction standard to bring it into greater alignment with OSHA's other eye and face protection requirements, while retaining requirements unique to the construction standard not covered by the ANSI standards. Thus, the NPRM allowed all employers covered by OSHA's standards to follow any of the three most recent versions of the ANSI/ISEA eye and face protection standard.

    OSHA received no significant adverse comment to the proposal, and this notice finalizes the rule updates as proposed. This action will ensure consistency among the Agency's standards, and eliminate any confusion, clarify employer obligations, and provide up-to-date protection for workers exposed to eye and face hazards.

    B. Incorporation by Reference Under 1 CFR Part 51 1. Summary of the Incorporated Consensus Standards

    ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, provides requirements for the selection, testing, use, and maintenance of protectors intended to minimize or prevent eye and face injuries including impact, non-ionizing radiation and chemical exposures, in occupational and educational environments. ANSI Z87.1-2003 and ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998) are prior versions of this standard which are also incorporated by reference as alternative means of compliance with OSHA's eye and face protection requirements.

    2. Reasonable Availability of the Incorporated Consensus Standards

    OSHA believes that the ANSI/ISEA and ANSI standards are reasonably available to interested parties. The ANSI/ISEA 2010 and ANSI 2003 and 1989 (R-1998) versions of the Z87.1 standard can be purchased as a package from ANSI in pdf form for $57 (http://webstore.ansi.org/). They are also available for purchase at either the IHS Standards (http://global.ihs.com/) or Techstreet (http://www.techstreet.com/) stores. Employers may rely on manufacturer representations that protection is compliant with the indicated standard and therefore are not obligated to incur this expense to comply with the standard. These standards are also available for review in OSHA's docket office and regional offices; see the ADDRESSES section of this document for details.

    III . Summary and Explanation of the Final Rule A. Revisions to OSHA's Eye and Face Protection Standards 1. Final Rule for General Industry and Maritime Industry Standards

    OSHA adopted the previous revision of the general industry and maritime eye and face protection standards on September 9, 2009 (74 FR 46350). These revisions, which became effective on October 9, 2009, permit compliance with ANSI Z87.1-2003, ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), or ANSI Z87.1-1989. Since OSHA published the previous revision, ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010 became available. This final rule includes ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010 in 29 CFR 1910.133(b)(1), 29 CFR 1915.153(b)(1), 29 CFR 1917.91(a)(1)(i) and removes references to ANSI Z87.1-1989. It also updates the general incorporation by reference section for each of these standards (i.e., 29 CFR 1910.6, 1915.5, 1917.3, 1918.3) to reflect the incorporation of ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, ANSI Z87.1-2003, and ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998).

    OSHA believes that eye and face protection meeting the 2010 ANSI/ISEA standard is already on the market, and the 2010 standard is not less protective than the previous versions of the standard. Therefore it is amending its standard to allow the use of such protection in the workplace.

    2. Final Rule for Construction Industry Standard

    The final rule involves: (1) Changes to the ANSI standard references and (2) inclusion of language from the general industry eye and face protection standard. With respect to the consensus standards update, OSHA is amending 29 CFR 1926.6 and 1926.102, which currently incorporate by reference ANSI Z87.1-1968 to include the same three consensus standards incorporated into the general industry and maritime standards, ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, ANSI Z87.1-2003, and ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998). OSHA is modifying certain existing language to make it nearly identical to the language in the general industry standard's eye and face protection provisions. It is retaining provisions unique to the current construction standard that are not covered in the versions of the consensus standards incorporated by the proposal.

    Specifically, OSHA is placing language from the general industry standard, sections 1910.133(a)(1) through (a)(4) and 1910.133(b), in sections 1926.102(a)(1) through (a)(3), and (a)(7). Additionally, the Agency is replacing: (1) The scope section in 1926.102(a)(1) with the scope section in 1910.133(a)(1); (2) the reference to the 1968 ANSI standard in 1926.102(a)(2) with the updated list of national consensus standards in 1910.133(b)(1); and (3) the requirements for corrective lenses in 1926.102(a)(3) with the corrective-lens requirements in 1910.133(a)(3). The final rule removes the requirements in section 1926.102(a)(4)—to keep protective equipment clean, in good repair, and free of structural and optical defects—which are addressed by requirements in each of the three versions of the Z87.1 standard. Likewise, it deletes Table E-1, Eye and Face Protector Selection Guide, which is specific to the 1968 version of ANSI Z87.1 and referenced in the current section 1926.102(a)(5), and renumbers Tables E-2 and E-3 under this paragraph as Tables E-1 and E-2, respectively.

    The final rule substitutes the marking requirement specified by section 1926.102(a)(7) with the marking requirement in section 1910.133(a)(4). The final rule removes the requirement in 1926.102(a)(8) that employers must transmit information from manufacturers to users about equipment limitations or precautions and that such limitations and precautions must be strictly observed. It also adds a provision to the construction standard that permits an employer to use eye and face protection not manufactured in accordance with one of the incorporated Z87.1 standards if the employer can demonstrate compliance with one of the incorporated Z87.1 standards (i.e., the equivalent-protection provision). The final rule will redesignate section 1926.102(b) as section 1926.102(c).

    OSHA believes these changes are warranted because it will make compliance easier for employers who perform work that is covered both by the construction standard and another of OSHA's standards. Further, OSHA believes that the consensus standard reference should be updated because the new ANSI standards are at least as protective as the 1968 standard, and the Agency does not believe that personal protective equipment (PPE) designed and tested to the 1968 ANSI standard is currently available for purchase.

    B. Discussion of Comments

    OSHA received twelve comments in response to the NPRM on eye and face protection consensus standards updating. While commenters generally supported OSHA's efforts to update its standards, some raised issues to which OSHA responds below.

    Mr. Bruce Donato, a private citizen, Mr. Douglas Greenhaus of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), and Ms. Julie Trembly of 3M commented on OSHA's use of consensus standards. Mr. Donato asked why OSHA uses consensus standards rather than proposing its own standards (ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0006). Mr. Greenhaus advocated for use of a performance-oriented approach and removal of all consensus standard references, believing this approach would free OSHA from the obligation to continuously review and adopt new versions of third-party standards (ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0015). Ms. Trembly mentioned that OSHA may want to allow compliance only with the 2010 ANSI/ISEA standard. She reasoned that this would ease compliance because the 2010 version is the most recent and maintains a hazard-based approach (ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0013).

    OSHA disagrees with these commenters. First, the Agency is legally required to consider national consensus standards. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) requires OSHA to follow them in promulgating a rule, unless OSHA explains why another requirement will better effectuate the purposes of the act (29 U.S.C. 655(b)(b)). In addition, the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 also requires OSHA (and other Federal agencies) to use voluntary consensus standards unless contrary to applicable law or impractical. Pub. L 104-113 § 12(d), 15 U.S.C.A. 272 note; see also OMB Circular A-119, Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities, 68 FR 8553. Second, voluntary consensus standards contain valuable information about how to address workplace hazards. As Ms. Patricia Ennis from the American Society of Safety Engineers pointed out, since experts with diverse backgrounds produce national consensus standards, the standards reflect their expertise and the latest developments in workplace safety (ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0008).

    OSHA disagrees with the suggestion to only incorporate the latest ANSI/ISEA standard, because it believes some employers may be using eye and face protection meeting the ANSI 87.1-2003 and ANSI 87.1-1989 (R-1998) standards. OSHA is unaware of evidence that disallowing the use of PPE meeting those standards would significantly increase safety.

    Relatedly, Mr. Donato and Mr. Greenhaus of NADA also expressed concern that the cost of obtaining consensus standards could be prohibitive to small businesses (IDs: OSHA-2014-0024-0006 and 0015). As noted above, all referenced consensus standards are available purchase for a modest sum and may be viewed for free in OSHA's regional offices, among other places.

    Ms. Julie Weide, a private citizen, commented that she wanted more mandatory eye protection at worksites, in accordance with equipment manufacturers' warnings (ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0007). Though her suggestion falls outside of the scope of the proposal, OSHA notes that its current eye and face protection standards already require employers to ensure that affected employees use appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation. See 29 CFR 1910.133(a).

    Several commenters supported OSHA's decision to make eye and face protection requirements consistent across all industry standards, stating that consistency makes compliance easier for employers (IDs: OSHA-2014-0024-0009, 0011, and 0012). OSHA agrees with the commenters' assessment.

    Mr. Joe Miles of the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association (NRLA) commented that the final rule should provide a transition period so that associations such as the NRLA would have time to notify members of the new standards. Members could then inform their customers of the new PPE requirements, and have sufficient time to order and integrate necessary PPE into the workplace (ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0011). Mr. Greenhaus of NADA agreed, opining that small business employers should be given greater flexibility with respect to compliance (ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0015).

    Under the final rule, employers may follow any of the three latest versions of the Z87.1 standards. The new rule places no new obligations, costs, or time constraints on employers. Employers already in compliance with OSHA's eye and face requirements may continue their current usual and customary practice in providing eye and face protection to their employees. The final now allows employers to follow the newest ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010 standard—if they choose and at their convenience—or to continue to follow the older versions (ANSI Z87.1-2003 or Z87.1-1989 (R-1998)), which appeared in the previous version of the rule. As Mr. Daniel Shipp of the ISEA commented, the removal of the 1989 version will have no effect on the acceptability of any product because it is identical to the 1989 (R-1998) standard, which remains in the final rule (ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0012). Further, OSHA anticipates that compliance with the 2010 version of the ANSI/ISEA Z87.1 standard will not be burdensome, because as commenters noted, most manufacturers of eye and face protection devices already follow the latest ANSI/ISEA standard (IDs: OSHA-2014-0024-0012 and 0013).

    While they supported the proposal, Mr. Faulkner and Ms. Fitch from the United Steelworkers (USW) and Mr. McCann, a private citizen, discussed their concerns about improperly-fitting PPE, especially for women and men of nonstandard body types. They further indicated that OSHA's standardized PPE requirement throughout various industries was insufficient. Instead, OSHA should require employers to: (1) Provide the best fitting PPE available on the market for their workers at no cost, (2) regularly evaluate which PPE is provided to employees, and (3) purchase customized PPE where special orders are needed. They also highlighted a need to protect workers who complain about inadequate PPE from retaliation (ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0016 and 0017).

    OSHA thanks the commenters for raising these issues and the agency agrees that PPE must fit properly no matter who is wearing it. A correct, comfortable fit helps to ensure the worker will receive the intended protection for the duration of the exposure. Many of the commenters' concerns are addressed in the existing PPE standard. Specifically, the general industry standard requires employers to select PPE that properly fits each affected employee, at no cost to the employee. See 29 CFR 1910.132(d)(1)(iii) (fit); 1910.132 (h)(1) (cost). It also requires employers to conduct a hazard assessment to determine which PPE is necessary. 29 CFR 1910.132(d). Moreover, the standards require employers to ensure their employees wear “appropriate” or “protective” eye and face protection, which includes proper fit, and preclude the use of defective or damaged PPE. These requirements apply equally for workers of both sexes and all body types. With respect to the need to protect workers from retaliation, the OSH Act currently protects workers who complain to employers about workplace safety issues, including inadequate PPE, from retaliation. 29 U.S.C. 660(c); 29 CFR 1977.9(c). While the specific proposals made by USW and Mr. McCann fall outside the scope of the proposal, OSHA will continue to monitor the issues they raised.

    A number of commenters noted a more general need for OSHA to revise its standards to incorporate by reference the most recent versions of consensus standards (See, e.g., IDs: OSHA-2014-0024-0008, 0015, and 0016). OSHA agrees with these commenters, and as part of its mandate to provide a safe and healthful work environment to all employees, the Agency intends to continue in its efforts to adopt the latest consensus standards as soon as possible. However, incorporation by reference can, at times, be a lengthy process because OSHA must evaluate consensus standards to ensure that they are: (1) At least as effective, or meet, the current consensus standards incorporated by reference, and (2) technologically and economically feasible. As a related matter, Mr. Faulkner and Ms. Fitch from the USW suggested that OSHA coordinate with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), so that OSHA's standards could also benefit employees in the mining industry (ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0016). OSHA agrees with the importance of interagency cooperation, and in general the Agency attempts to coordinate with other Federal agencies when there is the possibility of duplication, overlap, or conflict. However, OSHA has no jurisdiction over employers regulated by MSHA. Nonetheless, where there may be some benefit for employees in doing so, OSHA will consider working with MSHA on relevant standards updates in the future.

    Mr. Shipp from ISEA noted that OSHA incorrectly referenced to the 2010 consensus standard in its NPRM. OSHA appreciates this comment and has corrected the final rule so all references to the 2010 standard reflect the official designation of the consensus standard: ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010 (ID: OSHA-2014-0024-0012).

    IV. Agency Determinations A. Legal Considerations

    The purpose of the OSH Act is to achieve to the extent possible safe and healthful working conditions for all employees. 29 U.S.C. 651(b). To achieve this goal, Congress authorized the Secretary of Labor to promulgate and enforce occupational safety and health standards. 29 U.S.C. 654(b), 655(b). A safety or health standard is one “which requires conditions, or the adoption or use of one or more practices, means, methods, operations, or processes reasonably necessary or appropriate to provide safe or healthful employment and places of employment.” 29 U.S.C. 652(8). A standard is reasonably necessary or appropriate within the meaning of Section 652(8) of the OSH Act when a significant risk of material harm exists in the workplace and the standard would substantially reduce or eliminate that workplace risk. See Indus. Union Dep't, AFL-CIO v. Am. Petroleum Inst., 448 U.S. 607 (1980). OSHA already determined that requirements specified by eye and face protection standards, including design requirements, are reasonably necessary or appropriate within the meaning of Section 652(8). See, e.g., 49 FR 49726, 49737 (1978); 51 FR 33251, 33251-59 (1986).

    Moreover, this final rule neither reduces employee protection nor alters an employer's obligations under the existing standards. With respect to employee protection, because the final rule will allow employers to continue to provide the same eye and face protection they currently provide, employees' protection will not change. In terms of employers' obligations, the final rule will allow employers additional options for meeting the design-criteria requirements for eye and face protection. Accordingly, this final rule does not require an additional significant risk finding (cf. Edison Elec. Inst. v. OSHA, 849 F.2d 611, 620 (D.C. Cir. 1988)).

    In addition, a safety standard must be technologically feasible. See UAW v. OSHA, 37 F.3d 665, 668 (D.C. Cir. 1994). A standard is technologically feasible when the protective measures it requires already exist, when available technology can bring the protective measures into existence, or when that technology is reasonably likely to develop. See Am. Textile Mfrs. Inst. v. OSHA, 452 U.S. 490, 513 (1981); Am. Iron and Steel Inst. v. OSHA, 939 F.2d 975, 980 (D.C. Cir. 1991)). The final rule is technologically feasible because: (1) Protectors are already manufactured in accordance with the 2010 ANSI/ISEA standard or the other versions permitted under the revision and (2) employers already comply with the 2003 and 1998 versions of the ANSI standard incorporated by reference into the general industry and maritime standards, which will remain in effect under the final rule.

    B. Final Economic Analysis and Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    OSHA has determined that employers can comply with the final rule by following their current usual and customary practice in providing eye and face protection to their employees. This final rule expands the options available to employers without removing any existing option and thus has no costs. Therefore, OSHA finds that the final rule is not economically significant within the context of Executive Order 12866, or a major rule under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act or Section 801 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. In addition, this final rule complies with Executive Order 13563 because employers are allowed increased flexibility in choosing eye and face protection for their employees and are not required to update or replace that protection solely as a result of this final rule if the employer's current practice meets the new standards. Because the final rule imposes no costs, OSHA certifies that it will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of private or public sector entities. Likewise, it does not meet any of the criteria for an economically significant or major rule specified by the Executive Order or relevant statutes.

    C. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    As was the case for the NPRM, the Department has determined this rule does not establish new or revise any existing collection of information requirements subject to OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501. The proposed rule invited comments on this determination, and OSHA received no comments.

    D. Federalism

    OSHA reviewed this final rule in accordance with the Executive Order on Federalism (Executive Order 13132, 64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999), which requires that agencies, to the extent possible, refrain from limiting state policy options, consult with states prior to taking any actions that would restrict state policy options, and take such actions only when clear constitutional authority exists and the problem is national in scope. Executive Order 13132 provides for preemption of state law only with the expressed consent of Congress. Agencies must limit any such preemption to the extent possible.

    Under Section 18 of the OSH Act, 29 U.S.C. 651 et seq., Congress expressly provides that states may adopt, with Federal approval, a plan for the development and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards (29 U.S.C. 667); OSHA refers to states that obtain Federal approval for such a plan as “State Plan states.” Occupational safety and health standards developed by State Plan states must be at least as effective in providing safe and healthful employment and places of employment as the Federal standards. 29 U.S.C. 667. Subject to these requirements, State Plan states are free to develop and enforce under state law their own requirements for occupational safety and health standards.

    While OSHA developed the final rule to protect employees in every state, Section 18(c)(2) of the OSH Act permits State Plan states and U.S. Territories to develop and enforce their own standards for eye and face protection provided these requirements are at least as effective in providing safe and healthful employment and places of employment as the requirements specified in this final rule.

    In summary, this final rule complies with Executive Order 13132. In states without OSHA-approved state plans, this rule limits state policy options in the same manner as other OSHA standards. In State Plan states, this rule does not significantly limit state policy options because, as explained in the following section, State Plan states do not have to adopt this final rule.

    E. State Plan States

    When Federal OSHA promulgates a new standard or amends an existing standard to be more stringent than it was previously, the 28 states or U.S. Territories with their own OSHA-approved occupational safety and health plans must revise their standards to reflect the new standard or amendment, or show OSHA why such action is unnecessary, e.g., because an existing state standard covering this area is at least as effective in protecting workers as the new Federal standard or amendment. 29 CFR 1953.5(a). In this regard, the state standard must be at least as effective as the final Federal rule. State Plan states must adopt the Federal standard or complete their own standard within six months of the publication date of the final Federal rule. When OSHA promulgates a new standard or amendment that does not impose additional or more stringent requirements than the existing standard, State Plan states need not amend their standards, although OSHA may encourage them to do so. The following 21 states and 1 U.S. Territory have OSHA-approved occupational safety and health plans that apply only to private-sector employers: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. In addition, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans that apply only to state and local government employees.

    With regard to this final rule, it will not impose any additional or more stringent requirements on employers compared to existing OSHA standards. Through this rulemaking, OSHA is updating the references in its regulations to recognize recent editions of the applicable national consensus standards, and deleting a number of outdated editions of the national consensus standards referenced in its existing PPE standards. The final rule does not require employers to update or replace their PPE solely as a result of this rulemaking if the PPE currently in use meets the existing standards. Therefore, the final rule does not require action under 29 CFR 1953.5(a), and States and U.S. Territories with approved State Plans do not need to adopt this rule or show OSHA why such action is unnecessary. However, to the extent these States and Territories have the same standards as the OSHA standards affected by this final rule, OSHA encourages them to adopt the amendments.

    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    OSHA reviewed this final rule according to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), 2 U.S.C. 1501-1571, and Executive Order 12875, 58 FR 58093 (October 26, 1993). As discussed above in Section IV.B (“Final Economic Analysis and Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification”) of this preamble, OSHA determined that the final rule imposes no additional costs on any private-sector or public-sector entity. Accordingly, this final rule requires no additional expenditures by either public or private employers.

    As noted above under Section IV.E (“State Plan States”) of this preamble, OSHA standards do not apply to state or local governments except in states that elected voluntarily to adopt an OSHA-approved state plan. Consequently, this final rule does not meet the definition of a “Federal intergovernmental mandate.” See 2 U.S.C. 658(5). Therefore, for the purposes of the UMRA, OSHA certifies that this final rule does not mandate that state, local, or tribal governments adopt new, unfunded regulatory obligations, or increase expenditures by the private sector of more than $100 million in any year.

    G. Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    OSHA reviewed this final rule in accordance with Executive Order 13175, 65 FR 67249 (November 6, 2000), and determined that it does not have “tribal implications” as defined in that order. The final rule does not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal government and Indian tribes.

    List of Subjects in 29 CFR Parts 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918, and 1926

    Incorporation by reference, Occupational Safety and Health, Personal Protective Equipment.

    V. Authority and Signature

    David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20210, authorized the preparation of this notice. OSHA is issuing this final rule pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 653, 655, and 657; 40 U.S.C. 3701 et seq.; 5 U.S.C. 553; Secretary of Labor's Order 1-2012, 77 FR 3912 (2012); and 29 CFR part 1911.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on March 15, 2016. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. Amendments to Standards

    For the reasons stated above in the preamble, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is amending 29 CFR parts 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918, and 1926 as follows:

    PART 1910—[AMENDED] Subpart A—[Amended] 1. The authority citation for subpart A of part 1910 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657; Secretary of Labor's Order Numbers 12-71 (36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059), 9-83 (48 FR 35736), 1-90 (55 FR 9033), 6-96 (62 FR 111), 3-2000 (65 FR 50017), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), 5-2007 (72 FR 31159), 4-2010 (75 FR 55355), or 1-2012 (77 FR 3912), as applicable.

    Sections 1910.6, 1910.7, 1910.8 and 1910.9 also issued under 29 CFR 1911. Section 1910.7(f) also issued under 31 U.S.C. 9701, 29 U.S.C. 9a, 5 U.S.C. 553; Public Law 106-113 (113 Stat. 1501A-222); Pub. L. 11-8 and 111-317; and OMB Circular A-25 (dated July 8, 1993) (58 FR 38142, July 15, 1993).

    2. Amend § 1910.6 by revising paragraphs (e)(69) through (71) to read as follows:
    § 1910.6 Incorporation by reference.

    (e) * * *

    (69) ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, Approved April 13, 2010; IBR approved for § 1910.133(b). Copies are available for purchase from:

    (i) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (ii) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (iii) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    (70) ANSI Z87.1-2003, Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Personal Protection Devices Approved June 19, 2003; IBR approved for §§ 1910.133(b). Copies available for purchase from the:

    (i) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (ii) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (iii) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    (71) ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, Reaffirmation approved January 4, 1999; IBR approved for § 1910.133(b). Copies are available for purchase from:

    (i) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (ii) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (iii) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    Subpart I—[Amended]
    3. The authority citation for subpart I of part 1910 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Sections 4, 6, and 8 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657); Secretary of Labor's Order No. 12-71 (36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059), 9-83 (48 FR 35736), 1-90 (55 FR 9033), 6-96 (62 FR 111), 3-2000 (65 FR 50017), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), 5-2007 (72 FR 31160), 4-2010 (75 FR 55355), or 1-2012 (77 FR 3912), as applicable, and 29 CFR part 1911; Sections 1910.132, 1910.134, and 1910.138 of 29 CFR also issued under 29 CFR 1911; Sections 1910.133, 1910.135, and 1910.136 of 29 CFR also issued under 29 CFR 1911 and 5 U.S.C. 553.

    4. Amend § 1910.133 by revising paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows:
    § 1910.133 Eye and face protection.

    (b) Criteria for protective eye and face protection. (1) Protective eye and face protection devices must comply with any of the following consensus standards:

    (i) ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, incorporated by reference in § 1910.6;

    (ii) ANSI Z87.1-2003, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, incorporated by reference in § 1910.6; or

    (iii) ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, incorporated by reference in § 1910.6;

    PART 1915—[AMENDED] 5. The authority citation for part 1915 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Section 41, Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (33 U.S.C. 941); Sections. 4, 6, and 8 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657); Secretary of Labor's Order No. 12-71 (36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059), 9-83 (48 FR 35736), 1-90 (55 FR 9033), 6-96 (62 FR 111), 3-2000 (65 FR 50017), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), 5-2007 (72 FR 31160), 4-2010 (75 FR 55355), or 1-2012 (77 FR 3912), as applicable; 29 CFR part 1911.

    Section 1915.100 also issued under 49 U.S.C. 1801-1819 and 5 U.S.C. 553.

    Sections 1915.120 and 1915.152 of 29 CFR also issued under 29 CFR part 1911.

    6. Amend § 1915.5 by revising paragraphs (d)(1)(vi) through (viii) to read as follows:
    § 1915.5 Incorporation by reference.

    (d)(1) * * *

    (vi) ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, Approved April 13, 2010; IBR approved for § 1915.153(b). Copies are available for purchase from:

    (A) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (B) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (C) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    (vii) ANSI Z87.1-2003, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, approved June 19, 2003; IBR approved for § 1910.153(b). Copies available for purchase from the:

    (A) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (B) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (C) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    (viii) ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, Reaffirmation approved January 4, 1999; IBR approved for § 1910.153(b). Copies are available for purchase from:

    (A) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (B) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (C) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    Subpart I—[Amended]
    7. Amend § 1915.153 by revising paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows:
    § 1915.153 Eye and face protection.

    (b) Criteria for protective eye and face devices. (1) Protective eye and face protection devices must comply with any of the following consensus standards:

    (i) ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, incorporated by reference in § 1915.5;

    (ii) ANSI Z87.1-2003, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, incorporated by reference in § 1915.5; or

    (iii) ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, incorporated by reference in § 1915.5;

    PART 1917—[AMENDED] 8. The authority citation for part 1917 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 941; 29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657; Secretary of Labor's Order No. 12-71 (36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059), 9-83 (48 FR 35736), 1-90 (55 FR 9033), 6-96 (62 FR 111), 3-2000 (65 FR 50017), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), 5-2007 (72 FR 31160), 4-2010 (75 FR 55355), or 1-2012 (77 FR 3912),as applicable; and 29 CFR 1911.

    Section 1917.28 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 553.

    Section 1917.29 also issued under 49 U.S.C. 1801-1819 and 5 U.S.C. 553.

    9. Amend § 1917.3 by revising paragraphs (b)(6) through (8) to read as follows:
    § 1917.3 Incorporation by reference.

    (b) * * *

    (6) ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, Approved April 13, 2010; IBR approved for § 1917.91(a). Copies are available for purchase from:

    (i) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (ii) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (iii) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    (7) ANSI Z87.1-2003, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, Approved April 13, 2010; IBR approved for § 1917.91(a). Copies available for purchase from the:

    (i) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (ii) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (iii) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    (8) ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, Reaffirmation approved January 4, 1999; IBR approved for § 1917.91(a). Copies are available for purchase from:

    (i) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (ii) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (iii) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    Subpart E—[Amended]
    10. Amend § 1917.91 by revising paragraph (a)(1)(i) to read as follows:
    § 1917.91 Eye and face protection.

    (a)(1)(i) The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses protective eye and face protection devices that comply with any of the following consensus standards:

    (A) ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, incorporated by reference in § 1917.3;

    (B) ANSI Z87.1-2003, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, incorporated by reference in § 1917.3;

    or

    (C) ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, incorporated by reference in § 1917.3;

    PART 1918—[AMENDED] 11. The authority citation for part 1918 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 941; 29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657; Secretary of Labor's Order No. 12-71 (36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059), 9-83 (48 FR 35736), 1-90 (55 FR 9033), 6-96 (62 FR 111), 3-2000 (65 FR 50017), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), 5-2007 (72 FR 31160), 4-2010 (75 FR 55355), or 1-2012 (77 FR 3912), as applicable; and 29 CFR 1911.

    Section 1918.90 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 553.

    Section 1918.100 also issued under 49 U.S.C. 1801-1819 and 5 U.S.C. 553.

    12. Amend § 1918.3 by revising paragraphs (b)(6) through (8) to read as follows:
    § 1918.3 Incorporation by reference.

    (b) * * *

    (6) ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, Approved April 13, 2010; IBR approved for § 1918.101(a). Copies are available for purchase from:

    (i) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (ii) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (iii) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    (7) ANSI Z87.1-2003, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, Approved June 19, 2003; IBR approved for § 1918.101(a). Copies available for purchase from the:

    (i) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (ii) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (iii) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    (8) ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, Reaffirmation approved January 4, 1999; IBR approved for § 1918.101(a). Copies are available for purchase from:

    (i) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (ii) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (iii) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    Subpart J—[Amended]
    13. Amend § 1918.101 by revising paragraph (a)(1)(i) to read as follows:
    § 1918.101 Eye and face protection.

    (a) * * *

    (1)(i) Employers must ensure that each employee uses appropriate eye and/or face protection when the employee is exposed to an eye or face hazards, and that protective eye and face devices comply with any of the following consensus standards:

    (A) ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, incorporated by reference in § 1918.3;

    (B) ANSI Z87.1-2003, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, incorporated by reference in § 1918.3; or

    (C) ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, incorporated by reference in § 1918.3

    PART 1926—[AMENDED] Subpart A—General [Amended] 14. The authority citation for subpart A of part 1926 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    40 U.S.C. 3701 et seq.; 29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657; Secretary of Labor's Order No. 12-71 (36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059), 9-83 (48 FR 35736), 1-90 (55 FR 9033), 6-96 (62 FR 111), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), 5-2007 (72 FR 31160), 4-2010 (75 FR 55355), or 1-2012 (77 FR 3912), as applicable; and 29 CFR part 1911.

    15. Amend § 1926.6 as follows: a. Revise paragraph (h)(31); b. Redesignate paragraphs (h)(32) thru (34) as (h)(34) thru (36); c. Add new paragraphs (h)(32) and (h)(33).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 1926.6 Incorporation by reference.

    (h) * * *

    (31) ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, Approved April 3, 2010; IBR approved for § 1926.102(b). Copies are available for purchase from:

    (i) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (ii) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (iii) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    (32) ANSI Z87.1-2003, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, Approved June 19, 2003; IBR approved for § 1926.102(b). Copies available for purchase from the:

    (i) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (ii) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (iii) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    (33) ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, Reaffirmation approved January 4, 1999; IBR approved for § 1926.102(b). Copies are available for purchase from:

    (i) American National Standards Institute's e-Standards Store, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 642-4980; Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/;

    (ii) IHS Standards Store, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood, CO 80112; telephone: (877) 413-5184; Web site: http://global.ihs.com; or

    (iii) TechStreet Store, 3916 Ranchero Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48108; telephone: (877) 699-9277; Web site: http://techstreet.com.

    Subpart E—[Amended]
    16. Revise the authority citation for subpart E of part 1926 to read as follows: Authority:

    40 U.S.C. 3701 et seq.; 29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657; Secretary of Labor's Order No. 12-71 (36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059), 9-83 (48 FR 35736), 1-90 (55 FR 9033), 6-96 (62 FR 111), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), 5-2007 (72 FR 31160), 4-2010 (75 FR 55355), or 1-2012 (77 FR 3912), as applicable; and 29 CFR part 1911.

    17. Amend § 1926.102 as follows: a. Revise paragraphs (a)(1) thru (4). b. Remove paragraphs (a)(5), (a)(7), (a)(8), and Tables E-1, E-2, and E-3. c. Redesignate paragraph (a)(6) as (a)(5). d. Revise paragraph (b). e. Add paragraph (c).

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    § 1926.102 Eye and face protection.

    (a) General requirements. (1) The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.

    (2) The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses eye protection that provides side protection when there is a hazard from flying objects. Detachable side protectors (e.g. clip-on or slide-on side shields) meeting the pertinent requirements of this section are acceptable.

    (3) The employer shall ensure that each affected employee who wears prescription lenses while engaged in operations that involve eye hazards wears eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design, or wears eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses.

    (4) Eye and face PPE shall be distinctly marked to facilitate identification of the manufacturer.

    (b) Criteria for protective eye and face protection. (1) Protective eye and face protection devices must comply with any of the following consensus standards:

    (i) ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, incorporated by reference in § 1926.6;

    (ii) ANSI Z87.1-2003, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, incorporated by reference in § 1926.6; or

    (iii) ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, incorporated by reference in § 1926.6;

    (2) Protective eye and face protection devices that the employer demonstrates are at least as effective as protective eye and face protection devices that are constructed in accordance with one of the above consensus standards will be deemed to be in compliance with the requirements of this section.

    (c) Protection against radiant energy—(1) Selection of shade numbers for welding filter. Table E-1 shall be used as a guide for the selection of the proper shade numbers of filter lenses or plates used in welding. Shades more dense than those listed may be used to suit the individual's needs.

    Table E-1—Filter Lens Shade Numbers for Protection Against Radiant Energy Welding operation Shade number Shielded metal-arc welding 1/16-, 3/32-, 1/8-, 5/32-inch diameter electrodes 10 Gas-shielded arc welding (nonferrous) 1/16-, 3/32-, 1/8-, 5/32-inch diameter electrodes 11 Gas-shielded arc welding (ferrous) 1/16-, 3/32-, 1/8-, 5/32-inch diameter electrodes 12 Shielded metal-arc welding 3/16-, 7/32-, 1/4-inch diameter electrodes 12 5/16-, 3/8-inch diameter electrodes 14 Atomic hydrogen welding 10-14 Carbon-arc welding 14 Soldering 2 Torch brazing 3 or 4 Light cutting, up to 1 inch 3 or 4 Medium cutting, 1 inch to 6 inches 4 or 5 Heavy cutting, over 6 inches 5 or 6 Gas welding (light), up to 1/8-inch 4 or 5 Gas welding (medium), 1/8-inch to 1/2-inch 5 or 6 Gas welding (heavy), over 1/2-inch 6 or 8

    (2) Laser protection. (i) Employees whose occupation or assignment requires exposure to laser beams shall be furnished suitable laser safety goggles which will protect for the specific wavelength of the laser and be of optical density (O.D.) adequate for the energy involved. Table E-2 lists the maximum power or energy density for which adequate protection is afforded by glasses of optical densities from 5 through 8. Output levels falling between lines in this table shall require the higher optical density.

    Table E-2—Selecting Laser Safety Glass Intensity, CW maximum power density (watts/cm2) Attenuation Optical density (O.D.) Attenuation factor 10 2 5 105 10 1 6 106 1.0 7 107 10.0 8 108

    (ii) All protective goggles shall bear a label identifying the following data:

    (A) The laser wavelengths for which use is intended;

    (B) The optical density of those wavelengths;

    (C) The visible light transmission.

    [FR Doc. 2016-06359 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-26-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers 33 CFR Part 334 Disestablishment of Danger Zone for Meteorological Rocket Launching Facility, Shemya Island Area, AK AGENCY:

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Air Force has requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) disestablish the existing danger zone located in the Bering Sea near Shemya Island, Alaska. The danger zone was established on September 28, 1971. The purpose of the danger zone was to protect persons and property from dangers encountered in the area associated with the launching of weather rockets. The facility has not been used for this activity since the mid-1980s. As a result of the discontinued use of this area, the Air Force has requested the danger zone be disestablished.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective May 24, 2016 without further notice, unless the Corps receives adverse comment by April 25, 2016. If we receive such adverse comment, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that this rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number COE-2016-0003, by any of the following methods:

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

    Email: [email protected] Include the docket number, COE-2016-0003, in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: CECW-CO (David B. Olson), 441 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20314-1000.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Due to security requirements, we cannot receive comments by hand delivery or courier.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to docket number COE-2016-0003. All comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available on-line at http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the commenter indicates that 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 regulations.gov or email. The regulations.gov Web site is an anonymous access system, which means we will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email directly to the Corps without going through 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, we recommend 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 we cannot read your comment because of technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, we may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic comments should avoid the use of any special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to www.regulations.gov. All documents in the docket are listed. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, such as CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. David Olson, Headquarters, Operations and Regulatory Community of Practice, Washington, DC at 202-761-4922 or Ms. Linda Speerstra, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, Regulatory Division, at 907-747-0658.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    By letter dated December 18, 2015, the Chief, Pacific Air Forces Weather Operations Branch, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii requested the disestablishment of the danger zone at Meteorological Rocket Launching Facility on Shemya Island, Alaska. This request was made because the facility has not been used since the mid-1980s. In response to this request by the Pacific Air Forces Weather Operations Branch, and pursuant to its authorities in Section 7 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1917 (40 Stat 266; 33 U.S.C. 1) and Chapter XIX of the Army Appropriations Act of 1919 (40 Stat 892; 33 U.S.C. 3), the Corps is amending the regulation at 33 CFR part 334 by disestablishing the danger zone in the waters of the Bering Sea, Meteorological Rocket Launching Facility on Shemya Island Area, Alaska.

    The Corps is publishing this rule without prior proposal because we view this as a non-controversial amendment and anticipate no adverse comment. The Corps regulations governing restricted areas state that notice of proposed rulemaking and public procedures are not needed before publishing a final rule revoking a danger zone area (see 33 CFR 334.5(b)).

    In the “Proposed Rules” section of today's Federal Register, we are publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to disestablish this danger zone if adverse comments are filed. This rule will be effective on May 24, 2016 without further notice unless we receive adverse comment by April 25, 2016. If we receive adverse comment, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that the direct final rule will not take effect. We will address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule. We will not institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time.

    Procedural Requirements

    a. Review Under Executive Order 12866. This rule is issued with respect to a military function of the Defense Department and the provisions of Executive Order 12866 do not apply.

    b. Review Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. This rule has been reviewed under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354) which requires the preparation of a regulatory flexibility analysis for any regulation that will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities (i.e., small businesses and small governments). The Corps has determined that the removal of the danger zone area will have no economic impact on the public because the area has not been used to launch weather rockets since the mid-1980s. The removal of the danger zone will decrease economic impacts on small entities because they will no longer have to comply with that regulation. The proposal will have no significant economic impact on small entities.

    c. Review Under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Corps expects that the final rule will not have a significant impact to the quality of the human environment and, therefore, preparation of an environmental impact statement will not be required. An environmental assessment has been prepared and it may be reviewed at the District office listed at the end of the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, above. If we receive adverse comment, an environmental assessment will be prepared for the subsequent decision on the final rule.

    d. Unfunded Mandates Act. The final rule does not impose an enforceable duty among the private sector and, therefore, are not a Federal private sector mandate and are not subject to the requirements of Section 202 or 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (Pub. L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48, 2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.). We have also found under Section 203 of the Act, that small governments will not be significantly or uniquely affected by this rulemaking.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 334

    Danger zones, Navigation (water), Restricted areas, Waterways.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Corps amends 33 CFR part 334 as follows:

    PART 334—DANGER ZONE AND RESTRICTED AREA REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for 33 CFR part 334 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    40 Stat. 266 (33 U.S.C. 1) and 40 Stat. 892 (33 U.S.C. 3).

    § 334.1290 [Removed]
    2. Remove § 334.1290.
    Dated: March 18, 2016. Edward E. Belk, Jr., Chief, Operations and Regulatory Division, Directorate of Civil Works.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06860 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720-58-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R07-OAR-2015-0394; FRL-9944-19-Region 7] Approval of Air Quality State Implementation Plans (SIP); State of Iowa; Infrastructure SIP Requirements for the 2008 Lead National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS); Correction AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule; technical amendment.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inadvertently approved and codified incorrect entry numbers in the part 52 instructions for the final rule action published on November 2, 2015. This technical amendment amends the part 52 codification instructions.

    DATES:

    This action is effective March 25, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jan Simpson at (913) 551-7089, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On November 2, 2015 (80 FR 67335), EPA published a final rule approving a SIP revision for Iowa that approved Iowa's November 4, 2011, submission addressing the requirements of the CAA sections 110(a)(1) and (2) as applicable to the 2008 Lead NAAQS. Specifically, EPA approved the following infrastructure elements: 110(a)(2)(A), (B), (C), (D), (E), (F), (G), (H), (J), (K), (L), and (M) which are necessary to implement, maintain, and enforce the 2008 Lead NAAQS. EPA also approved Iowa's May 11, 2015, submission to include article 1, section 2 of the Iowa Constitution, and portions of the Iowa code and the Iowa Administrative Code to codify the relevant state laws as applied to conflict of interest requirements of sections 110(a)(2)(E) and 128 of the CAA.

    This technical amendment revises the erroneous part 52 instructions published in the Federal Register on November 2, 2015 (80 FR 67335) in the third column on page 67336 to read as follows: Amend § 52.820 by adding new entries (e) (40) and (41).

    Dated: March 17, 2016. Mark Hague, Regional Administrator, Region 7.

    Chapter I, title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart Q—Iowa 2. Amend § 52.820 by adding entries (e)(40) and (41) to read as follows:
    § 52.820 Identification of plan.

    (e)* * *

    EPA-Approved Iowa Nonregulatory Provisions Name of nonregulatory SIP provision Applicable geographic area or nonattainment area State submittal date EPA Approval date Explanation * * * * * * * (40) Sections 110(a)(1) and (2) Infrastructure Requirements 2008 Lead NAAQS Statewide 11/4/11 11/2/15; Correction 3/25/16 [Insert Federal Register citation] This action addresses the following CAA elements: 110(a)(2)(A), (B), (C), (D), (E), (F), (G), (H), (J), (K), (L), and (M). 110(a)(2)(I) is not applicable. (41) Section 128 Declaration: Conflicts of Interest Provisions; Constitution of the State of Iowa, Article 1, Section 2. This action addresses the following sections of the Constitution of the State of Iowa, Article 1, section 2; Iowa Code: 4.4.(5), 7E.4, Chapter 68B Iowa Code : 4.4 (5), 7e.4, Chapter 68B; Iowa Administrative Code: 351 IAC 6.11, 351 IAC 6.14(2), 351 IAC 6.19, 351 IAC 7.1-7.2, 567 IAC 1.11 (1-9) Statewide 5/11/15 11/2/15; Correction 3/25/16 [Insert Federal Register citation] Iowa Administrative Code: 351 IAC 6.11, 351 IAC 6.14(2), 351 IAC 6.19, 351 IAC 7.1-7.2, 567 IAC 1.11(1-9).
    [FR Doc. 2016-06705 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 130312235-3658-02] RIN 0648-XE506 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 2016 Commercial Accountability Measure and Closure for South Atlantic Vermilion Snapper AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS implements accountability measures (AMs) for the commercial sector for vermilion snapper in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the South Atlantic. NMFS projects that commercial landings for vermilion snapper will reach the commercial annual catch limit (ACL) for the January through June, 2016, fishing period by March 29, 2016. Therefore, NMFS closes the commercial sector for vermilion snapper in the South Atlantic EEZ on March 29, 2016, and it will remain closed until July 1, 2016, the start of the July through December fishing period. This closure is necessary to protect the South Atlantic vermilion snapper resource.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective from 12:01 a.m., local time, March 29, 2016, until 12:01 a.m., local time, July 1, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Britni LaVine, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The snapper-grouper fishery of the South Atlantic includes vermilion snapper and is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP). The FMP was prepared by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and is implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622.

    The commercial ACL (equivalent to the commercial quota) for vermilion snapper in the South Atlantic is divided into separate quotas for two 6-month time periods, January through June and July through December. For the January through June, 2016, fishing season, the commercial quota is 388,703 lb (176,313 kg), gutted weight (431,460 lb (195,707 kg), round weight), as specified in 50 CFR 622.190(a)(4)(i)(D).

    On February 26, 2016 (81 FR 9786), NMFS published a temporary rule in the Federal Register to reduce the commercial trip limit for vermilion snapper in or from the EEZ of the South Atlantic to 500 lb (227 kg), gutted weight, effective 12:01 a.m., local time, March 2, 2016, until July 1, 2016, or until the quota was reached and the commercial sector closed, whichever would occur first.

    In accordance with regulations at 50 CFR 622.193(f)(1), NMFS is required to close the commercial sector for vermilion snapper when the commercial quota for that portion of the fishing year has been reached, or is projected to be reached, by filing a notification to that effect with the Office of the Federal Register. NMFS has determined that the commercial quota for South Atlantic vermilion snapper for the January through June fishing period will be reached by March 29, 2016. Accordingly, the commercial sector for South Atlantic vermilion snapper is closed effective 12:01 a.m., local time, March 29, 2016, until 12:01 a.m., local time, July 1, 2016. The commercial quota for vermilion snapper in the South Atlantic is 388,703 lb (176,313 kg), gutted weight (431,460 lb (195,707 kg), round weight), for the July 1 through December 31, 2016, fishing period, as specified in 50 CFR 622.190(a)(4)(ii)(D).

    The operator of a vessel with a valid commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper having vermilion snapper on board must have landed and bartered, traded, or sold such vermilion snapper prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, March 29, 2016. During the closure, the bag limit specified in 50 CFR 622.187(b)(5) and the possession limits specified in 50 CFR 622.187(c)(1), apply to all harvest or possession of vermilion snapper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ. During the closure, the sale or purchase of vermilion snapper taken from the EEZ is prohibited. As specified in 50 CFR 622.190(c)(1)(i), the prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to the sale or purchase of vermilion snapper that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to 12:01 a.m., local time, March 29, 2016, and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor. For a person on board a vessel for which a Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery has been issued, the bag and possession limits and the sale and purchase provisions of the commercial closure for vermilion snapper would apply regardless of whether the fish are harvested in state or Federal waters, as specified in 50 CFR 622.190(c)(1)(ii).

    Classification

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

    This action is taken under 50 CFR 622.193(f)(1) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    This action responds to the best scientific information available. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that the need to immediately implement this action to close the commercial sector for vermilion snapper constitutes good cause to waive the requirements to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth in 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), as such procedures would be unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. Such procedures would be unnecessary because the rule itself has been subject to notice and comment, and all that remains is to notify the public of the closure. Allowing prior notice and opportunity for public comment is contrary to the public interest because of the need to immediately implement this action to protect vermilion snapper since the capacity of the fishing fleet allows for rapid harvest of the commercial quota. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment would require time and could result in a harvest well in excess of the established commercial quota.

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

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06737 Filed 3-22-16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 150916863-6211-02] RIN 0648-XE532 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod in the Aleutian Islands Subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; closure.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod, except for the Community Development Quota program (CDQ), in the Aleutian Islands subarea of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the non-CDQ allocation of the 2016 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) in the Aleutian Islands subarea of the BSAI.

    DATES:

    Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 22, 2016, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Josh Keaton, 907-586-7269.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

    The non-CDQ allocation of the 2016 Pacific cod TAC in the Aleutian Islands subarea of the BSAI is 11,465 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the non-CDQ allocation of the 2016 Pacific cod TAC in the Aleutian Islands subarea of the BSAI will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 9,000 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 2,465 mt as incidental catch in directed fishing for other species. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod in the Aleutian Islands subarea of the BSAI.

    After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

    Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the directed fishing closure of non-CDQ Pacific cod in the Aleutian Islands subarea of the BSAI. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of March 21, 2016.

    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

    This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: March 22, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06831 Filed 3-22-16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 150916863-6211-02] RIN 0648-XE518 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of the Aleut Corporation's pollock directed fishing allowance and the Community Development Quota from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the Bering Sea subarea directed fisheries. These actions are necessary to provide opportunity for harvest of the 2016 total allowable catch of pollock, consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area.

    DATES:

    Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 25, 2016, until 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

    In the Aleutian Islands subarea, the portion of the 2016 pollock total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to the Aleut Corporation's directed fishing allowance (DFA) is 14,700 metric tons (mt) and the Community Development Quota (CDQ) is 1,900 mt as established by the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016).

    As of March 18, 2016, the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, (Regional Administrator) has determined that 5,000 mt of Aleut Corporation's DFA and 1,900 mt of pollock CDQ in the Aleutian Islands subarea will not be harvested. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(4), NMFS reallocates 5,000 mt of Aleut Corporation's DFA and 1,900 mt of pollock CDQ from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the 2016 Bering Sea subarea allocations. The 1,900 mt of pollock CDQ is added to the 2016 Bering Sea CDQ DFA. The remaining 5,000 mt of pollock is apportioned to the AFA Inshore sector (50 percent), AFA catcher/processor sector (40 percent), and the AFA mothership sector (10 percent). The 2016 pollock incidental catch allowance remains at 48,240 mt. As a result, the harvest specifications for pollock in the Aleutian Islands subarea included in the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016) are revised as follows: 9,700 mt to Aleut Corporation's DFA and 0 mt to CDQ pollock. Furthermore, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5), Table 4 of the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016) is revised to make 2016 pollock allocations consistent with this reallocation. This reallocation results in adjustments to the 2016 Aleut Corporation and CDQ pollock allocations established at § 679.20(a)(5).

    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 season 1 A season DFA SCA harvest limit 2 2016 B season 1 B season DFA Bering Sea subarea TAC 1 1,346,900 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 135,900 54,360 38,052 81,540 ICA 1 48,240 n/a n/a n/a AFA Inshore 581,380 232,552 162,786 348,828 AFA Catcher/Processors 3 465,104 186,042 130,229 279,062 Catch by C/Ps 425,570 170,228 n/a 255,342 Catch by CVs 3 39,534 15,814 n/a 23,720 Unlisted C/P Limit 4 2,326 930 n/a 1,395 AFA Motherships 116,276 46,510 32,557 69,766 Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 203,816 n/a n/a n/a Excessive Processing Limit 6 349,398 n/a n/a n/a Total Bering Sea DFA 1,162,760 465,104 325,573 697,656 Aleutian Islands subarea ABC 32,227 n/a n/a n/a Aleutian Islands subarea TAC 1 12,100 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 0 0 n/a 0 ICA 2,400 1,200 n/a 1,200 Aleut Corporation 9,700 9,700 n/a 0 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. Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the reallocation of AI pollock. Since the pollock fishery is currently open, it is important to immediately inform the industry as to the final Bering Sea subarea pollock allocations. Immediate notification is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery; allow the industry to plan for the fishing season and avoid potential disruption to the fishing fleet as well as processors; and provide opportunity to harvest increased seasonal pollock allocations while value is optimum. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of March 15, 2016.

    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

    This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: March 22, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06832 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 58 Friday, March 25, 2016 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 2 CFR Subtitle B, Chapter IV 5 CFR Chapter LXXIII 7 CFR Subtitle A; Subtitle B, Chapters I-XI, XIV-XVIII, XX, XXV-XXXVIII, and XLII 9 CFR Chapters I-III 36 CFR Chapter II 48 CFR Chapter 4 Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens AGENCY:

    Office of Budget and Program Analysis, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Request for Information (RFI); extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    On January 26, 2016, the Office of the Secretary, USDA, published a document in the Federal Register in accordance with Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” and Executive Order 13610, “Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens” inviting public comment on which regulations should be modified, expanded, streamlined, or repealed to make the USDA's regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives. USDA's planned regulatory actions and retrospective review efforts were made available in the 2015 Fall Unified Regulatory Agenda. Written comments were to be received by March 28, 2016. USDA is extending the public comment period until April 27, 2016.

    DATES:

    The notice published January 26, 2016, at 81 FR 4213, is extended. Comments and information are requested on or before April 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this notice. All submissions must refer to “Retrospective Review” to ensure proper delivery.

    Electronic Submission of Comments. Interested persons may submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. USDA strongly encourages commenters to submit comments electronically. Electronic submission of comments allows the commenter maximum time to prepare and submit a comment, and ensures timely receipt by USDA. Commenters should follow the instructions provided on that site to submit comments electronically.

    Submission of Comments by Mail, Hand delivery, or Courier. Paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions should be submitted to Michael Poe, Office of Budget and Program Analysis, USDA, Jamie L. Whitten Building, Room 101-A, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20250.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael Poe, Telephone Number: (202) 720-3257.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    USDA remains committed to minimizing the burdens on individuals, businesses, and communities for participation in and compliance with USDA programs that promote economic growth, create jobs, and protect the health and safety of the American people.

    USDA programs are diverse and far reaching, as are the regulations and legislation that implement their delivery. The regulations range from nutrition standards for the school lunch program, natural resources and environmental measures governing national forest usage and soil conservation, emergency producer assistance as a result of natural disasters, to protection of American agriculture from the ravages of plant or animal pestilence. USDA regulations extend from farm to supermarket to ensure the safety, quality, and availability of the Nation's food supply. Regulations also specify how USDA conducts its business, including access to and eligibility for USDA programs. Finally, regulations specify the responsibilities of businesses, individuals, and State and local governments that are necessary to comply with their provisions.

    I. Executive Orders 13563 and 13610

    The overall intention of Executive Orders 13563 and 13610 is to create a continuing process of scrutiny of regulatory actions.

    Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,” was issued to ensure that Federal regulations use the best available tools to promote innovation that will reduce costs and burden while allowing public participation and an open exchange of ideas. These principles enhance and strengthen Federal regulations to allow them to achieve their regulatory objectives, most important among them protecting public health, welfare, safety, and the environment. In consideration of these principles, and as directed by the Executive Order, Federal agencies and departments need to periodically review existing regulations that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned.

    In addition, Executive Order 13610, “Identifying and Reducing Regulatory Burdens,” directed Federal agencies to conduct retrospective analyses of existing rules to examine whether they remain justified and whether they should be modified or streamlined in light of changed circumstances, including the availability of new technologies. Executive Order 13610 directs Federal agencies to give priority, consistent with law, to those initiatives that will produce significant quantifiable monetary savings or significant quantifiable reductions in paperwork burdens while protecting public health, welfare, safety, and the environment. For the regulatory requirements imposed on small businesses, it directs Federal agencies to give special consideration to initiatives that would simplify or harmonize the regulatory requirements.

    II. Request for Information

    USDA is seeking public comment on our effort: To identify and reduce regulatory burdens; to remove unintended regulatory obstacles to participation in and compliance with USDA programs; and to improve current regulations to help USDA agencies advance the USDA mission. USDA is particularly interested in public comments that speak to areas in which we can reduce costs and reporting burdens on the public, through technological advances or other modernization efforts, and comments on regulatory flexibility.

    III. Regulatory Flexibility

    USDA is also seeking public input on measures that can be taken to reduce burdens and increase flexibility and freedom of choice for the public. Regulatory flexibility includes a variety of regulatory techniques that can help avoid unnecessary costs on regulated entities and avoid negative impacts. Regulatory flexibility techniques could include:

    • Pilot projects, which can be used to test regulatory approaches;

    • Safe harbors, which are streamlined modes of regulatory compliance and can serve to reduce compliance costs;

    • Sunset provisions, which terminate a rule after a certain date;

    • Trigger provisions, which specify one or more threshold indicators that the rule is designed to address;

    • Phase-ins, which allow the rule to be phased-in for different groups at different times;

    • Streamlined requirements, which provide exemptions or other streamlined requirements if a particular entity (for example, a small business) may otherwise experience disproportionate burden from a rule;

    • State flexibilities, which provide greater flexibility to States or other regulatory partners, for example, giving them freedom to implement alternative regulatory approaches; and

    • Exceptions, which allow exceptions to part of the rule, or the entire rule in cases where there is a potential or suspected unintended consequence.

    IV. Existing USDA Regulations

    In addition to retrospective review actions and other regulatory reforms identified in USDA's 2015 Fall Regulatory Agenda, we welcome comments from the public on any of USDA's existing regulations and ways to improve them to help USDA agencies advance the mission of the Department consistent with the Executive Order. USDA notes that this RFI is issued solely for information and program-planning purposes. While responses to this RFI do not bind USDA to any further actions, all submissions will be reviewed by the appropriate program office, and made publicly available on http://www.regulations.gov.

    Michael Poe, Office of Budget and Program Analysis, United States Department of Agriculture.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06852 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-90-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2016-5247; Directorate Identifier 2015-SW-008-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Helicopters AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH (Airbus Helicopters) Model BO-105LS A-3 helicopters. This proposed AD would require inspecting the helicopter records to determine if there is a life limit for the tension-torsion (TT) straps installed in the helicopter lifting system, establishing a life limit if there is not one, and replacing each TT strap that has met or exceeded its life limit. This proposed AD is prompted by an error in the Airworthiness Limitations section of the Model BO-105LS A-3 maintenance manual. The proposed actions are intended to prevent failure of a TT strap and subsequent loss of control of a helicopter.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by May 24, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

    Mail: Send comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    Hand Delivery: Deliver to the “Mail” address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    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-2016-5247; 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 European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    For service information identified in this proposed rule, contact Airbus Helicopters, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.airbushelicopters.com/techpub. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, Texas 76177.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Fort Worth, Texas 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one time.

    We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, we will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change this proposal in light of the comments we receive.

    Discussion

    EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, issued EASA AD No. 2015-0042, dated March 9, 2015, to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters Model BO105 LS A-3 helicopters. EASA advises that life limits have been introduced for TT strap part number (P/N) 2604067 and P/N 117-14110 installed on the helicopter lifting system. During a revision of the Airworthiness Limitations section of the Model BO105LS A-3 maintenance manual, the life limit for the TT strap was inadvertently deleted. Accordingly, EASA issued AD No. 2015-0042 to correct this error. EASA AD No. 2015-0042 requires replacing TT straps upon reaching their life limit and entering the life limit into the aircraft maintenance manual. EASA states that failure to comply with the life limit could result in an unsafe condition.

    FAA's Determination

    These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of Germany and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with Germany, EASA, its technical representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in its AD. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all known relevant information and determined that an unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

    Related Service Information

    Airbus Helicopters issued Alert Service Bulletin ASB BO105LS-10A-013, Revision 0, dated March 9, 2015 (ASB). The ASB specifies adding a life limit for the TT strap P/N 2604067 or 117-14110 of 25,000 flights or 10 years, whichever occurs first, in the list of life-limited parts and corresponding log cards. The ASB also states TT straps that have exceeded the retirement time must be replaced and that only TT straps that have not exceeded the retirement time may be installed.

    Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require, within 20 hours time-in-service:

    • Inspecting the Airworthiness Limitations section of the applicable maintenance manual or Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) and the component history card or equivalent record for each TT strap and determining whether those records specify a life limit of 25,000 flights or 10 years since the date of manufacture, whichever occurs first.

    ○ If the records do not specify a life limit for each TT strap or if they specify a different life limit than required, revising the Airworthiness Limitations section of the applicable maintenance manual or ICA by establishing a life limit of 25,000 flights or 10 years since date of manufacture, whichever occurs first.

    ○ Creating a component history card or equivalent record for each TT strap, if one does not exist, and recording a life limit of 25,000 flights or 10 years since date of manufacture, whichever occurs first.

    • Removing from service each TT strap that has reached or exceeded its life limit.

    Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

    This proposed AD would require compliance within 20 hours TIS. The EASA AD allows 2 months to calculate the flight cycles or calendar time of each TT strap.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 8 helicopters of U.S. Registry. Labor costs are estimated at $85 per hour. We estimate that it would take 2 work hours to inspect and revise the Airworthiness Limitations section and to calculate and record a life limit for the TT strap for a total cost of $170 per helicopter and $1,360 for the fleet. If a TT strap is replaced, we estimate it would take 8 work hours and $16,617 for required parts for a total cost of $17,297 per helicopter per TT strap.

    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, 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.

    We prepared an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket.

    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): Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH Helicopters: Docket No. FAA-2016-5247; Directorate Identifier 2015-SW-008-AD. (a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model BO-105LS A-3 helicopters with a tension torsion (TT) strap part number (P/N) 2604067 or P/N 117-14110 installed, certificated in any category.

    (b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as a TT strap remaining in service beyond its fatigue life. This condition could result in failure of a TT strap and loss of control of a helicopter.

    (c) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by May 24, 2016.

    (d) Compliance

    You are responsible for performing each action required by this AD within the specified compliance time unless it has already been accomplished prior to that time.

    (e) Required Actions

    Within 20 hours time-in-service:

    (1) Inspect the Airworthiness Limitations section of the applicable maintenance manual or Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICA) and the component history card or equivalent record for TT strap P/N 2604067 and P/N 117-14110. Determine whether those records specify a life limit of 25,000 flights or 10 years since the date of manufacture, whichever occurs first.

    (2) If the Airworthiness Limitations section of the applicable maintenance manual or ICA or the component history card or equivalent record do not specify a life limit for the TT strap, or if they specify a different life limit than in paragraph (e)(1), do the following:

    (i) Revise the Airworthiness Limitations section of the applicable maintenance manual or ICA by establishing a life limit of 25,000 flights or 10 years since date of manufacture, whichever occurs first, for each TT strap P/N 2604067 and P/N 117-14110 by making pen-and-ink changes or by inserting a copy of this AD into the Airworthiness Limitations section of the maintenance manual or the ICA. For purposes of this AD, a flight would be counted anytime the helicopter lifts off into the air and then lands again regardless of the duration of the landing and regardless of whether the engine is shut down.

    (ii) Create a component history card or equivalent record for each TT strap P/N 2604067 and P/N 117-14110, if one does not exist, and record a life limit of 25,000 flights or 10 years since date of manufacture, whichever occurs first.

    (3) Remove from service each TT strap that has reached or exceeded its life limit.

    (f) Special Flight Permit

    Special flight permits are prohibited.

    (g) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to Matt Fuller, Senior Aviation Safety Engineer, Safety Management Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Fort Worth, Texas 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected]

    (2) For operations conducted under a 14 CFR part 119 operating certificate or under 14 CFR part 91, subpart K, we suggest that you notify your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office or certificate holding district office before operating any aircraft complying with this AD through an AMOC.

    (h) Additional Information

    (1) Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin ASB BO105LS-10A-013, Revision 0, dated March 9, 2015, which is not incorporated by reference, contains additional information about the subject of this AD. For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus Helicopters, 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.airbushelicopters.com/techpub. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

    (2) The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2015-0042, dated March 9, 2015. You may view the EASA AD on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov in the AD Docket.

    (i) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6200 Main Rotor System.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 16, 2016. Scott A. Horn, Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06530 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers 33 CFR Part 334 Disestablishment of Danger Zone for Meteorological Rocket Launching Facility, Shemya Island Area, AK AGENCY:

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Air Force has requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) disestablish the existing danger zone located in the Bering Sea near Shemya Island, Alaska. The danger zone was established on September 28, 1971. The purpose of the danger zone was to protect persons and property from dangers encountered in the area associated with the launching of weather rockets. The facility has not been used for this activity since the mid-1980s. As a result of the discontinued use of this area, the Air Force has requested the danger zone be disestablished. In the “Rules and Regulations” section of Federal Register, we are publishing the restricted area disestablishment as a direct final rule without prior proposal because we view this as a non-controversial adjustment to our restricted area regulations and anticipate no adverse comment. We have explained our reasons for this approval in the preamble to the direct final rule. If we receive no adverse comment, we will not take further action on this rule and it will go into effect. If we receive adverse comment, we will withdraw the direct final rule and it will not take effect. We will address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. We will not institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received by April 25, 2016.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This document concerns the “Disestablishment of Danger Zone for Meteorological Rocket Launching Facility, Shemya Island Area, AK.” For further information, including instructions on how to submit comments, please see the information provided in the direct final rule that is located in the “Rules and Regulations” section of this Federal Register publication.

    Dated: March 18, 2016. Edward E. Belk, Jr., Chief, Operations and Regulatory Division, Directorate of Civil Works.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06861 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720-58-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [Docket No. EPA-R02-OAR-2016-0059; FRL-9944-21-Region] Approval of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New Jersey, Carbon Monoxide Maintenance Plan AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. This revision will establish an updated ten-year carbon monoxide (CO) maintenance plan for the New Jersey portion of the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island (NYNNJLI) CO area which includes the following areas: Hudson, Essex, Bergen, and Union Counties, and the municipalities of Clifton, Passaic and Paterson in Passaic County. EPA is also proposing to approve the 2007 Attainment/Base Year CO emissions inventory. In addition, EPA proposes to approve the shutdown of 5 CO maintenance monitors in New Jersey. The New Jersey portion of the NYNNJLI CO area was redesignated to attainment of the CO National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) on August 23, 2002 and the maintenance plan was also approved at that time. By this action, EPA is proposing to approve the second maintenance plan for this area because it provides for continued attainment for an additional ten years of the CO NAAQS.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before April 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID Number EPA-R02-OAR-2016-0059, at 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.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Henry Feingersh [email protected] for general questions, Raymond Forde [email protected] for emissions inventory questions, or Matthew Laurita [email protected] for mobile source related questions at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Air Programs Branch, 290 Broadway, 25th Floor, New York, NY 10007-1866, telephone number (212) 637-4249, fax number (212) 637-3901.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document whenever “we,” “us,” or “our” is used, we mean the EPA.

    Table of Contents I. What is the nature of the EPA's action? II. What is the Carbon Monoxide Limited Maintenance Plan for the New Jersey portion of the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island Carbon Monoxide area? III. What is included in a maintenance plan? A. Attainment Inventory B. Maintenance Demonstration C. Monitoring Network D. Verification of Continued Attainment E. Contingency Plan 1. Control Measures 2. Contingency Measures F. Conformity IV. What is the New Jersey Attainment/Base Year CO Inventory? V. Why is New Jersey shutting down 5 CO Maintenance Monitors? VI. What action is the EPA proposing to take? VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. What is the nature of the EPA's action?

    The EPA is proposing to approve an updated ten-year carbon monoxide (CO) maintenance plan for the New Jersey portion of the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island (NYNNJLI) CO area. On August 23, 2002, the EPA approved a request from New Jersey to redesignate the New Jersey portion of the NYNNJLI CO area to attainment of the CO National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) (67 FR 54574). In addition, the EPA also approved at that time a ten-year CO maintenance plan for the area. The Clean Air Act (the Act) requires that an area redesignated to attainment of the CO NAAQS must submit a second ten-year CO maintenance plan to show how the area will continue to attain the CO standard for an additional ten years. On June 11, 2015, New Jersey submitted a second ten-year CO maintenance plan for the New Jersey portion of the NYNNJLI CO area and requested that EPA approve the plan. This plan also included a request and the justification for shutting down 4 CO maintenance monitors. On February 8, 2016, New Jersey submitted an addendum to the plan which provides additional information to justify the shutdown of one additional CO maintenance monitor. The following sections describe how the EPA made its determination proposing to approve the second ten-year maintenance plan. Additionally, the EPA is proposing to approve the 2007 Attainment/Base Year CO emissions inventory. Finally, the EPA proposes to approve the shutdown of 5 CO maintenance monitors in New Jersey. A more detailed discussion of the EPA's review and proposed action is found in the Technical Support Document (TSD) available in the Docket for this action, and by contacting the individuals in the For Further Information Section.

    II. What is the Carbon Monoxide Limited Maintenance Plan for the New Jersey portion of the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island Carbon Monoxide area?

    A maintenance plan is a SIP revision that must demonstrate continued attainment of the applicable NAAQS in the maintenance area for at least ten years. The Act requires that a second ten-year plan be submitted in order to assure that the area will continue to stay in compliance with the relevant NAAQS. For the NYNNJLI CO area, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is proposing to utilize EPA's limited maintenance plan approach, as detailed in the EPA guidance memorandum, “Limited Maintenance Plan Option for Nonclassifiable CO Nonattainment Areas” from Joseph Paisie, Group Leader, Integrated Policy and Strategies Group, Office of Air Quality and Planning Standards, dated October 6, 1995. Pursuant to this approach, the EPA will consider the maintenance demonstration satisfied for areas if the monitoring data show the design value is at or below 7.65 parts per million (ppm), or 85 percent of the level of the 8-hour CO NAAQS. The design value must be based on eight consecutive quarters of data. For such areas, there is no requirement to project emissions of CO over the maintenance period. EPA believes if the area begins the maintenance period at, or below, 85 percent of the CO 8 hour NAAQS, the applicability of Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) requirements, the control measures already in the SIP, and Federal measures, should provide adequate assurance of maintenance over the 10-year maintenance period.

    III. What is included in a maintenance plan?

    Section 175A of the Act sets forth the elements of maintenance plans for areas seeking redesignation from nonattainment to attainment. The initial and subsequent ten-year plans must each demonstrate continued attainment of the applicable NAAQS for at least ten years after approval. EPA is proposing action on the second ten-year maintenance plan which covers the period from 2015 through 2024. The specific elements of a maintenance plan are:

    A. Attainment Inventory

    EPA's October 6, 1995 Limited Maintenance Plan guidance states that for inventory purposes the state is only required to submit an attainment inventory to EPA that is based on monitoring data which shows attainment. There is no requirement to project emissions over the maintenance period. The calendar year inventory selected for the attainment inventory is 2007. This means if 2007 is a calendar year which has monitoring data which demonstrates attainment of the standard, the 2007 base year inventory can be used as the attainment year inventory and no projection inventories are required over the years of the maintenance period. Only calendar year 2007 summary emissions data (based on a winter season day) are required. In addition, the inventory should be consistent with EPA's most recent guidance on emission inventories for nonattainment areas available at the time and should include emissions during the time period associated with the monitoring data showing attainment.

    New Jersey submitted a limited maintenance plan which included a 2007 base year emissions inventory. The 2007 inventory is also classified as the attainment year inventory for the limited maintenance plan. New Jersey has elected 2007 because it is the attainment base year that will be used for the limited maintenance plan and 2007 represents one of the years of violation free monitored data in the area. The inventory included peak winter season daily emissions from stationary point, stationary area, non-road mobile, and on-road mobile sources of CO. These emission estimates were prepared in accordance with EPA guidance.

    The EPA is proposing to approve the CO inventory for Hudson, Essex, Bergen, and Union Counties, and the municipalities of Clifton, Passaic and Paterson in Passaic County. Details of the inventory review are located in section IV of this action. A more detailed discussion of how the emission inventory was reviewed and the results of EPA's review are presented in the TSD.

    Table 1 presents a summary of the 2007 CO peak winter season daily emissions estimates in tons per day for the NYNNJLI CO area. Again, under the Limited Maintenance Plan guidance, there is no requirement to project emissions over the maintenance period.

    Table 1—2007 Base Year/Attainment Emissions Inventory NYNNJLI CO Area [Tons/Peak Winter Season Day] County Point sources Area sources Onroad
  • mobile sources
  • Nonroad
  • mobile
  • sources
  • Total
    Bergen 1.82 14.75 346.29 139.60 502.47 Essex 5.52 12.93 198.99 75.20 292.64 Hudson 2.46 10.05 111.77 35.70 159.97 Passaic 0.32 6.52 144.70 42.30 193.84 Union 4.18 8.31 169.18 53.60 23.27 Total 14.30 52.56 970.93 346.50 1,384.19
    B. Maintenance Demonstration

    New Jersey has met the Limited Maintenance Plan air quality criteria requirement by demonstrating that its highest monitored design value is less than 85 percent (7.65 parts per million) of the CO standard of 9.0 parts per million. The highest monitored design value in the NYNNJLI CO area for the 2013-2014 design year was 2.5 parts per million at two monitoring sites in New Jersey. In addition, New Jersey commits to continued implementation of all other Federal and State measures already implemented as part of its CO SIP. Thus, according to the Limited Maintenance Plan Guidance, emission projections are not required.

    C. Monitoring Network

    New Jersey continues to operate its CO monitoring network and will continue to work with the EPA through the air monitoring network review process as required by 40 CFR part 58 to determine the adequacy of its network.

    On August 8, 2011, New Jersey submitted their “New Jersey Ambient Air Monitoring Network Plan 2011” to the EPA. This document described New Jersey's ambient air monitoring network and also detailed proposed changes and the rationale for them.1 The reasoning behind the requested CO maintenance monitor shutdowns are included in that submittal. In a letter dated October 27, 2011, the EPA told New Jersey that it will make a determination on New Jersey's analysis in a revision to a CO SIP. Based on the EPA's review, the EPA is proposing approval of these CO maintenance monitor shutdowns. The EPA's review of the New Jersey analysis is included in the accompanying TSD and in Section V of this notice.

    1 New Jersey has submitted subsequent 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Monitoring Network Plans. The EPA is only discussing the 2011 Plan because of its relevance to the CO Limited Maintenance Plan.

    New Jersey will continue annual reviews of its data in order to verify continued attainment of the NAAQS. As mentioned earlier, all of New Jersey's 8-hour design values are well below the 9.0 ppm 8-hour NAAQS for CO with the highest monitors in the New Jersey portion of the NYNNJLI reading 2.5 ppm, as shown in Table 2.

    Table 2—Design Values for CO in New Jersey [8-hour standard—9 parts per million] Monitoring location 2013-2014 Design value
  • (parts per
  • million)
  • East Orange 2.5 Camden Spruce Street 1.2 Elizabeth 2.2 Elizabeth lab 1.8 Jersey City 1.8 Newark Firehouse 2.5

    In its SIP revision, New Jersey submitted design values from 2006-2007 through 2012-2013. The EPA reviewed more recent data in addition to the submitted data and found the maximum 2013-2014 design value for New Jersey to be 2.5 ppm, which continues to show attainment of the NAAQS.

    D. Verification of Continued Attainment

    New Jersey will verify that the New Jersey portion of the NYNNJLI CO area continues to attain the CO NAAQS through an annual review of its monitoring data. If any design value exceeds 7.65 ppm, New Jersey will coordinate with EPA Region 2 to verify and evaluate the data and then, if warranted, develop a full maintenance plan for the affected maintenance area.

    E. Contingency Plan

    Section 175A(d) of the Act requires that a maintenance plan include a contingency plan which includes contingency measures, as necessary, to promptly correct any violation of the NAAQS that occurs after redesignation of the area. Contingency measures do not have to be fully adopted at the time of redesignation. However, the contingency plan is considered to be an enforceable part of the SIP and should ensure that the contingency measures are adopted expeditiously once they are triggered by a specified event. In addition, the contingency plan includes a requirement that the State continue to implement all control measures used to bring the area into attainment.

    The triggers specified in New Jersey's previous maintenance plan are included in this Limited Maintenance Plan. If design values in any maintenance area in New Jersey exceeds 7.65 parts per million (ppm), New Jersey will coordinate with the EPA to verify the validity of the data, evaluate the data, and analyze available air quality and meteorological data and related activities in the area. If design values show noncompliance with the 9 ppm standard, New Jersey will implement the appropriate contingency measures.

    1. Control Measures

    New Jersey has implemented a number of measures to control motor vehicle CO emissions. Emission reductions achieved through the implementation of these control measures are enforceable. These measures include the Federal Motor Vehicle Control Program, Federal reformulated gasoline, New Jersey's pre-1990 modifications to its inspection and maintenance (I/M) program, and local control measures relied on in the SIP.

    The State of New Jersey has demonstrated that actual enforceable emission reductions are responsible for the air quality improvement and that the CO emissions in the base year are not artificially low due to local economic downturn. The EPA finds that the combination of existing EPA approved- SIP and Federal measures contribute to the permanence and enforceability of reductions in ambient CO levels that have allowed the New Jersey portion of the NYNNJLI CO area to attain the NAAQS since 1995.

    New Jersey commits to continue implementation of all control measures used to bring the area into attainment.

    2. Contingency Measures

    The State plans to continue to use the contingency measure from the original maintenance plan. The plan included implementation of an enhanced I/M program. This program is fully operational and the State commits to meet the performance standard for an enhanced I/M program in an effort to maintain the CO NAAQS. Although the plan is currently in place, EPA guidance allows for it to act as a contingency measure. We approved this measure in the previous maintenance plan and are proposing to approve it in this action. If, in the future, it becomes necessary to reduce CO levels further, New Jersey will work with the local Transportation Planning Organizations or Metropolitan Planning Organizations to identify and implement transportation control measures such as Transportation Demand Management measures, signal improvement projects, bicycle projects, and various transit related projects as necessary.

    F. Conformity

    Section 176(c) of the Act defines conformity as meeting the SIP's purpose of eliminating or reducing the severity and number of violations of the NAAQS and achieving expeditious attainment of such standards. The Act further defines conformity to mean that no Federal activity will: (1) Cause or contribute to any new violation of any standard in any area; (2) increase the frequency or severity of any existing violation of any standard in any area; or (3) delay timely attainment of any standard or any required interim emission reductions or other milestones in any area.

    The Federal transportation conformity rule, 40 CFR part 93 subpart A, sets forth the criteria and procedures for demonstrating and assuring conformity of transportation plans, programs and projects which are developed, funded or approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and by metropolitan planning organizations or other recipients of federal funds under Title 23 U.S.C. or the Federal Transit Laws (49 U.S.C. chapter 53). The transportation conformity rule applies within all nonattainment and maintenance areas. As prescribed by the Rule, once an area has an applicable SIP with motor vehicle emissions budgets, the expected emissions from planned transportation activities must be consistent with (“conform to”) such established budgets for that area.

    In the case of the NYNNJLI, CO limited maintenance plan area, however, the emissions budgets may be treated as essentially not constraining for the length of this second maintenance period as long as the area continues to meet the limited maintenance criteria, because there is no reason to expect that these areas will experience so much growth in that period that a violation of the CO NAAQS would result. In other words, emissions from on-road transportation sources need not be capped for the maintenance period because it is unreasonable to believe that emissions from such sources would increase to a level that would threaten the air quality in this area for the duration of this maintenance period. Therefore, for the limited maintenance plan CO maintenance area, all Federal actions that require conformity determinations under the transportation conformity rule are not required to satisfy the regional emissions analysis requirements in 40 CFR 93.118 or 93.119 of the rule (40 CFR 93.109(e)).

    Since limited maintenance plan areas are still maintenance areas, however, transportation conformity determinations are still required for transportation plans, programs and projects. Specifically, for such determinations, transportation plans, transportation improvement programs, and projects must still demonstrate that they are fiscally constrained (40 CFR part 108) and must meet the criteria for consultation and Transportation Control Measure (TCM) implementation in the conformity rule (40 CFR 93.112 and 40 CFR 93.113, respectively). In addition, projects in limited maintenance areas will still be required to meet the criteria for CO hot spot analyses to satisfy “project-level” conformity determinations (40 CFR 93.116 and 40 CFR 93.123) which must incorporate the latest planning assumptions and models that are available. All aspects of transportation conformity (with the exception of satisfying the emission budget test) will still be required. Approval of the limited maintenance plan does not supersede the current 2014 motor vehicle emissions budget. However, conformity determinations conducted now and in the future would not need to conduct an emission budget test.

    If the area should monitor CO concentrations at or above the limited maintenance eligibility criteria or 7.65 parts per million then that maintenance area would no longer qualify for a limited maintenance plan and would revert to a full maintenance plan. In this event, the limited maintenance plan would remain applicable for conformity purposes only until the full maintenance plan is submitted and the EPA has found its motor vehicle emissions budget adequate for conformity purposes or the EPA approves the full maintenance plan SIP revision. At that time regional emissions analyses would resume as a transportation conformity criteria.

    On July 27, 2015, the EPA posted New Jersey's CO limited maintenance plan on its Adequacy Review Web site: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/adequacy.htm. We did not receive any comments by the August 26, 2015, deadline. The EPA may now elect to proceed with finding the CO limited maintenance plan adequate for transportation conformity purposes either as part of the SIP's final approval or in a separate notice of adequacy. The EPA's adequacy review process is described in 40 CFR part 93.118(f).

    In addition to transportation conformity, approval of the CO limited maintenance plan would have implications for general conformity (40 CFR part 93 Subpart B). Federal actions subject to general conformity would be presumed to conform under a limited maintenance plan as actions in this area will automatically satisfy the budget test of 40 CFR 93.158(a)(5)(i)(A), as described in the October 1995 EPA memo “Limited Maintenance Plan Option for Nonclassifiable CO Nonattainment Areas” from Joseph Paisie, Group Leader, Integrated Policy and Strategies Group, Office of Air Quality and Planning Standards.

    IV. What is the New Jersey Attainment/Base Year CO Inventory?

    Section 182(a)(3) and 172(c)(3) of the Act requires the periodic submission of a base inventory for SIP planning processes to address the pollutants for the eight hour-ozone, PM2.5 and CO national ambient air quality standard. Identifying the base year gives certainty to states that requires submission of the ozone, PM2.5 and CO emission inventories periodically. These requirements allow the EPA, based on the states' progress in reducing emissions, to periodically reassess its policies and air quality standards and revise them as necessary. Most important, the ozone, PM2.5 and CO inventories will be used to develop and assess new control strategies that the states will need to submit in their attainment demonstration SIPs for the new national ambient air quality standards for ozone, PM2.5 and for CO. The base year inventory may also serve as part of statewide inventories for purposes of regional modeling in transport areas. The base year inventory plays an important role in modeling demonstrations for areas classified as nonattainment and outside transport regions. For the reasons stated above, ideally the EPA would therefore emphasize the importance and benefits of developing a comprehensive, current, and accurate emission inventory (similar to the 1990 base year inventory effort). In this case, the 2007 base year has been selected as the inventory that will be used for planning purposes for the NYNNJLI CO area.

    There are specific components of an acceptable emission inventory. The emission inventory must meet certain minimum requirements for reporting each source category. Specifically, the source requirements are detailed below.

    The review process, which is described in the accompanying TSD, is used to determine that all components of the base year inventory are present. This review also evaluates the level of supporting documentation provided by the state, assesses whether the emissions were developed according to current EPA guidance, and evaluates the quality of the data.

    The review process is outlined here and consists of 8 points that the inventory must include. For a base year emission inventory to be acceptable, it must pass all of the following acceptance criteria:

    1. Evidence that the inventory was quality assured by the state and its implementation documented.

    2. The point source inventory was complete.

    3. Point source emissions were prepared or calculated according to the current EPA guidance.

    4. The area source inventory was complete.

    5. The area source emissions were prepared or calculated according to the current EPA guidance.

    6. Non-road mobile emissions were prepared according to the current EPA guidance for all of the source categories.

    7. The method (e.g., Highway Performance Monitoring System or a network transportation planning model) used to develop VMT estimates followed the EPA guidance.

    8. On-road mobile emissions were prepared according to the current EPA guidance.

    Based on the EPA's review, New Jersey satisfied all of the EPA's requirements for purposes of providing a comprehensive, accurate, and current inventory of actual emissions for CO areas. Where applicable, CO peak winter season daily emissions are provided for the CO nonattainment area. The inventory was developed in accordance with Emission Inventory Guidance for Implementation of Ozone and Particulate Matter NAAQS and Regional Haze Regulation, dated August 2005. Using MOVES to Prepare Emission Inventories in State Implementation Plans and Transportation Conformity: Technical Guidance for MOVES2010, 2010a and 2010b, April 2012, and Example Documentation Report for 1990 Base Year for Ozone and CO SIP Emissions Inventories, March 1992.

    A summary of the EPA's review is given below:

    1. The Quality Assurance (QA) plan was implemented for all portions of the inventory. The QA plan included a QA/Quality control (QC) program for assessing data completeness and standard range checking. Critical data elements relative to the inventory sources were assessed for completeness. QA checks were performed relative to data collection and analysis, and double counting of emissions from point, area and mobile sources. QA/QC checks were conducted to ensure accuracy of units, unit conversions, transposition of figures, and calculations. The inventory is well documented. New Jersey provided documentation detailing the methods used to develop emissions estimates for each category. In addition, New Jersey identified the sources of data used in developing the inventory.

    2. The point source emissions are complete and in accordance with the EPA guidance.

    3. The point source emissions were prepared/calculated in accordance with the EPA guidance.

    4. The area source emissions are complete and in accordance with the EPA guidance.

    5. Area source emissions were prepared/calculated in accordance with the EPA guidance.

    6. Emission estimates for the non-road mobile source categories are correctly based on the latest non-road mobile model or other appropriate guidance and prepared in accordance with the EPA guidance.

    7. The method used to develop VMT estimates is in accordance with the EPA guidance and was adequately described and documented in the inventory report.

    8. The latest MOVES model was used in accordance with the EPA's guidance.

    The 2007 base year inventory has been developed in accordance with EPA guidance. Therefore, EPA is proposing to approve the 2007 base year CO emission inventory. A more detailed discussion of how the emission inventory was reviewed and the results of the review are presented in the TSD. Detailed emission inventory development procedures can be found in the following document: Emission Inventory Guidance for Implementation of Ozone and Particulate Matter NAAQS and Regional Haze Regulation, dated August 2005; Using MOVES to Prepare Emission Inventories in State Implementation Plans and Transportation Conformity: Technical Guidance for MOVES2010, 2010a and 2010b, April 2012; and Example Documentation Report for 1990 Base Year for Ozone and CO SIP Emissions Inventories, March 1992. See Table 1 for a summary of 2007 CO peak winter season daily emission estimates by source sector and by county for the NYNNJLI CO area.

    V. Why is New Jersey shutting down 5 CO Maintenance Monitors?

    In order to conserve resources, the State is seeking to discontinue monitoring in Burlington, Freehold, Morristown, Perth Amboy, and East Orange since current air quality levels do not warrant the additional expense of running CO monitors in those areas. The State has committed to continue CO monitoring in Camden and Elizabeth, and will reestablish CO monitoring in Burlington, Freehold, Morristown, Perth Amboy, and East Orange if air quality in Camden and Elizabeth degrade significantly. The Camden and Elizabeth sites have been judged to be representative of these 5 CO maintenance monitor sites and are thus acting as their surrogate sites. Starting in the early 1970's, EPA has set national standards that have considerably reduced emissions of CO and other pollutants from motor vehicles, including tailpipe emissions, new vehicle technologies, and clean fuels programs. Because of this, the EPA believes that it is unlikely that the maintenance area will exceed the CO NAAQS again. Thus, we believe that the revisions that New Jersey has made to its maintenance plan will continue to protect the citizens of New Jersey from high CO concentrations, and also conserve resources. Additional detail can be seen in the accompanying TSD to this notice.

    VI. What action is the EPA proposing to take?

    The EPA has evaluated New Jersey's submittals for consistency with the Act and Agency regulations and policy. The EPA is proposing to approve New Jersey's CO limited maintenance plan because it meets the requirements set forth in section 175A of the Act and continues to demonstrate that the NAAQS for CO will continue to be met for the next ten years. The EPA is also proposing to approve the 2007 Attainment/Base Year CO emissions inventory. Finally, the EPA also proposes to approve the shutdown of 5 CO maintenance monitors in New Jersey, since CO monitoring will continue at other representative locations across the State.

    The EPA views the SIP revisions proposed in today's proposal as separable actions. This means that if the EPA receives adverse comments on particular portions of this notice and not on other portions, the EPA may choose not to take final action at the same time in a single notice on all of these SIP revisions. Instead, the EPA may choose to take final action on these SIP revisions in separate notices.

    Interested parties may participate in the Federal rulemaking procedure by submitting written comments to the EPA Region 2 Office by the method discussed in the ADDRESSES section of this action.

    VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In addition, this rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), because the SIP is not approved to apply in Indian country located in the state, and the EPA notes that it will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Carbon monoxide, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: March 14, 2016. Judith A. Enck, Regional Administrator, Region 2.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06704 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 580 [Docket No. NHTSA-2016-0037] RIN 2127-AL39 Odometer Disclosure Requirements AGENCY:

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

    ACTION:

    Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    This notice is being issued pursuant to the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act of 2012 requiring NHTSA to prescribe regulations permitting States to adopt schemes for electronic odometer disclosure statements. To permit States to allow electronic odometer disclosures, NHTSA is proposing to amend the existing requirements to clarify that most of those requirements apply regardless of the technology used for the disclosure. NHTSA is further proposing to add a new section containing specific additional requirements that would apply only to electronic disclosures to ensure the secure creation and maintenance of the electronic records. Through this proposal NHTSA seeks to allow odometer disclosures in an electronic medium while maintaining and protecting the existing system(s) that ensure accurate odometer disclosures and aid law enforcement in prosecuting odometer fraud. NHTSA is also proposing to extend an existing exemption for vehicles more than 10 years old to 25 years.

    DATES:

    You should submit comments early enough to ensure that Docket Management receives them not later than May 24, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments to the docket number identified in the heading of this document by any of the following methods:

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

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

    Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Fax: (202) 493-2251.

    Regardless of how you submit your comments, you should mention the docket number of this document.

    You may call the Docket at (202) 366-9324.

    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Public Participation heading of the Supplementary Information section of this document. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act discussion below.

    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78).

    Confidential Information: If you wish to submit any information under a claim of confidentiality, you should submit two copies of your complete submission, including the information you claim to be confidential business information, and one copy with the claimed confidential business information deleted from the document, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the address given below under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In addition, you should submit two copies, from which you have deleted the claimed confidential business information, to Docket Management at the address given above under ADDRESSES. When you send a comment containing information claimed to be confidential business information, you should follow the procedures set forth in 49 CFR part 512 and include a cover letter setting forth the information specified in our confidential business information regulation. (49 CFR part 512.)

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets or go to the street address listed above.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For policy and technical issues: Mr. David Sparks, Director, Office of Odometer Fraud, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-5953. Email: [email protected]

    For legal issues: Ms. Arija Flowers, Trial Attorney, Office of the Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-5263.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background A. Executive Summary

    This document is being issued pursuant to the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act of 2012 (MAP-21, or Pub. L. 112-141), which amended Section 32705 of Title 49, United States Code, by adding the following subsection:

    (g) ELECTRONIC DISCLOSURES.—Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act of 2012, in carrying out this section, the Secretary shall prescribe regulations permitting any written disclosures or notices and related matters to be provided electronically.

    § 31205, 126 Stat. 761 (2012).

    To permit States to allow electronic odometer disclosures, NHTSA is proposing to amend the existing requirements to clarify that most of those requirements apply regardless of the technology used for the disclosure. NHTSA is further proposing to add a new section containing specific additional requirements that would apply only to electronic disclosures to ensure the secure creation and maintenance of the electronic records. Through this proposal NHTSA seeks to allow odometer disclosures in an electronic medium while maintaining and protecting the existing system(s) that ensure accurate odometer disclosures and aid law enforcement in prosecuting odometer fraud. The new issues addressed by the new requirements are electronic signatures, security of the hardware in an electronic odometer disclosure system, determination of official document, power of attorney and record retention. NHTSA is also proposing to modify an existing exemption for vehicles more than 10 years old to 25 years.

    B. The Cost Savings Act, the Truth in Mileage Act and Subsequent Amendments 1. The Cost Savings Act

    In 1972, Congress enacted the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act (Cost Savings Act) to, among other things, protect purchasers of motor vehicles from odometer fraud. See Public Law 92-513, 86 Stat. 947, 961-63 (1972).

    To assist purchasers in knowing the true mileage of a motor vehicle, Section 408 of the Cost Savings Act required the transferor of a motor vehicle to provide written disclosure to the transferee in connection with the transfer of ownership of the vehicle. See Public Law 92-513, 408, 86 Stat. 947 (1972). Section 408 required the Secretary to issue rules requiring the transferor to give a written disclosure to the transferee in connection with the transfer of the vehicle. 86 Stat. 962-63. The written disclosure was to include the cumulative mileage registered on the odometer, or disclose that the actual mileage is unknown, if the odometer reading is known to the transferor to be different from the number of miles the vehicle has actually traveled. The rules were to prescribe the manner in which information is disclosed under this section and in which such information is retained. Id. Section 408 further stated that it shall be a violation for any transferor to violate any rules under this section or to knowingly give a false statement to a transferee in making any disclosure required by such rules. Id. The Cost Savings Act also prohibited disconnecting, resetting, or altering motor vehicle odometers. Id. The statute subjected violators to civil and criminal penalties and provided for Federal injunctive relief, State enforcement, and a private right of action.

    Despite these protections, there were shortcomings in the odometer provisions of the Cost Savings Act. Among others, in some States, the odometer disclosure statement was not on the title; instead, it was a separate document that could easily be altered or discarded and did not travel with the title. Consequently, the separate disclosure statement did not effectively provide information to purchasers about the vehicle's mileage. In some States, the title was not on tamper-proof paper. The problems were compounded by title washing through States with ineffective controls. In addition, there were considerable misstatements of mileage on vehicles that had formerly been leased vehicles, as well as on used vehicles sold at wholesale auctions.

    2. The Truth in Mileage Act

    In 1986, Congress enacted the Truth in Mileage Act (TIMA), which added provisions to the odometer provisions of the Cost Savings Act. See Public Law 99-579, 100 Stat. 3309 (1986). The TIMA amendments expanded and strengthened Section 408 of the Cost Savings Act.

    Among other requirements, TIMA precluded the licensing of vehicles, the ownership of which was transferred, in any State unless several requirements were met by the transferee and transferor. The transferee, in submitting an application for a title, is required to provide the transferor's (seller's) title, and if that title contains a space for the transferor to disclose the vehicle's mileage, that information must be included and the statement must be signed and dated by the transferor.

    TIMA also precluded the licensing of vehicles, the ownership of which was transferred, in any State unless several titling requirements were met. Titles must be printed by a secure printing process or other secure process. They must indicate the mileage and contain space for the transferee to disclose the mileage in a subsequent transfer. As to lease vehicles, the Secretary was required to publish rules requiring the lessor of vehicles to advise its lessee(s) that the lessee is required by law to disclose the vehicle's mileage to the lessor upon the lessor's transfer of ownership of the vehicle. In addition, TIMA required that auction companies establish and maintain records on vehicles sold at the auction, including the name of the most recent owner of the vehicle, the name of the buyer, the vehicle identification number and the odometer reading on the date the auction took possession of the vehicle.

    As amended by TIMA, Section 408(f) (1) of the Cost Savings Act provided that its provisions on mileage statements for licensing of vehicles (and rules involving leased vehicles) apply in a State, unless the State has in effect alternate motor vehicle mileage disclosure requirements approved by the Secretary. Section 408(f)(2) stated that “[t]he Secretary shall approve alternate motor vehicle mileage disclosure requirements submitted by a State unless the Secretary determines that such requirements are not consistent with the purpose of the disclosure required by subsection (d) or (e), as the case may be.”

    3. Amendments Following the Truth in Mileage Act and the 1994 Recodification of the Cost Savings Act

    In 1988, Congress amended section 408(d) of the Cost Savings Act to permit the use of a secure power of attorney in circumstances where the title was held by a lienholder. The Secretary was required to publish a rule to implement the provision. See Public Law 100-561 § 40, 102 Stat. 2805, 2817 (1988), which added Section 408(d)(2)(C). In 1990, Congress amended section 408(d)(2)(C) of the Cost Savings Act. The amendment addressed retention of powers of attorneys by States and provided that the rule adopted by the Secretary not require that a vehicle be titled in the State in which the power of attorney was issued. See Public Law 101-641 § 7(a), 104 Stat. 4654, 4657 (1990).

    In 1994, in the course of the 1994 recodification of various laws pertaining to the Department of Transportation, the Cost Savings Act, as amended by TIMA, was repealed. It was reenacted and recodified without substantive change. See Public Law 103-272, 108 Stat. 745, 1048-1056, 1379, 1387 (1994). The statute is now codified at 49 U.S.C. 32705 et seq. In particular, Section 408(a) of the Cost Savings Act was recodified at 49 U.S.C. 32705(a). Sections 408(d) and (e), which were added by TIMA (and later amended), were recodified at 49 U.S.C. 32705(b) and (c). The provisions pertaining to approval of State alternate motor vehicle mileage disclosure requirements were recodified at 49 U.S.C. 32705(d).

    4. FAST Act Amendments

    Section 24111 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015 (FAST Act, or Public Law 114-94), signed into law on December 4, 2015, allows States to adopt electronic odometer disclosure systems without prior approval of the Secretary (“the Secretary”) of the Department of Transportation. Any such system must comply with applicable State and Federal laws regarding electronic signatures under 15 U.S.C. 7001 et seq., meet the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 32705 and provide for “appropriate authentication and security measures,” Public Law 114-94 § 24111. States may only adopt electronic odometer systems without prior approval of the Secretary until the effective date of the rules proposed in this notice. Id.

    In providing States with the opportunity to implement electronic odometer disclosure systems until the effective date of the regulations now being proposed, the FAST Act amendments do not alter existing statutory odometer disclosure requirements or modify the intent of those requirements. Effective odometer disclosure systems are essential to protecting consumers from odometer fraud and must reduce or eliminate opportunities for such fraud to the greatest practicable extent. Federal and State governments have an interest in preventing such fraud.

    The agency's proposed regulations, as contained in this notice, as well as our prior responses to State petitions for approval of alternative disclosure schemes (discussed below) contain guidance on the potential strengths and weaknesses of electronic odometer disclosure schemes and may serve as a resource for States implementing electronic odometer disclosure systems under the FAST Act. NHTSA respectfully requests that States adopting electronic odometer disclosure schemes under the authority granted by the FAST Act be mindful of the persistence and ingenuity of those who would commit odometer fraud as well as their propensity to find and exploit weaknesses in the disclosure requirements of particular jurisdictions. The agency therefore suggests that the issues considered in this notice and the accompanying regulatory proposals be carefully considered in the formulation of any electronic odometer disclosure system.

    C. Overview of NHTSA's Odometer Disclosure Regulations

    The implementing regulations for the odometer provisions of the Cost Savings Act, as amended, are found in Part 580 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These regulations establish the minimum requirements for odometer disclosure, the form of certain documents employed in disclosures, and the security of title documents and power of attorney forms. The regulations also set the rules for transactions involving leased vehicles, set recordkeeping requirements including those for auctions, and authorize the use of powers of attorney in limited circumstances. In addition, Part 580 also contains provisions exempting certain classes of vehicles from the disclosure regulations and provides a petition process by which a State may obtain approval of alternate disclosure requirements. The following paragraphs summarize some of the important aspects of the regulations.

    Regulations governing disclosures are codified in 49 CFR 580.5, 580.7 and 580.13. Section 580.5(c) requires, in connection with the transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle, the odometer disclosure by the transferor to the transferee on the title. Following the initial execution on a title, reassignment documents may be used. As provided by the regulations, in the case of a transferor in whose name the vehicle is titled, the transferor shall disclose the mileage on the title, and not on a reassignment document. Section 580.5(c) requires a transferor to sign, and to print his/her name on an odometer disclosure statement with the following information: (1) The odometer reading at the time of transfer (not to include tenths of miles); (2) the date of transfer; (3) the transferor's name and current address; (4) the transferee's name and current address; and (5) the identity of the vehicle, including its make, model, year, body type, and VIN. The transferor must also, under § 580.5(e), certify whether the odometer reading reflects the vehicle's actual mileage, disclose whether the odometer reading reflects mileage in excess of the odometers mechanical limit or, if the odometer does not reflect the actual mileage, must state that the odometer reading should not be relied on. The transferee must sign the statement. Each title, at the time it is issued to the transferee, must contain the mileage disclosed by the transferor.

    To ensure that vehicles subject to leases of 4 months or more have accurate odometer readings executed on titles at the time of transfer, § 580.7(a) requires lessors to provide written notice to the lessee of the lessee's obligation to disclose the mileage of the leased vehicle and the penalties for failure to disclose the information. In connection with the transfer of ownership of a leased vehicle, lessees are required by § 580.7(b) to provide disclosures comparable to those required by §§ 580.5(c) and (e), noted above, to the lessor along with the date the lessor notified the lessee of disclosure requirements. Additionally, the lessor must state the date the lessor received the lessee's completed disclosure statement and must also sign it. Under § 580.7(d) a lessor transferring ownership of a vehicle (without obtaining possession) may indicate the mileage disclosed by the lessee on the vehicle's title unless lessor has reason to believe the lessee's disclosure is inaccurate.

    If allowed by State law, the transferor may give the transferee a power of attorney to execute the mileage disclosure on the title, as provided by § 580.13(a) when the title is physically held by a lienholder or has been lost and the transferee obtains a duplicate title on behalf of a transferor. Sections 580.13(b) and (d) provide that the transferor must disclose information identical to that required by §§ 580.5(c) and (e) on part A of the secure power of attorney form. The transferee is required to sign the power of attorney form part A and print his/her name. See § 580.13(e). In turn, § 580.13(f) requires the transferee, upon receipt of the transferor's title, to make on the title exactly the mileage disclosure as disclosed by the transferor on the power of attorney.

    After part A of the power of attorney form has been used, part B may be executed when a vehicle addressed on part A is resold. Part B of the secure power of attorney form, if permitted by State law, allows a subsequent transferee to give a power of attorney to his transferor to review the title and any reassignment documents for mileage discrepancies, and if no discrepancies are found, to acknowledge disclosure on the title, while maintaining the integrity of the first seller's disclosure. The disclosure required to be made by the transferor to the transferee for this transaction on part B of the power of attorney form tracks information required to be made by the transferor to the transferee on the title when ownership of a vehicle is transferred on a title under 49 CFR 580.5. Among other things, the power of attorney must contain a space for the transferor to disclose the mileage to the transferee and sign and date the form, and a space for the transferee to sign and date the form.

    To ensure that disclosures made through a power of attorney are accurate, § 580.15 requires the person exercising the power of attorney to certify, on part C of the form, that the disclosures made on a title or reassignment document on behalf of the original seller are identical to those found on part A of the power of attorney. This section also requires a certification, when part B is used, that the mileage disclosed and acknowledged under part B is greater than the mileage disclosed in part A.

    Odometer disclosures may only be made on certain documents. These specified documents are a vehicle title (§ 580.5(a)), a reassignment document when used by transferors other than those in whose name the vehicle is titled (§§ 580.5(b) and (c)), a disclosure statement made by a lessee (§ 580.7(b)), and a power of attorney when the title is held by a lienholder or is lost (§ 580.13(a)). When the power of attorney authorized by § 580.13(a) is used, a further power of attorney authorized by § 580.14(a) may be employed to allow a subsequent transferee to approve the seller's disclosure, per § 580.16. Both of the aforementioned powers of attorney must be on the same form.

    Section 580.4 requires titles, reassignment documents, and the power of attorney form described §§ 580.13 and 580.14 to be protected against counterfeiting and tampering by a secure printing process or other secure process. These titles, reassignment documents, and powers of attorney must contain a statement referring to Federal odometer law and a warning that failure to complete the form or providing false information may result in fines or imprisonment pursuant to §§ 580.5(d), 580.13(c), and 580.14(c). For a leased vehicle, the lessor is obligated to provide the lessee with written notice of the obligation to make a mileage disclosure and that notice must contain the same warnings (§ 580.7(a)). Except in the limited context of the proper use of the power of attorney forms, no person shall sign an odometer disclosure statement as both the transferor and transferee in the same transaction (§ 580.5(h)).

    Part 580 establishes minimum requirements for record retention, which ensures that adequate records exist to create a “paper trail” sufficient to support detection and prosecution of odometer fraud. Section 580.8(a) requires motor vehicle dealers and distributors who are required to issue an odometer disclosure to retain copies of each odometer statement they issue and receive for five years. Lessors of leased vehicles must retain the odometer statement they receive from their lessee for five years from the date they transfer ownership of the leased vehicle (§ 580.8(b)). If a power of attorney authorized by §§ 580.13 and/or 580.14 has been used, dealers must retain copies of the document for five years (§ 580.8(c)). Section 580.9 requires auction companies to retain the name of the most recent owner on the date the auction took possession of the motor vehicle, the name of the buyer, the vehicle identification number and the odometer reading on the date the auction company took possession of the motor vehicle for five years from the date of sale. States are required, under § 580.13(f) to retain the original copy of the power of attorney authorized by § 580.13(a) or (b) and the title for a period of three years or a time period equal to the State's titling record retention period, whichever is shorter.

    In addition to the recordkeeping requirements, Part 580 also requires that subsequent buyers of a vehicle that was transferred to their seller through a disclosure made with a Part A power of attorney under § 580.13(a) have access to that power of attorney if they elect not to use Part B and return to the seller to acknowledge disclosure on the title itself (§ 580.16).

    Other sections of Part 580 establish a petition process by which States may seek assistance in revising their odometer laws (§ 580.10), may seek approval of alternative odometer disclosure schemes (§ 580.11), and establish exemptions from the disclosure requirements of § 580.5 and § 580.7 (§ 580.17). The exemptions in 580.17 apply to transfers or leases for: (1) Vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) over 16,000 pounds; (2) vehicles that are not self-propelled; (3) vehicles manufactured in a model year beginning ten years before January 1 of the calendar year in which the transfer occurs; (4) certain vehicles sold by the manufacturer to any agency of the United States; and (5) a new vehicle prior to its first transfer for purposes other than resale.

    D. Previous State Petitions for Approval of Electronic Odometer Disclosure Schemes

    The Cost Savings Act, as amended by TIMA in 1986, contains a specific provision on approval of State alternative odometer disclosure programs. Subsection 408(f)(2) of the Cost Savings Act (now recodified at 49 U.S.C. 32705(d)) provides that NHTSA shall approve alternate motor vehicle mileage disclosure requirements submitted by a State unless NHTSA determines that such requirements are not consistent with the purpose of the disclosure required by subsection (d) or (e) as the case may be. (Subsections 408(d), (e) of the Costs Savings Act were recodified to 49 U.S.C. 32705(b) and (c).)

    Six States—Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida, New York, Texas, and Arizona—have filed petitions with NHTSA seeking approval of electronic alternative odometer programs under 49 U.S.C. 32705(d)). NHTSA has approved, in whole or in part, five of these six petitions and has not yet taken final action on the sixth and most recent petition. A review of these petitions and the agency's responses is instructive regarding the various concerns raised by the implementation of electronic odometer disclosure systems.

    1. Virginia

    In December 2006, the Commonwealth of Virginia petitioned NHTSA to approve the Commonwealth's proposed electronic odometer disclosure requirements for intrastate transactions involving vehicles not subject to a lien. Virginia's proposal contemplated a paperless system where users would enter data directly into a State electronic system. To authenticate the identity of the participants, Virginia's petition stated that a unique personal identification number (PIN) and a unique customer number that would both be physically mailed to the individual would be used in conjunction with the customer's date of birth (DOB) to allow creation of an electronic odometer disclosure statement and signature. For dealers, the Virginia proposal stated that each dealer would provide the State with a list of employees authorized to make disclosures for the dealership. These individuals would be provided customer number PINS by mail and would use these identifiers in the same fashion as a private individual to verify their identity so they could complete transactions. In addition, transactions involving dealerships would require that the dealership enter a dealer number to complete the transaction.

    Virginia's proposed electronic odometer disclosure would be made in the same way a paper disclosure would be made. The transferor would fill out the electronic form that contained the same entries and warnings as those found on a paper title and then sign it electronically. The transferee would then examine the odometer disclosure executed by the transferor and either accept it or reject it. The disclosure statement would be linked to the electronic title and the transferor would be instructed to mail any existing paper title to the State for destruction. The proposal also stated that the transferee could obtain a paper copy of the title upon request.

    After finding that the Virginia proposal would properly verify the identity of users, would provide an equivalent level of security to the paper system, and would create an adequate system of records, NHTSA granted Virginia's request on January 7, 2009 (74 FR 643).

    2. Texas

    Texas filed a petition seeking approval of alternative odometer disclosure requirements in June 2008. The State proposal would transfer vehicles' titles electronically for in-state transactions between residents where there are no security interests in the vehicle. The proposal did not encompass leased vehicles, the use of a power of attorney, or interstate transactions. Texas's system would eliminate paper titles (except as requested) by creating an electronic title and require transfers of vehicle title for in-state transactions to be made using the internet. The identities of the parties, who would have to be Texas residents holding a valid State identification credential, would be verified by matching four personal data elements and two forms of identification against a State database. Odometer mileage disclosures would be made by requiring the seller and buyer to separately log into a secure Web site and each enter the odometer mileage. Upon successful completion of the transaction, the seller would mail the paper title to the State for destruction. The title would remain as an electronic record and the transferee could receive a paper title on request.

    NHTSA's initial determination, published on November 18, 2009, 74 FR 59503, preliminarily granted the Texas petition on the condition that Texas amend its program to enable transferees to obtain a paper copy of the title that met the requirements of TIMA, require dealers to retain a copy of all odometer disclosures that they issue and receive, and require disclosure of the brand (the brand states whether the odometer reflects the actual mileage, reflects the mileage in excess of the designated odometer limit or differs from the actual mileage and is not reliable.) Id. at 59506. Following submission of comments by Texas clarifying features of its proposal, NHTSA granted the Texas petition in a final determination issued on April 22, 2010. 75 FR 20925. The final determination noted that the Texas petition and comments indicated that the proposed system contained sufficient safeguards and record keeping requirements to meet the purposes of TIMA. Further, the agency noted that since Texas would require persons with an electronic title to submit any paper titles to the State for destruction, the proposal would prevent potential mischief caused by duplicate titles. Id. at 20929.

    3. Wisconsin

    In September 2009, Wisconsin filed a petition seeking approval of an electronic odometer disclosure system limited to intrastate transactions involving motor vehicle dealers. Identity verification would be based on customers entering a minimum of three personal identifiers—name, address, date of birth, product number, Driver License/ID number, and a Federal Employer Identification Number or partial Social Security Number—in the State system. Once the user is verified under this scheme, the user could begin the title transaction. As with the earlier petitions, Wisconsin proposed that electronic odometer disclosures be linked to, and become part of, the title record in the State's database and a title transfer could not be completed unless an electronic odometer disclosure had been completed. Also, if a paper title is needed, the Wisconsin DMV would print the title on secure paper with the odometer disclosure statement in the proper location and format under existing rules.

    In April 2010, NHTSA published an Initial Determination proposing to approve Wisconsin's program, subject to the resolution of certain concerns. 75 FR 20965 (Apr. 22, 2010). In particular, NHTSA raised questions about how the Wisconsin program would manage odometer disclosures for leased vehicles. In response to NHTSA's concerns, Wisconsin submitted comments stating that lessee odometer disclosures would be addressed in the future.

    NHTSA published a Final determination approving a revised Wisconsin electronic odometer disclosure plan on January 10, 2011. 76 FR 1367. The Agency found the Wisconsin proposal to be consistent with the odometer disclosure requirements. The verification scheme and form of the electronic disclosure provided adequate assurances that the persons executing the disclosure were the actual transferor and transferee. Thereafter the odometer disclosure statement would reside as an electronic record in the Wisconsin database and would be linked to the vehicle's title. NHTSA also noted that the electronic title would, under Wisconsin law, be the official title and that paper titles would be issued only if needed for an interstate transaction or a transfer that could not be completed electronically.

    4. Florida

    In December 2009, Florida proposed a hybrid electronic disclosure system in which the electronic transactions would be performed through authorized tag agents. Because the electronic data entries would only be made through terminals located at tag agent locations, Florida proposed that the required odometer disclosures for certain transactions would be made on physical documents that would then be delivered to tag agents who would then enter disclosure information into the State system. Under Florida's proposal a seller with a vehicle having an electronic title wishing to sell the car would visit a tag office with the buyer. After providing adequate identification to the tag agent, the buyer and seller would sign, in the presence of the tag agent, a secure reassignment form transferring ownership and disclosing the odometer reading. A title would then be issued in the buyer's name and stored electronically, or the buyer could choose to have the title printed as a physical document.

    For transactions involving dealers, Florida proposed that a seller with e-title would bring the vehicle to a dealership. The seller and dealer would complete a secure reassignment form with odometer disclosure. When the dealer sold the vehicle to another buyer, the dealer and buyer would complete another secure reassignment form with odometer disclosure. The dealer would take both of the secure reassignment forms to a tag agency. The vehicle title would then be transferred to the buyer and the buyer would have the option to obtain a paper title or have Florida's Department of Transportation hold the title electronically.

    Under Florida's proposal, the lessor of a leased vehicle would hold an e-title. When the lease ends, the lessee would bring the vehicle to a dealership. The lessee would sign an odometer disclosure statement on a secure physical document. The lessor would then sign a secure physical power of attorney to the dealer authorizing the dealer to execute the odometer disclosure. The dealer would then sign a physical secure reassignment form agreeing with the odometer disclosure. When the dealer sold the vehicle to another buyer, the dealer would take the various physical documents (bill of sale, reassignment document, and power of attorney) to the tag agency, where the title would be transferred to the buyer. The buyer would then have the option of obtaining a new paper title or having the Florida Department of Transportation hold the vehicle title electronically.

    NHTSA's final determination granted the Florida petition in part and denied it in part. 77 FR 36935 (June 20, 2012). Florida's request was granted for electronic transactions involving transfers between private parties but was denied for transactions involving dealers and leased vehicles. Among other things, NHTSA's final determination observed that transactions involving dealers relied on a number of odometer disclosures being made on documents other than the title itself. This, in the Agency's view, was inconsistent with TIMA's command that disclosures be made on the title and not on a separate document. Further, the Florida scheme for dealer transactions would result in new registrations being issued after submission of a disclosure statement made on a physical reassignment document rather than on the title itself, thereby violating the requirement that a vehicle may only be registered if the new owner submits a title containing the odometer disclosure statement. NHTSA denied Florida's proposed requirements for leased vehicles on similar grounds. Because of the proposed system's reliance on tag agents as the only point of data entry, completion of a transaction and execution of the required disclosure statements required that the disclosures be made on a number of documents, none of which were the actual title. These documents also did not meet other content and security requirements. Moreover, the use of a power of attorney in an instance where the lessor would have access to the title, was viewed by the Agency as inconsistent with the narrow set of circumstances under which such a power of attorney could be used under TIMA.

    5. New York

    The State of New York filed a petition with NHTSA in November 2010, seeking approval of alternative odometer disclosure requirements. The New York petition sought to convert the State's existing paper process for dealer transactions to an electronic process in which an authorized dealership user would sign on to the State's planned system and enter the vehicle's identifying information. The vehicle's odometer reading, disclosed on the title in the case of a consumer trading in or selling a vehicle to the dealer, would be recorded in the system by the dealer. Access to the system itself would occur only at dealerships by specific dealer employees whose identity would be verified by State issued credentials.

    If that dealer sold a vehicle to another licensed New York dealer, the selling dealer would sign on to the proposed electronic system and enter current vehicle information, including the current odometer reading, as well as seller and purchaser information. The purchasing dealer would subsequently sign on to the system and review the vehicle's identifying information, including the odometer disclosure statement made by the selling dealer, and either accept or reject the transaction. If the purchasing dealer accepted the transaction it would be considered complete. The original pre-dealer title (still in the prior owner's name) would be surrendered to the purchasing dealer at the time of sale. Subsequent transfers between licensed New York dealers would be recorded in the same manner. The history of the vehicle's identifying information entered into the system at each transfer would be maintained on the system.

    Under the New York proposal, when a vehicle owned by a New York dealer is sold to a retail purchaser, salvage dealer, out-of-state buyer or other non-New York dealer purchaser, the selling dealer would access the vehicle information on the system. The selling dealer would enter current vehicle information, including the current odometer reading, and would enter seller and purchaser information. A two-part sales receipt/odometer statement would be created on the system. The purchaser would then review the information, including the odometer statement, on the draft receipt displayed on the computer screen. If the purchaser agrees with the odometer statement and other information, the authorized dealer representative would save the data in the system and then print a two-part sales receipt. Both parties would then sign the odometer disclosure statement printed on each of the two parts of the receipt. The dealer would retain the dealer part of the receipt for its files, while the purchaser would be given the purchaser's copy of the receipt along with the original title acquired by the dealer when it purchased the vehicle.

    NHTSA's initial determination denied the New York petition because it used a non-secure receipt for odometer disclosure in transfers between New York dealers and out-of-state buyers and was therefore inconsistent with Federal odometer law. 76 FR 65487, 65491 (Oct. 21, 2011). New York subsequently amended its proposal by replacing the non-secure document with a secure State issued paper, New York State MV-50 (Retail Certificate of Sale) form. The result of this change was that a consumer purchasing a vehicle from a dealer would then receive the original title and odometer statement executed by the owner who sold the vehicle to the dealer and the secure MV-50 form with an odometer disclosure. In addition, the mileage disclosed at the time of the sale to the dealer and the mileage disclosed at the time the dealer sold the vehicle to the subsequent retail purchaser would be recorded in New York's system and available for viewing through a web portal.

    The Agency's final determination, 77 FR 50381 (Aug. 12, 2012), granted the New York petition as amended. NHTSA found that the employment of the secure State issued and numbered MV-50 form, in conjunction with the odometer disclosure on the original seller's title and the recording of these disclosures in New York's electronic system, met the purposes of TIMA.

    6. Arizona

    In December 2011, Arizona filed a petition with NHTSA seeking approval of alternative odometer disclosure requirements. The Arizona proposal was limited to transactions involving licensed Arizona dealers and did not encompass interstate transactions. Under this proposal, dealers would electronically scan and upload documents to the State. Dealers would scan documents using a specified format and resolution, encrypt the scanned images and transmit the images to a secure system using account codes, user/group profiles, and passwords. The State would retain electronic files in a document management system, and dealers would be required to retain hard copies of the documents. The disclosures would not be made on a title but on a form described as a Secure Odometer Disclosure. This form would be completed and signed by hand and submitted to Arizona along with other documents after being scanned. The petition appears to propose that the title would not be among the documents submitted to Arizona, and it may be that this procedure would be followed if the seller's title is an electronic title. If the dealer sells the vehicle, that dealer would again scan and electronically submit a Secure Odometer Disclosure, but not the title, to Arizona after selling the vehicle. The dealer would retain the original Secure Odometer Disclosure forms for the retention periods specified by Federal and Arizona law.

    In instances where a dealer sought to sell a vehicle that had been purchased from an owner with a paper title, Arizona also proposed that the vehicle would be resold by a dealer using the paper title from the transferor. It appears, based on this description and the requirements of Arizona law that a dealer's name shall be recorded on a title certificate as transferee or purchaser and that a title include space for dealer reassignment information, that the dealer would make an odometer disclosure on the paper title at the time it resells the vehicle. However, the petition also specifies that if the dealer applies for a new title in the name of the vehicle purchaser, the dealer and purchaser would complete a Secure Odometer Disclosure form. The dealer would then scan and electronically submit a title application, the paper title, the Secure Odometer Disclosure form, and supporting documents to Arizona. The dealer would retain the original documents (including the original paper title) for the retention periods specified by Federal and Arizona law. According to the petition, a new title would be sent to the buyer if there is no lien on the vehicle. If there is a lien, both the lien and the title would be maintained as electronic records by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

    NHTSA issued an initial determination denying the Arizona petition on August 20, 2012. 77 FR 50071. In this initial determination, the Agency stated that the Arizona petition did not meet 49 CFR 580.11(b), which establishes the requirements for alternative disclosure requirement petitions. The petition did not, in NHTSA's view, set forth the motor vehicle disclosure requirements in effect in the State or adequately demonstrate that the proposal was consistent with the purposes of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act. In regard to the latter, the agency found that making disclosures on documents other than the title, the proposed use of non-secure forms, the failure to address record keeping requirements, and the potential for alterations posed by the use of scanned documents were all inconsistent with the purposes of TIMA.

    7. Ongoing Concerns Regarding Electronic Odometer Disclosures in Light of Previous State Petitions

    NHTSA's experience in processing State petitions for alternative electronic odometer disclosure schemes illustrates a number of concerns that remain relevant for the purposes of this rulemaking. First and foremost, any electronic odometer disclosure system must be conceived with a full appreciation of the importance of following the command found in TIMA that odometer disclosures must be made on the title itself, or the electronic equivalent of that title, and not, except for a very limited number of exceptions, on any other document. In particular, an electronic odometer disclosure system should minimize or eliminate odometer disclosures made on physical documents instead of promoting the use of such documents as some proposals examined by NHTSA have done. Similarly, an electronic odometer disclosure system may not rely on a method of transmitting secure paper documents if that method does not preserve the security features now present in physical titles, reassignments, and powers of attorney. A low resolution scan of such a document is not secure and such a scan may not reveal forgeries or alterations.

    In addition, as addressed below, any electronic odometer disclosure system must provide adequate means for verifying the identity of transferors and transferees. In the absence of such verification, unauthorized and inaccurate disclosures could easily be entered into State systems by imposters, defeating the purposes of the Cost Savings Act and enhancements established in TIMA and the subsequent amendments. Electronic title and odometer disclosure systems must also foreclose the possibility that a seemingly valid physical paper title and an electronic title may co-exist. The presence of two such “valid” titles invites fraud and creates opportunities for confusion and deception. While States are under no obligation to implement electronic odometer disclosure systems that accommodate transactions involving leased vehicles, any system that proposes to do so must employ measures that meet the existing regulatory requirements without employing physical forms such as a power of attorney that are not authorized under agency regulations. Finally, all electronic odometer disclosure systems must be designed not to impede interstate vehicle sales while providing consumers with protection against odometer fraud. Unless and until electronic odometer disclosure is implemented in all States, Territories, and the District of Columbia, secure paper titles or their equivalent will be needed for the purposes of making odometer disclosures in interstate transactions.

    II. e-Manifest

    In developing this proposal, NHTSA reviewed the experience of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the development of its requirements for electronic manifests for hazardous waste. See 79 FR 7517 (Feb. 7, 2014). While the authority EPA was operating under is different from NHTSA's current authority, and the existing system differed from the current odometer disclosure system, NHTSA believes there are lessons to be learned from EPA's experience transitioning from a paper to electronic environment.

    The EPA proposal envisioned the agency setting minimum standards for an e-manifest system and various private entities stepping forward to develop and make available such systems. The “EPA proposed standards in 3 distinct areas: (1) Standard electronic data exchange formats for the manifest; (2) electronic signature methods that could be used to execute manifest signatures electronically; and (3) standard system security controls and work flow procedures to ensure the reliable and consistent processing of manifest data by electronic manifest systems, as well as to ensure the availability and integrity of manifest data submitted through the electronic systems.” 1 Commenters expressed concern that this proposal could lead to numerous inconsistent approaches to e-manifest, a particular problem for companies with large numbers of inter-state transactions. Others criticized the rigor of the standards proposed which set a higher bar than existed for paper documents. Still others noted that such detailed requirements could frustrate technology in an area which was constantly changing.

    1 79 FR 7517, 7519 (Feb. 7, 2014).

    The EPA's ultimate solution was to develop a centralized system controlled by the EPA and funded by user fees. This option is not available to NHTSA for odometer disclosures. Nevertheless, we are mindful of the comments EPA received. Vehicle transactions cross State boundaries and the need for various State systems to interact must be considered. Further, both traditional paper-based and electronic systems are likely to exist in neighboring States for some time and must facilitate interstate transactions while providing protection against odometer fraud. The MAP-21 mandate to permit electronic odometer disclosures could be frustrated by requirements that set an unnecessarily higher bar than currently exists for paper documents. However, NHTSA believes that achieving the objectives of the statute—to ensure that consumers receive valid representations of the actual vehicle mileage at the time of transfer and to detect, prevent, and aid in prosecuting odometer fraud—some aspects of the specific disclosure requirements may need to differ for traditional and electronic systems. It is also neither helpful to the public nor wise to create rules that NHTSA must regularly amend to adapt to technological changes. Accordingly, NHTSA has been, and remains, aware of these lessons in developing this proposal.

    III. Current Proposal A. Purpose of Odometer Disclosure Requirements

    The overall purpose of the odometer disclosure provisions of the Cost Savings Act, as amended, is to protect consumers by assuring that they receive valid representations of a vehicle's actual mileage at the time of transfer. An additional purpose is to create a system of records and a “paper trail” to facilitate detection and prosecution of odometer fraud. The statutory scheme and the current regulations adopted by NHTSA aim to achieve these overall purposes.

    In developing the current proposal for electronic odometer disclosures pursuant to MAP-21, NHTSA desires a regulation that continues to achieve these purposes without imposing overly burdensome requirements that are not necessary to achieve these purposes in an electronic environment. That is, electronic disclosures must be made accurately by the actual parties to the transaction to protect consumers and provide assurances that a transferee receives a valid representation of a vehicle's actual mileage at the time of transfer. In addition, electronic disclosure schemes must have retention requirements to create a secure and reliable electronic trail to facilitate detection and prosecution of odometer fraud. Unique issues the agency considered were the ability of different State electronic systems to share data, and the security of that information sharing, as well as the ability to issue secure paper documents for use in States which do not choose to adopt electronic disclosure requirements.

    An additional issue considered by the agency was the possibility that, if NHTSA were to adopt only minimum requirements necessary to achieve the above stated purposes, States that voluntarily chose to permit electronic odometer disclosures could do so in ways which could eventually create enough variation to hinder on-going efforts among the States to develop a national system for electronic titling of motor vehicles. However, NHTSA determined that its authority under MAP-21 was intended only to facilitate the change to electronic odometer disclosures, not to impose additional requirements for odometer disclosures. NHTSA requests comments, however, on whether it should go further than proposed in this notice in order to prevent, or limit, variation among the various State systems.

    B. Odometer Disclosure Requirements

    As noted earlier, NHTSA believes that meeting the objectives of the statute will require some variation in the requirements for traditional and electronic systems. To achieve this, NHTSA is proposing to restructure the requirements to accommodate both “physical” and “electronic” documents. Therefore we are proposing to amend 580.1 to add the option of electronic disclosures; 580.3 to add new definitions and amend existing definitions to accommodate physical and electronic filings; 580.4 to clarify separate requirements for the security of physical disclosures and electronic disclosures; 580.5 to clarify methods of disclosure for physical and electronic systems; 580.7 to add provisions allowing for the option of electronic disclosures for leased motor vehicles; 580.8 to include electronic copies among the forms of disclosures that must be retained and general requirements for that retention; 580.10 to update the address for NHTSA; 580.11 to add the newly created 580.6 to the sections a State may seek exemption from via petition for alternative disclosure requirements and update the address for NHTSA; 580.13 and 580.14 to revise the provisions relating to the use of a power of attorney to address the potential that transferors from an electronic title State wishing to convey a vehicle to a transferee in a physical title State may not have an opportunity to obtain a State issued secure physical title before transferring ownership of the vehicle and to correct a typographical error that would bring the disclosure requirements into conformity with the disclosure requirements under 580.5 and 580.7; 580.15 to add language clarifying that power of attorney certification is limited to physical document disclosures; and 580.17 to extend the disclosure exemption from ten years to twenty-five years and provide an updated example. NHTSA is proposing to strike the regulatory text in section 580.12 as the provision is obsolete and to reserve the section. Finally, NHTSA is proposing to create a new section 580.6 (previously reserved) which would contain unique requirements for electronic odometer disclosures.

    1. Definitions

    The most basic proposed change NHTSA is making is to add new definitions for the terms “Electronic Document,” “Physical Document,” and “Sign or Signature,” which are necessary to provide clarity in the requirements for each, taking into account the different security concerns and practical challenges that arise under the different disclosure systems. NHTSA requests comments on whether the following new definitions are appropriate and properly identify the items and actions intended.

    a. Electronic Document. NHTSA proposes to add “Electronic Document” to the defined terms in part 580.3. This addition is necessary to provide clarity for the requirements and procedures applicable to these documents, as opposed to documents in paper format. NHTSA proposes to define “Electronic Document” to mean “a title, reassignment document or power of attorney that is maintained in electronic form by a state, territory or possession that meets all the requirements of this part.”

    b. Physical Document. NHTSA proposes to add “Physical Document” to the defined terms in part 580.3. This addition is necessary to provide clarity for the requirements and procedures applicable to these documents, as opposed to documents in electronic format. NHTSA proposes to define “Physical Document” to mean “a title, reassignment document or power of attorney printed on paper that meets all the requirements of this part.”

    c. Sign or Signature. NHTSA proposes to add definitions for “Sign or Signature” applicable to physical document disclosures and to electronic document disclosures to the terms defined in part 580.3. This addition is necessary to clarify the actions and requirements that qualify as a signature or the signing of a document in the different contexts of physical and electronic disclosures. Further, electronic records of contractual agreements are capable of verification through methods other than written words, and may include sounds, other symbols, or processes. See 15 U.S.C. 7006(5) (providing a definition of “electronic signature”). NHTSA proposes to define “Sign or Signature” as meaning “[f]or a paper odometer disclosure, a person's name, or a mark representing it, as hand written personally” and “[f]or an electronic odometer disclosure, an electronic sound, symbol, or process using an authentication system equivalent to or greater than Level 3 as described in National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-63-2, Electronic Authentication Guideline, which identifies a specific individual.”

    2. Identity of Parties to a Motor Vehicle Transfer and Security of Signatures

    One issue NHTSA considered was the electronic equivalent of the existing requirements for physical signatures on odometer disclosures and how to securely authenticate an electronic signature. This is particularly important because in an electronic environment documents may be “signed” remotely. To address this issue, NHTSA reviewed the guidance in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-63-2, Electronic Authentication Guideline. The publication defines four levels of assurance, Levels 1 to 4, in terms of the consequences of authentication errors and misuse of credentials, with Level 1 being the lowest assurance level, and Level 4 as the highest. Based on the level, different levels of authentication are recommended to help ensure the security of the information. NHTSA also reviewed a December 16, 2003 memorandum from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to the Heads of all Federal Departments and Agencies.2 This memorandum guidance was issued by OMB under the Government Paperwork Elimination Act of 1998, 44 U.S.C. 3504 in light of the NIST publication. Attachment A to this memorandum supplements OMB Circular A-130, Management of Federal Information Resources, Appendix II, Implementation of the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA). While both the NIST publication and the OMB memorandum are directed towards Federal Departments and Agencies, NHTSA believes they provide good guidance in this instance also.

    2 OMB Memorandum M-04-04, 12/16/03,https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/omb/memoranda/fy04/m04-04.pdf.

    NHTSA is aware that the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) published a report from its Electronic Odometer Task Force in December 2014 (E-Odometer Task Force Report).3 In this report AAMVA recommends that States implement an electronic signature verification system that complies with at least NIST Level 2, however it also notes that some of the identification discussed would comply with NIST Level 3. As discussed below, NHTSA has made a preliminary determination that at least NIST Level 3 verification should be required, both to prevent the potential harm of fraudulent disclosures and to aid in their prosecution.

    3http://www.aamva.org/e-Odometer-Task-Force/.

    Attachment A to the OMB memorandum sets out six potential impact categories, and then, depending on whether the impact is low, moderate, or high, assigns a NIST assurance level. The Attachment does not provide specific guidance for how to assign an overall assurance level if potential impact categories fall in different levels. The impact categories are:

    • Inconvenience, distress or damage to standing or reputation.

    • Financial loss or agency liability.

    • Harm to agency programs or public interests.

    • Unauthorized release of sensitive information.

    • Personal Safety.

    • Civil or criminal violations.

    In reviewing these impact categories, NHTSA notes a definite potential for financial loss. The purpose of odometer fraud is to induce consumers to pay more for a used vehicle than they would if they knew the accurate mileage. For an individual consumer, it is important that the value of the vehicle reasonably match the price agreed to, and paid, based upon the information available to the consumer and provided by the seller. In addition, odometer fraud is often committed by the same individual(s) or entities multiple times, resulting in high dollar amounts of damages. State electronic title and odometer disclosure systems will also contain sensitive personal information that could be subject to unauthorized release if the system were not sufficiently secure. Last, odometer fraud is a criminal offense that victimizes innocent consumers. NHTSA and other enforcement agencies use odometer disclosure documents to prove these criminal violations.

    Therefore, after reviewing this document, NHTSA has made a preliminary decision that a high level of assurance in the accuracy of the identity of the person making an odometer disclosure is necessary, and therefore the appropriate level of security for odometer disclosures is Level 3 according to the NIST guidelines. NHTSA is therefore proposing that any State which allows electronic odometer disclosures require security protocols at this level or higher. Under the NIST guidelines (http://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-63-2.pdf), a Level 3 system must have certain minimum attributes. These attributes include verification of the name associated with the user, issuance of a credential to the user through a separate channel such as postal mail, text message or telephone call directed at an address or number confirmed through examination of different independent databases and use of that credential to gain access to the Level 3 system. For example, a person wishing to make odometer disclosures electronically without having to appear in person at a State motor vehicle agency would need to have a valid Government ID number and a financial institution or utility account number that could be confirmed through examining records containing those numbers. The State entity providing the e-title and odometer disclosure service would then check the information provided by the individual and confirm that the name, date of birth, and other personal information in the examined records are consistent and sufficient to identify a unique individual. The State entity would then issue a credential by postal mail or some other means that would direct the credential to the proper person. The issued credential would then be employed by the user to obtain access to the electronic odometer and title system. As outlined in the NIST guidelines, other methods may be employed to attain Level 3 authentication but the important principle, in NHTSA's view, is that Level 3 requires multi-factor identification of an individual applicant who, once their identity has been verified, is provided with a unique credential in order to access the system.

    NHTSA is therefore proposing that the requirement for Level 3 authentication be incorporated in the definition of “signature” for electronic disclosures. However, this also will require the use of computers by all parties for all transfers in electronic title States. NHTSA requests comments on the appropriate NIST level and if specific identification verification(s) should be required, and further requests comments on how such a system should be implemented, including whether dealers should be required to provide secure computing services to transferors and transferees and what security measures should be mandatory for such services.

    Next, NHTSA is proposing to require that each “signature” in an electronic environment apply only to a single individual, not to an organization. For example, if a dealership wished to allow multiple employees to execute odometer disclosures on behalf of the dealership, each employee would be required to have and maintain a distinct access identity or code to the electronic odometer system so that the actual individual making the disclosure, not just the dealership, is identified by the “signature.” The dealer or entity on whose behalf the individual is making the disclosure must also be identified in the transaction and the dealer(s) and entity on whose behalf the individual works must be recorded as part of the individual's distinct access identity or code.

    NHTSA also considered the existing requirements that various parties provide copies of documents as part of the odometer disclosure process, and what would qualify as an equivalent in an electronic environment. For example, section 580.5(f) requires the transferee to return a copy of the odometer disclosure document to the transferor after it is signed. Under the current system, the transferee may apply for a new title for the vehicle, and generally, a State will not title a vehicle without an odometer disclosure statement that contains the signatures of both the transferor and the transferee. However, the State does not usually verify that a copy of the document was returned to the transferor or that the transferor retained it. For this reason, NHTSA is concerned about imposing any requirement in the electronic environment that would be more restrictive than these current requirements. NHTSA therefore proposes to specify only that the requirement to provide a document is satisfied by electronically transmitting the document, provided that the State allows the parties to the transaction access to the completed disclosure statements.

    As discussed previously, one purpose of the signature requirement is to aid in the prosecution of odometer fraud. For this reason, NHTSA proposes requiring an electronic “signature” to identify an individual, not a business, for example. NHTSA requests comment on whether any other requirements are necessary to ensure that investigators can back trace an electronic “signature” to identify the individual and/or computer used in the electronic equivalent of a “paper trail.” Conversely, if an odometer disclosure is altered, do the proposed system requirements develop an adequate “paper trail” to lead investigators to the IP address or computer used to alter the disclosure, and if not, what additional system requirements are necessary?

    3. Security of Title Documents

    Currently, § 580.4 requires that titles, which are necessarily all physical documents except in the five jurisdictions with approved petitions for electronic systems pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 32705(d), be printed using a secure printing or other secure process. Further, currently any power of attorney forms and all documents used to reassign title must be issued by the State and be created using a secure process. It is central to the integrity and efficacy of the motor vehicle titling systems and odometer disclosure laws that the authenticity and security of title documents, at a minimum, be maintained at their current levels in moving to electronic disclosure and titling systems. Currently, investigators are able to examine physical documents and observe indicators of tampering. Unlike paper documents, however, alterations to electronic documents are much more difficult to detect from a visual inspection. Further, while electronic documents and transactions provide opportunity to enhance security, as with physical documents, these systems are still susceptible to manipulation and attacks.

    The proposed changes and additions to § 580.4 seek to clarify that the existing requirements apply to physical documents, moving the language to a new paragraph (a), and set forth requirements for electronic documents, in a new paragraph (b), to ensure comparable levels of security and authenticity in electronic documents as exist currently for paper documents. Such requirements are necessary to protect both the financial interests of motor vehicle owner's and potential buyers, as well as to aid law enforcement in preventing, detecting, and prosecuting odometer fraud. NHTSA seeks comments as to whether the proposed changes and additions to § 580.4 appropriately match the security and authenticity requirement for electronic documents to the existing requirements, which apply to paper documents.

    a. Electronic Odometer Disclosure System Security

    As discussed previously, § 580.4 requires the title, power of attorney or reassignment documents used for odometer disclosures to have certain security safety features to inhibit altering the disclosure and to aid in the detection of alterations.

    NHTSA contemplated proposing specific minimum requirements for system security, but has preliminarily determined that it would be counter-productive, and thus inappropriate, to do so. NHTSA based this decision on the knowledge that the rulemaking process is typically slow, while developments in technology are fast and frequent. While proactive changes to enhance cyber security are constantly evolving and improving, cyber-attacks and efforts to undermine the security of electronic data systems are also changing rapidly and frequently. The rulemaking process would not be able to keep pace with these technological changes and it is foreseeable that, if NHTSA imposed specific system requirements, the specific requirements could become obsolete, yet remain the requirements while a new rulemaking is undertaken. Alternatively, to the extent that rulemaking by NHTSA would be able to keep up with the dynamic technological landscape, such constant revisions to the regulations would result in an ever-changing set of specific requirements for States to adhere to.

    Further, the potential risks to property interests and commerce presented by insecure vehicle titling and odometer disclosure systems are obvious, since it is critical that the owners, buyers, and sellers of motor vehicles have certainty in their ownership status and avoid being defrauded in the fundamental details about the vehicle they own or are buying.

    By NHTSA's adoption of more general minimum requirements, any State that choses to adopt an electronic disclosure system will be able to select the specific system requirements it believes are most appropriate, while ensuring information security for motor vehicle owners, buyers, and law enforcement.

    While NHTSA's expectation is that any State implementing an electronic disclosure system would take these various risks into account and establish appropriate safeguards, NHTSA nonetheless requests comments on whether it should establish minimum specific security requirements in this rulemaking and, if so, what requirements would be appropriate. NHTSA requests comment on whether requirements should be included for the hardware used in an electronic odometer system to protect the system from threats which could disrupt the electronic records, either from natural or manmade sources and, if so, what requirements should be included in a final rule. For example, the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) defines a framework to protect Federal government information systems from such threats. Should NHTSA, for example, require any computer or server attached to an electronic odometer system comply with FISMA?

    4. Odometer Disclosures

    NHTSA considered the issue of what odometer information disclosures and procedures should be required for paper and electronic disclosures, and what appropriate modifications can and should be made for electronic disclosures. In an effort to track the electronic disclosure requirements to the existing requirements, NHTSA makes the following proposals regarding the odometer disclosures and procedures.

    In § 580.5 paragraph (a), NHTSA proposes to add the phrase “whether a physical or electronic document” to make clear that the disclosure requirements specified in § 580.5 apply to all titles issued. The requirements currently apply to all title transfers and, as a practical matter, this results in no change in the disclosure requirements whether made on a physical document or electronically.

    Paragraph § 580.5(c) sets forth certain specific disclosures that must be made as part of a transaction transferring title of a vehicle, including that the odometer disclosure must be made on the title, or on a document being used to reassign the title. As currently written, this requirement necessarily implies the ability to affix information onto a document. To clarify this requirement, NHTSA proposes to add language specifying “physical document” in instances of paper title transfers and “electronic form incorporated into the electronic title” for instances of electronic title transfers. The requirement for making electronic disclosures on an electronic form incorporated into the electronic title means that paper disclosures would become the rare exception when electronic disclosure and titling is available. Further, the electronic systems would need to be designed to contain or otherwise embed the electronic odometer disclosure in the electronic title. Finally, for electronic transfers where the transferor is the individual in whose name the vehicle is titled, reassignment documents would not be necessary. NHTSA seeks comments on the proposal that disclosures be made on an electronic form incorporated into the electronic title.

    NHTSA also considered the issue of how to provide the warnings currently contained in § 580.5(d) to parties conducting electronic transfers. NHTSA proposes to extend these existing requirements to electronic transfers by amending § 580.5(d), specifying that in instances of electronic transfer, the required information must be displayed on the screen, and acknowledged as understood by that party, before any signature can be applied to the transaction. This proposed requirement is intended to ensure that the information is provided in a size and location that is clearly viewable and readable to individuals making electronic transfers, and that transferors do not unintentionally bypass this information without having an opportunity to review it. NHTSA envisions that the acknowledgement would typically be a box for the party to click acknowledging having seen and understood the information, not unlike the boxes often seen on Web sites and computer programs today acknowledging service limits or contractual rights prior to gaining access to content or services.

    NHTSA considered the existing requirements of § 580.5(f), that a transferee print his or her name on the disclosure and return a copy to the transferor and believes that the requirement on a transferee to “print” their name is inappropriate for electronic transfers, but that any electronic system should be able to provide some record of the disclosure for the transferor and transferee. NHTSA proposes to not extend the printed name requirement to electronic disclosures because the purpose of the printed name is to provide hand writing exemplars for use in fraud investigations and prosecutions. However, at present, NHTSA is not aware of electronic systems that capture handwriting with the level of clarity and precision that exists when applying hand-writing to paper. As a result, unlike physical handwriting exemplars, NHTSA does not currently believe that electronic handwriting exemplars would provide the intended investigatory and prosecution tools to law enforcement. The requirement that the transferee print his or her name on the disclosure therefore need not be extended to electronic disclosures. In contrast, it remains important for both parties to the transaction to have access to a record showing the disclosure that was made, and it is appropriate to extend the current requirement that the transferee provide a copy of the disclosure to the transferor to electronic transfers.

    In an electronic disclosure jurisdiction, the parties would not have physical control of the disclosure documents and the responsibility to provide copies of the disclosure must fall to the operator(s) of the disclosure system. Thus, NHTSA proposes to amend § 580.5(f) to require that jurisdictions with electronic disclosure systems provide a way for the transferor and transferee to obtain copies, in the form of some detailed record, of the disclosure. These records not only provide assurance to the parties of what information was relied upon in the transaction, but could also aid law enforcement in investigations and prosecutions. NHTSA requests comments on the proposal to not extend the printed name requirement to electronic disclosures, including technologies that provide comparable electronic hand-writing exemplars as paper document exemplars, and on the proposal to require that any electronic system be capable of providing the transferor and transferee with a copy or record of the disclosure made.

    NHTSA has considered how to handle odometer disclosure for a vehicle that has not been titled or for which the title does not contain a space for the information required. Under the existing paper disclosure systems, in such instances the parties execute the odometer disclosure as a separate paper document. This system would not make sense in an electronic disclosure system since the first time a title was obtained for any given vehicle the odometer disclosure would be incorporated into that electronic title at the time of creation and no electronic title system would be created that did not provide space for the required information. The option relating to insufficient space on the title is a holdover from when odometer disclosures were first required on the title and jurisdictions needed time to bring titles into conformity with the new regulation. That concern is not applicable here since electronic disclosure systems will be designed and implemented using the requirements established in this rule. Similarly, no special provision is needed for providing the information in the first instance of titling in an electronic disclosure jurisdiction, since any electronic system will include the execution of an electronic disclosure that is incorporated into the electronic title upon creation. NHTSA thus proposes to amend § 580.5(g) to add language clarifying that the existing regulation allowing for disclosure on a separate document for first title and instances where the title does not contain space for the disclosure is limited to transactions conducted using physical documents while disclosures for first title issuance in an electronic disclosure system must be made in the electronic system. NHTSA requests comments on the proposal to limit the current separate document disclosures for first title issuance and when the title does not contain sufficient space for the disclosure requirements to paper title jurisdictions, and requiring disclosures for first title issuance to be conducted within the electronic title system in electronic disclosure jurisdictions.

    5. Requirements for Electronic Transactions

    NHTSA has considered the differences between disclosures made on physical documents and those made on electronic documents and preliminarily determined that additional requirements are necessary to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of electronic disclosures. NHTSA has also considered the complications that could arise, including competing claims of vehicle ownership, if both paper and electronic titles co-exist as an official form of title issued within a jurisdiction. To address these issues, NHTSA is proposing to add a new § 580.6 (previously reserved), to provide requirements that apply only to electronic transactions.

    a. Document Integrity

    First, NHTSA proposes to add § 580.6(a)(1), requiring that any electronic record be retained in a format that cannot be altered and, further, that indicates any attempts to alter it. This proposed requirement adds as an explicit condition for electronic disclosures an implicit reality of disclosures on physical documents. Disclosures on physical documents provide some method for detection of alterations or attempts to alter the document. While techniques for altering the physical documents evolve over time, they nonetheless leave an indicator, however hard to detect, of that alteration or attempt. Electronic documents thus present a different challenge since many documents are easily altered, and some of the techniques used can be difficult to trace. A system that prevents alteration is critical for consumer confidence in the disclosure system and information relating to the alteration of disclosure documents is critical to the enforcement of the odometer disclosure laws and in preventing odometer fraud. NHTSA requests comments on this proposed additional requirement for electronic disclosures and what, if any, more specific requirements would be appropriate to ensure that electronic records are not altered and indicate any attempts to alter them.

    b. Individual Identity Assigned to all Unique Electronic Signatures

    Currently, each person signs their own name to a physical document when completing an odometer disclosure and is uniquely identified as an individual. Or at least that is presumed for non-fraudulent transactions. Similarly, in an electronic disclosure system, each individual person will need to be uniquely identified by their own unique electronic signature. This is necessary to protect the financial interests of vehicle owners and purchasers, providing certainty that the vehicle title remains with the lawful owner and that odometer disclosures are made by the appropriate individuals, who can be located, if needed.

    As a practical matter, this is particularly necessary for transactions involving individuals who complete portions of disclosures on behalf of others, like an employer. For example, when a vehicle owner seeks to trade in a car at a car dealership in an electronic disclosure jurisdiction the parties would no longer need to provide power of attorney and reassignment documents for the dealer to use in selling the vehicle at a later date, but instead would simply transfer title from the vehicle owner to the car dealer and make the odometer disclosure on the electronic form which is incorporated into the title. This will require an individual at a car dealership to enter information into the electronic disclosure system on behalf of the business or entity on whose behalf that individual is operating.

    NHTSA has considered the importance of maintaining confidence that the parties are who they claim to be for ownership and law enforcement purposes. NHTSA has also considered challenges created in fraud investigation and prosecution if both the individual and business, or entity, are not identified by the code or signature associated with an individual acting in this capacity to input data into the system. Accordingly, NHTSA is proposing to add § 580.6(a)(2) requiring that any electronic signature identify an individual and, further, that if the individual is acting in a business capacity or otherwise on behalf of any other individual or entity, that the business or entity also be identified as part of that unique electronic signature. NHTSA requests comments on this proposal.

    c. Availability of Documentation in Electronic Disclosure Systems

    The physical document disclosure system currently established in § 580 generally requires in various places that individuals be provided with specific documentation. However, in an electronic system, in many cases there will not be any document to provide, and instead, information can be made available to the parties via the electronic system. Moreover, part of the rationale for using an electronic disclosure and titling system is to reduce the amount of paper being used. It would defeat one of the purposes of electronic disclosure to require the printing and delivery of documentation at various stages. It could also add unnecessary complications to the electronic delivery of documentation if specific electronic delivery mechanisms were required. Having considered this factors, NHTSA proposes to add § 580.6(a)(3), providing that any requirement in the regulations to disclose, issue, execute, return, notify, or otherwise provide information to another person is satisfied when a copy of the electronic disclosure or statement is electronically transmitted or otherwise electronically accessible to the party required to receive the disclosure. NHTSA requests comments on the usefulness of this proposal.

    d. Physical Documents Used in Making Electronic Disclosures

    The continued use of physical documents to accomplish transfer of title or odometer disclosure in an electronic disclosure jurisdiction is strongly discouraged, as each different document presents a new opportunity for fraudulent activity to occur. However, to the extent that the continued use of physical documents is necessary in an electronic system, any physical documents used must comply with all requirements of this part. NHTSA thus proposes the new § 580.6(a)(7) to require that any physical documents used to make electronic disclosures comply with the existing applicable requirements.

    e. Co-Existing Physical and Electronic Disclosures and Titles

    NHTSA considered the issue of which title and/or odometer disclosure is, and should be, the official document in certain situations. In a written environment it is possible to determine which document has an original signature and, therefore, to distinguish original (or official) documents from copies. This method of determining the original/official document is not available when the original document was created electronically. In addition, when a print copy is made of an electronic odometer disclosure, what should be done to specify whether the print document is now the official document or the electronic document remains the official document? This issue could arise when a vehicle titled with an electronic odometer disclosure is moved to a State which either does not participate in electronic odometer disclosures or which has an electronic odometer system that cannot communicate directly with the system in the State in which the vehicle is currently titled. It could also occur if a vehicle owner in an electronic disclosure State would like a paper copy of a title and/or odometer disclosure for record-keeping purposes.

    First, NHTSA is proposing that once an odometer disclosure is incorporated in the electronic title, the electronic title containing the disclosure is the official record of ownership and mileage. The electronic disclosure does not continue as a record separate from the electronic title as that would be contrary to TIMA and would provide additional opportunity for fraud. If an electronic title (containing an odometer disclosure) must be converted to a paper document as the official document, NHTSA is proposing additional requirements. First, only a State or State-authorized entity can create the new official document. Second, the paper document must be set forth by means of a secure printing method as a physical, paper document. As a practical matter, this may present certain logistical challenges, particularly for individuals in an electronic title State who seek to buy a new car, and trade-in their old car, in another State. This issue is discussed at greater length below regarding Power of Attorney, and NHTSA requests comments on how this logistical challenge can be avoided or mitigated. Third, the electronic record must be altered to clearly indicate that an official paper document has been issued, to whom, and the date of issuance.

    Second, NHTSA is proposing to allow States to authorize the issuance of some type of record of ownership document that would contain the information on a title and/or odometer disclosure but would not replace the official document. This document could be used for persons who would like a paper copy but would not like the official document to be converted to a paper document. In the proposed § 580.6(a)(5) jurisdictions with electronic title and odometer disclosure systems would be allowed to provide vehicle owners with a paper record of ownership including the odometer disclosure information so long as the document clearly indicates that it is not an official title or odometer disclosure for that vehicle. NHTSA requests comments on the benefits and drawbacks of such a record and whether the option of obtaining such a document should be required under the regulations.

    Finally, in reverse situations where a vehicle titled in a State that does not participate in an electronic odometer system is moved to a State with an electronic odometer system, NHTSA is proposing a new § 580.6(a)(4) to require that the prior title and odometer disclosure be copied electronically for retention by the electronic system State and that the paper document(s) be destroyed at the time they are converted to electronic documents. NHTSA further proposes that the electronic copy of the physical document be retained for a minimum of five years, in an order that permits systematic retrieval, and in a format that cannot be altered and that indicates any attempts to alter it. The five year retention requirement proposed in this paragraph matches the retention period of similar documentation held by dealers and distributors of motor vehicles and auction companies. Finally, NHTSA is also proposing that any paper documents scanned or copied electronically for storage in an electronic system be converted through a process providing a minimum resolution of 600 dots per inch (dpi) to ensure the preservation of security features during the conversion process.

    NHTSA requests comments on what standards should be used for scanning and maintaining the documents including whether the scan must be in color, be made at a minimum resolution (and if so, what required minimum resolution should be), or preserve the security features of the original to ensure that fraud or alteration could be detected, should it occur.

    C. Leased Vehicles

    Section 580.7 deals with the disclosure obligations and requirements for leased vehicles. NHTSA is not aware of any reason why electronic disclosures could not be made for leased vehicles, though lessors wishing to utilize such a system for communications between themselves and lessees would need to develop an electronic system complying with the technological requirements established in § 580.4(b) of this part unless the jurisdiction where the leased vehicle is titled provides such a system. These requirements are necessary as security and authenticity of disclosure information is fundamental to all types of disclosures within the odometer disclosure system. Otherwise, disclosures regarding leased vehicles would continue on physical documents. As with all other electronic disclosures, it is appropriate and necessary that individuals making the disclosure be provided with the notice of Federal law and possible penalties for providing false information. The substantive disclosures would not change for electronic disclosure except that, as with all other electronic disclosures, the person making the disclosure need not provide their “printed name” for the reasons previously discussed.

    Having considered the issues involved in lessor-lessee communications regarding odometer disclosure statements, NHTSA proposes to add language to § 580.7(a) specifying that legal notices given on paper odometer disclosure documents must be provided to, and acknowledged by, an individual making an electronic disclosure; add language to § 580.7(b) clarifying that a printed name need not be provided for electronic disclosures; and add a new § 580.7(e) requiring any electronic system maintained by a lessor for the purpose of complying with this section meet the requirements set forth in proposed § 580.4(b) or this part. NHTSA requests comments as to whether electronic disclosures of leased vehicles should be a required part of the electronic system established by a jurisdiction or are best left to individual companies/lessors to establish and whether the current proposal would sufficiently aid law enforcement in detecting altered documents.

    D. Record Retention

    Sections 580.8 and 580.9 include requirements for odometer disclosure record retention by motor vehicle dealers and distributors and by auction companies, respectively. Section 580.8(a) specifies that dealers and distributors must retain a “Photostat, carbon copy or other facsimile copy of each odometer mileage statement which they issue and receive.” An electronic odometer disclosure system that does not allow for dealers and distributors to maintain records in electronic format would undermine the purpose for moving to such a system. NHTSA is therefore proposing to amend this requirement to include electronic copies or electronic documents as an acceptable form of record.

    Under both sections, records must be stored for five years in a manner and method so they are accessible to NHTSA investigators and other law enforcement personnel. The records must also be stored so they are difficult or impossible to modify. As previously discussed, unlike paper documents, alterations to electronic documents are much more difficult to detect from a visual inspection. Therefore, NHTSA is proposing to add a specific requirement in a new § 580.8(d) and in § 580.9 that electronic records kept by motor vehicle dealers and distributors and by auction companies must be stored in a format that cannot be altered and which indicates any attempts to alter the document, consistent with the standards set forth in proposed § 580.4(b). NHTSA requests comment on whether this requirement would be sufficient to allow law enforcement to detect altered documents.

    E. Power of Attorney

    NHTSA is proposing to modify the power of attorney provisions. A power of attorney generally should not be needed for transfers and disclosures within jurisdictions using electronic systems since there will not be a “lost” title, as the State system will hold the title record with the odometer disclosure, and any lienholder will not physically hold the title since the title will be on file in the State's electronic system. However, NHTSA proposes to amend § 580.13(a) and (b), to allow an individual with a vehicle titled in an electronic title State to use a power of attorney to sell a vehicle in a paper title State. In this way, the electronic title with the required odometer disclosure is equivalent to a lost title or a title held by a lienholder. Without this additional permitted use of power of attorney, the seller from an electronic title State cannot trade-in his old car and buy a new car in a paper title State unless the seller first remembers, and plans ahead, to obtain a printed title from the electronic title State before going car shopping. For example, assume Mr. Smith lives in an e-title State but goes to a paper title State to trade-in his old car and buy a new car. He must either get his paper title first or there must be some means for him to make his odometer disclosure without a title. Electronic title States will not likely be in a position to provide secure paper titles on demand. This means Mr. Smith cannot buy a new car unless he gets his electronic title printed as a physical title first. The agency believes this is unlikely to happen in many, if not most, instances.

    While the use of power of attorney provides an additional step in the transfer process, and thus another opportunity for fraud to occur, the agency believes as a practical matter that there must be some other way for a vehicle owner from an electronic title State to sell the vehicle in a paper title State without first obtaining a converted official paper title from the electronic title State. However, power of attorney laws vary from State to State, so even with this modification there may still be States that retain paper title systems where vehicles registered in electronic title States could not be sold without the converted official paper title. NHTSA requests comments on the benefits and drawbacks of this proposal as well as other ideas to address this challenge while maintaining adequate safeguards of accurate disclosures and a paper-trail.

    NHTSA also proposes to add the word “physical” in multiple places in § 580.13(f), § 580.14(a), (e), and (f), and in § 580.15(a). In § 580.13(f) this is necessary to make clear that the title being referenced at the two specified points is a physical title and not an electronic title, unlike the other references to “title” within paragraph (f), which apply to either a physical or electronic title depending on in which format the transferor's title is currently held. The word “physical” is needed to clarify three documents in § 580.14(a) that must be physical documents for the purposes of using reassignment documents and power of attorney since these documents will only be utilized in transactions outside of electronic disclosure systems. Similarly, the word “physical” is also needed in § 580.14(e) and (f) to make clear that power of attorney forms would be physical documents, since power of attorney would not be needed or utilized in electronic title and disclosure jurisdictions. Finally, the addition of the word “physical” is necessary in six instances in § 580.15(a) to clarify that the disclosures made and documents reviewed involved physical documents, since the use of power of attorney, and related documents, would not be necessary to accomplish transfers within electronic title and disclosure jurisdictions.

    NHTSA requests comments on whether power of attorney would be necessary in an electronic odometer system for intra-state transfers. Second, NHTSA notes that the requirements in section 580.13 permitting disclosures by power of attorney assume that the power of attorney document itself is a physical document. Therefore, NHTSA requests comments on whether odometer disclosure by power of attorney would be made on other than a paper document, i.e. electronically, in these situations and, if so, explanation of how that would work. Further, NHTSA has concerns that the validity of power of attorney may vary from State to State and the possible implications of that variability in interstate transactions and requests comment on this issue.

    NHTSA proposes to correct a typographical error that appears in both § 580.13(b)(5) and § 580.14(b)(5) by adding a comma between “model year,” which would bring the disclosure requirements for power of attorney forms into conformity with standard transfer disclosures and leased vehicle disclosures. This typographical error in the regulation creates inconsistency within the reporting scheme. Accordingly, NTHSA proposes to change “model year” to “model, year” in these two reporting provisions.

    F. Exemptions

    Section 580.17(3) currently exempts any vehicle which is more than 10 years old from the odometer disclosure requirements. The average age of the United States vehicle fleet has been trending upward and recently reached 11.5 years.4 Because of this, NHTSA is proposing to raise this exemption to 25 years. NHTSA also requests comments on whether this exemption should be eliminated.

    4Average age of U.S. fleet hits record 11.5 years, IHS says, Autonews.com (July 29, 2015), http://www.autonews.com/article/20150729/RETAIL/150729861/average-age-of-u.s.-fleet-hits-record-11.5-years-ihs-says (last visited March 14, 2016).

    G. Miscellaneous Amendments

    The agency is no longer located at the address currently provided in § 580.10. Accordingly, NHTSA is proposing to amend § 580.10(b)(2) to provide the correct address for applications for assistance to, which is the Office of Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., W41-326, Washington, DC 20590.

    Section 580.11 provides States with procedures by which to petition NHTSA for approval of disclosure requirements differing from those required by 49 CFR part 580, specifically § 580.5, § 580.7, and § 580.13(f). NHTSA is proposing to amend § 580.11(a) to add the new § 580.6 to the sections for which a State may petition the agency to utilize different disclosure requirements and to add § 580.6 to the explanation of the effect of a grant or denial of a petition contained in § 580.11(c). NTHSA requests comments on whether a State should be permitted to use alternative disclosure requirements to those proposed in § 580.6.

    Section 580.11 also provides the prior address for the agency, and NHTSA is proposing to amend § 580.11(b)(2) to provide the current address, which is the Office of Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., W41-326, Washington, DC 20590.

    The petition provided for in § 580.12, allowing a State to seek an extension of time beyond the April 29, 1989 deadline to bring its laws into conformity with the requirements of Part 580, was due to the agency by February 28, 1989. These dates having long ago passed and States having brought applicable laws into compliance, the provisions within § 580.12 are now obsolete. Accordingly, NHTSA proposes to strike the regulatory text of § 580.12 and replace it with “[Remove and Reserve]” to reserve the section.

    IV. Public Participation How do I prepare and submit comments?

    Your comments must be written and in English. To ensure that your comments are correctly filed in the Docket, please include the docket number of this document in your comments.

    Your comments must not be more than 15 pages long. (49 CFR 553.21). We established this limit to encourage you to write your primary comments in a concise fashion. However, you may attach necessary supporting documents to your comments. There is no limit on the length of the attachments.

    Comments may be submitted to the docket electronically by logging onto the Docket Management System Web site at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

    You may also submit two copies of your comments, including the attachments, to Docket Management at the address given above under ADDRESSES.

    Please note that pursuant to the Data Quality Act, in order for substantive data to be relied upon and used by the agency, it must meet the information quality standards set forth in the OMB and DOT Data Quality Act guidelines. Accordingly, we encourage you to consult the guidelines in preparing your comments. OMB's guidelines may be accessed at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/reproducible.html. DOT's guidelines may be accessed at: http://www.bts.gov/programs/statistical_policy_and_research/data_quality_guidelines.

    How can I be sure that my comments were received?

    If you wish Docket Management to notify you upon its receipt of your comments, enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard in the envelope containing your comments. Upon receiving your comments, Docket Management will return the postcard by mail.

    How do I submit confidential business information?

    If you wish to submit any information under a claim of confidentiality, you should submit three copies of your complete submission, including the information you claim to be confidential business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the address given above under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In addition, you should submit two copies, from which you have deleted the claimed confidential business information, to Docket Management at the address given above under ADDRESSES. When you send a comment containing information claimed to be confidential business information, you should include a cover letter setting forth the information specified in our confidential business information regulation. 49 CFR part 512.

    Will the agency consider late comments?

    We will consider all comments that Docket Management receives before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated above under DATES. To the extent possible, we will also consider comments that Docket Management receives after that date. If Docket Management receives a comment too late for us to consider in developing a final rule (assuming that one is issued), we will consider that comment as an informal suggestion for future rulemaking action.

    How can I read the comments submitted by other people?

    You may read the comments received by Docket Management at the address given above under ADDRESSES. The hours of the Docket are indicated above in the same location. You may also see the comments on the Internet. To read the comments on the Internet, go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets.

    Please note that, even after the comment closing date, we will continue to file relevant information in the Docket as it becomes available. Further, some people may submit late comments. Accordingly, we recommend that you periodically check the Docket for new material.

    V. Regulatory Notices and Analyses A. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and the Department of Transportation's regulatory policies require this agency to make determinations as to whether a regulatory action is “significant” and therefore subject to OMB review and the requirements of the aforementioned Executive Orders. Executive Order 12866 defines a “significant regulatory action” as one that is likely to result in a rule that may:

    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or Tribal governments or communities;

    (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency;

    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or

    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive Order.

    We have considered the potential impact of this proposal under Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and the Department of Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures, and have determined that it is not significant. This proposal amends existing requirements to allow States a new alternative means of complying with those requirements. It does not impose any new regulatory burdens. Therefore, this document was not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under E.O. 12866 and E.O. 13563.

    B. National Environmental Policy Act

    We have reviewed this rule for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act and determined that it would not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment.

    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking or final rule, it must prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions). The Small Business Administration's regulations at 13 CFR part 121 define a small business, in part, as a business entity “which operates primarily within the United States.” 13 CFR 121.105(a). No regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency certifies the proposal would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. SBREFA amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require Federal agencies to provide a statement of the factual basis for certifying that a proposal would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, NHTSA has evaluated the effects of this proposed rule on small entities. The head of the agency has certified that the proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This proposal is only allowing States the option of an alternative means of complying with an existing requirement and therefore would not impose any new impact on any small entities.

    D. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    NHTSA has examined today's NPRM pursuant to Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999). Executive Order 13132 requires agencies to determine the federalism implications of a proposed rule. The agency has determined that the proposed rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment. The proposed rule merely adds another option to the way States are allowed to process and issue existing odometer disclosure requirements, and does not alter the effect on the States of existing statutory or regulatory requirements.

    E. Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    When promulgating a regulation, Executive Order 12988 specifically requires that the agency must make every reasonable effort to ensure that the regulation, as appropriate: (1) Specifies in clear language the preemptive effect; (2) specifies in clear language the effect on existing Federal law or regulation, including all provisions repealed, circumscribed, displaced, impaired, or modified; (3) provides a clear legal standard for affected conduct rather than a general standard, while promoting simplification and burden reduction; (4) specifies in clear language the retroactive effect; (5) specifies whether administrative proceedings are to be required before parties may file suit in court; (6) explicitly or implicitly defines key terms; and (7) addresses other important issues affecting clarity and general draftsmanship of regulations.

    Pursuant to this Order, NHTSA notes as follows. The preemptive effect of this proposal is discussed above in connection with Executive Order 13132. NHTSA has also considered whether this rulemaking would have any retroactive effect. This proposed rule does not have any retroactive effect. NHTSA notes further that there is no requirement that individuals submit a petition for reconsideration or pursue other administrative proceeding before they may file suit in court.

    F. Executive Order 13609: Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation

    The policy statement in section 1 of Executive Order 13609 provides, in part:

    The regulatory approaches taken by foreign governments may differ from those taken by U.S. regulatory agencies to address similar issues. In some cases, the differences between the regulatory approaches of U.S. agencies and those of their foreign counterparts might not be necessary and might impair the ability of American businesses to export and compete internationally. In meeting shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues, international regulatory cooperation can identify approaches that are at least as protective as those that are or would be adopted in the absence of such cooperation. International regulatory cooperation can also reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements.

    NHTSA requests public comment on whether (a) “regulatory approaches taken by foreign governments” concerning the subject matter of this rulemaking, and (b) the above policy statement, have any implications for this rulemaking.

    G. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA) (Pub. L. 104-113), all Federal agencies and departments shall use technical standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, using such technical standards as a means to carry out policy objectives or activities determined by the agencies and departments, except when use of such a voluntary consensus standard would be inconsistent with the law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, such as the SAE International. The NTTAA directs NHTSA to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations when the agency decides not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards. NHTSA is proposing to reference the standards provided in NIST Special Publication 800-63-2, Electronic Authentication Guideline, to determine the appropriate level of security to authenticate electronic signatures.

    H. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more than $100 million annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). In 2011 dollars, this threshold is $139 million.5

    5 Adjusting this amount by the implicit gross domestic product price deflator for the year 2011 results in $139 million (113.361/81.606 = 1.39).

    This proposed rule would not result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or more than $139 million annually, and would not result in the expenditure of that magnitude by the private sector.

    I. Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the procedures established by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), a person is not required to respond to a collection of information by a Federal agency unless the collection displays a valid OMB control number. Today's NPRM does not propose any new information collection requirements, it merely allows States to provide an alternative means of collecting information they already collect.

    J. Plain Language

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write all rules in plain language. Application of the principles of plain language includes consideration of the following questions:

    • Have we organized the material to suit the public's needs?

    • Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated?

    • Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that isn't clear?

    • Would a different format (grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing) make the rule easier to understand?

    • Would more (but shorter) sections be better?

    • Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists, or diagrams?

    • What else could we do to make the rule easier to understand?

    If you have any responses to these questions, please include them in your comments on this proposal.

    K. Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

    The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document to find this action in the Unified Agenda.

    L. Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an organization, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) or you may visit http://www.dot.gov/privacy.html.

    List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 580

    Consumer protection, Motor vehicles, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, NHTSA proposes to amend 49 CFR part 580 as follows:

    PART 580—ODOMETER DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS 1. Revise the authority citation to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 32705; Pub. L. 112-141; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95.

    2. Revise § 580.1 to read as follows:
    § 580.1 Scope.

    This part prescribes rules requiring transferors and lessees of motor vehicles to make electronic or written disclosure to transferees and lessors respectively, concerning the odometer mileage and its accuracy as directed by sections 408 (a) and (e) of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act as amended, 15 U.S.C. 1988 (a) and (e). In addition, this part prescribes the rules requiring the retention of odometer disclosure statements by motor vehicle dealers, distributors and lessors and the retention of certain other information by auction companies as directed by sections 408(g) and 414 of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act as amended, 15 U.S.C. 1990(d) and 1988(g).

    3. Amend § 580.3 by adding in alphabetical order, definitions for “Electronic Document”,Physical Document” and “Sign or Signature” to read as follows:
    § 580.3 Definitions.

    Electronic Document means a title, reassignment document or power of attorney that is maintained in electronic form by a state, territory or possession that meets all the requirements of this part.

    Physical Document means a title, reassignment document or power of attorney printed on paper that meets all the requirements of this part.

    Sign or Signature means either:

    (a) For a paper odometer disclosure, a person's name, or a mark representing it, as hand written personally.

    (b) For an electronic odometer disclosure, an electronic sound, symbol, or process using an authentication system equivalent to or greater than Level 3 as described in National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-63-2, Electronic Authentication Guideline, which identifies a specific individual.

    4. Revise § 580.4 to read as follows:
    § 580.4 Security of title documents and power of attorney forms.

    (a) Each physical title shall be set forth by means of a secure printing process or other secure process. In addition, physical power of attorney forms issued pursuant to §§ 580.13 and 580.14 and physical documents which are used to reassign the title shall be issued by the State and shall be set forth by a secure process.

    (b) Each electronic title shall be maintained in a secure environment so it is protected from unauthorized modification, alteration or disclosure. In addition, electronic power of attorney forms maintained and made available pursuant to §§ 580.13 and 580.14 and electronic documents which are used to reassign the title shall maintained by the State in a secure environment so that it is protected from unauthorized modification, alteration and disclosure. Any system employed to create, store and maintain the aforementioned electronic documents shall record the dates and times when the electronic document is created, the odometer disclosures contained within are signed and when the documents are accessed, including the date and time any attempt is made to alter or modify the electronic document and any alterations or modifications made.

    5. Amend § 580.5 by revising paragraphs (a), (c), (d), (f), and (g) to read as follows:
    § 580.5 Disclosure of odometer information.

    (a) Each title, whether a physical or electronic document, at the time it is issued or made available to the transferee, must contain the mileage disclosed by the transferor when ownership of the vehicle was transferred and contain a space for the information required to be disclosed under paragraphs (c), (d), (e) and (f) of this section at the time of future transfer.

    (c) In connection with the transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle using a physical document, each transferor shall disclose the mileage to the transferee on the physical title or, except as noted below, on the physical document being used to reassign the title. In connection with the transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle using an electronic document, each transferor shall disclose the mileage to the transferee on an electronic form incorporated into the electronic title. In the case of a transferor in whose name the vehicle is titled, the transferor shall disclose the mileage on an electronic form incorporated into the electronic title or on the physical title, and not on a reassignment documents. This disclosure must be signed by the transferor and if made on a physical title, must contain the transferor's printed name. In connection with the transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle in which more than one person is a transferor, only one transferor need sign the disclosure. In addition to the signature of the transferor, the disclosure must contain the following information:

    (d) In addition to the information provided under paragraph (c) of this section, the statement shall refer to the Federal law and shall state that failure to complete or providing false information may result in fines and/or imprisonment. Reference may also be made to applicable State law. If the transaction at issue is electronic, the information specified in this paragraph shall be displayed, and acknowledged as understood by the party, prior to the execution of any electronic signatures.

    (f) The transferee shall sign the disclosure statement, and in the case of a disclosure made on a physical title, shall print his name, and return a copy to his transferor. If the disclosure is incorporated into an electronic title, the electronic system shall provide a means for making copies of the disclosure statement available to the transferee and transferor.

    (g) In jurisdictions employing paper title and odometer disclosure schemes, if the vehicle has not been titled or if the physical title does not contain a space for the information required, the written disclosure shall be executed as a separate physical document. In jurisdictions maintaining electronic title and odometer disclosure systems, the system shall provide a means for making the disclosure electronically and incorporating this disclosure into the electronic title when the title is created.

    6. Revise § 580.6 to read as follows:
    § 580.6 Requirements for Electronic Transactions.

    (a) Additional Requirements for Electronic Odometer Disclosures

    (1) Any electronic record shall be retained in a format which cannot be altered, and which indicates any attempts to alter it.

    (2) Any signature shall identify an individual, and not solely the organization the person represents or is employed by. If the individual executing the electronic signature is acting in a business capacity or otherwise on behalf of another individual or entity, the business or other individual or entity shall also be identified when the signature is made.

    (3) Any requirement in these regulations to disclose, issue, execute, return, notify or otherwise provide information to another person is satisfied when a copy of the electronic disclosure or statement is electronically transmitted or otherwise electronically accessible to the party required to receive the disclosure.

    (4) Upon creation of an electronic title to replace an existing physical title, an electronic copy of the physical title shall be created and retained, for not less than five years, by the State issuing the electronic title and the physical title shall be destroyed immediately following the successful creation of the electronic record. The electronic copy of the paper record shall be retained

    (i) in a format which cannot be altered, and which indicates any attempts to alter it; and

    (ii) in an order that permits systematic retrieval.

    (5) A State allowing electronic odometer disclosures may provide for a paper record of ownership which includes the odometer disclosure information, provided the document clearly indicates it is not an official title, nor official odometer disclosure, for the vehicle.

    (6) States maintaining an electronic title and odometer disclosure system shall retain the capacity to issue physical titles meeting all the requirements of this part. Once a physical title is created by a State with an electronic title and odometer disclosure statement system, the electronic record must indicate that a physical title has been issued and the electronic title and disclosure statement have been superseded by the physical title as the official title. The State electronic title and odometer disclosure system shall record the date on which the physical title was issued and record the identity of the recipient of the physical title as well as the owner(s) named on the physical title.

    (7) Any physical documents employed by transferors and transferees to make electronic odometer disclosures shall comply with all requirements of this part.

    (8) Any conversion of physical documents to electronic documents employed to comply with any of the requirements of this part must maintain and preserve the security features incorporated in the physical document so that any alterations or modifications to the physical document can be detected in the physical document's electronic counterpart. Scanning of physical documents must be made in color at a resolution of not less than 600 dots per inch (dpi).

    7. Amend § 580.7 by revising paragraphs (a) and (b), and add paragraph (e), to read as follows:
    § 580.7 Disclosure of odometer information for leased motor vehicles.

    (a) Before executing any transfer of ownership document, each lessor of a leased motor vehicle shall notify the lessee in writing on a physical document or within an electronic document stating that the lessee is required to provide a written disclosure to the lessor regarding the mileage. This notice shall contain a reference to the Federal law and shall state that failure to complete or providing false information may result in fines and/or imprisonment. Reference may also be made to applicable State law. If the transaction at issue is electronic, the information specified in this paragraph shall be displayed, and acknowledged as understood by the party, prior to the execution of any electronic signatures.

    (b) In connection with the transfer of ownership of the leased motor vehicle, the lessee shall furnish to the lessor a written statement regarding the mileage of the vehicle. This statement must be signed by the lessee. If executed using a physical document, this statement, in addition to the information required by paragraph (a) of this section, shall contain the information in paragraphs 1 through 9 as set forth below. If executed using an electronic document, this statement, in addition to the information required by paragraph (a) of this section, shall contain the name of the person making the disclosure and the information contained in paragraphs 2 through 9 as set forth below.

    (1) The printed name of the person making the disclosure;

    (2) The current odometer reading (not to include tenths of miles);

    (3) The date of the statement;

    (4) The lessee's name and current address;

    (5) The lessor's name and current address;

    (6) The identity of the vehicle, including its make, model, year, and body type, and its vehicle identification number;

    (7) The date that the lessor notified the lessee of disclosure requirements;

    (8) The date that the completed disclosure statement was received by the lessor; and

    (9) The signature of the lessor if executed using a physical document or the electronic signature of the lessor if statement is made electronically.

    (e) Any electronic system maintained by a lessor for the purpose of complying with the requirements of this section shall meet the requirements of § 580.4(b) of this part.

    8. Amend § 580.8 by revising paragraph (a) and to add paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 580.8 Odometer disclosure statement retention.

    (a) Dealers and distributors of motor vehicles who are required by this part to execute an odometer disclosure statement shall retain for five years a photostat, carbon, other facsimile copy or electronic copy or document of each odometer mileage statement which they issue and receive. They shall retain all odometer disclosure statements at their primary place of business in an order that is appropriate to business requirements and that permits systematic retrieval.

    (d) Any electronic record shall be retained in a format which cannot be altered, and which indicates any attempts to alter it.

    9. Amend § 580.9 by revising the introductory text to read as follows:
    § 580.9 Odometer record retention for auction companies.

    Each auction company shall establish and retain in physical document form, or electronic document form that complies with the requirement of § 580.4(b), at its primary place of business in an order that is appropriate to business requirements and that permits systematic retrieval, for five years following the date of sale of each motor vehicle, the following records:

    10. Amend § 580.10 by revising paragraph (b)(2) as follows:
    § 580.10 Application for assistance.

    (b) * * *

    (2) Be submitted to the Office of Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., W41-326, Washington, DC 20590;

    11. Amend § 580.11 by revising paragraphs (a), (b)(2), and (c) to read as follows:
    § 580.11 Petition for approval of alternate disclosure requirements.

    (a) A State may petition NHTSA for approval of disclosure requirements which differ from the disclosure requirements of § 580.5, § 580.6, § 580.7, or § 580.13(f) of this part.

    (b) * * *

    (2) Be submitted to the Office of Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., W41-326, Washington, DC 20590;

    (c) Notice of the petition and an initial determination pending a 30-day comment period will be published in the Federal Register. Notice of final grant or denial of a petition for approval of alternate motor vehicle disclosure requirements will be published in the Federal Register. The effect of the grant of a petition is to relieve a State from responsibility to conform the State disclosure requirements with § 580.5, § 580.6, § 580.7, or § 580.13(f), as applicable, for as long as the approved alternate disclosure requirements remain in effect in that State. The effect of a denial is to require a State to conform to the requirements of § 580.5, § 580.6, § 580.7, or § 580.13(f), as applicable, of this part until such time as the NHTSA approves any alternate motor vehicle disclosure requirements.

    12. Remove and reserve § 580.12.
    § 580.12 [Removed and Reserved]
    13. Amend § 580.13 by revising paragraphs (a), (b), and (f) to read as follows:
    § 580.13 Disclosure of odometer information by power of attorney.

    (a) If the transferor's title is physically held by a lienholder, if the transferor's title exists in electronic form and the transferee is located in a State that does not create or maintain electronic titles, or if the transferor to whom the title was issued by the State has lost his title and the transferee obtains a duplicate title on behalf of the transferor, and if otherwise permitted by State law, the transferor may give a power of attorney to his transferee for the purpose of mileage disclosure. The power of attorney shall be on a form issued by the State to the transferee that is set forth by means of a secure printing process or other secure process, and shall contain, in part A, a space for the information required to be disclosed under paragraphs (b), (c), (d), and (e) of this section. If a State permits the use of a power of attorney in the situation described in § 580.14(a), the form must also contain, in part B, a space for the information required to be disclosed under § 580.14, and, in part C, a space for the certification required to be made under § 580.15.

    (b) In connection with the transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle, each transferor to whom a title was issued by the State whose title is physically held by a lienholder, whose title exists in electronic form and the transferee is located in a State that does not create or maintain electronic titles or whose title has been lost, and who elects to give his transferee a power of attorney for the purpose of mileage disclosure, must appoint the transferee his attorney-in-fact for the purpose of mileage disclosure and disclose the mileage on the power of attorney form issued by the State. This written disclosure must be signed by the transferor, including the printed name, and contain the following information:

    (1) The odometer reading at the time of transfer (not to include tenths of miles);

    (2) The date of transfer;

    (3) The transferor's name and current address;

    (4) The transferee's name and current address; and

    (5) The identity of the vehicle, including its make, model, year, body type and vehicle identification number.

    (f) Upon receipt of the transferor's title, the transferee shall complete the space for mileage disclosure on the title exactly as the mileage was disclosed by the transferor on the power of attorney form. The transferee shall submit the original power of attorney form to the State that issued it, with a copy of the transferor's physical title or with the actual physical title when the transferee submits a new title application at the same time. The State shall retain the power of attorney form and title for three years or a period equal to the State titling record retention period, whichever is shorter. If the mileage disclosed on the power of attorney form is lower than the mileage appearing on the title, the power of attorney is void and the dealer shall not complete the mileage disclosure on the title.

    14. Amend § 580.14 by revising paragraphs (a), (b), (e), and (f) to read as follows:
    § 580.14 Power of attorney to review title documents and acknowledge disclosure.

    (a) In circumstances where part A of a secure power of attorney form has been used pursuant to § 580.13 of this part, and if otherwise permitted by State law, a transferee may give a power of attorney to his transferor to review the physical title and any physical reassignment documents for mileage discrepancies, and if no discrepancies are found, to acknowledge disclosure on the physical title. The power of attorney shall be on part B of the form referred to in § 580.13(a), which shall contain a space for the information required to be disclosed under paragraphs (b), (c), (d), and (e) of this section and, in part C, a space for the certification required to be made under § 580.15.

    (b) The power of attorney must include a mileage disclosure from the transferor to the transferee and must be signed by the transferor, including the printed name, and contain the following information:

    (1) The odometer reading at the time of transfer (not to include tenths of miles);

    (2) The date of transfer;

    (3) The transferor's name and current address;

    (4) The transferee's name and current address; and

    (5) The identity of the vehicle, including its make, model, year, body type and vehicle identification number.

    (e) The transferee shall sign the physical power of attorney form, and print his name.

    (f) The transferor shall give a copy of the physical power of attorney form to his transferee.

    15. Amend § 580.15 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 580.15 Certification by person exercising powers of attorney.

    (a) A person who exercises a power of attorney under both §§ 580.13 and 580.14 must complete a certification that he has disclosed on the physical title document the mileage as it was provided to him on the physical power of attorney form, and that upon examination of the physical title and any physical reassignment documents, the mileage disclosure he has made on the physical title pursuant to the power of attorney is greater than that previously stated on the physical title and reassignment documents. This certification shall be under part C of the same form as the powers of attorney executed under §§ 580.13 and 580.14 and shall include:

    16. Amend § 580.17 by revising paragraph (a)(3) and example to paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows:
    § 580.17 Exemptions.

    (a) * * *

    (3) A vehicle that was manufactured in a model year beginning at least twenty five years before January 1 of the calendar year in which the transfer occurs; or

    Example to paragraph (a)(3): For vehicle transfers occurring during calendar year 2016, model year 1991 or older vehicles are exempt.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on March 18, 2016. Under authority delegated in 49 CFR part 1.95 Mark R. Rosekind, Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06665 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-59-P
    81 58 Friday, March 25, 2016 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food and Nutrition Service Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request March 21, 2016.

    The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Comments are requested regarding (1) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments regarding this information collection received by April 25, 2016 will be considered. Written comments should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), [email protected] or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250-7602. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8958.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Food and Nutrition Service

    Title: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Requirement for National Directory of New Hires Employment Verification and Annual Program Activity Reporting

    OMB Control Number: 0584-NEW.

    Summary Of Collection: In an interim final rule, FNS will amend the SNAP regulations at 7 CFR 272 to require State agencies to access employment data through the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH) at the time of certification, including recertification, to determine eligibility status and appropriate benefit amount for SNAP applicants. This requirement codifies Section 4013 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-79).

    Need And Use Of The Information: National Directory of New Hires, State agencies are required to compare identifiable information about each household member against data from the NDNH at the time of certification and recertification. This comparison will be used to determine the eligibility status of the household and determine the correct benefit amount the household should receive.

    The data reported on the Program Activity Statement (FNS 366B) enables FNS to identify areas that may need improvement and to provide more effective technical assistance to State agencies. An increase in reporting frequency will allow for greater access to timely program data. It will help States, FNS, and other stakeholders identify trends, inconsistencies and inefficiencies earlier in each fiscal year. FNS uses the data to monitor State agency activity levels and performance and to target technical assistance to State agencies in need of performance improvements.

    Description of Respondents: State, Local, or Tribal Government; Individual or households.

    Number of Respondents: 891,125.

    Frequency of Responses: Recordkeeping; Reporting: On occasion; Annually.

    Total Burden Hours: 252,432.

    Ruth Brown, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06821 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-30-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Business-Cooperative Service Inviting Applications for Rural Cooperative Development Grants AGENCY:

    Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This Notice announces that the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (Agency) is accepting fiscal year (FY) 2016 applications for the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program as authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Pub. L. 114-113). Approximately $5.8 million is available to be competitively awarded. The purpose of this program is to provide financial assistance to improve the economic condition of rural areas through cooperative development. Eligible applicants include a non-profit corporation or an institution of higher education. The Agency is encouraging applications that direct grants to projects based in or serving census tracts with poverty rates greater than or equal to 20 percent. This emphasis will support Rural Development's (RD) mission of improving the quality of life for Rural Americans and its commitment to directing resources to those who most need them.

    DATES:

    Completed applications must be submitted on paper or electronically according to the following deadlines:

    Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than June 23, 2016. You may also hand carry your application to one of our field offices, but it must be received by close of business on the deadline date. Late applications are not eligible for funding under this Notice and will not be evaluated.

    Electronic applications must be received by June 20, 2016 to be eligible for grant funding. Please review the Grants.gov Web site at http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration.html. For instructions on the process of registering your organization as soon as possible to ensure you are able to meet the electronic application deadline. Late applications are not eligible for funding under this Notice and will not be evaluated.

    ADDRESSES:

    You should contact a USDA Rural Development State Office (State Office) if you have questions. You are encouraged to contact your State Office well in advance of the application deadline to discuss your project and ask any questions about the application process. Contact information for State Offices can be found at http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices.

    Program guidance as well as application and matching funds templates may be obtained at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-cooperative-development-grant-program. If you want to submit an electronic application, follow the instructions for the RCDG funding announcement located at http://www.grants.gov. If you want to submit a paper application, send it to the State Office located in the State where you are headquartered. If you are headquartered in Washington, DC please contact the Grants Division, Cooperative Programs, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, at (202) 690-1374 for guidance on where to submit your application.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Grants Division, Cooperative Programs, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mail Stop 3253, Room 4208—South, Washington, DC 20250-3253, (202) 690-1374.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Overview

    Federal Agency: Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

    Funding Opportunity Title: Rural Cooperative Development Grants.

    Announcement Type: Initial Notice.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 10.771.

    Date: Application Deadline. Paper applications must be postmarked, mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than June 23, 2016, or it will not be considered for funding. You may also hand carry your application to one of our field offices, but it must be received by close of business on the deadline date. Electronic applications must be received by http://www.grants.gov no later than midnight eastern time June 20, 2016, or it will not be considered for funding.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, the paperwork burden associated with this Notice has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB Control Number 0570-0006.

    A. Program Description

    The RCDG program is authorized under section 310B(e) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (CONACT) (7 U.S.C. 1932 (e)) as amended by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-79). You are required to comply with the regulations for this program published at 7 CFR part 4284, subparts A and F, which are incorporated by reference in this Notice. Therefore, you should become familiar with these regulations. The primary objective of the RCDG program is to improve the economic condition of rural areas through cooperative development. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis. The maximum award amount per grant is $200,000. Grants are available for non-profit corporations or higher education institutions only. Grant funds may be used to pay for up to 75 percent of the cost of establishing and operating centers for rural cooperative development. Grant funds may be used to pay for 95 percent of the cost of establishing and operating centers for rural cooperative development, when the applicant is a 1994 Institution as defined by 7 U.S.C. 301. The 1994 Institutions are commonly known as Tribal Land Grant Institutions. Centers may have the expertise on staff or they can contract out for the expertise, to assist individuals or entities in the startup, expansion or operational improvement of rural businesses, especially cooperative or mutually-owned businesses.

    Definitions

    The terms you need to understand are defined and published at 7 CFR 4284.3 and 7 CFR 4284.504. In addition, the terms “rural” and “rural area,” defined at section 343(a)(13) of the CONACT (7 U.S.C. 1991(a)), are incorporated by reference, and will be used for this program instead of those terms currently published at 7 CFR 4284.3. The term “you” referenced throughout this Notice should be understood to mean “you” the applicant. Finally, there has been some confusion on the Agency's meaning of the terms “conflict of interest” and “mutually-owned business,” because they are not defined in the CONACT or in the regulations used for the program. Therefore, the terms are clarified and should be understood as follows.

    Conflict of interest—A situation in which a person or entity has competing personal, professional, or financial interests that make it difficult for the person or business to act impartially. Regarding use of both grant and matching funds, Federal procurement standards prohibit transactions that involve a real or apparent conflict of interest for owners, employees, officers, agents, or their immediate family members having a financial or other interest in the outcome of the project; or that restrict open and free competition for unrestrained trade. Specifically, project funds may not be used for services or goods going to, or coming from, a person or entity with a real or apparent conflict of interest, including, but not limited to, owner(s) and their immediate family members. An example of conflict of interest occurs when the grantee's employees, board of directors, or the immediate family of either, have the appearance of a professional or personal financial interest in the recipients receiving the benefits or services of the grant.

    Mutually-owned business—An organization owned and governed by members who either are its consumers, producers, employees, or suppliers.

    B. Federal Award Information

    Type of Award: Competitive Grant.

    Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2016.

    Total Funding: Approximately $5.8 million.

    Maximum Award: $200,000.

    Anticipated Award Date: September 30, 2016.

    C. Eligibility Information

    Applicants must meet all of the following eligibility requirements. Applications which fail to meet any of these requirements by the application deadline will be deemed ineligible and will not be evaluated further.

    1. Eligible Applicants

    You must be a nonprofit corporation or an institution of higher education to apply for this program. Public bodies and individuals cannot apply for this program. See 7 CFR 4284.507. You must also meet the following requirements:

    a. An applicant is ineligible if they have been debarred or suspended or otherwise excluded from or ineligible for participation in Federal assistance programs under Executive Order 12549, “Debarment and Suspension.” The Agency will check the System for Award Management (SAM) to determine if the applicant has been debarred or suspended. In addition, an applicant will be considered ineligible for a grant due to an outstanding judgment obtained by the U.S. in a Federal Court (other than U.S. Tax Court), is delinquent on the payment of Federal income taxes, or is delinquent on Federal debt. See 7 CFR 4284.6. The applicant must certify as part of the application that they do not have an outstanding judgement against them. The Agency will check the Credit Alert Interactive Voice Response System (CAIVRS) to verify this.

    b. Any corporation that has been convicted of a felony criminal violation under any Federal law within the past 24 months or that has any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, is not eligible for financial assistance provided with funds appropriated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Pub. L. 114-113), unless a Federal agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and has made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government. Applicants will be required to complete Form AD-3030, “Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants,” if you are a corporation.

    c. Applications will be deemed ineligible if the application includes any funding restrictions identified under section D.6. a and b. Inclusion of funding restrictions outlined in section D.6.a. and b. precludes the agency from making a federal award.

    d. Applications will be deemed ineligible if the application is not complete in accordance with the requirements stated in section C.3.e., and will not be reviewed.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching

    Your matching funds requirement is 25 percent of the total project cost (5 percent for 1994 Institutions). See 7 CFR 4284.508. When you calculate your matching funds requirement, please round up or down to whole dollars as appropriate. An example of how to calculate your matching funds is as follows:

    a. Take the amount of grant funds you are requesting and divide it by .75. This will give you your total project cost.

    Example:

    $200,000 (grant amount)/.75 (percentage for use of grant funds) = $266,667 (total project cost)

    b. Subtract the amount of grant funds you are requesting from your total project cost. This will give you your matching funds requirement.

    Example:

    $266,667 (total project cost)—$200,000 (grant amount) = $66,667 (matching funds requirement)

    c. A quick way to double check that you have the correct amount of matching funds is to take your total project cost and multiply it by .25.

    Example:

    $266,667 (total project cost) × .25 (maximum percentage of matching funds requirement) = $66,667 (matching funds requirement)

    You must verify that all matching funds are available during the grant period and provide this documentation with your application in accordance with requirements identified in section D.2.e.8. If you are awarded a grant, additional verification documentation may be required to confirm the availability of matching funds.

    Other rules for matching funds that you must follow are listed below.

    • They must be spent on eligible expenses during the grant period.

    • They must be from eligible sources.

    • They must be spent in advance or as a pro-rata portion of grant funds being spent.

    • They must be provided by either the applicant or a third party in the form of cash or an in-kind contribution.

    • They cannot include board/advisory council members' time.

    • They cannot include other Federal grants unless provided by authorizing legislation.

    • They cannot include cash or in-kind contributions donated outside the grant period.

    • They cannot include over-valued, in-kind contributions.

    • They cannot include any project costs that are ineligible under the RCDG program.

    • They cannot include any project costs that are unallowable under the applicable grant “Cost Principles,” including 2 CFR part 200, subpart E, and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (for-profits) or successor regulation.

    • They can include loan funds from a Federal source.

    • They can include travel and incidentals for board/advisory council members if you have established written policies explaining how these costs are normally reimbursed, including rates. You must include an explanation of this policy in your application or the contributions will not be considered as eligible matching funds.

    • You must be able to document and verify the number of hours worked and the value associated with any in-kind contribution being used to meet a matching funds requirement.

    • In-kind contributions provided by individuals, businesses, or cooperatives which are being assisted by you cannot be provided for the direct benefit of their own projects as USDA Rural Development considers this to be a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest.

    3. Other Eligibility Requirements a. Purpose Eligibility

    Your application must propose the establishment or continuation of a cooperative development center concept. You must use project funds, including grant and matching funds for eligible purposes only (see 7 CFR 4284.508). In addition, project funds may be used for programs providing for the coordination of services and sharing of information among the centers (see 7 U.S.C 1932(e) (4) (C) (vi)).

    b. Project Eligibility

    All project activities must be for the benefit of a rural area.

    c. Multiple Application Eligibility

    Only one application can be submitted per applicant. If two applications are submitted (regardless of the applicant name) that include the same Executive Director and/or advisory boards or committees of an existing center, both applications will be determined not eligible for funding.

    d. Grant Period

    Your application must include a one-year grant period or it will not be considered for funding. The grant period should begin no earlier than October 1, 2016, and no later than January 1, 2017. Prior approval is needed from the Agency if you are awarded a grant and desire the grant period to begin earlier or later than previously discussed. Projects must be completed within a one-year timeframe. The Agency may approve requests to extend the grant period for up to an additional 12 months at its discretion. Further guidance on grant period extensions will be provided in the award document.

    e. Completeness

    Your application will not be considered for funding if it fails to meet an eligibility criterion by time of application deadline and does not provide sufficient information to determine eligibility and scoring. In particular, you must include all of the forms and proposal elements as discussed in the regulation and as clarified further in this Notice. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed by the Agency. For more information on what is required for an application, see 7 CFR 4284.510.

    f. Satisfactory Performance

    If you have an existing RCDG award, you must discuss the status of your existing RCDG award at application time under the Eligibility Discussion. You must be performing satisfactorily to be considered eligible for a new award. Satisfactory performance includes being up-to-date on all financial and performance reports and being current on all tasks as approved in the work plan. The Agency will use its discretion to make this determination. In addition, if you have an existing award from the Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant (SDGG) program, formerly known as the Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants (SSDPG) program, you must discuss the status of your existing SSDPG award at application time under Eligibility Discussion and be performing satisfactorily to be considered for a new RCDG award.

    g. Indirect Costs

    Your negotiated indirect cost rate approval does not need to be included in your application, but you will be required to provide it if a grant is awarded. Approval for indirect costs that are requested in an application without an approved indirect cost rate agreement is at the discretion of the Agency.

    D. Application and Submission Information 1. Address to Request Application Package

    For further information, you should contact your State Office at http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices. Program materials may also be obtained at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-cooperative-development-grant-program. You may also obtain a copy by calling 202-690-1374.

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission

    You may submit your application in paper form or electronically through Grants.gov. If you submit in paper form, any forms requiring signatures must include an original signature.

    a. Electronic Submission

    To submit an application electronically, you must use the Grants.gov Web site at http://www.Grants.gov. You may not submit an application electronically in any way other than through Grants.gov.

    You can locate the Grants.gov downloadable application package for this program by using a keyword, the program name, or the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number for this program.

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

    To use Grants.gov, you must already have a DUNS number and you must also be registered and maintain registration in SAM. We strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the application process through Grants.gov.

    You must submit all of your application documents electronically through Grants.gov. Applications must include electronic signatures. Original signatures may be required if funds are awarded.

    After electronically submitting an application through Grants.gov, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement from Grants.gov that contains a Grants.gov tracking number.

    b. Paper Submission

    If you want to submit a paper application, send it to the State Office located in the State where your project will primarily take place. You can find State Office Contact information at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices. An optional-use Agency application template is available online at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-cooperative-development-grant-program.

    c. Supplemental Information

    Your application must contain all of the required forms and proposal elements described in 7 CFR 4284.510 and as otherwise clarified in this Notice. Specifically, your application must include: (1) The required forms as described in 7 CFR 4284.510(b) and (2) the required proposal elements as described in 7 CFR 4284.510(c). If your application is incomplete, it is ineligible to compete for funds. Applications lacking sufficient information to determine eligibility and scoring will be considered ineligible. Information submitted after the application deadline will not be accepted. You are encouraged, but not required to utilize the application template found at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-cooperative-development-grant-program.

    d. Clarifications on Forms

    • Standard Form (SF) 424—Your DUNS number should be identified in the “Organizational DUNS” field on SF 424, “Application for Federal Assistance.” Since there are no specific fields for a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code and expiration date, you may identify them anywhere you want to on Form SF 424. In addition, you should provide the DUNS number and the CAGE code and expiration date under the applicant eligibility discussion in your proposal narrative. If you do not include the CAGE code and expiration date and the DUNS number in your application, it will not be considered for funding.

    • Form AD-3030, “Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants,” if you are a corporation. A corporation is any entity that has filed articles of incorporation in one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the various territories of the United States including American Samoa, Guam, Midway Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Corporations include both for profit and non-profit entities.

    • You can voluntarily fill out and submit the “Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants,” as part of your application if you are a nonprofit organization.

    e. Clarifications on Proposal Elements

    1. You must include the title of the project as well as any other relevant identifying information on the Title Page.

    2. You must include a Table of Contents with page numbers for each component of the application to facilitate review.

    3. Your Executive Summary must include the items in 7 CFR 4284.510 (c)(3), and also discuss the percentage of work that will be performed among organizational staff, consultants, or other contractors. It should not exceed two pages.

    4. Your Eligibility Discussion must not exceed two pages and cover how you meet the eligibility requirements for applicant, matching funds, other eligibility requirements and grant period. If you have an existing RCDG or the Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant (SDGG) program, formerly known as the Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grants (SSDPG) program award or both, you must discuss the current status of those award(s) under grant period eligibility.

    5. Your Proposal Narrative must not exceed 40 pages and should describe the essential aspects of the project.

    i. You are only required to have one title page for the proposal.

    ii. If you list the evaluation criteria on the Table of Contents and specifically and individually address each criterion in narrative form, then it is not necessary for you to include an Information Sheet. Otherwise, the Information Sheet is required under 7 CFR 4284.510(c)(ii).

    iii. You should include the following under Goals of the Project:

    A. A statement that substantiates that the Center will effectively serve rural areas in the United States;

    B. A statement that the primary objective of the Center will be to improve the economic condition of rural areas through cooperative development;

    C. A description of the contributions that the proposed activities are likely to make to the improvement of the economic conditions of the rural areas for which the Center will provide services. Expected economic impacts should be tied to tasks included in the work plan and budget; and

    D. A statement that the Center, in carrying out its activities, will seek, where appropriate, the advice, participation, expertise, and assistance of representatives of business, industry, educational institutions, the Federal government, and State and local governments.

    iv. The Agency has established annual performance evaluation measures to evaluate the RCDG program. You must provide estimates on the following performance evaluation measures.

    • Number of groups who are not legal entities assisted.

    • Number of businesses that are not cooperatives assisted.

    • Number of cooperatives assisted.

    • Number of businesses incorporated that are not cooperatives.

    • Number of cooperatives incorporated.

    • Total number of jobs created as a result of assistance.

    • Total number of jobs saved as a result of assistance.

    • Number of jobs created for the Center as a result of RCDG funding.

    • Number of jobs saved for the Center as a result of RCDG funding.

    It is permissible to have a zero in a performance element. When you calculate jobs created, estimates should be based upon actual jobs to be created by your organization as a result of the RCDG funding or actual jobs to be created by cooperative businesses or other businesses as a result of assistance from your organization. When you calculate jobs saved, estimates should be based only on actual jobs that have been lost if your organization did not receive RCDG funding or actual jobs that would have been lost without assistance from your organization.

    v. You can also suggest additional performance elements for example where job creation or jobs saved may not be a relevant indicator (e.g. housing). These additional criteria should be specific, measurable performance elements that could be included in an award document.

    vi. You must describe in the application how you will undertake to do each of the following. We would prefer if you described these undertakings within proposal evaluation criteria to reduce duplication in your application. The specific proposal evaluation criterion where you should address each undertaking is noted below.

    A. Take all practicable steps to develop continuing sources of financial support for the Center, particularly from sources in the private sector (should be presented under proposal evaluation criterion j., utilizing the specific requirements of section E.1.j.);

    B. Make arrangements for the Center's activities to be monitored and evaluated (should be addressed under proposal evaluation criterion number h. utilizing the specific requirements of section E.1.h.); and

    C. Provide an accounting for the money received by the grantee in accordance with 7 CFR part 4284, subpart F. This should be addressed under proposal evaluation criterion number a., utilizing the specific requirements of section E.1.a.

    vii. You should present the Work Plan and Budget proposal element under proposal evaluation criterion number h., utilizing the specific requirements of section E.1.h. of this Notice to reduce duplication in your application.

    viii. You should present the Delivery of Cooperative development assistance proposal element under proposal evaluation criterion number b., utilizing the specific requirements of section E.1.b. of this Notice.

    ix. You should present the Qualifications of Personnel proposal element under proposal evaluation criterion number i., utilizing the specific requirements of section E.1.i. of this Notice.

    x. You should present the Local Support and Future Support proposal elements under proposal evaluation criterion number j., utilizing the requirements of section E.1.j. of this Notice.

    xi. Your application will not be considered for funding if you do not address all of the proposal evaluation criteria. See section E.1. of this Notice for a description of the proposal evaluation criteria.

    xii. Only appendices A-C will be considered when evaluating your application. You must not include resumes of staff or consultants in the application.

    6. You must certify that there are no current outstanding Federal judgments against your property and that you will not use grant funds to pay for any judgment obtained by the United States. To satisfy the Certification requirement, you should include this statement in your application: “[INSERT NAME OF APPLICANT] certifies that the United States has not obtained an unsatisfied judgment against its property and will not use grant funds to pay any judgments obtained by the United States.” A separate signature is not required.

    7. You must certify that matching funds will be available at the same time grant funds are anticipated to be spent and that expenditures of matching funds are pro-rated or spent in advance of grant funding, such that for every dollar of the total project cost, not less than the required amount of matching funds will be expended. Please note that this Certification is a separate requirement from the Verification of Matching Funds requirement. To satisfy the Certification requirement, you should include this statement in your application: “[INSERT NAME OF APPLICANT] certifies that matching funds will be available at the same time grant funds are anticipated to be spent and that expenditures of matching funds shall be pro-rated or spent in advance of grant funding, such that for every dollar of the total project cost, at least 25 cents (5 cents for 1994 Institutions) of matching funds will be expended.” A separate signature is not required.

    8. You must provide documentation in your application to verify all of your proposed matching funds. The documentation must be included in Appendix A of your application and will not count towards the 40-page limitation. Template letters are available for each type of matching funds contribution at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-cooperative-development-grant-program.

    a. If matching funds are to be provided in cash, you must meet the following requirements.

    • You: The application must include a statement verifying (1) the amount of the cash and (2) the source of the cash. You may also provide a bank statement dated 30 days or less from the application deadline date to verify your cash match.

    • Third-party: The application must include a signed letter from the third party verifying (1) how much cash will be donated and (2) that it will be available corresponding to the proposed grant period or donated on a specific date within the grant period.

    b. If matching funds are to be provided by an in-kind donation, you must meet the following requirements.

    • You: The application must include a signed letter from you or your authorized representative verifying (1) the nature of the goods and/or services to be donated and how they will be used, (2) when the goods and/or services will be donated (i.e., corresponding to the proposed grant period or to specific dates within the grant period), and (3) the value of the goods and/or services. Please note that most applicant contributions for the RCDG program are considered applicant cash match in accordance with this Notice. If you are unsure, please contact your State Office because identifying your matching funds improperly can affect your scoring.

    • Third-Party: The application must include a signed letter from the third party verifying (1) the nature of the goods and/or services to be donated and how they will be used, (2) when the goods and/or services will be donated (i.e., corresponding to the proposed grant period or to specific dates within the grant period), and (3) the value of the goods and/or services.

    To ensure that you are identifying and verifying your matching funds appropriately, please note the following:

    • If you are paying for goods and/or services as part of the matching funds requirement, the expenditure is considered a cash match, and you must verify it as such. Universities must verify the goods and services they are providing to the project as a cash match and the verification must be approved by the appropriate approval official (i.e., sponsored programs office or equivalent).

    • If you have already received cash from a third-party (i.e., Foundation) before the start of your proposed grant period, you must verify this as your own cash match and not as a third-party cash match. If you are receiving cash from a third-party during the grant period, then you must be verifying the cash as a third-party cash match.

    • Board resolutions for a cash match must be approved at the time of application.

    • You can only consider goods or services for which no expenditure is made as an in-kind contribution.

    • If a non-profit or another organization contributes the services of affiliated volunteers, they must follow the third-party, in-kind donation verification requirement for each individual volunteer.

    • Expected program income may not be used to fulfill your matching funds requirement at the time you submit your application. However, if you have a contract to provide services in place at the time you submit your application, you can verify the amount of the contract as a cash match.

    • The valuation process you use for in-kind contributions does not need to be included in your application, but you must be able to demonstrate how the valuation was derived if you are awarded a grant. The grant award may be withdrawn or the amount of the grant reduced if you cannot demonstrate how the valuation was derived.

    Successful applicants must comply with requirements identified in Section F, Federal Award Administration.

    3. Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and System for Awards Management (SAM)

    In order to be eligible (unless you are excepted under 2 CFR 25.110(b), (c) or (d), you are required to:

    (a) Provide a valid DUNS number in your application, which can be obtained at no cost via a toll-free request line at (866) 705-5711;

    (b) Register in SAM before submitting your application. You may register in SAM at no cost at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/; and

    (c) Continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which you have an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency.

    The Agency may not make a Federal award to you until you have complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements. If you have not fully complied with requirements, the Agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and the Agency may use this determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.

    4. Submission Dates and Times

    Application Deadline Date: June 23, 2016.

    Explanation of Deadlines: Complete applications must be submitted on paper or electronically according to the following deadlines:

    Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than June 23, 2016, to be eligible for grant funding. The Agency will determine whether your application is late based on the date shown on the postmark or shipping invoice. You may also hand carry your application to one of our field offices, but it must be received by close of business on the deadline date. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday, the reporting package is due the next business day. Late applications will automatically be deemed ineligible.

    Electronic applications must be received by http://www.grants.gov no later than midnight eastern time June 20, 2016, to be eligible for grant funding. Please review the Grants.gov Web site at http://grants.gov/applicants/organization_registration.jsp for instructions on the process of registering your organization as soon as possible to ensure you are able to meet the electronic application deadline. Grants.gov will not accept applications submitted after the deadline.

    5. Intergovernmental Review of Applications

    Executive Order (E.O.) 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,” applies to this program. This E.O. requires that Federal agencies provide opportunities for consultation on proposed assistance with State and local governments. Many States have established a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to facilitate this consultation. For a list of States that maintain a SPOC, please see the White House Web site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc. If your State has a SPOC, you may submit a copy of the application directly for review. Any comments obtained through the SPOC must be provided to your State Office for consideration as part of your application. If your State has not established a SPOC, or if you do not want to submit a copy of the application, our State Offices will submit your application to the SPOC or other appropriate agency or agencies.

    6. Funding Restrictions

    a. Project funds, including grant and matching funds, cannot be used for ineligible grant purposes (see 7 CFR 4284.10). Also, you shall not use project funds for the following:

    • To purchase, rent, or install laboratory equipment or processing machinery;

    • To pay for the operating costs of any entity receiving assistance from the Center;

    • To pay costs of the project where a conflict of interest exists;

    • To fund any activities prohibited by 2 CFR part 200; or

    • To fund any activities considered unallowable by 2 CFR part 200, subpart E, “Cost Principles,” and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (for-profits) or successor regulations.

    b. In addition, your application will not be considered for funding if it does any of the following:

    • Focuses assistance on only one cooperative or mutually-owned business;

    • Requests more than the maximum grant amount; or

    • Proposes ineligible costs that equal more than 10 percent of total project costs. The ineligible costs will NOT be removed at this stage to proceed with application processing. For purposes of this determination, the grant amount requested plus the matching funds amount constitutes the total project costs.

    We will consider your application for funding if it includes ineligible costs of 10 percent or less of total project costs, as long as the remaining costs are determined eligible otherwise. However, if your application is successful, those ineligible costs must be removed and replaced with eligible costs before the Agency will make the grant award, or the amount of the grant award will be reduced accordingly. If we cannot determine the percentage of ineligible costs, your application will not be considered for funding.

    7. Other Submission Requirements

    a. You should not submit your application in more than one format. You must choose whether to submit your application in hard copy or electronically. Applications submitted in hard copy should be mailed or hand-delivered to the State Office located in the State where you are headquartered. You can find State Office contact information at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices. To submit an application electronically, you must follow the instruction for this funding announcement at http://www.grants.gov. A password is not required to access the Web site.

    b. National Environmental Policy Act

    All recipients under this Notice are subject to the requirements of 7 CFR part 1940, subpart G and any successor regulations. However, technical assistance awards under this Notice are classified as a Categorical Exclusion according to 7 CFR 1940.310(e), and do not require any additional documentation.

    c. Civil Rights Compliance Requirements

    All grants made under this Notice are subject to title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as required by the USDA (7 CFR part 15, subpart A) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

    E. Application Review Information

    The State Offices will review applications to determine if they are eligible for assistance based on requirements in 7 CFR part 4284, subparts A and F, this Notice, and other applicable Federal regulations. If determined eligible, your application will be scored by a panel of USDA employees in accordance with the point allocation specified in this Notice. A recommendation will be submitted to the Administrator to fund applications in highest ranking order. Applications that cannot be fully funded may be offered partial funding at the Agency's discretion.

    1. Scoring Criteria

    Scoring criteria will follow criteria published at 7 CFR 4284.513 as supplemented below including any amendments made by the section 6013 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-234), which is incorporated by reference in this Notice. The regulatory and statutory criteria are clarified and supplemented below. You should also include information as described in section D.2.e.5.vi. if you choose to address these items under the scoring criteria. Evaluators will base scores only on the information provided or cross-referenced by page number in each individual evaluation criterion. The maximum amount of points available is 100. Newly established or proposed Centers that do not yet have a track record on which to evaluate the following criteria should refer to the expertise and track records of staff or consultants expected to perform tasks related to the respective criteria. Proposed or newly established Centers must be organized well-enough at time of application to address its capabilities for meeting these criteria.

    a. Administrative capabilities (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your demonstrated track record in carrying out activities in support of development assistance to cooperatively and mutually owned businesses. At a minimum, you must discuss the following administrative capabilities:

    1. Financial systems and audit controls;

    2. Personnel and program administration performance measures;

    3. Clear written rules of governance; and

    4. Experience administering Federal grant funding no later than the last 5 years, including but not limited to past RCDGs. Please list the name of the Federal grant program(s) and the amount(s) of funding received.

    You will score higher on this criterion if you can demonstrate that the Center has independent governance. For applicants that are universities or parent organizations, you should demonstrate that there is a separate board of directors for the Center.

    b. Technical assistance and other services (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your demonstrated expertise no later than the last 5 years in providing technical assistance and accomplishing effective outcomes in rural areas to promote and assist the development of cooperatively and mutually owned businesses. You must discuss at least:

    1. Your potential for delivering effective technical assistance;

    2. The types of assistance provided;

    3. The expected effects of that assistance;

    4. The sustainability of organizations receiving the assistance; and

    5. The transferability of your cooperative development strategies and focus to other areas of the U.S.

    A chart or table showing the outcomes of your demonstrated expertise based upon the performance elements listed in section D.2.e.5.iv. or as identified in your award document on previous RCDG awards. At a minimum, please provide information for FY 2012-FY 2014 awards. We prefer that you provide one chart or table separating out award years. The intention here is for you to provide actual performance numbers based upon award years even though your grant period for the award was for the next calendar or fiscal year. Please provide a narrative explanation if you have not received a RCDG award.

    You will score higher on this criterion if you provide more than 3 years of outcomes and can demonstrate that the organizations you assisted within the last 5 years are sustainable. Additional outcome information should be provided on RCDG grants awarded before FY 2012. Please describe specific project(s) when addressing a-e of this paragraph.

    c. Economic development (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your demonstrated ability to facilitate:

    1. Establishment of cooperatives or mutually owned businesses;

    2. New cooperative approaches (i.e., organizing cooperatives among underserved individuals or communities; an innovative market approach; a type of cooperative currently not in your service area; a new cooperative structure; novel ways to raise member equity or community capitalization; conversion of an existing business to cooperative ownership); and

    3. Retention of businesses, generation of employment opportunities or other factors, as applicable, that will otherwise improve the economic conditions of rural areas.

    You will score higher on this criterion if you provide economic statistics showing the impacts of your past development projects no later than 5 years old and identify your role in the economic development outcomes.

    d. Past performance in establishing legal business entities (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your demonstrated past performance in establishing legal cooperative business entities and other legal business entities during January 1, 2013-December 31, 2015. Provide the name of the organization(s) established, the date of formation and your role in assisting with the incorporation(s) under this criterion. In addition, documentation verifying the establishment of legal business entities must be included in Appendix C of your application and will not count against the 40-page limit for the narrative. The documentation must include proof that organizational documents were filed with the Secretary of State's Office (i.e. Certificate of Incorporation or information from the State's official Web site naming the entity established and the date of establishment); or if the business entity is not required to register with the Secretary of State, a certification from the business entity that a legal business entity has been established and when. Please note that you are not required to submit articles of incorporation to receive points under this criterion. You will score higher on this criterion if you have established legal cooperative businesses.

    e. Networking and regional focus (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your demonstrated commitment to:

    1. Networking with other cooperative development centers, and other organizations involved in rural economic development efforts, and

    2. Developing multi-organization and multi-state approaches to addressing the economic development and cooperative needs of rural areas.

    You will score higher on this criterion if you can demonstrate the outcomes of your multi-organizational and multi-state approaches. Please describe the project(s), partners and the outcome(s) that resulted from the approach.

    f. Commitment (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your commitment to providing technical assistance and other services to under-served and economically distressed areas in rural areas of the United States. You will score higher on this criterion if you define and describe the underserved and economically distressed areas within your service area, provide statistics, and identify projects within or affecting these areas, as appropriate.

    g. Matching Funds (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your commitment for the 25 percent (5 percent for 1994 Institutions) matching funds requirement. A chart or table should be provided to describe all matching funds being committed to the project. However, formal documentation to verify all of the matching funds must be included in Appendix A of your application. You will be scored on how you identify your matching funds.

    1. If you met the 25 percent (5 percent for 1994 Institutions) matching requirement, points will be assigned as follows:

    • In-kind only—1 point,

    • Mix of in-kind and cash—3-4 points (maximum points will be awarded if the ratio of cash to in-kind is 30 percent and above of matching funds), or

    • Cash only—5 points.

    2. If you exceeded the 25 percent (5 percent for 1994 Institutions) matching requirement, points will be assigned as follows:

    • In-kind only—2 points,

    • Mix of in-kind and cash—6-7 points (maximum points will be awarded if the ratio of cash to in-kind is 30 percent and above of matching funds), or

    • Cash only—10 points.

    h. Work Plan/Budget (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your work plan for detailed actions and an accompanying timetable for implementing the proposal. The budget must present a breakdown of the estimated costs associated with cooperative and business development activities as well as the operation of the Center and allocate these costs to each of the tasks to be undertaken. Matching funds as well as grant funds must be accounted for in the budget.

    You must discuss at a minimum:

    1. Specific tasks (whether it be by type of service or specific project) to be completed using grant and matching funds;

    2. How customers will be identified;

    3. Key personnel; and

    4. The evaluation methods to be used to determine the success of specific tasks and overall objectives of Center operations. Please provide qualitative methods of evaluation. For example, evaluation methods should go beyond quantitative measurements of completing surveys or number of evaluations.

    You will score higher on this criterion if you present a clear, logical, realistic, and efficient work plan and budget.

    i. Qualifications of those Performing the Tasks (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your application to determine if the personnel expected to perform key tasks have a track record of:

    1. Positive solutions for complex cooperative development and/or marketing problems; or

    2. A successful record of conducting accurate feasibility studies, business plans, marketing analysis, or other activities relevant to your success as determined by the tasks identified in the your work plan; and

    3. Whether the personnel expected to perform the tasks are full/part-time employees of your organization or are contract personnel.

    You will score higher on this criterion if you demonstrate commitment and availability of qualified personnel expected to perform the tasks.

    j. Local and Future Support (maximum score of 10 points). A panel of USDA employees will evaluate your application for local and future support. Support should be discussed directly within the response to this criterion.

    1. Discussion on local support should include previous and/or expected local support and plans for coordinating with other developmental organizations in the proposed service area or with state and local government institutions. You will score higher if you demonstrate strong support from potential beneficiaries and formal evidence of intent to coordinate with other developmental organizations. You may also submit a maximum of 10 letters of support or intent to coordinate with the application to verify your discussion. These letters should be included in Appendix B of your application and will not count against the 40-page limit for the narrative.

    2. Discussion on future support will include your vision for funding operations in future years. You should document:

    (i) New and existing funding sources that support your goals;

    (ii) Alternative funding sources that reduce reliance on Federal, State, and local grants; and

    (iii) The use of in-house personnel for providing services versus contracting out for that expertise. Please discuss your strategy for building in-house technical assistance capacity.

    You will score higher if you can demonstrate that your future support will result in long-term sustainability of the Center.

    2. Review and Selection Process

    The State Offices will review applications to determine if they are eligible for assistance based on requirements in 7 CFR part 4284, subparts A and F, this Notice, and other applicable Federal regulations. If determined eligible, your application will be scored by a panel of USDA employees in accordance with the point allocation specified in this Notice. A recommendation will be submitted to the Administrator to fund applications in highest ranking order. Applications that cannot be fully funded may be offered partial funding at the Agency's discretion. If your application is evaluated, but not funded, it will not be carried forward into the next competition.

    F. Federal Award Administration Information 1. Federal Award Notices

    If you are selected for funding, you will receive a signed notice of Federal award by postal mail from the State Office where your application was submitted, containing instructions on requirements necessary to proceed with execution and performance of the award.

    If you are not selected for funding, you will be notified in writing via postal mail and informed of any review and appeal rights. You must comply with all applicable statutes, regulations, and notice requirements before the grant award will be approved. There will be no available funds for successful appellants once all FY 15 funds are awarded and obligated. See 7 CFR part 11 for USDA National Appeals Division procedures.

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    Additional requirements that apply to grantees selected for this program can be found in 7 CFR part 4284, subpart F; the Grants and Agreements regulations of the Department of Agriculture codified in 2 CFR parts 180, 400, 415, 417, 418, 421; 2 CFR parts 25 and 170; and 48 CFR 31.2, and successor regulations to these parts.

    In addition, all recipients of Federal financial assistance are required to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation (see 2 CFR part 170). You will be required to have the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-282) reporting requirements (see 2 CFR 170.200(b), unless you are exempt under 2 CFR 170.110(b)).

    The following additional requirements apply to grantees selected for this program:

    • Agency-approved Grant Agreement.

    • Letter of Conditions.

    • Form RD 1940-1, “Request for Obligation of Funds.”

    • Form RD 1942-46, “Letter of Intent to Meet Conditions.”

    • Form AD-1047, “Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters-Primary Covered Transactions.”

    • Form AD-1048, “Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion-Lower Tier Covered Transactions.”

    • Form AD-1049, “Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace Requirements (Grants).”

    • Form RD 400-4, “Assurance Agreement.”

    • SF LLL, “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities,” if applicable.

    • Form AD-3031, “Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants.” Must be signed by corporate applicants who receive an award under this Notice.

    3. Reporting

    After grant approval and through grant completion, you will be required to provide the following:

    A SF-425, “Federal Financial Report,” and a project performance report will be required on a semiannual basis (due 30 working days after end of the semiannual period). The project performance reports shall include the following: A comparison of actual accomplishments to the objectives established for that period;

    a. Reasons why established objectives were not met, if applicable;

    b. Reasons for any problems, delays, or adverse conditions, if any, which have affected or will affect attainment of overall project objectives, prevent meeting time schedules or objectives, or preclude the attainment of particular objectives during established time periods. This disclosure shall be accompanied by a statement of the action taken or planned to resolve the situation; and

    c. Objectives and timetable established for the next reporting period.

    d. Provide a final project and financial status report within 90 days after the expiration or termination of the grant.

    e. Provide outcome project performance reports and final deliverables.

    G. Agency Contacts

    If you have questions about this Notice, please contact the appropriate State Office at http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices. Program guidance as well as application and matching funds templates may be obtained at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-cooperative-development-grant-program. If you want to submit an electronic application, follow the instructions for the RCDG funding announcement located athttp://www.grants.gov. You may also contact National Office staff: Susan Horst, RCDG Program Lead, [email protected], or call the main line at 202-690-1374.

    H. Nondiscrimination Statement

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

    If you wish to file an employment complaint, you must contact your agency's EEO Counselor within 45 days of the date of the alleged discriminatory act, event, or in the case of a personnel action. Additional information can be found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html.

    If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at [email protected]

    Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities and you wish to file either an EEO or program complaint please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136 (in Spanish).

    Persons with disabilities, who wish to file a program complaint, please see information above on how to contact us by mail directly or by email. If you require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) please contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Dated: March 17, 2016. Samuel H. Rikkers, Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06765 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-XY-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Business-Cooperative Service Notice of Request for Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection AGENCY:

    Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed collection; Comments requested.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Rural Business-Cooperative Service's (RBS) intention to request an extension of a currently approved information collection in support of the program 7 CFR part 4279-B, ” Guaranteed Loanmaking—Business and Industry Loans.”

    DATES:

    Comments on this notice must be received by May 24, 2016 to be assured of consideration.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ginger Allen, Business and Industry Loan Processing Branch, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 3224, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20250-3224. Telephone: (202) 690-0309. The TDD number is (800) 877-8339 or (202) 708-9300.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Guaranteed Loanmaking—Business and Industry Loans.

    OMB Number: 0570-0017.

    Expiration Date of Approval: August 31, 2016.

    Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved information collection.

    Abstract: The Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program was legislated in 1972 under section 310B of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, as amended. The purpose of the program is to improve, develop, or finance businesses, industries, and employment and improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities. This purpose is achieved through bolstering the existing private credit structure through the guaranteeing of quality loans made by lending institutions, thereby providing lasting community benefits.

    Estimate of Burden: Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to average 2 hours per response.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit; State, Local or Tribal; Lenders, accountants, attorneys.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 413.

    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Estimated Number of Responses: 5,384.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 13,349 hours.

    Copies of this information collection can be obtained from Jeanne Jacobs, Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch, Support Services Division at (202) 692-0040.

    Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of RBS, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of RBS's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to Jeanne Jacobs, Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch, Support Services Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, STOP 0742, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20250.

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. William C. Smith, Acting Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06767 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-XY-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Business-Cooperative Service Notice of Request for Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection AGENCY:

    Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed collection; Comments requested.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Rural Business-Cooperative Service's (RBS) intention to request an extension of a currently approved information collection in support of the program for 7 CFR part 4279-A, “Guaranteed Loanmaking—General.

    DATES:

    Comments on this notice must be received by May 24, 2016 to be assured of consideration.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ginger Allen, Business and Industry Loan Processing Branch, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 3224, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-3224. Telephone: (202) 690-0309. The TDD number is (800) 877-8339 or (202) 708-9300.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Guaranteed Loanmaking—Business and Industry Loans.

    OMB Number: 0570-0018.

    Expiration Date of Approval: August 31, 2016.

    Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved information collection.

    Abstract: The Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program was legislated in 1972 under Section 310B of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, as amended. The purpose of the program is to improve, develop, or finance businesses, industries, and employment and improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities. This purpose is achieved through bolstering the existing private credit structure through the guaranteeing of quality loans made by lending institutions, thereby providing lasting community benefits. The collected information is necessary to assist Agency loan officers and approval officials in determining program eligibility and program monitoring.

    Estimate of Burden: Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to average 30 minutes to 12 hours per response.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit; State, Local or Tribal; Lenders, accountants, attorneys.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 225.

    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Estimated Number of Responses: 462.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 955 hours.

    Copies of this information collection can be obtained from Jeanne Jacobs, Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch, Support Services Division at (202) 692-0040.

    Comments: Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of RBS, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of RBS's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to Jeanne Jacobs, Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch, Support Services Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, STOP 0742, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20250.

    All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: February 25, 2016. William C. Smith, Acting Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06768 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-XY-P
    UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security In the Matter of: Nutveena Sirirojnananont, 399 Maplewood Avenue, Portmouth, NH 03801; Order Denying Export Privileges

    On August 26, 2014, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hamsphire, Nutveena Sirirojnananont (“Sirirojnananont”), was convicted of violating Section 38 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2778 (2012)) (“AECA”). Specifically, Sirirojnananont knowingly and willfully caused to be exported from the United States to Thailand firearms which were designated as defense articles on the United States Munitions List, without having obtained from the United States Department of State a license or written approval for the export of these defense articles. Sirirojnananont was sentenced to 10 months of imprisonment, one year of supervised release, and fined a $600 assessment.

    Section 766.25 of the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR” or “Regulations”) 1 provides, in pertinent part, that “[t]he Director of the Office of Exporter Services, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Export Enforcement, may deny the export privileges of any person who has been convicted of a violation of the Export Administration Act (“EAA”), the EAR, or any order, license or authorization issued thereunder; any regulation, license, or order issued under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. § 1701-1706); 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, 794 or 798; section 4(b) of the Internal Security Act of 1950 (50 U.S.C. § 783(b)), or section 38 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. § 2778).” 15 CFR 766.25(a); see also Section 11(h) of the EAA, 50 U.S.C. 4610(h). The denial of export privileges under this provision may be for a period of up to 10 years from the date of the conviction. 15 CFR 766.25(d); see also 50 U.S.C. 4610(h). In addition, Section 750.8 of the Regulations states that the Bureau of Industry and Security's Office of Exporter Services may revoke any Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) licenses previously issued in which the person had an interest in at the time of her conviction.

    1 The Regulations are currently codified in the Code of Federal Regulations at 15 CFR parts 730-774 (2015). The Regulations issued pursuant to the Export Administration Act (50 U.S.C. 4601-4623 (Supp. III 2015) (available at http://uscode.house.gov)). Since August 21, 2001, the Act has been in lapse and the President, through Executive Order 13222 of August 17, 2001 (3 CFR, 2001 Comp. 783 (2002)), which has been extended by successive Presidential Notices, the most recent being that of August 7, 2015 (80 FR 48,233 (Aug. 11, 2015)), has continued the Regulations in effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701, et seq. (2006 & Supp. IV 2010)).

    BIS has received notice of Sirirojnananont's conviction for violating the AECA, and has provided notice and an opportunity for Sirirojnananont to make a written submission to BIS, as provided in Section 766.25 of the Regulations. BIS has not received a submission from Sirirojnananont.

    Based upon my review and consultations with BIS's Office of Export Enforcement, including its Director, and the facts available to BIS, I have decided to deny Sirirojnananont's export privileges under the Regulations for a period of 10 years from the date of Sirirojnananont's conviction. I have also decided to revoke all licenses issued pursuant to the Act or Regulations in which Sirirojnananont had an interest at the time of her conviction.

    Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED:

    First, from the date of this Order until August 26, 2024, Nutveena Sirirojnananont, with a last known address of 399 Maplewood Avenue, Portmouth, NH 03801, and when acting for or on her behalf, her successors, assigns, employees, agents or representatives (the “Denied Person”), may not, directly or indirectly, participate in any way in any transaction involving any commodity, software or technology (hereinafter collectively referred to as “item”) exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the Regulations, including, but not limited to:

    A. Applying for, obtaining, or using any license, License Exception, or export control document;

    B. Carrying on negotiations concerning, or ordering, buying, receiving, using, selling, delivering, storing, disposing of, forwarding, transporting, financing, or otherwise servicing in any way, any transaction involving any item exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the Regulations, or in any other activity subject to the Regulations; or

    C. Benefitting in any way from any transaction involving any item exported or to be exported from the United States that is subject to the Regulations, or in any other activity subject to the Regulations.

    Second, no person may, directly or indirectly, do any of the following:

    A. Export or reexport to or on behalf of the Denied Person any item subject to the Regulations;

    B. Take any action that facilitates the acquisition or attempted acquisition by the Denied Person of the ownership, possession, or control of any item subject to the Regulations that has been or will be exported from the United States, including financing or other support activities related to a transaction whereby the Denied Person acquires or attempts to acquire such ownership, possession or control;

    C. Take any action to acquire from or to facilitate the acquisition or attempted acquisition from the Denied Person of any item subject to the Regulations that has been exported from the United States;

    D. Obtain from the Denied Person in the United States any item subject to the Regulations with knowledge or reason to know that the item will be, or is intended to be, exported from the United States; or

    E. Engage in any transaction to service any item subject to the Regulations that has been or will be exported from the United States and which is owned, possessed or controlled by the Denied Person, or service any item, of whatever origin, that is owned, possessed or controlled by the Denied Person if such service involves the use of any item subject to the Regulations that has been or will be exported from the United States. For purposes of this paragraph, servicing means installation, maintenance, repair, modification or testing.

    Third, after notice and opportunity for comment as provided in Section 766.23 of the Regulations, any other person, firm, corporation, or business organization related to Sirirojnananont by ownership, control, position of responsibility, affiliation, or other connection in the conduct of trade or business may also be made subject to the provisions of this Order in order to prevent evasion of this Order.

    Fourth, in accordance with Part 756 of the Regulations, Sirirojnananont may file an appeal of this Order with the Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security. The appeal must be filed within 45 days from the date of this Order and must comply with the provisions of Part 756 of the Regulations.

    Fifth, a copy of this Order shall be delivered to the Sirirojnananont. This Order shall be published in the Federal Register.

    Sixth, this Order is effective immediately and shall remain in effect until August 26, 2024.

    Issued this 18th day of March, 2016. Karen H. Nies-Vogel, Director, Office of Exporter Services.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06820 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-983] Notice of Final Results of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review: Drawn Stainless Steel Sinks From the People's Republic of China AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce

    SUMMARY:

    On February 12, 2016, the Department of Commerce (the Department) published its notice of initiation and preliminary results of a changed circumstances review of the antidumping duty order on drawn stainless steel sinks (drawn sinks) from the People's Republic of China (PRC).1 In that notice, we preliminarily determined that Ningbo Afa Kitchen and Bath Co., Ltd. (Ningbo) is the successor-in-interest to Yuyao Afa Kitchenware Co., Ltd. (Yuyao) for purposes of determining antidumping duty cash deposits and liabilities. No interested party submitted comments in opposition to the Initiation and Preliminary Results. For these final results, the Department continues to find that Ningbo is the successor-in-interest to Yuyao.

    1See Notice of Initiation and Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review: Drawn Stainless Steel Sinks From the People's Republic of China, 81 FR 7504 (February 12, 2016) (Initiation and Preliminary Results).

    DATES:

    Effective March 25, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ross Belliveau or Brian Smith, AD/CVD Operations, Office II, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4952 or (202) 482-1766, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On April 11, 2013, the Department published in the Federal Register an AD order on drawn sinks from the PRC.2 On November 19, 2015, Yuyao, a producer/exporter of drawn sinks covered by this order, changed its name from Yuyao to Ningbo. On December 22, 2015, Ningbo requested that the Department conduct a changed circumstances review under section 751(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act) and 19 CFR 351.216.3 In this request, Ningbo asked the Department to determine that it is the successor-in-interest to Yuyao and, accordingly, to assign it the cash deposit rate of Yuyao.4

    2See Drawn Stainless Steel Sinks from the People's Republic of China: Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Antidumping Duty Order, 78 FR 21592 (April 11, 2013).

    3See Letter from Ningbo, entitled “Drawn Stainless Steel Sinks from the People's Republic of China: Request for Changed Circumstances Review by Yuyao Afa Kitchenware Co., Ltd. and Ningbo Afa Kitchen and Bath Co., Ltd.,” dated December 22, 2015.

    4Id.

    On February 12, 2016, the Department published its notice of initiation and preliminary results of this changed circumstances review, determining that Ningbo is the successor-in-interest to Yuyao.5 In the Initiation and Preliminary Results, we provided all interested parties with an opportunity to comment and to request a public hearing regarding our preliminary finding that Ningbo is the successor-in-interest to Yuyao. On February 26, 2016, Ningbo submitted comments in support of our preliminary finding.6 We received no comments in opposition to our preliminary finding and no requests for a public hearing from interested parties within the time period set forth in the Initiation and Preliminary Results.

    5See Initiation and Preliminary Results.

    6See Letter from Ningbo, entitled “Drawn Stainless Steel Sinks from the People's Republic of China: Comments on Changed Circumstances Review by Yuyao Afa Kitchenware Co., Ltd. and Ningbo Afa Kitchen and Bath Co., Ltd.,” dated February 26, 2016.

    Scope of the Order

    The products covered by the scope of this order are drawn stainless steel sinks with single or multiple drawn bowls, with or without drain boards, whether finished or unfinished, regardless of type of finish, gauge, or grade of stainless steel. Mounting clips, fasteners, seals, and sound-deadening pads are also covered by the scope of this order if they are included within the sales price of the drawn stainless steel sinks. For purposes of this scope definition, the term “drawn” refers to a manufacturing process using metal forming technology to produce a smooth basin with seamless, smooth, and rounded corners. Drawn stainless steel sinks are available in various shapes and configurations and may be described in a number of ways including flush mount, top mount, or undermount (to include the attachment relative to the countertop). Stainless steel sinks with multiple drawn bowls that are joined through a welding operation to form one unit are covered by the scope of the order. Drawn stainless steel sinks are covered by the scope of the order whether or not they are sold in conjunction with non-subject accessories such as faucets (whether attached or unattached), strainers, strainer sets, rinsing baskets, bottom grids, or other accessories.

    Excluded from the scope of the order are stainless steel sinks with fabricated bowls. Fabricated bowls do not have seamless corners, but rather are made by notching and bending the stainless steel, and then welding and finishing the vertical corners to form the bowls. Stainless steel sinks with fabricated bowls may sometimes be referred to as “zero radius” or “near zero radius” sinks.

    The products covered by this order are currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under statistical reporting number 7324.10.0000 and 7324.10.0010. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope is dispositive.

    Final Results of Changed Circumstances Review

    For the reasons stated in the Initiation and Preliminary Results, and because we received no comments from interested parties to the contrary, the Department continues to find that Ningbo is the successor-in-interest to Yuyao. As a result of this determination, we find that Ningbo should receive the cash deposit rate previously assigned to Yuyao in the most recently completed review of the antidumping duty order on drawn sinks from the PRC.7 Consequently, the Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to suspend liquidation of all shipments of subject merchandise produced or exported by Ningbo and entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date of this notice in the Federal Register at 4.29 percent, which is the current antidumping duty cash deposit rate for Yuyao.8 This cash deposit requirement shall remain in effect until further notice.

    7See Drawn Stainless Steel Sinks From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of the Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2012-2014, 80 FR 69644 (November 10, 2015) (AR1 Final Results).

    8 Yuyao received a 4.29 percent dumping margin in the 2012-2014 administrative review of the AD order on drawn sinks from the PRC. See AR1 Final Results at 69645. We note that Yuyao is also a respondent in the current 2014-2015 administrative review of this antidumping duty order. See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 30041 (May 26, 2015). Because we determined that Ningbo is the successor-in-interest to Yuyao, we will assign Ningbo an updated cash deposit rate based on the final results of that administrative review.

    We are issuing this determination and publishing these final results and notice in accordance with sections 751(b)(1) and 777(i)(1) and (2) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.216 and 351.221(c)(3).

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06847 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration United States Manufacturing Council: Meeting of the United States Manufacturing Council AGENCY:

    International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of an open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Manufacturing Council (Council) will hold an open meeting on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. The Council was established in April 2004 to advise the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the U.S. manufacturing industry. The purpose of the meeting is for Council members to review and deliberate on recommendations developed by the Workforce Development subcommittee looking at high school educational approach enhancements for consideration by the Manufacturing Council. The agenda may change to accommodate Council business. The final agenda will be posted on the Department of Commerce Web site for the Council at http://trade.gov/manufacturingcouncil, at least one week in advance of the meeting.

    DATES:

    Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. The deadline for members of the public to register, including requests to make comments during the meetings and for auxiliary aids, or to submit written comments for dissemination prior to the meeting, is 5:00 p.m. EDT on April 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at 1211 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. Requests to register (including to speak or for auxiliary aids) and any written comments should be submitted to: U.S. Manufacturing Council, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 4043, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, [email protected] Members of the public are encouraged to submit registration requests and written comments via email to ensure timely receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Archana Sahgal, the United States Manufacturing Council, Room 4043, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, telephone: 202-482-4501, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background: The Council advises the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the U.S. manufacturing industry.

    Public Participation: The meeting will be open to the public and will be accessible to people with disabilities. All guests are required to register in advance by the deadline identified under the DATES caption. Seating is limited and will be on a first come, first served basis. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids must be submitted by the registration deadline. Last minute requests will be accepted, but may be impossible to fill. There will be fifteen (15) minutes allotted for oral comments from members of the public. To accommodate as many speakers as possible, the time for public comments may be limited to three (3) minutes per person. Individuals wishing to reserve speaking time during the meeting must submit a request at the time of registration, as well as the name and address of the proposed speaker. If the number of registrants requesting to make statements is greater than can be reasonably accommodated during the meeting, the International Trade Administration may conduct a lottery to determine the speakers. Speakers are requested to submit a written copy of their prepared remarks by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 4, 2016, for inclusion in the meeting records and for circulation to the members of the Manufacturing Council. Speakers additionally are requested to bring at least 25 copies of their oral comments for distribution to the members of the Manufacturing Council and to the public at the meeting. In addition, any member of the public may submit pertinent written comments concerning the Council's affairs at any time before or after the meeting. Comments may be submitted to Archana Sahgal at the contact information indicated above. To be considered during the meeting, comments must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on April 4, 2016, to ensure transmission to the Council prior to the meeting. Comments received after that date and time will be distributed to the members but may not be considered during the meeting. Copies of Council meeting minutes will be available within 90 days of the meeting.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Archana Sahgal, Executive Secretary, United States Manufacturing Council.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06853 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Request for Public Comments AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC).

    ACTION:

    Request for public comments and ideas on NOAA SBIR subtopics which would satisfy unmet industry needs.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Office is requesting public comments to better understand the scientific community and small business concerns associated with the environmental industry, as well as improve our SBIR solicitation process.

    Of NOAA's four major topics, which was derived from NOAA's Research and Development (R&D) goals, what problem statements or subtopic ideas can you suggest where the project outcome enables commercial products/services which would satisfy current or near term unmet industry needs. Please remember all submissions must be directly relevant to NOAA's mission. NOAA's four major mission topics are as follows:

    a. Climate Adaptation and Mitigation

    b. Weather-Ready Nation

    c. Healthy Oceans

    d. Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies

    Please categorize submissions based on the four topics above and include as many problem statements or subtopic ideas as you see fit per topic. Also, please provide a brief description of the potential commercialized products/services for each idea submitted.

    DATES:

    Comments and ideas must be received on or before April 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send all comments via email to [email protected] Subject Line shall contain “NOAA SBIR Request for Public Comments—Federal Register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Vince Garcia, NOAA SBIR Program Manager, at: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The NOAA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Office is exploring options in streamlining and improving existing agency SBIR Phase I subtopic selection processes. The SBIR Program Office seeks to better understand unmet industry needs, which directly relate to NOAA's mission. Historically, subtopics are suggested by NOAA federally-employed scientists and engineers and are selected for publication in the annual SBIR Phase I solicitation by NOAA Line Office leadership.

    Respondents shall not be obligated to provide the services described herein, if applicable, and it is understood by the United States Government that any cost estimates provided as a result of this request are “best” estimates only. All information submitted in response to this request for public comments is voluntary; the United States Government will not pay for information requested nor will it compensate any respondent for any cost incurred in developing information provided to the United States Government.

    Dated: March 15, 2016. Jason Donaldson, Chief Financial Officer, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06555 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-KD-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) AGENCY:

    Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC).

    ACTION:

    Notice of open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Science Advisory Board (SAB) was established by a Decision Memorandum dated September 25, 1997, and is the only Federal Advisory Committee with responsibility to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere on strategies for research, education, and application of science to operations and information services. SAB activities and advice provide necessary input to ensure that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) science programs are of the highest quality and provide optimal support to resource management.

    Time and Date: The meeting will be held Thursday April 28 from 9:45 a.m. EDT to 5:45 p.m. EDT and on Friday April 29, from 9:00 a.m. EDT to 1:00 p.m. EDT. These times and the agenda topics described below are subject to change. Please refer to the Web page http://www.sab.noaa.gov/Meetings/meetings.html for the most up-to-date meeting times and agenda.

    Place: The meeting will be held at Sheraton Silver Spring Magnolia Ballroom, 8777 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland. Please check the SAB Web site http://www.sab.noaa.gov/Meetings/meetings.html for directions to the meeting location.

    Status: The meeting will be open to public participation with a 15-minute public comment period on April 28 from 5:30-5:45 p.m. EDT (check Web site to confirm time). The SAB expects that public statements presented at its meetings will not be repetitive of previously submitted verbal or written statements. In general, each individual or group making a verbal presentation will be limited to a total time of two (2) minutes. Individuals or groups planning to make a verbal presentation should contact the SAB Acting Executive Director by April 21, 2016 to schedule their presentation. Written comments should be received in the SAB Executive Director's Office by April 21, 2016, to provide sufficient time for SAB review. Written comments received by the SAB Executive Director after April 21, 2016, will be distributed to the SAB, but may not be reviewed prior to the meeting date. Seating at the meeting will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Special Accommodations: These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for special accommodations may be directed no later than 12:00 p.m. on April 21, 2016, to Dr. Elizabeth Turner, Acting SAB Executive Director, Room 146, Gregg Hall, 35 Colovos Road, Durham, NH 03824; Email: [email protected]

    Matters To Be Considered: The meeting will include the following topics: (1) Report on Ecosystem Services Valuation from the Ecosystem Sciences and Management Working Group; (2) Updates from the NOAA Administrator, Chief Scientist and the Chief Economist; (3)SAB Strategy Discussion and Implications for NOAA; and (4) Discussion of Working Group Issues and Working Group Concept of Operations.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Elizabeth Turner, Acting Executive Director, Science Advisory Board, NOAA, Room 146 Gregg Hall, 35 Colovos Road, Durham, NH 03824. Email: [email protected]; or visit the NOAA SAB Web site at http://www.sab.noaa.gov.

    Dated: March 15, 2016. Jason Donaldson, Chief Financial Officer, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06554 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-KD-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE527 Fisheries of the South Atlantic; Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR); Pre-Assessment Webinar for South Atlantic Red Snapper and Gray Triggerfish AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of SEDAR 41 Post-Review Workshop Webinar.

    SUMMARY:

    The SEDAR 41 assessments of the South Atlantic stocks of red snapper and gray triggerfish will consist of a series of workshop and webinars: Data Workshops; an Assessment Workshop and Webinars; and a Review Workshop, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    DATES:

    The SEDAR 41 Post-Review Workshop Webinar will be held on Friday, April 8, 2016, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The Webinar is open to members of the public. Those interested in participating should contact Julia Byrd at SEDAR (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT below) to request an invitation providing Webinar access information. Please request Webinar invitations at least 24 hours in advance of each Webinar.

    SEDAR address: South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, N. Charleston, SC 29405. www.sedarweb.org.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Julia Byrd, SEDAR Coordinator, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, North Charleston, SC 29405; phone (843) 571-4366; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Agenda

    The Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and Caribbean Fishery Management Councils, in conjunction with NOAA Fisheries and the Atlantic and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commissions, have implemented the Southeast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR) process, a multi-step method for determining the status of fish stocks in the Southeast Region. SEDAR is a three-step process including: (1) Data Workshop; (2) Assessment Process utilizing webinars; and (3) Review Workshop. The product of the Data Workshop is a data report which compiles and evaluates potential datasets and recommends which datasets are appropriate for assessment analyses. The product of the Assessment Process is a stock assessment report which describes the fisheries, evaluates the status of the stock, estimates biological benchmarks, projects future population conditions, and recommends research and monitoring needs. The assessment is independently peer reviewed at the Review Workshop. The product of the Review Workshop is a Summary documenting panel opinions regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the stock assessment and input data. Participants for SEDAR Workshops are appointed by the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and Caribbean Fishery Management Councils and NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office, Highly Migratory Species Management Division, and Southeast Fisheries Science Center. Participants include: Data collectors and database managers; stock assessment scientists, biologists, and researchers; constituency representatives including fishermen, environmentalists, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs); international experts; and staff of Councils, Commissions, and state and federal agencies.

    The items of discussion for the Post-Review Workshop Webinar are as follows:

    1. Participants will discuss any remaining assessment issues and recommendations from the Review Workshop in order to finalize the Review Workshop summary reports.

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

    Special Accommodations

    This meeting is accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for auxiliary aids should be directed to the SAFMC office (see ADDRESSES) at least ten working days prior to the meeting.

    Note:

    The times and sequence specified in this agenda are subject to change.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06755 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

    Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Title: Southeast Region Permit Family of Forms.

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0205.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Request: Regular (revision of a currently approved information collection).

    Number of Respondents: 13,909.

    Average Hours per Response: Vessel and dealer permit applications, 29 minutes each; wreckfish permit applications, live rock permit applications and operator card applications, 21 minutes each.

    Burden Hours: 7,023.

    Needs and Uses: This request is for a revision to the existing reporting requirements. The SERO Permits Office (Southeast Permits Office) administers Federal fishing permits in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf), South Atlantic, and Caribbean Sea under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801. The Southeast Permits Office proposes to revise two parts of the collection-of-information approved under OMB Control Number 0648-0205.

    The Southeast Permits Office proposes to collect additional information on five applications for economic analysis and for purposes of notifying respondents. These data include race, sex, and business type and ownership information, as well as email addresses and the option to provide cellular contact information for digital notifications. The revision will also include a small business certification section, so NMFS can determine if the respondent is a small or large business according to standards established by the Small Business Administration. These proposed revisions will not change the current cost burden but will increase the annual time burden for respondents.

    Currently, NMFS requires fishermen (respondents) to display one adhesive decal on their vessel indicating that they have a Federal fishing permit in at least one of two Gulf fisheries; the applicable permits are the Charter Vessel/Headboat Permit for Gulf Reef Fish, the Charter Vessel/Headboat Permit for Gulf Coastal Migratory Pelagic fish, and their respective Historical Captain endorsements. NMFS proposes to revise OMB Control Number 0648-0205 to split the single decal covering both fisheries into two decals, with one decal administered with each specific fishery permit or endorsement. In addition, this revision also addresses a new fee of $10 per decal to cover administrative costs, as required by NOAA Finance Handbook, Exhibit 9-1. The Federal Permit Application for Vessels Fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone would also be revised to reflect the new fee. The decal is currently issued at no cost to permit applicants. These decals allow individuals and law enforcement officials to easily identify vessels that have Federal permits.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations.

    Frequency: Annually and on occasion.

    Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

    This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Dated: March 22, 2016. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06803 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE United States Patent and Trademark Office [Docket No.: PTO-P-2016-0006] Patent Quality Metrics for Fiscal Year 2017 and Request for Comments on Improving Patent Quality Measurement AGENCY:

    United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is revising its patent quality metrics to better identify quality-related issues and more clearly communicate its quality measurements to the public. The new patent quality metrics are part of the USPTO's Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative (EPQI), which was launched in 2015 to engage patent stakeholders in enhancing patent quality. As part of the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative, the prior patent quality metrics have been reassessed, and new patent quality metrics are now being designed for adoption for fiscal year 2017. The new patent quality metrics for use in fiscal year 2017 are planned to focus on the correctness and clarity of Office actions and will be applied through a newly unified review process using a standardized review form that will permit data from a significantly larger number of finished product quality reviews conducted at the agency to be aggregated and mined for information. The USPTO will also mine data on transactions during patent prosecution (e.g., the types of actions taken by the applicant and the USPTO) to assess examination processes and identify potential quality issues requiring further study. The review process will apply the new quality metrics and standardized form to increase the accuracy, consistency, transparency, clarity, and simplicity of USPTO quality review procedures. The USPTO is seeking comment from its stakeholders on further improvements to the changes proposed herein.

    DATES:

    Comment Deadline Date: To be ensured of consideration in the development of the next iteration of metrics, written comments must be received on or before May 24, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should be sent by electronic mail message over the Internet addressed to: [email protected] Comments may also be submitted by postal mail addressed to: Mail Stop Comments—Patents, Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA, 22313-1450, marked to the attention of Michael Cygan, Senior Legal Advisor, Office of Patent Legal Administration, Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy.

    Although comments may be submitted by postal mail, the Office prefers to receive comments by electronic mail message over the Internet because sharing comments with the public is more easily accomplished. Electronic comments are preferred to be submitted in plain text, but also may be submitted in ADOBE® portable document format or MICROSOFT WORD® format. Comments not submitted electronically should be submitted on paper in a format that facilitates convenient digital scanning into ADOBE® portable document format.

    Timely filed comments will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Commissioner for Patents, currently located in Madison East, Tenth Floor, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. Comments also will be available for viewing via the Office's Internet Web site (http://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/comments-public/comments-improving-patent-quality-measurement). Because comments will be made available for public inspection, information that the submitter does not desire to make public, such as an address or phone number, should not be included in the comments. It would be helpful to the USPTO if comments included information about: (1) The name and affiliation of the individual responding; and (2) an indication of whether the comments represent views of the respondent's organization or are the respondent's personal views.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Michael T. Cygan, Senior Legal Advisor, at (571) 272-7700. Inquiries regarding this notice may be directed to the Office of Patent Legal Administration, by telephone at (571) 272-7701, or by electronic mail at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    Prior to fiscal year 2005, the USPTO quality metric was solely directed to the correctness of the final output of the examination process that would result in a patent: An allowed application. During fiscal years 2005 through 2009, the USPTO expanded its review efforts, employing two official metrics of examination quality: (1) The correctness of the examiner's determination of allowance of an application; and (2) the quality of the actions taken during the course of examination. In fiscal year 2010, the first metric was modified to include final Office actions, and the second metric was modified to focus on the quality of non-final Office actions during prosecution. All quality analysis was performed by random selection of actions for review by a dedicated Office of Patent Quality Assurance (OPQA) team of reviewers, which reviewed each selected action to determine whether all required claim rejections were properly made in compliance with the patent statutes.

    In 2011, based on stakeholder input, the USPTO adopted a new “Composite Quality Metric” for fiscal years 2011-2015 to track performance of those aspects that affect quality and provide a single comprehensive metric representing the overall state of patent examination quality. The Composite Quality Metric was composed of seven total factors: (1) The final disposition review, (2) the in-process review, (3) the first action on the merits (FAOM) search review, (4) the complete FAOM review, (5) the external quality survey, (6) the internal quality survey, and (7) an aggregation of five factors from the USPTO's Quality Index Report (QIR). The first four factors continued the USPTO's focus on the statutory compliance of work product; i.e., the correctness of the Office actions. The first four factors were derived from the results of reviews of randomly selected Office actions that were conducted by OPQA. These reviews continued the USPTO's focus on the statutory compliance of work product; i.e., the correctness of the Office actions, with only a basic assessment of whether the examiner had sufficiently set forth his or her position for any claim rejections. The next two factors were derived from surveys that assessed both internal and external stakeholder views on USPTO quality. The final factor was based on the USPTO's QIR, which measures the degree to which actions in the prosecution of patent applications reveal trends indicative of quality concerns and uses a statistical analysis of occurrences of certain types of events (e.g., reopening after final Office actions, consecutive non-final Office actions, consecutive restriction requirements) based on data available through the USPTO's Patent Application Locating and Monitoring (PALM) system. Performance in the overall Composite Quality Metric and in each of the component metric factors has been published on the USPTO dashboard Web site on a quarterly basis. The information from the Composite Quality Metric has been used to identify trends and areas of concern and to target those areas in need of increased training and/or resources.

    On February 5, 2015, the USPTO launched the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative to improve the quality of patents issued by the USPTO. This initiative began with a request for public comments on a set of six proposals outlined in a Federal Register Notice. See Request for Comments on Enhancing Patent Quality, 80 FR 6475 (Feb. 5, 2015). The USPTO also held a two-day “Quality Summit” on March 25 and 26, 2015, at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, to discuss the quality concerns of patent stakeholders and to receive feedback on the USPTO's proposals. Following the Quality Summit, the USPTO has continued its engagement with the public through numerous roadshows, events, and stakeholder meetings to further refine the steps that may be taken to improve quality.

    The Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative targets three pillars of patent quality: (1) Excellence in work products; (2) excellence in measuring patent quality; and (3) excellence in customer service. In furtherance of the second pillar of patent quality, the USPTO is focusing on improving the internal metrics used to evaluate patent examination quality and on improving the communication of its patent examination quality measurements to the public. Through this initiative, the USPTO has received numerous comments on establishing appropriate quality metrics. The USPTO has considered all of the comments received through the Summit, the Federal Register Notice, and numerous quality outreach events. Based on the information received to date, the USPTO has identified key aspects of quality measurement essential to developing more effective quality metrics.

    First, the clarity of the examiner's determinations and the rationale underlying the decisions made in Office actions is an important part of overall patent examination quality and should be emphasized in reviews of USPTO work product. Second, individual metrics that clearly reflect individual aspects of USPTO work product would better communicate patent quality than a single quality composite number that combines scores from unrelated sources such as surveys, procedural efficiency statistics, and substantive patentability compliance reviews. Third, improving the granularity of work product quality measurement to monitor compliance with each statutory provision and enable meaningful data at the work group and art unit level is highly desirable for providing targeted training resulting in greater consistency. Fourth, monitoring the process of examination, i.e., the type and number of actions taken during prosecution as reflected in the QIR, remains a high priority that is best used to spot unusual trends or occurrences that deserve further attention. Lastly, capturing a larger number of finished product quality reviews conducted at the agency and using a standardized review form will lead to a significantly greater number of data points, which will allow for greater consistency in the review of application quality within the Patents Organization. More information on the public comments received on the metrics, and how those are being used to identify improvements to the metrics, is available at http://www.uspto.gov/patent/initiatives/quality-metrics. In view of these guideposts, a new set of metrics is now being proposed to incorporate these and other improvements to the collection of data and reporting of metrics.

    II. Improving Measurement of Patent Examination Quality

    As the next step in advancing the second pillar of the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative, the proposed fiscal year 2017 patent quality metrics refocus the USPTO's measurement of the quality of the work products produced from first Office action through final disposition. The proposed metrics continue to assess the correctness of an examiner's determinations in a given Office action with increased attention on assessing whether the examiner clearly set forth his or her reasoning in a given Office action. In addition, the Office will continue to review the transactions taken during patent prosecution through the QIR, but this information will be used to identify the need for further investigation rather than being measured against a goal. Additionally, the USPTO is changing its reporting of the quality metrics to provide simpler and clearer communication of results to the public.

    A. Measurement of Statutory Compliance and Clarity in Work Products

    The patent quality metrics of work product proposed here for fiscal year 2017 provide a tighter focus on measuring two foundational characteristics of patent examination: Statutory compliance and clarity of decision making in Office actions. These proposed patent quality metrics continue to measure correctness of actions in terms of their compliance with each of the statutory requirements for issuance of a patent. To this end, a sampling of Office actions will continue to be reviewed both for improperly made rejections and for failure to make rejections where required by statute. The substantive review items will also include other items, for example, the propriety of the examiner's search, any interpretation of claim language under 35 U.S.C 112(f), any determination that an action is made final, any restriction or election of species requirement.

    Furthermore, the new metrics greatly enhance the review of the clarity of the components of Office actions by including new clarity review items specifically designed for each of the substantive patentability determinations made in Office actions. For example, when reviewing an Office action containing an obviousness rejection under 35 U.S.C. 103, the review items consider not only whether the obviousness rejection was proper, but also whether the statement of the rejection mapped the elements identified in the prior art to the claim limitations, and whether the statement of the rejection explained the reasons for the rejection in a clear manner. The new clarity review items will also include, for example, items directed to the sufficiency of the recordation of any interview and the propriety of any reasons for allowance of an application.

    For fiscal year 2017, the USPTO is proposing to capture the correctness and clarity review items with a single standardized review form as a repository for all of the review items, replacing the review-specific forms used in the 2011-2015 Composite Quality Metric. The review questions on such a standardized form, colloquially referred to as the “Master Review Form,” is planned to be used by all USPTO reviewers for finished product quality reviews of actions at every stage of prosecution. This Master Review Form will contain the above-described criteria for recording correctness for each of the substantive patentability requirements and for recording the clarity of each of those decisions and the supporting rationales set forth in the Office action under review. The full list of correctness and clarity items in the draft proposed version of the Master Review Form is available for viewing at http://www.uspto.gov/patentquality. The USPTO welcomes and appreciates feedback on the elements of this form through this notice, and will use the input to help finalize the Master Review Form that will be deployed throughout the USPTO in fiscal year 2017.

    This draft proposed “Master Review Form” was developed as part of the Clarity and Correctness Data Capture program, which is part of the USPTO's Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative. The Clarity and Correctness Data Capture Program has been instituted to better capture the data produced through the different types of reviews within the Patents Organization. Historically, reviews have been performed not only by the quality assurance team, but also by other Technology Center personnel, with each reviewing area setting its own reviewing criteria. Moreover, the only work product reviews recorded for identification of trends were those undertaken by the Office of Patent Quality Assurance. The Master Review Form is designed to provide standardized reviewing criteria for quality reviews of finished work product. Through application of standardized reviewing criteria, the USPTO can better leverage the results from the many levels of review conducted at the agency. The improvements to the data capture process will enable meaningful data analysis at a more granular level than previously possible, permitting valid inferences to be drawn at the workgroup and art unit levels. Through this process, the USPTO and the stakeholders in the patent system will be able to gain a greater understanding of the state of patent prosecution and to work better together towards its improvement.

    B. Measurement of Transactions During Patent Prosecution

    A further aspect of the new patent quality metrics will be the leveraging of the data representing the thousands of transactions made by the USPTO during prosecution to reveal information on the quality of the patent prosecution process itself. Transactions during prosecution, such as restrictions, first Office actions, and allowances, are monitored through the USPTO's PALM system. The USPTO monitors many of these transactions through its QIR. Since 2011, the USPTO has included some of these transactions, such as the number of occurrences of consecutive non-final rejections, as part of its reported quality data. For the proposed 2017 quality metrics, transactional data from the QIR will be used to identify information that can be used to prevent reopening of prosecution, reduce rework, and improve the consistency of decision making throughout the USPTO. Key indicators of the efficiency of prosecution will be instances of reopening of prosecution and repeated non-final Office actions, as well as other instances of rework (e.g., consecutive final Office actions, consecutive restrictions). These indicators do not, by themselves, provide a numerical measure of quality. Rather, these indicators will reveal trends and outlier behavior that will draw attention to potential quality concerns.

    C. Clearer Reporting of the Metrics

    In presenting the results of the quality data, the USPTO will seek to further improve the usefulness and transparency of our quality reporting and to communicate the results in a clear and simple manner. The 2011-2015 Composite Quality Metric, which combined seven different quality variables into a single composite number, will be discontinued. The Quality Index Report will be used to identify potential areas of concern, rather than as providing a single, reportable number. While internal and external surveys will still be performed, the results will not be part of the quality metric, but instead will serve as independent checks on the quality metrics.

    D. Refinement of Proposed Quality Metrics in FY 2016

    Fiscal year 2016 will represent a transitional period for the quality metrics, emphasizing the fine-tuning of the fiscal year 2017 patent quality metrics. The USPTO will test and refine its proposed Master Review Form. This Master Review Form will contain new items, such as additional clarity review items, that will require a period of data collection to create numerical baselines for these items. The Master Review Form will initially be used in targeted reviews to determine the effectiveness of each individual clarity and correctness review item. The transactional data from the QIR will also be reviewed during 2016 to optimize the data analysis therein. Stakeholder comments on the Master Review Form in response to this notice will also form an important part of the process of optimizing the components of the patent quality metrics. During this transitional period, the information gleaned during fiscal year 2016 will be used to produce a finalized set of quality metrics for fiscal year 2017 that will represent the next phase of quality measurement, analysis, tracking, and reporting at the USPTO.

    III. Feedback Sought on Improving Metrics of Patent Examination Quality

    The USPTO seeks input and comments from the public through this notice and through public outreach on the following:

    (1) Is the USPTO moving in the right direction by choosing to focus on two core metrics: A work product metric representing correctness of actions, and a clarity metric that more thoroughly explores the sufficiency of the examiner's reasoning in an Office action, thus moving away from the prior goal-based quality “score” that reflected not only quality of work product but also results of surveys, used to discover both internal and external stakeholder opinions, and QIR process indicators? Which of the proposed clarity and correctness review items in the proposed standardized “Master Review Form,” available at http://www.uspto.gov/patentquality, should be used as the key drivers of patent examination quality metrics?

    (2) How can patent metrics best provide objective, rather than subjective, measurements of quality-related features in clarity and correctness reviews?

    In addition to the three questions posed above, the USPTO welcomes comments on any and all areas of quality measurement. Suggestions for rephrased or additional quality metrics review items, especially clarity indicators, are welcomed. The USPTO will consider all submitted comments as it develops the next iteration of quality metrics.

    For the most current information on this and other patent quality initiatives, please visit the Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative micro site at http://www.uspto.gov/patentquality.

    Dated: March 22, 2016. Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06851 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-16-P
    COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED Procurement List; Deletions AGENCY:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled.

    ACTION:

    Deletions from the Procurement List.

    SUMMARY:

    This action deletes products from the Procurement List that were previously furnished by a nonprofit agency employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities.

    DATES:

    Effective: April 24, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, 1401 S. Clark Street, Suite 715, Arlington, Virginia 22202-4149.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Barry S. Lineback, Telephone: (703) 603-7740, Fax: (703) 603-0655, or email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Deletions

    On 2/19/2016 (81 FR 8486), the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled published notice of proposed deletions from the Procurement List.

    After consideration of the relevant matter presented, the Committee has determined that the products listed below are no longer suitable for procurement by the Federal Government under 41 U.S.C. 8501-8506 and 41 CFR 51-2.4.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    I certify that the following action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The major factors considered for this certification were:

    1. The action will not result in additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements for small entities.

    2. The action may result in authorizing small entities to furnish the products to the Government.

    3. There are no known regulatory alternatives which would accomplish the objectives of the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (41 U.S.C. 8501-8506) in connection with the products deleted from the Procurement List.

    End of Certification

    Accordingly, the following products are deleted from the Procurement List:

    Products NSN(s)—Product Name(s): 7530-00-160-8475—Index Sheet Set, Alphabetical, 8 1/2″ x 11″, Buff 7530-00-160-8477—Index Sheet Set, Alphabetical, 11″ x 8 1/2″, Buff Mandatory Source of Supply: Life'sWork of Western PA, Pittsburgh, PA Contracting Activity: General Services Administration, New York, NY Barry S. Lineback, Director, Business Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06827 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6353-01-P
    COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED Procurement List Proposed Additions and Deletions AGENCY:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled.

    ACTION:

    Proposed Additions to and Deletions from the Procurement List.

    SUMMARY:

    The Committee is proposing to add products to the Procurement List that will be furnished by a nonprofit agency employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities and, deletes services previously furnished by such agencies.

    Comments Must be Received on Or Before: 4/24/2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, 1401 S. Clark Street, Suite 715, Arlington, Virginia 22202-4149.

    For Further Information or To Submit Comments Contact:

    Barry S. Lineback, Telephone: (703) 603-7740, Fax: (703) 603-0655, or email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This notice is published pursuant to 41 U.S.C. 8503 (a)(2) and 41 CFR 51-2.3. Its purpose is to provide interested persons an opportunity to submit comments on the proposed actions.

    Additions

    If the Committee approves the proposed additions, the entities of the Federal Government identified in this notice will be required to procure the products listed below from the nonprofit agency employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities.

    The following products are proposed for addition to the Procurement List for production by the nonprofit agency listed:

    NSN(s)—Product Name(s) 7220-00-NSH-0022—Mat, Floor, Chair, 45″ x 53″ x 0.110″, w/20″ x 12″ Lip 7220-00-NSH-0023—Mat, Floor, Chair, 45″ x 53″ x 0.110″, w/25″ x 12″ Lip 7220-00-NSH-0024—Mat, Floor, Chair, 46″ x 60″ x 0.110″, w/25″ x 12″ Lip 7220-00-NSH-0025—Mat, Floor, Chair, 46″ x 60″ x 0.110″, Without Lip 7220-00-NSH-0026—Mat, Floor, Chair, 60″ x 60″ x 0.110″, Without Lip 7220-00-NSH-0030—Mat, Floor, Chair, 36″ x 48″ x 0.150″, w/20″ x 12″ Lip 7220-00-NSH-0031—Mat, Floor, Chair, 45″ x 53″ x 0.150″, w/25″ x 12″ Lip 7220-00-NSH-0032—Mat, Floor, Chair, 45″ x 53″ x 0.150″, w/20″ x 12″ Lip 7220-00-NSH-0033—Mat, Floor, Chair, 45″ x 53″ x .220″, w/20″ x 12″ Lip 7220-00-NSH-0035—Mat, Floor, Chair, 46″ x 60″ x .150″, Without Lip 7220-00-NSH-0036—Mat, Floor, Chair, 46″ x 60″ x .150″, w/25″ x 12″ Lip 7220-00-NSH-0038—Mat, Floor, Chair, 46″ x 60″ x .220″, w/25″ x 12″ Lip 7220-00-NSH-0039—Mat, Floor, Chair, 46″ x 60″ x .220″, Without Lip 7220-00-NSH-0040—Mat, Floor, Chair, 60″ x 60″ x .150″, Without Lip Mandatory Source(s) of Supply: Northeastern Michigan Rehabilitation and Opportunity Center, Alpena, MI Mandatory for: Total Government Requirement Contracting Activity: General Services Administration, New York, NY Distribution: A-List Deletions

    The following services are proposed for deletion from the Procurement List:

    Services Service Type: Switchboard Service Service Mandatory For: Minot Air Force Base, Minot AFB, ND Mandatory Source of Supply: MVW Services, Inc., Minot, ND Contracting Activity: Dept of the Air Force, FA4528 5 CONS LGCP, Minot AFB, ND Service Type: Library Service Service Mandatory For: Minot Air Force Base, Minot AFB, ND Mandatory Source of Supply: MVW Services, Inc., Minot, ND Contracting Activity: Dept of the Air Force, FA7014 AFDW PK, Andrews AFB, MD Service Type: Mess Attendant Service Service Mandatory For: 192d FW VA Air National Guard, Sandston, VA Mandatory Source of Supply: Richmond Area Association for Retarded Citizens, Richmond, VA Contracting Activity: Dept of the Air Force, FA7014 AFDW PK, Andrews AFB, MD Service Type: Switchboard Operation Service Service Mandatory For: Ellsworth Air Force Base, Ellsworth AFB, SD Mandatory Source of Supply: BH Services, Inc., Ellsworth AFB, SD Contracting Activity: Dept of the Air Force, FA4690 28 CONS LGC, Ellsworth AFB, SD
    Barry S. Lineback, Director, Business Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06826 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6353-01-P
    COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED Procurement List; Deletions AGENCY:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled.

    ACTION:

    Deletions from the Procurement List.

    SUMMARY:

    This action deletes products from the Procurement List that were previously furnished by a nonprofit agency employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities.

    DATES:

    Effective April 24, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, 1401 S. Clark Street, Suite 715, Arlington, Virginia 22202-4149.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Barry S. Lineback, Telephone: (703) 603-7740, Fax: (703) 603-0655, or email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Deletions

    On 2/19/2016 (81 FR 8486), the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled published notice of proposed deletions from the Procurement List.

    After consideration of the relevant matter presented, the Committee has determined that the products listed below are no longer suitable for procurement by the Federal Government under 41 U.S.C. 8501-8506 and 41 CFR 51-2.4.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    I certify that the following action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The major factors considered for this certification were:

    1. The action will not result in additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements for small entities.

    2. The action may result in authorizing small entities to furnish the products to the Government.

    3. There are no known regulatory alternatives which would accomplish the objectives of the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (41 U.S.C. 8501-8506) in connection with the products deleted from the Procurement List.

    End of Certification

    Accordingly, the following products are deleted from the Procurement List:

    Products NSN(s)—Product Name(s): 7530-00-160-8475—Index Sheet Set, Alphabetical, 8 1/2″ x 11″, Buff 7530-00-160-8477—Index Sheet Set, Alphabetical, 11″ x 8 1/2″, Buff Mandatory Source of Supply: Life'sWork of Western PA, Pittsburgh, PA Contracting Activity: General Services Administration, New York, NY Barry S. Lineback, Director, Business Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06825 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6353-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2016-OS-0028] Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service announces a proposed public information collection and seeks public comment on the provisions thereof. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by May 24, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name, docket number and title for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information. Any associated form(s) for this collection may be located within this same electronic docket and downloaded for review/testing. Follow the instructions at http://www.regulations.gov for submitting comments. Please submit comments on any given form identified by docket number, form number, and title.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on this proposed information collection or to obtain a copy of the proposal and associated collection instruments, please write to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service; Office of Financial Operations; Retired and Annuitant Pay Quality Product Assurance Division ATTN: Chuck Moss, Cleveland, OH 44199-2001, or call at (216) 204-4426.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title; Associated Form; and OMB Number: Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)—Automatic Coverage Fact Sheet; DD Form 2656-8; OMB Control Number 0730-TBD.

    Needs and Uses: The information collection requirement is necessary to identify and determine the marital status of the retiree in order to correctly establish the retired pay account.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households.

    Annual Burden Hours: 60.

    Number of Respondents: 240.

    Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Annual Responses: 240.

    Average Burden per Response: 15 minutes.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    If no SBP election is made at retirement time this form is mailed to the retiree. Automatic spouse coverage is established and the completion of this form provides Retired Pay with information about the spouse. In some instances, the retiree is unmarried and the coverage will be changed to reflect that.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register, Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06719 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2016-OS-0027] Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service announces a proposed public information collection and seeks public comment on the provisions thereof. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by May 24, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name, docket number and title for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information. Any associated form(s) for this collection may be located within this same electronic docket and downloaded for review/testing. Follow the instructions at http://www.regulations.gov for submitting comments. Please submit comments on any given form identified by docket number, form number, and title.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on this proposed information collection or to obtain a copy of the proposal and associated collection instruments, please write to Defense Finance and Accounting Service; Office of Financial Operations; Retired and Annuitant Pay Quality Product Assurance Division ATTN: Chuck Moss, Cleveland, OH 44199-2001, or call at (216) 204-4426.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title; Associated Form; and OMB Number: Request for Withholding State Tax; DD Form 2868; OMB Control Number 0730-TBD.

    Needs and Uses: The information collection requirement is necessary to start state tax withholding from a retiree's pay account or to change the amount currently withheld. The retiree's SSN is a required entry as it is necessary to positively identify the retiree in order to send the correct payroll tax withholding information to the appropriate state taxing authority as directed by the retiree.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households.

    Annual Burden Hours: 50.

    Number of Respondents: 200.

    Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Annual Responses: 200.

    Average Burden per Response: 15 minutes.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    The form is completed whenever a retiree determines that it is necessary for them to begin or change state tax withholding from their retired pay account.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06716 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers One-Time Deauthorization of Water Resources Projects AGENCY:

    Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Final Deauthorization Report.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is publishing a Final Deauthorization Report of water resources development projects and separable elements that have been identified for deauthorization in accordance with section 6001(d) of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, Public Law 113-121, 128 STAT. 1346-1347 (WRRDA 2014). The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works transmitted the Final Deauthorization Report to Congress on February 26, 2016. An electronic copy of the complete report is available at: http://www.usace.army.mil/Portals/2/docs/civilworks/budget/final_deauth_report_23feb2016.pdf.

    For Further Information Contact or To Provide Comments:

    Mr. Joseph W. Aldridge, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attention: CECW-IP, Washington, DC 20314-1000. Tel. (202) 761-4130 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Final Deauthorization Report required by § 6001(d).

    Section 6001(d) provides that the Secretary shall develop a Final Deauthorization Report. This report includes a list of each water resources development project, or separable element of a project, described in Section 6001(c) and the other provisions of Section 6001(d), as well as an appendix (Appendix A) that lists any project, or separable element of a project, included as part of the Interim Deauthorization List but not included in the Final Deauthorization Report and the reasons why they are not included in the report. Appendix B of the Final Deauthorization Report (available on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Web site referenced below) contains copies of the comments received during the public comment period. The Final Deauthorization Report with Appendix A follows below in Table 1. An electronic copy of the Final Deauthorization Report with appendices can be found at: http://www.usace.army.mil/Portals/2/docs/civilworks/budget/final_deauth_report_23feb2016.pdf.

    The Interim Deauthorization List was developed in accordance with Section 6001(c) of WRRDA 2014 and was published for public comment in the Federal Register on October 7, 2015. Per Section 6001(d), not later than 120 days following the 90-day public comment period of the Interim Deauthorization List, that ended on January 4, 2016, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA(CW)) will transmit the Final Deauthorization Report to the Environment & Public Works Committee of the Senate and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the House of Representatives. Additionally, the ASA(CW) will publish the Final Deauthorization Report in the Federal Register. The ASA(CW) transmitted the Final Deauthorization Report to the Committees on February 26, 2016.

    Section 6001(d)(2)(A) of WRRDA 2014 requires that the Secretary shall include on the Final Deauthorization Report, projects and separable elements of projects that have, in the aggregate, an estimated Federal cost to complete that is at least $18 billion. The ASA(CW) has strived to meet the requirements of Section 6001, but was not able to identify projects that totaled $18 billion based upon the criteria provided in Section 6001. The projects and elements on the Final Deauthorization Report will be deauthorized automatically after 180 days following the date that the ASA(CW) submits the Final Deauthorization List to the Committees, unless the Congress passes a joint resolution disapproving the Final Deauthorization Report or the non-Federal interest for the project or separable element of a project provides sufficient funds to complete the construction of the project or separable element. The amount shown as the Federal Balance to complete is a working estimate generally based on the authorization and as such any non-Federal interests considering providing sufficient funds to complete a project or separable element should contact the appropriate District Commander to discuss the process necessary to develop a final cost to complete a project or separable element.

    The Final Deauthorization Report identifies water resources development projects, or separable elements of a project, that meet the following criteria. Projects and separable elements eligible for deauthorization are those uncompleted construction projects and separable elements meeting all of the following criteria: (1) They were authorized for construction before November 8, 2007, or their most recent modification of the construction authorization predates November 8, 2007; (2) their construction has not been initiated, or, if construction has been initiated, there have been no obligations of Federal or non-Federal funds for construction in the current fiscal year or any of the past 6 fiscal years; and, (3) there has been no funding for a post-authorization study in the current fiscal year or any of the past 6 fiscal years. As specifically provided in section 6001(f)(1)(B) of WRRDA 2014, water resources development projects include environmental infrastructure assistance projects and programs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In accordance with section 103(f) of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, separable elements is defined as “a portion of a project—

    (1) which is physically separable from other portions of the project; and

    (2) which—

    (A) achieves hydrologic effects, or

    (B) produces physical or economic benefits, which are separately identifiable from those produced by other portions of the project.”

    The following elements of an authorized water resources development project also qualify as separable elements: an element for which there is an executed design agreement or project partnership agreement specific to that element; an element that has received funding specified for that element; an element that was authorized separately from or as an amendment to the authorization for the remainder of the water resources development project, that was separately identified in the authorization for the water resources development project, or for which a statute specifies an authorized cost, estimated cost, or amount authorized to be appropriated; an element that has been placed in service or for which the Government or the non-Federal partner has assumed operation and maintenance; an element that has been deauthorized; or the remaining portion of the water resources development project apart from other separable elements.

    Authority:

    This notice is required by § 6001(d) of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, Public Law 113-121, 128 STAT 1346-1347.

    Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works). Table 1 (Final Deauthorization Report) State Project/Element name Public law of authorization or latest amendment Section of public law Latest fiscal year of
  • Federal or non-Federal
  • obligations for
  • construction
  • Federal balance to complete (subject to section 902 where applicable)
  • ($)
  • AL ALABAMA-COOSA RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES, AL (COOSA RIVER BETWEEN MONTGOMERY AND GADSDEN) 99-662 813 1986 3,781,921,691 AL DUCK RIVER, AL 106-554 108a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 5,000,000 AR UNION COUNTY, AR 106-554 108d 2008 51,247,100 L'ANGUILLE RIVER BASIN, AR 99-662 103 2004 19,466,768 ARKANSAS RIVER LEVEES, AR 101-640 110(a1) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 591,605 BEAVER DAM, AR (TROUT PRODUCTION CENTER) 94-587 105 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 5,990,000 BEAVER LAKE, BENTON/WASH, AR 104-303 523 2002 5,000,000 CA CALAVERAS COUNTY, CA 104-303 526 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,500,000 CLEAR LAKE BASIN, CA 106-554 108a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 COLUSA TROUGH DRAINAGE CANAL, SACRAMENTO RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES, CA 99-662 830 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 18,900,846 PINE FLAT DAM, CA 106-541 101b(7) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 41,502,918 CHINO HILLS, CA 106-554 108a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 EASTERN MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT, CA 106-554 108a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 GOLETA & VICINITY, CA 102-580 102b 1984 1,233,626 LOS ANGELES HARBOR/TERMINAL ISLAND, CA 106-554 108d NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 6,500,000 LOWER MISSION CREEK, CA 100-676 3a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 14,625,971 SAN DIEGO AREA WATER REUSE DEMOSTRATION FACILITIES, CA 102-580 217c(2) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 5,000,000 SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA (CORONADO TRANSBAY WASTEWATER PIPELINE) 106-554 108d NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 10,000,000 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COMPREHENSIVE WATER REUSE SYSTEM, CA 102-580 217c(1) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 5,000,000 CT BRIDGEPORT COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOW PTOJECT, CT 106-53 502b NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 10,000,000 CT, ME, MA, NH, RI & VT NEW ENGLAND WATER RESOURCES AND ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION, CT, ME, MA, NH, RI & VT 106-541 507 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 0 DC & MD WASHINGTON, DC AND MARYLAND, DC & MD 106-554 108d 1998 14,807,000 FL COMPREHENSIVE EVERGLADES RESTORATION PLAN, FL (LAKE BELT IN-GROUND RESERVOIR TECHNOLOGY) 106-541 601b2bii 2005 17,000,000 COMPREHENSIVE EVERGLADES RESTORATION PLAN, FL (NORTH NEW RIVER IMPROVEMENTS) 106-541 601b2cix NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 67,150,000 COMPREHENSIVE EVERGLADES RESTORATION PLAN, FL (RAISE AND BRIDGE EAST PORTION OF TAMIAMI TRAIL AND FILL MIAMI CANAL WITHIN WATER) (CONSEVATION AREA 3) 106-541 601b2cviii NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 21,500,000 COMPREHENSIVE EVERGLADES RESTORATION PLAN, FL (TAYLOR CREEK/NUBBIN SLOUGH STORAGE AND TREATMENT AREA) 106-541 601b2cvii NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 67,800,000 COMPREHENSIVE EVERGLADES RESTORATION PLAN, FL (WASTEWATER REUSE TECHNOLOGY) 106-541 601b2biv 2005 20,500,000 HUDSON RIVER, FL 81-516 101 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 3,650,000 KEY BISCAYNE, FL 106-554 108a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 LITTLE TALBOT ISLAND, FL 106-53 101(b)(7) 2000 6,786,030 SOUTH TAMPA, FL 106-554 108a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 TAMPA HARBOR, ALAFIA RIVER, FL 106-554 107 2006 64,771,847 TAMPA HARBOR, FL ((PORT SUTTON TURNING BASIN) WIDENING TO AN ADDITIONAL 105 FEET TO THE FENDER LINE ALONG PENDOLA POINT) 99-662 858 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 8,434,881 HI WAIKIKI EROSION CONTROL, HI 89-298 301 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 16,584,000 ID SNAKE RIVER INTERPRETIVE CENTER, CLARKSTON, WA 108-137 124 2004 3,750,044 IL AURORA, IL 106-554 108d NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 8,000,000 DES PLAINES RIVER, IL (NORTH FORK MILL CREEK DAM MODIFICATION) 106-53 101b(10) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 5,795,400 IN FORT WAYNE, IN 106-554 108a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,529,324 INDIANAPOLIS, IN 106-554 108a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 KY BEAVER CREEK BASIN, KY 89-298 204 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 20,873,500 KY & TN REELFOOT LAKE, TN & KY 106-53 101b(11) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 33,072,769 LA PEARL RIVER, SLIDELL, SAINT TAMMANY PARISH, LA 99-662 401b 2002 29,311,000 BAYOU COCODRIE AND TRIBUTARIES, LA 93-251 87 1987 345,472,000 GULF INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY, LA & TX (LA-TX SECTION—UNCONSTRUCTED FEATURES) 87-874 101 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 201,422,000 KENNER, LA 106-554 108 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 5,000,000 ST. CHARLES, ST. BERNARD, AND PLAQUEMINES PARISHES, LA 106-554 108a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST AND ST. JAMES PARISHES, LA 106-554 108a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 TANGIPAHOA, TCHEFUNCTE, AND TICKFAW RIVERS, LA 99-662 401 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 21,723,000 MA MUDDY RIVER, BROOKLINE AND BOSTON, MA (AQUATIC ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION FEATURES) 106-541 522 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 24,050,000 MI ALPENA HARBOR, MI (25-FOOT CHANNEL) 104-303 363d NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 4,063,120 BAY CITY, MI 101-640 105 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 8,466,275 BENTON HARBOR, ST JOSEPH WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT, ST JOSEPH, MI 106-554 108d NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,500,000 CHARLEVOIX, MI (REVETMENT CONNECTION) 106-53 373 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 52,500 ONTONAGON HARBOR, ONTONAGON COUNTY MI 104-303 363e NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 37,134,623 SAGINAW RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES, MI (CASS RIVER AT VASSAR) 106-53 364(3) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 13,909,394 SAGINAW RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES, MI (CURTIS ROAD BRIDGE) 99-662 845 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 720,653 SAGINAW RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES, MI (FLINT RIVER AT FLINT) 104-303 329 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 571,781 SAGINAW RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES, MI (SHIAWASSEE FLATS) 106-53 364(4) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 106,825,583 MI, MN & WI GREAT LAKES CONNECTING CHANNELS & HARBORS, MN, MI & WI 101-640 101a15 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 17,938,174 MN DULUTH, MN (ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY PROJECT) 104-303 541a/b NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,000,000 LAKE SUPERIOR CENTER, MN 104-303 542 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 10,000,000 MISSISSIPPI PLACE, MN 106-53 577 2006 2,968,178 MN & WI DULUTH-SUPERIOR CHANNEL EXTENSION, MN & WI 99-662 201a 1995 14,064,481 MO KANSAS CITY, MO 106-53 502b NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 15,000,000 MO & IL ST LOUIS HARBOR, MO & IL 99-662 601a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 43,253,100 MS YAZOO BASIN, TRIBUTARIES, MS (UNCONSTRUCTED FEATURES) 89-298 204 2007 233,490,728 YAZOO RIVER, MS (SHEPARDSTOWN BRIDGE) 99-662 822 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 2,011,094 MS & LA MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA ESTUARINE AREAS, MS & LA 100-676 3(a)8 2003 70,668,540 NC LUMBERTON, NC 106-53 502b NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,700,000 UNION COUNTY, NC 106-554 108a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 NC & SC SUGAR CREEK BASIN, NC & SC 99-662 401a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 54,523,100 NH NASHUA, NH (COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOW) 106-53 502(b) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 19,853,000 ROCHESTER, NH 104-303 504(e)(4) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 10,897,120 NJ ELIZABETH, NJ 106-53 502(f) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 20,000,000 NORTH HUDSON, NJ 106-53 502(f) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 20,000,000 PATTERSON AND PASSAIC COUNTY, NJ 106-554 108c NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 30,000,000 STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND NEW JERSEY WASTEWATER TREATMENT TRUST, NJ 102-580 219c(10) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 TOWN OF NEWTON, NJ 106-554 108d NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 7,000,000 NV LAS VEGAS WASH AND TRIBUTARIES, NV 102-580 101(13) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 3,360,938 LAS VEGAS, NV 109-103 115 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 20,000,000 ERIE COUNTY, BUFFALO AMHERST, NY 102-580 221 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 7,000,000 NY ERIE COUNTY, NY (SLUDGE DISPOSAL) 102-580 219c(12) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 ERIE COUNTY, NY (WATER QUALITY TUNNEL) 102-580 219c(11) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 LEWISTON STORMWATER, NY 102-580 222 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 200,000 LIVERPOOL, NY 106-554 108d NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 2,000,000 INNER HARBOR PROJECT, NEW YORK, NY 106-53 502(f) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 15,000,000 LOWER HUDSON RIVER & TRIBUTARIES, NY 106-53 212e NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 30,000,000 OUTER HARBOR PROJECT, NEW YORK, NY 106-53 502(f) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 15,000,000 NY/NJ NEW YORK HARBOR COLLECTION AND REMOVAL OF DRIFT, NY & NJ 101-640 102 2005 201,549,768 OH OTTAWA RIVER HARBOR, OH 101-640 107a(7) 2006 13,218,200 HOCKING RIVER, LOGAN, OH 99-662 401a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 16,282,709 MIAMI RIVER BASIN, PLEASANT RUN, VICINITY FAIRFIELD, OH 99-662 401(a) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 18,041,480 OK FORT GIBSON LAKE, OK (POWER UNITS 5 & 6) 99-662 601a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 45,485,000 OR ASTORIA, OR 106-53 502b NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 5,000,000 HOOD RIVER, OR 106-554 108a(36) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 MEDFORD, OR 106-554 108a(37) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 PORTLAND, OR 106-554 108a(38) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 PA COUDERSPORT, PA 106-554 108 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 FINDLAY TOWNSHIP, PA 106-53 502 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 11,000,000 GREENSBORO AND GLASSWORKS, PA 102-580 219c(15) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,543,324 JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, GREENE COUNTY, PA 106-53 502 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,000,000 NORTH FAYETTE TOWNSHIP, ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PA 106-53 502 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 500,000 ROBINSON TOWNSHIP, PA 106-53 502 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,200,000 SPRINGDALE BOROUGH, PA 106-53 502 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 500,000 TITUSVILLE, PA 106-554 108 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 7,300,000 WASHINGTON, GREENE, WESTMORELAND, AND FAYETTE COUNTIES, PA 106-554 108 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 8,000,000 BRADFORD AND SULLIVAN COUNTIES, PA 106-53 548 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 13,000,000 DAUPHIN COUNTY, PA 106-53 502b NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 2,000,000 DILLSBURG BOROUGH AUTHORITY, PA 106-53 502b NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 2,000,000 HAMPDEN TOWNSHIP, PA 106-53 502b NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 3,000,000 MOUNT JOY TOWNSHIP AND CONEWAGO TOWNSHIP, PA 106-554 108d NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 8,300,000 PATTON TOWNSHIP, PA 106-53 502b NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,400,000 UPPER ALLEN TOWNSHIP, PA 106-53 502b NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 3,400,000 DELAWARE RIVER BASIN—WABASH CREEK, BOROUGH OF TAMAQUA, PA 93-251 2 1993 13,194,000 PHILADELPHIA, PA (FRANKFORD DAM) 104-303 564e NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 900,000 PHILADELPHIA, PA (PENNYPACK PARK) 104-303 564d NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 15,000,000 PHILADELPHIA, PA (WATER WORKS RESTORATION) 104-303 564a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,000,000 PHOENIXVILLE BOROUGH, CHESTER COUNTY, PA 106-554 108d NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 2,400,000 TOWAMENCIN TOWNSHIP, PA 106-53 502b 2005 1,462,000 PR GUANAJIBO RIVER, PR 106-53 101 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 3,495,941 RIO NIGUA AT SALINAS, PR 106-53 101 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 12,145,000 RI CRANSTON, RI 101-640 54 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 6,000,000 DREDGING OF SALT PONDS IN THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, RI 106-53 578 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 1,100,000 SC CHARLESTON, SC 108-137 127 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 10,000,000 TN MEMPHIS HARBOR, MEMPHIS, TN 106-53 364 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 110,044,000 NONCONNAH CREEK, TN & MS (EXTENSION) 106-541 334 2004 36,188,000 TX NAVASOTA RIVER BASIN, TX (MILLICAN LAKE, TX) 90-483 203 1983 778,421,000 TRINITY RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES, TX (LIBERTY LOCAL PROTECTION PROJECT) 108-447 116 1981 19,985,000 TRINITY RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES, TX (NAVIGATION CHANNEL ABOVE LIBERTY) 108-447 116 1981 5,412,060,000 TRINITY RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES, TX (WEST FORK FLOODWAY) 108-447 116 1981 119,408,000 BUFFALO BAYOU AND TRIBUTARIES, TX (HALLS BAYOU) 101-640 101(21) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 112,536,000 LOWER RIO GRANDE BASIN, TEXAS (SOUTH MAIN CHANNEL), TX 99-662 401(a) 2005 207,183,000 TX & OK RED RIVER WATERWAY (BANK STABILIZATION FEATURES) 90-483 101 2004 685,324,228 UT CACHE COUNTY, UT 106-53 502(b) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 5,000,000 UT UPPER JORDAN RIVER, UT 106-53 357 2004 11,087,268 VA LEVISA AND TUG FORKS AND UPPER CUMBERLAND RIVER VA, WV, KY (HAYSI LAKE, VA) 104-303 353 1989 185,915,319 NORFOLK HARBOR ANCHORAGES, VA 101-640 107(a)(13) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 63,130,000 WALLOPS ISLAND, VA 106-53 567 NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 8,000,000 WA STILLAGUMAISH RIVER BASIN, WA 106-541 101b(27) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 26,047,966 WV CABIN CREEK LPP, WV 99-662 601a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 10,409,900 ISLAND CREEK BASIN, VICINITY OF LOGAN, WV (NON-STRUCTURAL FEATURES) 99-662 401a NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 107,707,600 WEST VIRGINIA PORT DEVELOPMENT, WV 106-53 557(3) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 24,144,000 WEIRTON PORT, WV 106-53 557(2) NO OBLIGATION FOR CONSTRUCTION 15,274,778 TOTAL 14,255,612,373
    Final Deauthorization Report WRRDA 2014, Section 6001(d)(3)(B) Appendix A—Projects Removed From the Interim Deauthorization List State Project/Element name Reason project removed from interim deauthorization list Louisiana Amite River and Tributaries Technical Correction: The Amite River and Tributaries project is identified in later authorizations as the Comite River Diversion project, which is under construction. Connecticut Hartford Environmental Infrastructure Technical Correction: Project Previously Deauthorized (Federal Register 74.126). Connecticut New Haven Environmental Infrastructure Technical Correction: Project Previously Deauthorized (Federal Register 74.126). Maine Fall River and New Bedford Environmental Infrastructure Technical Correction: Project Previously Deauthorized (Federal Register 74.126).
    [FR Doc. 2016-06695 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720-58-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2016-ICCD-0034] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Study of the Title III Native American and Alaska Native Children in School (NAM) Program AGENCY:

    Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development (OPEPD), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

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

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before May 24, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://www.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED-2016-ICCD-0034. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Room 2E-103, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Joanne Bogart, 202-205-7855.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    Title of Collection: Study of the Title III Native American and Alaska Native Children in School (NAM) Program.

    OMB Control Number: 1875—New.

    Type of Review: A new information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: State, Local, or Tribal Governments.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 509.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 510.

    Abstract: The NAM Program seeks to improve academic outcomes in English for Native American and Alaska Native (NA/AN) students, providing funding for programs that support language instruction educational programs, including NA/AN language and culture revitalization. The goal of this study is to describe how 22 current grantees have use the NAM Program to support NA/AN students. Results will help the Department structure future funding rounds and better support current and future grantees.

    Dated: March 22, 2016. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06823 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Application for New Awards; Native American and Alaska Native Children in School Program AGENCY:

    Office of English Language Acquisition, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    Overview Information:

    Native American and Alaska Native Children in School Program Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2016.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.365C.

    DATES:

    Applications Available: March 25, 2016.

    Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: April 14, 2016.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 24, 2016.

    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: July 25, 2016.

    Full Text of Announcement I. Funding Opportunity Description Purpose of Program

    The purpose of the Native American and Alaska Native Children in School (NAM) program is to award grants to eligible entities to develop and enhance capacity to provide effective instruction and support to Native American students, including Native Hawaiian and Native American Pacific Islander, who are identified as English learners (ELs). The goal of this program is to support the teaching, learning, and studying of Native American languages while also increasing the English language proficiency of students served to meet challenging State academic content and achievement standards.

    Background

    Through previous competitions, the NAM program has funded a range of grantees that are currently implementing 25 projects across the country. As the educational needs of Native Americans and Alaska Natives continue to grow, there is also a need to increase knowledge of what practices work to effectively improve learning outcomes for Native American and Alaska Native ELs.

    Congress, in the Native American Languages Act of 1990, recognized the fundamental importance of preserving Native American languages. Congress states that it is the policy of the United States to:

    Preserve, protect, and promote the rights and freedom of Native Americans to use, practice, and develop Native American languages.

    25 U.S.C. 2903(1)

    In addition, it is the policy of the United States to encourage and support the use of Native American languages as a medium of instruction in order to encourage and support—

    (A) Native American language survival,

    (B) educational opportunity,

    (C) increased student success and performance,

    (D) increased student awareness and knowledge of their culture and history, and

    (E) increased student and community pride.

    25 U.S.C. 2903 (3)

    This Federal policy is supported by growing recognition of the importance of native language preservation in facilitating educational success for Native students. In a 2007 study by Teachers of English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL), the majority of Native youth surveyed stated that they value their native language, viewed it as integral to their sense of self, wanted to learn it, and viewed it as a means of facilitating their success in school and life.1 Collaborative efforts between educators, families, and communities, the study suggests, may be especially promising ways to ensure that all Native students have the critical opportunity to learn their native languages.

    1 Romero-Little, M.E., McCarty, T.L., Warhol, L., and Zepeda, O. (2007). Language policies in practice: Preliminary findings from a large-scale study of Native American language shift. TESOL Quarterly 41:3, 607-618.

    Not only is native language instruction critical for student engagement and fostering a rich sense of self, but research has shown that students who are bilingual have certain cognitive and social benefits that their monolingual peers may lack.2 Additionally, for students who are classified as ELs, well-implemented language instruction educational programs (as defined in this notice), including dual language approaches, may result in ELs performing equal to or better than their peers in English-only language instruction programs. These approaches have shown promise in increasing language acquisition in English and native languages, and may also promote greater achievement in the academic content areas, including English language arts and mathematics.3

    2 Valentino, R.A., and Reardon, S.F. (2015). Effectiveness of four instructional programs designed to serve English language learners: Variation by ethnicity and initial English proficiency. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, doi: 10.3102/0162373715573310.

    3 Lindholm-Leary, K.J. (2001). Dual-language education (Vol. 28). Multilingual Matters.

    Therefore, to facilitate high-quality language instruction and academic success for Native American students who are classified as ELs, this competition includes an absolute priority for projects that will support the preservation and revitalization of Native American languages while also increasing the English language proficiency of the children served under the project.

    For this competition, the Department also seeks to support projects designed to improve early learning and development outcomes for Native American and Alaskan Native students across one or more of the essential domains of school readiness for children from birth through third grade and throughout the early elementary school years. Accordingly, this notice includes a competitive preference priority related to improving early learning and development outcomes.

    In addition, the Department is interested in projects designed to improve parental, family, and community engagement. Literature suggests that educators who involve families in their students' education can strengthen their instructional effectiveness with ELs.4 5 Accordingly, this notice includes an invitational priority related to improving parent, family, and community engagement.

    4 Chen, C., Kyle, D.W., and McIntyre, M. (2008). Helping teachers work effectively with English language learners and their families. The School Community Journal, 18 (1), 7-20.

    5 Waterman, R., and Harry, B. (2008). Building Collaboration Between Schools and Parents of English Language Learners: Transcending Barriers, Creating Opportunities. Tempe, AZ: National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems.

    Finally, to grow the evidence available on effective ways to support Native American and Alaska Native ELs, we include a selection criterion under which applications will be evaluated on the extent to which their proposed project designs are supported by strong theory, as defined in this notice. In addition, we include a selection criterion that encourages applicants to design evaluations of their projects that would provide them with continuous, formative feedback on their progress toward their project goals.

    Priorities: This notice includes one absolute priority, one competitive preference priority, and one invitational priority. The absolute priority is from section 3128 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) (20 U.S.C. 7801). The competitive preference priority is from the Department's notice of final supplemental priorities and definitions for discretionary grant programs (Supplemental Priorities), published in the Federal Register on December 10, 2014 (79 FR 73425).

    Absolute Priority: For FY 2016 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applications from this competition, this priority is an absolute priority. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet this priority.

    This priority is:

    Projects that support the teaching, learning, and studying of Native American languages while also increasing the English language proficiency of the children served.

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

    This priority is:

    Improving Early Learning and Development Outcomes (0 to 5 points).

    Projects that are designed to improve early learning and development outcomes across one or more of the essential domains of school readiness for children from birth through third grade (or for any age group within this range) through a focus on one or both of the following:

    (a) Increasing access to high-quality early learning and development programs and comprehensive services, particularly for children with high needs.

    (b) Improving the coordination and alignment among early learning and development systems and between such systems and elementary education systems, including coordination and alignment in engaging and supporting families and improving transitions for children along the birth-through-third-grade continuum, in accordance with applicable privacy laws.

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

    This priority is:

    Parent, Family, and Community Engagement.

    Projects that will support meaningful parent, family, and community engagement (as defined in this notice) to improve student achievement.

    Applicants are encouraged to design a comprehensive approach to leveraging sustained partnerships (as defined in this notice) with community-based organizations, institutions of higher education (IHEs), and other entities.

    Definitions: The following definitions are from 34 CFR 77.1, 34 CFR 200.6, the Supplemental Priorities, and sections 3201 and 8101 of the ESEA, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (20 U.S.C. 7011 and 7801), and apply to the priorities, selection criteria, and performance measures in this notice. The source of each definition is noted in parentheses following the text of the definition.

    Ambitious means promoting continued, meaningful improvement for program participants or for other individuals or entities affected by the grant, or representing a significant advancement in the field of education research, practices, or methodologies. When used to describe a performance target, whether a performance target is ambitious depends upon the context of the relevant performance measure and the baseline for that measure. (34 CFR 77.1)

    Baseline means the starting point from which performance is measured and targets are set. (34 CFR 77.1)

    Children with high needs means children from birth through kindergarten entry who are from low-income families or otherwise in need of special assistance and support, including children who have disabilities or developmental delays; who are English learners; who reside on “Indian lands” as that term is defined by section 8013(7) of the ESEA, as amended by NCLB; who are migrant, homeless, or in foster care; and who are other children as identified by the State. (34 CFR 77.1)

    Community engagement means the systematic inclusion of community organizations as partners with State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), or other educational institutions, or their school or program staff to accomplish activities that may include developing a shared community vision, establishing a shared accountability agreement, participating in shared data-collection and analysis, or establishing community networks that are focused on shared community-level outcomes. These organizations may include faith- and community-based organizations, IHEs (including minority-serving institutions eligible to receive aid under title III or title V of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA)), businesses and industries, labor organizations, State and local government entities, or Federal entities other than the Department. (Supplemental Priorities)

    English learner, when used with respect to an individual, means an individual—

    (A) Who is aged 3 through 21;

    (B) Who is enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary school or secondary school;

    (C)(i) Who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English;

    (ii)(I) Who is a Native American or Alaska Native, or a Native resident of the outlying areas; and

    (II) Who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual's level of English language proficiency; or

    (iii) Who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; and

    (D) Whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual—

    (i) The ability to meet the State's challenging State academic standards;

    (ii) The ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English; or

    (iii) The opportunity to participate fully in society. (Section 8101 of the ESEA, as amended by ESSA)

    Essential domains of school readiness means the domains of language and literacy development, cognition and general knowledge (including early mathematics and early scientific development), approaches toward learning (including the utilization of the arts), physical well-being and motor development (including adaptive skills), and social and emotional development. (Supplemental Priorities)

    Language instruction educational program means an instruction course—

    (A) In which an English learner is placed for the purpose of developing and attaining English proficiency, while meeting challenging State academic achievement standards; and

    (B) That may make instructional use of both English and a child's native language to enable the child to develop and attain English proficiency, and may include the participation of English proficient children if such course is designed to enable all participating children to become proficient in English and a second language. (Section 3201 of the ESEA, as amended by ESSA)

    Logic model (also referred to as theory of action) means a well-specified conceptual framework that identifies key components of the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice (i.e., the active “ingredients” that are hypothesized to be critical to achieving the relevant outcomes) and describes the relationships among the key components and outcomes, theoretically and operationally. (34 CFR 77.1)

    Note:

    Applicants may use resources such as the Pacific Education Laboratory's Education Logic Model Application (http://relpacific.mcrel.org/resources/elm-app) to help design their logic models.

    Native Hawaiian or Native American Pacific Islander native language educational organization means a nonprofit organization with—

    (A) A majority of its governing board and employees consisting of fluent speakers of the traditional Native American languages used in the organization's educational programs; and

    (B) Not less than five years successful experience in providing educational services in traditional Native American languages. (Section 3201 of the ESEA, as amended by ESSA)

    Parent and family engagement means the systematic inclusion of parents and families, working in partnership with SEAs, State lead agencies (under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or the State's Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant), LEAs, or other educational institutions, or their staff, in their child's education, which may include strengthening the ability of (A) parents and families to support their child's education; and (B) school or program staff to work with parents and families. (Supplemental Priorities)

    Performance target means a level of performance that an applicant would seek to meet during the course of a project or as a result of a project. (34 CFR 77.1)

    Strong theory means a rationale for the proposed process, product, strategy, or practice that includes a logic model. (34 CFR 77.1)

    Student achievement means—

    For grades and subjects in which assessments are required under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA, as amended by NCLB: (1) A student's score on such assessments; and, as appropriate (2) other measures of student learning, such as those described in the subsequent paragraph, provided that they are rigorous and comparable across schools within an LEA.

    For grades and subjects in which assessments are not required under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA, as amended by NCLB: (1) Alternative measures of student learning and performance, such as student results on pre-tests, end-of-course tests, and objective performance-based assessments; (2) student learning objectives; (3) student performance on English language proficiency assessments; and (4) other measures of student achievement that are rigorous and comparable across schools within an LEA. (Supplemental Priorities)

    Sustained partnership means a relationship that has demonstrably adequate resources and other support to continue beyond the funding period and that consist of community organizations as partners with an LEA and one or more of its schools. These organizations may include faith- and community-based organizations, IHEs (including minority-serving institutions eligible to receive aid under title III or title V of the HEA), businesses and industries, labor organizations, State and local government entities, or Federal entities other than the Department. (Supplemental Priorities)

    Program Authority:

    20 U.S.C. 6822.

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 81, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to Agencies on Government-wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended in 2 CFR part 3474. (d) The Supplemental Priorities.

    Note:

    The regulations in 34 CFR part 79 apply to all applicants except federally recognized Indian tribes.

    Note:

    The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to IHEs only.

    II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

    Estimated Available Funds: $3,223,778.

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

    Estimated Range of Awards: $275,000-325,000 per year.

    Estimated Average Size of Awards: $300,000.

    Estimated Number of Awards: 10.

    Note:

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

    Project Period: 60 months.

    III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: The following entities, when they operate elementary, secondary, or postsecondary schools primarily for Native American children (including Alaska Native children), are eligible applicants under this program:

    (a) Indian tribes.

    (b) Tribally sanctioned educational authorities.

    (c) Native Hawaiian or Native American Pacific Islander native language educational organizations.

    (d) Elementary schools or secondary schools that are operated or funded by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs, or a consortium of these schools.

    (e) Elementary schools or secondary schools operated under a contract with or grant from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in consortium with another such school or a tribal or community organization.

    (f) Elementary schools or secondary schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and an IHE, in consortium with an elementary school or secondary school operated under a contract with or a grant from the Bureau of Indian Affairs or a tribal or community organization.

    Note:

    Eligible applicants applying as a consortium should read and follow the regulations in 34 CFR 75.127 through 75.129.

    Under section 3112(c) of the ESEA, as amended by NCLB, EL students served under NAM grants must not be included in the child count submitted by a school district under section 3114(a) for purposes of receiving funding under the English Language Acquisition State Grants program.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This program does not require cost sharing or matching.

    3. Equitable Participation by Public and Private School Students and Educational Personnel in a Title III Program: An entity that receives a grant under the NAM program must provide for the equitable participation of private school children and their teachers or other educational personnel. To ensure that grant program activities address the needs of private school children, the applicant must engage in timely and meaningful consultation with appropriate private school officials during the design and development of the program. This consultation must take place before the applicant makes any decision that affects the opportunities for participation by eligible private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel. Administrative direction and control over grant funds must remain with the grantee. (See section 9501 of the ESEA, as amended by NCLB Participation by Private School Children and Teachers.)

    IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an application package via the Internet or from the Education Publications Center (ED Pubs). To obtain a copy via the Internet, use the following address: www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/grantapps/index.html. To obtain a copy from ED Pubs, write, fax, or call: ED Pubs, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 22207, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone, toll free: 1-877-433-7827. FAX: (703) 605-6794. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call, toll free: 1-877-576-7734.

    You can contact ED Pubs at its Web site, also: www.EDPubs.gov or at its email address: [email protected]

    If you request an application package from ED Pubs, be sure to identify this program or competition as follows: CFDA 84.365C.

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

    2. a. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for this competition. Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: April 14, 2016.

    We will be able to develop a more efficient process for reviewing grant applications if we know the approximate number of applicants that intend to apply for funding under this competition. Therefore, we strongly encourage each potential applicant to notify us of the applicant's intent to submit an application by emailing [email protected] with the subject line “Intent to Apply” and include in the content of the email the following information: (1) The applicant organization's name and address, and (2) whether the applicant is addressing the competitive preference priority or the invitational priority. Applicants that do not provide notice of their intent to apply may still submit an application. Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. Applicants must limit the application narrative to no more than 35 pages. Applicants are also strongly encouraged not to include lengthy appendices that contain information that they were unable to include within the page limits for the narrative.

    Applicants must use the following standards:

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

    • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative, including titles, charts, tables, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and captions.

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

    • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial.

    The page limit for the application does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, certification of eligibility, or letters of support of project partners if applied as a consortium. However, the page limit does apply to all of the application narrative section of the application.

    We will reject your application if you exceed the page limit.

    b. Submission of Proprietary Information:

    Given the types of projects that may be proposed in applications for the NAM program, your application may include business information that you consider proprietary. In 34 CFR 5.11 we define “business information” and describe the process we use in determining whether any of that information is proprietary and, thus, protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552, as amended).

    Consistent with the process followed in the prior NAM competitions, we may post the project narrative section of funded NAM applications on the Department's Web site so you may wish to request confidentiality of business information. Identifying proprietary information in the submitted application will help facilitate this public disclosure process.

    Consistent with Executive Order 12600, please designate in your application any information that you believe is exempt from disclosure under Exemption 4. In the appropriate Appendix section of your application, under “Other Attachments Form,” please list the page number or numbers on which we can find this information. For additional information please see 34 CFR 5.11(c).

    3. Submission Dates and Times:

    Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: April 14, 2016. Informational Meetings: We intend to hold Webinars to provide technical assistance to interested applicants. Detailed information regarding these meetings will be provided on the NAM Web site athttp://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oela/index.html.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: May 24, 2016.

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

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

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

    Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: July 25, 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Note:

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

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

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

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

    7. Other Submission Requirements:

    Applications for grants for the NAM program must be submitted electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

    a. Electronic Submission of Applications

    Applications for grants under the NAM program, CFDA number 84.365C, must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

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

    You may access the electronic grant application for the NAM program at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.365, not 84.365C).

    Please note the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Note:

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

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

    • You do not have access to the Internet; or

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

    and

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

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

    Address and mail or fax your statement to:

    Patrice Swann, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5C144, Washington, DC 20202-6510. FAX: (202) 260-5496.

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

    b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail

    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you may mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or a commercial carrier) your application to the Department. You must mail the original and two copies of your application, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address:

    U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.365C), LBJ Basement Level 1, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20202-4260.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (1) A private metered postmark.

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

    Note:

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

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

    c. Submission of Paper Applications by Hand Delivery

    If you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, you (or a courier service) may deliver your paper application to the Department by hand. You must deliver the original and two copies of your application by hand, on or before the application deadline date, to the Department at the following address:

    U.S. Department of Education, Application Control Center, Attention: (CFDA Number 84.365C), 550 12th Street SW., Room 7039, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-4260. The Application Control Center accepts hand deliveries daily between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, except Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays. Note for Mail or Hand Delivery of Paper Applications:

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

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

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

    V. Application Review Information

    1. Selection Criteria: The selection criteria for this competition are from section 75.210 of EDGAR. The maximum score for all of these criteria is 100 points (not including competitive preference priority points). The maximum score for each criterion is indicated in parentheses.

    (a) Quality of the project design. (up to 45 points)

    The Secretary considers the quality of the design of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the design of the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

    (1) The extent to which the goals, objectives, and outcomes to be achieved by the proposed project are clearly specified and measurable.

    (2) The extent to which the design for implementing and evaluating the proposed project will result in information to guide possible replications of project activities or strategies including information about the effectiveness of the approach or strategies employed by the project.

    (3) The extent to which the proposed project is supported by strong theory (as defined in this notice).

    (b) Quality of project personnel. (up to 10 points)

    The Secretary considers the quality of the personnel who will carry out the proposed project. In determining the quality of project personnel, the Secretary considers the following factors:

    (1) The extent to which the applicant encourages applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have traditionally been underrepresented based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability.

    (2) The qualifications, including relevant training and experience, of key project personnel.

    (c) Quality of the management plan. (up to 25 points)

    The Secretary considers the quality of the management plan for the proposed project. In determining the quality of the management plan for the proposed project, the Secretary considers the following factors:

    (1) The adequacy of the management plan to achieve the objectives of the proposed project on time and within budget, including clearly defined responsibilities, timelines, and milestones for accomplishing project tasks.

    (2) The extent to which the time commitments of the project director and the principal investigator and other key project personnel are appropriate and adequate to meet the objectives of the proposed project.

    (d) Quality of the project evaluation. (up to 20 points)

    The Secretary considers the quality of the evaluation to be conducted of the proposed project. In determining the quality of the evaluation, the Secretary considers the following factors:

    (1) The extent to which the methods of evaluation are thorough, feasible, and appropriate to the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed project.

    (2) The extent to which the methods of evaluation will provide performance feedback and permit periodic assessment of progress toward achieving intended outcomes.

    2. Review and Selection Process: The Department will screen applications that are submitted for NAM grants in accordance with the requirements in this notice and determine which applications meet the eligibility and other requirements. Peer reviewers will review all eligible applications for NAM grants that are submitted by the established deadline on the four selection criteria.

    Applicants should note, however, that we may screen for eligibility at multiple points during the competition process, including before and after peer review; applicants that are determined to be ineligible will not receive a grant award regardless of peer reviewer scores or comments. If we determine that a NAM grant application does not meet a NAM requirement, the application will not be considered for funding.

    We remind potential applicants that in reviewing applications in any discretionary grant competition, the Secretary may consider, under 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3), the past performance of the applicant in carrying out a previous award, such as the applicant's use of funds, achievement of project objectives, and compliance with grant conditions. The Secretary may also consider whether the applicant failed to submit a timely performance report or submitted a report of unacceptable quality.

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

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

    VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Award Notices: If your application is successful, we notify your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and send you a Grant Award Notification (GAN). We may notify you informally, also.

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

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

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

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

    (b) At the end of your project period, you must submit a final performance report, including financial information, as directed by the Secretary. If you receive a multiyear award, you must submit an annual performance report that provides the most current performance and financial expenditure information as directed by the Secretary under 34 CFR 75.118. The Secretary may also require more frequent performance reports under 34 CFR 75.720(c). For specific requirements on reporting, please go to http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/appforms/appforms.html.

    (c) The Secretary may provide a grantee with additional funding for data collection analysis and reporting. In this case the Secretary establishes a data collection period.

    4. Performance Measures: Under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), Federal departments and agencies must clearly describe the goals and objectives of programs, identify resources and actions needed to accomplish goals and objectives, develop a means of measuring progress made, and regularly report on achievement. One important source of program information on successes and lessons learned is the project evaluation conducted under individual grants.

    (a) Measures. The Department has developed the following GPRA performance measures for evaluating the overall effectiveness of the NAM program:

    Measure 1: The number and percentage of ELs served by the program who score proficient or above on the State reading assessment.

    Measure 2: The number and percentage of ELs served by the program who are making progress in learning English as measured by the State-approved English language proficiency assessment.

    Measure 3: The number and percentage of ELs served by the program who are attaining proficiency in English as measured by the State-approved English language proficiency assessment.

    Note:

    Data from local assessments are acceptable for evaluation under a performance measure only in cases in which a grantee is in a State that is undergoing an assessment transition.

    Measure 4: The number and percentage of students served by the program who are enrolled in Native American language instruction programs.

    Measure 5: The number and percentage of students making progress in learning a Native American language, as determined by each grantee, including through measures such as performance tasks, portfolios, and pre- and post-tests.

    Measure 6: The number and percentage of students who are attaining proficiency in a Native American language as determined by each grantee, including through measures such as performance tasks, portfolios, and pre- and post-tests.

    Measure 7: For programs that received competitive preference points, the number and percentage of preschool children ages three and four enrolled in the program.

    Measure 8: For programs that received competitive preference points, the number and percentage of preschool children ages three and four who are screened for developmental or cognitive delays.

    Measure 9: For programs that received competitive preference points, the number and percentage of coordination contacts between elementary schools and early learning programs to improve coordination and transition of children from preschool to kindergarten.

    (b) Baseline data. Applicants must provide baseline data for each of the GPRA performance measures listed in paragraph (a) and include why each proposed baseline (as defined in this notice) is valid; or, if the applicant has determined that there are no established baseline data for a particular performance measure, explain why there is no established baseline and explain how and when, during the project period, the applicant will establish a valid baseline for the performance measure.

    (c) Performance measure targets. In addition, the applicant must propose in its application annual targets for the measures listed in paragraph (a). Applications must also include the following information as directed under 34 CFR 75.110(b) and (c):

    (1) Why each proposed performance target (as defined in this notice) is ambitious (as defined in this notice) yet achievable compared to the baseline for the performance measure.

    (2) The data collection and reporting methods the applicant would use and why those methods are likely to yield reliable, valid, and meaningful performance data.

    (3) The applicant's capacity to collect and report reliable, valid, and meaningful performance data, as evidenced by high-quality data collection, analysis, and reporting in other projects or research.

    Note:

    If the applicant does not have experience with collection and reporting of performance data through other projects or research, the applicant should provide other evidence of capacity to successfully carry out data collection and reporting for its proposed project.

    (d) Performance Reports. All grantees must submit an annual performance report and final performance report with information that is responsive to these performance measures. The Department will consider this data in making annual continuation awards.

    (e) Department Evaluations. Consistent with 34 CFR 75.591, grantees funded under this program must comply with the requirements of any evaluation of the program conducted by the Department or an evaluator selected by the Department.

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

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

    VII. Agency Contact FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Francisco Javier Lopez, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5E112, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 401-4300. FAX: (202) 205-1229 or by email at [email protected]

    If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    VIII. Other Information

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

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

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

    Dated: March 22, 2016. Libia S. Gil, Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director for the Office of English Language Acquisition.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06838 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation AGENCY:

    Office of Postsecondary Education, National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation, U.S. Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of a Committee meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The purpose of this notice is to announce the upcoming meeting of the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA). Parts of this meeting will be open to the public, and the public is invited to attend those portions.

    Meeting Date and Place: The meeting will be held on April 21-22, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. until approximately 5:00 p.m. both days, at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town, 1767 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. The Committee will meet in Executive Session on April 22, 2016. The entire April 22nd session will be devoted to training sessions for the Committee; and, therefore, is closed to the public.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jennifer Hong, Executive Director for the NCFMEA, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 6W250, Washington, DC 20202; telephone: 202-453-7805, or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Statutory Authority and Function: The NCFMEA was established by the Secretary of Education under § 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. The NCFMEA's responsibilities are to:

    • Evaluate the standards of accreditation applied to foreign medical schools and,

    • Determine the comparability of those standards to standards for accreditation applied to United States medical schools. A determination of comparability of accreditation standards by the NCFMEA is an eligibility requirement for foreign medical schools to participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program, 20 U.S.C. 1087a et seq.

    Meeting Agenda: The NCFMEA will review the standards of accreditation applied to medical schools to determine whether those standards are comparable to the standards of accreditation applied to medical schools in the United States. The NCFMEA will also review previously requested reports from accrediting entities that accredit medical schools. Discussion of the standards of accreditation will be held in sessions open to the public. Discussions resulting in specific determinations of comparability are closed to the public until proper notification of the NCFMEA's decision is provided to the country and accrediting entity by the Department.

    The countries which are scheduled to be discussed are: Australia, Grenada, Pakistan, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Dominican Republic. The meeting agenda, as well as the staff analyses pertaining to the meeting, will be posted on the Department of Education's Web site prior to the meeting at http://www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/ncfmea.html.

    Reasonable Accommodations: The meeting site is accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you will need an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting (e.g., interpreting service, assistive listening device, or materials in an alternate format), notify the contact person listed in this notice by April 1, 2016, although we will attempt to meet a request received after that date.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site. You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Authority:

    § 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

    Lynn B. Mahaffie, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning, Policy and Innovation, delegated the duties of Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06837 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings # 1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC16-89-000.

    Applicants: FirstLight Hydro Generating Company, FirstLight Power Resources Management, LLC.

    Description: Application for section 203 Authorization of FirstLight Hydro Generating Company and FirstLight Power Resources Management, LLC.

    Filed Date: 3/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160317-5182.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/7/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER11-4625-002; ER10-2861-001; ER13-2169-001; ER10-2862-002; ER11-3634-002; ER13-1504-002; ER10-2866-001; ER10-2867-002.

    Applicants: Colton Power L.P., Fountain Valley Power, LLC, Goal Line L.P., Harbor Cogeneration Company, LLC, KES Kingsburg, L.P., SWG Arapahoe, LLC, SWG Colorado, LLC, Valencia Power, LLC.

    Description: Notice of Change in Status of the Southwest Generation Operating Company, LLC public utility subsidiaries.

    Filed Date: 3/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160317-5207.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/7/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER12-2511-007.

    Applicants: C.P. Crane LLC.

    Description: Notice of Change in Status of C.P. Crane LLC.

    Filed Date: 3/17/16

    Accession Number: 20160317-5187.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/7/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-953-000.

    Applicants: Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp.

    Description: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. submits tariff filing per 35.19a(b): Refund Report to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5089.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-647-001.

    Applicants: Otter Tail Power Company.

    Description: Compliance filing: Compliance Filing Regarding Service Agreement with CPEC Under the CASOT to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5101.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-715-001.

    Applicants: DanMar Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Response to Request for Additional Information to be effective 3/13/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5051.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1222-000.

    Applicants: EnergyConnect, Inc.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: EnergyConnect, Inc. Cancellation to be effective 3/18/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160317-5177.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/7/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1223-000.

    Applicants: Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Amendment to the San Joaquin Cogen GSFA (SA 130) to be effective 6/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5000.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1224-000.

    Applicants: FirstEnergy Solutions Corp.

    Description: Request of FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. for Authorization to Make Wholesale Power Sales to Affiliated Utility, The Potomac Edison Company (2-1-16).

    Filed Date: 3/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160317-5181.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/7/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1225-000.

    Applicants: Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation.

    Description: Notice of Cancellation of Interconnection Agreement Service Agreement No. 919 of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation.

    Filed Date: 3/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160317-5200.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/7/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1226-000.

    Applicants: New Covert Generating Company, LLC.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Reactive Tariff to be effective 6/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5028.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1227-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: SGIA with North Lancaster Ranch LLC to be effective 3/19/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5044.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1228-000.

    Applicants: Virginia Electric and Power Company, PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Virginia Electric and Power Company submits Mutual Operating Agreement No. 2032 to be effective 5/31/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5071.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1229-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: TrAILCo submits Original Service Agreement No. 4368 to be effective 3/19/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5073.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1230-000.

    Applicants: New York Independent System Operator, Inc., New York State Electric & Gas Corporation.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Executed IA among NYISO, NYSEG and TrAILCO SA No. 2257 to be effective 3/19/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5084.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1231-000.

    Applicants: PacifiCorp.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: OATT Revised Attachment H-1 (Rev Depreciation Rates 2016) to be effective 6/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5099.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1232-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Revisions to OATT Schedule 12 Appdx A- RTEP Approved by the PJM Board Feb 2016 to be effective 6/16/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5100.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following qualifying facility filings:

    Docket Numbers: QF16-556-000.

    Applicants: Adelphi University.

    Description: Form 556 of Adelphi University.

    Filed Date: 3/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160317-5105.

    Comments Due: None Applicable.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: March 18, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06778 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #2

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC16-81-000.

    Applicants: Enterprise Solar, LLC, Escalante Solar I, LLC, Escalante Solar II, LLC, Escalante Solar III, LLC, Granite Mountain Solar East, LLC, Granite Mountain Solar West, LLC, Iron Springs Solar, LLC.

    Description: Supplement to February 25, 2016 Application for Authorization Under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act and Request for Shortened Comment Period of Enterprise Solar, LLC, et al.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5060.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/28/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER16-40-001.

    Applicants: Nevada Power Company.

    Description: Compliance filing: OATT Supplement to Attachment O moving NVE Database to NPC Database to be effective 11/1/2014.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5119.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1233-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Original Service Agreement No. 4423; Queue Position #AA1-145 to be effective 2/18/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5115.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following qualifying facility filings:

    Docket Numbers: QF16-561-000.

    Applicants: UE-00209NJ.

    Description: Form 556 of UE-00209NJ.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5111.

    Comments Due: None Applicable.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: March 18, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06771 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL16-48-000] NextEra Energy Power Marketing, LLC Northeast Energy Associates, a Limited Partnership v. ISO New England Inc.; Notice of Complaint

    Take notice that on March 18, 2016, pursuant to sections 206 and 306 of the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 824e and 825e (2012), and Rule 206 of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.206 (2015), NextEra Energy Power Marketing, LLC and Northeast Energy Associates, a Limited Partnership (collectively, Complainants) filed a complaint against ISO New England Inc. (Respondent) alleging that Respondent violated its Transmission, Markets and Services Tariff in preventing the Significant Increase at NEA's Bellingham Energy Center (Bellingham) from being added to Bellingham's summer Qualified Capacity in the tenth Forward Capacity Auction that was held on February 8, 2016, all as more fully explained in the complaint.

    Complainants certify that copies of the complaint were serve on contacts for Respondent as listed on the Commission's list of Corporate Officials.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. The Respondent's answer and all interventions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. The Respondent's answer, motions to intervene, and protests must be served on the Complainants.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on April 7, 2016.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06775 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP16-100-000] Pike County Light & Power Company; Notice of Application

    Take notice that on March 10, 2016, Pike County Light & Power Company (PCL&P), 402 Broad Street, Milford, Pennsylvania 18337, filed an application pursuant to section 7(f) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) for a service area determination. PCL&P also requests: (1) A finding that PCL&P continues to qualify as a local distribution company (LDC) for purposes of section 311 of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 (NGPA); and (2) a waiver of the Commission's accounting and reporting requirements and other regulatory requirements ordinarily applicable to natural gas companies under the NGA and NGPA, all as more fully set forth in the application which is on file with the Commission and open to public inspection.

    The filing may also be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC at [email protected] or call toll-free, (866) 208-3676 or TTY, (202) 502-8659.

    Specifically, PCL&P requests a service area determination to allow it to continue to own and operate a 6-inch-diameter gas distribution pipeline at the Pennsylvania/New York border to receive natural gas in New York from the facilities of Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R), an LDC providing utility service in New York, and re-deliver the gas to PCL&P customers in Pennsylvania. PCL&P's application is related to O&R's application for a limited jurisdiction blanket certificate of public convenience and necessity filed in Docket No. CP16-101-000 on March 10, 2016.

    Any questions regarding this application should be directed to John L. Carley, Assistant General Counsel, Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc., Room 1815-S, 4 Irving Place, New York, New York 10003, (212) 460-2097 (telephone), or by email at [email protected]

    Pursuant to section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either: Complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding; or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's FEIS or EA.

    There are two ways to become involved in the Commission's review of this project. First, any person wishing to obtain legal status by becoming a party to the proceedings for this project should, on or before the comment date stated below file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214 or 385.211) and the Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.10). A person obtaining party status will be placed on the service list maintained by the Secretary of the Commission and will receive copies of all documents filed by the applicant and by all other parties. A party must submit 7 copies of filings made in the proceeding with the Commission and must mail a copy to the applicant and to every other party. Only parties to the proceeding can ask for court review of Commission orders in the proceeding.

    However, a person does not have to intervene in order to have comments considered. The second way to participate is by filing with the Secretary of the Commission, as soon as possible, an original and two copies of comments in support of or in opposition to this project. The Commission will consider these comments in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but the filing of a comment alone will not serve to make the filer a party to the proceeding. The Commission's rules require that persons filing comments in opposition to the project provide copies of their protests only to the party or parties directly involved in the protest.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commenters will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commenters will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commenters will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings of comments, protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “filing” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    Comment Date: April 11, 2016.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06773 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: PR16-28-000.

    Applicants: Bay Gas Storage Company, Ltd.

    Description: Tariff filing per 284.123/.224: 2016 Annual Adjustment of Company Use Percentage to be effective 3/1/2016; Filing Type: 790.

    Filed Date: 2/24/16.

    Accession Number: 201602245071.

    Comments/Protests Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/24/16.

    Docket Numbers: PR14-55-000.

    Applicants: Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corporation.

    Description: Annual Report under PR14-55.

    Filed Date: 2/25/16.

    Accession Number: 201602255170.

    Comments/Protests Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/28/16.

    Docket Numbers: PR14-23-002.

    Applicants: Kansas Gas Service, A Division of ONE Gas, Inc.

    Description: Tariff filing per 284.123/.224: KGS, Revision to Requirements for Transportation Service to be effective 4/1/2016; Filing Type: 790.

    Filed Date: 3/16/16.

    Accession Number: 201603165106.

    Comments/Protests Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/28/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP15-1022-000.

    Applicants: Alliance Pipeline L.P.

    Description: Report Filing: 2016-03 Sheet 92.

    Filed Date: 3/10/16.

    Accession Number: 20160310-5126.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-719-000.

    Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) Rate Filing: Negotiated Rates—Con Ed Release to Buy Energy to be effective 3/11/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/10/16.

    Accession Number: 20160310-5122.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/22/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-720-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: Section 4(d) Rate Filing: Remove expired agreements from Tariff (3/11/2016) to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/11/16.

    Accession Number: 20160311-5009.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-721-000.

    Applicants: CenterPoint Energy Services, Inc.,Continuum Energy Services, L.L.C.

    Description: Petition for Commission Approval of Request for Temporary Waivers of Capacity Release Regulations and Actions Necessary to Permit the Transfer of Gas Supply, Sale and Transportation Contracts ofCenterPoint Energy Services, Inc., et al.

    Filed Date: 3/11/16.

    Accession Number: 20160311-5238.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/24/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-722-000.

    Applicants: Texas Eastern Transmission, LP.

    Description: Section 4(d) Rate Filing: Cleanup Filing to Remove Customer Names from Statements of Rates to be effective 4/14/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/14/16.

    Accession Number: 20160314-5088.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/28/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-723-000.

    Applicants: Enable Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) Rate Filing: Negotiated Rate Filing- March 2016 LER 1005896 to be effective 3/14/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/14/16.

    Accession Number: 20160314-5138.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/28/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-724-000.

    Applicants: Rager Mountain Storage Company LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) Rate Filing: Form of Service Agreement Modifications to be effective 4/15/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/15/16.

    Accession Number: 20160315-5096.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/28/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-725-000.

    Applicants: Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America.

    Description: Section 4(d) Rate Filing: Occidental Energy Marketing to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/15/16.

    Accession Number: 20160315-5120.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/28/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-726-000.

    Applicants: Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) Rate Filing: Negotiated Rates—BBPC, d/b/a Great Eastern Energy—791351 to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/16/16.

    Accession Number: 20160316-5099.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/28/16.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    Filings in Existing Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP15-1322-003.

    Applicants: Sabine Pipe Line LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing Sabine Motion to Place Rates into Effect 3-16-16 to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/16/16.

    Accession Number: 20160316-5103.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/28/16.

    Any person desiring to protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rule 211 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: March 17, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06805 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket Nos. CP16-98-000; PF15-29-000] Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Application

    Take notice that on March 9, 2016, Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC (Dominion Carolina), filed an application pursuant to section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act and Part 157 of the Commission's Regulations for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct, install, own, operate, and maintain certain facilities located in Aiken, Charleston, Dillon, Dorchester, Greenwood, Laurens, Newberry, and Spartanburg Counties, South Carolina (Transco to Charleston Project). Dominion Carolina will provide firm transportation service of 80,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/day) to meet increasing demand for natural gas for local commercial, industrial, and power generation customers. The filing may also be viewed on the web athttp://www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC at [email protected] or call toll-free, (866) 208-3676 or TYY, (202) 502-8659.

    Any questions regarding this application should be directed to Richard D. Jessee, Gas Transmission Certificates Program Manager, Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC, 220 Operations Way, Cayce, SC 29033. Telephone (803) 726-3738 and email: [email protected].

    Dominion Carolina proposes to construct approximately 55 miles of 12-inch diameter natural gas transmission pipeline in Spartanburg, Laurens, New Berry, and Greenwood Counties, SC (Moore to Chappells Pipeline) and approximately 5 miles of 4-inch diameter natural gas transmission pipeline in Dillion County, SC (Dillion Pipeline). Dominion Carolina also proposes to install: Two 1,400-horsepower (hp) compressor units at existing Moore Compressor Station located in Spartanburg County, SC; three 1,200 hp compressor units at new Dorchester Compressor Station located Dorchester County, SC; and appurtenances. In addition, Dominion Carolina proposes to convert one existing 1,200 hp compressor unit from standby to use the unit for service, at existing Southern Compressor Station located in Aiken County, SC. Dominion Carolina has executed binding precedent agreements with its customers for the project's capacity of 80,000 Dth/day. Dominion Carolina proposes to charge a negotiated incremental rate for firm transportation service using the proposed project. The cost of the project is $119.3 million. Dominion Carolina proposes an in-service date of November 1, 2017.

    On September 2, 2015, the Commission staff granted Dominion Carolina's request to use the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Pre-Filing Process and assigned Docket No. PF15-29-000 to staff activities involving the proposed facilities. Now, as of the filing of this application on March 9, 2016, the NEPA Pre-Filing Process for this project has ended. From this time forward, this proceeding will be conducted in Docket No. CP16-98-000, as noted in the caption of this Notice.

    Pursuant to Section 157.9 of the Commission's rules, 18 CFR 157.9, within 90 days of this Notice the Commission staff will either: Complete its environmental assessment (EA) and place it into the Commission's public record (eLibrary) for this proceeding, or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the Commission staff's issuance of the EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the Commission's public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the Commission staff's EA.

    There are two ways to become involved in the Commission's review of this project. First, any person wishing to obtain legal status by becoming a party to the proceedings for this project should, on or before the comment date stated below, file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214 or 385.211) and the Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.10). A person obtaining party status will be placed on the service list maintained by the Secretary of the Commission and will receive copies of all documents filed by the applicant and by all other parties. A party must submit 5 copies of filings made with the Commission and must mail a copy to the applicant and to every other party in the proceeding. Only parties to the proceeding can ask for court review of Commission orders in the proceeding.

    However, a person does not have to intervene in order to have comments considered. The second way to participate is by filing with the Secretary of the Commission, as soon as possible, an original and two copies of comments in support of or in opposition to this project. The Commission will consider these comments in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but the filing of a comment alone will not serve to make the filer a party to the proceeding. The Commission's rules require that persons filing comments in opposition to the project provide copies of their protests only to the party or parties directly involved in the protest.

    Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an original and two copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commenters will be placed on the Commission's environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the Commission's environmental review process. Environmental commenters will not be required to serve copies of filed documents on all other parties. However, the non-party commenters will not receive copies of all documents filed by other parties or issued by the Commission (except for the mailing of environmental documents issued by the Commission) and will not have the right to seek court review of the Commission's final order.

    Motions to intervene, protests and comments may be filed electronically via the internet in lieu of paper; see, 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission's Web site under the “e-Filing” link. The Commission strongly encourages electronic filings.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on April 11, 2016.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06772 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: CP16-101-000.

    Applicants: Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.

    Description: Application for Limited Jurisdiction Blanket Certificate and Request for Expedited Action of Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.

    Filed Date: 3/10/16.

    Accession Number: 20160310-5104.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-727-000.

    Applicants: Eastern Shore Natural Gas Company.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Filling of Negotiated Rate Agreement to be effective 3/18/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160317-5073.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/29/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-728-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Express Pipeline LLC.

    Description: Penalty Revenue Crediting Report of Midcontinent Express Pipeline LLC.

    Filed Date: 3/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160317-5202.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/29/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-729-000.

    Applicants: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: GT&C Section 49—Available Firm Capacity Posting Procedure to be effective 4/18/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5129.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/30/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06806 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Notice of Commission Staff Attendance

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) hereby gives notice that members of the Commission's staff may attend the following meeting related to the transmission planning activities of the Southeastern Regional Transmission Planning (SERTP) Process.

    The SERTP Process First Quarter Meeting.

    March 24, 2016 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (Central Time)

    The above-referenced meeting will be via web conference.

    The above-referenced meeting is open to stakeholders.

    Further information may be found at: www.southeasternrtp.com.

    The discussions at the meeting described above may address matters at issue in the following proceedings:

    Docket Nos. ER13-1928, et al., Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC, et al. Docket Nos. ER13-1923, et al., Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., et al. Docket No. EL15-32, North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, Inc. v. Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress

    For more information, contact Valerie Martin, Office of Energy Market Regulation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at (202) 502-6139 or [email protected]

    Dated: March 18, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06774 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. IC16-5-000] Commission Information Collection Activities (FERC-714 and FERC-730); Comment Request AGENCY:

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE.

    ACTION:

    Comment request.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) is submitting its information collections FERC-714 (Annual Electric Balancing Authority Area and Planning Area Report) and FERC-730 (Report of Transmission Investment Activity) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review of the information collection requirements. Any interested person may file comments directly with OMB and should address a copy of those comments to the Commission as explained below. The Commission previously issued a Notice in the Federal Register (80 FR 80355, 12/24/2015) requesting public comments. The Commission received no comments on the FERC-714 or FERC-730 and is making this notation in its submittal to OMB.

    DATES:

    Comments on the collections of information are due by April 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments filed with OMB, identified by the OMB Control No. 1902-0140 (FERC-714) and 1902-0239 (FERC-730) should be sent via email to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs: [email protected] Attention: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Desk Officer. The Desk Officer may also be reached via telephone at 202-395-0710.

    A copy of the comments should also be sent to the Commission, in Docket No. IC16-5-000, by either of the following methods:

    eFiling at Commission's Web site: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp.

    Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    Instructions: All submissions must be formatted and filed in accordance with submission guidelines at: http://www.ferc.gov/help/submission-guide.asp. For user assistance contact FERC Online Support by email at [email protected], or by phone at: (866) 208-3676 (toll-free), or (202) 502-8659 for TTY.

    Docket: Users interested in receiving automatic notification of activity in this docket or in viewing/downloading comments and issuances in this docket may do so at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/docs-filing.asp.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ellen Brown may be reached by email at [email protected], by telephone at (202) 502-8663, and by fax at (202) 273-0873.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Type of Request: Three-year extension of the information collection requirements for all collections described below with no changes to the current reporting requirements. Please note that each collection is distinct from the next.

    Comments: Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimates of the burden and cost of the collections of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information collections; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collections of information on those who are to respond, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    FERC-714 [Annual Electric Balancing Authority Area and Planning Area Report] 1

    1 The renewal request in this IC docket is for the current FERC-714, with no change to the reporting requirements. The FERC-714 is also part of the Forms Refresh effort (started in Docket No. AD15-11), which is a separate activity.

    OMB Control No.: 1902-0140.

    Abstract: The Commission uses the FERC-714 data to analyze power system operations. These analyses estimate the effect of changes in power system operations resulting from the installation of a new generating unit or plant, transmission facilities, energy transfers between systems, and/or new points of interconnections. The FERC-714 data assists in providing a broad picture of interconnected balancing authority area operations including comprehensive information of balancing authority area generation, actual and scheduled inter-balancing authority area power transfers, and net energy for load, summer and winter generation peaks and system lambda. The Commission also uses the data to prepare status reports on the electric utility industry including a review of inter-balancing authority area bulk power trade information.

    The Commission uses the collected data from planning areas to monitor forecasted demands by electric utilities with fundamental demand responsibilities and to develop hourly demand characteristics.

    Type of Respondent: Electric utility balancing authorities and planning areas in the United States.

    Estimate of Annual Burden: The Commission estimates the annual public reporting burden and cost2 (rounded) for the information collection as follows:

    2 The hourly cost (wages plus benefits), is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2014 National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates (at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics2_22.htm). The average hourly cost (wages plus benefits) of $68.66/hour is the average of the following:

    • Management (Code 11-0000), $78.04/hr.

    • Computer and mathematical (Code 15-0000), $58.25/hr.

    • Electrical Engineers (Code 17-2071), $66.45/hr.

    • Economist (Code 19-3011), $73.04/hr.

    • Computer and Information Systems Managers (Code 11-3021), $94.55/hr.

    • Accountants and Auditors (Code 13-2011), $51.11/hr.

    • Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers (Code 11-3071), $73.65/hr.

    • Power Distributors and Dispatchers (Code 51-8012), $54.16/hr.

    FERC-714 (Annual Electric Balancing Authority Area and Planning Area Report) Number of respondents Annual
  • number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total number
  • of responses
  • Average
  • burden &
  • cost per
  • response 3
  • Total annual burden hours
  • & total
  • annual cost
  • Cost per
  • respondent
  • ($)
  • (1) (2) (1) * (2) = (3) (4) (3) * (4) = (5) (5) ÷ (1) 177 1 177 87
  • $5,973
  • 15,399
  • $1,057,295
  • $5,973
    FERC-730 [Report of Transmission Investment Activity]

    OMB Control No.: 1902-0239.

    3 The estimates for cost per response are derived using the following formula: Average Burden Hours per Response * $72.00 per Hour = Average Cost per Response. The hourly cost figure comes from the FERC average salary plus benefits ($149,489/year). Commission staff believes the FERC average salary plus benefits to be representative wage (plus benefits) for industry respondents.

    Abstract: Pursuant to Section 219 4 of the Federal Power Act, the Commission issued FERC Order No. 679,5 Promoting Transmission Investment Through Pricing Reform. In Order No. 679 FERC amended its regulations in 18 CFR 35.35 to establish incentive-based (including performance-based) rate treatments for the transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce by public utilities. The Commission intended the order to benefit consumers by ensuring reliability and to reduce the cost of delivered power by reducing transmission congestion. Order No. 679 also adopted an annual reporting requirement (FERC-730) for utilities that receive incentive rate treatment for specific transmission projects. The FERC-730 provides annual data on transmission capital expenditures as well as project status detail. The Commission requires that filers specify which projects are currently receiving incentives in the project detail table and that they group together those facilities receiving the same incentive. Specifically, in accordance with the statute, public utilities with incentive rates must file:

    4 Energy Policy Act of 2005, Pub. L. 109-58, 119 Stat. 594, 315 and 1283 (2005).

    5 RM06-4-000 (issued 7/20/2006), published at 71 FR 43294.

    • Actual transmission investment for the most recent calendar year, and projected, incremental investments for the next five calendar years (in dollar terms); and

    • a project by project listing that specifies for each project the most up to date, expected completion date, percentage completion as of the date of filing, and reasons for delays for all current and projected investments over the next five calendar years. Projects with projected costs less than $20 million are excluded from this listing.

    To ensure that Commission rules are successfully meeting the objectives of Section 219, the Commission collects industry data, projections and related information that detail the level of investment. FERC-730 information regarding projected investments as well as information about completed projects allows the Commission to monitor the success of the transmission pricing reforms and to determine the status of critical projects and reasons for delay.

    Type of Respondent: Public utilities that have been granted incentives based rate treatment for specific transmission projects under the provisions of 18 CFR 35.35(h) must file the FERC-730.

    Estimate of Annual Burden: The Commission estimates the annual public reporting burden for the information collection as:

    FERC-730 (Report of Transmission Investment Activity) Number of respondents Annual
  • number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total number
  • of responses
  • Average
  • burden &
  • cost per
  • response 3
  • Total annual
  • burden hours
  • & total
  • annual cost
  • Cost per
  • respondent
  • ($)
  • (1) (2) (1) * (2) = (3) (4) (3) * (4) = (5) (5) ÷ (1) 63 1 63 30
  • $2,160
  • 1,890
  • $136,080
  • $2,160
    Dated: March 21, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06777 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. IC16-3-000] Commission Information Collection Activities; (FERC-556, FERC-606, and FERC-607); Comment Request AGENCY:

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE.

    ACTION:

    Comment request.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3507(a)(1)(D), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) is submitting its information collections FERC-556 (Certification of Qualifying Facility Status for a Small Power Production or Cogeneration Facility), FERC-606 (Notification of Request for Federal Authorization and Requests for Further Information), and FERC-607 (Report on Decision or Action on Request for Federal Authorization) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review of the information collection requirements. Any interested person may file comments directly with OMB and should address a copy of those comments to the Commission as explained below. The Commission previously issued a Notice in the Federal Register (80 FR 74101, 11/27/2015) requesting public comments. The Commission received no comments on the FERC-556, FERC-606, or FERC-607 and is making this notation in its submittal to OMB.

    DATES:

    Comments on the collections of information are due by April 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments filed with OMB, identified by the OMB Control Nos. 1902-0075 (FERC-556) and 1902-0241 (FERC-606 and FERC-607) should be sent via email to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs: [email protected] Attention: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Desk Officer. The Desk Officer may also be reached via telephone at 202-395-0710.

    A copy of the comments should also be sent to the Commission, in Docket No. IC16-3-000, by either of the following methods:

    eFiling at Commission's Web site: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp.

    Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    Instructions: All submissions must be formatted and filed in accordance with submission guidelines at: http://www.ferc.gov/help/submission-guide.asp. For user assistance contact FERC Online Support by email at [email protected], or by phone at: (866) 208-3676 (toll-free), or (202) 502-8659 for TTY.

    Docket: Users interested in receiving automatic notification of activity in this docket or in viewing/downloading comments and issuances in this docket may do so at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/docs-filing.asp.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ellen Brown may be reached by email at [email protected], by telephone at (202) 502-8663, and by fax at (202) 273-0873.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Type of Request: Three-year extension of the information collection requirements for all collections described below with no changes to the current reporting requirements. Please note that each collection is distinct from the next.

    Comments: Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimates of the burden and cost of the collections of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information collections; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collections of information on those who are to respond, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    FERC-556, Certification of Qualifying Facility Status for a Small Power Production or Cogeneration Facility

    OMB Control No.: 1902-0075.

    Abstract: Form No. 556 is required to implement sections 201 and 210 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 1 (PURPA). FERC is authorized, under those sections, to encourage cogeneration and small power production and to prescribe such rules as necessary in order to carry out the statutory directives.

    1 16 U.S.C. 796, 824a-3.

    A primary statutory objective is efficient use of energy resources and facilities by electric utilities. One means of achieving this goal is to encourage production of electric power by cogeneration facilities which make use of reject heat associated with commercial or industrial processes, and by small power production facilities which use other wastes and renewable resources. PURPA encourages the development of small power production facilities and cogeneration facilities that meet certain technical and corporate criteria through establishment of various regulatory benefits. Facilities that meet these criteria are called Qualifying Facilities (QFs).

    FERC's regulations in 18 CFR part 292, as relevant here, specify: (a) The certification procedures which must be followed by owners or operators of small power production and cogeneration facilities; (b) the criteria which must be met; (c) the information which must be submitted to FERC in order to obtain qualifying status; and (d) the PURPA benefits which are available to QFs to encourage small power production and cogeneration.

    18 CFR part 292 also exempts QFs from certain corporate, accounting, reporting, and rate regulation requirements of the Federal Power Act,2 certain state laws and the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005.3

    2 16 U.S.C. 791, et seq.

    3 42 U.S.C. 16, 451-63.

    Type of Respondent: Facilities that are self-certifying their status as a cogenerator or small power producer or that are submitting an application for FERC certification of their status as a cogenerator or small power producer.

    Estimate of Annual Burden: The Commission estimates the annual public reporting burden for the information collection as:

    FERC-556—Certification of Qualifying Facility Status for a Small Power Production or Cogeneration Facility Number of
  • respondents
  • Annual
  • number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total number
  • of responses
  • Average
  • burden hours
  • and cost
  • per response 4
  • Total annual
  • burden hours
  • and total
  • annual cost
  • Cost per
  • respondent
  • ($)
  • Facility type Filing type (1) (2) (1) * (2) = (3) (4) (3) * (4) = (5) (5) ÷ (1) Cogeneration Facility >1 MW 5 Self-certification 54 1.25 67.5 1.5 hrs; $108 101.25 hrs; $7,290 $135 Cogeneration Facility >1 MW Application for FERC certification 1 1.25 1.25 50 hrs; $3,600 62.5 hrs; $4,500 4,500 Small Power Production Facility >1 MW Self-certification 1,787 1.25 2,234 1.5 hrs; $108 3,351hrs; $241,272 135 Small Power Production Facility >1 MW Application for FERC certification 0 1.25 0 50 hrs; $3,600 0 hrs; $0 0 Cogeneration and Small Power Production Facility ≤1 MW (Self-Certification) 6 Self-certification 312 1.25 390 1.5 hrs; $108 7 585 hrs; $42,120 135 Total 2,154 2,693 4,100 hrs; $295,182
    FERC-606, Notification of Request for Federal Authorization and Requests for Further Information; FERC-607, Report on Decision or Action on Request for Federal Authorization

    4 The burden costs are based on an FERC's 2015 average annual wage (and benefits) figure for a full-time employee of $149,489 ($72/hour). The Commission staff believes that industry is similarly situated in terms of staff costs and skill sets.

    5 MW = megawatt.

    6 Not required to file.

    7 The “Cost per Response” for the Cogeneration and Small Power Production Facility ≤ 1MW (Self-Certification) respondent category was incorrectly presented as $3,600 in the 60-day notice for the FERC-556 information collection (Docket No. IC16-3; 80 FR 74101, 11/27/2015). The figure is corrected to $108 in this notice.

    OMB Control No.: 1902-0241.

    Abstract: FERC-606 requires agencies and officials responsible for issuing, conditioning, or denying requests for federal authorizations necessary for a proposed natural gas project to report to the Commission regarding the status of an authorization request. This reporting requirement is intended to allow agencies to assist the Commission to make better informed decisions in establishing due dates for agencies' decisions.

    FERC-607 requires agencies or officials to submit to the Commission a copy of a decision or action on a request for federal authorization and an accompanying index to the documents and materials relied on in reaching a conclusion.

    The information collections can neither be discontinued nor collected less frequently because of statutory requirements. The consequences of not collecting this information are that the Commission would be unable to fulfill its statutory mandate under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to:

    • Establish a schedule for agencies to review requests for federal authorizations required for a project, and

    • Compile a record of each agency's decision, together with the record of the Commission's decision, to serve as a consolidated record for the purpose of appeal or review, including judicial review.

    Type of Respondent: Agencies with federal authorization responsibilities.

    Estimate of Annual Burden: The Commission estimates the annual public reporting burden and cost 8 (rounded) for the information collection as follows:

    8 The cost is based on FERC's average cost (salary plus benefits) of $72/hour for 2015. The Commission staff believes that the level and skill set (as a reporting agency official, e.g., Environmental Program Manager or Reviewer) is comparable to FERC staff.

    FERC-606—(Notification of Request for Federal Authorization and Requests for Further Information), and FERC-607 (Report on Decision or Action on Request for Federal Authorization) Number of
  • respondents
  • Annual
  • number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total number of responses Average
  • burden hours and cost per response
  • Total annual
  • burden hours
  • and total
  • annual cost
  • Cost per
  • respondent
  • ($)
  • (1) (2) (1) * (2) = (3) (4) (3) * (4) = (5) (5) ÷ (1) FERC-606 6 1 6 4 hrs; $288 24 hrs; $1,728 $288 FERC-607 1 1 1 1 hr.; $72 1 hr.; $72 72 Total 7 25 hrs; $1,800
    Dated: March 21, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06776 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER16-13-002.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: Compliance Filing in ER16-13—Revisions to Att AE re Annual ARR Allocation to be effective 1/28/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5085.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-628-001.

    Applicants: Florida Power & Light Company.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Florida Power & Light Response to Deficiency Letter to be effective 5/21/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5150.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1234-000.

    Applicants: New York State Electric & Gas Corporation.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Cancellation of Services Agreement with FirstEnergy Service Company to be effective 3/19/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5154.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1235-000.

    Applicants: UNS Electric, Inc.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Parker-Bagdad Interconnection Agreement to be effective 3/17/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5157.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1236-000.

    Applicants: Northern States Power Company, a Wisconsin corporation.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: 20160318_Cancellation to be effective 3/31/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5159.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/8/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1237-000.

    Applicants: Birdsboro Power LLC.

    Description: Petition of Birdsboro Power LLC for Limited Waiver of PJM Open Access Transmission Tariff Competitive Entry Exemption Deadline and Request for Expedited Action.

    Filed Date: 3/18/16.

    Accession Number: 20160318-5175.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 3/28/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1238-000.

    Applicants: Avangrid Arizona Renewables, LLC.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Avangrid Name change normal filing to be effective 3/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5068.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1239-000.

    Applicants: Avangrid Renewables, LLC.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Avangrid Renewables Name change normal to be effective 3/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5069.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1240-000.

    Applicants: Alabama Electric Marketing, LLC.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 3/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5105.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1241-000.

    Applicants: California Electric Marketing, LLC.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 3/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5106.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1242-000.

    Applicants: Kiowa Power Partners, LLC.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 3/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5108.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1243-000.

    Applicants: New Mexico Electric Marketing, LLC.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 3/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5110.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1244-000.

    Applicants: Tenaska Frontier Partners, Ltd.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 3/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5112.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1245-000.

    Applicants: Tenaska Gateway Partners, Ltd.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 3/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5113.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1246-000.

    Applicants: Tenaska Power Management, LLC.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 3/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5115.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1247-000.

    Applicants: Texas Electric Marketing, LLC.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 3/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5117.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1248-000.

    Applicants: Tenaska Power Services Co.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 3/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5171.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1249-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Amendment to ISA No. 2631, Queue No. V2-019 to be effective7/28/2010.

    Filed Date: 3/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160321-5189.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/11/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following qualifying facility filings:

    Docket Numbers: QF16-546-000.

    Applicants: UE-00212NJ.

    Description: Form 556 of UE-00212NJ.

    Filed Date: 3/16/16.

    Accession Number: 20160316-5065.

    Comments Due: None Applicable.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06779 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-9944-23-OLEM] FY2016 Supplemental Funding for Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grantees AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of the Availability of Funds.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to make available approximately $8 million to provide supplemental funds to Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) capitalization grants previously awarded competitively under section 104(k)(3) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund pilots awarded under section 104(d)(1) of CERCLA that have not transitioned to section 104(k)(3) grants are not eligible to apply for these funds. EPA will consider awarding supplemental funding only to RLF grantees who have demonstrated an ability to deliver programmatic results by making at least one loan or subgrant. The award of these funds is based on the criteria described at CERCLA 104(k)(4)(A)(ii).

    The Agency is now accepting requests for supplemental funding from RLF grantees. Requests for funding must be submitted to the appropriate EPA Regional Brownfields Coordinator (listed below) by April 25, 2016. Funding requests for hazardous substances and/or petroleum funding will be accepted. Specific information on submitting a request for RLF supplemental funding is described below and additional information may be obtained by contacting the EPA Regional Brownfields Coordinator.

    DATES:

    This action is effective March 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    A request for supplemental funding must be in the form of a letter addressed to the appropriate Regional Brownfields Coordinator (see listing below) with a copy to Debi Morey, [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Debi Morey, U.S. EPA, (202) 566-2735 or the appropriate Brownfields Regional Coordinator.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act added section 104(k) to CERCLA to authorize federal financial assistance for brownfields revitalization, including grants for assessment, cleanup and job training. Section 104(k) includes a provision for EPA to, among other things, award grants to eligible entities to capitalize Revolving Loan Funds and to provide loans and subgrants for brownfields cleanup. Section 104(k)(4)(A)(ii) authorizes EPA to make additional grant funds available to RLF grantees for any year after the year for which the initial grant is made (noncompetitive RLF supplemental funding) taking into consideration:

    (I) The number of sites and number of communities that are addressed by the revolving loan fund;

    (II) the demand for funding by eligible entities that have not previously received a grant under this subsection;

    (III) the demonstrated ability of the eligible entity to use the revolving loan fund to enhance remediation and provide funds on a continuing basis; and

    (IV) such other similar factors as the [Agency] considers appropriate to carry out this subsection.

    Eligibility

    In order to be considered for supplemental funding, grantees must demonstrate that they have expended existing funds and that they have a clear plan for quickly expending requested additional funds. Grantees must demonstrate that they have made at least one loan or subgrant prior to applying for this supplemental funding and have significantly depleted existing available funds. For FY2016, EPA defines “significantly depleted funds” as any grant where $400,000 or less remains uncommitted. Additionally, the RLF recipient must have demonstrated a need for supplemental funding based on, among other factors, the number of sites that will be addressed; demonstrated the ability to make loans and subgrants for cleanups that can be started and completed expeditiously (i.e., “shovel-ready” projects) and will lead to redevelopment; demonstrated the existence of additional leveraged funds to complete the project in a timely manner and move quickly from cleanup to redevelopment, including the use of tax incentives such as new market tax credits, direct funding or other resources to advance the project to completion; demonstrated the ability to administer and revolve the capitalization funding in the RLF grant; demonstrated an ability to use the RLF grant to address funding gaps for cleanup; and demonstrated that they have provided a community benefit from past and potential loan(s) and/or subgrant(s). Special consideration may be given to those communities affected by plant closures or other economic disruptions; can demonstrate projects that have a clear prospect of aiding the in-sourcing of manufacturing capacity and keeping and/or adding jobs, or otherwise creating jobs, in the affected area; or will benefit a community that has been identified as part of EPA's Cross Agency Strategy on Working to Make a Visible Difference in Communities. EPA encourages innovative approaches to maximizing revolving and leveraging with other funds, including use of grants funds as a loan loss guarantee, combining with other government or private sector lending resources. Applicants for supplemental funding must contact the appropriate Regional Brownfields Coordinator below to obtain information on the format for supplemental funding applications for their region. When requesting supplemental funding, applicants must specify whether they are seeking funding for sites contaminated by hazardous substances or petroleum. Applicants may request both types of funding.

    Regional Contacts Region States Address/phone Number/email EPA Region 1: Frank Gardner, [email protected] CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA 02109-3912, Phone (617) 918-1278 Fax (617) 918-1291. EPA Region 2: Lya Theodoratos, [email protected] NJ, NY, PR, VI 290 Broadway, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10007, Phone (212) 637-3260 Fax (212) 637-3083. EPA Region 3: Tom Stolle, [email protected] DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, WV 1650 Arch Street, Mail Code 3HS51, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103, Phone (215) 814-3129 Fax (215) 814-5518. EPA Region 4: David Egetter, [email protected] AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street, S.W., 10TH FL, Atlanta, GA 30303-8960, Phone (404) 562-8250 Fax (404) 562-8761. EPA Region 5: Keary Cragan, [email protected] IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Mail Code SE-4J, Chicago, Illinois 60604-3507, Phone (312) 353-5669 Fax (312) 886-7190. EPA Region 6: Mary Kemp, [email protected] AR, LA, NM, OK, TX 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 1200 (6SF-PB), Dallas, Texas 75202-2733, Phone (214) 665-8358 Fax (214) 665-6660. EPA Region 7: Susan Klein, [email protected] IA, KS, MO, NE 11201 Renner Blvd, Lenexa, Kansas 66219, Phone (913) 551-7786 Fax (913) 551-8688. EPA Region 8: Dan Heffernan, [email protected] CO,MT, ND, SD, UT, WY 1595 Wynkoop Street (EPR-B), Denver, CO 80202-1129, Phone (303) 312-7074 Fax (303) 312-6065. EPA Region 9: Noemi Emeric-Ford, [email protected] AZ, CA, HI, NV, AS, GU 75 Hawthorne Street, WST-8, San Francisco, CA 94105, Phone (213) 244-1821 Fax (415) 972-3364. EPA Region 10: Susan Morales, [email protected] AK, ID, OR, WA 1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 900, Mailstop: ECL-112 Seattle, WA 98101, Phone (206) 553-7299 Fax (206) 553-0124. Dated: March 17, 2016. David R. Lloyd, Director, Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization, Office of Land and Emergency Management.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06854 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OPA-2007-0042; FRL—9944-24-OLEM] Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; The National Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Contingency Plan Regulation AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to submit an information collection request (ICR), “The National Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Contingency Plan Regulation, Subpart J (40 CFR 300.900)” (EPA ICR No. 1664.11, OMB Control No. 2050-0141) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Before doing so, EPA is soliciting public comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below. This is a proposed extension of the ICR, which is currently approved through October 31, 2016. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before May 24, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OPA-2007-0042 online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method), by email to [email protected] or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460.

    EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Leigh DeHaven, Office of Emergency Management, Regulations Implementation Division (5104A), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-1974; fax number: email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Supporting documents which explain in detail the information that the EPA will be collecting are available in the public docket for this ICR. The docket can be viewed online at www.regulations.gov or in person at the EPA Docket Center, WJC West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The telephone number for the Docket Center is 202-566-1744. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, EPA is soliciting comments and information to enable it to: (i) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (ii) evaluate the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (iii) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (iv) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. EPA will consider the comments received and amend the ICR as appropriate. The final ICR package will then be submitted to OMB for review and approval. At that time, EPA will issue another Federal Register notice to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB and the opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB.

    Abstract: This Information Collection Request (ICR) renewal supports activities to implement the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), Subpart J (40 CFR 300.900, “Use of Dispersants and Other Chemicals”).

    The use of bioremediation agents, dispersants, surface washing agents, surface collecting agents and miscellaneous oil spill control agents in response to oil spills in U.S. waters or adjoining shorelines is governed by Subpart J of the NCP regulation (40 CFR 300.900). Subpart J requirements include criteria for listing oil spill mitigating agents on the NCP Product Schedule, hereafter referred to as the Schedule. EPA's regulation, which is codified at 40 CFR 300.00, requires that EPA prepare a schedule of “dispersants, other chemicals, and other spill mitigating devices and substances, if any, that may be used in carrying out the NCP.” The Schedule is required by section 311(d)(2)(G) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The Schedule is used by Federal On-Scene Coordinators (FOSCs), Regional Response Teams (RRTs), and Area Planners to identify spill mitigating agents in preparation for and response to oil spills.

    Under Subpart J, respondents who want to add a product to the Schedule must submit technical product data to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) as stipulated in 40 CFR 300.915. Specifically, Subpart J requires the manufacturer to conduct specific toxicity and effectiveness tests and submit the corresponding technical product data along with other detailed information to the EPA Office of Emergency Management, Office of Land and Emergency Management. For example, a dispersant must exceed the 50-percent (±5 percent) efficacy threshold in order to be listed on the Schedule. EPA places oil spill mitigating agents on the Schedule if all the required data are submitted and the product satisfies all requirements and meets or exceeds testing thresholds. The Product Schedule is available to FOSCs, RRTs, and Area Committees for determining the most appropriate products to use in various spill scenarios.

    Products currently listed on the Schedule are divided into five basic categories: Dispersants, surface washing agents, surface collecting agents, bioremediation agents, and miscellaneous oil spill control agents. As of March 2016, 118 products are listed on the Schedule. It is estimated that 11 products per year will be submitted to EPA for listing on the Schedule. Over the three-year period covered by this ICR, an estimated 33 products may be listed. Additionally, EPA estimates that approximately 10 manufacturers will submit information to obtain sorbent certifications. The annual public reporting burden will be 315 hours. The total annual cost (including labor and non-labor) to manufacturers under Subpart J is estimated to be $89,590.

    At 40 CFR 300.920(c), respondents are allowed to assert that certain information in the technical product data submissions is confidential business information. EPA will handle such claims pursuant to the provisions in 40 CFR part 2, subpart B. Such information must be submitted separately from non-confidential information, clearly identified, and clearly marked “Confidential Business Information.” If the applicant fails to make such a claim at the time of submittal, EPA may make the information available to the public without further notice.

    Form Numbers: None.

    Respondents/affected entities: Respondents include, but are not limited to, manufacturers of bioremediation agents, dispersants, surface collecting agents, surface washing agents, miscellaneous oil spill control agents, and other chemical agents and biological additives used as countermeasures against oil spills. Affected private industries can be expected to fall within the following industrial classifications:

    • Manufacturers of industrial inorganic chemicals (SIC 281/NAICS 325188),

    • Manufacturers of industrial organic chemicals (SIC 286/NAICS 325199), and

    • Manufacturers of miscellaneous chemical products (SIC 289/NAICS 325988).

    Respondent's obligation to respond: An oil spill mitigating agent does not have to be listed on the Product Schedule unless a manufacturer wants the product to be applied as part of an emergency response to an oil spill. If so, then certain mandatory product testing and information is required to be considered for listing on the Schedule. (The Schedule is required by section 311(d)(2)(G) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990).

    Estimated number of respondents: Eleven per year. There are 100 manufacturers and 118 products (27 bioremediation agents, 19 dispersants, 15 miscellaneous oil spill control agents, and 55 surface washing agents, 2 surface collecting agents) currently listed on the January, 2016 Schedule. EPA estimates that manufacturers will apply to list 11 products on the Schedule each year, including 2 bioremediation agents, 3 dispersants, 2 miscellaneous oil spill control agents, 1 surface collecting agent, and 3 surface washing agents. Over a three-year period, EPA anticipates that manufacturers will apply to list a total of 6 bioremediation agents, 9 dispersants, 6 miscellaneous oil spill control agents, 3 surface collecting agent, and 9 surface washing agents on the Schedule.

    Frequency of response: Each manufacturer responds one time per product submittal.

    Total estimated burden: 315 hours (per year). Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.03(b).

    Total estimated cost: $72,450 (per year)

    Changes in Estimates: There is a minor increase in burden hours and cost. All regulatory requirements are the same as in the 2010 and 2013 ICRs.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Reggie Cheatham, Director, Office of Emergency Management.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06855 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [ER-FRL-9026-2] Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of Availability

    Responsible Agency: Office of Federal Activities, General Information (202) 564-7146 or http://www2.epa.gov/nepa.

    Weekly receipt of Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) Filed 03/14/2016 Through 03/18/2016, Pursuant to 40 CFR 1506.9. Notice

    Section 309(a) of the Clean Air Act requires that EPA make public its comments on EISs issued by other Federal agencies. EPA's comment letters on EISs are available at: https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-nepa-public/action/eis/search

    EIS No. 20160063, Draft, BR, NM, Rio Grande Project, Continued Implementation of the 2008 Operating Agreement, Comment Period Ends: 05/09/2016, Contact: Rhea Graham 505-462-3560. EIS No. 20160064, Draft, USACE, WA, Puyallup River Basin, Flood Risk Management General Investigation, Comment Period Ends: 05/09/2016, Contact: Scott Long 206-764-6697. EIS No. 20160065, Final, WAPA, CA, San Luis Transmission Project, Review Period Ends: 04/25/2016, Contact: Donald Lash 916-353-4048. Amended Notices EIS No. 20160017, Draft, USFS, AK, Shoreline II Outfitter/Guide (formerly Shoreline II Outfitter and Guide Management Plan), Comment Period Ends: 04/25/2016, Contact: Carey Case 907-772-3871. Revision to FR Notice Published 01/29/2016, Extending Comment Period from 03/14/2016 to 04/25/2016. EIS No. 20160021, Draft, USACE, NY, Mamaroneck and Sheldrake Rivers Flood Risk Management Village of Mamaroneck General Reevaluation, Comment Period Ends: 03/14/2016, Contact: Matthew Voisine 917-790-8718. Revision to FR Notice Published 01/29/2016, Extending Comment Period from 03/14/2016 to 03/30/2016. EIS No. 20160037, Draft, USFS, WA, Colville National Forest Plan Revision, Comment Period Ends: 07/05/2016, Contact: Amy Dillon 509-684-7211. Revision to FR Notice Published 02/19/2016, Extending Comment Period from 05/19/2016 to 07/05/2016. Dated: March 22, 2016. Dawn Roberts, Management Analyst, NEPA Compliance Division, Office of Federal Activities.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06817 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION Privacy Act System of Records AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission (FCC, Commission, or the Agency).

    ACTION:

    Notice; one altered Privacy Act system of records; eight new routine uses.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to subsection (e)(4) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (“Privacy Act”), 5 U.S.C. 552a, the FCC proposes to change the name and alter one system of records, FCC/OMD-7, “FCC Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs” (formerly FCC/OMD-7, “FCC Employee Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs”). The FCC will alter the security classification; the system location; the categories of individuals; the categories of records; the authority for maintenance of the system; the purposes for which the information is maintained; five routine uses (1), (2), (4), (5), and (6) (and add eight new routine uses (8-15); the policies and practices for the storage, retrivability, accessibility, safeguards, and retention and disposal of the records in the system; the system manager(s) and address; the notification, record access, and contesting record procedures; the record source categories; and make other administrative edits and revisions as necessary to update the information and comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552a), and the regulations and requirements of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

    DATES:

    In accordance with subsections (e)(4) and (e)(11) of the Privacy Act, any interested person may submit written comments concerning the alteration of this system of records on or before April 25, 2016. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which has oversight responsibility under the Privacy Act to review the system of records, and Congress may submit comments on or before May 4, 2016. The proposed new system of records will become effective on May 4, 2016 unless the FCC receives comments that require a contrary determination. The Commission will publish a document in the Federal Register notifying the public if any changes are necessary. As required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act, the FCC is submitting reports on this proposed altered system to OMB and Congress.

    ADDRESSES:

    Address comments to Leslie F. Smith, Privacy Manager, Information Technology (IT), Room 1-C216, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554, (202) 418-0217, or via the Internet at [email protected].

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Contact Leslie F. Smith, Privacy Manager, Information Technology (IT), 1-C216, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554, (202) 418-0217 or via the Internet at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    As required by the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4) and (e)(11), this document sets forth notice of the alteration of one system of records maintained by the FCC, the revision of six routine uses: (1), (2), (4), (5), and (6), and the addition of eight new routine uses ((8)-(15)). The FCC previously gave complete notice of the system of records (FCC/OMD-7, “FCC Employee Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs”) covered under this Notice by publication in the Federal Register on April 5, 2006 (71 FR 17234, 17252). This notice is a summary of the more detailed information about the proposed altered system of records, which may be obtained or viewed pursuant to the contact and location information given above in the ADDRESSES section. The purposes for altering FCC/OMD-7, “FCC Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs” (formerly FCC/OMD-7, “FCC Employee Transit Benefit and Parking Programs”) are to revise: The system name to reflect the expansion of the categories of individuals who are covered by this system; the security classification; the system location; the categories of individuals; the categories of records; the authority for maintenance of the system; the purposes for which the information is maintained; routine uses (1), (2), (4), (5), and (6), and add eight new routine uses ((8)-(15)); the policies and practices for the storage, retrievability, accessibility, safeguards, and retention and disposal of the records in the system; the system manager(s) and address; the notification, record access, and contesting record procedures; the record source categories; and make other administrative edits and revisions as necessary to update the information and comply with the requirements of the Privacy Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552a), and the regulations and requirements of OMD and NARA.

    The FCC will achieve these purposes by altering this system of records with these changes:

    Revision of language regarding the Security Classification, for clarity and to note that the FCC has in place a process to provide an appropriate security classification for this system, such that: The FCC's CIO team will provide a security classification to this system based on NIST FIPS-199 standards.

    Revision of the language regarding the System Location, to note the changes to the system's address: Administrative Services Center (ASC), Office of the Managing Director (OMD), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. Information related to those employees who participate in the Smartrip portion of the benefits program is also stored in a database administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), headquartered at 600 Fifth Street NW., Washington, DC 20001.

    Revision of the language regarding the Categories of Individuals Covered by the System, for clarity and to note the expansion of the categories of individuals covered by this system to include FCC employees and their spouses, paid interns/co-op students, FCC contractors, and non-FCC Federal employees, such that: The categories of individuals in this system include those individuals who voluntarily apply for and/or participate in one of the FCC Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs, which include, but are not limited to:

    1. FCC employees who have applied for and received monthly transit fare subsidies;

    2. FCC employees and contractors who hold monthly FCC garage parking permits;

    3. FCC employees, employee spouses, paid interns and co-op students, contractors, and non-FCC Federal agency employees who are members of carpools and vanpools that park in the FCC parking garage;

    4. FCC employees who have applied for and received handicap status for FCC garage parking assignments as a “reasonable accommodation”; and

    5. FCC employees who participate in ridesharing, including the Capital Bikeshare Program.

    Revision of the language in the Categories of Records in the System, for clarity and to note the expansion in and various changes made to the categories of records covered by this system, including the list of FCC forms and the information requested in each form, as follows:

    The FCC uses the records in this system to administer the Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs. These records include, but are not limited to, the information that is required to be submitted on the following forms and any related documentation that pertains to transit benefit subsidies, parking permits, ride-sharing, bike-sharing, and other, related transit and commuting programs available to FCC employees, contractors, and other individuals, which are sponsored and/or hosted by the FCC:

    1. Form A-27, “FCC Pre-Tax Parking Benefit Form,” including, but not limited to: Employee Information: FCC employee's name; effective date; pay period; parking location; and monthly/daily fee; Benefit: Carpool/vanpool), metro parking, commercial lot, privately-owned lot, parking garage, or parking meter; and requested amount; whether the application is new, a cancellation, or a change; and effective date; and Certification: Employee signature; date; and attachments;

    2. Form A-30, “FCC Parking Application,” including, but not limited to: Applicant's name, FCC bureau/office/division; address (required for carpool); FCC badge number; FCC telephone number; FCC employee/contractor/paid intern/co-op student; vehicle year, make, model, state, and license plate; handicap perm (yes/no); FCC title (executives only); transit benefit participant (yes/no); van pool/car pool riders (FCC and Non-FCC employees): Name, address, bureau/office or agency, telephone number, FCC ID number, and signature; applicant's signature and date; and attachments, e.g,, handicap certification, etc.;

    3. Form A-75, “FCC Headquarters Employee Transit Benefit Application,” including, but not limited to:

    A. Applicant Information: Applicant's name, home address, bureau/office, office room number, telephone number, FCC badge number, and WMATA Smartrip Card serial number;

    B. Employment Status: Full time, part time, paid intern/co-op student; and bargaining/non-bargaining unit status;

    C. Mode(s) of Transportation (costs): Metro (rail only) and station name; metro (rail and bus) and station name; Metro (bus only); one-way transit user; commuter bus; commuter rail; and/or vanpool;

    D. Telework: Approved telework agreement (yes/no); and telework days (Monday-Friday);

    E. Employee certification: Employee signature and date; and

    F. Transit benefit office action: Approved (yes and amount/no), disapproved (reason), signature and data; and attachments;

    4. Form A-75-A, “FCC Employee Transit Benefit Change Request Form,” including, but not limited to:

    A. Applicant Information: Applicant's name, home address, bureau/office, office room number, office telephone number, and FCC badge number;

    B. Employment Status: Full time, part time, paid intern, or co-op student;

    C. Change(s) Requested:

    1. Mode(s) of transportation: Metro rail, metro bus, commuter rail, commuter bus, one-way transit user, vanpool, other, and transit provider name;

    2. Monthly commuting cost: Old and new;

    3. Badge number: Old and new;

    4. Address change: Home address;

    5. Name change: From/to; and

    6. Smartrip Card serial number: Old and new; and

    D. Employee Certification: Signature; date; and attachments.

    Revision to the Authority for Maintenance of the System, to add several rule sections and delete several rule sections so that the statutory authorities more closely align with the system's current requirements, such that the authorities now include, as follows:

    5 U.S.C. 301; 5 U.S.C. 5701-5733; 5 U.S.C. 7905; 26 U.S.C. 132(f); 40 U.S.C. 101 and 121; 44 U.S.C. 2104; 41 CFR 101-20.104-2, 102-74.205-210 (Ridesharing), and 102-74.265-310 (Parking Facilities); Executive Order 9397, as amended by Executive Order 13478; Executive Order 13150; Pub. L. 103-172; and the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended.

    Revision of the language regarding the Purposes for which the information in this system is maintained, for clarity, and to expand the system's purposes, to include cross-checking information and matching activity to eliminate fraud and a security check on participants to safeguard against possible criminal or terrorist activity, as follows:

    The FCC will use information in this system, including the PII, to administer the Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs. This information enables the FCC to facilitate the timely processing of requests for parking permits, transit benefit subsidies, ride-sharing and bike-sharing programs and similar commuting arrangements, and other, related program, policies, and activities, which include, but are not limited to:

    1. Managing the FCC's transit benefits program that provides transportation subsidies for public transit, including but not limited to WMATA Metro train and bus fares; Commuter rail services—Maryland Area Rail Commuters (MARC) and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) fares; Commuter bus services—DASH fares, etc.; One-way transit users; Vanpool fares; and other parking and transit subsidies to Federal employees as allowed under 5 U.S.C. 7905, 5 U.S.C. 301, and Executive Order 13150 employee's request to participate in the transit subsidy or FCC garage parking program;

    2. Managing the FCC's employee parking, executive parking, handicapped parking, and ridesharing programs (vanpools/carpools) for FCC employees, contractors, and non-FCC agency employees;

    3. Conducting audits, reviews, oversight, and/or investigations of the transit benefits, parking, ridesharing programs (vanpools and carpools) to ensure their accuracy and integrity of the Transit Benefits and Parking Program, which includes but is not limited to cross-checking the Commission's data on parking assignees and transit benefit recipients to ensure that they are not participating in both programs, unless authorized; and, when appropriate, matching this information with the lists of other Federal agencies to ensure that the Commission's participants are not registered for a drive-alone, carpool, or other parking assignments with any other Federal agency, and to identify and locate former employees;

    4. Administering, qualifying, and/or certifying the beneficiaries of the Transit Benefits and Parking Program, which includes but is not limited to ensure the eligibility of transit subsidy participants and to prevent misuse of the funds involved;

    5. Preparing and administering listings and reports for use by the FCC and the other Federal, state, and local agencies charged with management and oversight of and/or contribution to the Transit Benefits and Parking Program subsidies, etc.; and

    6. Ensuring that those non-FCC individuals who are participating in the ride-sharing and bike-sharing programs do not pose a security threat to FCC Headquarter garage facilities.

    Revision of the language in Routine Use (1) “Financial Obligations as required by the National Finance Center et al.” to add “pre-tax benefit(s)” as another category of information concerning a record from this system that may be disclosed:

    When the National Finance Center (the FCC's designated payroll office), the Department of the Treasury Debt Management Services, and/or a current employer to effect a salary, IRS tax refund, pre-tax benefit(s), or administrative offset to satisfy an indebtedness; and to Federal agencies to identify and locate former employees for the purposes of collecting such indebtedness, including through administrative, salary, or tax refund offsets. Identifying and locating former employees, and the subsequent referral to such agencies for offset purposes, may be accomplished through authorized computer matching programs. Disclosures will be made only when all procedural steps established by the Debt Collection Act of 1982 and the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 or the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988, as appropriate, have been taken;

    Revision of the language in Routine Use (2) “Program Partner” to expand the categories of transit information to include other applicable public transportations (in addition to WMATA), to note that these benefits are for FCC employees, and that the benefits relate to public transportation fare (e.g., Smartrip program) as these relate to records from this system that may be disclosed:

    To WMATA and other applicable public transportations in connection with FCC employees participating in this public transportation fare, e.g., Smartrip program at: http://www.wmata.com/riding/smartrip.cfm;

    Routine Use (3) “Adjudication and Litigation” is unchanged.

    Revision of the language in Routine Use (4) “Law Enforcement and Investigation” to expand the categories to include government agencies and officials, the purposes that include but are not limited to sharing records in this system, and the reasons for disclosure, and to note that records may be referred for investigation, enforcement, or prosecution by the Commission (or another agency), regarding why a record from this system that may be disclosed:

    Where there is a real or suspected indication of a violation or potential violation of a statute, regulation, rule, or order, records from this system may be shared with appropriate Federal, State, and/or local agencies, authorities, and officials for purposes that include but are not limited to obtaining additional information relevant to a FCC decision, referring the record for investigation, enforcement, or prosecution by the Commission or another agency;

    Revision of the language in Routine Use (5) “Congressional Investigations and Inquiries” to change the title of the routine use and expand the categories of information to include investigations and inquiries, regarding a record from this system that may be disclosed:

    To Congress, or, to the extent of matter within its jurisdiction, any committee or subcommittee thereof, for the purposes of an official Congressional investigation, including but not limited to, a request by a Congressional office in response to an inquiry made by an individual to the Congressional office for the individual's own records;

    Revision of the language in Routine Use (6) “Government-wide Program Management and Oversight” to expand the number of Federal agencies and categories of information concerning a record from this system that may be disclosed, as follows:

    To the General Services Administration (GSA), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and/or the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for the purpose of records management studies conducted under authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906; to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in order to obtain that department's advice regarding disclosure obligations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); or to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in order to obtain that office's advice regarding obligations under the Privacy Act. Such a disclosure shall not be used to make a determination about individuals;

    Routine Use (7) “Labor Relations” is unchanged.

    Addition of Routine Use (8) “Breach Notification,” as follows:

    A record from this system may be disclosed to appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when: (1) The Commission suspects or has confirmed that the security or confidentiality of information in the system of records has been compromised; (2) the Commission has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by the Commission or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Commission's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm;

    Addition of Routine Use (9) “Vanpool, Carpool, and Ridesharing,” as follows:

    Vanpool, Carpool, and Ridesharing—Vanpool, carpool, and rideshare information, i.e., names and residential information (home address and personal home and cell phone number(s)) of FCC and non-FCC Federal employees and FCC contractors in the ridesharing database, who wish to participate in in a vanpool, carpool, and/or other ridesharing arrangements for daily commuting to the FCC Headquarters. This information is provided to the ridesharing coordinator for the purposes of scheduling ride-sharing arrangements;

    Addition of Routine Use (10) “Statistical Reports on Commuting,” as follows:

    Statistical Reports on Commuting—To Federal, state, local, and related organizations, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, that are studying local traffic commuting patterns (i.e., compiling commuting statistics and reports) by those who use metrorail (WMATA), commuter bus, commuter rail (e.g., VRS and MARC), vanpools, carpools, and/or ridesharing in their commute to and from work;

    Addition of Routine Use (11) “Department of Justice (DOJ),” as follows:

    To DOJ or in a proceeding before a court or adjudicative body when:

    (a) The United States, the Commission, a component of the Commission, or, when represented by the government, an employee of the Commission is a party to litigation or anticipated litigation or has an interest in such litigation, and

    (b) The Commission determines that the disclosure is relevant or necessary to the litigation;

    Addition of Routine Use (12) “Medical Certification,” as follows:

    To a physician who is making a determination on a person's eligibility for a handicapped parking permit.

    Addition of Routine Use (13) “Employment, Clearances, Licensing, Contract, Grant, or other Benefits Decisions by the Agency,” as follows:

    To a Federal, State, local, foreign, tribal, or other public agency or authority maintaining civil, criminal, or other relevant enforcement records, or other pertinent records, or to another public authority or professional organization, if necessary to obtain information relevant to an investigation concerning the retention of an employee or other personnel action, the retention of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance or retention of a grant or other benefit;

    Addition of Routine Use (11) “Employment, Clearances, Licensing, Contract, Grant, or other Benefits Decisions by Other than the Agency,” as follows:

    To a Federal, State, local, foreign, tribal, or other public agency or authority of the fact that this system of records contains information relevant to the retention of an employee, the retention of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance or retention of a license, grant, or other benefit. The other agency or licensing organization may then make a request supported by the written consent of the individual for the entire records if it so chooses. No disclosure will be made unless the information has been determined to be sufficiently reliable to support a referral to another office within the agency or to another Federal agency for criminal, civil, administrative, personnel, or regulatory action; and

    Addition of Routine Use (15) “Parking Garage Contractors,” as follows:

    To the owners, managers, and staff who manage the garage parking for their use in assigning or checking the parking permits, checking credentials, assigning spaces, assisting with accidents, or other parking issues to ensure that the parking program functions properly and that parking privileges are not abused.

    In each of these cases, the FCC will determine whether disclosure of the records is compatible with the purpose(s) for which the records were collected.

    Revision of the language in the policies and practices regarding Storage of the information in this system, for clarity, to specify that the information in this system includes both paper and electronic records, to describe the Administrative Services Center's (ASC) current storage procedures, and to note that:

    Paper records, files, and documents, which pertain to the information concerning the transit benefits and parking program that are maintained at the FCC, are stored in file folders in the ASC office suite.

    The electronic records, files, and data are housed in the FCC's computer network databases, which are reserved for the transit benefit and parking permit program, and in the WMATA database that is associated with the Smartrip program.

    Revision of the language in the policies and practices regarding the Retrievability of the information in this system, for clarity, and to specify that both paper and electronic records are retrievable, as follows:

    Both the paper documents and electronic records and data are retrieved by the employer's name, or by the FCC Badge identification number, tag, and/or parking permit number.

    Revision of the language in the policies and practices regarding the Safeguards for protecting the information in this system, for clarity, and to comply with the FCC's current safety and security protocols and procedures, including information noting that these FCC standards adhere to the requirements of the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), as follows:

    The safeguards for the information pertaining to the transit benefit and parking permit programs, which is maintained by the FCC, are as follows:

    1. The paper documents, files, and records are kept in a locked cash box contained in a (cylinder lock) drawer. At the close of the business day, the cash box is secured in a government issued safe with a combination lock. Only authorized ASC supervisors, staff, and contractors may have access to these file cabinets. The ASC office suite is protected by a card-coded main door to limit access to the suite.

    2. The electronic records, files, and data that are stored in the FCC computer network databases are secured by limited access card readers. Access to the electronic files is restricted to authorized ASC supervisors, staff, and contractors, and to the Information Technology (IT) staff and contractors, who maintain the FCC's computer network. Other FCC employees and contractors may be granted access only on a “need-to-know” basis. The FCC's computer network databases are protected by the FCC's security protocols, which include controlled access, passwords, and other IT security features and requirements as required under the IT guidelines issued by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) regulations. A PRIVACY ACT WARNING NOTICE appears on the monitor screen when records containing information on individuals are first displayed. Information resident on the Transit Benefits and Parking Program database servers is backed-up routinely onto magnetic media. Back-up tapes are stored at secured locations.

    3. Safeguards in place adhere to Federal standards, including the NIST, FISMA, and FCC standards.

    Revision of the language in the policies and practices regarding the Retention and Disposal of the information in this system, for clarity, and to specify that they comply with the current NARA requirements for both paper and electronic records, as follows:

    Records under the control of the FCC are retained for three years in accordance with the General Records Schedule 6 (GRS 6) established by NARA at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/ardor/grs06.html. Paper records are then shredded. Electronic records are destroyed physically (electronic storage media) or by electronic erasure.

    Revision of the language regarding the System Manager(s) and Address, for clarity, and to note the current address of the system managers where they may be contacted, as follows:

    Administrative Services Center (ASC), Office of the Managing Director (OMD), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.

    Revision of the language regarding the Notification, Record Access, and Contesting Procedures concerning information in this system, for clarity, and to comply with the Commission's current policies and practices for notifying individuals under the requirements of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a(d), as follows:

    Notification Procedures: Privacy Manager, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW., Room 1-A804, Washington, DC 20554; (202) 418-0217 or [email protected]

    Record Access Procedures: Privacy Manager, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW., Room 1-A804, Washington, DC 20554; (202) 418-0217 or [email protected]

    Contesting Records Procedures: Privacy Manager, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW., Room 1-A804, Washington, DC 20554; (202) 418-0217 or [email protected]

    Revision of the language in the Record Source Categories, for clarity, and to expand the sources of and details concerning the information in this system, as follows:

    Information in the system is obtained from:

    1. One or more FCC Forms, including, but not limited to FCC Forms A-27, A-30, A-75, and/or A-75-A, which are submitted by individuals who apply to participate in the FCC Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs, including but not limited to metrorail, bus, commuter rail, vanpools, carpools, and/or ridesharing arrangements.

    2. WMATA and other agencies concerning individuals (including both FCC and non-FCC individuals) who have applied for and/or participate in the FCC's transit benefits program and/or the carpool/vanpool programs; and

    3. Ride-Share Bike Program information.

    This notice meets the requirement documenting the changes to the system of records that the FCC maintains, and provides the public, OMB, and Congress an opportunity to comment.

    FCC/OMD-7 SYSTEM NAME:

    FCC Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs.

    SECURITY CLASSIFICATION:

    The FCC's CIO team will provide a security classification to this system based on NIST FIPS-199 standards.

    SYSTEM LOCATION:

    Administrative Services Center (ASC), Office of the Managing Director (OMD), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.

    Information related to those employees who participate in the Smartrip portion of the benefits program is also stored in a database administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority WMATA, headquartered at 600 Fifth Street NW., Washington, DC 20001.

    CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THIS SYSTEM:

    The categories of individuals in this system include those individuals who voluntarily apply for and/or participate in one of the FCC Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs, which include, but are not limited to:

    1. FCC employees who have applied for and received monthly transit fare subsidies;

    2. FCC employees and contractors who hold monthly FCC garage parking permits;

    3. FCC employees, employee spouses, paid interns and co-op students, contractors, and non-FCC Federal agency employees who are members of carpools and vanpools that park in the FCC parking garage;

    4. FCC employees who have applied for and received handicap status for FCC garage parking assignments as a “reasonable accommodation”; 1 and

    1 FCC/OWD-1, “Reasonable Accommodation Requests under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,” may also cover individuals who request a special parking arrangement as a “reasonable accommodation.”

    5. FCC employees who participate in ridesharing, including the Capital Bikeshare Program.

    CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:

    The FCC uses the records in this system to administer the Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs. These records include, but are not limited to, the information that is required to be submitted on the following forms and any related documentation that pertains to transit benefit subsidies, parking permits, ride-sharing, bike-sharing, and other, related transit and commuting programs available to FCC employees, contractors, and other individuals, which are sponsored and/or hosted by the FCC:

    1. Form A-27, “FCC Pre-Tax Parking Benefit Form,” including, but not limited to:

    Employee Information: FCC employee's name; effective date; pay period; parking location; and monthly/daily fee; Benefit: carpool/vanpool), metro parking, commercial lot, privately-owned lot, parking garage, or parking meter; and requested amount; whether the application is new, a cancellation, or a change; and effective date; and Certification: employee signature; date; and attachments;

    2. Form A-30, “FCC Parking Application,” including, but not limited to: Applicant's name, FCC bureau/office/division; address (required for carpool); FCC badge number; FCC telephone number; FCC employee/contractor/paid intern; vehicle year, make, model, state, and license plate; handicap perm (yes/no); FCC title (executives only); transit benefit participant (yes/no); van pool/car pool riders (FCC and Non-FCC employees): name, address, bureau/office or agency, telephone number, FCC ID number, and signature; applicant's signature and date; and attachments, e.g., handicap certification, etc.;

    3. Form A-75, “FCC Headquarters Employee Transit Benefit Application,” including, but not limited to:

    A. Applicant Information: applicant's name, home address, bureau/office, office room number, telephone number, FCC badge number, and WMATA Smartrip Card serial number;

    B. Employment Status: full time, part time, paid intern/co-op student; and bargaining/non-bargaining unit status;

    C. Mode(s) of Transportation (costs): metro (rail only) and station name; metro (rail and bus) and station name; metro (bus only); one-way transit user; commuter bus; commuter rail; and/or vanpool;

    D. Telework: approved telework agreement (yes/no); and telework days (Monday-Friday);

    E. Employee certification: employee signature and date; and

    F. Transit benefit office action: approved (yes and amount/no), disapproved (reason), signature and data; and attachments;

    4. Form A-75-A, “FCC Employee Transit Benefit Change Request Form,” including, but not limited to:

    A. Applicant Information: applicant's name, home address, bureau/office, office room number, office telephone number, and FCC badge number;

    B. Employment Status: full time, part time, paid intern, or co-op student;

    C. Change(s) Requested:

    1. Mode(s) of transportation: metro rail, metro bus, commuter rail, commuter bus, one-way transit user, vanpool, other, and transit provider name;

    2. Monthly commuting cost: old and new;

    3. Badge number: old and new;

    4. Address change: home address;

    5. Name change: from/to; and

    6. Smartrip Card serial number: old and new; and

    D. Employee Certification: signature; date; and attachments.

    AUTHORITY FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SYSTEM:

    5 U.S.C. 301; 5 U.S.C. 5701-5733; 5 U.S.C. 7905; 26 U.S.C. 132(f); 40 U.S.C. 101 and 121; 44 U.S.C. 2104 41 CFR 101-20.104-2, 102-74.205-210 (Ridesharing), and 102-74.265-310 (Parking Facilities); Executive Order 9397, as amended by Executive Order 13478; Executive Order 13150; Pub. L. 103-172; and the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended.

    PURPOSE(S):

    The FCC will use information in this system, including the PII, to administer the Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs. This information enables the FCC to facilitate the timely processing of requests for parking permits, transit benefit subsidies, ride-sharing and bike-sharing programs and similar commuting arrangements, and other, related program, policies, and activities, which include, but are not limited to:

    1. Managing the FCC's transit benefits program that provides transportation subsidies for public transit, including but not limited to, WMATA Metro train and bus fares; Commuter rail services—Maryland Area Rail Commuters MARC and Virginia Railway Express VRE fares; Commuter bus services—DASH fares, etc.; One-way transit users; Vanpool fares; and other parking and transit subsidies to Federal employees as allowed under 5 U.S.C. 7905, 5 U.S.C. 301, and Executive Order 13150 employee's request to participate in the transit subsidy or FCC garage parking program;

    2. Managing the FCC's employee parking, executive parking, handicapped parking, and ridesharing programs (vanpools/carpools) for FCC employees, contractors, and non-FCC agency employees;

    3. Conducting audits, reviews, oversight, and/or investigations of the transit benefits, parking, ridesharing programs (vanpools and carpools) to ensure their accuracy and integrity of the Transit Benefits and Parking Program, which includes but is not limited to cross-checking the Commission's data on parking assignees and transit benefit recipients to ensure that they are not participating in both programs, unless authorized; and, when appropriate, matching this information with the lists of other Federal agencies to ensure that the Commission's participants are not registered for a drive-alone, carpool, or other parking assignments with any other Federal agency, and to identify and locate former employees;

    4. Administering, qualifying, and/or certifying the beneficiaries of the Transit Benefits and Parking Program, which includes but is not limited to ensure the eligibility of transit subsidy participants and to prevent misuse of the funds involved;

    5. Preparing and administering listings and reports for use by the FCC and the other Federal, state, and local agencies charged with management and oversight of and/or contribution to the Transit Benefits and Parking Program subsidies, etc.; and

    6. Ensuring that those non-FCC individuals who are participating in the ride-sharing and bike-sharing programs do not pose a security threat to FCC Headquarter garage facilities

    ROUTINE USES OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE SYSTEM, INCLUDING CATEGORIES OF USERS AND THE PURPOSES OF SUCH USES:

    Information about individuals in this system of records may routinely be disclosed under the following conditions:

    1. Financial Obligations as required by the National Finance Center et al.—When the National Finance Center (the FCC's designated payroll office), the Department of the Treasury Debt Management Services, and/or a current employer to effect a salary, IRS tax refund, pre-tax benefit(s), or administrative offset to satisfy an indebtedness; and to Federal agencies to identify and locate former employees for the purposes of collecting such indebtedness, including through administrative, salary, or tax refund offsets. Identifying and locating former employees, and the subsequent referral to such agencies for offset purposes, may be accomplished through authorized computer matching programs. Disclosures will be made only when all procedural steps established by the Debt Collection Act of 1982 and the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 or the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988, as appropriate, have been taken;

    2. Program Partner—To WMATA and other applicable public transportations in connection with FCC employees participating in this public transportation fare, e.g., Smartrip program at: http://www.wmata.com/riding/smartrip.cfm;

    3. Adjudication and Litigation—Where by careful review, the agency determines that the records are both relevant and necessary to litigation and the use of such records is deemed by the agency to be for a purpose that is compatible with the purpose for which the agency collected the records, these records may be used by a court or adjudicative body in a proceeding when: (a) The agency or any component thereof; or (b) any employee of the agency in his or her official capacity; or (c) any employee of the agency in his or her individual capacity where the agency has agreed to represent the employee; or (d) the United States Government is a party to litigation or has an interest in such litigation;

    4. Law Enforcement and Investigation—Where there is a real or suspected indication of a violation or potential violation of a statute, regulation, rule, or order, records from this system may be shared with appropriate Federal, State, and/or local agencies, authorities, and officials for purposes that include but are not limited to obtaining additional information relevant to a FCC decision, referring the record for investigation, enforcement, or prosecution by the Commission or another agency;

    5. Congressional Investigations and Inquiries—To Congress, or, to the extent of matter within its jurisdiction, any committee or subcommittee thereof, for the purposes of an official Congressional investigation, including but not limited to, a request by a Congressional office in response to an inquiry made by an individual to the Congressional office for the individual's own records;

    6. Government-wide Program Management and Oversight—To the General Services Administration (GSA), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and/or the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for the purpose of records management studies conducted under authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906; to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in order to obtain that department's advice regarding disclosure obligations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); or to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in order to obtain that office's advice regarding obligations under the Privacy Act. Such a disclosure shall not be used to make a determination about individuals;

    7. Labor Relations—To officials of labor organizations recognized under 5 U.S.C. Chapter 71 upon receipt of a formal request and in accord with the conditions of 5 U.S.C. 7114 when relevant and necessary to their duties of exclusive representation concerning personnel policies, practices, and matters affecting working conditions;

    8. Breach Notification-To appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when: (1) The Commission suspects or has confirmed that the security or confidentiality of information in the system of records has been compromised; (2) the Commission has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by the Commission or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Commission's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm;

    9. Vanpool, Carpool, and Ridesharing—Vanpool, carpool, and rideshare information, i.e., names and residential information (home address and personal home and cell phone number(s)) of FCC and non-FCC Federal employees and FCC contractors in the ridesharing database, who wish to participate in in a vanpool, carpool, and/or other ridesharing arrangements for daily commuting to the FCC Headquarters. This information is provided to the ridesharing coordinator for the purposes of scheduling ride-sharing arrangements;

    10. Statistical Reports on Commuting—To Federal, state, local, and related organizations, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, that are studying local traffic commuting patterns (i.e., compiling commuting statistics and reports) by those who use metrorail (WMATA), commuter bus, commuter rail (e.g., VRS and MARC), vanpools, carpools, and/or ridesharing in their commute to and from work;

    11. Department of Justice (DOJ)—To DOJ or in a proceeding before a court or adjudicative body when:

    (a) The United States, the Commission, a component of the Commission, or, when represented by the government, an employee of the Commission is a party to litigation or anticipated litigation or has an interest in such litigation, and

    (b) The Commission determines that the disclosure is relevant or necessary to the litigation; and

    12. Medical Certification—To a physician who is making a determination on a person's eligibility for a handicapped parking permit;

    13. Employment, Clearances, Licensing, Contract, Grant, or other Benefits Decisions by the Agency—To a Federal, State, local, foreign, tribal, or other public agency or authority maintaining civil, criminal, or other relevant enforcement records, or other pertinent records, or to another public authority or professional organization, if necessary to obtain information relevant to an investigation concerning the retention of an employee or other personnel action, the retention of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance or retention of a grant or other benefit;

    14. Employment, Clearances, Licensing, Contract, Grant, or other Benefits Decisions by Other than the Agency—To a Federal, State, local, foreign, tribal, or other public agency or authority of the fact that this system of records contains information relevant to the retention of an employee, the retention of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance or retention of a license, grant, or other benefit. The other agency or licensing organization may then make a request supported by the written consent of the individual for the entire records if it so chooses. No disclosure will be made unless the information has been determined to be sufficiently reliable to support a referral to another office within the agency or to another Federal agency for criminal, civil, administrative, personnel, or regulatory action; and

    15. Parking Garage Contractors—To the owners, managers, and staff who manage the garage parking for their use in assigning or checking the parking permits, checking credentials, assigning spaces, assisting with accidents, or other parking issues to ensure that the parking program functions properly and that parking privileges are not abused.

    In each of these cases, the FCC will determine whether disclosure of the records is compatible with the purpose(s) for which the records were collected.

    DISCLOSURE TO CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCIES:

    None.

    POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR STORING, RETRIEVING, ACCESSING, RETAINING, AND DISPOSING OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM: STORAGE:

    Paper records, files, and documents, which pertain to the information concerning the transit benefits and parking program that are maintained at the FCC, are stored in file folders in the ASC office suite.

    The electronic records, files, and data are housed in the FCC's computer network databases, which are reserved for the transit benefit and parking permit program, and in the WMATA database that is associated with the Smartrip program.

    RETRIEVABILITY:

    Both the paper documents and the electronic records and data are retrieved by the employee's name, or by the FCC Badge identification number, tag, and/or permit number.

    SAFEGUARDS:

    The safeguards for the information pertaining to the transit benefit and parking permit program, which is maintained by the FCC, are as follows:

    1. The paper documents, files, and records are kept in a locked cash box contained in a (cylinder lock) drawer. At the close of the business day, the cash box is secured in a government issued safe with a combination lock. Only authorized ASC supervisors, staff, and contractors may have access to these file cabinets. The ASC office suite is protected by a card-coded main door to limit access to the suite.

    2. The electronic records, files, and data that are stored in the FCC computer network databases are secured by limited access card readers. Access to the electronic files is restricted to authorized ASC supervisors, staff, and contractors, and to the Information Technology (IT) staff and contractors, who maintain the FCC's computer network. Other FCC employees and contractors may be granted access only on a “need-to-know” basis. The FCC's computer network databases are protected by the FCC's security protocols, which include controlled access, passwords, and other IT security features and requirements as required under the IT guidelines issued by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) regulations. A PRIVACY ACT WARNING NOTICE appears on the monitor screen when records containing information on individuals are first displayed. Information resident on the Transit Benefits and Parking Program database servers is backed-up routinely onto magnetic media. Back-up tapes are stored at secured locations.

    3. Safeguards in place adhere to Federal standards, including the NIST, FISMA, and FCC standards.

    RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:

    Records under the control of the FCC are retained for three years in accordance with the General Records Schedule 6 (GRS 6) established by NARA at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/ardor/grs06.html. Paper records are then shredded. Electronic records are destroyed physically (electronic storage media) or by electronic erasure.

    SYSTEM MANAGER(S) AND ADDRESS:

    Administrative Services Center (ASC), Office of the Managing Director (OMD), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.

    NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE:

    Privacy Manager, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW., Room 1-A804, Washington, DC 20554.

    RECORD ACCESS PROCEDURES:

    Privacy Manager, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW., Room 1-A804, Washington, DC 20554.

    CONTESTING RECORD PROCEDURES:

    Privacy Manager, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW., Room 1-A804, Washington, DC 20554.

    RECORD SOURCE CATEGORIES:

    Information in the system is obtained from:

    1. One or more FCC Forms, including but not limited to FCC Forms A-27, A-30, A-75, and/or A-75-A, which are submitted by individuals who apply to participate in the FCC Transit Benefit and Parking Permit Programs, including but not limited to metrorail, bus, commuter rail, vanpools, carpools, and/or ridesharing arrangements.

    2. WMATA and other agencies concerning individuals (including both FCC and non-FCC individuals) who have applied for and/or participate in the FCC's transit benefits program and/or the carpool/vanpool programs; and

    3. Ride-Share Bike Program information.

    EXEMPTIONS CLAIMED FOR THE SYSTEM:

    None.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06815 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION [Notice-CSE-2016-02; Docket No. 2016-0002; Sequence No. 7] Notice of the General Services Administration's Labor-Management Relations Council Meeting AGENCY:

    Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM), General Services Administration (GSA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The General Services Administration's Labor-Management Relations Council (GLMRC), a Federal Advisory Committee established in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C., App., and Executive Order 13522, plans to hold a one and one-half day meeting that is open to the public.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and reconvene Wednesday, April 13, 2016 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held in Room 1459, in the Conference Center located on the first floor of the General Services Administration's Headquarters Building located at 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Paula D. Lucak, GLMRC Designated Federal Officer (DFO), OHRM, General Services Administration, at telephone 202-739-1730, or email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    The GLMRC is a forum for managers and the exclusive national labor Union representatives of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) employees. In this forum, managers and the Unions discuss Government operations to promote satisfactory labor relations and improve the productivity and effectiveness of GSA. The GLMRC serves as a complement to the existing collective bargaining process and allows managers and the Unions to collaborate in continuing to deliver the highest quality services to the public. The Council discusses workplace challenges and problems and recommends solutions that foster a more productive and cost-effective service to the taxpayer, through improving job satisfaction and employees' working conditions.

    Agenda

    The purpose of the meeting is for the GLMRC to build its collaborative labor-management relationship, discuss the Council's activities and direction ahead for the year, and to consider Agency initiatives. The topics to be discussed include Council metrics & GSA EVS results, employee engagement activities, and human resource initiative updates.

    Meeting Access

    This site is accessible to individuals with disabilities. In order to gain entry into the Federal building where the meeting is being held, public attendees who are Federal employees should bring their Federal employee identification cards. Members of the general public should bring their driver's license or another form of government-issued identification.

    Availability of Materials for the Meeting

    Please see the GLRMC Web site: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/225831 for any materials available in advance of the meeting and for meeting minutes that will be made available after the meeting. Detailed meeting minutes will be posted within 90 days of the meeting.

    Procedures for Providing Public Comments

    The public is invited to submit written comments for the meeting until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the Monday prior to the meeting on April 11, 2016, by either of the following methods: Electronic or Paper Statements: Submit electronic statements to Ms. Paula Lucak, Designated Federal Officer, at [email protected]; or send paper statements in triplicate to Ms. Lucak at 1800 F Street NW., Suite 7003A, Washington, DC 20405. In general, public comments will be posted on the GLMRC Web site. All comments, including attachments and other supporting materials received, are part of the public record and subject to public disclosure.

    Any comments submitted in connection with the GLMRC meeting will be made available to the public under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Wade Hannum, Office of Human Resources Management, OHRM Director, Office of HR Strategy and Services, Center for Talent Engagement (COE4), General Services Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06802 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [Document Identifier: CMS-10316] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing an opportunity for the public to comment on CMS' intention to collect information from the public. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA), federal agencies are require; to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information (including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information) and to allow 60 days for public comment on the proposed action. Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding our burden estimates or any other aspect of this collection of information, including any of the following subjects: (1) The necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by May 24, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    When commenting, please reference the document identifier or OMB control number. To be assured consideration, comments and recommendations must be submitted in any one of the following ways:

    1. Electronically. You may send your comments electronically to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for “Comment or Submission” or “More Search Options” to find the information collection document(s) that are accepting comments.

    2. By regular mail. You may mail written comments to the following address: CMS, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs, Division of Regulations Development, Attention: Document Identifier/OMB Control Number ____, Room C4-26-05, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850.

    To obtain copies of a supporting statement and any related forms for the proposed collection(s) summarized in this notice, you may make your request using one of following:

    1. Access CMS' Web site address at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/PaperworkReductionActof1995.

    2. Email your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and CMS document identifier, to [email protected]

    3. Call the Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Contents

    This notice sets out a summary of the use and burden associated with the following information collections. More detailed information can be found in each collection's supporting statement and associated materials (see ADDRESSES).

    CMS-10316 Implementation of the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) and Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan Disenrollment Reasons Survey

    Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. The term “collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA requires federal agencies to publish a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, CMS is publishing this notice.

    1. Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a currently approved collection; Title of Information Collection: Implementation of the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) and Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan Disenrollment Reasons Survey; Use: This data collection complements the satisfaction data collected through the Medicare Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey by providing dissatisfaction data in the form of reasons for disenrollment from a Prescription Drug Plan. The data collected in this survey can be used to improve the operation of Medicare Advantage (MA) (both MA and MA-PD) contracts and standalone prescription drug plans (PDPs) through the identification of beneficiary disenrollment reasons. Plans can use the information to guide quality improvement efforts. The data can also be used by beneficiaries who need to choose among the different MA and PDP options. To the extent that these data identify areas for improvement at the contract level they can be used for contract oversight. Form Number: CMS-10316 (OMB control number: 0938-1113); Frequency: Yearly; Affected Public: Individuals or households; Number of Respondents: 56,972; Total Annual Responses: 56,972; Total Annual Hours: 15,032. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Beth Simon at 415-744-3780.)

    Dated: March 22, 2016. William N. Parham, III, Director, Paperwork Reduction Staff, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2016-06829 Filed 3-24-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [Document Identifiers: CMS-855O, CMS-10438, CMS-10439 and CMS-10440] Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing an opportunity for the public to comment on CMS' intention to collect information from the public. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, and to allow a second opportunity for public comment on the notice. Interested persons are invited to send comments regarding the burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including any of the following subjects: (1) The necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

    DATES:

    Comments on the collection(s) of information must be received by the OMB desk officer by April 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    When commenting on the proposed information collections, please reference the document identifier or OMB control number. To be assured consideration, comments and recommendations must be received by the OMB desk officer via one of the following transmissions: OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: CMS Desk Officer, Fax Number: (202) 395-5806, or Email: OIRA_ [email protected]

    To obtain copies of a supporting statement and any related forms for the proposed collection(s) summarized in this notice, you may make your request using one of following:

    1. Access CMS' Web site address at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/PaperworkReductionActof1995.

    2. Email your request, including your address, phone number, OMB number, and CMS document identifier, to [email protected]

    3. Call the Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Reports Clearance Office at (410) 786-1326.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. The term “collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires federal agencies to publish a 30-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension or reinstatement of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, CMS is publishing this notice that summarizes the following proposed collection(s) of information for public comment:

    1. Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a currently approved information collection; Title of Information Collection: Medicare Registration Application; Use: The primary function of the CMS-855O is to gather information from a physician or other eligible professional to help CMS determine whether he or she meets certain qualifications to be enrolled in the Medicare program for the sole purpose of ordering or certifying certain Medicare items or services and/or prescribing Medicare Part D drugs for Medicare beneficiaries. The application allows a physician or other eligible professional to enroll in Medicare without being approved for billing privileges. The required information is submitted when the applicant requests enrollment in Medicare for the sole purpose of ordering and certifying certain Medicare items and services or for prescribing Medicare Part D drugs. The application is used by Medicare contractors to collect data to help ensure that the applicant has the necessary credentials to order and certify certain Medicare items and services or to prescribe Medicare Part D drugs. This includes ensuring that the physician is not excluded debarred from the Medicare program. Form Number: CMS-855O (OMB control number: 0938-1135); Frequency: Occasionally; Affected Public: Private Sector (Business or other for-profits), State, Local, or Tribal Governments; Number of Respondents: 448,000; Number of Responses: 24,000; Total Annual Hours: 243,600. (For questions regarding this collection contact Kimberly McPhillips (410) 786-8438.)

    2. Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a currently approved information collection; Title of Information Collection: Data Collection to Support Eligibility Determinations and Enrollment for Employers in the Small Business Health Options Program; Use: Section 1311(b)(1)(B) of the Affordable Care Act directs that the SHOP assist qualified small employers in facilitating the enrollment of their employees in QHPs offered in the small group market. Section 1311(c)(1)(F) of the Affordable Care Act directs HHS to establish criteria for certification of health plans as QHPs and plans to utilize a uniform enrollment form for qualified employers. Further, section 1311(c)(5)(B) directs HHS to develop a Web site that assists employers in determining if they are eligible to participate in SHOP.

    This proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register on December 11, 2015 (80 FR 76994) and allowed 60 days for public comment. No comments were received. Form Number: CMS-10439 (OMB control number 0938-1194); Frequency: Annually; Affected Public: Private Sector; Number of Respondents: 6,000; Number of Responses: 6,000; Total Annual Hours: 12,000. (For questions regarding this collection contact Christelle Jang at (410) 786-8438.)

    3. Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a currently approved information collection; Title of Information Collection: Data Collection to Support Eligibility Determinations and Enrollment for Employers in the Small Business Health Options Program; Use: Section 1311(b)(1)(B) of the Affordable Care Act directs that the SHOP assist qualified small employers in facilitating the enrollment of their employees in QHPs offered in the small group market. Section 1311(c)(1)(F) of the Affordable Care Act directs HHS to establish criteria for certification of health plans as QHPs and plans to utilize a uniform enrollment form for qualified employers. Further, section 1311(c)(5)(B) directs HHS to develop a Web site that assists employers in determining if they are eligible to participate in SHOP.

    This proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register on December 11, 2015 (80 FR 76994) and allowed 60 days for public comment. No comments were received. Form Number: CMS-10439 (OMB Control Number 0938-1194); Frequency: Annually; Affected Public: Private Sector; Number of Respondents: 6,000; Number of Responses: 6,000; Total Annual Hours: 12,000. (For questions regarding this collection contact Christelle Jang at (410) 786-8438.)

    4. Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a currently approved information collection; Title of Information Collection: Data Collection to Support Eligibility Determinations for Insurance Affordability Programs and Enrollment through Health Benefits Exchanges, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program Agencies; Use: Section 1413 of the Affordable Care Act directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and provide to each State a single, streamlined form that may be used to apply for coverage through the Exchange and Insurance Affordability Programs, including Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Basic Health Program, as applicable. The application must be structured to maximize an applicant's ability to complete the form satisfactorily, taking into account the characteristics of individuals who qualify for the programs. A State may develop and use its own single streamlined application if approved by the Secretary in accordance with section 1413 and if it meets the standards established by the Secretary.

    Section 155.405(a) of the Exchange Final Rule (77 FR 18310) provides more detail about the application that must be used by the Exchange to determine eligibility and to collect information necessary for enrollment. The regulations in § 435.907 and § 457.330 establish the requirements for State Medicaid and CHIP agencies related to the use of the single streamlined application. CMS is designing the single streamlined application to be a dynamic electronic application that will tailor the amount of data required from an applicant based on the applicant's circumstances and responses to particular questions. The paper version of the application will not be able to be tailored in the same way but is being designed to collect only the data required to determine eligibility. Individuals will be able to submit an application electronically, through the mail, over the phone through a call center, or in person, per § 155.405(c)(2) of the Exchange Final Rule, as well as through other commonly available electronic means as noted in § 435.907(a) and § 457.330 of the Medicaid Final Rule. The application may be submitted to an Exchange, Medicaid or CHIP agency. The electronic application process will vary depending on each applicant's circumstanc