Federal Register Vol. 81, No.63,

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 63 (April 1, 2016)

Page Range18739-19019
FR Document

81_FR_63
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
81 FR 18749 - New Animal Drugs; Approval of New Animal Drug Applications; Changes of SponsorshipPDF
81 FR 18801 - Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Adjustment of Georges Bank and Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic Yellowtail Flounder Annual Catch LimitsPDF
81 FR 19019 - Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to South SudanPDF
81 FR 19017 - Establishing the Inherent Resolve Campaign MedalPDF
81 FR 19013 - Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task ForcePDF
81 FR 18841 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
81 FR 18739 - Delegation of Authority Pursuant to Section 102(b) of the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015PDF
81 FR 18897 - Sunshine Act Meeting; National Science BoardPDF
81 FR 18748 - Filing of Rate Schedules and TariffsPDF
81 FR 18749 - Income TaxesPDF
81 FR 18747 - General Rules and Regulations, Securities Exchange Act of 1934PDF
81 FR 18749 - Customs Financial and Accounting ProcedurePDF
81 FR 18749 - Air Commerce RegulationsPDF
81 FR 18749 - Special Classes of MerchandisePDF
81 FR 18748 - Articles Conditionally Free, Subject to a Reduced Rate, etc.PDF
81 FR 18748 - U.S. Customs and Border ProtectionPDF
81 FR 18748 - Vessels in Foreign and Domestic TradesPDF
81 FR 18748 - Nondiscrimination With Respect to HandicapPDF
81 FR 18748 - Natural Gas Curtailment Under the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978PDF
81 FR 18898 - Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS); Meeting of the ACRS Subcommittee on Fukushima; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 18818 - Proposed Priority and Requirement-Equity Assistance Centers (Formerly Desegregation Assistance Centers (DAC))PDF
81 FR 18898 - Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS); Meeting of the ACRS Subcommittee on Apr 1400; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 18899 - Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) Meeting of the ACRS Subcommittee on Fukushima; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 18899 - Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS); Meeting of the ACRS Subcommittee on Plant License Renewal; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 18897 - Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS), Meeting of the ACRS Subcommittee on Fukushima; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 18871 - Recovery Policy: Stafford Act Section 705, Disaster Grant Closeout ProceduresPDF
81 FR 18829 - Initiation of Five-Year (“Sunset”) ReviewPDF
81 FR 18828 - Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Advance Notification of Sunset ReviewsPDF
81 FR 18826 - Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity To Request Administrative ReviewPDF
81 FR 18841 - Information Collection; Submission for OMB Review, Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 18876 - Renewal of Agency Information Collection for Energy Resource Development Program GrantsPDF
81 FR 18979 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 12-Month Finding on Petitions to List the Common Thresher Shark and Bigeye Thresher Shark as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)PDF
81 FR 18749 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Tennessee River, Decatur, ALPDF
81 FR 18789 - Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing PlanPDF
81 FR 18943 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 18895 - Records Schedules; Availability and Request for CommentsPDF
81 FR 18941 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Form 5884PDF
81 FR 18943 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Regulation ProjectPDF
81 FR 18942 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Regulation ProjectPDF
81 FR 18932 - In the Matter of the Review of the Designation of Ansar al Islam (and other Aliases) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization Pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as AmendedPDF
81 FR 18843 - Notice of Availability of Government-Owned Inventions; Available for LicensingPDF
81 FR 18840 - Procurement List; Additions and DeletionsPDF
81 FR 18839 - Procurement List; Proposed Additions and DeletionsPDF
81 FR 18796 - Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Implementation of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas Electronic Bluefin Tuna Catch Documentation SystemPDF
81 FR 18892 - Whistleblower Protection Advisory CommitteePDF
81 FR 18944 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 18853 - Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act ReviewPDF
81 FR 18855 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 18843 - Meeting of the Board of Advisors (BOA) to The President of the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) SubcommitteePDF
81 FR 18823 - Bighorn Resource Advisory CommitteePDF
81 FR 18852 - Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of AvailabilityPDF
81 FR 18888 - Ferrovanadium From Korea; Institution of Antidumping Duty Investigation and Scheduling of Preliminary Phase InvestigationPDF
81 FR 18802 - National Dairy Promotion and Research Program OrderPDF
81 FR 18933 - Notice of Final Federal Agency Actions on Proposed Highway in IdahoPDF
81 FR 18843 - Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) Information To Be Verified for the 2017-2018 Award YearPDF
81 FR 18842 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 18837 - Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
81 FR 18837 - Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingsPDF
81 FR 18896 - Advisory Committee for Engineering; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 18865 - Temporary Reassignment of State, Tribal, and Local Personnel During a Public Health EmergencyPDF
81 FR 18852 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request (3064-0114)PDF
81 FR 18853 - Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10447, the Farmers Bank of Lynchburg; Lynchburg, TennesseePDF
81 FR 18933 - Research, Engineering and Development Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
81 FR 18835 - Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing PermitPDF
81 FR 18781 - Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations for Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2016 SeasonPDF
81 FR 18867 - Oregon; Amendment No. 1 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
81 FR 18897 - Advisory Committee for Biological Sciences; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 18871 - Texas; Amendment No. 1 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
81 FR 18867 - Delaware; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 18868 - Changes in Flood Hazard DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 18873 - Receipt of Applications for Endangered Species PermitsPDF
81 FR 18875 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Recovery Plan for the Behren's Silverspot ButterflyPDF
81 FR 18865 - Termination of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Establishment of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory CommitteePDF
81 FR 18881 - Proposed Information Collection; National Park Service Background Initiation Request FormPDF
81 FR 18866 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for InformationPDF
81 FR 18880 - Notice of Joint Colorado Resource Advisory Council MeetingPDF
81 FR 18842 - Charter Establishment of Department of Defense Federal Advisory CommitteesPDF
81 FR 18877 - Notice of Utah Resource Advisory Council/Recreation Resource Advisory Council MeetingPDF
81 FR 18877 - Interim Final Supplementary Rules for Public Lands at Bastendorff Beach and the Associated Headlands in Coos County, OregonPDF
81 FR 18750 - Amendments to the Rules of Practice for Trials Before the Patent Trial and Appeal BoardPDF
81 FR 18826 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 18896 - Arts Advisory Panel MeetingsPDF
81 FR 18806 - Airworthiness Directives; Rolls-Royce Deutschland Ltd & Co KG Turbofan EnginesPDF
81 FR 18848 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
81 FR 18804 - Airworthiness Directives; M7 Aerospace LLC AirplanesPDF
81 FR 18821 - Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park Service, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Dog Management-Extension of Public Comment Period and CorrectionsPDF
81 FR 18861 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Format and Content Requirements for Over-the-Counter Drug Product LabelingPDF
81 FR 18855 - Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Assessment (Final EA) and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for HHS/CDC Fort Collins Campus Proposed ImprovementsPDF
81 FR 18838 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Greater Atlantic Region Permit Family of FormsPDF
81 FR 18932 - Southern Switching Company-Operation Exemption-Lone Star Railroad, Inc.PDF
81 FR 18858 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Act of 1988 Waiver ApplicationsPDF
81 FR 18858 - Receipt of Notice That a Patent Infringement Complaint Was Filed Against a Biosimilar ApplicantPDF
81 FR 18863 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget ApprovalsPDF
81 FR 18860 - Advisory Committee; Arthritis Advisory Committee, RenewalPDF
81 FR 18857 - Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 18887 - Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip From ChinaPDF
81 FR 18750 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Shark River (South Channel), Avon, NJPDF
81 FR 18931 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 18919 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 18808 - Teacher Preparation IssuesPDF
81 FR 18935 - Request for Public Comments on NHTSA Enforcement Guidance Bulletin 2016-02: Safety-Related Defects and Emerging Automotive TechnologiesPDF
81 FR 18941 - Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee (IRPAC); NominationsPDF
81 FR 18940 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Information Collection Renewal; Submission for OMB Review; LeasingPDF
81 FR 18939 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Information Collection Renewal; Submission for OMB Review; Securities Exchange Act Disclosure Rules and Securities of Federal Savings AssociationsPDF
81 FR 18837 - Notice of Renewal of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote SensingPDF
81 FR 18893 - Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health MeetingPDF
81 FR 18889 - Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium, Inc.PDF
81 FR 18888 - Notice Pursuant to the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993-ASTM International StandardsPDF
81 FR 18849 - Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC; Notice of Availability of Final Environmental AssessmentPDF
81 FR 18848 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
81 FR 18848 - Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP.; Notice of FilingPDF
81 FR 18849 - Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of FilingPDF
81 FR 18850 - Town of Cedaredge, Colorado; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions to Intervene, and ProtestsPDF
81 FR 18889 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Underground Coal Mine Fire ProtectionPDF
81 FR 18902 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Delete From the Rulebook Section 10, Limitations on Dealings, of Chapter VII, Market ParticipantsPDF
81 FR 18907 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Delete From the Exchange's Rulebook Section 10, Limitations on Dealings, of Chapter VII, Market ParticipantsPDF
81 FR 18919 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt Rule 3317 To Implement the Regulation NMS Plan To Implement a Tick Size Pilot ProgramPDF
81 FR 18913 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ BX, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt Rule 4770 To Implement the Regulation NMS Plan To Implement a Tick Size Pilot ProgramPDF
81 FR 18925 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt Rule 4770 To Implement the Regulation NMS Plan To Implement a Tick Size Pilot ProgramPDF
81 FR 18900 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the NYSE Arca Equities Schedule of Fees and Charges for Exchange ServicesPDF
81 FR 18911 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Modify the Maximum Number of Times an Order on Nasdaq May Be Updated Before The System Cancels The OrderPDF
81 FR 18824 - Notice of Public Meeting of the Wisconsin Advisory Committee To Discuss Approval of a Project Proposal To Hear Updated Testimony on Hate Crimes in the StatePDF
81 FR 18851 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NESHAP for Area Sources: Asphalt Processing and Asphalt Roofing Manufacturing (Renewal)PDF
81 FR 18850 - Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NESHAP for Paints and Allied Products Manufacturing Area Source Category (Renewal)PDF
81 FR 18847 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (DL) RegulationsPDF
81 FR 18946 - Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans, Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 18825 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 18766 - Partial Approval and Partial Disapproval of Air Quality State Implementation Plans; California; Infrastructure Requirements for Ozone, Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5PDF
81 FR 18864 - Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 18863 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection: Public Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 18946 - Voluntary Service National Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 18830 - 1, 1, 1, 2-Tetrafluoroethane From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Less Than Fair Value InvestigationPDF
81 FR 18743 - Alternative to Fingerprinting Requirement for Foreign Natural PersonsPDF
81 FR 18890 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; International Training ApplicationPDF
81 FR 18891 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; OFCCP Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements-Supply and ServicePDF
81 FR 18825 - Advisory Committees Expiration; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 18823 - White River National Forest; Pitkin County; Colorado; Snowmass Multi-Season Recreation ProjectsPDF
81 FR 18884 - Certain Aluminum Extrusions From China; Institution of Five-Year ReviewsPDF
81 FR 18882 - Raw In-Shell Pistachios From Iran; Institution of a Five-Year ReviewPDF
81 FR 18741 - Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
81 FR 18873 - Federal Property Suitable as Facilities To Assist the HomelessPDF
81 FR 18934 - Revision of the Emergency Medical Services Agenda for the Future; Request for InformationPDF
81 FR 18949 - Terrorism Risk Insurance ProgramPDF
81 FR 18872 - Committee name: Homeland Security Academic Advisory CouncilPDF

Issue

81 63 Friday, April 1, 2016 Contents Agricultural Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service PROPOSED RULES National Dairy Promotion and Research Program, 18802-18804 2016-07413 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Agricultural Marketing Service

See

Forest Service

Antitrust Division Antitrust Division NOTICES Membership Changes under the National Cooperative Research and Production Act: ASTM International Standards, 18888-18889 2016-07346 Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium, Inc., 18889 2016-07347 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 18853-18854 2016-07424 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: HHS/CDC Fort Collins Campus Proposed Improvements, 18855 2016-07368 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 18855-18857 2016-07423 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Leveraging Report, 18857-18858 2016-07359 ORR-3 Placement Report and ORR-4 Progress Report for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program, 18857 2016-07361 Civil Rights Civil Rights Commission NOTICES Advisory Committees Expiration; Correction, 18825 2016-07301 Meetings: Wisconsin Advisory Committee, 18824-18825 2016-07329 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Shark River (South Channel), Avon, NJ, 18750 2016-07357 Tennessee River, Decatur, AL, 18749-18750 2016-07439 Commerce Commerce Department See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

Patent and Trademark Office

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 18825-18826 2016-07324
Committee for Purchase Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled NOTICES Procurement List; Additions and Deletions, 18839-18841 2016-07429 2016-07430 Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission RULES Alternative to Fingerprinting Requirement for Foreign Natural Persons, 18743-18747 2016-07304 NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 18841 2016-07649 Comptroller Comptroller of the Currency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Leasing, 18940-18941 2016-07351 Securities Exchange Act Disclosure Rules and Securities of Federal Savings Associations, 18939-18940 2016-07350 Corporation Corporation for National and Community Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 18841 2016-07442 Defense Department Defense Department See

Navy Department

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 18842 2016-07410 Charter Establishments: Department of Defense Federal Advisory Committees, 18842 2016-07384
Education Department Education Department PROPOSED RULES Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria: Equity Assistance Centers (Formerly Desegregation Assistance Centers), 18818-18821 2016-07459 Teacher Preparation Issues, 18808-18818 2016-07354 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program Regulations, 18847-18848 2016-07326 Free Application for Federal Student Aid Information to be Verified for the 2017-2018 Award Year, 18843-18847 2016-07411 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: California; Infrastructure Requirements for Ozone, Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5), Lead (Pb), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), 18766-18781 2016-07323 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: NESHAP for Area Sources: Asphalt Processing and Asphalt Roofing Manufacturing, 18851-18852 2016-07328 NESHAP for Paints and Allied Products Manufacturing Area Source Category, 18850-18851 2016-07327 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.; Weekly Receipts, 18852 2016-07417 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: The Boeing Company Airplanes, 18741-18743 2016-07190 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: M7 Aerospace LLC Airplanes, 18804-18806 2016-07371 Rolls-Royce Deutschland Ltd and Co KG Turbofan Engines, 18806-18808 2016-07378 NOTICES Meetings: Research, Engineering and Development Advisory Committee, 18933 2016-07400 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 18852-18853 2016-07403 Terminations of Receivership: The Farmers Bank of Lynchburg, Lynchburg, Tennessee, 18853 2016-07402 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency NOTICES Changes in Flood Hazard Determinations, 18868-18871 2016-07391 Major Disasters and Related Determinations: Delaware, 18867 2016-07392 Oregon; Amendment No. 1, 18867-18868 2016-07396 Texas; Amendment No. 1, 18871 2016-07393 Recovery Policy: Stafford Act Section 705, Disaster Grant Closeout Procedures, 18871-18872 2016-07453 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission RULES Filing of Rate Schedules and Tariffs; CFR Correction, 18748 2016-07562 2016-07564 2016-07566 Natural Gas Curtailment Under the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978; CFR Correction, 18748 2016-07548 NOTICES Combined Filings, 18848-18849 2016-07343 2016-07374 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Duke Energy Carolinas, 18849-18850 2016-07344 Filings: Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC, 18849 2016-07341 Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP, 18848 2016-07342 Hydroelectric Applications: Town of Cedaredge, CO, 18850 2016-07340 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration NOTICES Final Federal Agency Actions: Proposed Highway in Idaho, 18933-18934 2016-07412 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service RULES Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations for Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2016 Season, 18781-18788 2016-07398 NOTICES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Recovery Plan for the Behren's Silverspot Butterfly, 18875-18876 2016-07389 Receipt of Applications for Endangered Species Permits, 18873-18875 2016-07390 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES New Animal Drugs: Approval of New Animal Drug Applications; Changes of Sponsorship, 18749 C1--2016--07135 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 18863 2016-07363 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Act of 1988 Waiver Applications, 18858-18860 2016-07365 Format and Content Requirements for Over-the-Counter Drug Product Labeling, 18861-18863 2016-07369 Charter Renewals: Arthritis Advisory Committee, 18860-18861 2016-07362 Patent Infringement Complaints Filed against Biosimilar Applicants, 18858 2016-07364 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: White River National Forest; Pitkin County; Colorado; Snowmass Multi-Season Recreation Projects, 18823-18824 2016-07279 Meetings: Bighorn Resource Advisory Committee, 18823 2016-07421 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

Health Resources and Services Administration

NOTICES Guidance: Temporary Reassignment of State, Tribal, and Local Personnel during a Public Health Emergency, 18865 2016-07404
Health Resources Health Resources and Services Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 18863-18864 2016-07319 Meetings: Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children, 18864-18865 2016-07321 Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

See

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

NOTICES Meetings: Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, 18872-18873 2016-06644
Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Federal Properties Suitable as Facilities to Assist the Homeless, 18873 2016-07059 Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Energy Resource Development Program Grants, 18876-18877 2016-07441 Industry Industry and Security Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 18826 2016-07380 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service RULES Income Taxes; CFR Correction, 18749 2016-07563 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 18941, 18943 2016-07434 2016-07435 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Regulation Project, 18942-18943 2016-07433 Requests for Nominations: Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee, 18941-18942 2016-07352 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Advance Notification of Sunset Reviews, 18828-18829 2016-07451 Opportunity to Request Administrative Review, 18826-18828 2016-07450 Initiation of Five-Year Sunset Review, 18829-18830 2016-07452 Initiations of Less Than Fair Value Investigations: 1, 1, 1, 2-Tetrafluoroethane from the People's Republic of China, 18830-18835 2016-07316 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Aluminum Extrusions from China, 18884-18887 2016-07257 Ferrovanadium from Korea, 18888 2016-07416 Raw In-Shell Pistachios from Iran, 18882-18884 2016-07254 Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Stainless Steel Sheet and Strip from China, 18887 2016-07360 Justice Department Justice Department See

Antitrust Division

Labor Department Labor Department See

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

See

Workers Compensation Programs Office

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: International Training Application, 18890-18891 2016-07303 OFCCP Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements -- Supply and Service, 18891-18892 2016-07302 Underground Coal Mine Fire Protection, 18889-18890 2016-07338
Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Meetings: Joint Colorado Resource Advisory Council, 18880-18881 2016-07385 Utah Resource Advisory Council/Recreation Resource Advisory Council, 18877 2016-07383 Public Lands at Bastendorff Beach and the Associated Headlands in Coos County, OR, 18877-18880 2016-07382 National Archives National Archives and Records Administration NOTICES Records Schedules, 18895-18896 2016-07436 National Endowment for the Arts National Endowment for the Arts NOTICES Meetings: Arts Advisory Panel, 18896 2016-07379 National Foundation National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities See

National Endowment for the Arts

National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Guidance: Safety-Related Defects and Emerging Automotive Technologies, 18935-18939 2016-07353 Requests for Information: Revision of the Emergency Medical Services Agenda for the Future, 18934-18935 2016-06960 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Atlantic Highly Migratory Species: Implementation of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas Electronic Bluefin Tuna Catch Documentation System, 18796-18801 2016-07428 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States: Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Adjustment of Georges Bank and Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic Yellowtail Flounder Annual Catch Limits, 18801 C1--2016--06306 Pacific Halibut Fisheries: Catch Sharing Plan, 18789-18796 2016-07438 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Greater Atlantic Region Permit Family of Forms, 18838-18839 2016-07367 Charter Renewals: Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing, 18837 2016-07349 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: 12-Month Finding on Petitions to List the Common Thresher Shark and Bigeye Thresher Shark as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act, 18980-19011 2016-07440 Exempted Fishing Permit; Applications, 18835-18836 2016-07399 Meetings: Caribbean Fishery Management Council, 18837 2016-07408 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 18837-18838 2016-07409 National Park National Park Service PROPOSED RULES Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park Service, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Dog Management; Extension, Corrections, 18821-18822 2016-07370 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: National Park Service Background Initiation Request Form, 18881-18882 2016-07387 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee for Biological Sciences, 18897 2016-07394 Advisory Committee for Engineering, 18896-18897 2016-07407 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 18897 2016-07582 Navy Navy Department NOTICES Availability of Government-Owned Inventions; Available for Licensing, 18843 2016-07431 Meetings: Board of Advisors to the President of the Naval Postgraduate School Subcommittee, 18843 2016-07422 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards Subcommittee on Plant License Renewal, 18899 2016-07456 Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, Subcommittee on APR 1400, 18898-18899 2016-07458 Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, Subcommittee on Fukushima, 18897-18900 2016-07455 2016-07457 2016-07461 Occupational Safety Health Adm Occupational Safety and Health Administration NOTICES Requests for Nominations: Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee, 18892-18893 2016-07427 Patent Patent and Trademark Office RULES Rules of Practice for Trials Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, 18750-18766 2016-07381 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents EXECUTIVE ORDERS U.S. Armed Forces: Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal; Establishment (EO 13723), 19017-19018 2016-07703 ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS Committees; Establishment, Renewal, Termination, etc.: Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force; Establishment (Memorandum of March 29, 2016), 19013-19016 2016-07698 Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015; Delegation of Authority (Memorandum of March 18, 2016), 18739 2016-07615 South Sudan; Continuation of National Emergency (Notice of March 30, 2016), 19019 2016-07705 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission RULES General Rules and Regulations, Securities Exchange Act of 1934; CFR Correction, 18747 2016-07561 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 2016-07355 18919, 18931-18932 2016-07356 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: NASDAQ BX, Inc., 18907-18911, 18913-18919 2016-07334 2016-07336 NASDAQ PHLX, LLC, 18919-18925 2016-07335 NYSE Arca, Inc., 18900-18902 2016-07332 The NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC, 18902-18907, 18911-18913, 18925-18931 2016-07331 2016-07333 2016-07337 State Department State Department NOTICES Designations as Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Ansar al Islam, et al., 18932 2016-07432 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Operation Exemptions: Southern Switching Co.; Lone Star Railroad, Inc., 18932 2016-07366 Tennessee Tennessee Valley Authority RULES Nondiscrimination With Respect to Handicap; CFR Correction, 18748 2016-07549 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Treasury Treasury Department See

Comptroller of the Currency

See

Internal Revenue Service

RULES Air Commerce Regulations; CFR Correction, 18749 2016-07559 Articles Conditionally Free, Subject to a Reduced Rate, etc.; CFR Correction, 2016-07554 18748-18749 2016-07555 Customs Financial and Accounting Procedures; CFR Correction, 18749 2016-07560 Special Classes of Merchandise; CFR Correction, 18749 2016-07558 Vessels in Foreign and Domestic Trades; CFR Correction, 18748 2016-07553 PROPOSED RULES Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, 18950-18977 2016-06920 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 18943-18946 2016-07426 2016-07437
Customs U.S. Customs and Border Protection RULES Air Commerce Regulations; CFR Correction, 18749 2016-07559 Articles Conditionally Free, Subject to a Reduced Rate, etc.; CFR Correction, 2016-07554 18748-18749 2016-07555 Customs Financial and Accounting Procedures; CFR Correction, 18749 2016-07560 Special Classes of Merchandise; CFR Correction, 18749 2016-07558 Vessels in Foreign and Domestic Trades; CFR Correction, 18748 2016-07553 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Request for Information, 18866-18867 2016-07386 Termination of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Establishment of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee, 18865-18866 2016-07388 Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans, 18946-18947 2016-07325 Voluntary Service National Advisory Committee, 18946 2016-07318 Workers' Workers Compensation Programs Office NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health, 18893-18895 2016-07348 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Treasury Department, 18950-18977 2016-06920 Part III Commerce Department, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 18980-19011 2016-07440 Part IV Presidential Documents, 19013-19019 2016-07703 2016-07698 2016-07705 Reader Aids

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81 63 Friday, April 1, 2016 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2016-5038; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-029-AD; Amendment 39-18455; AD 2016-07-10] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all The Boeing Company Model 787-8 and 787-9 airplanes. This AD requires revising the airplane flight manual (AFM) to instruct the flightcrew to avoid abrupt flight control inputs in response to sudden drops in airspeed, and to reinforce the need to disconnect the autopilot before making any manual flight control inputs. This AD was prompted by reports indicating that in certain weather conditions with high moisture content or possible icing, erroneous low airspeed may be displayed to the flightcrew before detection and annunciation via engine-indicating and crew-alerting system (EICAS) messages. We are issuing this AD to ensure that the flightcrew avoids abrupt pilot control inputs in response to an unrealistic, sudden drop in displayed airspeed at high actual airspeed. Abrupt pilot control inputs in this condition could exceed the structural capability of the airplane.

DATES:

This AD is effective April 14, 2016.

We must receive comments on this AD by May 16, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

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

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

Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

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-2016-5038; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Fnu Winarto, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6659; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

We have received three reports of in-service displayed airspeed anomalies on Model 787 airplanes. We continue to investigate this issue with Boeing; however, the anomalous behavior is consistent with significant water ingestion or simultaneous icing of two or three of the three pitot probes. During each of the reported events, the displayed airspeed rapidly dropped significantly below the actual airplane airspeed. In normal operations, the air data reference system supplies the same airspeed to both the captain and first officer primary flight displays. During one in-service event, with autopilot engaged, the pilot overrode the engaged autopilot in response to the displayed erroneous low airspeed and made significant nose-down manual control inputs. In this situation, there is the potential for large pilot control inputs at high actual airspeed, which could cause the airplane to exceed its structural capability.

FAA's Determination

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

AD Requirements

This AD requires revising the AFM to add a “Non-normal Procedure” for “Airspeed Drop” that instructs the flightcrew to avoid abrupt flight control inputs, and reinforces the need to disconnect the autopilot prior to making any manual flight control inputs.

Interim Action

We consider this AD interim action. The airplane manufacturer is currently developing modifications to the display and crew alerting system, flight control system, and air data system that will address the unsafe condition identified in this AD. Once these modifications are developed, approved, and available, we may consider additional rulemaking.

FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of this AD. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule because large, abrupt pilot control inputs in response to an unrealistic, sudden drop in displayed airspeed at high actual airspeed could exceed the structural capability of the airplane. Therefore, we find that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are impracticable and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

Comments Invited

This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety and was not preceded by notice and an opportunity for public comment. However, we invite you to send any written data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include the docket number FAA-2016-5038 and Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-029-AD at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this AD because of those comments.

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

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 43 airplanes of U.S. registry. We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S. operators
    AFM revision 1 work-hour × $85 per hour = $85 $0 $85 $3,655
    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2016-07-10 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-18455; Docket No. FAA-2016-5038; Directorate Identifier 2016-NM-029-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective April 14, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to all The Boeing Company Model 787-8 and 787-9 airplanes, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 27, Flight controls.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports indicating that in certain weather conditions with high moisture content or possible icing, erroneous low airspeed data may be displayed to the flightcrew before detection and annunciation via engine-indicating and crew-alerting system (EICAS) messages. We are issuing this AD to ensure that the flightcrew avoids abrupt pilot control inputs in response to an unrealistic, sudden drop in displayed airspeed at high actual airspeed. Abrupt pilot control inputs could exceed the structural capability of the airplane.

    (f) Compliance

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

    (g) Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) Revision: Operating Procedures

    Within 15 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the applicable Boeing 787 AFM to add a “Non-normal Procedure” that includes the information in figure 1 to paragraph (g) of this AD. This may be done by inserting a copy of this AD into the AFM.

    ER01AP16.000 (h) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

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

    (i) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Fnu Winarto, Aerospace Engineer, Systems and Equipment Branch, ANM-130S, FAA, Seattle ACO, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: 425-917-6659; fax: 425-917-6590; email: [email protected]

    (j) Material Incorporated by Reference

    None.

    Issued in Renton, Washington, on March 25, 2016. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07190 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION 17 CFR Part 3 RIN 3038-AE16 Alternative to Fingerprinting Requirement for Foreign Natural Persons AGENCY:

    Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“Commission” or “CFTC”) is amending existing Commission regulations to establish an alternative to fingerprinting to evaluate the fitness of natural persons who are required to submit fingerprints under the Commission's regulations and who have not resided in the United States since reaching 18 years of age (“Final Rule”).

    DATES:

    The Final Rule is effective on May 2, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Katherine Driscoll, Associate Chief Counsel, 202-418-5544, [email protected]; Jacob Chachkin, Special Counsel, 202-418-5496, [email protected]; or Adam Kezsbom, Special Counsel, 202-418-5372, [email protected], Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street NW., Washington, DC 20581.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Proposal

    On January 12, 2016, the Commission published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Proposal”) 1 to amend the requirement that, pursuant to the registration process for determining a registrant's fitness in part 3 of the Commission's regulations, natural persons 2 that wish to be principals 3 or associated persons 4 of Commission registrants,5 or who are responsible for entry of orders from an FB's or FT's own account, submit their fingerprints (the “Fingerprinting Requirement”).6 The Proposal contemplated adding a new paragraph (e) to the existing list of exemptions from the Fingerprinting Requirement in § 3.21 7 to, among other things, codify and clarify the alternative to the Fingerprinting Requirement provided by CFTC Staff Letter No. 12-49 8 and CFTC Staff Letter No. 13-29 9 (“DSIO No-Action Letters”). In particular, the Commission proposed adding an alternative to the requirement to provide fingerprints when applying for Commission registration for natural persons who have not resided in the United States since reaching 18 years of age. The Proposal allowed any such person's registered firm to complete a criminal history background check in lieu of submitting fingerprints for such person.10

    1 Alternative to Fingerprinting Requirement for Foreign Natural Persons, 81 FR 1359 (Jan. 12, 2016).

    2 As used herein, the terms “natural person” and “individual” have the same meaning.

    3See the definition of principal in Commission regulation 3.1(a). 17 CFR 3.1(a).

    4 An “associated person” is any natural person who is associated in certain capacities with a futures commission merchant (“FCM”), retail foreign exchange dealer (“RFED”), introducing broker (“IB”), commodity pool operator (“CPO”), commodity trading advisor (“CTA”), swap dealer (“SD”), major swap participant (“MSP”), or leverage transaction merchant (“LTM”). 17 CFR 1.3(aa).

    For the definitions of these registration categories (other than RFED), see Section 1a of the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA” or “Act”) and Commission regulation 1.3. 7 U.S.C. 1a and 17 CFR 1.3. For the definition of RFED, see Commission regulation 5.1(h). 17 CFR 5.1(h).

    5 Subject to certain exceptions and exclusions, persons engaging in specified activities involving commodity interests are required pursuant to the CEA and/or Commission regulations to register with the Commission in certain registration categories. These include registration as an FCM, RFED, IB, CPO, CTA, SD, MSP, LTM, floor broker (“FB”), and floor trader (“FT”). For the definitions of FB and FT, see Section 1a of the CEA and Commission regulation 1.3. 7 U.S.C. 1a and 17 CFR 1.3.

    6 Currently, the Commission may, directly or indirectly, require fingerprinting pursuant to Commission regulations 3.10(a)(2); 3.11(a)(1); 3.12(c)(3), d(2), f(3), or (i)(3); 3.40(a)(1), (a)(2), or (b); 3.44(a)(5) or (c); or 3.46(a)(3). 17 CFR 3.10(a)(2); 3.11(a)(1); 3.12(c)(3), d(2), f(3), and (i)(3); 3.40(a)(1), (a)(2), and (b); 3.44(a)(5) and (c); and 3.46(a)(3).

    In support of its initial promulgation of the fingerprinting requirements, the Commission stated that these requirements “are necessary to permit improvements in the Commission's background checking of applicants for registration, to permit positive identification of certain individuals with common names, to reduce the number of applications filed by individuals who are unfit for registration, and to facilitate fitness reviews of registrants on a spot and periodic basis.” See Revision of Registration Regulations; Final Rules; Designation of New Part, 45 FR 80485, 80485 (Dec. 5, 1980).

    7 Commission regulation 3.21 provides exemptions to the Fingerprinting Requirement, subject to certain conditions, for persons whose fingerprints have recently been identified and processed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for persons whose application for initial registration with the Commission in any capacity was recently granted, for persons that have a current Form 8-R on file with the Commission or National Futures Association (“NFA”), and for principals that are outside directors. 17 CFR 3.21.

    8 CFTC Staff Letter No. 12-49 (Dec. 11, 2012), available at http://www.cftc.gov/ucm/groups/public/@lrlettergeneral/documents/letter/12-49.pdf.

    9 CFTC Staff Letter No. 13-29 (Jun. 21, 2013), available at http://www.cftc.gov/ucm/groups/public/@lrlettergeneral/documents/letter/13-29.pdf.

    10 The Commission has delegated to NFA, a registered futures association under Section 17 of the CEA, the registration functions set forth in subparts A, B, and C of part 3 of the Commission's regulations, including the collection and review of a completed Form 8-R and related fingerprint submissions from each natural person completing a Form 8-R. See 17 CFR 3.2(a).

    The Commission generally requested comments on the Proposal and also solicited comments on a number of specific matters.11 For example, the Commission solicited comments on potential changes to its proposed definition of a foreign natural person, on the scope and effectiveness of the criminal history background check required by the Proposal and any alternatives thereto, and on the Commission's analysis of the costs and benefits of the Proposal. The comment period for the Proposal ended on February 11, 2016.

    11 Proposal, 81 FR at 1361.

    II. Summary of Comments

    The Commission received two relevant comments in response to the Proposal—one from Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP on behalf of The Commercial Energy Working Group (“The Working Group”) and one from Joyce Dillard (“Dillard”).12 The Working Group supported the Proposal as a means of alleviating some of, what The Working Group described as, “the undue burdens associated with providing a fingerprint card pursuant to Part 3 of the Commission's regulations.” However, The Working Group requested that the Commission expand the Proposal to all natural persons that are principals or associated persons of registrants subject to the Fingerprinting Requirement. The Working Group stated that “[t]his approach, rooted in fairness, would provide equal treatment to U.S. residents and non-U.S. residents alike,” but provided no further rationale for its approach. Conversely, Dillard did not support the Proposal, and stated that fingerprinting should be required without alternative.

    12 The Commission also received two comments that were not relevant to the Proposal. All of the comments are available at http://comments.cftc.gov/PublicComments/CommentList.aspx?id=1657.

    III. Final Rule

    After careful consideration, the Commission is adopting the Final Rule as proposed. The Commission is not expanding the Final Rule to cover persons other than Foreign Natural Persons (as defined below) as requested by The Working Group because, while there are limitations on the usefulness of fingerprints of foreign nationals, fingerprinting is an expedient way to investigate whether someone has a criminal record in the United States. For instance, in the United States, fingerprints may be checked for possible matches against existing repositories of fingerprints quickly and efficiently.

    As discussed in the Proposal, the Commission believes the Final Rule, in providing certainty to market participants by way of Commission regulation, makes the commodity interest markets it oversees more liquid, competitive, and accessible by enabling Foreign Natural Persons to demonstrate that they meet the minimum standards for fitness and competency without undue burden. The alternative to fingerprinting removes an impediment to participation in United States' markets by Foreign Natural Persons while also ensuring the continued protection of market participants and the public. Further, the Commission believes that, by providing an alternative for Foreign Natural Persons, the Final Rule is consistent with the principles of international comity.

    Section 3.21(e)(2) provides that the obligation to provide a fingerprint card for a Foreign Natural Person under part 3 of the Commission's regulations shall be deemed satisfied for a Certifying Firm (as defined below) if: (a) Such Certifying Firm causes a criminal history background check of such Foreign Natural Person to be performed; (b) such criminal history background check does not reveal any matters that constitute a disqualification under Sections 8a(2) or 8a(3) of the CEA,13 other than those disclosed to NFA; and (c) a person authorized by such Certifying Firm submits, in reliance on such criminal history background check, a certification by such Certifying Firm to NFA.

    13 7 U.S.C. 12a(2) and (3).

    The certification must: (i) State that the conditions described above have been satisfied; and (ii) be signed by a person authorized by such Certifying Firm to make such certification. In addition, each criminal history background check must: (a) Be of a type that would reveal all matters listed under Sections 8a(2)(D) or 8a(3)(D), (E), or (H) of the CEA 14 relating to the Foreign Natural Person and (b) be completed not more than one calendar year prior to the date that such Certifying Firm submits the certification to NFA described in the Final Rule.

    14 7 U.S.C. 12a(2)(D) and 12a(3)(D), (E), and (H). These provisions of Sections 8a(2) and (3) of the CEA generally relate to criminal convictions.

    In terms of definitions, § 3.21(e)(1)(i) defines Foreign Natural Person, solely for purposes of paragraph (e), as any natural person who has not resided in the United States since reaching the age of 18 years. Also, § 3.21(e)(1)(ii) defines Certifying Firm, also solely for purposes of paragraph (e), with respect to natural persons acting in certain specified capacities in relation to the firm.

    By way of recordkeeping, § 3.21(e)(3) requires that the Certifying Firm maintain, in accordance with Commission regulation 1.31, records documenting each criminal history background check and the results thereof.15

    15 17 CFR 1.31.

    As discussed in the Proposal, the Final Rule supersedes the DSIO No-Action Letters without prejudice to those that were relying on either of the DSIO No-Action Letters and had satisfied the requirements thereof prior to January 12, 2016, the date the Proposal was published in the Federal Register.

    V. Related Matters A. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (“RFA”) 16 requires Federal agencies, in promulgating regulations, to consider whether the rules they propose will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities and, if so, to provide a regulatory flexibility analysis regarding the economic impact on those entities. In the Proposal, the Commission certified that the Proposal would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Commission received no comments with respect to the RFA.

    16 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.

    As discussed in the Proposal, the Final Rule affects certain FCMs, RFEDs, IBs, CPOs, CTAs, SDs, MSPs, LTMs, FBs, and FTs that wish to take advantage of the alternative to fingerprinting to evaluate the fitness of their Foreign Natural Persons for which fingerprints must be submitted to NFA.17 The Commission has previously determined that FCMs, RFEDS, CPOs, SDs, MSPs, and LTMs are not small entities for purposes of the RFA.18 Therefore, the requirements of the RFA do not apply to those entities. With respect to CTAs, FBs, FTs, and IBs, the Commission has found it appropriate to consider whether such registrants should be deemed small entities for purposes of the RFA on a case-by-case basis, in the context of the particular Commission regulation at issue.19 As certain of these registrants may be small entities for purposes of the RFA, the Commission considered whether the Final Rule would have a significant economic impact on such registrants. As discussed in the Proposal, the Final Rule solely provides an optional alternative to complying with the Fingerprinting Requirement, which already applies to such registrants, and will, therefore, not impose any new regulatory obligations on affected registrants. The Final Rule is not expected to impose any new burdens on market participants. Rather, to the extent that the Final Rule provides an alternative means to comply with the Fingerprinting Requirement and is elected by a market participant, the Commission believes it is reasonable to infer that the alternative is less burdensome to such participant. The Commission does not, therefore, expect small entities to incur any additional costs as a result of the Final Rule. Consequently, the Commission finds that no significant economic impact on small entities will result from the Final Rule.

    17 The Final Rule also directly affects certain of such individuals; however, the Commission has noted that the RFA, by its terms, does not apply to individuals. See 48 FR 14933, 14954 n.115 (Apr. 6, 1983). Therefore, no analysis on the economic impact of this rule on individuals is provided.

    18See Policy Statement and Establishment of Definitions of “Small Entities” for Purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 47 FR 18618 (Apr. 30, 1982) (FCMs and CPOs); Leverage Transactions, 54 FR 41068 (Oct. 5, 1989) (LTMs); Regulation of Off-Exchange Retail Foreign Exchange Transactions and Intermediaries, 75 FR 55410, 55416 (Sept. 10, 2010) (RFEDs); and Registration of Swap Dealers and Major Swap Participants, 77 FR 2613, 2620 (Jan. 19, 2012) (SDs and MSPs).

    19See 47 FR at 18620 (CTAs and FBs); Registration of Floor Traders; Mandatory Ethics Training for Registrants; Suspension of Registrants Charged With Felonies, 58 FR 19575, 19588 (Apr. 15, 1993) (FTs); and Introducing Brokers and Associated Persons of Introducing Brokers, Commodity Trading Advisors and Commodity Pool Operators; Registration and Other Regulatory Requirements, 48 FR 35248, 35276 (Aug. 3, 1983) (IBs).

    Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, the Commission believes that the Final Rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Therefore, the Chairman, on behalf of the Commission, hereby certifies, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), that the Final Rule being published today by this Federal Register release will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act 1. Background

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (“PRA”) 20 imposes certain requirements on Federal agencies (including the Commission) in connection with conducting or sponsoring any collection of information as defined by the PRA.

    20 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

    As discussed in the Proposal, the Final Rule contains collections of information for which the Commission has previously received control numbers from the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”). The titles for these collections of information are “Registration under the Commodity Exchange Act, OMB control number 3038-0023” 21 and “Registration of Swap Dealers and Major Swap Participants, OMB control number 3038-0072.” 22

    21See OMB Control No. 3038-0023, http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAOMBHistory?ombControlNumber=3038-0023# (last visited Feb. 24, 2016).

    22See OMB Control No. 3038-0072, http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAOMBHistory?ombControlNumber=3038-0072# (last visited Feb. 24, 2016).

    The responses to these collections of information are mandatory. 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 control number issued by OMB.

    The collection of information in the Final Rule provides an optional alternative to complying with the Fingerprinting Requirement (as described above). Eligible persons have the option to elect the certification process, but no obligation to do so. For this reason, except to the extent that the Commission has amended the subject OMB control numbers for PRA purposes to reflect the alternative certification process, the Final Rule is not expected to impose any new burdens on market participants. Rather, to the extent that the Final Rule provides an alternative means to comply with the Fingerprinting Requirement and is elected by market participants, it is reasonable for the Commission to infer that the alternative is less burdensome to such participants.

    2. Revisions to Collections 3038-0023 and 3038-0072

    Collections 3038-0023 and 3038-0072 are currently in force with their control numbers having been provided by OMB.

    As discussed above, the Final Rule incorporates an alternative to fingerprinting to evaluate the fitness of certain Foreign Natural Persons. In order to qualify for this alternative, the Certifying Firm must take the steps required pursuant to the Final Rule, including submitting the required certification to NFA and maintaining records of the criminal history background check and the results thereof. Requiring such actions requires revisions to collections 3038-0023 and 3038-0072. Accordingly, the Commission submitted a request to amend each of collections 3038-0023 and 3038-0072 to OMB and invited public comment on its paperwork burdens in the Proposal. In particular, as further described in the Proposal, the Commission estimates that approximately 198 FCMs, RFEDs, IBs, CPOs, CTAs, LTMs, FBs, and FTs and 2 SDs and MSPs will submit the required certification 23 and, accordingly, estimates the additional hour burdens below.

    23 Proposal, 81 FR at 1362.

    a. Estimated Additional Hour Burden for Collection 3038-0023

    Collection 3038-0023 relates to collections of information from FCMs, RFEDs, IBs, CPOs, CTAs, LTMs, FBs, and FTs. The estimated additional hour burden for collection 3038-0023 of 495 hours is calculated as follows:

    Number of registrants: 198.

    Frequency of collection: As needed.

    Estimated annual responses per registrant: 1.

    Estimated aggregate number of annual responses: 198.

    Estimated annual hour burden per registrant: 2.5.24

    24 This collection's burdens are restricted to (i) registrants providing necessary information to commercial service provider(s) to conduct a criminal history background check for a Foreign Natural Person; (ii) registrants preparing and submitting the certification described herein; and (iii) registrants maintaining, in accordance with Commission regulation 1.31, records documenting that the criminal history background check was completed and the results thereof. To the extent that a market participant instead elects to conduct the background check internally, it is reasonable for the Commission to infer that doing so is less burdensome to such participant.

    Estimated aggregate annual hour burden: 495 (198 registrants × 2.5 hours per registrant).

    b. Estimated Additional Hour Burden for Collection 3038-0072

    Collection 3038-0072 relates to collections of information from SDs and MSPs. The estimated additional hour burden for collection 3038-0072 of 5 hours is calculated as follows:

    Number of registrants: 2.

    Frequency of collection: As needed.

    Estimated annual responses per registrant: 1.

    Estimated aggregate number of annual responses: 2.

    Estimated annual hour burden per registrant: 2.5.25

    25See n. 24, supra.

    Estimated aggregate annual hour burden: 5 (2 registrants × 2.5 hours per registrant).

    3. Information Collection Comments

    In the Proposal, the Commission invited the public and other Federal agencies to comment on any aspect of the information collection requirements discussed above. The Commission did not receive any such comments.

    C. Cost-Benefit Considerations

    Section 15(a) of the Act 26 requires the Commission to consider the costs and benefits of its actions before issuing a regulation under the Act. Section 15(a) further specifies that the costs and benefits shall be evaluated in light of the following five broad areas of market and public concern: (i) Protection of market participants and the public; (ii) efficiency, competitiveness and financial integrity of futures markets; (iii) price discovery; (iv) sound risk management practices; and (v) other public interest considerations. The Commission considers the costs and benefits resulting from its discretionary determinations with respect to the Section 15(a) considerations.

    26 7 U.S.C. 19(a).

    1. Costs a. Costs to FCMs, RFEDs, IBs, CPOs, CTAs, SDs, MSPs, LTMs, FBs, FTs, Associated Persons, and Other Foreign Natural Persons

    The Final Rule provides an alternative to complying with the Fingerprinting Requirement, which alternative no FCM, RFED, IB, CPO, CTA, SD, MSP, LTM, FB, FT, associated person, or other Foreign Natural Person is required to elect. As such, the Commission believes that the Final Rule does not impose any net cost on such persons, because the Commission presumes that such persons will elect the alternative only if they assess it to have a lower or equal net cost.

    b. Other Costs

    Because the Final Rule allows FCMs, RFEDs, IBs, CPOs, CTAs, SDs, MSPs, LTMs, FBs, and FTs to submit, subject to the terms and conditions herein, a certification in lieu of a fingerprint card for Foreign Natural Persons, NFA will need to develop a process to review and retain such certifications and consider amending its applications and/or other forms to reflect the availability of this alternative to the Fingerprinting Requirement. The Commission expects that the costs of such activities will not be significant, because NFA has been processing and retaining requests under the DSIO No-Action Letters since their issuance and the changes to NFA's applications and/or other forms to take into account the Final Rule would likely be minimal and could be included in other future unrelated updates.

    2. Benefits

    The Commission believes that, by establishing an alternative method for evaluating the fitness of Foreign Natural Persons for whom a fingerprint card must currently be submitted, the Final Rule helps keep the United States' commodity interest markets accessible and competitive with other markets around the world by removing an impediment to participation in United States' markets by Foreign Natural Persons while also ensuring the continued protection of market participants and the public. Further, the Commission believes that, by providing an alternative for persons outside the United States, the Final Rule is consistent with the principles of international comity.

    3. Commenter's Request

    As discussed above, The Working Group requested that the Commission expand the alternative provided in the Proposal to include all natural persons that are principals or associated persons of registrants subject to the Fingerprinting Requirement. The Commission is not making such an expansion, because, while there are limitations on the usefulness of fingerprints of foreign nationals, fingerprinting is an expedient way to investigate whether someone has a criminal record in the United States.

    4. Section 15(a) Factors

    Section 15(a) of the CEA requires the Commission to consider the costs and benefits of its actions before promulgating a regulation under the CEA or issuing certain orders. CEA Section 15(a) further specifies that the costs and benefits shall be evaluated in light of five broad areas of market and public concern: (i) Protection of market participants and the public; (ii) efficiency, competitiveness, and financial integrity of futures markets; (iii) price discovery; (iv) sound risk management practices; and (v) other public interest considerations.

    i. Protection of Market Participants and the Public

    The Final Rule continues to protect the public by ensuring that persons who are currently subject to the Fingerprinting Requirement, whether or not they reside in the United States, must have their fitness reviewed through the completion of a background check.

    ii. Efficiency, Competitiveness, and Financial Integrity of Markets

    The Final Rule may increase the efficiency and competitiveness of the markets by encouraging more participation in United States markets by Foreign Natural Persons. The Commission does not believe that the integrity of financial markets is harmed because the Final Rule requires that the background check meet the objective standards which rely on the clearly-stated matters under Sections 8a(2)(D) and 8a(3)(D), (E), and (H) of the CEA.

    iii. Price Discovery

    The Commission generally believes that providing an alternative means of ensuring the fitness of a person who resides outside the United States for purposes of Commission registration, by reducing the burden that the Fingerprinting Requirement could impose on such persons, could reduce impediments to transact on a cross-border basis, increasing participation in commodity interest markets. The Commission believes that such increased participation and the resulting increased liquidity may help to facilitate price discovery.

    iv. Sound Risk Management Practices

    One of the critically important functions of registration is to allow the Commission to ensure that all futures and swaps industry professionals who deal with the public meet minimum standards of fitness and competency.27 The fitness investigations that are part of the registration process permit the Commission and/or its delegatees to (a) uncover past misconduct that may disqualify an individual or entity from registration and (b) help determine if such persons have disclosed all matters required to be disclosed in their applications to become registered with the Commission.28 Having futures and swaps market participants that are not subject to any of the matters that would lead to a disqualification of registration under Sections 8a(2) or (3) of the CEA is one way to help ensure that a Commission registrant will not be a risk to its customers or to the market in general.

    27See, e.g., Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n, Division of Clearing and Intermediary Oversight, Public Report on the Registration Program of the National Futures Association, June 2010, at 1 (citing H.R. REP. NO. 97-565(I), at 48 (1982), reprinted in 1982 U.S.C.C.A.N. 3871, 3897-3899).

    28See http://www.nfa.futures.org/NFA-registration/index.HTML (last visited Feb. 24, 2016), stating that “[t]he primary purposes of registration are to screen an applicant's fitness to engage in business as a futures professional and to identify those individuals and organizations whose activities are subject to federal regulation.”

    Pursuant to Commission regulation 3.60, the Commission may, subject to some limitations, deny, grant with conditions, suspend, revoke, or restrict registration to an applicant if the Commission alleges and is prepared to prove that the registrant or applicant is subject to one or more of the statutory disqualifications set forth in section 8a(2), 8a(3) or 8a(4) of the Act. 17 CFR 3.60. Sections 8a(2) and 8a(3) of the Act contain an extensive list of matters that provide grounds for refusing or conditioning an applicant's registration, including, without limitation, felony convictions, commodities or securities law violations, bars or other adverse actions taken by financial regulators, and willfully omitting to state any material fact in an application. See 7 U.S.C. 12a(2) and (3). See also Interpretative Statement With Respect to Section 8a(2)(C) and (E) and Section 8a(3)(J) and (M) of the Commodity Exchange Act, appendix A to part 3 of the Commission's regulations.

    v. Other Public Interest Considerations

    The Commission believes that, by providing an alternative for persons outside the United States, the Final Rule is consistent with the principles of international comity.

    List of Subjects in 17 CFR Part 3

    Associated persons, Brokers, Commodity futures, Commodity pool operators, Commodity trading advisors, Customer protection, Fingerprinting, Foreign exchange, Futures commission merchants, Introducing brokers, Leverage transaction merchants, Leverage transactions, Major swap participants, Principals, Registration, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Retail foreign exchange dealers, Swap dealers, Swaps.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission amends part 3 as follows:

    PART 3—REGISTRATION 1. The authority citation for part 3 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 552, 552b; 7 U.S.C. 1a, 2, 6, 6a, 6b, 6b-1, 6c, 6d, 6e, 6f, 6g, 6h, 6i, 6k, 6m, 6n, 6o, 6p, 6s, 8, 9, 9a, 12, 12a, 13b, 13c, 16a, 18, 19, 21, 23.

    2. In § 3.21, add paragraph (e) to read as follows:
    § 3.21 Exemption from fingerprinting requirement in certain cases.

    (e) Foreign natural persons. (1) For purposes of this paragraph (e):

    (i) The term foreign natural person means any natural person who has not resided in the United States since reaching the age of 18 years.

    (ii) The term certifying firm means:

    (A) For any natural person that is a principal or associated person of a futures commission merchant, retail foreign exchange dealer, swap dealer, major swap participant, introducing broker, commodity pool operator, commodity trading advisor, leverage transaction merchant, floor broker, or floor trader, such futures commission merchant, retail foreign exchange dealer, swap dealer, major swap participant, introducing broker, commodity pool operator, commodity trading advisor, leverage transaction merchant, floor broker, or floor trader; and

    (B) For any natural person that is responsible for, or directs, the entry of orders from a floor broker's or floor trader's own account, such floor broker or floor trader.

    (2) Any obligation in this part to provide a fingerprint card for a foreign natural person shall be deemed satisfied with respect to a certifying firm if:

    (i) Such certifying firm causes a criminal history background check of such foreign natural person to be performed; and

    (ii) The criminal history background check:

    (A) Is of a type that would reveal all matters listed under Sections 8a(2)(D) or 8a(3)(D), (E), or (H) of the Act relating to such foreign natural person;

    (B) Does not reveal any matters that constitute a disqualification under Sections 8a(2) or 8a(3) of the Act, other than those disclosed to the National Futures Association; and

    (C) Is completed not more than one calendar year prior to the date that such certifying firm submits the certification described in paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section;

    (iii) A person authorized by such certifying firm submits, in reliance on such criminal history background check, a certification by such certifying firm to the National Futures Association, that:

    (A) States that the conditions of paragraphs (e)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section have been satisfied; and

    (B) Is signed by a person authorized by such certifying firm to make such certification.

    (3) The certifying firm shall maintain, in accordance with § 1.31 of this chapter, records documenting that the criminal history background check performed pursuant to paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this section was completed and the results thereof.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on March 28, 2016, by the Commission. Robert N. Sidman, Deputy Secretary of the Commission. Note:

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

    Appendices to Alternative to Fingerprinting Requirement for Foreign Natural Persons—Commission Voting Summary and Chairman's Statement Appendix 1—Commission Voting Summary

    On this matter, Chairman Massad and Commissioners Bowen and Giancarlo voted in the affirmative. No Commissioner voted in the negative.

    Appendix 2—Statement of Chairman Timothy G. Massad

    I support the rule being finalized today, which provides foreign natural persons with an alternative to the fingerprinting requirement that applies to certain participants in our markets. This will reduce unnecessary burdens on foreign individuals while maintaining appropriate standards of fitness and competency. This final rule also continues the Commission's ongoing efforts to codify, where appropriate, and through notice-and-comment rulemaking, no-action relief that previously had been provided by Commission staff.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07304 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6351-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 17 CFR Part 240 General Rules and Regulations, Securities Exchange Act of 1934 CFR Correction

    In Title 17 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 240 to End, revised as of April 1, 2015, on page 543, § 240.17a-23 is removed and reserved.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07561 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Part 35 Filing of Rate Schedules and Tariffs CFR Correction

    In Title 18 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 1 to 399, revised as of April 1, 2015, in § 35.1, make the following changes:

    1. On page 270, in paragraphs (d)(2) and (d)(3), add the phrase “, tariffs or service agreements” after the phrase “rate schedules”, and

    2. On page 270, in paragraph (g), in the first sentence, add the word “service” before the third occurrence of the word “agreement”.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07564 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Part 35 Filing of Rate Schedules and Tariffs CFR Correction

    In Title 18 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 1 to 399, revised as of April 1, 2015, on page 273, § 35.4 is revised to read as follows:

    § 35.4 Permission to become effective is not approval. [Corrected]

    The fact that the Commission permits a rate schedule or tariff, tariff or service agreement or any part thereof or any notice of cancellation to become effective shall not constitute approval by the Commission of such rate schedule or tariff, tariff or service agreement or part thereof or notice of cancellation.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07566 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Part 35 Filing of Rate Schedules and Tariffs CFR Correction

    In Title 18 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 1 to 399, revised as of April 1, 2015, on page 275, in § 35.11, in the first sentence, the phrase “a rate schedule, tariff, or service agreement,” is revised to read, “a rate schedule or tariff, tariff or service agreement,”; and the phrase “the rate schedule or tariff would become effective” is revised to read “the rate schedule or tariff, tariff or service agreement would become effective”. And, in the second sentence, the phrase “under such rate schedule or tariff,” is revised to read “under such rate schedule or tariff, tariff or service agreement,”.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07562 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Part 281 Natural Gas Curtailment Under the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 CFR Correction

    In Title 18 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 1 to 399, revised as of April 1, 2015, on page 810, in § 281.204, in paragraph (a), in the first sentence and in the last sentence, remove the term “sheets” and add in its place the term “sheets or sections”.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07548 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY 18 CFR Part 1307 Nondiscrimination With Respect to Handicap CFR Correction

    In Title 18 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 400 to End, revised as of April 1, 2015, on page 210, in § 1307.4, in paragraph (b)(2), remove the term “activities” and add in its place “aid, benefits, or services”.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07549 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 19 CFR Part 10 Articles Conditionally Free, Subject to a Reduced Rate, etc. CFR Correction

    In Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 0 to 140, revised as of April 1, 2015, remove the term “Customs” and add in its place the term “CBP” in the following places:

    1. On page 96, in § 10.1, in the introductory text of paragraph (h)(1), and

    2. On page 113, in § 10.31, in paragraph (f), in two places.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07554 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 19 CFR Part 4 Vessels in Foreign and Domestic Trades CFR Correction

    In Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 0 to 140, revised as of April 1, 2015, on page 67, in § 4.88, in paragraph (a), remove the words “with a registry which” and add in their place “with a registry endorsement which”.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07553 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 19 CFR Part 10 Articles Conditionally Free, Subject to a Reduced Rate, etc. CFR Correction

    In Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 0 to 140, revised as of April 1, 2015, on page 259, in § 10.470, revise the section heading to read “Verification and justification of claim for preferential tariff treatment.”

    [FR Doc. 2016-07555 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 19 CFR Part 12 Special Classes of Merchandise CFR Correction

    In Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 0 to 140, revised as of April 1, 2015, on page 480, in § 12.74, in paragraph (b)(2), remove the phrase “a period of”.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07558 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 19 CFR Part 24 Customs Financial and Accounting Procedure CFR Correction

    In Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 0 to 140, revised as of April 1, 2015, on page 596, in § 24.22, in paragraph (g)(7), remove the term “Customs” and add “CBP” in its place.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07560 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 19 CFR Part 122 Air Commerce Regulations CFR Correction

    In Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations, parts 0 to 140, revised as of April 1, 2015, on page 810, in § 122.24, in paragraph (b), after the paragraph heading, remove the introductory text before the table.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07559 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Parts 510, 520, 522, 524, 528, 529, 556, and 558 [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-0002] New Animal Drugs; Approval of New Animal Drug Applications; Changes of Sponsorship Correction

    In rule document 2016-07135 beginning on page 17604 in the issue of Wednesday, March 30, 2016, make the following correction:

    § 524.1044g [Corrected]
    On page 17608, change amendatory instruction 33 to read as follows: 33. In § 524.1044g, in paragraph (b)(3), remove “000859” and in its place add “069043”.
    [FR Doc. C1-2016-07135 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 Income Taxes CFR Correction

    In Title 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 1, §§ 1.908 to 1.1000, revised as of April 1, 2015, on page 394, in § 1.955A-3, revise the heading for paragraph (e) to read “Coordination with section 955(b)(3).”

    [FR Doc. 2016-07563 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0199] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Tennessee River, Decatur, AL AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Southern Railroad Drawbridge across the Tennessee River, mile 304.4, at Decatur, Alabama. The deviation is necessary to allow the bridge owner time to perform repairs and maintenance essential to the continued safe operation of the drawbridge. This deviation allows the bridge to open to vessel traffic with a two-hour advance notice.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from April 4 through April 21, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, (USCG-2016-0199) is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Eric A. Washburn, Bridge Administrator, Western Rivers, Coast Guard; telephone 314-269-2378, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Norfolk Southern Railroad requested a temporary deviation for the Southern Railroad Drawbridge, across the Tennessee River, mile 304.4, at Decatur, Alabama. This deviation allows the bridge to open on signal if at least 2-hours advance notice is given from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, April 4-21, 2016. This deviation is necessary for the bridge owner to replace cross ties, change out the counter weight and install inner guard rails.

    The Southern Railroad Drawbridge currently operates in accordance with 33 CFR 117.5, which states the general requirement that the drawbridge shall open on signal.

    The Southern Railroad Drawbridge provides a vertical clearance of 10.52 feet above normal pool in the closed-to-navigation position. Navigation on the waterway consists primarily of commercial tows and recreational watercraft and will not be significantly impacted. This temporary deviation has been coordinated with waterway users. No objections were received.

    The bridge will not be able to open for emergencies and there are no alternate routes for vessels transiting this section of the Tennessee River. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so the vessel operators can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

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

    Dated: March 10, 2016. Eric A. Washburn, Bridge Administrator, Western Rivers.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07439 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0232] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Shark River (South Channel), Avon, NJ AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Railroad Bridge (NJT) across the Shark River (South Channel), mile 0.9, at Avon, NJ. This deviation is necessary to perform urgent bridge repairs. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 9, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2016-0232] is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH”. Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Mr. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Administration Branch Fifth District, Coast Guard, telephone 757-398-6222, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    New Jersey Transit (NJT), that owns and operates the Railroad Bridge (NJT), has requested a temporary deviation from the current operating regulations to perform urgent repairs to the buffers which protect the bridge locks from damage during opening and closing movements. The bridge is a single bascule draw bridge and has a vertical clearance in the closed position of 8 feet above mean high water.

    The current operating schedule is set out in 33 CFR 117.751. Under this temporary deviation, the bridge will remain in the closed-to-navigation position from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 9, 2016 and will open-to-navigation with at least one hour advance notice.

    The Shark River is used by a variety of vessels including small U.S. government and public vessels, small commercial vessels, tug and barge, and recreational vessels. The Coast Guard has carefully considered the nature and volume of vessel traffic on the waterway in publishing this temporary deviation.

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

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

    Dated: March 24, 2016. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Program Manager, Fifth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07357 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Patent and Trademark Office 37 CFR Part 42 [Docket No. PTO-P-2015-0053] RIN 0651-AD01 Amendments to the Rules of Practice for Trials Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board AGENCY:

    United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This final rule amends the existing consolidated set of rules relating to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO) trial practice for inter partes review (“IPR”), post-grant review (“PGR”), the transitional program for covered business method patents (“CBM”), and derivation proceedings that implemented provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”) providing for trials before the Office.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: This rule is effective May 2, 2016 and applies to all AIA petitions filed on or after the effective date and to any ongoing AIA preliminary proceeding or trial before the Office.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Susan L. C. Mitchell, Lead Administrative Patent Judge, by telephone at (571) 272-9797.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Executive Summary: Purpose: This final rule amends the existing consolidated set of rules relating to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO) trial practice for IPR, PGR, CBM, and derivation proceedings that implemented provisions of the AIA providing for trials before the Office, by allowing new testimonial evidence to be submitted with a patent owner's preliminary response, adding a Rule 11-type certification for papers filed in a proceeding, allowing a claim construction approach that emulates the approach used by a district court following Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (hereinafter “a Phillips-type or district court-type construction approach”) for claims of patents that will expire before entry of a final written decision, and replacing the current page limit with a word count limit for major briefing.

    Summary of Major Provisions: In an effort to gauge the effectiveness of the rules governing AIA trials, the Office conducted a nationwide listening tour in April and May of 2014, and in June 2014, published a Federal Register Notice asking for public feedback about the AIA trial proceedings. The Office has reviewed carefully the comments and, in response to public input, already has issued a first, final rule, which was published on May 19, 2015. That final rule addressed issues concerning the patent owner's motion to amend, the petitioner's reply brief, and other various changes. For instance, the final rule provided ten additional pages for a patent owner's motion to amend, allowed a claims appendix for a motion to amend, and provided ten additional pages for a petitioner's reply brief, in addition to other changes to conform the rules to the Office's established practices in handling AIA proceedings.

    The Office published a second, proposed rule on August 20, 2015, which addressed more significant proposed changes to the rules and proposed revisions to the Office Patent Trial Practice Guide. The Office received comments from the public on these proposed rules, and presents in this Federal Register document the following final rules to address the claim construction standard for AIA trials involving soon-to-be expired patents, new testimonial evidence submitted with a patent owner's preliminary response, Rule 11-type certification, and word count for major briefing. The Office will also amend its Office Patent Trial Practice Guide to comport with these rules changes and to reflect developments in practice before the Office concerning how the Office handles additional discovery, live testimony, and confidential information.

    The Office anticipates that it will continue to refine the rules governing AIA trials to continue to ensure fairness and efficiency while meeting all congressional mandates. Therefore, the Office continues to encourage comments concerning how the rules may be refined to achieve this goal.

    Also, the Office is continuing to pro-actively seek ways to enhance its operations and explore alternative approaches that might improve its handling of post grant administrative trials. As part of this process, the Office published in the Federal Register a Request for Comments on a Proposed Pilot Program pertaining to the institution and conduct of the post grant administrative trials by a single judge to provide the public an opportunity to comment on the proposal. Proposed Pilot Program Exploring an Alternative Approach to Institution Decisions in Post Grant Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 51540 (Aug. 25, 2015) (“Proposed Pilot Program”). The Office currently has a panel of three administrative patent judges (APJs) decide whether to institute a trial, and then typically has the same three-APJ panel conduct the trial, if instituted. The Office sought comments on whether to conduct a pilot program under which the determination of whether to institute a trial would be made by a single APJ, with two additional APJs being assigned if a trial was instituted. This public announcement of the proposed pilot program sought to elicit comments, including whether a single APJ institution could potentially improve efficiency while providing high quality decisions and fairness to all sides.

    In response to the Request for Comments, the Office received eighteen written submissions from intellectual property organizations, associations, businesses, law firms, patent practitioners, and others. The majority of comments opposed the proposed pilot program; however, several comments supported modified pilot programs. The Office appreciates receiving the comments, and has considered and analyzed them. Taking into account the comments received, the Office has decided not to go forward with the proposed pilot program at this time.

    Costs and Benefits: This rulemaking is not economically significant, and is not significant, under Executive Order 12866 (Sept. 30, 1993), as amended by Executive Order 13258 (Feb. 26, 2002) and Executive Order 13422 (Jan. 18, 2007).

    Background Development of the Final Rules

    On September 16, 2011, the AIA was enacted into law (Pub. L. 112-29, 125 Stat. 284 (2011)), and within one year, the Office implemented rules to govern Office trial practice for AIA trials, including IPR, PGR, CBM, and derivation proceedings pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 135, 316 and 326 and AIA 18(d)(2). See Rules of Practice for Trials Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and Judicial Review of Patent Trial and Appeal Board Decisions, 77 FR 48612 (Aug. 14, 2012); Changes to Implement Inter Partes Review Proceedings, Post-Grant Review Proceedings, and Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents, 77 FR 48680 (Aug. 14, 2012); Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents—Definitions of Covered Business Method Patent and Technological Invention, 77 FR 48734 (Aug. 14, 2012). Additionally, the Office published a Patent Trial Practice Guide for the rules to advise the public on the general framework of the regulations, including the structure and times for taking action in each of the new proceedings. See Office Patent Trial Practice Guide, 77 FR 48756 (Aug. 14, 2012).

    In an effort to gauge the effectiveness of these rules governing AIA trials, the Office conducted a nationwide listening tour in April and May of 2014. During the listening tour, the Office solicited feedback on how to make the trial proceedings more fair and effective by adjusting the rules and guidance where necessary. To elicit even more input, in June of 2014, the Office published a Request for Comments in the Federal Register and, at stakeholder request, extended the period for receiving comments to October 16, 2014. See Request for Comments on Trial Proceedings Under the America Invents Act Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, 79 FR 36474 (June 27, 2014). The Office addressed all public comments that involved changes to the page limitations for a patent owner's motion to amend or a petitioner's reply brief in a first, final rulemaking. See Amendments to the Rules of Practice for Trials Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, 80 FR 28561 (May 19, 2015). The Office addressed the remaining comments in the second, proposed rulemaking. See Amendments to the Rules of Practice for Trials Before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, 80 FR 50720 (Aug. 20, 2015).

    In the second, proposed rulemaking, the Office sought comments on the proposed rules involving the application of a Phillips-type claim construction for patents expiring during a proceeding, the ability to submit new testimonial evidence in the patent owner preliminary response, a Rule 11-type certification for papers filed in a proceeding, and word count for major briefing. The Office received twenty-eight comments from bar associations, corporations, law firms, and individuals addressing the proposed rules. Many of the comments supported application of a Phillips-type construction for claims of a patent that will expire during an AIA proceeding, a patent owner's ability to submit new testimonial evidence in its preliminary response, word count for major briefing, and a Rule-11 type certification. The Office appreciates the thoughtful comments provided by the public, which are available on the USPTO Web site: http://www.uspto.gov/patents-application-process/patent-trial-and-appeal-board/comments-amendments-rules-practice-trials. The Office addresses all of the comments on the proposed rules below.

    Claim Construction Standard

    In the proposed rules, the Office noted that the application of a Phillips-type claim construction for claims of a patent that will expire prior to the issuance of a final written decision is appropriate. 80 FR at 50722. For these patents, the Office proposed to apply a Phillips-type standard during the proceeding. Id. The Office asked a series of questions to elicit comments concerning when to apply a Phillips-type construction. For instance, the Office asked: Should the Office set forth guidelines where a petitioner may determine, before filing a petition, which claim construction approach will be applied by the Office based on the relevant facts? Should the petitioner who believes that the subject patent will expire prior to issuance of a final written decision be required to submit claim interpretation analysis under both a Phillips-type and broadest reasonable interpretation approaches or state that either approach yields the same result? Should the Office entertain briefing after a petition is filed, but before a patent owner preliminary response is filed, concerning what standard should be applied? Id. The Office also invited comments on any workable and efficient solutions for scenarios where the patent owner chooses to forgo the right to amend claims in an AIA proceeding. Id.

    The Office has considered carefully the comments and determined to permit either party to request by motion a Phillips-type construction if a party certifies that the patent will expire within eighteen months from the entry of the Notice of Filing Date Accorded to Petition. A request by either party for a Phillips-type construction must be done by motion, triggering a conference call with the panel to discuss the request to resolve whether such a motion is appropriate under the circumstances and whether any other briefing is necessary for each party to be able to address adequately the appropriate construction standard. For instance, petitioner may be afforded an opportunity to address a Phillips-type construction analysis before patent owner is required to file its preliminary response.

    Comment 1: As to the claim construction standard the Office uses generally in AIA trial proceedings, many commenters support the Office's continued application of the broadest reasonable interpretation standard to ensure higher quality patents by encouraging more definitive claim drafting, clarifying intended claim scope, and providing a better notice function to the public. Other commenters asserted that because a small number of motions to amend have been granted, the Office should apply a Phillips-type construction in all AIA proceedings. These commenters stated that AIA proceedings are meant to be adjudicative; therefore, a differing standard akin to a district court claim construction analysis is appropriate and in the interest of justice. These commenters also assert that neither the difference between “patentability” and “validity,” nor the canon of construction calling for preservation of validity as applied in district court, necessitates the application of a broadest reasonable interpretation standard in an AIA proceeding. Also, these commenters asserted that because the majority of patents involved in inter partes reviews are also in parallel litigation with a route of appeal to the same reviewing court, using a differing standard for claim construction could lead to inconsistent outcomes, and therefore, is inappropriate.

    Response: The Office continues to agree with the comments that stated that applying the broadest reasonable interpretation for a claim is consistent with the Office's long-standing practice in post-issuance proceedings and encourages clear and unambiguous claim drafting. The Office notes that this standard also promotes consistency across all reexaminations, reissues, and AIA proceedings involving the same patent or family of patents before the Office. The Office disagrees that no reasonable opportunity to amend exists, as some comments argued based solely on the number of amendments permitted to date. The Federal Circuit has stated, “[a]lthough the opportunity to amend is cabined in the IPR setting, it is thus nonetheless available,” and specifically addressed the prohibition on post-issuance broadening of claims at issue in the case, further stating that at least this restriction on motions to amend “does not distinguish pre-IPR processes or undermine the inferred congressional authorization of the broadest reasonable interpretation standard in IPRs.” In re Cuozzo Speed Techs., LLC, 793 F.3d 1268, 1278 (Fed. Cir. July 8, 2015), cert. granted sub nom., Cuozzo Speed Techs. LLC. v. Lee, 136 S. Ct. 890 (mem.) (2016). Also, the Office does not agree that using differing standards for claim construction in different tribunals presents a scenario where inconsistencies are inappropriate. See In re Swanson, 540 F.3d 1368, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (citing Ethicon, Inc. v. Quigg, 849 F.3d 1422, 1429 & n.3 (Fed. Cir. 1988)) (stating inconsistent findings concerning validity in different proceedings may be appropriate). Appropriate rationales exist to apply the broadest reasonable interpretation claim construction standard when there is an ability to clarify claim scope and to apply a Phillips construction when no opportunity to amend exists and claims should be construed to preserve validity if possible.

    Applying the broadest reasonable interpretation standard in the proceedings serves an important patent quality assurance function. Therefore, the Office agrees with comments that the application of the broadest reasonable interpretation for claims furthers the congressional goal of providing “a meaningful opportunity to improve patent quality and restore confidence in the presumption of validity that comes with issued patents in court.” H.R. Rep. No. 112-98(I) at 48 (2011), reprinted in, 2011 USCCAN 67, 78 (discussing post-grant proceedings). Finally, the Office notes that because issued patents can return to the Office through a number of different avenues in addition to AIA trials, it should follow the same claim construction approach in all of its proceedings. Inconsistent results could become an issue if the Office adopted a standard of claim construction other than the broadest reasonable interpretation for post-grant reviews. Specifically, the AIA contemplates that there will be multiple proceedings in the Office, and thus requires the Office to establish rules concerning the relationships between the various proceedings. For example, there may be an inter partes review of a patent that is also subject to an ex parte reexamination, where the patent is part of a family of co-pending applications all employing the same claim terminology. Difficulties could arise where the Office is handling multiple proceedings with different claim construction standards applicable.

    Comment 2: Several comments offered input on the timing and procedure for briefing the issue of the appropriate claim construction approach. One commenter offered that the Office should promulgate guidelines for when petitioner should offer a Phillips-type construction in a petition, but not penalize a petitioner for applying an incorrect construction standard, and other commenters asserted that petitioners should not be required to submit both a broadest reasonable interpretation and a Phillips-type construction in the petition because it presents too great a burden for petitioner. Some commenters suggested that additional briefing could be provided prior to the patent owner response addressing which standard of claim construction should apply. Some commenters asked that the Office set forth clear rules as to when each standard of claim construction applies so that there is no increase of cost or duration of the proceeding due to contesting which approach should apply.

    Several commenters offered a bright-line rule of a fixed period of time to determine when to apply a Phillips-type construction. Under this bright-line rule, if a patent expires during the fixed time period, a Phillips-type construction approach will apply, and if the patent does not expire during the fixed time period, a broadest reasonable interpretation approach will apply. Some commenters requested a three or four year fixed period of time for which a Phillips-type construction would be applied for patents that expire within the time period to account for any appeal to the Federal Circuit and possible remand. One commenter pointed to Institute Pasteur v. Focarino, 738 F.3d 1337 (Fed. Cir. 2015), to support a three-year, bright-line rule for applying a Phillips-type construction, arguing that such a length of time is necessary because the Federal Circuit recognized that no opportunity existed to amend claims in a patent that expired two months after issuance of the Office decision on appeal. Other commenters suggested a bright line rule of applying a Phillips-type construction if a petition is filed less than eighteen months before the patent's expiration date because it takes into account the potential time to complete both the preliminary proceeding and trial phases of an AIA proceeding. Others proposed that if a patent expires within two years from the filing of a petition, a Phillips-type construction should apply to take into account any possible six-month extension of the proceeding due to good cause. One commenter suggested a flexible approach where a Phillips-type construction should be applied if the parties agree to such a construction.

    Response: The Office agrees that procedures to determine which claim construction standard applies to a patent that may expire before the conclusion of a proceeding should minimize the cost and burden to the parties, and also offer a full and fair opportunity for each party to present its case under the appropriate approach. The Office agrees that it is too burdensome to require a petitioner to submit in its petition a construction under both a broadest reasonable construction and a Phillips-type construction if the petitioner determines that the challenged patent may expire before the end of the proceeding. Application of a bright-line rule applying a specific time period during which, if a patent expires, a Phillips-type construction should be applied, is problematic because it does not address the actual question of whether a patent has expired before an AIA proceeding is completed. There is no disagreement that an expired patent cannot be amended; if a patent does not expire during an AIA proceeding, however, it is equally true that it is subject to amendment. The Office declines to speculate as to what may happen after an AIA proceeding has been concluded to determine an appropriate course of action to take during the proceeding as the Office cannot presume that all final written decisions will be appealed.

    The Office believes that the best approach to determine when a particular patent will expire is to allow either party to request by motion that a Phillips-type construction be applied in the proceeding after certifying that the patent will expire within eighteen months of the filing of the Notice of Filing Date Accorded. This procedure provides a panel with flexibility to address any factual scenario presented by a particular case. The Office agrees with commenters that a motions practice in which the petitioner may be able to brief an alternative construction before patent owner files its preliminary response may be an efficient way to proceed, but such choice is left to the discretion of the panel. Ever mindful of the statutory deadlines that exist in AIA proceedings, such a procedure provides the panel with a way to manage efficiently a proceeding where the claim construction may differ from what a petitioner has presented in its petition.

    Comment 3: One commenter suggested that a Markman-type proceeding may be held after institution of a trial, but before a patent owner has to file its patent owner response.

    Response: Although the timing in some cases may require that the applicable claim construction must be briefed or determined after institution, the Office prefers to resolve the applicable claim construction standard before institution, and ideally, before the patent owner preliminary response deadline has passed. The earlier that the appropriate standard for claim construction may be determined, the more guidance the Office may provide in its institution decision for the parties to conduct the trial, including discovery, appropriately and efficiently, and in some cases, the Office may decide to deny institution when applying the appropriate standard.

    Comment 4: One commenter asserted that where claim terms in dispute in an AIA review proceeding have been construed in a final, non-appealable court decision involving the same parties or their privies, the Office should adopt that claim construction as a matter of issue preclusion and to avoid inconsistent results.

    Response: Parties can and have asserted in AIA proceedings that a previous claim construction issued in a court decision controls. The Office has reviewed such assertions in light of the facts of each particular case, and has adopted district court constructions when appropriate. See, e.g. , Google Inc. v. Simpleair Inc., CBM2014-00054, slip op. at 7 (PTAB May 13, 2014) (Paper 19) (adopting district court's constructions, which both parties asserted should be applied in the AIA proceeding, as consistent with the broadest reasonable construction); Kyocera Corp. v. Softview, LLC, IPR2013-0004, IPR2013-00257, slip op. at 5 (PTAB March 21, 2014) (Paper 53) (same). A per se rule applying issue preclusion to avoid inconsistencies between two fora's claims constructions, however, is not appropriate in light of the fact specific nature of the application of issue preclusion, the differing construction approaches applied in the district court and the Office, and patent owner's opportunity to amend its challenged claims in an AIA proceeding to conform to a prior district court construction.

    Comment 5: One commenter sought a rule that claim amendments will not be permitted in situations where the patent will expire during the statutory time allowed for the completion of the inter partes review proceeding. The commenter noted that a patent must have some enforceable life after a proceeding for an amendment to be meaningful, otherwise, the amendment is tantamount to a cancelation of the original claim. The commenter also noted that the Office can ensure that a patent will expire during the proceeding by issuing a final written decision after expiration of the patent at issue.

    Response: The Office appreciates the comments and recognizes that the amendment process may not be effective if the patent is expiring or near expiration during the pendency of an AIA proceeding. The Office, however, does not believe that a rule change is necessary to address such a situation because the current rules offer the panel the ability to address such situations when they arise.

    Comment 6: Commenters suggested that allowing a patent owner to forgo an opportunity to amend claims in its patent to receive a Phillips-type construction is unworkable and unfair to petitioner. Also, one commenter noted that to allow a patent owner to forgo amendment also raises an issue as to whether other proceedings before the Office with the same patent would also be subject to patent owner's choice to forgo the opportunity to amend. The commenter opined that a patent owner may forgo amendment and ensure a Phillips-type construction by terminally disclaiming the term of its patent before an AIA proceeding is filed. The commenter noted that generally a patent owner has asserted its patent before an AIA proceeding is filed, and thus has the opportunity to file a terminal disclaimer before a petition is filed.

    Response: The Office agrees that allowing a patent owner to disclaim the term of its patent during an AIA proceeding to ensure a Phillips-type construction may be unworkable. Providing a petitioner with a full and fair opportunity to address claim construction under the appropriate approach would be difficult if a patent owner were able to disclaim patent term late in a proceeding. Also, whether a patent owner chooses to file a terminal disclaimer or simply forgoes the opportunity to file a motion to amend, the opportunity to amend was available to the patent owner, but the patent owner chose not to avail itself of the opportunity. It is this opportunity to amend claims to clarify their scope and to notify the public of what is encompassed by a claim that forms, at least in part, the Office's application of the broadest reasonable interpretation standard.

    Comment 7: Commenters suggested that the Office must consider prosecution history in claim construction.

    Response: The Office appreciates the comment and agrees that relevant prosecution history should be considered when specifically cited, explained, and relied upon by the parties. See Microsoft Corp. v. Proxyconn, Inc., 789 F.3d 1292, 1298 (Fed. Cir. 2015).

    Patent Owner's Motions To Amend

    In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office noted that AIA proceedings are neither ex parte patent prosecution of a patent application nor patent reexamination or reissue. The Board does not conduct a prior art search to evaluate the patentability of the proposed substitute claims, and any such requirement would be impractical given the statutory structure of AIA proceedings. If a motion to amend is granted, the substitute claims become part of an issued patent, without any further examination by the Office. Because of this constraint, the Office has set forth rules for motions to amend that account for the absence of an independent examination by the Office where a prior art search is performed as would be done during prosecution of a patent application, reexamination, or reissue.

    The Office stated in Idle Free Systems, Inc. v. Bergstrom, Inc., Case IPR2012-00027 (PTAB June 11, 2013) (Paper 26) (informative), that in a motion to amend, “[t]he burden is not on the petitioner to show unpatentability, but on the patent owner to show patentable distinction over the prior art of record and also prior art known to the patent owner.” Id. at 7 (emphasis added). The Office subsequently clarified this statement, and specifically, addressed the meaning of the terms “prior art of record” and “prior art known to the patent owner,” and how the burden of production shifts to the petitioner once the patent owner has made its prima facie case for patentability of the amendment. See MasterImage 3D, Inc. v. RealD Inc., Case IPR2015-00040, slip op. at 1-3 (PTAB July 15, 2015) (Paper 42). This decision clarifies that a patent owner must argue for the patentability of the proposed substitute claims over the prior art of record, which includes the following: (a.) Any material art in the prosecution history of the patent; (b.) any material art of record in the current proceeding, including art asserted in grounds on which the Board did not institute review; and (c.) any material art of record in any other proceeding before the Office involving the patent. Id. at 2. The Patent Owner must also distinguish over any art provided in light of a patent owner's duty of candor, and any other prior art or arguments supplied by the petitioner, in conjunction with the requirement that the proposed substitute claims be narrower than the claims that are being replaced. Id. at 3.

    In addition, the Office stated in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that the decision in MasterImage clarified how the burden of production shifts between the parties with regard to a motion to amend. “With respect to a motion to amend, once Patent Owner has set forth a prima facie case of patentability of narrower substitute claims over the prior art of record, the burden of production shifts to Petitioner. In its opposition, Petitioner may explain why Patent Owner did not make out a prima facie case of patentability, or attempt to rebut that prima facie case, by addressing Patent Owner's evidence and arguments and/or by identifying and applying additional prior art against proposed substitute claims. Patent Owner has an opportunity to respond in its reply. The ultimate burden of persuasion remains with Patent Owner, the movant, to demonstrate the patentability of the amended claims.” MasterImage, slip op. at 3 (citing Microsoft Corp. v. Proxyconn, Inc., 789 F.3d 1292, 1307 (Fed. Cir. 2015)). The Office also stated in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that it currently does not contemplate a change in rules or practice to shift the ultimate burden of persuasion on patentability of proposed substitute claims from the patent owner to the petitioner. Depending on the amendment, a petitioner may not have an interest in challenging patentability of any substitute claims. Therefore, to ensure patent quality and to protect the public interest, the ultimate burden of persuasion on patent owner's motion to amend remains best situated with the patent owner, to ensure that there is a clear demonstration on the record that the proposed substitute claims are patentable, given that there is no opportunity for separate examination of these newly proposed substitute claims in these adjudicatory-style AIA proceedings. See Microsoft, 789 F.3d at 1307 (stating ultimate burden of persuasion remains with the patent owner, the movant, to demonstrate the patentability of the substitute claims).

    The Office received a spectrum of comments that ranged from approval of the Office's current motion to amend practice to those seeking significant changes to that practice. The Office addresses these additional comments below.

    Comment 1: Commenters stated that patent owners should have the burden to establish a prima facie case of patentability of narrower substitute claims only over the prior art involved in grounds upon which the trial was instituted or at least the prior art of record in the AIA proceeding. Such a proposal, one commenter asserted, promotes efficiency by not requiring consideration of prior art that a petitioner has not asserted establishes unpatentability, and does not change the ultimate burden of persuasion from the patent owner. Another commenter stated that placing a burden on the patent owner to establish patentability over prior art not of record in the AIA proceeding inappropriately extends the burden imposed by 37 CFR 42.20(c), contrary to statements made in Microsoft v. Proxyconn. Another commenter suggested that the Office cannot require by decision any showing beyond what is required by 37 CFR 42.121.

    Response: Although the Office appreciates that other procedures would streamline presenting a motion to amend, the Office remains concerned that if such a motion to amend were granted, the substitute claims become part of an issued patent without any further examination by the Office. To account appropriately for this lack of independent examination of substitute claims, the Office has required the patent owner to show in its motion to amend patentability over: (a.) Any material art in the prosecution history of the patent; (b.) any material art of record in the current proceeding, including art asserted in grounds on which the Board did not institute review; and (c.) any material art of record in any other proceeding before the Office involving the patent, in addition to showing patentability over prior art of record in the proceeding. The Office agrees with one commenter that such a requirement does not place an onerous or undue burden on patent owner. Also, such a requirement is not inconsistent with 37 CFR 42.20(c) or Microsoft v. Proxyconn. In a motion to amend, the patent owner is asking the Office to enter new claims in an issued patent that were not examined. The patent owner as the movant has the burden to show patentability. See Microsoft, 789 F.3d at 1307 (“The Board has reasonably interpreted these provisions [35 U.S.C. 318(b) and 37 CFR 42.20(c)] as requiring the patentee to show that its substitute claims are patentable over the prior art of record, at least in circumstances in this case.”). The Federal Circuit also confirmed in Microsoft that the Office appropriately relies on prior art to determine patentability of substitute claims when the patent owner is given adequate notice and opportunity to present arguments distinguishing that reference. Microsoft, 789 F.2d at 1307-08; see Nike, Inc. v. Adidas AG, No. 2014-1719, 2016 WL 537609, at *3-5 (Fed. Cir. 2016); Prolitec, Inc. v. Scentair Techs., Inc., 807 F.3d 1353, 1363-64 (Fed. Cir. 2015). The Federal Circuit also confirmed that 37 CFR 42.121 does not provide an exhaustive list of grounds upon which the Office can deny a motion to amend, id. at 1306, and choosing adjudication over rulemaking for motions to amend is not abusing the PTO's discretion. Id. at 1307.

    Comment 2: Several commenters expressed concern about the consistency in application of decisions that are not deemed precedential, suggesting a standing order specifying which informative decisions govern a motion to amend may ensure such consistency.

    Response: The Office appreciates the comments and will consider further how best to ensure uniformity in the application of requirements for motions to amend. Currently, the rules require that a party must confer with the panel before filing a motion to amend, during which the panel provides guidance for such a motion. 37 CFR 42.121(a) and 42.221(a). The Office will further consider ways to promote uniformity in the requirements for a motion to amend, such as by designating opinions precedential, issuing a standing order setting forth what requirements govern a proceeding for motions to amend, or other means.

    Comment 3: Commenters suggested that the Office provide more guidance on the requirements that a patent owner must meet to establish patentability of substitute claims in a motion to amend such as the method and scope of a prior art search, whether a patent owner should specify the most relevant prior art in an affidavit, or what constitutes an acceptable definition of a key term in a motion to amend.

    Response: The Office will endeavor to provide guidance through its adjudicatory process including evaluating whether decisions providing guidance should be made precedential.

    Comment 4: A few commenters suggested using examiners to ensure patentability of proposed substitute claims in a motion to amend.

    Response: As the Office stated in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, it does not contemplate seeking assistance from the Examining Corps for review of motions to amend, but will continue to evaluate the best way to improve the practice.

    Patent Owner's Preliminary Response

    In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office proposed amending the rules to allow the patent owner to file new testimonial evidence without any limit on scope with its preliminary response. Because the time frame for the preliminary phase of an AIA proceeding does not allow generally for cross-examination of a declarant before institution as of right, nor for the petitioner to file a reply brief as of right, the Office is amending the rules to provide that any factual dispute created by testimonial evidence that is material to the institution decision will be resolved in favor of the petitioner solely for purposes of determining whether to institute a trial. This presumption was proposed, among other reasons, to preserve petitioner's right to challenge statements made by the patent owner's declarant, which may be done as of right during a trial.

    Commenters who favored allowing patent owner to present new testimonial evidence at the pre-institution stage expressed two areas of concern with the proposed changes to allow new testimonial evidence to be submitted with patent owner's preliminary response: (1) The presumption in favor of petitioner for resolving factual disputes; and (2) the availability of a reply. The Office addresses these comments below in the responses to Comment 4 and Comment 5.

    Comment 1: Many commenters support allowing patent owner to submit new testimonial evidence at the pre-institution stage, asserting that it presents a better balance of the opportunity to present evidence for both sides, thus leveling the playing field and encouraging full disclosure of rebuttal evidence by patent owner, and provides the Office with the best available information to decide whether to institute a trial. Others posited that allowing patent owner to submit new testimonial evidence in the patent owner preliminary response may also lead to settlement or other early disposition of the proceeding resulting in reduced expense and judicial economy. One commenter noted that capping the number of declarations that a patent owner may submit with its preliminary response may prevent presentation of too many factual disputes that cannot be resolved prior to institution. Another commenter sought assurance that the Office will not draw a negative inference from a decision to forgo submitting new testimonial evidence.

    Response: The Office appreciates these comments and amends the rule to allow a patent owner to submit new testimonial evidence with its preliminary response, with the caveat that, if a genuine issue of material fact is created by testimonial evidence, the issue will be resolved in favor of petitioner solely for institution purposes so that petitioner will have an opportunity to cross-examine the declarant during the trial. The Office does not believe that any express restriction on the number of declarations that a patent owner may submit with its preliminary response is necessary at this time. Also, just as the Office places no negative inference on patent owner's choice to forgo an opportunity to file a preliminary response, no negative inference will be drawn if a patent owner decides not to present new testimonial evidence with a preliminary response.

    Comment 2: Some commenters disagreed with the proposal to allow patent owners to submit new testimonial evidence with a preliminary response because such a rule may cause petitions to be denied without petitioner having the opportunity to cross examine a declarant or to reply to the new evidence. These commenters asserted that because a decision on institution is not appealable, a denial based on new testimonial evidence, without the safeguards of the procedures at trial that provide an opportunity for cross-examination of declarants and for a petitioner reply, is problematic. Also, these commenters noted that to apply such procedures prior to institution to alleviate these concerns also is problematic because it creates a trial-before-a-trial scenario when the institution decision should remain focused on the sufficiency of the petition. These commenters suggest that patent owner, on the other hand, would not be prejudiced by having to wait until filing its response to submit new testimonial evidence because there is an opportunity to fully develop the record post-institution, making the current rules fair to all parties. Several commenters expressed concern that allowing patent owner to present new testimonial evidence prior to institution of a trial will increase its costs with no substantive gain. Patent owners now may point out deficiencies in the petition, but permitting new testimonial evidence will only create factual disputes for which the Office would apply the presumption in favor of petitioner and institute.

    Response: The Office understands the concern that a petition should not be denied based on testimony that supports a finding of fact in favor of the patent owner when the petitioner has not had an opportunity to cross-examine the declarant. For that reason, the Office will resolve a genuine issue of fact created by patent owner's testimonial evidence in favor of the petitioner solely for purposes of institution. In appropriate circumstances, a panel, in its discretion, may order some limited discovery, including cross-examination of witnesses, before institution. It is premature to assess the effect of allowing patent owner to present new testimonial evidence at the preliminary stage, but as it is not mandatory to submit such evidence, the patent owner will have to assess the value of submitting such evidence based on the particular case. The Office does not agree that patent owner's submission of new testimonial evidence necessarily creates a factual dispute that may not be resolved pre-institution. As the Federal Circuit has recognized, “[t]he mere existence in the record of dueling expert testimony does not necessarily raise a genuine issue of material fact.” Mortgage Grader, Inc. v. First Choice Loan Servs., No. 2015-1415, 2016 WL 362415, at * 8 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 20, 2016) (citing KTEC, Inc. v. Vita-Mix Corp., 696 F.3d 1364, 1374-76 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (affirming grant of summary judgment that design patent was not analogous art, despite contrary opinion in expert report); Minkin v. Gibbons, P.C., 680 F.3d 1341, 1351-52 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (indicating that summary judgment of invalidity may be available notwithstanding expert report supporting validity)).

    Comment 3: One commenter questioned the weight to be given to new testimonial evidence presented with the preliminary response when reaching the final written decision. The commenter also asked how the scope of discovery post-institution would be modified where testimonial evidence was presented pre-institution.

    Response: The Office will resolve these issues on a case-by-case basis. In general, a party has the opportunity to cross-examine affidavit testimony submitted by another party unless the Board orders otherwise. 37 CFR 42.51(b)(1)(ii). If expert testimony presented by the patent owner at the preliminary stage is relied on at the trial stage, the rule would apply unless the panel decides otherwise. For example, if the testimony is withdrawn at the trial stage, the Board would have to consider whether cross-examination falls within the scope of additional discovery. See 35 U.S.C. 316(a)(5), 326(a)(5); 37 CFR 42.51(b)(2).

    Comment 4: Commenters favor the presumption for petitioner for factual disputes created by new testimonial evidence submitted by patent owner with its preliminary response as a mere factual contradiction from the patent owner should not prevent institution without cross-examination. One commenter wanted immediate cross-examination of patent owner's new testimonial evidence to test its veracity. Other commenters suggested that a presumption in favor of petitioner for any factual issue is counter to the statute and unfair to patent owners, and may discourage presentation of new testimonial evidence, because petitioner bears the burden at all stages of an AIA proceeding and the presumption is contrary to the presumption of validity. One commenter suggested that the presumption should weigh in favor of patent owner. Weighing evidence in favor of petitioner is inconsistent with petitioner's burden, these commenters asserted, and the inability to cross-examine witnesses is the same for all parties at the pre-institution stage, negating a need for this presumption because the parties are on equal footing. One commenter suggested that the availability of a pre-institution reply by petitioner negates any need for this presumption. Another commenter, however, stated that the presumption is appropriate in view of the statutory scheme where a preliminary response exists to point out the failure of a petition to meet any requirement for institution. Also, commenters asserted that the presumption as drafted in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is overly broad and 37 CFR 42.108(c) and 42.208(c) should be amended to limit expressly the application of any presumptions in favor of the petitioner to only disputed issues of material fact where the dispute is created by the introduction of the patent owner's unchallenged testimonial evidence.

    Response: In light of the comments, the Office clarifies in this final rule that the presumption applies only when a genuine issue of material fact is created by patent owner's testimonial evidence. As previously stated, the Office also agrees that not every factual contradiction rises to the level of a genuine issue of material fact that would preclude a decision on the factual issue at the preliminary stage of a proceeding to assess whether petitioner has met the threshold burden for institution of a trial. The Office declines to adopt a presumption in favor of the patent owner for disputed facts at the institution stage, as the patent owner will have another opportunity to submit evidence during the trial. Additionally, because a denial of institution is a final, non-appealable decision, deciding disputed factual issues in favor of the patent owner when a petitioner has not had the opportunity to cross-examine patent owner's declarant is inappropriate and contrary to the statutory framework for AIA review. See, e.g., 35 U.S.C. 316(a)(5), 326(a)(5). That both parties are in the same position at the preliminary stage, where generally there is no time for cross-examination of witnesses, does not support the view that no presumption should exist for either party because it is only through the trial process that each party is afforded a full and fair opportunity to cross-examine declarants. A presumption in favor of petitioner for disputed facts, which may be fully vetted during a trial when cross-examination of declarants is available, is appropriate given the effect of denial of a petition.

    Comment 5: Several commenters asserted that petitioner should have a reply as of right when patent owner submits new testimonial evidence with its preliminary response, and one commenter advocated a reply of right for petitioner at the pre-institution stage regardless of whether patent owner submits new testimonial evidence and asserted such a reply is critical to ensure that the Office decides institution based on consideration of the full merits of each party's arguments. These commenters suggested that the lack of a reply as of right may be appropriate if the Office is prepared to liberally grant petitioners a reply to address patent owner arguments that petitioner could not have anticipated. These commenters requested that the Office clarify under what circumstances a reply would be warranted. For instance, in addition to allowing petitioner to respond to arguments that it could not have anticipated, several commenters asserted that a right to reply should be granted when any threshold issues are addressed by the new testimonial evidence such as CBM-eligibility, proper identification of real parties-in-interest, and statutory bar issues under 35 U.S.C. 315(b). Another commenter sought clarification as to the standard to be applied for granting a reply, such as interest of justice or good cause. One commenter asserted that a petitioner's reply is unnecessary at the preliminary stage because it can anticipate the patent owner's response to arguments from patent owner's positions taken in parallel litigation. One commenter wanted more guidance on the timing and content of a reply, such as limiting it to a response to the new testimonial evidence, and whether allowing a reply would affect the timing of institution or the final decision.

    Response: The Office believes that although submission of patent owner testimonial evidence at the preliminary stage may warrant granting petitioner a reply to such evidence, the decision concerning whether petitioner will be afforded a reply and the appropriate scope of such a reply rests best with the panel deciding the proceeding to take into account the specific facts of the particular case.

    Additional Discovery

    In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office stated that it will continue to apply several factors on a case-by-case basis when considering whether additional discovery in an inter partes review is necessary in the interest of justice, as follows:

    1. More Than A Possibility And Mere Allegation. The mere possibility of finding something useful, and mere allegation that something useful will be found, are insufficient. Thus, the party requesting discovery already should be in possession of a threshold amount of evidence or reasoning tending to show beyond speculation that something useful will be uncovered. “Useful” does not mean merely “relevant” or “admissible,” but rather means favorable in substantive value to a contention of the party moving for discovery.

    2. Litigation Positions And Underlying Basis. Asking for the other party's litigation positions and the underlying basis for those positions is not necessarily in the interest of justice.

    3. Ability To Generate Equivalent Information By Other Means. Discovery of information a party reasonably can figure out, generate, obtain, or assemble without a discovery request would not be in the interest of justice.

    4. Easily Understandable Instructions. The requests themselves should be easily understandable. For example, ten pages of complex instructions are prima facie unclear.

    5. Requests Not Overly Burdensome To Answer. The Board considers financial burden, burden on human resources, and burden on meeting the time schedule of the review. Requests should be sensible and responsibly tailored according to a genuine need.

    Garmin Int'l, Inc. v. Cuozzo Speed Techs. LLC, Case IPR2012-00001, slip op. at 6-7 (PTAB Mar. 5, 2013) (Paper 26) (informative). The Office also applies similar factors in post-grant reviews and covered business method patent reviews when deciding whether the requested additional discovery is supported by a good cause showing and “limited to evidence directly related to factual assertions advanced” by a party. See 37 CFR 42.224; Bloomberg Inc. v. Markets-Alert Pty Ltd, Case CBM2013-00005, slip op. at 3-5 (PTAB May 29, 2013) (Paper 32). The Office also noted that as discovery disputes are highly fact dependent, the Office decides each issue on a case-by-case basis, taking account of the specific facts of the proceeding. See, e.g., Bloomberg, Case CBM2013-00005, slip op. at 6-7 (granting a specific and narrowly tailored request seeking information considered by an expert witness in connection with the preparation of his declaration filed in the proceeding). Also, parties are encouraged to raise discovery issues, and confer with each other regarding such issues, as soon as they arise in a proceeding.

    In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office also noted that it has provided guidance on its Web site, see, e.g., http://www.uspto.gov/blog/aia/entry/message_from_administrative_patent_judges, in response to comments generated from these questions, and will revise the Office Patent Trial Practice Guide to reflect this guidance.

    Comment 1: Several commenters expressed agreement with the application of the Garmin factors on a case-by-case basis. Commenters noted that application of the Garmin factors in deciding whether to grant additional discovery helps control costs, allows completion of a trial within the one-year time period avoiding a trial within a trial, and avoids discovery pitfalls found in district court litigation. Other commenters applauded the requirement of highly targeted and limited discovery requests to ensure that discovery is not overly burdensome. For instance, requiring a showing of nexus between the alleged objective indicia of non-obviousness and the claimed invention is appropriate before granting additional discovery of a party's products.

    Response: The Office agrees with these comments. Application of the Garmin factors provides a flexible approach to address each motion's unique set of facts, which necessitates a case-by-case approach.

    Comment 2: One commenter requested that the Office relax the application of the first Garmin factor to require only “a reasonable basis that the non-moving party has evidence relevant to an issue” when juxtaposed with the fifth factor considering the burdensome nature of the requests.

    Response: The Office appreciates the comment, but does not believe that it is necessary to relax the application of the first Garmin factor as the Office resolves the factors on a case-by-case basis.

    Comment 3: One commenter urged consistency in the application of the Garmin factors in determining whether to grant additional discovery and asks for precedential decisions for guidance.

    Response: The Office agrees that panels should strive for consistency when addressing motions for additional discovery that present similar facts. The Office also does review opinions in an effort to identify ones that should be designated as precedential, and notes that the public may also ask the Office to consider designating a particular opinion as precedential. Resolving discovery issues, however, is so highly dependent on the facts of the particular case that precedents often are not helpful.

    Comment 4: One commenter asked that if a discovery request addresses a standing issue, it should be liberally granted.

    Response: The nature of the issue to be resolved in discovery disputes is taken into account when assessing the Garmin factors. The Garmin factors are appropriate and adequate to resolve whether discovery should be granted for information relating to standing issues in addition to any other issue for which a party seeks discovery.

    Comment 5: A commenter urged the Office to add the following additional factors to the Garmin factors for consideration by a panel: (1) Whether the information is solely within the possession of the other party; (2) whether the information already has been produced in a related matter; and (3) whether the discovery sought relates to jurisdictional issues under 35 U.S.C. 315 and 325.

    Response: Garmin sets forth a flexible and representative framework for providing helpful guidance to the parties, and assisting the Office to decide whether additional discovery requested in an inter partes review is necessary in the interest of justice, consistent with 35 U.S.C. 316(a)(5), or whether additional discovery in a post-grant review is supported by a good cause showing, consistent with 35 U.S.C. 326(a)(5). The list of factors set forth in Garmin is not exhaustive. The Office applies the factors on a case-by-case basis, considering the particular facts of each discovery request, including the particular arguments raised by a party seeking additional discovery. Under this flexible approach, parties are permitted to present their arguments using different factors including those suggested in the comments. In fact, the suggested additional factors are subsumed effectively already under the Garmin factors, and have been considered by the Office in deciding whether to grant additional discovery requests. See, e.g., Int'l Sec. Exch., LLC v. Chi. Bd. Options Exch., Inc., Case IPR2014-00097 (PTAB July 14, 2014) (Paper 20) (granting a specific, narrowly tailored, and reasonable request for additional discovery of information that Patent Owner could not have obtained reasonably without a discovery request).

    Comment 6: Several comments indicated that, although the Garmin factors are appropriate, they sometimes are being applied incorrectly to require the moving party to have the actual evidence being sought.

    Response: As explained in Garmin, the moving party, who is seeking additional discovery, should present a threshold amount of evidence or reasoning tending to show beyond speculation that something useful will be uncovered. Garmin, Case IPR2012-00001, slip op. at 7-8. This factor ensures that the opposing party is not overly burdened, and the proceeding not unnecessarily delayed, by speculative requests where discovery is not warranted. The Office, however, does not require the moving party to have any actual evidence of the type being sought.

    Additional Discovery on Evidence Relating to Obviousness

    In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office stated that the Garmin factors currently provide appropriate and sufficient guidance for how to handle requests for additional discovery, such as for evidence of commercial success for a product of the petitioner, which the Office will continue to decide on a case-by-case basis. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office also encouraged parties to confer and reach an agreement on the information to exchange early in the proceeding, resolving discovery issues promptly and efficiently. See 37 CFR 42.51(a). The Office, however, will continue to seek feedback as the case law develops as to whether a more specific rule for this type of discovery is warranted or needed. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office also stated that the Garmin factors provide helpful guidance to the parties and assist the Office to achieve the appropriate balance, permitting meaningful discovery, while securing the just, speedy, and inexpensive resolution of every proceeding. The Office also plans to add further discussion as to how the Garmin factors have been applied in the Office Patent Trial Practice Guide.

    In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office recognized that it is important to provide a patent owner a full and fair opportunity to develop arguments regarding secondary considerations. Evidence of many secondary considerations (e.g., long-felt need, industry praise, commercial success of patent owner's patented product, widespread licensing) is available to patent owners without discovery. When patent owners seek additional discovery on such issues, however, the Office agreed that a conclusive showing of nexus between the claimed invention and the information being sought through discovery is not required at the time the patent owner requests the additional discovery. Nonetheless, some showing of nexus is required to ensure that additional discovery is necessary in the interest of justice, in an inter partes review, or is supported by a good cause showing, in a post-grant review. See 35 U.S.C. 316(a)(5) and 326(a)(5); 37 CFR 42.51(b)(2) and 42.224. Notably, as explained in Garmin concerning Factor 1, the mere possibility of finding something useful, and mere allegation that something useful will be found, are insufficient to demonstrate that the requested discovery is necessary in the interest of justice. Garmin, slip op. at 6. A patent owner seeking secondary consideration evidence from a petitioner should present a threshold amount of evidence or reasoning tending to show beyond speculation that something useful will be uncovered. A mere infringement contention or allegation that the claims reasonably could be read to cover the petitioner's product is generally insufficient, because such a contention or allegation, for example, does not show necessarily that the alleged commercial success derives from the claimed feature. Nor does it account for other desirable features of the petitioner's product or market position that could have contributed to the alleged commercial success. See e.g., In re DBC, 545 F.3d 1373, 1384 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (finding no nexus absent evidence that “the driving force behind [the allegedly successful product's sales] was the claimed combination”); John's Lone Star Distrib., Inc. v. Thermolife Int'l, LLC, IPR2014-01201 (PTAB May 13, 2015) (Paper 30). The Office plans to add further discussion on this issue to the Office Patent Trial Practice Guide.

    Comment 1: Although commenters agreed with the use of the Garmin factors as providing appropriate and sufficient guidance for deciding motions for additional discovery, and agreed with a case-by-case approach, one commenter questioned the case-by-case approach and stated that proof of a nexus between secondary consideration evidence and the claimed invention before authorizing discovery places too high a burden on the patent owner. Another commenter stated that a strong nexus showing should be required and infringement contentions do not by themselves show such nexus.

    Response: The scope of discovery in AIA proceedings differs significantly from the scope of discovery available under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in district court proceedings. Because Congress intended AIA proceedings to be a quick and cost-effective alternative to litigation, the statute provides only limited discovery in trial proceedings before the Office. See 35 U.S.C. 316(a)(5) and 326(a)(5); 37 CFR 42.51(b)(2) and 42.224. Some showing of nexus is required to ensure that the additional discovery is necessary in the interest of justice, in an inter partes review, or is supported by a good cause showing, in a post-grant review

    Real Party-in-Interest

    The Office noted in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that it is important to resolve real party-in-interest and privity issues as early as possible, preferably in the preliminary stage of the proceeding prior to institution, to avoid unnecessary delays and to minimize cost and burden on the parties and the resources of the Office. In most cases, the patent owner also recognizes the benefit of raising a real party-in-interest or privity challenge early in the proceeding, before or with the filing of its preliminary response, to avoid the cost and burden of a trial if the challenge is successful.

    The Office also noted that to balance efficiency with fairness, the Office, in general, will permit a patent owner to raise a challenge regarding a real party-in-interest or privity at any time during a trial proceeding. Such a position is consistent with the final rule notice. See Changes to Implement Inter Partes Review Proceedings, Post-Grant Review Proceedings, and Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents; Final Rule, 77 FR 48680, 48695 (Aug. 14, 2012) (“After institution, standing issues may still be raised during trial. A patent owner may seek authority from the Board to take pertinent discovery or to file a motion to challenge the petitioner's standing.”). With respect to a late challenge that reasonably could have been raised earlier in the proceeding, the Office will consider the impact of such a delay on a case-by-case basis, including whether the delay is unwarranted or prejudicial. The Office also will consider that impact when deciding whether to grant a motion for additional discovery based on a real party-in-interest or privity issue. The Office plans to add further discussion on this issue to the Office Patent Trial Practice Guide.

    Comment 1: Most commenters agreed that a real party-in-interest issue can be raised at any time in the proceeding provided that it is raised as soon as possible, preferably by the time that the preliminary response is filed, so that it may be decided at the institution stage, and patent owner has not delayed in raising the issue. Commenters also encouraged the Office to grant liberally requests for additional discovery to resolve real party-in-interest disputes early in a proceeding. Other commenters sought more clarity and certainty when a late challenge to a real party-in-interest designation would be permitted, such as whether patent owner should show that the issue could not have been raised earlier, whether patent owner has good cause to raise it late, or whether addressing a real party-in-interest challenge is in the interests of justice.

    Response: The Office agrees that resolving any real party-in-interest issues early in the case is preferred to provide finality on the issue and settled expectations to the parties. The Office believes, however, that especially when a challenge to a real party-in-interest designation is made later in the case, the panel is in the best position to review all the circumstances surrounding any failure to name appropriately all real parties-in-interest and to resolve this issue. Certainly, the factors mentioned by the commenter, such as whether patent owner can show that the issue could not have been raised earlier, whether patent owner has good cause to raise it later in the proceeding, or whether addressing a real party-in-interest challenge is in the interests of justice, are considerations for the panel in making a determination as to whether patent owner should be allowed additional discovery on the issue. The Office does not believe that special discovery rules or procedures are necessitated by challenges to real party-in-interest.

    Comment 2: Commenters assert that a petitioner should be allowed to amend its real party-in-interest designation without losing the filing date of the petition when in the interests of justice and in the absence of fraud.

    Response: The Office appreciates the comment and is evaluating alternative approaches to permit parties to amend their real party-in-interest designations.

    Multiple Proceedings

    The Office asked a series of questions relating to how multiple proceedings, such as an AIA trial, reexamination, or reissue proceeding, before the Office involving the same patent should be coordinated, including whether one proceeding should be stayed, transferred, consolidated, or terminated in favor of another. In response to comments answering these questions, the Office noted in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that the current rules provide sufficient flexibility to address the unique factual scenarios presented to handle efficiently and fairly related proceedings before the Office on a case-by-case basis, and that the Office will continue to take into account the interests of justice and fairness to both petitioners and patent owners where multiple proceedings involving the same patent claims are before the Office. Although the Office proposed no new rule involving multiple proceedings, it indicated plans to add further discussion on what factors the Office considers when determining whether to stay, transfer, consolidate, or terminate a proceeding in the Office Patent Trial Practice Guide.

    Comment 1: Commenters agreed that AIA trials on the same patent should be consolidated before the same panel, but asserted that the current rules insufficiently protect patent owners from potential harassment through the filing of multiple AIA proceedings. One commenter suggested that sanctions should be imposed against petitioners who file serial petitions to harass patent owners. Other commenters, however, offered that there are many appropriate reasons for a petitioner to file more than one petition, such as a material change in the law, to address additional claims, or to address information raised by a patent owner that could not have been reasonably anticipated. Another commenter suggested that multiple AIA proceedings should be instituted against the same patent if brought by different petitioners that are not real parties-in-interest or in privity with each other.

    Response: The Office disagrees that insufficient protection exists for patent owners to guard against potential harassment through the filing of multiple petitions. The AIA statutory scheme itself provides such protection. See 35 U.S.C. 325(d). Office decisions offering guidance on the application of section 325(d) include the following: SAS Institute, Inc. v. Complementsoft, LLC, IPR2013-00581 (PTAB Dec. 30, 2013) (Paper No. 15) (denying a petition as to grounds based upon substantially the same prior art and arguments as set forth in a prior IPR petition); Oracle Corporation v. Clouding IP, LLC, IPR2013-00100 (PTAB May 16, 2013) (Paper No. 8) (granting a petition where new arguments and supporting evidence were presented that shed a different light on references previously considered during prosecution); Medtronic, Inc v. Nuvasive, Inc., Case IPR2014-00487 (PTAB Sept. 11, 2014) (Paper 8); Unified Patents, Inc. v. PersonalWeb Techs., LLC, Case IPR2014-00702 (PTAB July 24, 2014) (Paper 13); Prism Pharma Co., Ltd. v. Choongwae Pharma Corp., Case IPR2014-00315 (PTAB July 8, 2014) (Paper 14); Unilever, Inc. v. Procter & Gamble Co., Case IPR2014-00506 (PTAB July 7, 2014) (Paper 17); Medtronic, Inc. v. Robert Bosch Healthcare Systems, Inc., Case IPR2014-00436 (PTAB May 19, 2014) (Paper 17); Intelligent Bio-Systems, Inc. v. Illumina Cambridge Limited, Case IPR2013-00324 (PTAB Nov. 21, 2013) (Paper 19); ZTE Corp. v. ContentGuard Holdings, Inc., Case IPR2013-00454 (PTAB Sept. 25, 2013) (Paper 12).

    Comment 2: A commenter asserted that different proceedings involving the same patent have had inconsistent outcomes and suggested that the Office adopt a practice or rule to ensure consistency such as requiring a second panel to address an earlier panel's position to explain why it is adopting an inconsistent opinion or seeking review of a second, inconsistent opinion by the Chief Administrative Patent Judge or other Office official.

    Response: The Office agrees that consistency among opinions involving the same patent and/or claims is important and strives for such consistency. The Office has procedures for assigning generally the same panel to cases involving the same patent, or to at least have one panel member in common for cases involving the same patent, to ensure consistency. The Office also currently has procedures involving administrative patent judges that are not assigned to a panel to review decisions before they are issued to provide another avenue to ensure consistency by flagging inconsistencies with other opinions for the panel. A party has the opportunity to point out other decisions concerning the same patent and/or claims to a panel and has the opportunity to ask for rehearing if the party believes that a decision is inconsistent with a previous decision. The Office does not believe that additional procedures or rules need to be promulgated at this time.

    Comment 3: One commenter asserted that prejudice to the parties and the ability to complete proceedings within the one-year statutory period should be overriding considerations in how to handle multiple proceedings. Other commenters asserted that the interest of a second petitioner in being adequately represented and heard and the efficiency of resolving a dispute and improving patent quality should be considered when deciding whether joinder is appropriate for two AIA proceedings.

    Response: The Office strives to ensure fairness to all parties in handling multiple proceedings, in addition to considering the efficiencies for the Office in how to handle multiple proceedings.

    Comment 4: One commenter requested more guidance on the proper timing and procedures for joinder of proceedings when the second petitioner files a substantially-identical petition to an earlier-filed petition. One commenter suggested that the rules be changed to require a default shorter period for a patent owner to file a preliminary response to a “me too” petition.

    Response: The Office appreciates these comments, but believes that the decision concerning whether to shorten the response time for patent owner to submit a preliminary response is best left to the discretion of the panel handling the case. The Office does attempt to consolidate or join proceedings involving the same patent, especially petitions that raise virtually identical issues, to efficiently resolve AIA proceedings involving the same patent. The trial timeline does at times prevent such consolidation or joinder; the closer in time petitions on the same patent are filed, the more likely the Office can consolidate or join the proceedings.

    Comment 5: One commenter suggests that the Office should consider the evidence submitted during prior prosecution, such as secondary considerations for non-obviousness, and to deny institution where the record was substantially developed.

    Response: The Office does consider the record evidence from the prosecution history of the patent when presented and relied upon by the parties.

    Extension of One Year Period To Issue a Final Determination

    In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office stated that it will continue to strive to meet the one-year statutory time period for trial, and that it does not propose to change the rules pertaining to the one-year pendency from institution-to-decision to provide for specific circumstances under which “good cause” may be shown. The Office proposed, however, to revise the Office Patent Trial Practice Guide to provide an exemplary list of instances in which an extension of the one-year statutory period may be warranted. Generally, commenters agree with the Office's approach to handling of the one-year period to issue a final determination. One commenter offered proposed examples of good cause for an extension, such as when one of the parties is prejudiced by circumstances that are unforeseeable and outside of its control or when the case is complex involving multiple proceedings. The Office will consider these suggestions in revising the Office Patent Trial Practice Guide to provide examples where good cause may be shown for extension of the one-year period to issue a final determination in an AIA proceeding.

    Live Testimony in an Oral Hearing

    In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office noted that it will continue its present practice of considering requests for presentative of live testimony in an oral hearing on a case-by-case basis, but the Office does not expect that such live testimony will be required in every case where there is conflicting testimony. When requested by the parties, however, and where the panel believes live testimony will be helpful in making a determination, the Office will permit live testimony. The format for presenting live testimony is left to the discretion of the panel, but panels will make clear at the hearing that live testimony is evidence that becomes part of the record. The Office also noted in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that it will provide guidance on limiting parties to issues specified in the oral argument request in the FAQs on the PTAB Trials Web site and in the Office Patent Trial Practice Guide. The Office also proposed amending the rules to provide additional days for the parties to exchange and conference on demonstrative exhibits to resolve any disputes among themselves. Generally, commenters agree with the Office's approach to handling live testimony in oral hearings and also agree with the proposed change to the rules to allow more time for parties to resolve objections to demonstratives.

    Rule 11-Type Certification

    In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office proposed to amend section 42.11, which prescribes the duty of candor owed to the Office, to include a Rule 11-type certification for papers filed with the Board with a provision for sanctions for noncompliance. The Office received several comments on the proposal and has responded to those comments below. The Office will implement a Rule-11 type certification in the final rule.

    Comment 1: There were numerous comments on the proposed changes to Rule 42.11 (37 CFR 42.11). Although a number of comments supported adoption of the proposed rule, several comments stated that the proposed rule was unnecessary or redundant of existing rules and should not be adopted.

    Response: The Office sees the proposed rule as preventative in nature. Although the Office does not expect, based on past experience, that the procedures in the proposed rule will be used often, the deterrent effect of having such a rule has been recognized. See Raylon, LLC v. Complus Data Innovations, Inc., 700 F.3d 1361, 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2012). The final rule, by specifically incorporating the requirements of 37 CFR 11.18, provides greater detail on the Office's expectations for counsel and parties participating in post grant proceedings and also provides a procedure for sanctions motions that does not appear in the current rule.

    Comment 2: Several comments expressed concern that the proposed rule will lead to an increase in investigations by the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED). One comment suggested that OED investigations could become “a matter of course” in AIA trial proceedings.

    Response: The Office appreciates the concern raised by the comment. Based on experience, however, the Office does not expect this situation to occur. Requests for sanctions have so far been infrequent in AIA trial proceedings. Moreover, as specifically provided in the final rule, a sanctions motion cannot be filed without Board authorization. Also, the final rule provides a procedure that allows a party to cure an alleged violation before authorization to file a sanctions motion can be requested.

    Comment 3: Several commenters observed that the proposed rule omits a provision that would allow the ability to plead or aver based on contentions or denials being likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery. A similar comment was directed to denials of factual contentions. These comments noted that such provisions are present in Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

    Response: These comments are adopted. The suggested provisions have been added to the final rule by incorporating the provisions of 37 CFR 11.18(b)(2). This change, however, should not be construed as an exception to the requirement that the petition include a full statement of the reasons for the relief requested, including a detailed explanation of the significance of the evidence including material facts, and the governing law, rules, and precedent. 37 CFR 42.22.

    Comment 4: Several comments suggested that requiring a party to serve written notice to the other party before moving for sanctions may not provide sufficient information to correct the allegedly sanctionable conduct.

    Response: The comments are adopted. The final rule requires service of a proposed motion on the other party before seeking authorization to file a motion for sanctions. This change does not dispense with the 21-day period to correct or withdraw the challenged paper or claim, or the necessity for authorization by the Board before a sanctions motion is filed.

    Comment 5: One comment expressed concern that the proposed rule is ambiguous and saw a conflict between the proposed rule and 37 CFR 42.12.

    Response: The Office does not see any conflict between the proposed rule, which concerns the duty of candor and motions for sanctions, and 37 CFR 42.12. In fact, the proposed rule specifically refers to section 42.12 and requires sanctions to be consistent with that rule.

    Comment 6: Some comments suggested that the final section of the proposed rule, providing exceptions for disclosures, discovery requests, responses, and objections, is inconsistent with other provisions and should be eliminated.

    Response: These comments are adopted. In the final rule, paragraph (e) of the proposed rule is eliminated.

    Comment 7: One comment suggested that the requirements of paragraphs (c)(2), (3), and (4) of the proposed rule be eliminated as unreasonably strict.

    Response: The comment is not adopted. Similar provisions are present in 37 CFR 11.18(b)(2). The Office believes these provisions provide needed guidance as to what representations are covered by the duty of candor. The final rule, therefore, specifically incorporates Rule 11.18(b)(2).

    Comment 8: One comment suggested that the sanctions provisions should not apply to law firms.

    Response: The comment is adopted. The sanctions provision is modified in the final rule to eliminate sanctions on law firms. The Office believes that sanctions directed to practitioners and parties are sufficient deterrents.

    Comment 9: One comment suggested that § 42.11(d)(4) of the proposed rule be revised to limit the requirement for consistency with 37 CFR 42.12 to sanctions on a party.

    Response: The comment is not adopted. The Office does not see a basis for a distinguishing between parties, practitioners, and others who might be subject to sanctions.

    Comment 10: One comment suggested that the Office may not be authorized by statute to sanction pre-institution actions. The same comment suggested that the Office may not be authorized to issue sanctions for behavior other than improper use of the proceeding and suggests eliminating paragraphs (c)(2), (3), and (4) from the final rule for this reason.

    Response: The comments are not adopted. The proposed rule is consistent with the statute, including provisions which give the Director authority to prescribe regulations “governing” inter partes reviews and specifically require the Director to prescribe regulations “prescribing sanctions for abuse of discovery, abuse of process, or any other improper use of the proceeding, such as to harass and cause delay or an unnecessary increase in the cost of a proceeding.” 35 U.S.C. 316(a)(4), 316(a)(6). Similar provisions apply to post grant and covered business method patent reviews. 35 U.S.C. 326(a)(4), 326(a)(6). Other pertinent statutory provisions include 35 U.S.C. 316(b) and 326(b) (Director shall consider “integrity of the patent system” in prescribing regulations.).

    Improper use of the proceeding covers a broad range of prohibited activities including those in paragraphs (c)(2), (3), and (4) of the proposed rule. See 37 CFR 42.12. The Office, therefore, does not agree that the statute limits the Office's power to impose sanctions as set forth in the comment.

    Comment 11: One comment raised due process concerns arising from the risk of inconsistent enforcement by different panels. The comment suggested that the final rule require the Board to consider the sanctions that likely would be provided by federal courts for comparable conduct.

    Response: The comment is not adopted. The Office believes that the proposed rule and Rule 42.12 (37 CFR 42.12) provide adequate guidance to the Board on sanctions, thereby minimizing risk of inconsistent enforcement by different panels.

    Comment 12: One comment suggested adding the following at the end of § 42.11(d)(3) of the proposed rule: “and why a specific sanction by the Board should not be imposed.”

    Response: The comment is adopted. The final rule includes this addition. However, the Office does not view this addition as restricting the Board's discretion to determine what sanctions might be appropriate after considering the motion.

    Comment 13: One comment suggested removing the references to “claims” and “defenses” in the proposed rule because they are unclear.

    Response: The comment is adopted. The final rule incorporates 37 CFR 11.18(b)(2), which omits the reference to “claims” and “defenses.”

    Comment 14: One comment suggested that the Office provide, in the final rule, a specific example of improper purpose in filing a petition.

    Response: The comment is not adopted. Because whether particular circumstances warrant sanctions is a highly fact dependent question, the Office will follow a case-by-case approach. The Office will provide further guidance through its written decisions addressing particular factual scenarios.

    Comment 15: One comment suggested adding a “meet and confer” requirement before filing a motion for sanctions.

    Response: The comment is not adopted. A specific meet and confer requirement is not necessary, as the Office expects that before a motion for sanctions is filed, the party whose actions are being challenged has received a proposed motion and had 21 days to take corrective action. Before authorizing a motion for sanctions, the Board will ascertain that these procedures, necessitating communications between the parties, have been followed.

    General Topics

    In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Office proposed using a word count for the petition, patent owner preliminary response, patent owner response, and petitioner's reply brief. For all other briefing, the Office will maintain a page limit. The Office noted that this change will allow the Office to gain administrative efficiencies. For example, with the use of word counts for the main briefings for AIA proceedings, petitions will no longer be reviewed to determine if any claim charts contain argument, thereby streamlining administrative review of petitions and reducing the number of non-compliant petitions that require correction. In addition to the comments concerning word count for major briefing, the Office received comments on other general topics that will be addressed below.

    Comment 1: The majority of commenters favor the change to a word count for major briefing, which they agree would be more efficient and promote better advocacy. Some commenters requested that administrative items, such as mandatory notices, be excluded from the word count. Another commenter requested that the parties be able to include a one-page sheet providing definitions of technical terms that would not be included in the word count.

    Response: The Office agrees in part with the comments and will exclude grounds for standing under 37 CFR 42.104, 42.204, or 42.304, and mandatory notices under 37 CFR 42.8 from the word count for major briefing. The Office does not believe that excluding a definition section from the word count is necessary.

    Comment 2: Several commenters advocated improvements to the Board's Web site and docketing case system. Suggestions included improving PRPS to be able to search by patent owner, to be able to store more than ten documents without degrading responsiveness, to accurately post the status of cases, and to improve the reliability of PRPS in general.

    Response: The Office has considered the commenters' suggestions and is working with vendors to develop a new electronic filing system with additional functionality such as searching in the case docketing system.

    Comment 3: One commenter sought clarification on a party's ability to confer with a witness during the deposition, especially between cross-examination and re-direct, which the commenter asserted encourages rehearsal of testimony for re-direct.

    Response: The Office appreciates the comment concerning when a party may confer with its witness during a deposition, but believes that the guidance in the Office Patent Trial Practice Guide strikes the correct balance concerning when a party may confer with its witness.

    Comment 4: One commenter suggested that notice and comment is required for this rulemaking under the APA, and encouraged the Office to continue to subject future rule changes to the notice and comment process.

    Response: The Office appreciates this comment, but disagrees that notice and comment is required for this rulemaking under the APA. This rule makes changes to the procedural requirements governing practice before the Office. Under current case law, such actions are not considered to be substantive rulemakings, and are exempt from the APA's notice and comment requirements. See Cooper Techs. Co. v. Dudas, 536 F.3d 1330, 1336-37 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (stating that 5 U.S.C. 553, and thus 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)(B), do not require notice and comment rulemaking for “interpretative rules, general statements of policy, or rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice”). Nevertheless, the Office values public input in its rulemaking actions, and notes that it did provide prior notice and a comment period for this rulemaking, as well as other public outreach in connection with these rule revisions. The Office continues to value public outreach and input from the public in its rulemaking efforts.

    Recognizing Privilege for Communications With Domestic Patent Agents and Foreign Patent Practitioners

    In 2015, the Office launched an outreach initiative to explore various issues associated with confidential communications with patent agents or foreign patent practitioners. The Office published a notice convening a roundtable in February 2015 and requesting public comments. See Domestic and International Issues Related to Privileged Communications Between Patent Practitioners and Their Clients, 80 FR 3953 (Jan. 26, 2015). Nineteen parties submitted written comments in response to the Federal Register notice, which are available on the USPTO Web site at: http://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/ip-policy/roundtable-domestic-and-international-issues-related-privileged. Some of these comments raised the issue of unclear or inconsistent privilege rules for agents and foreign practitioners during discovery in PTAB proceedings.

    Consistent with that earlier outreach initiative, the Office sought comments in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the subject of attorney-client privilege or other limitations on discovery in PTAB proceedings, including on whether rules regarding privilege should be issued in connection with PTAB proceedings. The Office noted that such rules could, for example, explicitly recognize privilege for communications between patent applicants or owners and their domestic patent agents or foreign patent practitioners, under the same circumstances as such privilege is recognized for communications between applicants or owners and U.S. attorneys. See In re Queens University at Kingston, No 2015-145, slip op. at 26-27 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 7, 2015) (recognizing a patent-agent privilege extending to communications with non-attorney patent agents when those agents are acting within the agent's authorized practice of law before the Patent Office). The Office invited the public to provide any comments on language, scope, or other considerations for creating such a privilege, including possible amendments to any of 37 CFR 42.51, 42.52, 42.55, 42.62, or 42.64 to accomplish this purpose.

    The Office appreciates the thoughtful comments that it received in response and will address these comments in a separate notice, if any further action is taken.

    Discussion of Specific Rules Subpart A—Trial Practice and Procedure Claim Construction Standard

    The Office amends 37 CFR 42.100(b), 42.200(b), and 42.300(b) as follows:

    • Amend 37 CFR 42.100(b) to add the phrase “that will not expire before a final written decision is issued” after “an unexpired patent” and add that a party may request a district court-type claim construction approach be applied if a party certifies that the involved patent will expire within 18 months from the entry of the Notice of Filing Date Accorded to Petition. The request must be accompanied by a party's certification, and be made in the form of a motion under § 42.20, within 30 days from the filing of the petition.

    • Amend 37 CFR 42.200(b) to add the phrase “that will not expire before a final written decision is issued” after “an unexpired patent” and add that a party may request a district court-type claim construction approach be applied if a party certifies that the involved patent will expire within 18 months from the entry of the Notice of Filing Date Accorded to Petition. The request must be accompanied by a party's certification, and be made in the form of a motion under § 42.20, within 30 days from the filing of the petition.

    • Amend 37 CFR 42.300(b) to add the phrase “that will not expire before a final written decision is issued” after “an unexpired patent” and add that a party may request a district court-type claim construction approach be applied if a party certifies that the involved patent will expire within 18 months from the entry of Notice of Filing Date Accorded to Petition. The request must be accompanied by a party's certification, and be made in the form of a motion under § 42.20, within 30 days from the filing of the petition.

    Patent Owner Preliminary Response

    The Office amends 37 CFR 42.23(b) by:

    • Substituting “opposition, patent owner preliminary response, or patent owner response” for “opposition or patent owner response.”

    The Office amends 37 CFR 42.107(a) to indicate that a preliminary response filed by the patent owner is subject to the word count under § 42.24, rather than a page limit.

    The Office amends 37 CFR 42.107 to delete paragraph (c).

    The Office revises 37 CFR 42.108(c) to indicate that the Board's decision will take into account a patent owner preliminary response where such a response is filed, including any testimonial evidence, but a genuine issue of material fact created by such testimonial evidence will be viewed in the light most favorable to the petitioner solely for purposes of deciding whether to institute an inter partes review. A petitioner may seek leave to file a reply to the preliminary response, but any such request must make a showing of good cause.

    The Office revises 37 CFR 42.207(a) to indicate that a preliminary response filed by the patent owner is subject to the word count under § 42.24, rather than a page limit.

    The Office amends 37 CFR 42.207 to delete paragraph (c).

    The Office revises 37 CFR 42.208(c) to indicate that during post-grant reviews, the Board's decision will take into account a patent owner preliminary response where such a response is filed, including any testimonial evidence, but a genuine issue of material fact created by such testimonial evidence will be viewed in the light most favorable to the petitioner solely for purposes of deciding whether to institute a post-grant review. A petitioner may file a reply to the preliminary response, but any such response must make a showing of good cause.

    Oral Hearing

    The Office amends 37 CFR 42.70(b) to require at least seven, not just five, days before oral argument for exchange of exhibits.

    Word Count

    The Office amends 37 CFR 42.24 to implement a word count limitation for petitions, patent owner preliminary responses, patent owner responses, and petitioner's replies, by:

    • Adding “Type-volume or” to the title;

    • adding “word counts or” before “page limits”; adding “word count or” before “page limit”; adding “grounds for standing under §§ 42.104, 42.204, or 42.304, mandatory notices under § 42.8,” after “a table of authorities,” and adding “or word count” after “a certificate of service” in paragraph (a)(1);

    • substituting “14,000 words” for “60 pages” in (a)(1)(i) and (a)(1)(iv);

    • substituting “18,700 words” for “80 pages” in (a)(1)(ii) and (a)(1)(iii);

    • substituting “word counts” for the first three instances of “page limits” and “word count” for the two instances of “page limit” in paragraph (a)(2), and adding “word counts or” before “page limits” in the last sentence;

    • adding “word counts or” before the “page limits” in paragraph (b);

    • substituting “word counts” for the two instances of “page limits” in paragraph (b)(1);

    • substituting “word counts” for the two instances of “page limits” in paragraph (b)(2);

    • adding “word counts or” before the two instances of “page limits” and adding “or word count” after “a certificate of service” in paragraph (c);

    • substituting “5,600 words” for “25 pages” in paragraph (c)(1);

    • adding a new paragraph that implements a requirement for a certification, stating the number of words, for any paper whose length is specified by type-volume limits.

    Rule 11-Type Certification

    The Office amends 37 CFR 42.11 to add “signing papers; representations to the Board; sanctions” to the title of the section, to designate existing text as paragraph (a) and to add a subheading to that paragraph, and to add new paragraphs that implement a signature requirement, as set forth in Rule 11.18(a), for every petition, response, written motion, and other paper filed in a proceeding; provide the representations that an attorney, registered practitioner, or unrepresented party makes when presenting to the Board a petition, response, written motion, or other paper; and set forth the process and conditions under which the Board will impose sanctions if the Board determines that § 41.11(c) has been violated.

    Rulemaking Considerations A. Administrative Procedure Act (APA)

    This final rule revises the consolidated set of rules relating to Office trial practice for inter partes review, post-grant review, the transitional program for covered business method patents, and derivation proceedings. The changes being adopted in this notice do not change the substantive criteria of patentability. These changes involve rules of agency practice. See, e.g ., 35 U.S.C. 316(a)(5), as amended. These rules are procedural and/or interpretive rules. See Bachow Commc'ns Inc. v. F.C.C., 237 F.3d 683, 690 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (rules governing an application process are procedural under the Administrative Procedure Act); Inova Alexandria Hosp. v. Shalala, 244 F.3d 342, 350 (4th Cir. 2001) (rules for handling appeals were procedural where they did not change the substantive requirements for reviewing claims); Nat'l Org. of Veterans' Advocates v. Sec'y of Veterans Affairs, 260 F.3d 1365, 1375 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (rule that clarifies interpretation of a statute is interpretive); JEM Broad. Co. v. F.C.C., 22 F.3d 320, 328 (D.C. Cir. 1994) (rules are not legislative because they do not “foreclose effective opportunity to make one's case on the merits”).

    Accordingly, prior notice and opportunity for public comment are not required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b) or (c) (or any other law), and thirty-day advance publication is not required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d) (or any other law). See Cooper Techs. Co. v. Dudas, 536 F.3d 1330, 1336-37 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (stating that 5 U.S.C. 553, and thus 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)(B), do not require notice and comment rulemaking for “interpretative rules, general statements of policy, or rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice”) (quoting 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(A)); U.S. v. Gould, 568 F.3d 459, 476 (4th Cir. 2009) (“The APA also requires publication of any substantive rule at least 30 days before its effective date, 5 U.S.C. 553(d), except where the rule is interpretive * * *.”).

    B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    For the reasons set forth herein, the Deputy General Counsel for General Law of the United States Patent and Trademark Office has certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that changes adopted in this notice will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. See 5 U.S.C. 605(b).

    The changes adopted in this document are to revise certain trial practice procedures before the Board. Any requirements resulting from these changes are of minimal or no additional burden to those practicing before the Board. Specifically, changes pertaining to representations made to the Office would not present any additional burden as the duty of candor and good faith are already requirements under existing Board trial practice (37 CFR 42.11), USPTO rules of professional conduct, and, for those who are attorneys, applicable State bars. Second, changes imposed by converting certain page limits to word counts for petitions and motions are not expected to result in any material change to filings, other than the addition of a certification that the filing is compliant. Finally, the changes pertaining to the inclusion of supporting evidence in a patent owner preliminary response to petition are not required to be filed, but merely available to parties should they choose. Moreover, the Office anticipates that the vast majority of those that will provide such supporting evidence during the petition review stage would have provided such information later anyway, if and when, a trial were instituted.

    For the foregoing reasons, the changes in this notice will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    C. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review)

    This rulemaking has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866 (Sept. 30, 1993).

    D. Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review)

    The Office has complied with Executive Order 13563. Specifically, the Office has, to the extent feasible and applicable: (1) Made a reasoned determination that the benefits justify the costs of the rule; (2) tailored the rule to impose the least burden on society consistent with obtaining the regulatory objectives; (3) selected a regulatory approach that maximizes net benefits; (4) specified performance objectives; (5) identified and assessed available alternatives; (6) involved the public in an open exchange of information and perspectives among experts in relevant disciplines, affected stakeholders in the private sector and the public as a whole, and provided on-line access to the rulemaking docket; (7) attempted to promote coordination, simplification, and harmonization across government agencies and identified goals designed to promote innovation; (8) considered approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public; and (9) ensured the objectivity of scientific and technological information and processes.

    E. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    This rulemaking does not contain policies with federalism implications sufficient to warrant preparation of a Federalism Assessment under Executive Order 13132 (Aug. 4, 1999).

    F. Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation)

    This rulemaking will not: (1) Have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes; (2) impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments; or (3) preempt tribal law. Therefore, a tribal summary impact statement is not required under Executive Order 13175 (Nov. 6, 2000).

    G. Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)

    This rulemaking is not a significant energy action under Executive Order 13211 because this rulemaking is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. Therefore, a Statement of Energy Effects is not required under Executive Order 13211 (May 18, 2001).

    H. Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This rulemaking meets applicable standards to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden as set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 (Feb. 5, 1996).

    I. Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children)

    This rulemaking does not concern an environmental risk to health or safety that may disproportionately affect children under Executive Order 13045 (Apr. 21, 1997).

    J. Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)

    This rulemaking will not affect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630 (Mar. 15, 1988).

    K. Congressional Review Act

    Under the Congressional Review Act provisions of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), prior to issuing any final rule, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will submit a report containing the rule and other required information to the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office. The changes in this final rule are not expected to result in an annual effect on the economy of 100 million dollars or more, a major increase in costs or prices, or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets. Therefore, this final rule is not a “major rule” as defined in 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

    L. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The changes set forth in this rulemaking do not involve a Federal intergovernmental mandate that will result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, of 100 million dollars (as adjusted) or more in any one year, or a Federal private sector mandate that will result in the expenditure by the private sector of 100 million dollars (as adjusted) or more in any one year, and will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions are necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. See 2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.

    M. National Environmental Policy Act

    This rulemaking will not have any effect on the quality of the environment and is thus categorically excluded from review under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. See 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.

    N. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    The requirements of section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) are not applicable because this rulemaking does not contain provisions which involve the use of technical standards.

    O. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3549) requires that the Office consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. This final rule involves information collection requirements which are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3549). This rulemaking does not add any additional information requirements or fees for parties before the Board. Therefore, the Office is not resubmitting information collection packages to OMB for its review and approval because the revisions in this rulemaking do not materially change the information collections approved under OMB control number 0651-0069.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to, a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    List of Subjects in 37 CFR Part 42

    Administrative practice and procedure, Inventions and patents.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Office amends 37 CFR part 42 as follows:

    PART 42—TRIAL PRACTICE BEFORE THE PATENT TRIAL AND APPEAL BOARD 1. The authority citation for 37 CFR part 42 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2), 6, 21, 23, 41, 135, 311, 312, 316, 321-326; Pub. L. 112-29, 125 Stat. 284; and Pub. L. 112-274, 126 Stat. 2456.

    Subpart A—Trial Practice and Procedure 2. Section 42.11 is revised to read as follows:
    § 42.11 Duty of candor; signing papers; representations to the Board; sanctions.

    (a) Duty of candor. Parties and individuals involved in the proceeding have a duty of candor and good faith to the Office during the course of a proceeding.

    (b) Signature. Every petition, response, written motion, and other paper filed in a proceeding must comply with the signature requirements set forth in § 11.18(a) of this chapter. The Board may expunge any unsigned submission unless the omission is promptly corrected after being called to the counsel's or party's attention.

    (c) Representations to the Board. By presenting to the Board a petition, response, written motion, or other paper—whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it—an attorney, registered practitioner, or unrepresented party attests to compliance with the certification requirements under § 11.18(b)(2) of this chapter.

    (d) Sanctions—(1) In general. If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the Board determines that paragraph (c) of this section has been violated, the Board may impose an appropriate sanction on any attorney, registered practitioner, or party that violated the rule or is responsible for the violation.

    (2) Motion for sanctions. A motion for sanctions must be made separately from any other motion and must describe the specific conduct that allegedly violates paragraph (c) of this section. The motion must be authorized by the Board under § 42.20 prior to filing the motion. At least 21 days prior to seeking authorization to file a motion for sanctions, the moving party must serve the other party with the proposed motion. A motion for sanctions must not be filed or be presented to the Board if the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, or denial is withdrawn or appropriately corrected within 21 days after service of such motion or within another time the Board sets. If warranted, the Board may award to the prevailing party the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred for the motion.

    (3) On the Board's initiative. On its own, the Board may order an attorney, registered practitioner, or party to show cause why conduct specifically described in the order has not violated paragraph (c) of this section and why a specific sanction authorized by the Board should not be imposed.

    (4) Nature of a sanction. A sanction imposed under this rule must be limited to what suffices to deter repetition of the conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated and should be consistent with § 42.12.

    (5) Requirements for an order. An order imposing a sanction must describe the sanctioned conduct and explain the basis for the sanction.

    3. Section 42.23 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 42.23 Oppositions and replies.

    (b) All arguments for the relief requested in a motion must be made in the motion. A reply may only respond to arguments raised in the corresponding opposition, patent owner preliminary response, or patent owner response.

    4. Section 42.24 is revised to read as follows:
    § 42.24 Type-volume or page-limits for petitions, motions, oppositions, and replies.

    (a) Petitions and motions. (1) The following word counts or page limits for petitions and motions apply and include any statement of material facts to be admitted or denied in support of the petition or motion. The word count or page limit does not include a table of contents, a table of authorities, grounds for standing under § 42.104, § 42.204, or § 42.304, mandatory notices under § 42.8, a certificate of service or word count, or appendix of exhibits or claim listing.

    (i) Petition requesting inter partes review: 14,000 words.

    (ii) Petition requesting post-grant review: 18,700 words.

    (iii) Petition requesting covered business method patent review: 18,700 words.

    (iv) Petition requesting derivation proceeding: 14,000 words.

    (v) Motions (excluding motions to amend): 15 pages.

    (vi) Motions to Amend: 25 pages.

    (2) Petitions to institute a trial must comply with the stated word counts but may be accompanied by a motion to waive the word counts. The petitioner must show in the motion how a waiver of the word counts is in the interests of justice and must append a copy of proposed petition exceeding the word count to the motion. If the motion is not granted, the proposed petition exceeding the word count may be expunged or returned. Any other motion to waive word counts or page limits must be granted in advance of filing a motion, opposition, or reply for which the waiver is necessary.

    (b) Patent owner responses and oppositions. The word counts or page limits set forth in this paragraph (b) do not include a listing of facts which are admitted, denied, or cannot be admitted or denied.

    (1) The word counts for a patent owner preliminary response to petition are the same as the word counts for the petition.

    (2) The word counts for a patent owner response to petition are the same as the word counts for the petition.

    (3) The page limits for oppositions are the same as those for corresponding motions.

    (c) Replies. The following word counts or page limits for replies apply and include any statement of facts in support of the reply. The word counts or page limits do not include a table of contents, a table of authorities, a listing of facts which are admitted, denied, or cannot be admitted or denied, a certificate of service or word count, or appendix of exhibits.

    (1) Replies to patent owner responses to petitions: 5,600 words.

    (2) Replies to oppositions (excluding replies to oppositions to motions to amend): 5 pages.

    (3) Replies to oppositions to motions to amend: 12 pages.

    (d) Certification. Any paper whose length is specified by type-volume limits must include a certification stating the number of words in the paper. A party may rely on the word count of the word-processing system used to prepare the paper.

    5. Section 42.70 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 42.70 Oral argument.

    (b) Demonstrative exhibits must be served at least seven business days before the oral argument and filed no later than the time of the oral argument.

    Subpart B—Inter Partes Review 6. Section 42.100 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 42.100 Procedure; pendency.

    (b) A claim in an unexpired patent that will not expire before a final written decision is issued shall be given its broadest reasonable construction in light of the specification of the patent in which it appears. A party may request a district court-type claim construction approach to be applied if a party certifies that the involved patent will expire within 18 months from the entry of the Notice of Filing Date Accorded to Petition. The request, accompanied by a party's certification, must be made in the form of a motion under § 42.20, within 30 days from the filing of the petition.

    7. Section 42.107 is amended by revising paragraph (a) and removing and reserving paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 42.107 Preliminary response to petition.

    (a) The patent owner may file a preliminary response to the petition. The response is limited to setting forth the reasons why no inter partes review should be instituted under 35 U.S.C. 314 and can include supporting evidence. The preliminary response is subject to the word count under § 42.24.

    (c) [Reserved]

    8. Section 42.108 is amended by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 42.108 Institution of inter partes review.

    (c) Sufficient grounds. Inter partes review shall not be instituted for a ground of unpatentability unless the Board decides that the petition supporting the ground would demonstrate that there is a reasonable likelihood that at least one of the claims challenged in the petition is unpatentable. The Board's decision will take into account a patent owner preliminary response where such a response is filed, including any testimonial evidence, but a genuine issue of material fact created by such testimonial evidence will be viewed in the light most favorable to the petitioner solely for purposes of deciding whether to institute an inter partes review. A petitioner may seek leave to file a reply to the preliminary response in accordance with §§ 42.23 and 42.24(c). Any such request must make a showing of good cause.

    Subpart C—Post-Grant Review 9. Section 42.200 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 42.200 Procedure; pendency.

    (b) A claim in an unexpired patent that will not expire before a final written decision is issued shall be given its broadest reasonable construction in light of the specification of the patent in which it appears. A party may request a district court-type claim construction approach to be applied if a party certifies that the involved patent will expire within 18 months from the entry of the Notice of Filing Date Accorded to Petition. The request, accompanied by a party's certification, must be made in the form of a motion under § 42.20, within 30 days from the filing of the petition.

    10. Section 42.207 is amended by revising paragraph (a) and removing and reserving paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 42.207 Preliminary response to petition.

    (a) The patent owner may file a preliminary response to the petition. The response is limited to setting forth the reasons why no post-grant review should be instituted under 35 U.S.C. 324 and can include supporting evidence. The preliminary response is subject to the word count under § 42.24.

    (c) [Reserved]

    11. Section 42.208 is amended by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 42.208 Institution of post-grant review.

    (c) Sufficient grounds. Post-grant review shall not be instituted for a ground of unpatentability unless the Board decides that the petition supporting the ground would, if unrebutted, demonstrate that it is more likely than not that at least one of the claims challenged in the petition is unpatentable. The Board's decision will take into account a patent owner preliminary response where such a response is filed, including any testimonial evidence, but a genuine issue of material fact created by such testimonial evidence will be viewed in the light most favorable to the petitioner solely for purposes of deciding whether to institute a post-grant review. A petitioner may seek leave to file a reply to the preliminary response in accordance with §§ 42.23 and 42.24(c). Any such request must make a showing of good cause.

    Subpart D—Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents 12. Section 42.300 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 42.300 Procedure; pendency.

    (b) A claim in an unexpired patent that will not expire before a final written decision is issued shall be given its broadest reasonable construction in light of the specification of the patent in which it appears. A party may a request a district court-type claim construction approach to be applied if a party certifies that the involved patent will expire within 18 months from the entry of the Notice of Filing Date Accorded to Petition. The request, accompanied by a party's certification, must be made in the form of a motion under § 42.20, within 30 days from the filing of the petition.

    Dated: March 28, 2016. Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07381 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-16-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0547; FRL-9939-89-Region 9] Partial Approval and Partial Disapproval of Air Quality State Implementation Plans; California; Infrastructure Requirements for Ozone, Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5), Lead (Pb), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), and Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is partially approving and partially disapproving several State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions submitted by the State of California pursuant to the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act) for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone, fine particulate patter (PM2.5), lead (Pb), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). We refer to such SIP revisions as “infrastructure” SIPs because they are intended to address basic structural SIP requirements for new or revised NAAQS including, but not limited to, legal authority, regulatory structure, resources, permit programs, and monitoring necessary to assure attainment and maintenance of the standards. In addition, we are reclassifying certain regions of the state for emergency episode planning purposes with respect to ozone, NO2, SO2, and particulate matter (PM). Finally, we are approving into the California SIP several state provisions addressing CAA conflict of interest requirements and an emergency episode planning rule for Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District for PM.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective on May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    EPA has established a docket for this action, identified by Docket ID Number EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0547. The index to the docket for this action is available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA Region IX, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, California. While all documents in the docket are listed in the index, some information may be publicly available only at the hard copy location (e.g., copyrighted material), and some may not be publicly available in either location (e.g., confidential business information (CBI)). To inspect the hard copy materials, please schedule an appointment during normal business hours with the contact listed directly below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rory Mays, Air Planning Office (AIR-2), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX, (415) 972-3227, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document, the terms “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to EPA.

    Table of Contents I. Background A. Statutory Requirements B. NAAQS Addressed by This Final Rule C. California's Submittals II. EPA's Response to Comments III. Final Action A. Approvals and Partial Approvals B. Partial Disapprovals C. Consequences of Disapprovals IV. Incorporation by Reference V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background

    EPA proposed action on several California infrastructure SIP submittals on October 23, 2014 (proposed rule).1 Today's rule finalizes that proposal in its entirety with minor changes due to comments, rulemakings, and other information that has come to light over the past year. We briefly summarize the infrastructure SIP statutory requirements and the eight NAAQS and five California SIP submittals to which this final rule applies. Section II of this final rule presents our response to public comments and Section III describes our final action, including full approvals, partial approvals, partial disapprovals, and consequences of each partial disapproval.

    1 79 FR 63350, October 23, 2014.

    The rationale supporting EPA's action is explained in our October 23, 2014 proposed rule and the five associated technical support documents (TSDs) 2 and will not be restated here. The proposed rule and TSDs are available in the docket for today's rulemaking and online at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID number EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0547.

    2 The five TSDs are as follows: 1) “California Infrastructure SIP Overarching Technical Support Document,” September 2014 (“Overarching TSD”); 2) “California Infrastructure SIP Permit Programs Technical Support Document,” September 2014 (“Permit Programs TSD”); 3) “California Infrastructure SIP Interstate Transport Technical Support Document,” September 2014 (“Interstate Transport TSD”); 4) “California Infrastructure SIP Conflict of Interest Technical Support Document,” September 2014 (“Conflict of Interest TSD”); and 5) “California Infrastructure SIP Emergency Episode Planning Technical Support Document,” September 2014 (“Emergency Episode Planning TSD”).

    A. Statutory Requirements

    Section 110(a)(1) of the CAA requires each state to submit to EPA, within three years after the promulgation of a primary or secondary NAAQS or any revision thereof, an infrastructure SIP revision that provides for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of such NAAQS. Section 110(a)(2) of the CAA sets the content requirements of such a plan, which generally relate to the information and authorities, compliance assurances, procedural requirements, and control measures that constitute the “infrastructure” of a state's air quality management program. Two elements identified in section 110(a)(2) are not governed by the three-year submittal deadline of section 110(a)(1) and are therefore not addressed in this action. These two elements are: (i) Section 110(a)(2)(C) to the extent it refers to permit programs required under part D (nonattainment new source review (NSR)), and (ii) section 110(a)(2)(I), pertaining to the nonattainment planning requirements of part D. As a result, this action does not address infrastructure for the nonattainment NSR portion of section 110(a)(2)(C) or the whole of section 110(a)(2)(I).

    B. NAAQS Addressed by This Final Rule

    Between 1997 and 2012, EPA promulgated a series of new or revised NAAQS for ozone, PM2.5, Pb, NO2, and SO2, each of which triggered the requirement for states to submit infrastructure SIPs. The NAAQS addressed by this infrastructure SIP final rule include the following:

    • 1997 ozone NAAQS, which established 8-hour average primary and secondary ozone standards of 0.08 ppm, and revoked the 1979 1-hour ozone standard of 0.12 parts per million (ppm).3

    3 62 FR 38856, July 18, 1997.

    • 2008 ozone NAAQS, which revised the 8-hour ozone standards to 0.075 ppm.4

    4 73 FR 16436, March 27, 2008.

    • 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS, which set 24-hour average primary and secondary PM2.5 standards of 65 µg/m3 and annual primary and secondary PM2.5 standards of 15 µg/m3.5

    5 62 FR 38652, July 18, 1997.

    • 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS, which revised the 1997 24-hour PM2.5 standards to 35 µg/m3, and retained the 1997 annual standards.6

    6 71 FR 61144, October 17, 2006.

    • 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS, which revised the 1997 and 2006 annual PM2.5 standards to 12.0 µg/m3, and retained the 2006 24-hour standards.7

    7 78 FR 3086, January 15, 2013.

    • 2008 Pb NAAQS, which revised the 1978 Pb quarterly average standard of 1.5 µg/m3 to a rolling 3-month average not to exceed 0.15 μg/m3, and revised the secondary standard to 0.15 μg/m3, making it identical to the revised primary standard.8

    8 73 FR 66964, November 12, 2008.

    • 2010 NO2 NAAQS, which revised the primary 1971 NO2 annual standard of 53 parts per billion (ppb) by supplementing it with a new 1-hour average NO2 standard of 100 ppb, and retained the secondary annual standard of 53 ppb.9

    9 75 FR 6474, February 9, 2010. The annual NO2 standard of 0.053 ppm is listed in ppb for ease of comparison with the new 1-hour standard.

    • 2010 SO2 NAAQS, which established a new 1-hour average SO2 standard of 75 ppb, retained the secondary 3-hour average SO2 standard of 500 ppb, and established a mechanism for revoking the primary 1971 annual and 24-hour SO2 standards.10

    10 75 FR 35520, June 22, 2010. The 3-hour SO2 standard of 0.5 ppm is listed in ppb for ease of comparison with the new 1-hour standard.

    C. California's Submittals

    The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has submitted several infrastructure SIP revisions pursuant to EPA's promulgation of the NAAQS addressed by this final rule, including the following:

    • November 16, 2007—“Proposed State Strategy for California's 2007 State Implementation Plan.” Appendices B (“110(a)(2) Infrastructure SIP”) and G (“Legal Authority and Other Requirements”) contain California's infrastructure SIP revision for the 1997 ozone and 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. (“California's 2007 Submittal”).11 This submittal incorporates by reference California's section 110(a)(2) SIP submitted in response to the 1970 CAA and approved by EPA in 1979 in 40 CFR 52.220.

    11 California's November 16, 2007 Submittal is often referred to as California's 2007 State Strategy. EPA previously acted on Appendix C (“Revised Interstate Transport State Implementation Plan”) of California's 2007 State Strategy, as modified by Attachment A of the same submittal, which contained California's SIP revision to address the interstate transport requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) for the 1997 ozone and 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS. 76 FR 34872, June 15, 2011 and 76 FR 43175, July 20, 2011 (transport prongs 1 and 2); 76 FR 48002, August 8, 2011 and 76 FR 48006, August 8, 2011 (transport prong 3); and 76 FR 34608, June 14, 2011 and 76 FR 43149, July 20, 2011 (transport prong 4).

    • October 6, 2011—“State Implementation Plan Revision for Federal Lead Standard Infrastructure Requirements,” which addresses the 2008 Pb NAAQS. (“California's 2011 Submittal”).

    • December 12, 2012—“State Implementation Plan Revision for Federal Nitrogen Dioxide Standard Infrastructure Requirements,” which addressed the 2010 NO2 NAAQS. (“California's 2012 Submittal”).

    • March 6, 2014—“California Infrastructure SIP,” which provided new submittals for the 2008 ozone, 2010 SO2, and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS and supplemented and amended the state's prior infrastructure SIP submittals. (“California's 2014 Submittal”).

    • June 2, 2014—Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (APCD) Rule 701 (“Air Pollution Episode Plan”), which addresses CAA section 110(a)(2)(G) for the 1987 coarse particulate matter (PM10) NAAQS and 1997 PM2.5, 2006 PM2.5, and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. (“Great Basin Rule 701”).

    We find that these submittals meet the procedural requirements for public participation under CAA section 110(a)(2) and 40 CFR 51.102. We are acting on all of these submittals since they collectively address the infrastructure SIP requirements for the NAAQS addressed by this final rule. We refer to them collectively herein as “California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals.” Importantly, however, California has not made a submittal for the interstate transport requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) with respect to the 2006 PM2.5, 2012 PM2.5, 2008 ozone, and 2010 SO2 NAAQS.12 Thus, as noted in our proposed rule, we are not addressing the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) with respect to these four NAAQS in this final rule.

    12 California made an infrastructure SIP submittal for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS on July 7, 2009 that was subsequently withdrawn on July 18, 2014. All infrastructure SIP requirements for that NAAQS are addressed in California's 2014 Submittal with the exception of the interstate transport requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). Therefore, there is no California submittal before EPA with respect to the interstate transport requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. EPA has issued a finding of failure to submit such SIP revisions. 79 FR 63536, October 24, 2014.

    II. EPA's Response to Comments

    The public comment period on EPA's proposed rule opened on October 24, 2014, the date of its publication in the Federal Register, and closed on November 24, 2014. During this period, EPA received four comment letters, each of which is available in the docket to today's final rule.13 Three letters relate to permitting requirements and we address each of those here. The fourth letter is from Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality 14 and supports EPA's approach to the review of infrastructure SIPs.

    13See document numbers EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0547-0144 thru 0147 at http://www.regulations.gov under docket ID number EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0547.

    14 Letter from Todd Parfitt, Director, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, to Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. EPA, November 24, 2014.

    Comment #1:

    Mr. Robert Ukeiley commented on EPA's proposal with respect to the permitting-related infrastructure SIP requirements for the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD).15 Specifically, Mr. Ukeiley requested confirmation that the SIP-approved PSD permit programs for seven air districts (Eastern Kern, Imperial County, Monterey Bay Unified, Placer County, Sacramento Metro, San Joaquin Valley, and Yolo-Solano) include requirements for PM2.5 increments or, for any air district whose SIP-approved PSD program lacks such requirements, that EPA disapprove the PSD-related infrastructure SIP elements. He also asked that EPA disapprove the PSD-related elements of the infrastructure SIP submittals for any air district whose SIP-approved PSD rules contain significant impact levels (SILs) provisions for PM2.5.

    15 Email from Robert Ukeiley to Rory Mays, U.S. EPA Region IX, October 24, 2014.

    Response to Comment #1:

    We have confirmed that the SIP-approved PSD permit rules of the seven air districts named in Mr. Ukeiley's letter include PM2.5 increment requirements that meet the federal requirements. Six of these air districts (Eastern Kern, Imperial County, Placer County, Sacramento Metro, San Joaquin Valley, and Yolo-Solano) incorporate the applicable federal regulations by reference and the date of such incorporation was after the effective date of the PM2.5 increment requirements, thus ensuring their inclusion.16 The remaining air district (Monterey Bay Unified) has a PSD permit rule that also includes the applicable PM2.5 increment requirements.17 Furthermore, EPA has finalized approval of the PSD permit rules for five additional air districts (Butte County, Feather River, Great Basin Unified, San Luis Obispo County, and Santa Barbara County),18 each of which includes the applicable PM2.5 increment requirements. Thus, we are finalizing approval of California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals for the PSD-related elements for these 12 air districts.

    16 The federal requirements for PSD increments for PM2.5 became effective October 20, 2010 and thus air district PSD programs that incorporated the federal regulations by reference after this date include the applicable PSD increment requirements for PM2.5. The adoption and SIP-approval dates of the SIP-approved PSD permit rules for five of these air districts are as follows: Eastern Kern (Rule 210.4, adopted January 12, 2012), Imperial County (Rule 904, adopted December 20, 2011), Placer County (Rule 518, adopted February 10, 2011), and Yolo-Solano (Rule 3.24 adopted June 13, 2012), which were each SIP-approved on December 10, 2012 (77 FR 7331); and Sacramento Metro (Rule 203, adopted January 27, 2011), which was SIP-approved on August 29, 2013 (78 FR 53271). San Joaquin Valley APCD's Rule 2410 (adopted June 16, 2011) was approved into the California SIP on October 26, 2012 (77 FR 65305), and similarly includes the applicable PSD increment requirements for PM2.5. However, San Joaquin Valley is currently designated nonattainment for both the 1997, 2006, and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS. Therefore, the SIP-approved PSD program does not apply to PM2.5 emissions from new or modified major stationary sources.

    17 Monterey Bay Unified APCD Rule 207 (adopted April 20, 2011), which was SIP-approved on March 26, 2015 (80 FR 15899).

    18 80 FR 69880, November 12, 2015.

    With respect to SILs for PM2.5, on January 22, 2013, at EPA's request, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated and remanded portions of EPA's significant impact levels (SILs) requirements for PM2.5.19 Later that year EPA removed the vacated portion of the SILs requirements from 40 CFR 51.166(k)(2) and 40 CFR 52.21(k)(2).20 However, several SIP-approved PSD rules in California still include the vacated PM2.5 SILs provisions.

    19Sierra Club v. EPA, 705 F.3d 458, 463-464 (D.C. Cir. 2013).

    20 78 FR 73698, December 9, 2013.

    Specifically, six of the 12 air districts in California with SIP-approved PSD permit rules include PM2.5 SILs provisions, including Eastern Kern, Feather River, Imperial County, Placer County, Sacramento Metro, and San Joaquin Valley. Given the clarity of the Court's decision and EPA's removal of the vacated portion of the SILs requirements from 40 CFR 51.166(k)(2), it would now be inappropriate for any pending or proposed permits in these districts to rely on the PM2.5 SILs provision in their rules as an absolute “safe harbor” when a substantial portion of the PM2.5 NAAQS or increment is known to be consumed.21 However, as we previously stated following the Court's decision, EPA does not interpret the Court's decision to preclude the use of SILs for PM2.5 entirely.22 Permitting authorities should consult with the EPA before using any of the SIL values in the EPA's regulations for this purpose (including the PM2.5 SIL value in section 51.165(b)(2), which was not vacated by the Court).

    21 Five of the applicable districts (Eastern Kern, Feather River, Imperial County, Placer County, and Sacramento Metro) have provided letters to EPA indicating that they will implement their PSD rules consistent with this approach and EPA's Guidance for PM2.5 Permit Modeling. See Memorandum from Stephen D. Page, Director, OAQPS, “Guidance for PM2.5 Permit Modeling,” May 20, 2014. For four of these districts, these letters are available in the dockets of the rulemakings on the districts' PSD rules: For Eastern Kern, Imperial County, and Placer County, see 77 FR 73316, December 10, 2012; and for Feather River, see 80 FR 69880, November 12, 2015. For Sacramento Metro, a copy of the district's letter dated October 1, 2015 is included in the docket to this final rule. For the San Joaquin Valley, the area is currently designated nonattainment for the 1997, 2006, and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS and, therefore, San Joaquin Valley APCD's SIP-approved PSD permit rule does not apply to PM2.5 emissions from new or modified major stationary sources.

    22 U.S. EPA, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, “Circuit Court Decision on PM2.5 Significant Impact Levels and Significant Monitoring Concentration, Questions and Answers,” March 4, 2013, pp. 3-4.

    EPA has advised the districts with PM2.5 SILs that the Court determined to be invalid to begin preparations to remove those provisions as soon as feasible, which may be in conjunction with the next otherwise planned SIP revision. EPA has informed these districts that new permits issued solely on the basis of these SILs provisions are inconsistent with the Clean Air Act and may be difficult to defend in administrative and judicial challenges as they are without legal effect. However, as the previously approved PM2.5 SILs provisions in the California SIP are no longer enforceable, EPA does not believe the existence of the provisions in the State's implementation plan precludes today's approval of the infrastructure SIP submissions as they relate to the PSD-related elements for these six districts for the 1997 PM2.5, 2006 PM2.5, and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    The PSD permit rules for the remaining six air districts (Butte County, Great Basin Unified, Monterey Bay Unified, San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, and Yolo-Solano) do not include any PM2.5 SILs provision. Accordingly, we are finalizing approval of California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals for the PSD-related elements for all 12 air districts with SIP-approved PSD programs.

    Comment #2:

    Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (AQMD) commented that EPA was incorrect in stating that the district's minor NSR program had not been approved into the California SIP.23 The comment letter states that district Rules 1300, 201, and 219 cover preconstruction review of any equipment that emits air contaminants (and which is not exempt from permitting requirements) and that these rules have been approved into the California SIP. Accordingly, the district requested to be removed from the list of air districts that lack SIP-approved minor NSR programs.

    23 Letter from Karen Nowak, District Counsel, Mojave Desert AQMD, to Rory Mays, U.S. EPA Region IX, November 20, 2014.

    Response to Comment #2:

    EPA agrees that Mojave Desert AQMD indeed has a minor NSR program in the California SIP that is sufficient to approve California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals consistent with the requirement of section 110(a)(2)(C) that the SIP include a program for the regulation of minor sources, though with one clarification.

    In reviewing the minor NSR permit programs of California's 35 air districts, EPA generally relied on permit programs that applied to the whole air district. However, in some cases we found that air districts with two or more counties had county-based minor NSR programs that had been approved into the California SIP and applied to the NAAQS addressed by this rulemaking. For example, for Feather River AQMD we found that minor NSR rules for each of the two counties in the air district, Yuba and Sutter counties, had been approved into the California SIP and covered the NAAQS addressed by our rulemaking.24 On that basis, we proposed to partially approve California's infrastructure SIP Submittals with respect to this minor NSR requirement.

    24 Permit Programs TSD, Appendix D (“California Minor NSR Permit Programs”).

    We inadvertently missed identifying the county-based minor NSR programs that have been approved into the California SIP for the portions of the two counties (San Bernardino and Riverside counties) that are within the jurisdiction of Mojave Desert AQMD. Specifically, EPA previously approved each county's Rule 201,25 which require permits for all equipment that may emit air contaminants, and each county's Rule 102,26 which define the term “air contaminants,” into the California SIP. Rule 1300, which is a district-based, rather than county-based, rule, contains additional requirements for the district's minor NSR program.27 These rules are sufficient to address the requirement of section 110(a)(2)(C) that the SIP include a program for the regulation of minor sources.

    25 43 FR 52237, November 9, 1978.

    26 55 FR 49281, November 27, 1990 for San Bernardino County and 43 FR 59489, December 21, 1978 for Riverside County.

    27 61 FR 58133, November 13, 1996.

    Thus, while Mojave Desert AQMD is correct that the district has sufficient minor NSR permit rules in the California SIP for purposes of CAA section 110(a)(2)(C), it is on the basis of the SIP-approved county-based Rules 102 and 201 that we remove Mojave Desert AQMD from the list of air districts that lack SIP-approved minor NSR programs. Please refer to section III of this final rule where we finalize this minor change from our proposed partial disapproval for Mojave Desert AQMD.28

    28 Additionally, Mojave Desert AQMD's letter led us to reexamine the SIP status of minor source permit rules for the other four air districts that we proposed to partially disapprove for section 110(a)(2)(C). Our evaluation of the minor source programs for these four districts is discussed further in section III of this final rule.

    Comment #3:

    Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) states that its Board of Directors revised four regulations implementing the district's PSD program, for submittal through ARB as revisions to the California SIP, and that those revisions address the deficiencies identified in EPA's proposed rule.29 Therefore, the district requested that EPA approve such PSD submittal and approve, rather than partially disapprove, Northern Sonoma County APCD with respect to the PSD-related infrastructure SIP requirements.

    29 Letter from Barbara Lee, Air Pollution Control Officer, Northern Sonoma County APCD to Deborah Jordan, Director, Air Division, U.S. EPA Region IX, November 24, 2014.

    Response to Comment #3:

    EPA received Northern Sonoma County APCD's PSD program SIP revision on December 11, 2014 and it became complete by operation of law on June 11, 2015. While we have begun our review of that SIP submittal, we have not yet issued any proposed or final rulemaking on the submittal. We anticipate proposing and finalizing action on that SIP submittal over the coming months, per the CAA section 110(k)(2) deadline for EPA to take final action within 12 months of a completeness determination. To the extent that the district's PSD SIP revision resolves the deficiency identified in our proposed rule on California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals (i.e., requirements for a baseline date for PSD increments for PM2.5), we would accordingly update the California SIP with respect to the PSD-related requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2) for Northern Sonoma County APCD.

    III. Final Action

    Under CAA section 110(k)(3), and based on the evaluation and rationale presented in the proposed rule, the related TSDs, and this final rule, EPA is approving in part and disapproving in part California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals for the 1997 ozone, 2008 ozone, 1997 PM2.5, 2006 PM2.5, 2012 PM2.5, 2008 Pb, 2010 NO2, and 2010 SO2 NAAQS. In the following subsections, we list the elements for which we are finalizing approval or disapproval and provide a summary of the basis for those elements that are partially disapproved. We also describe the consequences of our disapprovals.

    A. Approvals and Partial Approvals

    Based upon our evaluation, as presented in our proposed rule and our five TSDs, and additional information discussed below, EPA approves California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals with respect to the 1997 ozone, 2008 ozone, 1997 PM2.5, 2006 PM2.5, 2012 PM2.5, 2008 Pb, 2010 NO2, and 2010 SO2 NAAQS for the following infrastructure SIP requirements. Partial approvals are indicated by the parenthetical “(in part).”

    • Section 110(a)(2)(A): Emission limits and other control measures.

    • Section 110(a)(2)(B) (in part): Ambient air quality monitoring/data system.

    • Section 110(a)(2)(C) (in part): Program for enforcement of control measures and regulation of new and modified stationary sources.

    • Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) (in part): Interstate pollution transport.30

    30 As noted in section I of this final rule, California has not made a submittal for the interstate transport requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) for the 2006 PM2.5, 2012 PM2.5, 2008 ozone, and 2010 SO2 NAAQS. Thus we are not taking any action with respect to the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) with respect to these four NAAQS in this final rule.

    • Section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) (in part): Interstate pollution abatement and international air pollution.

    • Section 110(a)(2)(E): Adequate resources and authority, conflict of interest, and oversight of local and regional government agencies.

    • Section 110(a)(2)(F): Stationary source monitoring and reporting.

    • Section 110(a)(2)(G) (in part): Emergency episodes.

    • Section 110(a)(2)(H): SIP revisions.

    • Section 110(a)(2)(J) (in part): Consultation with government officials, public notification, PSD, and visibility protection.

    • Section 110(a)(2)(K): Air quality modeling and submittal of modeling data.

    • Section 110(a)(2)(L): Permitting fees.

    • Section 110(a)(2)(M): Consultation/participation by affected local entities.

    i. Approval of State and Local Provisions Into the California SIP

    As part of these approvals, we also approve several state statutes and regulations and one air district rule into the California SIP. Specifically, for all of the NAAQS addressed in this proposal, we approve into the SIP five state provisions from the California Government Code statutes and California Code of Regulations, which were submitted in California's 2014 Submittal and address the conflict of interest requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) and 128. These provisions include California Government Code, Title 9, Sections 82048, 87103, and 87302, and California Code of Regulations, Title 2, Sections 18700 and 18701. For discussion of these conflict of interest provisions, please see our Conflict of Interest TSD.

    We also approve Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (APCD) Rule 701 into the California SIP with respect to the 1987 PM10, 1997 PM2.5, 2006 PM2.5, and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS for the emergency episode planning requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(G) and 40 CFR part 51, subpart H. For our evaluation of this emergency episode rule, please refer to our Emergency Episode Planning TSD.

    ii. Approval of Reclassification Requests for Emergency Episode Planning

    California's 2012 and 2014 Submittals requested that EPA reclassify several air quality control regions (AQCRs) with respect to the emergency episode planning requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(G) and 40 CFR part 51, subpart H, as applicable to ozone, NO2, and SO2. In our proposed rule, we stated that the authority to take final action to reclassify AQCRs is reserved by the EPA Administrator. That conclusion was based upon prior examples from 1980 and 1981 where the Administrator reclassified certain AQCRs in Arizona, California, and Nevada 31 and upon our initial review of EPA's Delegations Manual.32 However, we have since reviewed the earlier versions of EPA's regulations that gave rise to the emergency episode regulations in 40 CFR part 51, subpart H,33 and re-reviewed the Delegations Manual. In particular, Delegation 7-10 (“Approval/Disapproval of State Implementation Plans”) was established in 1989 and grants Regional Administrators the authority to “propose or take final action on any State implementation plan under Section 110 of the Clean Air Act.” In the context of EPA acting on emergency episode SIP revisions, whether as part of an infrastructure SIP revision or an independent SIP revision, consistent with CAA section 110(a)(2)(G) (i.e., part of section 110 of the CAA), and our implementing regulations at 40 CFR part 51, subpart H, whose requirements are dependent upon AQCR classification, we find that EPA's Regional Administrators indeed have authority to reclassify AQCRs for purposes of emergency episode planning.

    31See 45 FR 67345, October 10, 1980 for Arizona; 46 FR 3883, January 16, 1981 for California; and 45 FR 7544, February 4, 1980 for Nevada.

    32 EPA's Delegations Manual, Chapter 7 (“Clean Air Act”), available at: http://intranet.epa.gov/ohr/rmpolicy/ads/dm/index7.htm.

    33See the 1983 versions of 40 CFR 51.3 (“Classification of regions”) and 40 CFR 51.16 (“Prevention of air pollution emergency episodes”), which refer to CAA sections 110, 301(a), 313, and 319 as the statutory basis for such regulations. (By contrast, 40 CFR part 51, subpart H does not have statutory citations.) Section 301(a) grants the Administrator authority to prescribe regulations necessary to carry out the CAA, which, as applied here, refers to the emergency episode requirements of section 110(a)(2)(G). Section 301(a) also limits the Administrator's ability to delegate authority regarding rules that are required to be promulgated under the procedures of section 307(d). Since classifications are not among the procedures of section 307(d)(1), there is no restriction on the Administrator's authority to delegate decision-making on area classification, such as those for emergency episode planning.

    Accordingly, on the basis of California's ambient air quality data for 2011-2013 and the evaluation presented in our proposed rule and Emergency Episode Planning TSD, we hereby grant five of California's ten requests, and deny the five remaining requests, to reclassify AQCRs for emergency episode planning purposes for ozone, NO2, and SO2. We also are reclassifying two AQCRs for PM as part of our evaluation of the State's emergency episode planning for the PM2.5 NAAQS.

    For ozone, we reclassify two AQCRs, Lake Tahoe and North Central Coast, to Priority III. We deny the State's reclassification requests for ozone for five AQCRs, including Mountain Counties, Sacramento Valley, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, and Southeast Desert. As a result, upon the effective date of this final rule, California will have seven Priority I AQCRs for ozone, including the five for which we deny California's reclassification request and two others (Metropolitan Los Angeles and San Joaquin Valley AQCRs). California's applicable air districts have adequate emergency episode contingency plans for ozone for six of these seven Priority I areas, including Metropolitan Los Angeles, Sacramento Valley, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, and Southeast Desert AQCRs. Therefore, we partially approve California's 2007 and 2014 Submittals with respect to the 1997 ozone and 2008 ozone NAAQS for the emergency episode planning requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(G). Please see section III.B.iii of this final rule for our partial disapproval of these submittals with respect to the Mountain Counties AQCR.

    For NO2, we reclassify the Metropolitan Los Angeles AQCR to Priority III. As a result, upon the effective date of this final rule, the whole state will be classified Priority III for NO2, and therefore no emergency episode contingency plan for NO2 will be required for any of the state's 14 AQCRs. Accordingly, we approve California's 2012 and 2014 Submittals with respect to the 2010 NO2 NAAQS for the emergency episode planning requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(G).

    For SO2, we reclassify the Metropolitan Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area AQCRs to Priority III. As a result, upon the effective date of this final rule, the whole state will be classified Priority III for SO2, and therefore no emergency episode contingency plan for SO2 will be required for any of the state's 14 AQCRs. Thus, we approve California's 2014 Submittal with respect to the 2010 SO2 NAAQS for the emergency episode planning requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(G).

    For PM, we identified two areas where concentrations exceeded EPA's recommended 24-hour PM2.5 threshold of 140.4 µg/m3 for emergency episode planning: 34 Great Basin Valley AQCR and San Joaquin Valley AQCR. For these two areas, we also reviewed the 24-hour PM10 air quality data to determine the appropriate emergency episode classification under 40 CFR 51.150. Accordingly, for PM, we reclassify Great Basin Valley AQCR to Priority I and San Joaquin Valley AQCR to Priority II. As discussed in section III.A.i of this final rule, we are approving Great Basin Unified APCD Rule 701 into the California SIP and, as such, Great Basin Unified APCD has an adequate emergency episode contingency plan for PM. Therefore, we partially approve California's 2007 and 2014 Submittals with respect to the 1997 PM2.5, 2006 PM2.5, and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS for the emergency episode planning requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(G). Please see section III.B.iii of this final rule for our partial disapproval of these submittals with respect to the San Joaquin Valley AQCR.

    34See Memorandum from William T. Harnett, Director, Air Quality Policy Division, OAQPS, “Guidance on SIP Elements Required Under Sections 110(a)(1) and (2) for the 2006 24-Hour Fine Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards,” September 25, 2009, pp. 6-7 and Attachment B (“Recommended Interim Significant Harm Level, Priority Levels, and Action Levels for PM2.5 Emergency Episode Plans (EEPs)”).

    iii. Approval of CAA Section 110(a)(2)(C) for Minor NSR

    EPA previously proposed to partially disapprove five of California's 35 air districts for CAA section 110(a)(2)(C) with respect to minor NSR on the basis that they each lacked permit rules for minor sources in the California SIP.35 Upon further review of the California SIP and comments received during the public comment period, EPA has found that each of these air districts does, in fact, have permit rules for minor sources in the California SIP that cover all NAAQS, as discussed below.

    35 79 FR 63350 at 63359, October 23, 2014, and our Permit Programs TSD, pp. 8-10.

    As noted in Mojave Desert AQMD's comment letter, Mojave Desert AQMD has county-based minor NSR rules in the California SIP for each of its two counties (San Bernardino and Riverside counties), which we inadvertently missed during our original evaluation of the California Infrastructure SIP Submittals.36 This also led us to reexamine the SIP status of minor source permit rules for the other four air districts that we had proposed to partially disapprove for section 110(a)(2)(C), including Lake County, Mariposa County, Northern Sierra (Plumas and Sierra counties, only),37 and Tuolumne County. This reexamination involved reviewing the original copies of California's SIP submittals dated February 22, 1972 and June 30, 1972; EPA's approval of these submittals, as codified at 40 CFR 52.220 (b) and (c)(6); a copy of the California SIP as it existed in August 1978; subsequent EPA rulemakings that revised the California SIP; and other historic records as they pertain to these four air districts.38

    36See section II of this final rule.

    37 Note that we had proposed to partially disapprove Northern Sierra AQMD for Plumas and Sierra counties only, since we had already identified Nevada County as having a SIP-approved minor NSR program. See 79 FR 63350 at 63359, footnote 35, October 23, 2014 and our Permit Programs TSD, footnote 34, p. 9.

    38See Memorandum from Laura Yannayon, EPA Region IX to R. Mays, EPA Region IX, “Investigation of Approved SIP Contents for Lake, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Plumas and Sierra Counties, related to minor source permit programs,” October 30, 2015. This memorandum, as well as short narratives on each of the five counties, are included in the docket to this final rule.

    We determined that, for each of the five remaining counties (Lake, Mariposa, Plumas, Sierra, and Tuolumne counties) in these four districts, the county-based rules that constitute each county's minor source permit program were approved into the California SIP 39 and have never been removed or replaced. These minor source permit programs require minor sources to obtain an Authority to Construct permit prior to construction and cover all NAAQS through a broad definition of the term “air contaminants” that includes all NAAQS and their precursors. Since the basis of our proposed partial disapproval is no longer applicable (i.e., lack of a SIP-approved permit program for minor sources) and as these districts now meet the same test used to propose approval for other districts (i.e., having such a program in the SIP that applies to all NAAQS addressed by this final rule), we are finalizing approval for these five additional districts, including Lake County, Mariposa County, Mojave Desert, Northern Sierra, and Tuolumne County, as meeting the requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(2)(C) with respect to minor NSR.

    39 37 FR 10842, May 31, 1972 and 37 FR 19812, September 22, 1972.

    In sum, all 35 air districts in California have minor NSR permit programs in the California SIP that cover all NAAQS. Notwithstanding this approval, to the extent that air districts have revised their permit rules for minor sources and such revisions are not yet reflected in the California SIP, we recommend that such districts work with ARB to submit SIP revisions to revise the California SIP.

    B. Partial Disapprovals

    EPA partially disapproves California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals with respect to the NAAQS identified for each of the following infrastructure SIP requirements (details of the partial disapprovals are presented after this list):

    • Section 110(a)(2)(B) (in part): Ambient air quality monitoring/data system (for the 1997 ozone and 2008 ozone NAAQS for the Bakersfield Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in San Joaquin Valley APCD).

    • Section 110(a)(2)(C) (in part): Program for enforcement of control measures and regulation of new and modified stationary sources (for all NAAQS addressed by this final rule due to PSD program deficiencies in certain air districts).

    • Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) (in part): Interstate pollution transport (for all NAAQS addressed by this final rule due to PSD program deficiencies in certain air districts).

    • Section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) (in part): Interstate pollution abatement and international air pollution (for all NAAQS addressed by this final rule due to PSD program deficiencies in certain air districts).

    • Section 110(a)(2)(G) (in part): Emergency episodes (for the 1997 ozone and 2008 ozone NAAQS for the Mountain Counties AQCR, and for the 1997 PM2.5, 2006 PM2.5, and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS for the San Joaquin Valley AQCR).

    • Section 110(a)(2)(J) (in part): Consultation with government officials, public notification, PSD, and visibility protection (for all NAAQS addressed by this final rule due to PSD program deficiencies in certain air districts).

    i. Ambient Air Monitoring Partial Disapproval

    We partially disapprove California's 2007 and 2014 Submittals for CAA section 110(a)(2)(B) with respect to the 1997 ozone and 2008 ozone NAAQS for the Bakersfield MSA portion of the California SIP because the ozone monitor located at the Arvin-Bear Mountain Road site, which had been the maximum ozone concentration monitor in the Bakersfield MSA, was closed without an approved replacement site. The requirement to have such a maximum ozone concentration monitor is found in 40 CFR part 51, Appendix D, 4.1(b) and the requirement that modifications to a monitoring network must be reviewed and approved by the relevant Regional Administrator is found in 40 CFR 58.14(b).

    ii. Permit Program-Related Partial Disapprovals

    We partially disapprove portions of California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals with respect to the PSD-related requirements of sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), (D)(ii), and (J) for several air districts because the California SIP does not fully satisfy the statutory and regulatory requirements for PSD permit programs as to those air districts.

    With respect to interstate transport requirement of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II), we also considered the status of the nonattainment NSR programs of the applicable California air districts and hereby approve California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals for this aspect of the interstate transport requirements. Lastly, regarding section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) and compliance with the requirement of section 126(a) for proposed, major new or modified sources to notify all potentially affected, nearby states, as applicable, we partially disapprove California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals for multiple air districts. We provide a summary of the basis and district-by-district accounting of our partial disapprovals in the following paragraphs, including consideration of comments from Northern Sonoma County APCD, and review of EPA rulemaking on PSD and nonattainment NSR SIP submittals that has occurred since our proposal on California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals.

    PSD Permit Programs

    We reviewed the permit programs of California's 35 air districts for SIP-approved provisions to address PSD requirements that we consider “structural” for purposes of sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J), including the following requirements that were most recently added to the federal PSD regulations: Provisions identifying nitrogen oxides (NOX) as ozone precursors; provisions to regulate PM2.5, including condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 precursor emissions, and PSD increments for PM2.5; and provisions to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs). For the PSD requirements for GHGs, we conducted our evaluation consistent with the recent changes to the application of such requirements due to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of June 23, 2014, as discussed in section II.D of our proposed rule.40

    40Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency, 134 S. Ct. 2427. EPA has since amended the federal PSD program regulations to allow for the rescission of certain PSD permits issued by EPA and delegated reviewing authorities (e.g., California air districts) for purposes of regulating GHGs. See 80 FR 26183, May 7, 2015. Notwithstanding those amendments, PSD programs must still include provisions to regulate GHGs and such provisions continue to be relevant to our review of infrastructure SIPs.

    We proposed to approve seven air districts as meeting the structural PSD requirements. Our proposed approval of one of these seven air districts, Monterey Bay Unified APCD, was contingent on finalizing approval of the district's PSD SIP revision.41 We have taken final action on that SIP revision, approving provisions into the California SIP that resolve the deficiencies identified in our proposed rule.42 Thus, we finalize approval of seven districts, including Eastern Kern, Imperial County, Monterey Bay Unified, Placer County, Sacramento Metro, San Joaquin Valley, and Yolo-Solano air districts, as meeting the PSD-related requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J) for all NAAQS addressed by this final rule.

    41 79 FR 63350 at 63358, October 23, 2014.

    42 80 FR 15899, March 26, 2015. We finalized a limited approval and limited disapproval of Monterey Bay Unified APCD's PSD SIP revision. While not a full approval, that final rule approved provisions into the California SIP for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, or PSD increments for PM2.5.

    In addition, our proposed rule on California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals identified eight air districts that had submitted PSD SIP revisions for which EPA had not yet proposed or finalized action.43 We proposed to partially disapprove these districts with respect to the PSD-related requirements of section 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J) since they were subject to the existing PSD FIP at 40 CFR 52.21, rather than SIP-approved PSD programs. We have since finalized approval of the PSD SIP revisions of five of those eight districts,44 including provisions addressing the same structural PSD requirements as we relied on to propose approval for the set of seven districts discussed above. Since the basis of our proposed partial disapproval is no longer applicable and as these districts now meet the same test used to propose approval for other districts, we are finalizing approval for these five additional districts, including Butte County, Feather River, Great Basin Unified, San Luis Obispo County, and Santa Barbara County, as meeting the PSD-related requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J) for all NAAQS addressed by this final rule. In sum, 12 of California's 35 air districts meet the PSD-related requirements for these infrastructure SIP elements.

    43 79 FR 63350 at 63359, October 23, 2014.

    44 80 FR 69880, November 12, 2015.

    Four other air districts, including Mendocino County, North Coast Unified, Northern Sonoma County, and South Coast air districts, partially meet and partially do not meet the structural PSD requirements.

    South Coast AQMD has a SIP-approved PSD program for GHGs only, but lacks a SIP-approved PSD program to address any other regulated NSR pollutant. Thus, we partially disapprove California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals with respect to South Coast AQMD for the PSD-related requirement of sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J).45

    45 We note that South Coast AQMD is subject to the PSD FIP in 40 CFR 52.21 for all regulated NSR pollutants except GHGs (see 40 CFR 52.270(b)(10)).

    North Coast Unified AQMD has a SIP-approved PSD program that, on the whole, addresses all regulated NSR pollutants. However, it does not explicitly regulate NOX as an ozone precursor and does not include requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, or PSD increments for PM2.5. Therefore, we partially disapprove California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals with respect to North Coast Unified AQMD for these specific deficiencies for PSD-related requirements of section 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J).

    Mendocino County AQMD and Northern Sonoma County APCD each have SIP-approved PSD programs that generally address the structural PSD requirements, but do not include requirements for a baseline date for PSD increments for PM2.5. As discussed in section II of this final rule, Northern Sonoma County APCD has submitted a PSD SIP revision that is pending rulemaking by EPA within the time afforded by CAA section 110(k)(2). To the extent that Northern Sonoma County APCD's PSD SIP revision resolves the deficiency identified in our proposed rule on California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals (i.e., requirements for a baseline date for PSD increments for PM2.5), such requirements have not yet been approved into the California SIP and, thus, the deficiency remains. Accordingly, we partially disapprove California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals with respect to Mendocino County AQMD and Northern Sonoma County APCD for this specific deficiency in the PSD-related requirements of section 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J).

    The remaining 19 air districts are subject to the existing PSD FIP in 40 CFR 52.21, including Amador County, Antelope Valley, Bay Area, Calaveras County, Colusa County, El Dorado County, Glenn County, Lake County, Lassen County, Mariposa County, Modoc County, Mojave Desert, Northern Sierra, San Diego County, Shasta County, Siskiyou County, Tehama County, Tuolumne County, and Ventura County.

    At the time of our proposal on California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals, three of these districts (Bay Area, San Diego County, and Ventura County air districts) had submitted PSD SIP revisions for which EPA had not yet proposed or finalized action. EPA has proposed a limited approval and limited disapproval of the SIP revision from Bay Area AQMD, noting that most of the submittal's rules satisfy applicable requirements under CAA section 110(a)(2)(C) for the regulation of the modification and construction of stationary sources.46 However, as we have not yet finalized that proposal, the Bay Area AQMD remains subject to the PSD FIP in 40 CFR 52.21. San Diego County APCD withdrew its PSD SIP submittal on June 10, 2015, while Ventura County APCD's submittal is pending EPA rulemaking. These two districts similarly remain subject to the PSD FIP at this time.

    46 80 FR 52236 at 52243, August 28, 2015.

    Accordingly, we partially disapprove California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals as to each of these 19 air districts with respect to the PSD-related requirements of section 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J). As discussed further in section III.C of this final rule, the partial disapprovals with respect to these 19 districts would not result in new FIP obligations, because EPA has already promulgated a PSD FIP for each district.

    Nonattainment NSR Permit Programs

    With respect to interstate transport requirement of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II), in addition to reviewing the air districts' PSD programs, we also reviewed the nonattainment NSR programs of California's 22 air districts that are designated nonattainment for ozone, PM2.5, or Pb, as applicable.47 Because the PSD and nonattainment NSR permitting programs currently applicable in each area require a demonstration that new or modified sources will not cause or contribute to air pollution in excess of the NAAQS in neighboring states or that sources in nonattainment areas procure offsets, states may satisfy the PSD-related requirement of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) by submitting SIPs confirming that major sources and major modifications in the state are subject to PSD programs that implement current requirements and nonattainment NSR programs that address the NAAQS pollutants for which areas of the state that have been designated nonattainment. We refer to this aspect of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) herein as the “nonattainment NSR element.”

    47 No area of California has been designated nonattainment for the 2010 NO2 or 2010 SO2 NAAQS.

    We find that California meets the nonattainment NSR element of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) through a variety of mechanisms, as follows. Nine of the 22 air districts with nonattainment areas meet the nonattainment NSR element via SIP-approved programs, including the following air districts: Antelope Valley, Eastern Kern, Mojave Desert, Placer County, San Diego County, and Ventura County (for the 1997 ozone and 2008 ozone NAAQS); Sacramento Metro and Feather River (for the 1997 ozone, 2008 ozone, and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS); and San Joaquin Valley (for the 1997 ozone, 2008 ozone, 1997 PM2.5, and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS). Since the time of our proposal on California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals, we finalized approval of South Coast AQMD's nonattainment NSR SIP revision with respect to the PM2.5 NAAQS.48 As a result, this district implements its SIP-approved nonattainment NSR program for the portions of the district that are designated nonattainment for the 1997 ozone, 2008ozone, 1997 PM2.5, 2006 PM2.5, 2012 PM2.5, and 2008 Pb NAAQS. Thus, South Coast AQMD also meets the nonattainment NSR element via a SIP-approved program.

    48 80 FR 24821, May 15, 2015.

    An additional eight air districts, which have each been designated nonattainment for more than one NAAQS, have affirmed that they implement the interim nonattainment NSR program in 40 CFR part 51, Appendix S, including the following districts: Calaveras County, Mariposa County, and Northern Sierra (for the 1997 ozone and 2008 ozone NAAQS); and Bay Area, Butte County, El Dorado County, Imperial County, and Yolo-Solano (for the 1997 ozone, 2008 ozone, and 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS).49

    49 EPA has proposed a limited approval and limited disapproval of the SIP revision from Bay Area AQMD submitted to address the outstanding nonattainment NSR requirements. 80 FR 52236, August 28, 2015. However, as we have not yet finalized that proposal, we continue to rely on the Bay Area AQMD's implementation of 40 CFR part 51, Appendix S for purposes of the nonattainment NSR element.

    Two other districts, Amador County APCD and Tuolumne County APCD, are designated nonattainment only for the 1997 ozone NAAQS. EPA revoked that NAAQS as part of the final implementation rule for the 2008 ozone NAAQS,50 which relieves these two air districts of the requirement to submit nonattainment NSR SIP revisions.51

    50 80 FR 12264, March 6, 2015.

    51 This scenario also applies to the Sutter Buttes area within Feather River AQMD that is designated nonattainment for the 1997 ozone NAAQS. However, the southern portion of Feather River AQMD is designated nonattainment for both the 1997 ozone and 2008 ozone NAAQS. Thus, the requirement for this air district to submit a nonattainment NSR SIP revision remains, though it no longer applies to the Sutter Buttes area.

    Lastly, portions of San Luis Obispo County APCD and Tehama County APCD are designated nonattainment only for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Until SIP revisions are submitted by these two districts and approved by EPA, the districts are required to implement 40 CFR part 51, Appendix S for any new or modified major source emitting an applicable nonattainment pollutant (i.e., NOX or volatile organic compounds) in the respective nonattainment areas.52

    52 We note that Tehama County APCD has adopted and transmitted nonattainment NSR SIP provisions for the 2008 ozone NAAQS to ARB for submittal to EPA as a SIP revision. See Letter dated September 4, 2015 from Kristin Hall-Stein, Air Pollution Control Officer, Tehama County APCD to Carol Sutkus, ARB.

    In sum, we approve California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals for the 22 air districts designated nonattainment for ozone, PM2.5, or Pb (as applicable) with respect to the nonattainment NSR element of the interstate transport requirement of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II).

    Interstate Pollution Abatement and International Air Pollution

    As described in section IV.B.i of our proposed rule, with respect to the international pollution abatement requirement in CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii), we noted that EPA has no reason to approve or disapprove any existing state rules with regard to CAA section 115 since the EPA Administrator has made no formal notification that emissions originating in California endanger public health or welfare in a foreign country. With respect to the interstate pollution abatement requirement in CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii), we evaluated California's 2014 Submittal only for purposes of compliance with section 126(a).53 Section 126(a) of the Act requires that each SIP require that proposed, major new or modified sources, which may significantly contribute to violations of the NAAQS in any air quality control region in other states, to notify all potentially affected, nearby states.

    53 79 FR 63350 at 63360, October 23, 2014.

    We proposed that 10 of California's 35 air districts have SIP-approved PSD permit programs that require notice to nearby states consistent with EPA's relevant requirements, and proposed to partially disapprove the remaining 25 air district with respect to CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii). We have since finalized approval of the PSD SIP revisions of five additional districts,54 including Butte County, Feather River, Great Basin Unified, San Luis Obispo County, and Santa Barbara County, which similarly require notice to nearby states consistent with EPA's relevant requirements. Thus, the basis of our proposed partial disapproval is no longer applicable with respect to these five districts and these districts meet the same test used to propose approval for other districts.

    54 80 FR 69880, November 12, 2015.

    We therefore approve California's 2014 Submittal for section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) regarding compliance with the requirements of section 115 for the whole state and with respect to section 126(a) for the following 15 air districts: Butte County, Eastern Kern, Feather River, Great Basin Unified, Imperial County, Mendocino County, Monterey Bay Unified, North Coast Unified, Northern Sonoma County, Placer County, Sacramento Metro, San Joaquin Valley, San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County and Yolo-Solano.

    The remaining 20 air districts are deficient with respect to the PSD requirements in part C, title I of the Act and with respect to the requirement in CAA section 126(a) regarding notification to affected, nearby states of major new or modified sources proposing to locate in these remaining air districts. Therefore, we partially disapprove California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals for section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) regarding compliance with the requirements of section 126(a) for the following 20 air districts: Amador County, Antelope Valley, Bay Area, Calaveras County, Colusa County, El Dorado County, Glenn County, Lake County, Lassen County, Mariposa County, Modoc County, Mojave Desert, Northern Sierra, San Diego County, Shasta County, Siskiyou County, South Coast, Tehama County, Tuolumne County, and Ventura County.

    iii. Emergency Episode Planning Partial Disapprovals Mountain Counties AQCR for Ozone

    As described in section III.A.ii of this final rule, we deny California's request to reclassify the Mountain Counties AQCR to Priority III for ozone. Of the seven air districts that comprise the Mountain Counties AQCR, only El Dorado County APCD and Placer County APCD recorded 1-hour ozone levels above the Priority I ozone threshold of 0.10 ppm during 2011-2013. We proposed that to satisfy the requirements of 40 CFR 51.151 for contingency plans for Mountain Counties AQCR, California needed to provide emergency episode contingency plans applicable to ozone for El Dorado County APCD and Placer County APCD. We maintain that position in this final rule. Since the time of our proposal, Placer County APCD adopted and submitted an ozone emergency episode contingency plan that we have approved into the California SIP.55 However, El Dorado County APCD still does not have a SIP-approved ozone emergency episode plan.56 Therefore, we partially disapprove California's 2007 and 2014 Submittals for the Mountain Counties AQCR (for El Dorado County APCD only) with respect to the 1997 ozone and 2008 ozone NAAQS for the emergency episode planning requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(G).

    55See direct final rule approving Placer County APCD Ozone Emergency Episode Plan, signed October 26, 2015, which is included in the docket to this final rule.

    56 We note that El Dorado County APCD issued a notice of public hearing in October 2015 of its proposed ozone emergency episode plan to be heard at the District's December 1, 2015 board hearing. This notice is included in the docket to this final rule and is available at: http://www.edcgov.us/AirQualityManagement.

    San Joaquin Valley AQCR for PM2.5

    As discussed in section III.A.ii of this final rule, we reclassify San Joaquin Valley AQCR from Priority I to Priority II for PM emergency episode planning. However, San Joaquin Valley APCD's SIP-approved emergency episode plan, which comprises multiple rules under the district's Regulation 6 (“Air Pollution Emergency Episodes”), still does not have provisions specific to PM2.5. As such, we partially disapprove California's 2007 and 2014 Submittals for San Joaquin Valley AQCR with respect to the 1997 PM2.5, 2006 PM2.5, and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS for the emergency episode planning requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(G).

    iv. General Note on Disapprovals

    EPA takes a disapproval of a state plan very seriously, as we believe that it is preferable, and preferred in the provisions of the Clean Air Act, that these requirements be implemented through state plans. A state plan need not contain exactly the same provisions that EPA might require, but EPA must be able to find that the state plan is consistent with the requirements of the Act. Further, EPA's oversight role requires that it assure consistent implementation of Clean Air Act requirements by states across the country, even while acknowledging that individual decisions from source to source or state to state may not have identical outcomes. EPA believes these disapprovals are the only path that is consistent with the Act at this time.

    C. Consequences of Proposed Disapprovals

    Under section 179(a) of the CAA, final disapproval of a submittal that addresses a requirement of part D, title I of the CAA (CAA sections 171-193) or is required in response to a finding of substantial inadequacy as described in CAA section 110(k)(5) (SIP Call) starts a sanctions clock. California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals were not submitted to meet either of these requirements. Therefore, the partial disapprovals in this final rule will not trigger mandatory sanctions under CAA section 179.

    Section 110(c)(1) of the Act provides that EPA must promulgate a FIP within two years after finding that a state has failed to make a required submittal or disapproving a SIP submittal in whole or in part, unless EPA approves a SIP revision correcting the deficiencies within that two-year period. However, many of these partial disapprovals finalized by this final rule do not result in new FIP obligations, either because EPA has already promulgated a FIP to address the identified deficiency or because a FIP deadline has been triggered by EPA's disapproval of a prior SIP submittal based on the same identified deficiency or by a prior finding of failure to submit.

    When preparing our proposed rule, we inadvertently did not consider existing FIP deadlines that were triggered by prior findings of failure to submit for the 1997 PM2.5 and 2008 ozone NAAQS in our description of FIP deadlines that would result from our proposed, partial disapprovals. In October 2008 EPA found that California's applicable certification letter had failed to address the emergency episode planning requirements of section 110(a)(2)(G) for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS and established a FIP deadline of November 21, 2010.57 In January 2013 EPA found that California had failed to submit an infrastructure SIP for the requirements of sections 110(a)(2)(A)-(C), (D)(i)(II), (D)(ii), (E)-(H), and (J)-(M) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS and established a FIP deadline of February 14, 2015, while noting that the findings did not trigger any additional FIP obligations with respect to the PSD-related and notification-related requirements of sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), (D)(ii), or (J) for portions of California (i.e., air districts) that were already subject to the PSD FIP in 40 CFR 52.21.58

    57 73 FR 62902 at 62905, October 22, 2008. Note that we also found that California had failed to submit SIP revisions for some air districts addressing the PSD-related requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(C) and (J). However, such failure to submit did not trigger a FIP deadline since those air districts were already subject to the PSD FIP in 40 CFR 52.21. For the 1997 ozone NAAQS, EPA found that California had failed to submit SIP revisions for some air districts addressing the PSD-related requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(C). 73 FR 16205 at 16208, March 27, 2008. However, similar to EPA's findings on the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS, such failure to submit did not trigger a FIP deadline since those air districts were already subject to the PSD FIP in 40 CFR 52.21.

    58 78 FR 2882 at 2889, January 15, 2013. Note that we did not make completeness findings or findings of failure to submit with respect to CAA sections 110(a)(2)(C) (to the extent it refers to permit programs required under part D of title I of the CAA (nonattainment NSR)), section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) (pertaining to two of several interstate transport requirements), or section 110(a)(2)(I), (pertaining to the nonattainment planning).

    For the most part, the approval actions taken in this final rule obviate the basis of the FIP obligations established by EPA's findings of failure to submit discussed above. The remaining FIP obligations stemming from these findings are relevant with respect to outstanding deficiencies for ozone related to ambient monitoring and emergency episode planning, and an outstanding deficiency for PM2.5 related to emergency episode planning.

    Accordingly, we describe the consequences of our partial disapprovals first for those where a FIP is already in place, then for those that have FIP obligations that are overdue, and finally for those that establish new FIP obligations.

    The provisions for which our partial disapprovals do not result in a new FIP obligation include:

    • PSD-related requirements in sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), (D)(ii), and (J) in the 19 air districts identified in section III.B.ii of this final rule, which are subject to the PSD FIP in 40 CFR 52.21 for the NAAQS and GHGs (see 40 CFR 52.270).

    • PSD-related requirements in sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), (D)(ii), and (J) in South Coast AQMD, which is subject to the PSD FIP in 40 CFR 52.21 for all regulated NSR pollutants except GHGs (see 40 CFR 52.270(b)(10)).

    • PSD requirement in sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J) to regulate NOX as an ozone precursor in North Coast Unified AQMD, which is subject to a narrow PSD FIP addressing this requirement (codified at 40 CFR 52.270(b)(2)(iv)).59

    59 76 FR 48006, August 8, 2011.

    • PSD requirement in sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J) to regulate PSD increments in North Coast Unified AQMD, for which EPA issued a finding of failure to submit that triggered an October 6, 2016 deadline for EPA to promulgate a FIP addressing this requirement.60

    60 79 FR 51913, September 2, 2014.

    The provisions for which our FIP obligation is overdue include:

    • Ambient air monitoring requirement in section 110(a)(2)(B) with respect to the 2008 ozone NAAQS in the Bakersfield MSA, whose FIP deadline expired on February 14, 2015.

    • Emergency episode planning requirement in section 110(a)(2)(G) with respect to the 2008 ozone NAAQS in the Mountain Counties AQCR (for El Dorado County APCD only), whose FIP deadline expired on February 14, 2015.

    • Emergency episode planning requirement in section 110(a)(2)(G) with respect to the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS in the San Joaquin Valley AQCR, whose FIP deadline expired on November 21, 2010.

    For the remaining partial disapprovals, EPA has not previously promulgated a FIP to address the identified deficiency or triggered a FIP deadline by disapproving a prior SIP submittal or issuing a finding of failure to submit based on the same deficiency. Thus, under CAA section 110(c)(1), these remaining partial disapprovals of California's Infrastructure SIP Submittals require EPA to promulgate a FIP within two years after the effective date of this final rule, unless the State submits and EPA approves a SIP revision that corrects the identified deficiencies prior to the expiration of this two-year period. The provisions for which our partial disapprovals trigger a new FIP obligation include:

    • Ambient air monitoring requirement in section 110(a)(2)(B) with respect to the 1997 ozone NAAQS in the Bakersfield MSA.

    • PSD requirements in sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J) to regulate PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, and condensable PM2.5 in North Coast Unified AQMD.

    • PSD requirement in sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II), and (J) for a baseline date for PSD increments for PM2.5 in Mendocino County APCD and Northern Sonoma County APCD.

    • Emergency episode planning requirement in section 110(a)(2)(G) with respect to the 1997 ozone NAAQS in the Mountain Counties AQCR (for El Dorado County APCD only).

    • Emergency episode planning requirement in section 110(a)(2)(G) with respect to the 2006 PM2.5 and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS in the San Joaquin Valley AQCR.

    IV. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, EPA is finalizing the incorporation by reference of five state provisions from the California Government Code statutes and California Code of Regulations for the conflict of interest requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(2)(E)(ii) and 128. These provisions include California Government Code, Title 9, Sections 82048 (last amended in 2004), 87103 (last amended in 2000), and 87302 (last amended in 1992), and California Code of Regulations, Title 2, Sections 18700 (last amendment filed on December 20, 2005) and 18701 (last amendment filed on December 29, 2005). Similarly, EPA is also finalizing the incorporation by reference of Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (APCD) Rule 701, adopted on March 3, 2014, with respect to the 1987 p.m.10, 1997 PM2.5, 2006 PM2.5, and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS for the emergency episode planning requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(G) and 40 CFR part 51, subpart H. The incorporation by reference of the five state provisions and the one Great Basin Unified APCD provision are described in the amendments to 40 CFR part 52 set forth below. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through www.regulations.gov and/or in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews A. Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review

    This action is not a “significant regulatory action” under the terms of Executive Order (EO) 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993) and is therefore not subject to review under the EO.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act

    This action does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., because this partial approval and partial disapproval of SIP revisions under CAA section 110 will not in-and-of itself create any new information collection burdens but simply approves certain State requirements, and disapproves certain other State requirements, for inclusion into the SIP. Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.3(b).

    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) generally requires an agency to conduct a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Small entities include small businesses, small not-for-profit enterprises, and small governmental jurisdictions. For purposes of assessing the impacts of today's rule on small entities, small entity is defined as: (1) A small business as defined by the Small Business Administration's (SBA) regulations at 13 CFR 121.201; (2) a small governmental jurisdiction that is a government of a city, county, town, school district or special district with a population of less than 50,000; and (3) a small organization that is any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.

    After considering the economic impacts of today's rule on small entities, I certify that this action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule does not impose any requirements or create impacts on small entities. This partial SIP approval and partial SIP disapproval under CAA section 110 will not in-and-of itself create any new requirements but simply approves certain State requirements, and disapproves certain other State requirements, for inclusion into the SIP. Accordingly, it affords no opportunity for EPA to fashion for small entities less burdensome compliance or reporting requirements or timetables or exemptions from all or part of the rule. Therefore, this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This action contains no Federal mandates under the provisions of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538 for State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. EPA has determined that the partial approval and partial disapproval action does not include a Federal mandate that may result in estimated costs of $100 million or more to either State, local, or tribal governments in the aggregate, or to the private sector. This action approves certain pre-existing requirements, and disapproves certain other pre-existing requirements, under State or local law, and imposes no new requirements. Accordingly, no additional costs to State, local, or tribal governments, or to the private sector, result from this action.

    E. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    Executive Order 13132, entitled “Federalism” (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999), requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure “meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have federalism implications.” “Policies that have federalism implications” is defined in the Executive Order to include regulations that have “substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.”

    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132, because it merely approves certain State requirements, and disapproves certain other State requirements, for inclusion into the SIP and does not alter the relationship or the distribution of power and responsibilities established in the Clean Air Act. Thus, Executive Order 13132 does not apply to this action.

    F. Executive Order 13175, Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    Executive Order 13175, entitled “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure “meaningful and timely input by tribal officials in the development of regulatory policies that have tribal implications.” This final rule does not have tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 13175. It will not have substantial direct effects on tribal governments, 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. In addition, the SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this rule.

    G. Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks

    EPA interprets EO 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997) as applying only to those regulatory actions that concern health or safety risks, such that the analysis required under section 5-501 of the EO has the potential to influence the regulation. This action is not subject to EO 13045 because it is not an economically significant regulatory action based on health or safety risks subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997). This partial approval and partial disapproval under CAA section 110 will not in-and-of itself create any new regulations but simply approves certain State requirements, and disapproves certain other State requirements, for inclusion into the SIP.

    H. Executive Order 13211, Actions That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This rule is not subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001) because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

    I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (“NTTAA”), Public Law 104-113, 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) directs EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory activities unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable 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. NTTAA directs EPA to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations when the Agency decides not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards.

    EPA believes that this action is not subject to requirements of Section 12(d) of NTTAA because application of those requirements would be inconsistent with the Clean Air Act.

    J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Population

    Executive Order (EO) 12898 (59 FR 7629, Feb. 16, 1994) establishes federal executive policy on environmental justice. Its main provision directs federal agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, to make environmental justice part of their mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States.

    EPA lacks the discretionary authority to address environmental justice in this rulemaking.

    K. Congressional Review Act

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. The EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. A major rule cannot take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2). This rule will be effective on May 2, 2016.

    L. Petitions for Judicial Review

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by May 31, 2016. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this rule for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements (see section 307(b)(2)).

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Lead, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and Sulfur dioxide.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: November 24, 2015. Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator, U.S. EPA, Region IX.

    Part 52, 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 F—California 2. Section 52.220 is amended by adding paragraphs (c)(386)(ii)(A)(5), (c)(466), (467), (468), and (469) to read as follows:
    § 52.220 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    (386) * * *

    (ii) * * *

    (A) * * *

    (5) “110(a)(2) Infrastructure SIP,” submitted as Appendix B to the 2007 State Strategy, and “Legal Authority and Other Requirements,” submitted as Appendix G to the 2007 State Strategy (collectively, “2007 Infrastructure SIP”).

    (466) The following plan was submitted on October 6, 2011, by the Governor's Designee.

    (i) [Reserved].

    (ii) Additional materials.

    (A) California Air Resources Board (CARB).

    (1) CARB Resolution 11-28, dated September 22, 2011, adopting the “Proposed State Implementation Plan Revision for Federal Lead Standard Infrastructure Requirements.”

    (2) “Proposed State Implementation Plan Revision for Federal Lead Standard Infrastructure Requirements,” (“2011 Pb Infrastructure SIP”).

    (467) The following plan was submitted on December 12, 2012, by the Governor's Designee.

    (i) [Reserved].

    (ii) Additional materials.

    (A) California Air Resources Board (CARB).

    (1) CARB Resolution 12-32, dated November 15, 2012, adopting the “Proposed State Implementation Plan Revision for Federal Nitrogen Dioxide Standard Infrastructure Requirements.”

    (2) “Proposed State Implementation Plan Revision for Federal Nitrogen Dioxide Standard Infrastructure Requirements,” (“2012 NO2 Infrastructure SIP”).

    (468) The following plan was submitted on March 6, 2014, by the Governor's Designee.

    (i) Incorporation by Reference.

    (A) California Air Resources Board

    (1) California Government Code, Title 9 (Political Reform), Chapter 2 (Definitions), Section 82048, “Public official,” added by California Initiative Measure approved on June 4, 1974, effective January 7, 1975, and last amended in 2004.

    (2) California Government Code, Title 9 (Political Reform), Chapter 7 (Conflicts of Interest), Article 1 (General Prohibition), Section 87103, “Financial interest in decision by public official,” added by California Initiative Measure approved on June 4, 1974, effective January 7, 1975, and last amended in 2000.

    (3) California Government Code, Title 9 (Political Reform), Chapter 7 (Conflicts of Interest), Article 3 (Conflict of Interest Codes), Section 87302, “Required provisions; exemptions,” added by California Initiative Measure approved on June 4, 1974, effective January 7, 1975, and last amended in 1992.

    (4) Title 2, California Code of Regulations, Division 6 (Fair Political Practices Commission), Chapter 7 (Conflict of Interest), Article 1 (Conflicts of Interest; General Prohibition), Section 18700, “Basic Rule and Guide to Conflict of Interest Regulations” (filed on December 17, 1976, effective upon filing, and last amendment filed on December 20, 2005, operative January 19, 2006).

    (5) Title 2, California Code of Regulations, Division 6 (Fair Political Practices Commission), Chapter 7 (Conflict of Interest), Article 1 (Conflicts of Interest; General Prohibition), Section 18701, “Definitions: Source of Income, Commission Income and Incentive Income” (filed on January 22, 1976, effective February 21, 1976, and last amendment filed on December 29, 2005, operative January 28, 2006).

    (ii) Additional materials.

    (A) California Air Resources Board (CARB).

    (1) CARB Resolution 14-1, dated January 23, 2014, adopting the “California Infrastructure SIP.”

    (2) “California Infrastructure SIP,” (“2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP”).

    (469) The following plan was submitted on June 2, 2014, by the Governor's Designee.

    (i) Incorporation by Reference.

    (A) Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District.

    (1) Rule 701, “Air Pollution Episode Plan for Particulate Matter,” adopted on March 3, 2014.

    3. Section 52.221 is revised to read as follows:
    § 52.221 Classification of regions.

    The California plan was evaluated on the basis of the following classifications:

    Air quality control region Pollutant Particulate matter Sulfur oxides Nitrogen dioxide Carbon monoxide Photochemical oxidants
  • (hydrocarbons)
  • Great Basin Valley Intrastate I III III III III Lake County Intrastate II III III III III Lake Tahoe Intrastate II III III I III Metropolitan Los Angeles Intrastate I III III I I Mountain Counties Intrastate II III III I I North Central Coast Intrastate II III III III III North Coast Intrastate II III III III III Northeast Plateau Intrastate III III III III III Sacramento Valley Intrastate II III III I I San Diego Intrastate II III III I I San Francisco Bay Area Intrastate II III III I I San Joaquin Valley Intrastate II III III I I South Central Coast Intrastate III III III III III Southeast Desert Intrastate I III III III I
    4. Section 52.223 is amended by adding paragraphs (i) thru (o) to read as follows:
    § 52.223 Approval status.

    (i) 1997 ozone NAAQS: The 2007 Infrastructure SIP, submitted on November 16, 2007, and the 2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP, submitted on March 6, 2014, are partially disapproved for specific requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2) for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS for the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs), Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs), or Air Quality Control Regions (AQCRs) listed in this paragraph.

    (1) San Joaquin Valley APCD (Bakersfield Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), only) for section 110(a)(2)(B).

    (2) Mendocino County AQMD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (3) North Coast Unified AQMD (PSD requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 increments, and NOX as an ozone precursor, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (4) Northern Sonoma County APCD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (5) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J), except for South Coast AQMD where the Federal PSD program applies to greenhouse gases, only.

    (6) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) (with respect to section 126(a), only).

    (7) Mountain Counties AQCR (El Dorado County, only) for section 110(a)(2)(G).

    (j) 1997 PM 2.5 NAAQS: The 2007 Infrastructure SIP, submitted on November 16, 2007, and the 2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP, submitted on March 6, 2014, are partially disapproved for specific requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2) for the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS for the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs), Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs), or Air Quality Control Regions (AQCRs) listed in this paragraph.

    (1) Mendocino County AQMD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (2) North Coast Unified AQMD (PSD requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 increments, and NOX as an ozone precursor, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (3) Northern Sonoma County APCD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (4) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J), except for South Coast AQMD where the Federal PSD program applies to greenhouse gases, only.

    (5) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) (with respect to section 126(a), only).

    (6) San Joaquin Valley Mountain Counties AQCR for section 110(a)(2)(G).

    (k) 2006 PM 2.5 NAAQS and 2012 PM 2.5 NAAQS: The 2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP, submitted on March 6, 2014, is partially disapproved for specific requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2) for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS for the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs), Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs), or Air Quality Control Regions (AQCRs) listed in this paragraph.

    (1) Mendocino County AQMD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (2) North Coast Unified AQMD (PSD requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 increments, and NOX as an ozone precursor, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (3) Northern Sonoma County APCD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (4) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J), except for South Coast AQMD where the Federal PSD program applies to greenhouse gases, only.

    (5) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) (with respect to section 126(a), only).

    (6) San Joaquin Valley Mountain Counties AQCR for section 110(a)(2)(G).

    (l) 2008 ozone NAAQS: The 2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP, submitted on March 6, 2014, is partially disapproved for specific requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2) for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs), Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs), or Air Quality Control Regions (AQCRs) listed in this paragraph.

    (1) San Joaquin Valley APCD (Bakersfield Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), only) for section 110(a)(2)(B).

    (2) Mendocino County AQMD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (3) North Coast Unified AQMD (PSD requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 PSD, and NOX as an ozone precursor, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (4) Northern Sonoma County APCD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (5) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J), except for South Coast AQMD where the Federal PSD program applies to greenhouse gases, only.

    (6) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) (with respect to section 126(a), only).

    (7) Mountain Counties AQCR (El Dorado County, only) for section 110(a)(2)(G).

    (m) 2008 Pb NAAQS: The 2011 Pb Infrastructure SIP, submitted on September 22, 2011, and the 2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP, submitted on March 6, 2014, are partially disapproved for specific requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2) for the 2008 Pb NAAQS for the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs), Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs), or Air Quality Control Regions (AQCRs) listed in this paragraph.

    (1) Mendocino County AQMD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (2) North Coast Unified AQMD (PSD requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 increments, and NOX as an ozone precursor, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (3) Northern Sonoma County APCD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (4) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J), except for South Coast AQMD where the Federal PSD program applies to greenhouse gases, only.

    (5) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) (with respect to section 126(a), only).

    (n) 2010 NO 2 NAAQS: The 2012 NO2 Infrastructure SIP, submitted on November 15, 2012, and the 2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP, submitted on March 6, 2014, are partially disapproved for specific requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2) for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS for the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs), Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs), or Air Quality Control Regions (AQCRs) listed in this paragraph.

    (1) Mendocino County AQMD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (2) North Coast Unified AQMD (PSD requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 increments, and NOX as an ozone precursor, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (3) Northern Sonoma County APCD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (4) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J), except for South Coast AQMD where the Federal PSD program applies to greenhouse gases, only.

    (5) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) (with respect to section 126(a), only).

    (o) 2010 SO 2 NAAQS: The 2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP, submitted on March 6, 2014, is partially disapproved for specific requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2) for the 2010 SO2 NAAQS for the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs), Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs), or Air Quality Control Regions (AQCRs) listed in this paragraph.

    (1) Mendocino County AQMD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (2) North Coast Unified AQMD (PSD requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 increments, and NOX as an ozone precursor, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (3) Northern Sonoma County APCD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only) for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J).

    (4) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(C), (D)(i)(II) (interfere with measures in any other state to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, only), and (J), except for South Coast AQMD where the Federal PSD program applies to greenhouse gases, only.

    (5) All areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270 for sections 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) (with respect to section 126(a), only).

    § 52.225 [Amended]
    5. Section 52.225 is amended by removing and reserving paragraph (a).
    6. Section 52.283 is amended by adding paragraphs (c) thru (g) to read as follows:
    § 52.283 Interstate Transport.

    (c) 2006 PM 2.5 NAAQS and 2012 PM 2.5 NAAQS: The 2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP, submitted on March 6, 2014, and the additional plan elements listed below meet the following specific requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS and 2012 PM2.5 NAAQS.

    (1) The requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) regarding interference with any other state's measures required under title I, part C of the Clean Air Act to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, except that these requirements are not fully met in the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs) or Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs) listed in this paragraph.

    (i) Mendocino County AQMD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only)

    (ii) North Coast APCD (PSD requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 increments, and NOX as an ozone precursor, only)

    (iii) Northern Sonoma County APCD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only)

    (iv) South Coast AQMD (PSD requirements for the NAAQS, only).

    (v) All other areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270.

    (2) The requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) regarding interference with other states' measures to protect visibility are met by chapter 3 (Emissions Inventory), chapter 4 (California 2018 Progress Strategy), and chapter 8 (Consultation) of the “California Regional Haze Plan,” adopted January 22, 2009.

    (d) 2008 ozone NAAQS: The 2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP, submitted on March 6, 2014, and the additional plan elements listed below meet the following specific requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS.

    (1) The requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) regarding interference with any other state's measures required under title I, part C of the Clean Air Act to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, except that these requirements are not fully met in the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs) or Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs) listed in this paragraph.

    (i) Mendocino County AQMD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only)

    (ii) North Coast APCD (PSD requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 increments, and NOX as an ozone precursor, only)

    (iii) Northern Sonoma County APCD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only)

    (iv) South Coast AQMD (PSD requirements for the NAAQS, only).

    (v) All other areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270.

    (2) The requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) regarding interference with other states' measures to protect visibility are met by chapter 3 (Emissions Inventory), chapter 4 (California 2018 Progress Strategy), and chapter 8 (Consultation) of the “California Regional Haze Plan,” adopted January 22, 2009.

    (e) 2008 Pb NAAQS: The 2011 Pb Infrastructure SIP, submitted on September 22, 2011, and the 2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP, submitted on March 6, 2014, and the additional plan elements listed below meet the following specific requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) for the 2008 Pb NAAQS.

    (1) The requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) regarding significant contribution to nonattainment of the 2008 Pb NAAQS in any other State and interference with maintenance of the 2008 Pb NAAQS by any other State.

    (2) The requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) regarding interference with any other state's measures required under title I, part C of the Clean Air Act to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, except that these requirements are not fully met in the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs) or Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs) listed in this paragraph.

    (i) Mendocino County AQMD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only)

    (ii) North Coast APCD (PSD requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 increments, and NOX as an ozone precursor, only)

    (iii) Northern Sonoma County APCD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only)

    (iv) South Coast AQMD (PSD requirements for the NAAQS, only).

    (v) All other areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270.

    (3) The requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) regarding interference with other states' measures to protect visibility are met by chapter 3 (Emissions Inventory), chapter 4 (California 2018 Progress Strategy), and chapter 8 (Consultation) of the “California Regional Haze Plan,” adopted January 22, 2009.

    (f) 2010 NO 2 NAAQS: The 2012 NO2 Infrastructure SIP, submitted on November 15, 2012, and the 2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP, submitted on March 6, 2014, and the additional plan elements listed below meet the following specific requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS.

    (1) The requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) regarding significant contribution to nonattainment of the 2010 NO2 NAAQS in any other State and interference with maintenance of the 2010 NO2 NAAQS by any other State.

    (2) The requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) regarding interference with any other state's measures required under title I, part C of the Clean Air Act to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, except that these requirements are not fully met in the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs) or Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs) listed in this paragraph.

    (i) Mendocino County AQMD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only)

    (ii) North Coast APCD (PSD requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 increments, and NOX as an ozone precursor, only)

    (iii) Northern Sonoma County APCD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only)

    (iv) South Coast AQMD (PSD requirements for the NAAQS, only).

    (v) All other areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270.

    (3) The requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) regarding interference with other states' measures to protect visibility are met by chapter 3 (Emissions Inventory), chapter 4 (California 2018 Progress Strategy), and chapter 8 (Consultation) of the “California Regional Haze Plan,” adopted January 22, 2009.

    (g) 2010 SO 2 NAAQS: The 2014 Multi-pollutant Infrastructure SIP, submitted on March 6, 2014, and the additional plan elements listed below meet the following specific requirements of Clean Air Act section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) for the 2010 SO2 NAAQS.

    (1) The requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) regarding interference with any other state's measures required under title I, part C of the Clean Air Act to prevent significant deterioration of air quality, except that these requirements are not fully met in the Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs) or Air Quality Management Districts (AQMDs) listed in this paragraph.

    (i) Mendocino County AQMD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only)

    (ii) North Coast APCD (PSD requirements for the regulation of PM2.5, PM2.5 precursors, condensable PM2.5, PM2.5 increments, and NOX as an ozone precursor, only)

    (iii) Northern Sonoma County APCD (PSD requirements for a baseline date for PM2.5 increments, only)

    (iv) South Coast AQMD (PSD requirements for the NAAQS, only).

    (v) All other areas in California that are subject to the Federal PSD program as provided in 40 CFR 52.270.

    (2) The requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) regarding interference with other states' measures to protect visibility are met by chapter 3 (Emissions Inventory), chapter 4 (California 2018 Progress Strategy), and chapter 8 (Consultation) of the “California Regional Haze Plan,” adopted January 22, 2009.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07323 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 92 [Docket No. FWS-R7-MB-2015-0158; FF09M21200-156-FXMB1231099BPP0] RIN 1018-BB10 Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations for Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2016 Season AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) is establishing migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2016 season. These regulations allow for the continuation of customary and traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska and prescribe regional information on when and where the harvesting of birds may occur. These regulations were developed under a co-management process involving the Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Native representatives. The rulemaking is necessary because the regulations governing the subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska are subject to annual review. This rulemaking establishes region-specific regulations that will go into effect on April 2, 2016, and expire on August 31, 2016.

    DATES:

    The amendments to subpart D of 50 CFR part 92 are effective April 2, 2016, through August 31, 2016. The amendments to subparts A and C of 50 CFR part 92 are effective May 2, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Donna Dewhurst, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1011 E. Tudor Road, Mail Stop 201, Anchorage, AK 99503; (907) 786-3499.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Why is this rulemaking necessary?

    This rulemaking is necessary because, by law, the migratory bird harvest season is closed unless opened by the Secretary of the Interior, and the regulations governing subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska are subject to public review and annual approval. This rule establishes regulations for the taking of migratory birds for subsistence uses in Alaska during the spring and summer of 2016. This rule also sets forth a list of migratory bird season openings and closures in Alaska by region.

    How do I find the history of these regulations?

    Background information, including past events leading to this rulemaking, accomplishments since the Migratory Bird Treaties with Canada and Mexico were amended, and a history, were originally addressed in the Federal Register on August 16, 2002 (67 FR 53511) and most recently on February 23, 2015 (80 FR 9392).

    Recent Federal Register documents and all final rules setting forth the annual harvest regulations are available at http://www.fws.gov/alaska/ambcc/regulations.htm or by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    What is the process for issuing regulations for the subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska?

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) is establishing migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2016 season. These regulations allow for the continuation of customary and traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska and prescribe regional information on when and where the harvesting of birds may occur. These regulations were developed under a co-management process involving the Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Native representatives.

    We opened the process to establish regulations for the 2016 spring and summer subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska in a proposed rule published in the Federal Register on April 13, 2015 (80 FR 19852), to amend 50 CFR part 20. While that proposed rule primarily addressed the regulatory process for hunting migratory birds for all purposes throughout the United States, we also discussed the background and history of Alaska subsistence regulations, explained the annual process for their establishment, and requested proposals for the 2016 season. The rulemaking processes for both types of migratory bird harvest are related, and the April 13, 2015, proposed rule explained the connection between the two.

    The Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council (Co-management Council) held meetings on April 8-9, 2015, to develop recommendations for changes that would take effect during the 2016 harvest season. The Co-management Council also amended the consent agenda package of carry-over regulations to request a limited emperor goose harvest for 2016; these recommended changes were presented first to the Pacific Flyway Council and then to the Service Regulations Committee (SRC) for approval at the committee's meeting on July 31, 2015.

    On December 17, 2015, we published in the Federal Register a proposed rule (80 FR 78950) to amend 50 CFR part 92 to establish regulations for the 2016 spring and summer subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska at subpart D, and to make certain changes to the permanent regulations at subparts A and C.

    Who is eligible to hunt under these regulations?

    Eligibility to harvest under the regulations established in 2003 was limited to permanent residents, regardless of race, in villages located within the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Archipelago, the Aleutian Islands, and in areas north and west of the Alaska Range (50 CFR 92.5). These geographical restrictions opened the initial migratory bird subsistence harvest to about 13 percent of Alaska residents. High-populated, roaded areas such as Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna and Fairbanks North Star boroughs, the Kenai Peninsula roaded area, the Gulf of Alaska roaded area, and Southeast Alaska were excluded from eligible subsistence harvest areas.

    Based on petitions requesting inclusion in the harvest in 2004, we added 13 additional communities based on criteria set forth in 50 CFR 92.5(c). These communities were Gulkana, Gakona, Tazlina, Copper Center, Mentasta Lake, Chitina, Chistochina, Tatitlek, Chenega, Port Graham, Nanwalek, Tyonek, and Hoonah, with a combined population of 2,766. In 2005, we added three additional communities for glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only, based on petitions requesting inclusion. These southeastern communities were Craig, Hydaburg, and Yakutat, with a combined population of 2,459, based on the latest census information at that time.

    In 2007, we enacted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's request to expand the Fairbanks North Star Borough excluded area to include the Central Interior area. This action excluded the following communities from participation in this harvest: Big Delta/Fort Greely, Healy, McKinley Park/Village, and Ferry, with a combined population of 2,812.

    In 2012, we received a request from the Native Village of Eyak to include Cordova, Alaska, for a limited season that would legalize the traditional gathering of gull eggs and the hunting of waterfowl during spring. This request resulted in a new, limited harvest of spring waterfowl and gull eggs starting in 2014.

    What is different in the regulations for 2016? Subpart A

    Under subpart A, General Provisions, we are amending § 92.4 by adding a new definition for “Edible meat” and revising the definition for “Nonwasteful taking.” These changes were requested in 2014, by the Bristol Bay Regional Council, which recommended that all edible parts of migratory waterfowl must be salvaged when harvested. The topic was originally brought up by the Association of Village Council Presidents after an incident in their region where tundra swans were only breasted and the remainder of the bird was discarded. The concern was that “indigenous inhabitants” harvesters come from a variety of different cultures, and it was expressed that subsistence should involve retaining the whole bird for food and other uses.

    Subpart C

    Under subpart C, General Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest, we are amending § 92.22, the list of birds open to subsistence harvest, by updating scientific names for six species and clarifying the nomenclature for Canada goose subspecies. These nomenclature updates come from the Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

    Subpart D

    The regulations we are establishing for subpart D, Annual Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest, are the same as the 2015 regulations. While we are not establishing any changes to the 2015 regulations for subpart D in this 2016 rule, we provide information below on potential changes to the regulations for this subpart in the 2017 migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska.

    The Co-management Council proposed a new emperor goose (Chen canagica) limited subsistence hunt for the 2016 season. Since 2012, the Co-management Council has received regulatory proposals from the Sun'aq Tribe of Kodiak, the Kodiak-Aleutians Subsistence Regional Advisory Council, the Yaquillrit Keutisti Council (Bristol Bay), and the Bering Strait/Norton Sound Migratory Bird Council (Kawerak) to open the harvest of emperor geese for the subsistence season. Since the hunting season has been closed since 1987 for emperor geese, the Co-management Council created a subcommittee to address these proposals. The emperor goose harvest is guided by the 2006 Pacific Flyway Management Plan and the 2005-2006 Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Goose Management Plan. Over 95 percent of the emperor goose population breeds on the Yukon-Kuskowim Delta of Alaska, and most emperor geese winter in remote western Alaska with the remainder wintering in Russia. The Pacific Flyway Council recognizes the 3-year average abundance estimate derived from the emperor goose spring population survey on the Alaska Peninsula as the management index to guide harvest management decisions. The Pacific Flyway Council's Emperor Goose Management Plan and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Goose Management Plan indicate that a harvest can be considered when the 3-year average abundance index is at least 80,000 birds. This threshold has not been reached since 1984, and Alaska Natives have questioned the survey methods used to determine the population index.

    In addition, two studies are being conducted concurrently by the Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The first study is designed to provide a comprehensive evaluation of all available emperor goose survey data and assess harvest potential of the population. The second study is designed to develop a Bayesian state space population model to improve estimates of population size by integrating current population assessment methods using all available data sets. The model provides a framework from which to make inferences about survival rates, age structure, and population size. The results of these studies will assist in amending the management plans.

    The Service conducted the spring emperor goose survey April 25-28, 2015, and results indicated that the 2015 spring index (98,155) was 23 percent above the 2014 count (79,883), and 49 percent higher than the long-term (1981-2014) average (65,923). The most recent 3-year average count (2012, 2014, 2015) is 81,875 geese and the highest on record since 1984. Further, it is above the threshold for consideration of an open hunting season on emperor geese as specified in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Goose Management Plan and the Pacific Flyway Council Management Plan for emperor geese.

    As a result of this new information, the Co-management Council amended their motion of the consent agenda to add an allowance for a limited emperor goose harvest in 2016. The Pacific Flyway Council met in July 2015, and supported the Co-management Council's recommendation to work with the State of Alaska and the Service to develop harvest regulations and monitoring for a limited emperor goose harvest in 2016. On July 31, 2015, the SRC supported the Co-management Council's proposed limited harvest of emperor geese for the 2016 Alaska spring and summer subsistence season. However, the approval was provisional based upon the following:

    (1) A limited harvest of 3,500 emperor geese to ensure that population growth continues toward the Flyway management plan objective;

    (2) A harvest allocation (e.g., an individual, family, or Village quota or permit hunt) that ensures harvest does not exceed 3,500;

    (3) Agreement on a monitoring program to index abundance of the emperor goose population; and

    (4) A revised Pacific Flyway Emperor Goose Management Plan, including harvest allocation among all parties (including spring/summer and fall/winter), population objective, population monitoring, and thresholds for season restriction or closure.

    The harvest allocation design and harvest monitoring plan are to be completed by November 1, 2016. Additionally, there was an explicit statement that the limited, legalized harvest of 3,500 birds was not in addition to existing subsistence harvest (approximately 3,200 emperor geese). The 3,500-bird allowable harvest is to be allocated to subsistence users during the spring and summer subsistence season. The SRC suggested that the allowable harvest should be monitored to ensure it does not exceed 3,500 birds.

    On August 13-14, and September 21, 2015, the Co-management Council Native Caucus met separately and with all partners to discuss options available to limit and monitor the harvest, as well as options to allocate the 3,500 birds across the six regions where emperor geese occur. Given the limited time provided to address the four conditions placed on this new harvest by the SRC, all partners agreed that the best course of action would be to spend additional time working together to develop a culturally sensitive framework tailored to each participating region that conserves the population and adequately addresses the data needs of all partners. In support of this recommendation, the Co-management Council took action to: Postpone an emperor goose harvest until 2017; work with all partners to develop the harvest framework; and work with their Emperor Goose Subcommittee and the Pacific Flyway Council on updating the Pacific Flyway Emperor Goose Management Plan.

    How will the Service ensure that the subsistence harvest will not raise overall migratory bird harvest or threaten the conservation of endangered and threatened species?

    We have monitored subsistence harvest for the past 25 years through the use of household surveys in the most heavily used subsistence harvest areas, such as the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. In recent years, more intensive surveys combined with outreach efforts focused on species identification have been added to improve the accuracy of information gathered from regions still reporting some subsistence harvest of listed or candidate species.

    Spectacled and Steller's Eiders

    Spectacled eiders (Somateria fischeri) and the Alaska-breeding population of Steller's eiders (Polysticta stelleri) are listed as threatened species. Their migration and breeding distribution overlap with areas where the spring and summer subsistence migratory bird hunt is open in Alaska. Both species are closed to hunting, although harvest surveys and Service documentation indicate both species have been taken in several regions of Alaska.

    The Service has dual objectives and responsibilities for authorizing a subsistence harvest while protecting migratory birds and threatened species. Although these objectives continue to be challenging, they are not irreconcilable, provided that regulations continue to protect threatened species, measures to address documented threats are implemented, and the subsistence community and other conservation partners commit to working together. With these dual objectives in mind, the Service, working with North Slope partners, developed measures in 2009, to further reduce the potential for shooting mortality or injury of closed species. These conservation measures included: (1) Increased waterfowl hunter outreach and community awareness through partnering with the North Slope Migratory Bird Task Force; and (2) continued enforcement of the migratory bird regulations that are protective of listed eiders.

    This final rule continues to focus on the North Slope from Barrow to Point Hope because Steller's eiders from the listed Alaska breeding population are known to breed and migrate there. These regulations are designed to address several ongoing eider management needs by clarifying for subsistence users that (1) Service law enforcement personnel have authority to verify species of birds possessed by hunters, and (2) it is illegal to possess any species of bird closed to harvest. This rule also describes how the Service's existing authority of emergency closure would be implemented, if necessary, to protect Steller's eiders. We are always willing to discuss regulations with our partners on the North Slope to ensure protection of closed species as well as provide subsistence hunters an opportunity to harvest migratory birds in a way that maintains the culture and traditional harvest of the community. The regulations pertaining to bag checks and possession of illegal birds are deemed necessary to monitor the number of closed eider species taken during the subsistence hunt.

    The Service is aware of and appreciates the considerable efforts by North Slope partners to raise awareness and educate hunters on Steller's eider conservation via the bird fair, meetings, radio shows, signs, school visits, and one-on-one contacts. We also recognize that no listed eiders have been documented shot from 2009 through 2012; however, one Steller's eider and one spectacled eider were found shot during the summer of 2013, and one Steller's eider was found shot in 2014. In 2015, one spectacled eider was found dead, and it appeared to have been shot by a hunter. The Service acknowledges progress made with the other eider conservation measures, including partnering with the North Slope Migratory Bird Task Force, for increased waterfowl hunter awareness, continued enforcement of the regulations, and in-season verification of the harvest. To reduce the threat of shooting mortality of threatened eiders, we continue to work with North Slope partners to conduct education and outreach. In addition, the emergency closure authority provides another level of assurance if an unexpected number of Steller's eiders are killed by shooting (50 CFR 92.21 and 50 CFR 92.32).

    In-season harvest monitoring information will be used to evaluate the efficacy of regulations, conservation measures, and outreach efforts. Conservation measures are being continued by the Service, with the amount of effort and emphasis being based on regulatory adherence.

    The longstanding general emergency closure provision at 50 CFR 92.21 specifies that the harvest may be closed or temporarily suspended upon finding that a continuation of the regulation allowing the harvest would pose an imminent threat to the conservation of any migratory bird population. With regard to Steller's eiders, the regulations at 50 CFR 92.32, carried over from the past 5 years, clarify that we will take action under 50 CFR 92.21 as is necessary to prevent further take of Steller's eiders, and that action could include temporary or long-term closures of the harvest in all or a portion of the geographic area open to harvest. When and if mortality of threatened eiders is documented, we will evaluate each mortality event by criteria such as cause, quantity, sex, age, location, and date. We will consult with the Co-management Council when we are considering an emergency closure. If we determine that an emergency closure is necessary, we will design it to minimize its impact on the subsistence harvest.

    Endangered Species Act Consideration

    Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1536) requires the Secretary of the Interior to “review other programs administered by him and utilize such programs in furtherance of the purposes of the Act” and to “insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out * * * is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat. * * *” We conducted an intra-agency consultation with the Service's Fairbanks Fish and Wildlife Field Office on this harvest as it will be managed in accordance with this final rule and the conservation measures. The consultation was completed with a biological opinion dated December 18, 2015, that concluded the final rule and conservation measures are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of Steller's and spectacled eiders or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat.

    Summary of Public Involvement

    On December 17, 2015, we published in the Federal Register a proposed rule (80 FR 78950) to establish spring and summer migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2016 subsistence season. The proposed rule provided for a public comment period of 60 days, ending February 16, 2016. We posted an announcement of the comment period dates for the proposed rule, as well as the rule itself and related historical documents, on the Co-management Council's Internet homepage. We issued a press release announcing our request for public comments and the pertinent deadlines for such comments, which was faxed to the media Statewide in Alaska. Additionally, all documents were available on http://www.regulations.gov. The Service received two responses from the public.

    Response to Public Comments

    Comment: We received one comment on the overall regulations that expressed strong opposition to the concept of allowing any harvest of migratory birds in Alaska.

    Service Response: For centuries, indigenous inhabitants of Alaska have harvested migratory birds for subsistence purposes during the spring and summer months. The Canada and Mexico migratory bird treaties were amended for the express purpose of allowing subsistence hunting for migratory birds during the spring and summer. The amendments indicate that the Service should issue regulations allowing such hunting as provided in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; see 16 U.S.C. 712(1). Please refer to Statutory Authority section, below, for more details.

    Comment: We received one comment encouraging the use of steel shot in rural Alaska.

    Service Response: These subsistence regulations have prohibited the possession and use of non-toxic shot since the program's inception in 2003. This has been a target of both outreach and enforcement through the years.

    Comment: We received one comment requesting the reinstatement of a mandatory Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (“Duck Stamp”) for hunters over 12 or 16 years of age.

    Service Response: On December 18, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-264). The Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014 amends the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act (16 U.S.C. 718a-718k, as amended) by, among other things, adding an exemption from the requirement to purchase a Duck Stamp for rural Alaska subsistence users. Specifically, the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014 states that purchase of a Duck Stamp is not required “by a rural Alaska resident for subsistence uses (as that term is defined in section 803 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act [ANILCA] (16 U.S.C. 3113)).” ANILCA (Pub. L. 96-487, 94 Stat. 2371) is codified, as amended, at 16 U.S.C. 410hh-3233 and 43 U.S.C. 1602-1784. To remove this exemption would require another congressional action.

    Comment: We received one comment encouraging more hunter education classes in rural areas.

    Service Response: Hunter education classes are coordinated and conducted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

    Comment: We received one comment saying we should encourage proper cooking and cleaning procedures and storage of harvested birds.

    Service Response: The annual public regulations booklet for the subsistence spring/summer migratory bird harvest has a special section on the last page dedicated to just these topics.

    Comment: We received one comment saying we should attempt to minimize use of trail vehicles and motorized equipment during the nesting season.

    Service Response: Access to nesting areas is dictated by the local land owner or manager. In the case of national wildlife refuges, contact the appropriate Service refuge office directly to discuss access issues.

    Comment: We received one comment saying that local populations of sea ducks as well as geese should be more protected.

    Service Response: Following declines from the 1960s to the 1980s, most sea duck and other waterfowl populations have stabilized. For example, the 2015 Environmental Assessment found that common eiders have increased since the mid-1990s, while king eiders have stabilized since 1996. Factors driving population fluctuations in sea duck populations are uncertain, but there is some evidence that sea ducks are responding to large scale changes in the marine environment. Harvested goose populations are all generally high or over management objectives. Total annual and long-term subsistence and sport harvest of waterfowl in Alaska and the Pacific Flyway are low relative to the size of their continental populations. In general, we do not set regulations to address waterfowl populations on a local scale because sport and subsistence harvest estimates and estimates of species abundance are very imprecise at local scales. We set subsistence harvest regulations on a regional or statewide level based on species or subspecies continental population status. We would welcome any suggestions on how to make our regulations more effective in conserving local populations of hunted birds.

    Statutory Authority

    We derive our authority to issue these regulations from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, at 16 U.S.C. 712(1), which authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, in accordance with the treaties with Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Russia, to “issue such regulations as may be necessary to assure that the taking of migratory birds and the collection of their eggs, by the indigenous inhabitants of the State of Alaska, shall be permitted for their own nutritional and other essential needs, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior, during seasons established so as to provide for the preservation and maintenance of stocks of migratory birds.”

    Effective Date of This Rule

    The amendments to subpart D of 50 CFR part 92 will take effect less than 30 days after publication (see DATES, above). If there was a delay in the effective date of these regulations after this final rulemaking, subsistence hunters would not be able to take full advantage of their subsistence hunting opportunities. We therefore find that “good cause” exists justifying the earlier start date, within the terms of 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) of the Administrative Procedure Act, and under authority of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (July 3, 1918), as amended (16 U.S.C. 703-712).

    Required Determinations Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. The OIRA has determined that this rule is not significant.

    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of the Interior certifies that, if adopted, this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). A regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide is not required. This final rule would legalize a pre-existing subsistence activity, and the resources harvested will be consumed.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:

    (a) Will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. It legalizes and regulates a traditional subsistence activity. It will not result in a substantial increase in subsistence harvest or a significant change in harvesting patterns. The commodities that will be regulated under this final rule are migratory birds. This rule deals with legalizing the subsistence harvest of migratory birds and, as such, does not involve commodities traded in the marketplace. A small economic benefit from this final rule will derive from the sale of equipment and ammunition to carry out subsistence hunting. Most, if not all, businesses that sell hunting equipment in rural Alaska qualify as small businesses. We have no reason to believe that this final rule will lead to a disproportionate distribution of benefits.

    (b) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers; individual industries; Federal, State, or local government agencies; or geographic regions. This final rule does not deal with traded commodities and, therefore, does not have an impact on prices for consumers.

    (c) Will not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. This final rule deals with the harvesting of wildlife for personal consumption. It does not regulate the marketplace in any way to generate substantial effects on the economy or the ability of businesses to compete.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    We have determined and certified under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) that this final rule will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local, State, or tribal governments or private entities. The final rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act is not required. Participation on regional management bodies and the Co-management Council requires travel expenses for some Alaska Native organizations and local governments. In addition, they assume some expenses related to coordinating involvement of village councils in the regulatory process. Total coordination and travel expenses for all Alaska Native organizations are estimated to be less than $300,000 per year. In a notice of decision (65 FR 16405; March 28, 2000), we identified 7 to 12 partner organizations (Alaska Native nonprofits and local governments) to administer the regional programs. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game also incurs expenses for travel to Co-management Council and regional management body meetings. In addition, the State of Alaska will be required to provide technical staff support to each of the regional management bodies and to the Co-management Council. Expenses for the State's involvement may exceed $100,000 per year, but should not exceed $150,000 per year. When funding permits, we make annual grant agreements available to the partner organizations and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to help offset their expenses.

    Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    Under the criteria in Executive Order 12630, this final rule will not have significant takings implications. This final rule is not specific to particular land ownership, but applies to the harvesting of migratory bird resources throughout Alaska. A takings implication assessment is not required.

    Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    Under the criteria in Executive Order 13132, this final rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. We discuss effects of this final rule on the State of Alaska in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act section, above. We worked with the State of Alaska to develop these final regulations. Therefore, a federalism summary impact statement is not required.

    Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    The Department, in promulgating this final rule, has determined that it will not unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

    Government-to-Government Relations With Native American Tribal Governments

    Consistent with Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249; November 6, 2000), “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments”, and Department of Interior policy on Consultation with Indian Tribes (December 1, 2011), in January 2016, we sent letters via electronic mail to all 229 Alaska Federally recognized Indian tribes. Consistent with Congressional direction (Pub. L. 108-199, div. H, Sec. 161, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 452, as amended by Pub. L. 108-447, div. H, title V, Sec. 518, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3267), we also sent letters to approximately 200 Alaska Native corporations and other tribal entities in Alaska soliciting their input as to whether or not they would like the Service to consult with them on the 2016 migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations. We received one response that requested consultation. We conducted one consultation with a Native Traditional Council on February 16, 2016. The tribal contacts were happy with the information provided and did not have any specific comments on the regulations.

    We implemented the amended treaty with Canada with a focus on local involvement. The treaty calls for the creation of management bodies to ensure an effective and meaningful role for Alaska's indigenous inhabitants in the conservation of migratory birds. According to the Letter of Submittal, management bodies are to include Alaska Native, Federal, and State of Alaska representatives as equals. They develop recommendations for, among other things: Seasons and bag limits, methods and means of take, law enforcement policies, population and harvest monitoring, education programs, research and use of traditional knowledge, and habitat protection. The management bodies involve village councils to the maximum extent possible in all aspects of management. To ensure maximum input at the village level, we required each of the 11 participating regions to create regional management bodies consisting of at least one representative from the participating villages. The regional management bodies meet twice annually to review and/or submit proposals to the Statewide body.

    Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA)

    This final rule does not contain any new collections of information that require Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. OMB has reviewed and approved our collection of information associated with:

    • Voluntary annual household surveys that we use to determine levels of subsistence take (OMB Control Number 1018-0124, expires June 30, 2016).

    • Permits associated with subsistence hunting (OMB Control Number 1018-0075, expires April 30, 2016).

    National Environmental Policy Act Consideration (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    The annual regulations and options are considered in an October 2016 environmental assessment, “Managing Migratory Bird Subsistence Hunting in Alaska: Hunting Regulations for the 2016 Spring/Summer Harvest,” dated October 9, 2015. Copies are available from the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or at http://www.regulations.gov.

    Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (Executive Order 13211)

    Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. This is not a significant regulatory action under this Executive Order; it would allow only for traditional subsistence harvest and improve conservation of migratory birds by allowing effective regulation of this harvest. Further, this final rule is not expected to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action under Executive Order 13211, and a Statement of Energy Effects is not required.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 92

    Hunting, Treaties, Wildlife.

    Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, we amend title 50, chapter I, subchapter G, of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 92—MIGRATORY BIRD SUBSISTENCE HARVEST IN ALASKA 1. The authority citation for part 92 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 703-712.

    Subpart A—General Provisions 2. Amend § 92.4 by adding, in alphabetical order, a definition for “Edible meat” and revising the definition for “Nonwasteful taking” to read as follows:
    § 92.4 Definitions.

    Edible meat means the meat from the breast, back, thighs, legs, wings, gizzard, and heart. The head, neck, feet, other internal organs, and skin are considered inedible byproducts, and not edible meat, for all provisions of this part.

    Nonwasteful taking means making a reasonable effort to retrieve all birds killed or wounded, and retaining all edible meat until the birds have been transported to the location where they will be consumed, processed, or preserved as human food.

    Subpart C—General Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest 3. Amend § 92.22 by: a. Revising paragraph (a)(3); b. Removing and reserving paragraph (a)(4); and c. Revising paragraphs (a)(5) and (6), (i)(3), (13), and (15), (j)(4) and (15), and (l)(2).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 92.22 Subsistence migratory bird species.

    (a) * * *

    (3) Canada goose (Branta canadensis).

    (5) Canada goose, subspecies Aleutian goose—except in the Semidi Islands.

    (6) Canada goose, subspecies cackling goose—except no egg gathering is permitted.

    (i) * * *

    (3) Spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularius).

    (13) Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata).

    (15) Red phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius).

    (j) * * *

    (4) Bonaparte's gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia).

    (15) Aleutian tern (Onychoprion aleuticus).

    (l) * * *

    (2) Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus).

    Subpart D—Annual Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest 4. Amend subpart D by adding § 92.31 to read as follows:
    § 92.31 Region-specific regulations.

    The 2016 season dates for the eligible subsistence harvest areas are as follows:

    (a) Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Region. (1) Northern Unit (Pribilof Islands):

    (i) Season: April 2-June 30.

    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.

    (2) Central Unit (Aleutian Region's eastern boundary on the Alaska Peninsula westward to and including Unalaska Island):

    (i) Season: April 2-June 15 and July 16-August 31.

    (ii) Closure: June 16-July 15.

    (iii) Special Black Brant Season Closure: August 16-August 31, only in Izembek and Moffet lagoons.

    (iv) Special Tundra Swan Closure: All hunting and egg gathering closed in Game Management Units 9(D) and 10.

    (3) Western Unit (Umnak Island west to and including Attu Island):

    (i) Season: April 2-July 15 and August 16-August 31.

    (ii) Closure: July 16-August 15.

    (b) Yukon/Kuskokwim Delta Region. (1) Season: April 2-August 31.

    (2) Closure: 30-day closure dates to be announced by the Service's Alaska Regional Director or his designee, after consultation with field biologists and the Association of Village Council President's Waterfowl Conservation Committee. This 30-day period will occur between June 1 and August 15 of each year. A press release announcing the actual closure dates will be forwarded to regional newspapers and radio and television stations.

    (3) Special Black Brant and Cackling Goose Season Hunting Closure: From the period when egg laying begins until young birds are fledged. Closure dates to be announced by the Service's Alaska Regional Director or his designee, after consultation with field biologists and the Association of Village Council President's Waterfowl Conservation Committee. A press release announcing the actual closure dates will be forwarded to regional newspapers and radio and television stations.

    (c) Bristol Bay Region. (1) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 16-August 31 (general season); April 2-July 15 for seabird egg gathering only.

    (2) Closure: June 15-July 15 (general season); July 16-August 31 (seabird egg gathering).

    (d) Bering Strait/Norton Sound Region. (1) Stebbins/St. Michael Area (Point Romanof to Canal Point):

    (i) Season: April 15-June 14 and July 16-August 31.

    (ii) Closure: June 15-July 15.

    (2) Remainder of the region:

    (i) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 16-August 31 for waterfowl; April 2-July 19 and August 21-August 31 for all other birds.

    (ii) Closure: June 15-July 15 for waterfowl; July 20-August 20 for all other birds.

    (e) Kodiak Archipelago Region, except for the Kodiak Island roaded area, which is closed to the harvesting of migratory birds and their eggs. The closed area consists of all lands and waters (including exposed tidelands) east of a line extending from Crag Point in the north to the west end of Saltery Cove in the south and all lands and water south of a line extending from Termination Point along the north side of Cascade Lake extending to Anton Larsen Bay. Marine waters adjacent to the closed area are closed to harvest within 500 feet from the water's edge. The offshore islands are open to harvest.

    (1) Season: April 2-June 30 and July 31-August 31 for seabirds; April 2-June 20 and July 22-August 31 for all other birds.

    (2) Closure: July 1-July 30 for seabirds; June 21-July 21 for all other birds.

    (f) Northwest Arctic Region. (1) Season: April 2-June 9 and August 15-August 31 (hunting in general); waterfowl egg gathering May 20-June 9 only; seabird egg gathering May 20-July 12 only; hunting molting/non-nesting waterfowl July 1-July 31 only.

    (2) Closure: June 10-August 14, except for the taking of seabird eggs and molting/non-nesting waterfowl as provided in paragraph (f)(1) of this section.

    (g) North Slope Region. (1) Southern Unit (Southwestern North Slope regional boundary east to Peard Bay, everything west of the longitude line 158°3′ W. and south of the latitude line 70°45′ N. to the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River, and everything south of the latitude line 69°45′ N. between the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River to the east bank of Sagavinirktok River):

    (i) Season: April 2-June 29 and July 30-August 31 for seabirds; April 2-June 19 and July 20-August 31 for all other birds.

    (ii) Closure: June 30-July 29 for seabirds; June 20-July 19 for all other birds.

    (iii) Special Black Brant Hunting Opening: From June 20-July 5. The open area consists of the coastline, from mean high water line outward to include open water, from Nokotlek Point east to longitude line 158°30′ W. This includes Peard Bay, Kugrua Bay, and Wainwright Inlet, but not the Kuk and Kugrua river drainages.

    (2) Northern Unit (At Peard Bay, everything east of the longitude line 158°30′ W. and north of the latitude line 70°45′ N. to west bank of the Ikpikpuk River, and everything north of the latitude line 69°45′ N. between the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River to the east bank of Sagavinirktok River):

    (i) Season: April 2-June 6 and July 7-August 31 for king and common eiders; April 2-June 15 and July 16-August 31 for all other birds.

    (ii) Closure: June 7-July 6 for king and common eiders; June 16-July 15 for all other birds.

    (3) Eastern Unit (East of eastern bank of the Sagavanirktok River):

    (i) Season: April 2-June 19 and July 20-August 31.

    (ii) Closure: June 20-July 19.

    (4) All Units: Yellow-billed loons. Annually, up to 20 yellow-billed loons total for the region inadvertently entangled in subsistence fishing nets in the North Slope Region may be kept for subsistence use.

    (5) North Coastal Zone (Cape Thompson north to Point Hope and east along the Arctic Ocean coastline around Point Barrow to Ross Point, including Iko Bay, and 5 miles inland).

    (i) No person may at any time, by any means, or in any manner, possess or have in custody any migratory bird or part thereof, taken in violation of subparts C and D of this part.

    (ii) Upon request from a Service law enforcement officer, hunters taking, attempting to take, or transporting migratory birds taken during the subsistence harvest season must present them to the officer for species identification.

    (h) Interior Region. (1) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 16-August 31; egg gathering May 1-June 14 only.

    (2) Closure: June 15-July 15.

    (i) Upper Copper River Region (Harvest Area: Game Management Units 11 and 13) (Eligible communities: Gulkana, Chitina, Tazlina, Copper Center, Gakona, Mentasta Lake, Chistochina and Cantwell).

    (1) Season: April 15-May 26 and June 27-August 31.

    (2) Closure: May 27-June 26.

    (3) The Copper River Basin communities listed above also documented traditional use harvesting birds in Game Management Unit 12, making them eligible to hunt in this unit using the seasons specified in paragraph (h) of this section.

    (j) Gulf of Alaska Region. (1) Prince William Sound Area West (Harvest area: Game Management Unit 6[D]), (Eligible Chugach communities: Chenega Bay, Tatitlek):

    (i) Season: April 2-May 31 and July 1-August 31.

    (ii) Closure: June 1-30.

    (2) Prince William Sound Area East (Harvest area: Game Management Units 6[B] and [C]—Barrier Islands between Strawberry Channel and Softtuk Bar), (Eligible Chugach communities: Cordova):

    (i) Season: April 2-April 30 (hunting); May 1-May 31 (gull egg gathering).

    (ii) Closure: May 1-August 31 (hunting); April 2-30 and June 1-August 31 (gull egg gathering).

    (iii) Species Open for Hunting: Greater white-fronted goose; snow goose; gadwall; Eurasian and American wigeon; blue-winged and green-winged teal; mallard; northern shoveler; northern pintail; canvasback; redhead; ring-necked duck; greater and lesser scaup; king and common eider; harlequin duck; surf, white-winged, and black scoter; long-tailed duck; bufflehead; common and Barrow's goldeneye; hooded, common, and red-breasted merganser; and sandhill crane. Species open for egg gathering: glaucous-winged, herring, and mew gulls.

    (iv) Use of Boats/All-Terrain Vehicles: No hunting from motorized vehicles or any form of watercraft.

    (v) Special Registration: All hunters or egg gatherers must possess an annual permit, which is available from the Cordova offices of the Native Village of Eyak and the U.S. Forest Service.

    (3) Kachemak Bay Area (Harvest area: Game Management Unit 15[C] South of a line connecting the tip of Homer Spit to the mouth of Fox River) (Eligible Chugach Communities: Port Graham, Nanwalek):

    (i) Season: April 2-May 31 and July 1-August 31.

    (ii) Closure: June 1-30.

    (k) Cook Inlet (Harvest area: portions of Game Management Unit 16[B] as specified below) (Eligible communities: Tyonek only):

    (1) Season: April 2-May 31—That portion of Game Management Unit 16(B) south of the Skwentna River and west of the Yentna River, and August 1-31—That portion of Game Management Unit 16(B) south of the Beluga River, Beluga Lake, and the Triumvirate Glacier.

    (2) Closure: June 1-July 31.

    (l) Southeast Alaska. (1) Community of Hoonah (Harvest area: National Forest lands in Icy Strait and Cross Sound, including Middle Pass Rock near the Inian Islands, Table Rock in Cross Sound, and other traditional locations on the coast of Yakobi Island. The land and waters of Glacier Bay National Park remain closed to all subsistence harvesting (50 CFR part 100.3(a)):

    (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only: May 15-June 30.

    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.

    (2) Communities of Craig and Hydaburg (Harvest area: Small islands and adjacent shoreline of western Prince of Wales Island from Point Baker to Cape Chacon, but also including Coronation and Warren islands):

    (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only: May 15-June 30.

    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.

    (3) Community of Yakutat (Harvest area: Icy Bay (Icy Cape to Point Riou), and coastal lands and islands bordering the Gulf of Alaska from Point Manby southeast to and including Dry Bay):

    (i) Season: glaucous-winged gull egg gathering: May 15-June 30.

    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.

    5. Amend subpart D by adding § 92.32 to read as follows:
    § 92.32 Emergency regulations to protect Steller's eiders.

    Upon finding that continuation of these subsistence regulations would pose an imminent threat to the conservation of threatened Steller's eiders (Polysticta stelleri,) the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Regional Director, in consultation with the Co-management Council, will immediately under § 92.21 take action as is necessary to prevent further take. Regulation changes implemented could range from a temporary closure of duck hunting in a small geographic area to large-scale regional or Statewide long-term closures of all subsistence migratory bird hunting. These closures or temporary suspensions will remain in effect until the Regional Director, in consultation with the Co-management Council, determines that the potential for additional Steller's eiders to be taken no longer exists.

    Dated: March 21, 2016. Karen Hyun, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07398 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 300 [Docket No. 160127057-6280-02] RIN 0648-BF60 Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This final rule announces the approval of the Catch Sharing Plan (Plan) for halibut fishing in Area 2A (waters off the U.S. West Coast) with modifications recommended by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), and establishes implementing regulations for 2016. These actions are intended to conserve Pacific halibut, provide angler opportunity where available, and minimize bycatch of overfished groundfish species. The sport fishing management measures in this rule are an additional subsection of the regulations for the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) published on March 16, 2016.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective April 1, 2016. The 2016 management measures are effective until superseded.

    ADDRESSES:

    Additional requests for information regarding this action may be obtained by contacting the Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS West Coast Region, 7600 Sand Point Way, NE., Seattle, WA 98115. For information regarding all halibut fisheries and general regulations not contained in this rule contact the International Pacific Halibut Commission, 2320 W. Commodore Way Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98199-1287; this final rule also is accessible via the Internet at the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0166. Electronic copies of the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) prepared for this action may be obtained by contacting Sarah Williams, phone: 206-526-4646, email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sarah Williams, 206-526-4646, email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Electronic Access

    This rule is accessible via the Internet at the Office of the Federal Register Web site at

    http://www.access.thefederalregister.org/su_docs/aces/aces140.html. Background information and documents are available at the NMFS West Coast Region Web site at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/management/pacific_halibut_management.html and at the Council's Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org.

    Background

    The IPHC has promulgated regulations governing the Pacific halibut fishery in 2016, pursuant to the Convention between Canada and the United States for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea (Convention), signed at Ottawa, Ontario, on March 2, 1953, as amended by a Protocol Amending the Convention (signed at Washington, DC, on March 29, 1979). Pursuant to the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut Act) at 16 U.S.C. 773b, the Secretary of State accepted the 2016 IPHC regulations as provided by the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut Act) at 16 U.S.C. 773-773k. NMFS published these regulations on March 16, 2016 (81 FR 14000).

    The Halibut Act provides that the Regional Fishery Management Councils may develop, and the Secretary may implement, regulations governing harvesting privileges among U.S. fishermen in U.S. waters that are in addition to, and not in conflict with, approved IPHC regulations. To that end, since 1988 the Council and NMFS have managed the halibut fisheries in Area 2A, which is off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California, through a Catch Sharing Plan (Plan). The Plan allocates the Area 2A Total Allowable Catch (TAC), which is set by the IPHC, among treaty Indian and non-Indian commercial and sport harvesters. The treaty Indian fisheries include tribal commercial, tribal ceremonial, and subsistence fisheries. Between 1988 and 1995, the Council developed and NMFS implemented annual catch sharing plans for Area 2A. In 1995, NMFS implemented the Council-recommended long-term Plan (60 FR 14651, March 20, 1995). Every year since then, minor revisions to the Plan have been made to adjust for the changing needs of the fisheries. These revisions are not codified.

    NMFS implements the allocation framework in the Plan through annual regulations for Area 2A. The proposed rule describing the changes the Council recommended to the Plan and resulting proposed Area 2A regulations for 2016 was published on February 19, 2016 (81 FR 8466). The IPHC held its annual meeting January 25-29, 2016, and selected a TAC of 1,140,000 pounds for Area 2A.

    For 2016, this final rule contains only those regulations implementing the Plan in Area 2A. NMFS published the complete IPHC regulations, which apply to commercial, treaty Indian, and recreational fisheries in addition to this rule, separately on March 16, 2016 (81 FR 14000). Therefore anyone wishing to fish for halibut in Area 2A should read both this final rule and the March 16, 2016 final rule that implements the IPHC regulations.

    Changes to the Pacific Fishery Management Council's Area 2A Catch Sharing Plan and Codified Regulations

    This final rule announces the approval of several Council-recommended changes to the Pacific Fishery Management Council's Area 2A Plan and implements the Plan through annual management measures. For 2016, the Council recommended minor modifications to sport fisheries to better match the needs of the fishery, updates to the inseason procedures to reflect current practices, and an update to the description of the tribal fishing area. The Council also recommended changes to the codified regulations to remove coordinates that are described in groundfish regulations so that fishers have one location for closed areas coordinates, updates to Tribal fishing areas to account for a recent court order, updates to the description of non-trawl Rockfish Conservation Area to match modifications made through the 2015-2016 groundfish harvest specifications, and minor changes to match the changes to the Plan.

    Incidental Halibut Retention in the Sablefish Primary Fishery North of Pt. Chehalis, Washington, and the Salmon Troll Fishery Along the West Coast

    The Plan provides that incidental halibut retention in the sablefish primary fishery north of Pt. Chehalis, Washington, will be allowed when the Area 2A TAC is greater than 900,000 lb (408.2 mt), provided that a minimum of 10,000 lb (4.5 mt) is available above a Washington recreational TAC of 214,100 lb (97.1 mt). In 2016, the TAC is 1,140,000 lb (517.10 mt); therefore, based on the formula set forth in the Plan (any amount of the Washington recreational TAC over 214,000 lbs, up to 70,000 lbs) the allocation for incidental halibut retention in the sablefish fishery is 49,686 lb (22.54 mt). Landing restrictions were recommended by the Council at its March 10-14, 2016, meeting. NMFS will publish the restrictions in the Federal Register as an inseason action in the groundfish fishery.

    The Plan allocates 15 percent of the non-Indian commercial TAC to the salmon troll fishery in Area 2A. For 2016 the allocation is 34,126 lb (15.48 mt). The Council approved a range of landing restrictions for public review at its recent March meeting. The final landing restrictions will be addressed at the Council's April 2016 meeting and implemented in the annual salmon management measures.

    Comments and Responses

    NMFS accepted comments on the proposed rule for the Area 2A Plan and annual management measures through March 10, 2016. NMFS received three public comment letters: one comment letter each from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recommending season dates for halibut sport fisheries in each state.

    Comment 1: The WDFW held a public meeting following the IPHC's final 2016 TAC decisions to review the results of the recent Puget Sound halibut fishery. Based on input from stakeholders and using a revised site weighting methodology which helps derive catch per unit effort (CPUE) estimations, WDFW recommended a 2016 season that is open 8 days, a reduction from 11 days in 2015. For 2016 WDFW has also recommended managing Puget Sound as one area rather than an Eastern and Western areas as was done in 2015. For the Puget Sound halibut sport fishery, WDFW recommended the following open dates: May 7, 12, 13, 14, 26, 27, 28, and 29.

    Response: NMFS believes WDFW's recommended Puget Sound season dates will help keep this area within its quota, while providing for angler enjoyment and participation. Therefore, NMFS implements the dates for this subarea, as stated above, in this final rule.

    Comment 2: The ODFW held a public meeting and hosted an online survey following the final TAC decision by the IPHC. Based on public comments received on Oregon halibut fisheries, the ODFW recommended the following days for the spring fishery in the Central Coast subarea, within this subarea's parameters for a Thursday-Saturday season and weeks of adverse tidal conditions skipped: Regular open days May 12, 13, 14; 19, 20, 21; 26, 27, 28; and June 2, 3, 4. Back-up dates in case there is sufficient remaining quota will be June 16, 17, 18; 30, July 1, 2; 14, 15, 16; and 28, 29, 30. For the summer all-depth fishery in this subarea, ODFW recommended following the Plan's parameters of opening the first Friday in August, with open days to occur every other Friday-Saturday, unless modified in-season within the parameters of the Plan. Therefore, pursuant to the Plan, the ODFW recommended the 2016 summer all-depth fishery in Oregon's Central Coast Subarea to occur: August 5, 6; 19, 20; September 2, 3; 16, 17; 30, October 1; 14, 15; 28, 29 or until the total 2016 all-depth catch limit for the subarea is taken.

    Response: NMFS believes ODFW's recommended Central Coast season dates will help keep this area within its quota, while providing for angler enjoyment and participation. Therefore, NMFS implements the dates in this final rule.

    Comment 3: The CDFW submitted a letter describing the results of their 2015 fishery and recommendations for the 2016 fishery. Based on projected attainment of the subarea allocation, the CDFW recommended the following open days May 1-15; June 1-15; July1-15, August 1-15; September 1-October 31.

    Response: NMFS agrees with CDFW's recommended season dates. These dates will help keep this area within its quota, while providing for angler enjoyment and participation. Therefore, NMFS implements the dates in this final rule.

    Changes From the Proposed Rule

    On February 19, 2016, NMFS published a proposed rule to modify the Plan and recreational management measures for Area 2A (81 FR 8466). The allocations in the proposed rule are consistent with the final Area 2A TAC of 1,140,000 lb (517.10 mt) and the 2016 Plan as recommended by the Council. The only substantive change from the proposed rule is that season dates as recommended by the states following their stakeholder meetings are included in the final rule.

    Annual Halibut Management Measures

    The sport fishing regulations for Area 2A, included in section 26 below, are consistent with the measures adopted by the IPHC and approved by the Secretary of State, but were developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and promulgated by the United States under the Halibut Act. Section 26 refers to a section that is in addition to and corresponds to the numbering in the IPHC regulations published on March 16, 2016 (81 FR 14000).

    26. Sport Fishing for Halibut—Area 2A

    (1) The total allowable catch of halibut shall be limited to:

    (a) 214,110 pounds (97.1 metric tons) net weight in waters off Washington;

    (b) 220,077 pounds (99.8 metric tons) net weight in waters off Oregon; and

    (c) 29,640 pounds (13.4 metric tons) net weight in waters off California.

    (2) The Commission shall determine and announce closing dates to the public for any area in which the catch limits promulgated by NMFS are estimated to have been taken.

    (3) When the Commission has determined that a subquota under paragraph (8) of this section is estimated to have been taken, and has announced a date on which the season will close, no person shall sport fish for halibut in that area after that date for the rest of the year, unless a reopening of that area for sport halibut fishing is scheduled in accordance with the Catch Sharing Plan for Area 2A, or announced by the Commission.

    (4) In California, Oregon, or Washington, no person shall fillet, mutilate, or otherwise disfigure a halibut in any manner that prevents the determination of minimum size or the number of fish caught, possessed, or landed.

    (5) The possession limit on a vessel for halibut in the waters off the coast of Washington is the same as the daily bag limit. The possession limit on land in Washington for halibut caught in U.S. waters off the coast of Washington is two halibut.

    (6) The possession limit on a vessel for halibut caught in the waters off the coast of Oregon is the same as the daily bag limit. The possession limit for halibut on land in Oregon is three daily bag limits.

    (7) The possession limit on a vessel for halibut caught in the waters off the coast of California is one halibut. The possession limit for halibut on land in California is one halibut.

    (8) The sport fishing subareas, subquotas, fishing dates, and daily bag limits are as follows, except as modified under the in-season actions in 50 CFR 300.63(c). All sport fishing in Area 2A is managed on a “port of landing” basis, whereby any halibut landed into a port counts toward the quota for the area in which that port is located, and the regulations governing the area of landing apply, regardless of the specific area of catch.

    (a) The area in Puget Sound and the U.S. waters in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, east of a line extending from 48°17.30′ N. lat., 124°23.70′ W. long. north to 48°24.10′ N. lat., 124°23.70′ W. long., is not managed in-season relative to its quota. This area is managed by setting a season that is projected to result in a catch of 57,393 lb (26.03 mt).

    (i) The fishing season in Puget Sound is May 7, 12, 13, 14, 26, 27, 28, and 29.

    (ii) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per person.

    (b) The quota for landings into ports in the area off the north Washington coast, west of the line described in paragraph (2)(a) of section 26 and north of the Queets River (47°31.70′ N. lat.) (North Coast subarea), is 108,030 lb (49 mt).

    (i) The fishing seasons are:

    (A) Fishing is open May 7, 12, and 14. Any openings after May 14 will be based on available quota and announced on the NMFS hotline.

    (B) If sufficient quota remains the fishery will reopen until there is not sufficient quota for another full day of fishing and the area is closed by the Commission. After May 14, any fishery opening will be announced on the NMFS hotline at 800-662-9825. No halibut fishing will be allowed after May 14 unless the date is announced on the NMFS hotline.

    (ii) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per person.

    (iii) Recreational fishing for groundfish and halibut is prohibited within the North Coast Recreational Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area (YRCA). It is unlawful for recreational fishing vessels to take and retain, possess, or land halibut taken with recreational gear within the North Coast Recreational YRCA. A vessel fishing with recreational gear in the North Coast Recreational YRCA may not be in possession of any halibut. Recreational vessels may transit through the North Coast Recreational YRCA with or without halibut on board. The North Coast Recreational YRCA is a C-shaped area off the northern Washington coast intended to protect yelloweye rockfish. The North Coast Recreational YRCA is defined in groundfish regulations at § 660.70(a).

    (c) The quota for landings into ports in the area between the Queets River, WA (47°31.70′ N. lat.), and Leadbetter Point, WA (46°38.17′ N. lat.) (South Coast subarea), is 42,739 lb (19.39 mt).

    (i) This subarea is divided between the all-waters fishery (the Washington South coast primary fishery), and the incidental nearshore fishery in the area from 47°31.70′ N. lat. south to 46°58.00′ N. lat. and east of a boundary line approximating the 30 fm depth contour. This area is defined by straight lines connecting all of the following points in the order stated as described by the following coordinates (the Washington South coast, northern nearshore area):

    (1) 47°31.70′ N. lat, 124°37.03′ W. long;

    (2) 47°25.67′ N. lat, 124°34.79′ W. long;

    (3) 47°12.82′ N. lat, 124°29.12′ W. long;

    (4) 46°58.00′ N. lat, 124°24.24′ W. long.

    The south coast subarea quota will be allocated as follows: 40,739 lb (18.48 mt) for the primary fishery and 2,000 lb (0.91 mt) for the nearshore fishery. The primary fishery commences on May 1, and continues 2 days a week (Sunday and Tuesday) until May 17. If the primary quota is projected to be obtained sooner than expected, the management closure may occur earlier. Beginning on May 29, the primary fishery will be open at most 2 days per week (Sunday and/or Tuesday) until the quota for the south coast subarea primary fishery is taken and the season is closed by the Commission, or until September 30, whichever is earlier. The fishing season in the nearshore area commences on May 1, and continues 7 days per week. Subsequent to closure of the primary fishery, the nearshore fishery is open 7 days per week, until 42,739 lb (19.39 mt) is projected to be taken by the two fisheries combined and the fishery is closed by the Commission or September 30, whichever is earlier. If the fishery is closed prior to September 30, and there is insufficient quota remaining to reopen the northern nearshore area for another fishing day, then any remaining quota may be transferred in-season to another Washington coastal subarea by NMFS via an update to the recreational halibut hotline.

    (ii) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per person.

    (iii) Seaward of the boundary line approximating the 30-fm depth contour and during days open to the primary fishery, lingcod may be taken, retained and possessed when allowed by groundfish regulations at 50 CFR 660.360, subpart G.

    (iv) Recreational fishing for groundfish and halibut is prohibited within the South Coast Recreational YRCA and Westport Offshore YRCA. It is unlawful for recreational fishing vessels to take and retain, possess, or land halibut taken with recreational gear within the South Coast Recreational YRCA and Westport Offshore YRCA. A vessel fishing in the South Coast Recreational YRCA and/or Westport Offshore YRCA may not be in possession of any halibut. Recreational vessels may transit through the South Coast Recreational YRCA and Westport Offshore YRCA with or without halibut on board. The South Coast Recreational YRCA and Westport Offshore YRCA are areas off the southern Washington coast established to protect yelloweye rockfish. The South Coast Recreational YRCA is defined at 50 CFR 660.70(d). The Westport Offshore YRCA is defined at 50 CFR 660.70(e).

    (d) The quota for landings into ports in the area between Leadbetter Point, WA (46°38.17′ N. lat.), and Cape Falcon, OR (45°46.00′ N. lat.) (Columbia River subarea), is 11,009 lb (4.99 mt).

    (i) This subarea is divided into an all-depth fishery and a nearshore fishery. The nearshore fishery is allocated 500 pounds of the subarea allocation. The nearshore fishery extends from Leadbetter Point (46°38.17′ N. lat., 124°15.88′ W. long.) to the Washington-Oregon Border (46°16.00′ N. lat., 124°15.88′ W. long.) by connecting the following coordinates in Washington 46°38.17′ N. lat., 124°15.88′ W. long. 46°16.00′ N. lat., 124°15.88′ W. long and connecting to the boundary line approximating the 40 fm (73 m) depth contour in Oregon. The nearshore fishery opens May 2, and continues 3 days per week (Monday-Wednesday) until the nearshore allocation is taken, or September 30, whichever is earlier. The all depth fishing season commences on May 1, and continues 4 days a week (Thursday-Sunday) until 10,509 lb (4.77 mt) are estimated to have been taken and the season is closed by the Commission, or September 30, whichever is earlier. Subsequent to this closure, if there is insufficient quota remaining in the Columbia River subarea for another fishing day, then any remaining quota may be transferred inseason to another Washington and/or Oregon subarea by NMFS via an update to the recreational halibut hotline. Any remaining quota would be transferred to each state in proportion to its contribution.

    (ii) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per person.

    (iii) Pacific Coast groundfish may not be taken and retained, possessed or landed when halibut are on board the vessel, except sablefish, Pacific cod, and flatfish species when allowed by Pacific Coast groundfish regulations, during days open to the all depth fishery only.

    (iv) Taking, retaining, possessing, or landing halibut on groundfish trips is only allowed in the nearshore area on days not open to all-depth Pacific halibut fisheries.

    (e) The quota for landings into ports in the area off Oregon between Cape Falcon (45°46.00′ N. lat.) and Humbug Mountain (42°40.50′ N. lat.) (Oregon Central Coast subarea), is 206,410 lb (93.63 mt).

    (i) The fishing seasons are:

    (A) The first season (the “inside 40-fm” fishery) commences June 1, and continues 7 days a week, in the area shoreward of a boundary line approximating the 40-fm (73-m) depth contour, or until the sub-quota for the central Oregon “inside 40-fm” fishery of 24,769 lb (11.24 mt), or any in-season revised subquota, is estimated to have been taken and the season is closed by the Commission, whichever is earlier. The boundary line approximating the 40-fm (73-m) depth contour between 45°46.00′ N. lat. and 42°40.50′ N. lat. is defined at § 660.71(k).

    (B) The second season (spring season), which is for the “all-depth” fishery, is open May 12, 13, 14; 19, 20, 21; 26, 27, 28; and June 2, 3, 4. Back-up dates will be June 16, 17, 18; 30, July 1, 2; 14, 15, 16; 28, 29, 30. The allocation to the all-depth fishery is 181,641 lb (82.4 mt). If sufficient unharvested quota remains for additional fishing days, the season will re-open. Notice of the re-opening will be announced on the NMFS hotline (206) 526-6667 or (800) 662-9825. No halibut fishing will be allowed on the re-opening dates unless the date is announced on the NMFS hotline.

    (C) If sufficient unharvested quota remains, the third season (summer season), which is for the “all-depth” fishery, will be open August 5, 6; 19, 20; September 2, 3; 16, 17; 30, October 1; 14, 15; 28, 29 or until the combined spring season and summer season quotas in the area between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain, OR, are estimated to have been taken and the area is closed by the Commission, or October 31, whichever is earlier. NMFS will announce on the NMFS hotline in July whether the fishery will re-open for the summer season in August. No halibut fishing will be allowed in the summer season fishery unless the dates are announced on the NMFS hotline. Additional fishing days may be opened if sufficient quota remains after the last day of the first scheduled open period. If, after this date, an amount greater than or equal to 60,000 lb (27.2 mt) remains in the combined all-depth and inside 40-fm (73-m) quota, the fishery may re-open every Friday and Saturday, beginning August 6 and ending October 31. If after September 4, an amount greater than or equal to 30,000 lb (13.6 mt) remains in the combined all-depth and inside 40-fm (73-m) quota, and the fishery is not already open every Friday and Saturday, the fishery may re-open every Friday and Saturday, beginning September 9 and 10, and ending October 31. After September 4, the bag limit may be increased to two fish of any size per person, per day. NMFS will announce on the NMFS hotline whether the summer all-depth fishery will be open on such additional fishing days, what days the fishery will be open and what the bag limit is.

    (ii) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per person, unless otherwise specified. NMFS will announce on the NMFS hotline any bag limit changes.

    (iii) During days open to all-depth halibut fishing, no Pacific Coast groundfish may be taken and retained, possessed or landed, when halibut are on board the vessel, except sablefish, Pacific cod, and flatfish species, when allowed by Pacific Coast groundfish regulations.

    (iv) When the all-depth halibut fishery is closed and halibut fishing is permitted only shoreward of a boundary line approximating the 40-fm (73-m) depth contour, halibut possession and retention by vessels operating seaward of a boundary line approximating the 40-fm (73-m) depth contour is prohibited.

    (v) Recreational fishing for groundfish and halibut is prohibited within the Stonewall Bank YRCA. It is unlawful for recreational fishing vessels to take and retain, possess, or land halibut taken with recreational gear within the Stonewall Bank YRCA. A vessel fishing in the Stonewall Bank YRCA may not possess any halibut. Recreational vessels may transit through the Stonewall Bank YRCA with or without halibut on board. The Stonewall Bank YRCA is an area off central Oregon, near Stonewall Bank, intended to protect yelloweye rockfish. The Stonewall Bank YRCA is defined at § 660.70(f).

    (f) The quota for landings into ports in the area south of Humbug Mountain, OR (42°40.50′ N. lat.) to the Oregon/California Border (42°00.00′ N. lat.) (Southern Oregon subarea) is 8,605 lb (3.9 mt).

    (i) The fishing season commences on May 1, and continues 7 days per week until the subquota is taken, or October 31, whichever is earlier.

    (ii) The daily bag limit is one halibut per person with no size limit.

    (iii) No Pacific Coast groundfish may be taken and retained, possessed or landed, except sablefish, Pacific cod, and flatfish species, in areas closed to groundfish, if halibut are on board the vessel.

    (g) The quota for landings into ports south of the Oregon/California Border (42°00.00′ N. lat.) and along the California coast is 29,640 lb (13.44 mt).

    (i) The fishing season will be open May 1-15, June 1-15, July 1-15, August 1-15, September 1-October 31, or until the subarea quota is estimated to have been taken and the season is closed by the Commission. NMFS will announce any closure by the Commission on the NMFS hotline (206) 526-6667 or (800) 662-9825.

    (ii) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per person.

    Classification

    Regulations governing the U.S. fisheries for Pacific halibut are developed by the IPHC, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and the Secretary of Commerce. Section 5 of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut Act, 16 U.S.C. 773c) provides the Secretary of Commerce with the general responsibility to carry out the Convention between Canada and the United States for the management of Pacific halibut, including the authority to adopt regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes and objectives of the Convention and Halibut Act. This action is consistent with the Pacific Council's authority to allocate halibut catches among fishery participants in the waters in and off the U.S. West Coast.

    This action has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

    NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) in association with the proposed rule for the 2016 Area 2A Catch Sharing Plan. The final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) incorporates the IRFA, a summary of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the IRFA, if any, and NMFS' responses to those comments, and a summary of the analyses completed to support the action. NMFS received no comments on the IRFA. A copy of the FRFA is available from the NMFS West Coast Region (see ADDRESSES) and a summary of the FRFA follows.

    This rule implements changes to the Halibut Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) that addresses the commercial and recreational fisheries within Area 2A (waters off the U.S. West Coast). The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) sets the overall Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and the CSP governs the allocation of that TAC between tribal and non-tribal fisheries, and among non-tribal fisheries. The Council, with input from industry, the states, and the tribes, may recommend changes to the CSP. (Note that the IPHC also sets the commercial fishery opening date(s), duration, and vessel trip limits to ensure that the quota for the non-tribal fisheries is not exceeded.) For non-tribal fisheries, the CSP governs allocations of the TAC between various components of the commercial fisheries and recreational fisheries, and these allocations may vary depending on the level of the TAC. Seasons, gear restrictions, and other management measures implemented through domestic regulations are then used to meet the allocations and priorities of the CSP.

    There were no significant issues raised by the public comments in response to IRFA. The IPHC increased the Area 2A TAC by 17.5% from 970,000 lbs (2015) to 1,140,000 lbs (517.10 mt). Within this 17.5% increase, different subgroups are being affected differently because of the CSP allocation formula.

    Changes to the Plan

    The 2A Halibut Catch Sharing Plan, as outlined above, allocates the TAC at various levels. The commercial fishery is further divided into a directed commercial fishery that is allocated 85 percent of the commercial allocation of the Pacific halibut TAC, and incidental catch in the salmon troll fishery that is allocated 15 percent of the commercial allocation. The directed commercial fishery in Area 2A is confined to southern Washington (south of 46°53.30′ N. lat.), Oregon, and California. North of 46°53.30′ N. lat. (Pt. Chehalis), the Plan allows for incidental halibut retention in the sablefish primary fishery when the overall Area 2A TAC is above 900,000 lb (408.2 mt). The Plan also divides the sport fisheries into seven geographic subareas, each with separate allocations, seasons, and bag limits. The non-tribal allocation is divided into four shares. At the first level, there are specific percentage allocations for tribal and non-tribal fisheries. The non-tribal portion is then allocated to commercial components and to recreational components. The commercial component is then apportioned into directed, incidental troll, and incidental sablefish fisheries. The recreational portions for Oregon and Washington are furthered apportioned into area subquotas and these subquotas are further split into seasonal or depth fisheries (nearshore vs all depths). There may be gear restrictions and other management measures established as necessary to minimize the potential for the allocations to be exceeded.

    At the September meeting, the Council adopted a range of Plan alternatives for public review. For 2016, the Council adopted two types of changes that are discussed separately below. The first were the routine recreational fishery adjustments to the Plan proposed by the states each year to accommodate the needs of their fisheries. The second were changes to the Plan and codified regulations proposed by NMFS which do not have alternatives, because they are either mandated by a recent court decision or are administrative in nature. At its November meeting, the Council made final Plan change recommendations from the range of alternatives for the recreational fishery adjustments; which is described in detail below.

    The changes to the Plan are expected to slightly increase fishing opportunities in some areas and at some times and to slightly decrease fishing opportunities in other areas and at other times. The Council's recommended changes to the Plan modify the opening dates for the sport fisheries in Washington and Oregon with the goal of extending the seasons and increasing opportunity. The change to the tribal Usual &Accustomed (U&A) boundaries is made to comply with a court order, and NMFS has no discretion to do otherwise. Thus this change is not analyzed here. The Council considered changes to the Washington North Coast, Columbia River, Oregon Central Coast, and Southern Oregon subareas:

    (1) For the Washington North Coast, the Council considered two opening dates: The first Thursday in May or the first Saturday in May. The Council recommended and this final rule implements an opening day for this fishery on the first Saturday in May. This is a minor change that will not reduce overall fishing opportunity in this area.

    (2) For the Columbia River subarea, the Council considered two season structures: Status quo (4 days per week Thursday through Sunday) and a seven day a week fishery. The Council recommended the status quo season structure because ODFW did not receive definitive public support for this change and felt it was not necessary at this time; therefore, this rule does not implement changes to the Columbia River subarea.

    (3) For the Oregon Central Coast subarea, the Council considered two season allocation alternatives: Status quo (12 percent nearshore, 63 percent spring, 25 percent summer) and Alternative 1 (81.75 percent spring and summer combined, 18.25 percent nearshore). The Council recommended the status quo season allocations because ODFW felt, given the magnitude of this change, more time was needed to allow public input; therefore, this rule does not implement any change to the Oregon Central Coast season allocations.

    (4) For the Oregon Central Coast nearshore fishery, the Council considered a change to the season dates: (1) Status quo fishery opens July 1, seven days per week until October 31; (2) fishery opens May 1, seven days per week, until October 31; (3) fishery opens May 1, seven days per week until October 31 or quota attainment, with 25 percent of the nearshore fishery allocation set-aside and available beginning July 1; and (4) fishery opens May 1, seven days per week until October 31 or quota attainment, with 50 percent of the nearshore fishery allocation set-aside and available beginning July 1. The Council recommended and this rule implements an alternative that is within the range listed above that would open the fishery on June 1, seven days per week, until October 31. This is a minor change that will not reduce overall fishing opportunity in this area.

    (5) For the Southern Oregon subarea, the Council considered two incidental retention alternatives: Status quo (no bottomfish species retention outside of 30 fathoms) and Alternative 1 (allow retention of other species of flatfish, Pacific cod, and sablefish outside 30 fathoms, when fishing for halibut) and an allocation modification from 4 percent to 3.91 percent of the Oregon sport allocation. The Council recommended and this final rule implements the change to the subarea allocation and Alternative 1 with a slight modification to describe this allowance as allowed when groundfish retention is closed not at a specific depth. The changes to the Southern Oregon incidentally landed species allowances are expected to increase recreational opportunities by turning previously discarded incidental flatfish catch into landed catch.

    The Small Business Administration defines a “small” harvesting business as one with annual receipts, not in excess of $20.5 million. For related fishprocessing businesses, a small business is one that employs 500 or fewer persons. For wholesale businesses, a small business is one that employs not more than 100 people. For marinas and charter/party boats, a small business is one with annual receipts, not in excess of $7.5 million. This rule directly affects charterboat operations, and participants in the non-treaty directed commercial fishery off the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California. Applying the SBA's size standard for small businesses, NMFS considers all of the charterboat operations and participants in the non-treaty directed commercial fishery affected by this action as small businesses.

    In 2015, 512 vessels were issued IPHC licenses to retain halibut. IPHC issues licenses for: The directed commercial fishery and the incidental fishery in the sablefish primary fishery in Area 2A (22 licenses in 2015); incidental halibut caught in the salmon troll fishery (363 licenses in 2015); and the charterboat fleet (127 licenses in 2013, the most recent year available). No vessel may participate in more than one of these three fisheries per year. These license estimates overstate the number of vessels that participate in the fishery. IPHC estimates that 60 vessels participated in the directed commercial fishery, 100 vessels in the incidental commercial (salmon) fishery, and 13 vessels in the incidental commercial (sablefish) fishery. All of these estimated 173 commercial vessels are considered small entities. Although recent information on charterboat activity is not available, prior analysis indicated that 60 percent of the IPHC charterboat license holders may be affected by these regulations.

    The major effect of halibut management on small entities is from the internationally set TAC decisions made by the IPHC. Based on the recommendations of the states, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing in this final rule minor changes to the Plan to provide increased recreational and commercial opportunities under the allocations that result from the TAC. There are no large entities involved in the halibut fisheries; therefore, none of these changes will have a disproportionate negative effect on small entities versus large entities. These minor changes to the Plan are not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    This final rule does not contain a collection of information requirement subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). There are no projected reporting or recordkeeping requirements associated with this action. There are no relevant Federal rules that may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this action.

    Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, the Secretary recognizes the sovereign status and co-manager role of Indian tribes over shared Federal and tribal fishery resources. Section 302(b)(5) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act establishes a seat on the Council for a representative of an Indian tribe with federally recognized fishing rights from California, Oregon, Washington, or Idaho. The U.S. Government formally recognizes that 13 Washington tribes have treaty rights to fish for Pacific halibut. The Plan allocates 35 percent of the Area 2A TAC to U.S. treaty Indian tribes in the State of Washington. Each of the treaty tribes has the discretion to administer their fisheries and to establish their own policies to achieve program objectives. Accordingly, tribal allocations and regulations, including the changes to the Plan, have been developed with the affected tribe(s) and, insofar as possible, with tribal consensus.

    In 2014, an Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared analyzing the continuing implementation of the Catch Sharing Plan for 2014-2016. The Plan changes for 2016 are not expected to have any effects on the environment beyond those discussed in the EA and in the finding of no significant impact (FONSI).

    NMFS conducted a formal section 7 consultation under the Endangered Species Act for the Area 2A Catch Sharing Plan for 2014-2016 addressing the effects of implementing the Plan on ESA-listed yelloweye rockfish, canary rockfish, and bocaccio in Puget Sound, the Southern Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of green sturgeon, salmon, marine mammals, and sea turtles. In the biological opinion the Regional Administrator determined that the implementation of the Catch Sharing Plan for 2014-2016 is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of Puget Sound yelloweye rockfish, Puget Sound canary rockfish, Puget Sound bocaccio, Puget Sound Chinook, Lower Columbia River Chinook, and green sturgeon. It is not expected to result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat for green sturgeon or result in the destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat for Puget Sound yelloweye rockfish, canary rockfish, or bocaccio. In addition, the opinion concluded that the implementation of the Plan is not likely to adversely affect marine mammals, the remaining listed salmon species and sea turtles, and is not likely to adversely affect critical habitat for Southern resident killer whales, stellar sea lions, leatherback sea turtles, any listed salmonids, and humpback whales. Further, the Regional Administrator determined that implementation of the Catch Sharing Plan will have no effect on southern eulachon; this determination was made in a letter dated March 12, 2014. The 2016 Plan and regulations do not change the conclusions from the biological opinion.

    NMFS is currently conducting informal consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the ongoing implementation of the Catch Sharing Plan and its effects on short-tailed and black-footed albatross, California least tern, marbled murrelet, bull trout, and sea otters. NMFS has prepared a 7(a)(2)/7(d) determination memo under the ESA concluding that any effects of the 2016 fishery on listed seabirds are expected to be quite low, and are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species. Further, in no way will the 2016 fishery make an irreversible or irretrievable commitment of resources by the agency.

    NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness and make this rule effective on April 1, 2016, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), so that this final rule may become effective on April 1, 2016, when incidental halibut retention in the sablefish primary fishery begins. The 2016 TAC is higher than the 2015 TAC, resulting in increased allocations to the salmon troll and sablefish primary fisheries. Therefore, allowing the 2015 measures to remain in place could unnecessarily restrict the fisheries with incidental landing limits that do not match the increased allocations. Finally, this final rule approves the Council's 2016 Plan that responds to the needs of the fisheries in each state and approves the portions of the Plan allocating incidentally caught halibut in the salmon troll and sablefish primary fisheries, which start April 1. Therefore, allowing the 2015 subarea allocations and Plan to remain in place would not respond to the needs of the fishery and would be in conflict with the Council's final recommendation for 2016. For all of these reasons, a delay in effectiveness could ultimately cause economic harm to the fishing industry and associated fishing communities by reducing fishing opportunity at the start of the fishing year to keep catch within the lower 2015 allocations or result in harvest levels inconsistent with the best available scientific information. As a result of the potential harm to fishing communities that could be caused by delaying the effectiveness of this final rule, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness and make this rule effective on April 1, 2016.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 300

    Administrative practice and procedure, Antarctica, Canada, Exports, Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, Imports, Indians, Labeling, Marine resources, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Russian Federation, Transportation, Treaties, Wildlife.

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 300 is amended as follows:

    PART 300—INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS Subpart E—Pacific Halibut Fisheries 1. The authority citation for part 300, subpart E, continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 773-773k.

    2. In § 300.61, revise the definition of “Subarea 2A-1” to read as follows:
    § 300.61 Definitions

    Subarea 2A-1 includes all waters off the coast of Washington that are north of the Quinault River, WA (47°21.00′ N. lat) and east of 125°44.00' W. long; all waters off the coast of Washington that are between the Quinault River, WA (47°21.00′ N. lat) and Point Chehalis, WA (46°53.30′ N. lat.), and east of 125°08.50′ W. long.; and all inland marine waters of Washington.

    3. In § 300.63, revise paragraphs (c)(3)(ii) and (e)(1), and remove paragraphs (f) and (g) to read as follows:
    § 300.63 Catch sharing plan and domestic management measures in Area 2A.

    (c) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (ii) Actual notice of inseason management actions will be provided by a telephone hotline administered by the West Coast Region, NMFS, at 206-526-6667 or 800-662-9825. Since provisions of these regulations may be altered by inseason actions, sport fishers should monitor the telephone hotline for current information for the area in which they are fishing.

    (e) * * *

    (1) Non-treaty commercial vessels operating in the directed commercial fishery for halibut in Area 2A are required to fish outside of a closed area, known as the Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA), that extends along the coast from the U.S./Canada border south to 40°10′ N. lat. Between the U.S./Canada border and 46°16′ N. lat., the eastern boundary of the RCA, is the shoreline. Between 46°16′ N. lat. and 40°10′ N. lat., the RCA is defined along an eastern boundary by a line approximating the 30-fm (55-m) depth contour. Coordinates for the 30-fm (55-m) boundary are listed at 50 CFR 660.71(e). Between the U.S./Canada border and 40°10′ N. lat., the RCA is defined along a western boundary approximating the 100-fm (183-m) depth contour. Coordinates for the 100-fm (183-m) boundary are listed at 50 CFR 660.73(a).

    4. In § 300.64, revise paragraph (i) to read as follows:
    § 300.64 Fishing by U.S. treaty Indian tribes.

    (i) The following table sets forth the fishing areas of each of the 13 treaty Indian tribes fishing pursuant to this section. Within subarea 2A-1, boundaries of a tribe's fishing area may be revised as ordered by a Federal Court.

    Tribe Boundaries HOH The area between 47°54.30′ N. lat. (Quillayute River) and 47°21.00′ N. lat. (Quinault River) and east of 125°44.00′ W. long. JAMESTOWN S'KLALLAM Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash., 1974), and particularly at 626 F. Supp. 1486, to be places at which the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe may fish under rights secured by treaties with the United States. LOWER ELWHA S'KLALLAM Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash., 1974), and particularly at 459 F. Supp. 1049 and 1066 and 626 F. Supp. 1443, to be places at which the Lower Elwha S'Klallam Tribe may fish under rights secured by treaties with the United States. LUMMI Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash., 1974), and particularly at 384 F. Supp. 360, as modified in Subproceeding No. 89-08 (W.D. Wash., February 13, 1990) (decision and order re: cross-motions for summary judgement), to be places at which the Lummi Tribe may fish under rights secured by treaties with the United States. MAKAH The area north of 48°02.25′ N. lat. (Norwegian Memorial) and east of 125°44.00′ W. long. NOOKSACK Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash. 1974), and particularly at 459 F. Supp. 1049, to be places at which the Nooksack Tribe may fish under rights secured by treaties with the United States. PORT GAMBLE S'KLALLAM Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash., 1974), and particularly at 626 F. Supp. 1442, to be places at which the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe may fish under rights secured by treaties with the United States. QUILEUTE The area between 48°10.00′ N. lat. (Cape Alava) and 47°31.70′ N. lat. (Queets River) and east of 125°44.00′ W. long QUINAULT The area between 47°40.10′ N. lat. (Destruction Island) and 46°53.30′ N. lat. (Point Chehalis) and east of 125°08.50′ W. long. SKOKOMISH Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash., 1974), and particularly at 384 F. Supp. 377, to be places at which the Skokomish Tribe may fish under rights secured by treaties with the United States. SUQUAMISH Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash., 1974), and particularly at 459 F. Supp. 1049, to be places at which the Suquamish Tribe may fish under rights secured by treaties with the United States. SWINOMISH Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash., 1974), and particularly at 459 F. Supp. 1049, to be places at which the Swinomish Tribe may fish under rights secured by treaties with the United States. TULALIP Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash., 1974), and particularly at 626 F. Supp. 1531-1532, to be places at which the Tulalip Tribe may fish under rights secured by treaties with the United States.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07438 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 300 and 635 [Docket No. 150618531-6286-02] RIN 0648-BF17 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Implementation of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas Electronic Bluefin Tuna Catch Documentation System AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule; fishery notification.

    SUMMARY:

    This final rule adopts regulations governing international trade documentation and tracking programs for Atlantic bluefin tuna to fulfill recommendations from recent meetings of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The final rule transitions from the current ICCAT paper-based bluefin tuna catch documentation program (BCD program), used in the United States by highly migratory species (HMS) international trade permit (ITP) holders, to use of the ICCAT electronic bluefin tuna catch documentation system (eBCD system). The final rule also contains two unrelated regulatory text corrections related to bluefin tuna landings reports and cross-references related to prohibitions for fishing Atlantic tunas with speargun gear.

    Additionally, NMFS will hold three public conference call and webinars on April 21, April 22, and May 3, 2016, to provide further information on requirements of the final rule and use of the eBCD system (see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on May 1, 2016. Operator-assisted, public conference call and webinars will be held on April 21, April 22, and May 3, 2016, from 2:30 to 4:30, Eastern Time.

    ADDRESSES:

    For details on the call-in and Web site information for three public conference call and webinars, please see the table in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section, under the “Public Conference Call and Webinars” heading.

    Copies of the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (Consolidated HMS FMP) and other relevant documents are available from the Atlantic HMS Management Division Web site at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Carrie Soltanoff at (301) 427-8503.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Atlantic bluefin tuna are managed under the dual authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., and the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. ATCA requires the Secretary of Commerce to promulgate such regulations as may be necessary and appropriate to implement ICCAT recommendations. The implementing regulations for international trade documentation and tracking programs for HMS are at 50 CFR part 300.

    Background

    Background information about the need to implement ICCAT recommendations to transition from the current paper-based BCD program to an eBCD system was provided in the preamble to the proposed rule (80 FR 61146, October 9, 2015) and most of that information is not repeated here.

    In response to the need to detect fraud and deter illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) shipments, as well as to improve tracking of bluefin tuna catch and commerce, ICCAT adopted Recommendation 10-11 in 2010 to develop an eBCD system, which would ultimately replace the paper-based BCD program. Deadlines were set for system implementation in subsequent recommendations that ultimately proved too ambitious given system development and financing issues.

    Most recently, ICCAT adopted Recommendation 15-10 requiring all ICCAT parties to use the eBCD system as of May 1, 2016, unless, based on examination of the status of the system, a technical working group (TWG) advises the Commission that the system is not sufficiently ready for implementation. If the TWG so advises the Commission, all ICCAT parties must use the eBCD system to the fullest extent practicable, but paper BCDs shall continue to be accepted until the system is sufficiently ready to be implemented. The TWG will meet in late April 2016. After May 1, 2016, or the date that the TWG advises the Commission that the system is sufficiently ready to be implemented (whichever is later), paper BCDs will no longer be accepted except in limited circumstances consistent with the ICCAT recommendation. Such limited circumstances include the use of paper BCDs as a “back-up” in the event that technical difficulties with the system arise that precludes use of the eBCD system. In light of the above, the final rule includes a provision allowing NMFS to notify the public (via actual or Federal Register notice) when paper BCDs will be used in lieu of the eBCD system.

    The eBCD system is designed to collect largely the same information that is currently collected under the paper-based BCD program. Therefore, this final rule makes minor adjustments to the existing regulations implementing the paper-based BCD program to implement the electronic system and require its use for bluefin tuna catch documentation.

    NMFS also notes, for informational purposes only, that on December 29, 2015, NMFS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (80 FR 81251) to integrate the collection of trade documentation within the government-wide International Trade Data System (ITDS) and require electronic information collection through the automated portal maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP). That proposed rule contemplates that NMFS would annually require renewable International Fisheries Trade Permits (IFTPs) for the import, export, and re-export of certain regulated seafood commodities that are subject to trade monitoring programs of RFMOs and/or subject to trade documentation requirements under domestic law, consolidating existing international trade permits for regulated seafood products under programs including the HMS ITP program. The ITDS rule, if finalized as proposed, would also specify data and trade documentation for regulated seafood commodities in specified programs that must be provided electronically to CBP. Specifically, the ITDS rule as proposed would further amend the HMS ITP regulations so that BCDs, or specific information from BCDs such as a BCD number, would be submitted through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and the CBP Document Imaging System (DIS).

    Response to Comments

    The comment period for the proposed rule closed on November 9, 2015. NMFS received one comment from an environmental non-governmental organization, delivered both in writing and verbally during a public conference call/webinar on October 13, 2015. A summary of that comment is provided below along with NMFS's response.

    Comment 1: We fully support the transition to an electronic system by May 2016. Full implementation of the eBCD system will benefit the U.S. fishing community by reducing opportunities for criminal activity, rewarding compliant fishermen, and supporting this valuable fishery's long-term sustainable management.

    Response: NMFS agrees that the measures implemented by this rule would improve tracking of bluefin tuna catch and trade, enhancing ICCAT's ability to monitor trade and identify any discrepancies between the amount of product in international trade and authorized quotas, and reduce the possibility of IUU bluefin tuna entering U.S. commerce. NMFS also agrees that use of the eBCD system should be implemented by the May 1, 2016 deadline adopted by ICCAT in Recommendation 15-10 and consistent with the provisions in that Recommendation.

    Changes From the Proposed Rule

    In this final rule NMFS has added a provision that certain trade tracking requirements must be satisfied by use of the ICCAT eBCD system for Atlantic bluefin tuna “unless NMFS provides otherwise through actual notice or Federal Register notice.” See § 300.185(a)(2)(ii)(A)(1), (a)(2)(vi)(A), (a)(3)(i); (b)(2)(i), (b)(3)(i); (c)(2)(i)(A); (c)(3)(i). ICCAT Recommendation 15-10 provides limited circumstances under which paper BCDs may be accepted. Specifically, paper BCDs may be used if the system is not ready for implementation and as a “back-up” in the event that technical difficulties with the system arise that preclude use of the eBCD system. In such an event, the final rule allows NMFS to notify the public through actual or Federal Register notice that paper BCDs will temporarily be used, as specified in the notice. NMFS also included one change from the proposed new regulatory text at § 300.185(a)(2)(iii)(b) to read “must” instead of “should” to more precisely match the relevant ICCAT Recommendation text.

    To enhance the clarity of the regulations, the final rule breaks out the Atlantic bluefin tuna eBCD requirements into separate subparagraphs (see § 300.185(a)(2)(ii)(A)(1), (a)(2)(vi)(A), (a)(3)(i); (b)(2)(i), (b)(3)(i); (c)(2)(i)(A); (c)(3)(i)), and adds text in other subparagraphs to reiterate that paper documentation continues to be used for non-Atlantic bluefin tuna (see § 300.185(a)(2)(ii)(A)(2), (a)(2)(vi)(B), (a)(3)(ii); (b)(2)(ii), (b)(3)(ii); (c)(2)(i)(B); (c)(3)(ii)). For example, section 300.185(a)(2)(ii)(A)(2) states that: “For non-Atlantic bluefin tuna, this requirement must be satisfied with the original paper re-export certificate.” These edits were made for clarity and do not change the substantive effect of the rule.

    In addition to these changes, two unrelated corrections to the HMS regulations are included in this final rule for purposes of administrative efficiency (i.e., they are included in this action rather than in separate rulemakings). The first change reinserts language inadvertently omitted in the final rule to implement Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, which was published in the Federal Register on December 2, 2014 (79 FR 71510). The Amendment 7 final rule inadvertently omitted text at 50 CFR 635.5(b)(2)(i)(A) that provided an option for Atlantic tunas dealers to submit bluefin tuna landings reports via the Internet. A correction to re-insert that language is included in this final rule.

    The second change corrects an incorrect cross-reference. The regulations at § 635.71(b)(30), (31), (33), (34), and (35), which are prohibitions for fishing Atlantic tunas with speargun gear, contain an incorrect cross-reference, which is listed as § 635.21(f) but should refer to § 635.21(i). The cross-reference is corrected in this final rule.

    Public Conference Call and Webinars

    NMFS will hold three public conference call and webinars to provide further information about the requirements of the final rule and use of the eBCD system. To participate in those calls, use the following information:

    Table 1—Date and Time of Public Conference Call and Webinars Date and time Access information April 21, 2016, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Eastern Time To participate in conference call, call: (888) 989-4714
  • Passcode: 2848482
  • To participate in webinar, go to:
  • https://noaaevents3.webex.com/noaaevents3/onstage/g.php?MTID=ef13acb1e3c8d48e686c79f590cd8299f
  • Meeting Number: 994 455 972
  • Meeting Password: tijeshGb
  • April 22, 2016, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Eastern Time To participate in conference call, call: (800) 779-5244
  • Passcode: 9942853
  • To participate in webinar, go to:
  • https://noaaevents3.webex.com/noaaevents3/onstage/g.php?MTID=e82dcb0c46b71284d1e238f1463a91d52
  • Meeting Number: 996 520 461
  • Meeting Password: HVGU39hq
  • May 3, 2016, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Eastern Time To participate in conference call, call: (888) 323-9870
  • Passcode: 8184849
  • To participate in webinar, go to:
  • https://noaaevents3.webex.com/noaaevents3/onstage/g.php?MTID=edc2f51bca10de37d00803f879302dfcf
  • Meeting Number: 998 820 477
  • Meeting Password: JwdMqJyU
  • To participate in the webinars online, enter your name and email address, and click the “JOIN” button. Participants that have not used WebEx before will be prompted to download and run a plug-in program that will enable them to view the webinar. Presentation materials and other supporting information will be posted on the HMS Web site at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms.

    Classification

    The NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic HMS FMP and its amendments, ATCA, and other applicable law.

    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

    In addition, NMFS has determined that this final rule would not affect the coastal zone of any state, and a negative determination pursuant to 15 CFR 930.35 is not required. Therefore, pursuant to 15 CFR 930.33(a)(2), coordination with appropriate state agencies under Section 307 of the Coastal Zone Management Act is not required.

    This final action is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment in accordance with NAO 216-6. A categorical exclusion applies because the rule would implement minor adjustments to regulations and would not have a significant effect, individually or cumulatively, on the human environment. This action also does not directly affect fishing effort, quotas, fishing gear, authorized species, interactions with threatened or endangered species, or other relevant parameters.

    This final rule contains a collection-of-information requirement subject to review and approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act. ICCAT Recommendation 15-10 requires transition from the paper-based BCD program to an eBCD system with certain limited exceptions. To comply with this Recommendation, NMFS will require Atlantic bluefin tuna dealers with HMS ITPs to use the eBCD system effective May 1, 2016. An amendment to OMB Control Number 0648-0040 (Dealer Reporting Family of Forms) has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget.

    The Chief Council for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Council for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding this certification or on the impacts of the rule more generally. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared.

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice and an opportunity for public comment on the following three changes made in this final rule, as notice and comment would be impracticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest. As explained above, this final rule makes three changes to the final rule: (1) A notice provision that allows for paper BCDs instead of eBCDs if NFMS provides actual notice or a Federal Register notice; (2) reinsertion of inadvertently-deleted text that allows Internet submission of bluefin dealer reports; and (3) correction of speargun cross-references.

    With regard to the first change, prior notice and comment would be impracticable, contrary to the public interest, and unnecessary. ICCAT Recommendation 15-10, adopted after the proposed rule was published, included a provision on certain circumstances under which paper BCDs could continue to be accepted in lieu of eBCDs. These circumstances include using paper BCDs or printed eBCDs as a back-up in the limited event that technical difficulties with the system arise that preclude use of the eBCD system. The Recommendation also specified a process through which a TWG would make a determination regarding whether the system was sufficiently ready for implementation and specified that paper BCDs would be accepted until that determination was made. NMFS recently learned that the relevant TWG meeting will not take place until late April 2016. Thus, in the unlikely event that the system is not ready to be implemented, NMFS must have an option to allow the use of paper BCDs to ensure that bluefin tuna trade is not disrupted. On the other hand, if the system is ready for implementation, the final rule must be in place to ensure compliance with ICCAT recommendations and to switch over to the eBCD system. Given the unexpectedly late timing of TWG review, the simultaneous potential requirement to implement the system by May 1, and the need to have a back-up system as a contingency, the time required for public notice and comment would be impracticable. Moreover, not allowing this change is contrary to the public interest. In the absence of a paper-based option, if the eBCD system experiences technical problems, bluefin dealers with HMS ITPs would not be able to proceed with imports and exports of bluefin. Currently, dealers use paper BCDs, thus it is unnecessary to provide for notice and comment on continued—albeit, more limited—use of these documents.

    With regard to the second change, prior notice and comment are contrary to the public interest and unnecessary. The final rule for Amendment 7 inadvertently deleted text from a prior rulemaking, the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP (71 FR 58058; October 2, 2006), that allowed bluefin tuna dealers to submit reports via the internet. The regulations thus require reporting only via fax, which is more burdensome than using the internet. NMFS only recently learned about the error, and needs to make a correction immediately because current regulations without the reinserted text are confusing, inconsistent with established reporting practice, and burdensome. Furthermore, NMFS previously allowed notice and comment on the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, Amendment 7 never intended to change this reporting provision, and the record clearly reflects the intent to have an internet option.

    There is also good cause to waive prior notice and comment for the third change. As currently written, the speargun prohibitions incorrectly cross-reference rod-and-reel provisions. Prior notice and comment on corrections to these cross-references is impracticable because NMFS just learned about the error and failure to make this minor change in a timely fashion may result in ongoing and unnecessary confusion among regulated parties. This confusion regarding the regulations could create enforcement issues with no corresponding benefit to the public. Thus, delaying the change to allow for notice and comment would be contrary to the public interest.

    List of Subjects 50 CFR Part 300

    Administrative practice and procedure, Exports, Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Treaties.

    50 CFR Part 635

    Fisheries, Fishing, Fishing vessels, Foreign relations, Imports, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Treaties.

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 300, subpart M, and 50 CFR part 635 are proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 300—INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 300, subpart M, continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 951-961 and 971 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. In § 300.181: a. Revise the definitions for “BCD tag” and “Consignment document”; and b. Add definitions for “eBCD” and “eBCD system” in alphabetical order.

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 300.181 Definitions.

    BCD tag means a numbered tag affixed to a bluefin tuna issued by any country in conjunction with a catch statistics information program and recorded on a BCD or eBCD.

    Consignment document means either an ICCAT eBCD or paper BCD issued by a nation to comply with the ICCAT bluefin tuna catch documentation program consistent with ICCAT recommendations; or an ICCAT, IATTC, IOTC, or CCSBT statistical document or a statistical document issued by a nation to comply with such statistical document programs.

    eBCD means an electronic bluefin tuna catch document (eBCD) generated by the ICCAT eBCD system to track bluefin tuna catch and trade as specified in ICCAT recommendations.

    eBCD system is the ICCAT electronic system for creating, editing, and transmitting ICCAT catch and trade documentation for bluefin tuna as specified in ICCAT recommendations and required in these regulations.

    3. In § 300.185: a. Revise paragraphs (a)(2)(ii) through (vii); b. Remove paragraphs (a)(2)(viii) and (ix); and c. Revise paragraphs (a)(3), (b)(2) and (3), (c)(2)(i) and (iii), and (c)(3).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 300.185 Documentation, reporting and recordkeeping requirements for consignment documents and re-export certificates.

    (a) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (ii) Bluefin tuna:

    (A) Imports which were re-exported from another nation must also be accompanied by an original, completed, approved, validated, species-specific re-export certificate.

    (1) For Atlantic bluefin tuna, this requirement must be satisfied by electronic receipt and completion of a re-export certificate in the ICCAT eBCD system, unless NMFS provides otherwise through actual notice or Federal Register notice.

    (2) For non-Atlantic bluefin tuna, this requirement must be satisfied with the original paper re-export certificate.

    (B) Bluefin tuna, imported into the Customs territory of the United States or entered for consumption into the separate customs territory of a U.S. insular possession, from a country requiring a BCD tag on all such bluefin tuna available for sale, must be accompanied by the appropriate BCD tag issued by that country, and said BCD tag must remain on any bluefin tuna until it reaches its final import destination. If the final import destination is the United States, which includes U.S. insular possessions, the BCD tag must remain on the bluefin tuna until it is cut into portions. If the bluefin tuna portions are subsequently packaged for domestic commercial use or re-export, the BCD tag number and the issuing country must be written legibly and indelibly on the outside of the package.

    (iii) Fish or fish products regulated under this subpart other than bluefin tuna and shark fins:

    (A) Imports that were previously re-exported and were subdivided or consolidated with another consignment before re-export, must also be accompanied by an original, completed, approved, validated, species-specific re-export certificate.

    (B) Imports that have been previously re-exported from another nation must have the intermediate importer's certification of the original statistical document completed.

    (iv) Consignment documents must be validated as specified in § 300.187 by an authorized government official of the flag country whose vessel caught the fish (regardless of where the fish are first landed). Re-export certificates must be validated by an authorized government official of the re-exporting country. For electronically generated Atlantic bluefin tuna catch documents, validation must be electronic using the ICCAT eBCD system.

    (v) A permit holder may not accept an import without the completed consignment document or re-export certificate as described in paragraphs (a)(2)(i) through (iv) of this section.

    (vi) For fish or fish products, except shark fins, regulated under this subpart that are entered for consumption, the permit holder must provide correct and complete information, as requested by NMFS, on the original consignment document that accompanied the consignment.

    (A) For Atlantic bluefin tuna, this information must be provided electronically in the ICCAT eBCD system, unless NMFS provides otherwise through actual notice or Federal Register notice.

    (B) For non-Atlantic bluefin tuna, this information must be provided on the original paper consignment document that accompanied the consignment.

    (vii) Customs forms can be obtained by contacting the local CBP port office; contact information is available at www.cbp.gov. For a U.S. insular possession, contact the local customs office for any forms required for entry.

    (3) Reporting requirements. For fish or fish products regulated under this subpart, except shark fins, that are entered for consumption and whose final destination is within the United States, which includes U.S. insular possessions, a permit holder must submit to NMFS the original consignment document that accompanied the fish product as completed under paragraph (a)(2) of this section, to be received by NMFS along with the biweekly report as required under § 300.183(a). A copy of the original completed consignment document must be submitted by the permit holder, to be received by NMFS, at an address designated by NMFS, within 24 hours of the time the fish product was entered for consumption into the Customs territory of the United States, or the separate customs territory of a U.S. insular possession.

    (i) For Atlantic bluefin tuna, this requirement must be satisfied electronically by entering the specified information into the ICCAT eBCD system as directed in paragraph (a)(2)(vi)(A) of this section, unless NMFS provides otherwise through actual notice or Federal Register notice.

    (ii) For non-Atlantic bluefin tuna, this requirement must be satisfied by submitting the original paper consignment document.

    (b) * * *

    (2) Documentation requirements. A permit holder must complete an original, approved, numbered, species-specific consignment document issued to that permit holder by NMFS for each export referenced under paragraph (b)(1) of this section. Such an individually numbered document is not transferable and may be used only once by the permit holder to which it was issued to report on a specific export consignment. A permit holder must provide on the consignment document the correct information and exporter certification. The consignment document must be validated, as specified in § 300.187, by NMFS, or another official authorized by NMFS. A list of such officials may be obtained by contacting NMFS. A permit holder requesting U.S. validation for exports should notify NMFS as soon as possible after arrival of the vessel to avoid delays in inspection and validation of the export consignment.

    (i) For Atlantic bluefin tuna, this requirement must be satisfied by electronic completion of a consignment document in the ICCAT eBCD system, unless NMFS provides otherwise through actual notice or Federal Register notice.

    (ii) For non-Atlantic bluefin tuna, this requirement must be satisfied by completion of a paper consignment document.

    (3) Reporting requirements. A permit holder must ensure that the original, approved, consignment document as completed under paragraph (b)(2) of this section accompanies the export of such products to their export destination. A copy of the consignment document must be received by NMFS, at an address designated by NMFS, within 24 hours of the time the fish product was exported from the United States or a U.S. insular possession.

    (i) For Atlantic bluefin tuna, this requirement must be satisfied electronically by entering the specified information into the ICCAT eBCD system as directed in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, unless NMFS provides otherwise through actual notice or Federal Register notice.

    (ii) For non-Atlantic bluefin tuna, this requirement must be satisfied by submitting the original paper consignment document.

    (c) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (i) If a permit holder re-exports a consignment of bluefin tuna, or subdivides or consolidates a consignment of fish or fish products regulated under this subpart, other than shark fins, that was previously entered for consumption as described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the permit holder must complete an original, approved, individually numbered, species-specific re-export certificate issued to that permit holder by NMFS for each such re-export consignment. Such an individually numbered document is not transferable and may be used only once by the permit holder to which it was issued to report on a specific re-export consignment. A permit holder must provide on the re-export certificate the correct information and re-exporter certification. The permit holder must also attach the original consignment document that accompanied the import consignment or a copy of that document, and must note on the top of both the consignment documents and the re-export certificates the entry number assigned by CBP authorities at the time of filing the entry summary.

    (A) For Atlantic bluefin tuna, these requirements must be satisfied by electronic completion of a re-export certificate in the ICCAT eBCD system, unless NMFS provides otherwise through actual notice or Federal Register notice.

    (B) For non-Atlantic bluefin tuna, these requirements must be satisfied by completion of a paper re-export certificate.

    (iii) Re-export certificates must be validated, as specified in § 300.187, by NMFS or another official authorized by NMFS. A list of such officials may be obtained by contacting NMFS. A permit holder requesting validation for re-exports should notify NMFS as soon as possible to avoid delays in inspection and validation of the re-export shipment. Electronic re-export certificates created for Atlantic bluefin tuna using the ICCAT eBCD system will be validated electronically.

    (3) Reporting requirements. For each re-export, a permit holder must submit the original of the completed re-export certificate (if applicable) and the original or a copy of the original consignment document completed as specified under paragraph (c)(2) of this section, to accompany the consignment of such products to their re-export destination. A copy of the completed consignment document and re-export certificate (if applicable) must be submitted to NMFS, at an address designated by NMFS, and received by NMFS within 24 hours of the time the consignment was re-exported from the United States.

    (i) For Atlantic bluefin tuna, this requirement must be satisfied electronically by entering the specified information into the ICCAT eBCD system as directed in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A) of this section, unless NMFS provides otherwise through actual notice or Federal Register notice.

    (ii) For non-Atlantic bluefin tuna, this requirement must be satisfied by submitting the original paper re-export certificate.

    4. In § 300.186, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 300.186 Completed and approved documents.

    (a) NMFS-approved forms. A NMFS-approved consignment document or re-export certificate may be obtained from NMFS to accompany exports of fish or fish products regulated under this subpart from the Customs territory of the United States or the separate customs territory of a U.S. insular possession.

    5. In § 300.187, revise paragraphs (f) introductory text and (f)(2) to read as follows:
    § 300.187 Validation requirements.

    (f) BCD tags. The requirements of this paragraph apply to Pacific bluefin tuna. Requirements for tagging Atlantic bluefin tuna are specified in § 635.5.

    (2) Transfer. BCD tags for use on Pacific bluefin tuna issued under this section are not transferable and are usable only by the permit holder to whom they are issued.

    PART 635—ATLANTIC HIGHLY MIGRATORY SPECIES 6. The authority citation for part 635 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    7. In § 635.5, revise paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) to read as follows:
    § 635.5 Recordkeeping and reporting.

    (b) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (A) Landing reports. Each dealer with a valid Atlantic Tunas dealer permit issued under § 635.4 must submit the landing reports to NMFS for each bluefin received from a U.S. fishing vessel. Such reports must be submitted electronically by sending a facsimile or, once available, via the Internet, to a number or a web address designated by NMFS not later than 24 hours after receipt of the bluefin. Landing reports must include the name and permit number of the vessel that landed the bluefin and other information regarding the catch as instructed by NMFS. Landing reports submitted via facsimile must be signed by the permitted vessel owner or operator immediately upon transfer of the bluefin. When purchasing bluefin tuna from eligible IBQ Program participants or Atlantic Tunas Purse Seine category participants, permitted Atlantic Tunas dealers must also enter landing reports into the electronic IBQ System established under 635.15, not later than 24 hours after receipt of the bluefin. The vessel owner or operator must confirm that the IBQ System landing report information is accurate by entering a unique PIN when the dealer report is submitted. The dealer must inspect the vessel's permit to verify that it is a commercial category, the required vessel name and permit number as listed on the permit are correctly recorded on the landing report, and that the vessel permit has not expired.

    8. In § 635.71, revise paragraphs (b)(30), (31), (33), (34), and (35) to read as follows:
    § 635.71 Prohibitions.

    (b) * * *

    (30) Fish for any HMS, other than Atlantic BAYS tunas, with speargun fishing gear, as specified at § 635.21(i).

    (31) Harvest or fish for BAYS tunas using speargun gear with powerheads, or any other explosive devices, as specified in § 635.21(i).

    (33) Fire or discharge speargun gear without being physically in the water, as specified at § 635.21(i).

    (34) Use speargun gear to harvest a BAYS tuna restricted by fishing lines or other means, as specified at § 635.21(i).

    (35) Use speargun gear to fish for BAYS tunas from a vessel that does not possess either a valid HMS Angling or HMS Charter/Headboat permit, as specified at § 635.21(i).

    [FR Doc. 2016-07428 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 160202070-6070-01] RIN 0648-XE427 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Adjustment of Georges Bank and Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic Yellowtail Flounder Annual Catch Limits Correction

    In rule document 2016-06306, appearing on pages 14986 through 14988 in the issue of Monday, March 21, 2016, make the following corrections:

    1. On page 14986, in the third column, in the DATES section, on the first line, “April 18, 2016” should read “March 18, 2016”.

    2. On page 14987, in the second column, on the seventeenth and eighteenth lines, “April 18, 2016” should read “March 18, 2016”.

    [FR Doc. C1-2016-06306 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    81 63 Friday, April 1, 2016 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service 7 CFR Part 1150 [Document No. AMS-DA-14-0074] National Dairy Promotion and Research Program Order AGENCY:

    Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This document invites comments on a proposed amendment to the Dairy Promotion and Research Order (Dairy Order). The proposal would modify the number of National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (Dairy Board) importer members. The total number of domestic Dairy Board members would remain the same at 36 and the total number of importer members would be reduced from 2 to 1. The Dairy Order requires that at least once every three years, after the initial appointment of importer members on the Dairy Board, the Secretary shall review the average volume of domestic production of dairy products compared to the average volume of imports of dairy products into the United States during the previous three years and, on the basis of that review, if warranted, reapportion the importer representation on the Dairy Board to reflect the proportional shares of the United States market served by domestic production and imported dairy products. This reapportionment review is the first conducted since importer members were appointed to the Dairy Board on November 2, 2011. The review could not be conducted prior to 2015 since the required data was not available.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments on this proposed rule should be identified with the docket number AMS-DA-14-0074. Commenters should identify the date and page number of the issue of the proposed rule. Interested persons may comment on this proposed rule using either of the following procedures:

    Mail: Comments may be submitted by mail to Whitney A. Rick, Director, Promotion, Research and Planning Division, Dairy Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2958-S, Stop 0233, Washington, DC 20250-0233.

    Fax: Comments may be faxed to (202) 720-0285.

    Email: Comments may be emailed to [email protected]

    Internet: www.regulations.gov.

    All comments to this proposed rule, submitted by the above procedures will be available for viewing at: www.regulations.gov, or at USDA, AMS, Dairy Program, Promotion, Research and Planning Division, Room 2958-S, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, (except on official Federal holidays). Persons wanting to view comments in Room 2958-S are requested to make an appointment in advance by calling (202) 720-6909.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Whitney A. Rick, Director, Promotion, Research, and Planning Division, Dairy Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2958-S, Stop 0233, Washington, DC 20250-0233. Phone: (202) 720-6909. Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This proposed rule is issued pursuant to the Dairy Production Stabilization Act (Dairy Act) of 1983, Pub L. 98-180 as codified in 7 U.S.C. 4501-4514, as amended.

    Executive Order 12866

    The Office of Management and Budget has waived the review process required by Executive Order 12866 for this action.

    Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This proposed rule is not intended to have a retroactive effect. If adopted, this rule would not preempt any State or local laws, regulations, or policies unless they present an irreconcilable conflict with this rule.

    The Dairy Act provides that administrative proceedings must be exhausted before parties may file suit in court. Under Section 118 of the Dairy Act, any person subject to the Dairy Order may file with the Secretary a petition stating that the Dairy Order, any provision of the Dairy Order, or any obligation imposed in connection with the Dairy Order is not in accordance with the law and request a modification of the Dairy Order or to be exempted from the Dairy Order (7 U.S.C. 4509). Such person is afforded the opportunity for a hearing on the petition. After a hearing, the Secretary would rule on the petition. The Dairy Act provides that the district court of the United States in any district in which the person is an inhabitant or has his principal place of business, has jurisdiction to review the Secretary's ruling on the petition, provided a complaint is filed not later than 20 days after the date of the entry of the ruling.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), the Agricultural Marketing Service has considered the economic impact of this action on small entities and has certified that this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The purpose of the Regulatory Flexibility Act is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions so that small businesses will not be disproportionately burdened.

    The Dairy Act authorizes a national program for dairy product promotion, research and nutrition education. Congress found that it is in the public interest to authorize the establishment of an orderly procedure for financing (through assessments on all milk produced in the United States for commercial use and on imported dairy products) and carrying out a coordinated program of promotion designed to strengthen the dairy industry's position in the marketplace and to maintain and expand domestic and foreign markets and uses for fluid milk and dairy products.

    According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in 2014, approximately 1,400 importers paid assessments under Section 1150.152(b). Although data is not available concerning the sizes of these firms, it is reasonable to assume that most of them would be considered small businesses. Although many types of businesses import dairy products, the most common classification for dairy product importers is Grocery and Related Product Merchant Wholesalers (North American Industry Classification System, category 4244). The Small Business Administration [13 CFR 121.201] defines such entities with fewer than 500 employees as small businesses.

    The proposed rule would amend the Dairy Order by modifying the number of Dairy Board importer members.

    Currently, the Dairy Order is administered by a 38-member Dairy Board, 36 members representing 12 geographic regions within the United States and 2 members representing importers. The Dairy Order at section 1150.131(f) provides that at least once every three years, after the initial appointment of importer members on the Dairy Board, the Secretary shall review the average volume of domestic production of dairy products compared to the average volume of imports of dairy products into the United States during the previous three years and, on the basis of that review, if warranted, reapportion the importer representation on the Board to reflect the proportional shares of the United States market served by domestic production and imported dairy products.

    The proposed amendment should not have a significant economic impact on persons subject to the Dairy Order. The proposed changes merely would allow representation on the Dairy Board to better reflect the volume of dairy product imports into the United States.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulation [5 CFR part 1320] which implements the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 [44 U.S.C. chapter 35], the information collection requirements and record keeping provisions imposed by the Dairy Order have been previously approved by OMB and assigned OMB Control No. 0581-0093. No relevant Federal rules have been identified that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this rule.

    Statement of Consideration

    The Dairy Order is administered by a 38-member Dairy Board, 36 members representing 12 geographic regions within the United States and 2 members representing importers. The Dairy Order requires in Section 1150.131(f) that at least once every three years, after the initial appointment of importer representatives on the Dairy Board, the Secretary shall review the average volume of domestic production of dairy products compared to the average volume of imports of dairy products into the United States during the previous three years and, on the basis of that review, if warranted, reapportion the importer representation on the Dairy Board to reflect the proportional shares of the United States market served by domestic production and imported dairy products. This reapportionment review is the first conducted since importer members were appointed to the Dairy Board in 2011.

    For initial representation of importers, the Dairy Act states “In making initial appointments to the Board of importer representatives, the Secretary shall appoint 2 members who represent importers of dairy products and are subject to assessment under the order.” (7 U.S.C. 4504(b)(6)(A)) For subsequent representation of importers, the Dairy Act goes on to state “At least once every 3 years after the initial appointment of importer representatives under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall review the average volume of domestic production of dairy products compared to the average volume of imports of dairy products into the United States during the previous 3 years and, on the basis of that review, shall reapportion importer representation on the Board to reflect the proportional share of the United States market by domestic production and imported dairy products.” (7 U.S.C. 4504(b)(6)(B))

    The Dairy Order at section 1150.131(f) states that the basis for the comparison of domestic production of dairy products to imported products should be estimated total milk solids. The calculation of total milk solids of imported dairy products for reapportionment purposes “shall be the same as the calculation of total milk solids of imported dairy products for assessment purposes.” The reapportionment review was not conducted prior to 2015 because three full years' worth of data was not available.

    Using National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) annual Dairy Products Summary data, the average U.S. milk total solids for domestic dairy products for 2012 to 2014 was 23,462 billion pounds annually. Based on the total milk solids number, each of the 36 domestic Dairy Board producer members would represent 652 million pounds of total milk solids (23,462 billion pounds divided by 36 producer members equals 652 million pounds per producer).

    Using information received from CBP, the average total milk solids imported during 2012 to 2014 was 589 million pounds. Currently, each of the two importers on the Dairy Board would represent approximately 295 million pounds of total milk solids (589 million pounds divided by 2 importer members equals 295 million pounds per importer). Table 1 summarizes the total milk solids represented by the 36 domestic producer members and the total milk solids represented by the 2 current importer members.

    Table 1—Current Dairy Board Representation Based on U.S. Total Solids and Imported Total Solids by Pounds Year U.S. total solids, lbs. Imported total solids, lbs. 2012 23,376,000,000 598,554,055 2013 23,203,000,000 570,628,490 2014 23,805,666,667 598,707,413 Average 23,461,555,556 589,296,653 Source: NASS, Dairy Products Annual Survey and CBP. Table 2—Current Dairy Board Representation Based on Average U.S. Total Solids and Average Imported Total Solids Average total
  • milk solids
  • (lbs.)
  • Current number
  • of board seats
  • Average total
  • milk solids
  • represented per
  • board member
  • (lbs.)
  • Domestic Producer 23,461,555,556 36 651,709,877 Importer 589,296,653 2 294,648,327

    Based on the calculations, it is proposed that Dairy Board importer member representation be reduced from 2 importer members to 1 importer member, to accurately represent the volume of imported total milk solids compared to the volume of total solids represented by each of the 36 domestic producer members. Table 2 reflects the proposed changes.

    Table 3—Proposed Dairy Board Representation Based on U.S. Total Solids and Imported Total Solids Average total
  • milk solids
  • (lbs.)
  • Current number
  • of board seats
  • Average total
  • milk solids
  • represented per
  • board member
  • (lbs.)
  • Domestic Producer 23,461,555,556 36 651,709,877 Importer 589,296,653 1 589,296,653

    A 30-day comment period is provided for interested persons to comment on this proposed rule. One term of office for an importer member will expire on October 31, 2016. Thus, a 30-day comment period is provided for a timely announcement of the Dairy Board nomination solicitation in 2016.

    List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1150

    Dairy products, Milk, Promotion, Research.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, it is proposed that 7 CFR part 1150 be amended as follows:

    PART 1150—DAIRY PROMOTION PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 1150 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 4501-4514 and 7 U.S.C. 7401.

    2. In § 1150.131, paragraph (c) is revised to read as follows:
    § 1150.131 Establishment and membership.

    (c) One member of the board shall be an importer who is subject to assessments under § 1150.152(b).

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Erin Morris, Associate Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07413 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2016-5431; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-044-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; M7 Aerospace LLC Airplanes AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for M7 Aerospace LLC Models SA26-AT, SA26-T, SA226-AT, SA226-T, SA226-T(B), SA226-TC, SA227-AC (C-26A), SA227-AT, SA227-BC (C-26A), SA227-CC, SA227-DC (C-26B), and SA227-TT airplanes. This proposed AD was prompted by reports of multiple cracks in the steel horizontal tube of the cockpit control column. This proposed AD would require inspection of the cockpit control column horizontal tube with repair or replacement as necessary of the cockpit control column. We are proposing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by May 16, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

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

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

    For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact M7 Aerospace LLC, 10823 NE Entrance Road, San Antonio, Texas 78216; phone: (210) 824-9421; fax: (210) 804-7766; Internet: http://www.elbitsystems-us.com; email: [email protected] You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 816-329-4148.

    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-2016-5431; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Andrew McAnaul, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, ASW-143 (c/o San Antonio MIDO), 10100 Reunion Place, Suite 650, San Antonio, Texas 78216; phone: (210) 308-3365; fax: (210) 308-3370; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposal. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2016-5431; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-044-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD because of those comments.

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

    Discussion

    The FAA received reports of multiple cracks in the cockpit control column horizontal tube at the corners of the access panel cutout, at the pulley bolt welds, and at the elevator arm weld in the steel horizontal tube of the control column on M7 Aerospace SA26, SA226, and SA227 airplanes.

    This condition, if not corrected, could result in partial or complete control column failure with partial or complete loss of pitch and/or roll control.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed M7 Aerospace LLC SA26 Series Service Bulletin (SB) 26-27-002, M7 Aerospace LLC SA226 Series SB 226-27-078, M7 Aerospace LLC SA227 Series SB 227-27-058, and M7 Aerospace LLC SA227 Series SB CC7-27-030, all dated October 8, 2015. The service information describes procedures for inspection of the cockpit control column horizontal tube for cracks and repair or replacement of the cockpit control column as necessary. All of the related service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this NPRM.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of the Proposed AD

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

    Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require repetitive inspections of the cockpit control column horizontal tube for cracks and repair or replacement of the cockpit control column as necessary.

    Differences Between This Proposed AD and the Service Information

    We have revised the compliance times of the proposed AD to differ from service information. We have determined we have met the safety intent with the revised compliance times while allowing for clarity. The compliance times in the proposed AD action would take precedence over those in the service bulletin.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 350 airplanes of U.S. registry.

    We estimate the following costs to comply with this proposed AD:

    Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on U.S. operators
    Inspection 12 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,020 Not applicable $1,020 $357,000

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

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Repair cracks 2 work-hours × $85 per hour = $170 Not applicable $170 Replace parts 16 work-hours × $85 per hour = $1,360 $5,000 6,360
    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): M7 Aerospace LLC: Docket No. FAA-2016-5431; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-044-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by May 16, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to M7 Aerospace LLC Models SA26-AT, SA26-T, SA226-AT, SA226-T, SA226-T(B), SA226-TC, SA227-AC (C-26A), SA227-AT, SA227-BC (C-26A), SA227-CC, SA227-DC (C-26B), and SA227-TT airplanes, all serial numbers, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC)/Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 2700, Flight Controls.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by reports of multiple cracks in the steel horizontal tube of the cockpit control column. We are issuing this AD to require repetitive inspections of the cockpit control column horizontal tube with repair or replacement, as necessary, of the cockpit control column. We are proposing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

    (f) Compliance

    Comply with paragraphs (g)(1) through (g)(2) of this AD using the following service bulletins within the compliance times specified below, unless already done:

    (1) For Models SA26-T and SA26-AT: M7 Aerospace LLC Service Bulletin (SB) 26-27-002, dated October 8, 2015;

    (2) For Models SA226-AT, SA226-T, SA226-T(B), and SA226-TC: M7 Aerospace LLC SB 226-27-078, dated October 8, 2015;

    (3) For Models SA227-AC(C-26A), SA227-AT, SA227-BC(C-26A), and SA227-TT: M7 Aerospace LLC SB 227-27-058, dated October 8, 2015; or

    (4) For Models SA227-CC and SA227-DC (C-26B): M7 Aerospace LLC SB CC7-27-030, dated October 8, 2015.

    (g) Actions

    (1) For all airplanes: Within the next 2,000 hours time-in-service (TIS) after the effective date of this AD or no later than when the airplane accumulates 20,000 hours TIS, whichever occurs later, do an initial inspection of the cockpit control column horizontal tube for cracks following paragraph 2.B. of the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletins identified in paragraphs (f)(1), (f)(2), (f)(3), or (f)(4) of this AD, as applicable; and repetitively inspect as follows:

    (i) For airplanes with less than 35,000 hours TIS as of the effective date of this AD: Repetitively inspect the cockpit control column horizontal tube for cracks every 5,000 hours TIS until the airplane reaches 35,000 hours TIS at which time do the inspection within 2,000 hours TIS from the last inspection or within the next 100 hours TIS, whichever occurs later, and then thereafter at intervals not to exceed 2,000 hours TIS.

    (ii) For airplanes with 35,000 hours TIS or more as of the effective date of this AD: Repetitively inspect the cockpit control column horizontal tube for cracks every 2,000 hours TIS.

    (2) For all airplanes: If any cracks are found following the inspections required in paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(1)(i), or (g)(1)(ii), as applicable, before further flight, repair the control column following paragraph 2.C. of the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletins identified in paragraphs (f)(1), (f)(2), (f)(3), or (f)(4) of this AD.

    (h) Paperwork Reduction Act Burden Statement

    A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be approximately 5 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, completing and reviewing the collection of information. All responses to this collection of information are mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at: 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, Attn: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

    (i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Fort Worth Airplane Certification Office, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (j) of this AD.

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

    (j) Related Information

    (1) For more information about this AD, contact Andrew McAnaul, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, ASW-143 (c/o San Antonio MIDO), 10100 Reunion Place, Suite 650, San Antonio, Texas 78216; phone: (210) 308-3365; fax: (210) 308-3370; email: [email protected]

    (2) For service information identified in this AD, contact M7 Aerospace LLC, 10823 NE Entrance Road, San Antonio, Texas 78216; phone: (210) 824-9421; fax: (210) 804-7766; Internet: http://www.elbitsystems-us.com; email: [email protected] You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 816-329-4148.

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 28, 2016. Jacqueline Jambor, Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07371 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2016-4551; Directorate Identifier 2016-NE-07-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Rolls-Royce Deutschland Ltd & Co KG Turbofan Engines AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Rolls-Royce Deutschland Ltd & Co KG (RRD) BR700-710A1-10, -710A2-20, and -710C4-11 turbofan engines. This proposed AD was prompted by a seized low-pressure turbine (LPT) fuel shut-off pawl carrier caused by corrosion of the pawl carrier pivot pin. This proposed AD would require removing the pawl carrier pivot pins, part number (P/N) BRR17117, from service and replacing them with parts eligible for installation. We are proposing this AD to prevent failure of the fuel shut-off mechanism, uncontained part release, damage to the engine, and damage to the airplane.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by May 31, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

    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-2016-4551; or in person at the Docket Operations office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI), the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this NPRM. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2016-4551; Directorate Identifier 2016-NE-07-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this NPRM. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this NPRM based on those comments.

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

    Discussion

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA AD 2016-0034, dated February 24, 2016 (referred to hereinafter as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

    Seizing of a fuel shut-off mechanism pawl carrier was reported. The subsequent investigation determined that corrosion of the pawl carrier pivot pin P/N BRR17117, was the failure cause.

    This condition, if not corrected, could lead to loss of the fuel shut-off mechanism functionality and loss of the engine over-speed protection, possibly resulting in release of high-energy debris, with consequent damage to, and/or reduced control of the airplane.

    You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2016-4551.

    FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

    This product has been approved by the aviation authority of Germany, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the European Community, EASA has notified us of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all information provided by EASA and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design. This NPRM would require removing the pawl carrier pivot pin, P/N BRR17117, from service and replacing with a part eligible for installation.

    Related Service Information

    RRD has issued ASB SB-BR700-72-A101523, Revision 3, dated December 10, 2015. The service information describes procedures for replacing the pawl carrier pivot pins. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD affects 4 engines installed on airplanes of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about 3 hours per engine to comply with this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per hour. Required parts cost about $860 per engine. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $4,460.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): Rolls-Royce Deutschland GmbH (Type Certificate previously held by Rolls-Royce Deutschland GmbH, formerly BMW Rolls-Royce GmbH): Docket No. FAA-2016-4551; Directorate Identifier 2016-NE-07-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by May 31, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    (1) This AD applies to:

    (i) Rolls-Royce Deutschland (RRD) BR700-710A1-10 engines with serial number (S/N) 11505 and below and with a low-pressure turbine (LPT) module, part number (P/N) M51-104 or P/N M51-111, installed;

    (ii) RRD BR700-710A2-20 engines with S/N 12492 and below and with an LPT module, P/N M51-108 or P/N M51-111, installed;

    (iii) RRD BR700-710C4-11 engines with S/N 15277 and below, with configuration standard 710C4-11 engraved on the engine data plate and with an LPT module, P/N M51-112, installed; and

    (iv) RRD BR700-710C4-11 engines with S/N 15329 and below, with configuration standard 710C4-11/10 engraved on the engine data plate and with an LPT module, P/N M51-112, installed.

    (2) Reserved.

    (d) Reason

    This AD was prompted by a seized LPT fuel shut-off pawl carrier caused by corrosion of the pawl carrier pivot pin. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the fuel shut-off mechanism, uncontained part release, damage to the engine, and damage to the airplane.

    (e) Actions and Compliance

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

    (1) Within 6 months after the effective date of this AD, remove each pawl carrier pivot pin, P/N BRR17117, from service and replace with a part eligible for installation.

    (2) Reserved.

    (f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

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

    (g) Related Information

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

    (2) Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency AD 2016-0034, dated February 24, 2016, for more information. You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating it in Docket No. FAA-2016-4551.

    (3) RRD Alert Service Bulletin SB-BR700-72-A101523, Revision 3, dated December 10, 2015, can be obtained from RRD using the contact information in paragraph (g)(4) of this AD.

    (4) For service information identified in this AD, contact Rolls-Royce Deutschland Ltd & Co KG, Eschenweg 11, Dahlewitz, 15827 Blankenfelde-Mahlow, Germany; phone: +49 (0) 33 7086 2673; fax: +49 (0) 33 7086 3276.

    (5) You may view this service information at the FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 1200 District Avenue, Burlington, MA 01803. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7125.

    Issued in Burlington, Massachusetts, on March 25, 2016. Colleen M. D'Alessandro, Manager, Engine & Propeller Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07378 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Parts 612 and 686 RIN 1840-AD07 [Docket ID ED-2014-OPE-0057] Teacher Preparation Issues AGENCY:

    Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking; re-opening of the comment period for specific issues.

    SUMMARY:

    On December 3, 2014, the Department published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to implement requirements for the teacher preparation program accountability system under title II of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), and also to amend the regulations governing the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program under title IV of the HEA. The comment period closed on February 2, 2015.

    The Department received over 4,800 comments in response to the NPRM. Some commenters requested clarification regarding how the proposed State reporting requirements would affect teacher preparation programs provided through distance education and TEACH Grant eligibility for students enrolled in teacher preparation programs provided through distance education. In response to these comments, the Department is considering revising the proposed regulations to clarify these areas.

    This supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (supplemental NPRM) therefore reopens the public comment period on the Teacher Preparation Issues proposed rule for 30 days solely to seek comment on these specific issues. The Department is not soliciting comments on any other issues related to the December 3, 2014, NPRM, and the Department will not consider public comments that address issues other than those specific to reporting by States on teacher preparation programs provided through distance education and TEACH Grant eligibility requirements for teacher preparation programs provided through distance education.

    DATES:

    The comment period for a specific topic in the NPRM published on December 3, 2014 (79 FR 71820), is reopened. The due date for comments discussed in this supplemental NPRM is May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

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

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

    Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery: If you mail or deliver your comments about these proposed regulations, address them to Sophia McArdle, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., room 6W256, Washington, DC 20202.

    Privacy Note:

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sophia McArdle, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., room 6W256, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 453-6318 or by email: [email protected]

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On December 3, 2014, the Department published an NPRM in the Federal Register (79 FR 71820) proposing requirements for the teacher preparation program accountability system under title II of the HEA (title II reporting system) that would result in the development and distribution of more meaningful data on teacher preparation program quality. That NPRM also included amendments to the regulations governing the TEACH Grant Program under title IV of the HEA that would condition TEACH Grant program funding on teacher preparation program quality, as well as update, clarify, and improve the current regulations to align them with the title II reporting system. The Department received over 4,800 comments in response to the proposed regulations.

    The NPRM contained proposed requirements for State reporting on teacher preparation programs provided through distance education under the title II reporting system, as well as proposed regulations governing TEACH Grant eligibility for teacher preparation programs provided through distance education. Some commenters expressed concern that the proposed regulations did not provide enough clarity with respect to the requirements for teacher preparation programs provided through distance education. These commenters expressed concern about two specific areas in the proposed regulations related to teacher preparation programs offered through distance education.

    The first area of concern was State reporting on teacher preparation programs provided through distance education. In the NPRM, we included requirements for States to report on certain metrics (student learning outcomes, employment outcomes, survey outcomes, and program characteristics) for teacher preparation programs in the State, including distance education programs. The NPRM proposed that the State reporting requirements would apply to all teacher preparation programs, including those offered through distance education. Our intent was to ensure that the State reporting requirements were consistent across teacher preparation programs, including teacher preparation programs provided through distance education. Commenters questioned which State would be responsible for reporting on, and determining the performance level for, teacher preparation programs provided through distance education.

    Commenters stated that the proposed requirement was unclear. They specifically asked for clarification on whether only one State would be responsible for reporting on, and determining the performance level of, teacher preparation programs offered through distance education, or whether any State in which a teacher preparation program provided through distance education that enrolled students would do so. For example, according to some commenters, the proposed regulations could be interpreted as requiring a State to report: (a) Only if students enrolled in that program resided or become certified in the State; or (b) only if the teacher preparation program provided through distance education is physically headquartered in the State. The commenters asked us to clarify which of these alternatives would apply. Commenters also asked whether States would have to report on teacher preparation programs provided through distance education if those programs generated fewer than 25 teachers in a given State.

    The second area of concern expressed by some commenters relates to TEACH Grant eligibility for students enrolling in teacher preparation programs offered through distance education. Commenters noted that there are teacher preparation programs offered through distance education that are available in multiple States, and, therefore, the same program could be rated as effective by one State and low-performing or at-risk of being low- performing by another. Commenters stated that the proposed regulations were unclear regarding both how TEACH Grant eligibility would be determined for students enrolled in a teacher preparation program offered through distance education, and, specifically, in instances where different States provide conflicting ratings. Commenters asked the Department to clarify these points in the regulations.

    Provisions Under Consideration

    In light of these comments, we are seeking comment on the proposals in this supplemental NPRM that would amend the proposed regulations. In particular, the Department seeks comments and recommendations on ways to improve, and alternatives to, these proposed amendments to the proposed regulations included in this supplemental NPRM.

    In this regard, we note that while our NPRM proposed to incorporate the definition of “distance education” in 34 CFR 600.2, we know that some teacher preparation programs combine aspects of distance education with aspects of preparation that occur in a “brick and mortar” setting. While we solicit comments and recommendations on any aspect of this NPRM, we specifically solicit comments and recommendations on—

    (1) Under what circumstances, for purposes of both reporting and determining the teacher preparation program's level of overall performance, a State should use procedures applicable to teacher education programs offered through distance education and when it should use procedures for teacher preparation programs provided at brick and mortar institutions, and

    (2) For a single program, if one State uses procedures applicable to teacher preparation programs offered through distance education, and another State uses procedures for teacher preparation programs provided at brick and mortar, what are the implications, especially for TEACH Eligibility, and how these inconsistencies should be addressed.

    Section 612.4—What are the regulatory reporting requirements for the State report card?

    In the December 2014 NPRM, proposed § 612.4 requires that each State report to the Secretary, using a State report card (SRC) that is prescribed by the Secretary, on the quality of all approved teacher preparation programs in the State (both traditional teacher preparation programs and alternative routes to State certification or licensure programs), including distance education programs. We also proposed that this reporting would occur regardless of whether or not those programs enroll students receiving Federal assistance under the HEA. As previously noted, although the Department intended that our proposed State reporting requirements apply to all teacher preparation programs, including those provided through distance education, we received comments asking for clarification on how and when States would need to report on teacher preparation programs provided through distance education.

    To clarify how States must report on the quality of all teacher preparation programs provided through distance education in the State, we are proposing to amend the proposed regulations by striking the words “including distance education programs” from proposed § 612.4(a)(1)(1); redesignating proposed § 612.4(a)(1)(ii) as proposed § 612.4(a)(1)(iii); and adding new proposed § 612.4(a)(1)(ii). This new provision would require States to report on the quality of all teacher preparation programs provided through distance education in the State in ways that meet the reporting and aggregation requirements proposed in § 612.4(b)(4); however, rather than determine that the program produces 25 new teachers as set forth in our proposed § 612.4(b)(4), for teacher preparation programs provided through distance education, a State would determine whether there are at least 25 new teachers from that program who become certified in the State in a given title II reporting year.

    Under § 612.4(b)(4) as proposed in the December 2014 NPRM, except for certain programs subject to proposed § 612.4(b)(4)(ii)(D) or (E), each State would ensure that all of its teacher preparation programs are represented in the SRC. Consistent with the NPRM, States would report on a teacher preparation program provided through distance education individually if the program produced at least 25 new teachers in the State, and would report through different aggregation methods if it produced fewer than 25 new teachers in the State.

    In contrast, under new proposed § 612.4(a)(1)(ii), which applies to teacher preparation programs provided through distance education, consistent with the reporting threshold of 25 or more new teachers for reporting in previously proposed § 612.4(b)(4)(1), each State would be required to report annually and separately on the performance of each teacher preparation program provided through distance education if at least 25 graduates of that program become certified in the State in a title II reporting year. For teacher preparation programs provided through distance education, if fewer than 25 graduates of that program become certified in the State in a given title II reporting year, reporting would be accomplished consistent with the methods of reporting addressed in proposed § 612.4(b)(4)(ii). These proposed regulations would also permit a State, at its discretion, to establish a program size threshold lower than 25.

    Thus, for a distance education program that produces fewer than 25 new teachers whom the State has certified to teach in a given title II reporting year, the State would use the same procedures for data aggregation in proposed § 612.4(a)(1)(ii)(A)-(C) as the State would use for all other small teacher preparation programs. Under proposed § 612.4(a)(1)(ii)(D) and (E), the State would be permitted to exclude from reporting distance education programs that are particularly small, for which aggregation procedures cannot be applied, or where reporting on those programs would be inconsistent with State or Federal privacy or confidentiality laws and regulations.

    We are now proposing this regulation because of the inherent differences between “brick and mortar” teacher preparation programs and teacher preparation programs provided through distance education. Unlike teacher preparation programs physically located in a State that produce new teachers whom a State may easily confirm as completers of that program, a teacher preparation program provided through distance education generally does not have a physical location in the State, and its students could be participating in the program from anywhere. Any State would have great difficulty identifying and tracking new teachers the distance education program produces, much less new teachers it produces who plan to teach in the State.

    Because we understand that States track individuals whom they certify as teachers in the State and collect what teacher preparation programs they have completed, it seems reasonable to apply the same State reporting requirements for distance education programs as we have proposed for “brick and mortar” programs that are physically located in the State with the one modification described above. That is, instead of the State reporting on the program based on the number of new teachers it produced in a given title II reporting year, for distance education programs the State would report using the procedures in proposed § 612.4(b)(4) based on whether the distance education program produced at least 25 teachers or fewer than 25 whom the State had certified to teach in the State in the title II reporting year. Where these teachers resided when they took the program would not matter.

    Section 686.2 Definitions High-Quality Teacher Preparation Program Provided Through Distance Education

    For purposes of TEACH Grant eligibility, in the NPRM we proposed that, to be eligible for a TEACH Grant, an otherwise eligible student must, in part, be enrolled in a high-quality teacher preparation program. As previously noted, we received comments asking us to clarify how TEACH Grant eligibility would be determined for a student enrolled in a teacher preparation program offered through distance education, and specifically how TEACH Grant eligibility would be determined for a student if one State rates a teacher preparation program offered through distance education as ineffective and another State rates it as effective.

    To clarify how TEACH Grant eligibility would be determined for a teacher preparation program provided through distance education, in this supplemental NPRM we are proposing to add a definition for the term “high-quality teacher preparation program provided through distance education.” We would also make corresponding changes to the definitions of TEACH Grant-eligible institution and TEACH Grant-eligible program.

    The proposed definition of a high-quality teacher preparation program in the December 2014 NPRM links a State's classification of a teacher preparation program as being of effective or exceptional to an institution physically located in the State; this classification is thus made on a State-by-State basis. We believe this proposed definition works well for “brick and mortar” teacher preparation programs offered by an institution physically located in a State, but not for teacher preparation programs provided through distance education as individuals may take those programs anywhere.

    Furthermore, the types of teacher preparation programs provided through distance education that are offered by institutions vary. Some teacher preparation programs provided through distance education are State-specific, meaning that they are designed to prepare individuals to serve in a specific State, (e.g., an Elementary Education program directed at teachers in California), while others are offered in multiple States and are not tailored to any specific State. We believe that, just as with “brick and mortar” teacher preparation programs, it is important to establish a feedback loop between teacher preparation programs provided through distance education and States, schools, and the public to inform the State that certifies its graduates as new teachers, the school districts in that State that hire them, and the general public. Additionally, all States should be able to assess, and hold accountable, the teacher preparation programs from which their teachers graduated according to their own standards and expectations. Institutions providing teacher preparation programs through distance education in multiple States should have an incentive to adapt those programs to be State-specific so that they can be responsive to the needs of that State and receive ratings that reflect performance only in that specific State.

    Thus, the new proposed definition for a high-quality teacher preparation program provided through distance education would require that no single State has classified the program as low-performing or at-risk of being low- performing.

    More specifically, we are proposing to define a high-quality teacher preparation program provided through distance education as a teacher preparation program provided through distance education that: (a) For TEACH Grant program purposes in the 2021-2022 title IV award year, is not classified by any State as low-performing or at-risk of being low performing under 34 CFR 612.4(b) in either or both the April 2020 and/or April 2021 SRCs; and (b) for TEACH Grant program purposes in the 2022-2023 title IV award year and subsequent award years, is not classified by any State as low-performing or at-risk of being low-performing under 34 CFR 612.4(b) for two out of the previous three years, with the earliest year being the April 2020 SRC. Taking into consideration that we have not yet published final regulations, we are proposing to move the implementation dates for these proposed regulations back by one year to account for the delay.

    Thus, as with students enrolled in “brick and mortar” teacher preparation programs for the 2021-2022 title IV award year, no student enrolled in a teacher preparation program provided through distance education would be able to receive a TEACH Grant, regardless of their State of residence, if the program is classified by any State as low-performing or at-risk of being low-performing under 34 CFR 612.4(b) in either or both the April 2020 and/or April 2021 SRC. For TEACH Grant program purposes in the 2022-2023 title IV award year, students in the distance education program would not be able to receive TEACH Grants in any State if it is classified by any State as low-performing or at-risk of being low-performing under 34 CFR 612.4(b), in any two of the April 2020, 2021, or 2022 SRCs.

    In other words, if one State classified a teacher preparation program provided through distance education as low-performing or at-risk of being low-performing in April 2020 and a different State classified the program as low-performing or at-risk in April of 2021, no student in any State who participates in that same distance education program would be able to receive a TEACH Grant in the 2021-2022 title IV award year because the program had been classified as low-performing or at-risk in both years by at least one State. Similarly, beginning with the April 2020 State Report Card, for the 2022-2023 title IV award year and subsequent award years, if one State classified a teacher preparation program provided through distance education as low-performing or at-risk for one year under 34 CFR 612.4(b), and another State classified the same distance education program as low-performing or at-risk of being low-performing in at least one of the next two years, no student in any State enrolled in that distance education program would be able to receive a TEACH Grant in the 2022-2023 title IV HEA award year.

    We are confident that a State that has granted teacher certification to graduates of a teacher preparation program provided through distance education, and then found the program to be low-performing or at-risk of being low-performing, will want to work proactively with the program to improve its performance and to ensure that, when next evaluated, the State is able to report an acceptable level of performance. Moreover, even if only one State were to classify a teacher preparation program provided through distance education as low-performing or at-risk, this fact should raise great concern. Given that prospective teachers in teacher preparation programs provided through distance education may be seeking teaching positions in any of a number of States, they should be aware that one or more States have deemed that certain teacher preparation programs provided through distance education were classified as less than effective. We strongly believe that the States that rated the teacher preparation program provided through distance education as effective will want to work with the program in question to ensure that the program would maintain its effective or better classification, and the States that found the performance of the program to be less than effective would want to work with the program to ensure that the poor performance rating does not recur. Finally, we believe that this proposed provision will help ensure that eligibility to award TEACH grants is limited to IHEs that the Secretary determines provide high-quality teacher preparation, pursuant to HEA section 420L(1)(A).

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) Discussion of Costs, Benefits, and Transfers

    The Department has analyzed the costs of complying with the proposed regulations in this supplemental NPRM. Due to uncertainty about the total number of distance education programs in the country that would be subject to reporting under these proposed regulations, the current capacity of States in some relevant areas, and the considerable discretion the regulations would provide States (e.g., the flexibility States would have in determining who conducts the teacher and employer surveys), we cannot evaluate the costs of implementing the regulations with absolute precision. However, based on the assumptions discussed below, we estimate that these proposed regulations would have a total annualized cost of approximately $234 thousand over ten years above those costs calculated for the remainder of the proposed regulations in the December 3, 2014 NPRM. We note that the analysis of costs, benefits, and transfers that follows uses the same categories of analysis as those included in the NPRM. For example, in the NPRM, the Department estimated cost and burden associated with the SRC based on a number of categories including, but not limited to, completing the SRC, posting the SRC on the State's Web site, and ensuring meaningful differentiation of programs. In this analysis, we use the same categories, though our estimates for each category have been revised in many instances to reflect public comment and current information and thinking. For example, we have updated the applicable wage rates to reflect the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and have increased the estimated time it would take to post the SRC to the State Web site from 0.25 hours to 0.5 hours. In this supplemental NPRM, the Department does not discuss or provide our responses to public comment on the estimates in our original NPRM but simply uses the revised estimated burden hours for our calculations. We will discuss public comment to all estimates in both NPRMs in our notice of final rulemaking. Additionally, we note that our estimates also have been revised to reflect updated wage rate data.1

    1 Unless otherwise specified, all hourly wage estimates for particular occupation categories were taken from the May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for Federal, State, and local government published by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and available online at www.bls.gov/oes/current/999001.htm.

    The following is a detailed analysis of the estimated costs of implementing the specific requirements, including the costs of complying with paperwork-related requirements, followed by a discussion of the anticipated benefits. The burden hours of implementing specific paperwork-related requirements are also shown in the tables in the Paperwork Reduction Act section of this supplemental NPRM.

    Number of Distance Education Programs

    As noted elsewhere in this supplemental NPRM, these proposed regulations clarify States' responsibilities regarding reporting on teacher preparation programs offered through distance education. Reporting and accountability for such programs were not directly discussed in the original NPRM, and, therefore, were not explicitly included in our original cost estimates. However, upon review of prior State submissions under title II of the HEA, it is clear that at least some States have been reporting on distance education programs, though it is unclear to what extent such reporting was systematic either within or across States. As such, we believe that there will be an increase in the costs and burdens associated with reporting and accountability for such programs relative to our initial estimates.

    In order to quantify the extent of these costs and burdens, the Department must first estimate the total number of teacher preparation programs provided through distance education on which reporting will be required. However, this is not a simple task. As noted above, States have not been systematically reporting on such programs, and it is possible that, under the proposed regulations, multiple States will be required to report on the same program (if, for example, a single distance education program produces 25 new teachers who become certified in each of multiple States). To estimate the total number of distance education teacher preparation programs nationwide, we used publicly available data from the Department's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

    In the IPEDS Completions survey component, IHEs identify programs of study at their institutions using Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) codes that correspond to the particular subject area or focus of coursework. For each six-digit CIP code, the first two digits reference a broad area of study (e.g., CIP codes beginning “13” are all education-focused programs). The next two digits of a CIP code reference a more specific, but still somewhat broad category of study within the broader subject area (e.g., CIP codes beginning with “13.12” are all “Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Levels and Methods” programs). The final two digits of a six-digit CIP code reference the specific course of study that is being undertaken (e.g., the CIP code “13.1202” references a course of study in “Elementary Education and Teaching”). To be clear, these CIP codes do not directly align to a “teacher preparation program” as defined in the proposed regulations. However, we believe that the use of these CIP codes approximates those teacher preparation programs as close as is possible using available data in IPEDS. We note that the use of CIP codes will result in collapsing multiple teacher preparation programs (as defined in the proposed regulations) that focus on the same area into a single “program” as we are able to capture it through IPEDS. For example, if an IHE has both traditional and alternative route teacher preparation programs in Elementary Education and Teaching, both teacher preparation programs (as defined in the proposed regulation) will be collapsed into one reporting instance under CIP code 13.1202. As such, it is possible that we may end up underestimating the total number of programs or overestimating the size of individual programs. However, we believe that, because we are using these data to identify distance education programs, we are unlikely to have major issues underestimating the number of such programs due to the aggregation within CIP codes, as we believe it is highly unlikely that an individual IHE would have multiple teacher preparation programs (as defined in the proposed regulations) offered through distance education within the same CIP code (e.g., an IHE is unlikely to have two distance education teacher preparation programs in Elementary Education and Teaching leading to a Master's degree). Additionally, we believe that the use of other data points within the IPEDS system can help mitigate any issues related to the overestimate of the number of students in each program.

    We first identified education programs nationwide that corresponded to CIP codes (either four or six digits) reported to the Department in the most recent title II reporting period. We then used additional information available in IPEDS to determine whether each of these programs were offered through distance education, the total number of program completers with the specific CIP code in the past year, and their award level (bachelors, Masters, etc.). For purposes of our final analysis, we only included awards of a Bachelor's degree, post-baccalaureate certificate, Master's degree, or post-Master's certificate. This was based on our belief that programs offering other types of academic awards (e.g., Associate's degrees and doctorates) were unlikely to be programs leading to an initial teacher certification or licensure. Using this procedure, we identified 18,196 programs in IPEDS, where a program is a unique combination of institution, six-digit CIP code, and award level.2 Of these 18,196 programs, 2,158 had a distance education component. This sub-set of distance education programs provided our base dataset for this analysis.

    2 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Completions component (2013 final data).

    As noted elsewhere in this supplemental NPRM, States are required to report in their SRCs on all programs provided through distance education that produce teachers to whom the State has granted State certification; consistent with proposed § 612.4(b)(4), how a State reports depends on whether or not the State certifies at least 25 or more new teachers in any given title II reporting year. However, the IPEDS dataset does not provide the specific number of students in each program who completed the program via distance education, only the total number of completers and whether or not each program is offered via distance education. However, there are several ways to estimate the number of individuals who completed these programs through distance education.3

    3 We focus on distance education program completers because we cannot use these IPEDS data (or any other data readily available to the Department) to determine the number of individuals (by program) who ultimately became certified new teachers. As such, and because we know that not all program completers ultimately become certified new teachers, our approach will likely generate an over-estimate of the actual number of new teachers and therefore of the number of programs that meet the minimum size requirements.

    One way of estimating the number of individuals who complete teacher preparation programs offered through distance education is to assume that all individuals who complete a program that has a distance education component did so using the distance education option. This would, of course, provide the highest estimate for the total number of distance education students. However, it would fail to account for programs (unique CIP code/degree level/institution combinations) that are offered both on-site and through distance education and offer only a single degree (e.g., a post-baccalaureate certificate program that can be taken online or in person, with half of graduates using each option). As such, we believe this methodology would result in an overestimate of the actual number of new distance education programs on which reporting would be required, particularly given the low level of distance education enrollment across institutions in this analytical sample (over 45 percent of institutions had a distance education enrollment rate of less than 10 percent).

    IPEDS does offer data on the total number of individuals enrolled in programs through distance education at the institution level, but does not do so at the program (CIP code) level. However, as an alternative to the first methodology, we could use the institution-wide distance education rate as a proxy for the percentage of students in the teacher preparation program enrolled via distance education (i.e., if 12 percent of an institution's students are enrolled in distance education, we would assume that 12 percent of the students in the teacher preparation program are also enrolled via distance education). While this approach would account for programs offered in multiple modalities (i.e., CIP codes that have aggregated teacher preparation programs, as defined in the proposed regulations, that are offered via distance education with those offered in person), such an estimate may or may not be reasonable depending on whether the enrollment patterns of the specific teacher preparation program mirror the enrollment patterns of the institution as a whole. If a particular teacher preparation degree program at College A (for instance, a Master's degree in Secondary Education and Teaching) were only offered via distance education while the majority of students enrolled in College A were not enrolled via distance education, this methodology would under-estimate the size of the teacher preparation program in College A. However, while we believe this methodology may result in over- or under-estimates for individual programs, when aggregated across all programs, these individual errors will likely cancel each other out.4

    4 We note that our estimates also assume that the percentage of distance education enrollment is also the same as the percentage of students completing programs via distance education. To the extent that distance education enrollees are more or less likely to complete their program of study, this assumption will result in an under- or over-estimate of the number of distance education program completers.

    Despite the improvements that an enrollment rate for distance education programs may make to our estimates, the requirements on reporting of distance education programs apply, under existing regulations, and these proposed regulations, to all teacher preparation programs in the State. As such, we assume that States would have already reported on such programs operating in their State in the current Title II data collection. In that instance, costs associated with these programs would have been included in the regulatory impact analysis in the December 3, 2014 NPRM. For example, if 70 percent of students in a teacher preparation program in Ohio are enrolled in a distance education program, and all of the program graduates become newly certified teachers in Ohio, the status of those recent graduates as distance education graduates would not result in any additional cost or burden on Ohio or other States because Ohio would have already been responsible for reporting on the program under the existing Title II data collection, and therefore costs related to implementing our proposed regulations are already a part of the cost estimates in our December 2014 NPRM (which used the current number of programs reported under title II of the HEA as a baseline).

    Therefore, we believe that the best approach to estimating the costs of the regulations proposed in this supplemental NPRM is to use the number of students enrolled via distance education who, during the time they are enrolled, are located in a State or jurisdiction other than the one in which the institution is located.5 In this instance, the State or States in which these “out of State” individuals are located (and, we will assume, the State(s) in which they will ultimately become new teachers), is the one with the reporting burden generated by the proposed regulations. Thus, in addition to the two methodologies described above, as another approach, we can also use the percentage of students enrolled via distance education outside of the State in which the institution is located as a proxy for the percentage of students who will become new teachers in another State. While we believe that this is the best estimation methodology of the three, for transparency purposes, in Table 1 below, we provide estimates using all three methodologies.

    5 U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Fall enrollment survey component (2014 provisional data).

    Once we have developed an estimate of the number of program completers for each program (unique CIP code/degree/institution combination), we must calculate the total number of programs on which States will be reporting. As provided in proposed § 612.4(b)(4), a State would be required to report on any teacher preparation program that produces 25 or more new teachers in a given reporting year and smaller programs, subject to a number of aggregation methods. While we do not have data on the number of new teachers produced by each of the distance teacher preparation programs in our database for this analysis, as stated above, we will assume that all program completers become new teachers in the State where they were located when completing the course. This will result in an overestimate of the reporting burden on States, as not all individuals completing such distance education programs will become new teachers. Using our dataset, we determined that 710 programs nationally had at least 25 program completers. Using the out-of-State distance education estimate as described above, there would only be 109 programs that required annual reporting beyond those in our initial estimates (which included 26,589 programs 6 ).

    6 The estimates included in our original NPRM used 25,000 programs. However, since that time, more recent data are available from Title II reporting, which shows that there were 26,589 programs during the 2012-2013 academic year, spread across 2,171 providers.

    In addition to having States report on those programs that produce 25 or more new teachers in a given reporting year, proposed § 612.4(b)(4)(ii) provides options for aggregating smaller programs that produce fewer teachers each year. Beginning with § 612.4(b)(4)(ii)(A), one option a State has is to aggregate data across programs operated by the same teacher preparation entity that are similar to or broader than the program in content. In order to estimate the number of additional programs that this provision would add to the calculations, we aggregated data for programs with fewer than 25 program completers with other programs at the same institution with the same four-digit CIP code. This procedure not only collapsed programs across award levels (e.g., counting Bachelor's degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates together), but also instructional programs that were largely similar to one another (e.g., counting “Special Education and Teaching, General” and “Special Education and Teaching, Other” together). In doing so, we identified an additional 25 programs that could meet the program size threshold when assuming all program completers were distance education students (150 programs when not using any distance education proxies).

    Under proposed § 612.4(b)(4)(ii)(B), States could alternatively aggregate small programs across reporting years (not to exceed four) until a sufficient program size was reached. In order to estimate the number of additional distance programs that this clause would generate, we determined the number of programs that generated fewer than 25 program completers in a given year that would, if aggregated across no more than four years, generate the required program size. In doing so, we identified a total of only 253 teacher preparation programs provided through distance education nationwide that had 25 or more program completers in a given year or, if aggregated across four years, would have at least 25 program completers.

    Under proposed § 612.4(b)(4)(ii)(C), a State may use a combination of the two methods described above in order to meet the program size thresholds. For this estimate, the Department began by determining those programs that either did not have 25 program completers in a given year or would not generate 25 new teachers when aggregated across a number of years, not to exceed four. We then determined how many of the remaining programs could generate the required program size if aggregated with programs at the same institution with similar CIP codes (four digits) and with program completers aggregated across multiple years, not to exceed four. In using all of these combinations, the Department developed an estimate of 295 teacher preparation programs offered through distance education.

    To provide upper-bound estimates of the burden these proposed distance education requirements would place on States, the Department used a different methodology to create proxy “programs”—groups of 25 program completers regardless of their actual course of study. First, the Department estimated the maximum number of “programs” on which a State would have to report if students at each institution were divided into the smallest possible programs that met the reporting thresholds (e.g., if there were 100 program completers from University A, then States would have to report on a maximum of four “programs” of 25 completers each). Using this method, the Department developed an upper bound estimate of 3,013 programs. Similarly, if the Department did not consider either institution- or program-level information and divided the total number of program completers for all programs nationally in which distance education was an option, the Department estimates a maximum number of programs on which States would be required to report of 3,266. Obviously, the Department believes that these represent extreme upper bounds, as State-, institution-, and program-level differentiation would stop such a high level of reporting from being required.

    As stated above, because the proposed regulations would only require additional reporting insofar as students are new teachers certified in States other than the one in which the institution is located, the Department believes that 295 is a reasonable estimate for the total number of additional teacher preparation programs provided through distance education on which States will be required to report beyond the reporting included in our initial estimates contained in the December 2014 NPRM. However, to further capture the maximum increased burden associated with this estimate, the Department further determined the maximum number of reporting instances that these 295 programs could generate. If new teachers from these 295 programs were divided into as many groups of 25 new teachers as possible (thus mandating reporting by the State), we estimate that there would be as many as 812 reporting instances from these 295 programs. As such, in the estimates that follow, we will calculate burden based on 812 additional reports required by States.

    Table 1—Estimates of the Number of Teacher Preparation Programs Provided Through Distance Education on Which Reporting Would Be Required Under § 612.4 All completers from programs offered via
  • distance
  • Total distance proxy 1 Out-of-state distance proxy 2
    Program-dependent calculations3 Programs with 25+ completers 710 203 109 Programs with 25+ completers plus programs with 25+ completers in programs with similar CIP codes 4 860 250 134 Programs with 25+ completers plus programs with 25+ completers over 4 years 5 1,387 552 253 Programs with 25+ completers plus programs with 25+ completers over 4 years plus programs with 25+ completers across 4 years in programs with similar CIP codes 1,501 654 295 Institution-dependent calculations Dividing total number of completers across all programs into proxy “programs” of 25 3,013 1,118 727 Institution-independent calculations Dividing all completers across all programs and institutions into proxy “programs” of 25 3,266 1,271 798 1 The Department used the percentage of students across the institution as a whole enrolled exclusively via distance education as a proxy for the percentage of program completers in each program who were enrolled via distance education. 2 The Department used the percentage of students across the institution as a whole enrolled via distance education in a State or jurisdiction other than the State or jurisdiction of the institution as a proxy for the percentage of program completers in each program who were enrolled via distance education. 3 For purposes of this table, a “program” is defined using a six-digit CIP code and award level at a particular institution of higher education. 4 The Department first determined programs with fewer than 25 program completers and then summed the completers across programs at the same institution with the same four-digit CIP code. This total was summed with the count in the “Programs with 25+ completers” row. 5 The Department first determined programs with fewer than 25 completers and then multiplied the number of completers by 4 to determine whether a four-year aggregation of data would generate a sufficient program size. This total was summed with the count in the “Programs with 25+ completers” row.
    Institutional Report Card Reporting Requirements

    The proposed regulations would require that each IHE that conducts a traditional teacher preparation program or alternative route to State certification or licensure program and enrolls students who receive title IV, HEA funds, report to the State on the quality of its program using an institutional report card (IRC) prescribed by the Secretary. While the proposed regulations would shift the data IHEs report from the institutional level to the program level, the IRC would continue to be compiled, reported, and posted by the IHE. Given that the proposed regulations would not change the IHEs that are subject to IRC reporting requirements, we do not believe that there would be any increased costs associated with these proposed regulations above those already included in our estimates. Regardless of whether individual programs are offered via distance or not, we assume that those programs are already included in IRCs. Rather, the impact of the proposed regulations will be to increase the burden on States to report on additional programs that are not located in their States, not to increase the number of programs on which institutions are required to report.

    State Report Card Reporting Requirements

    Section 205(b) of the HEA requires each State that receives funds under the HEA to report annually to the Secretary on the quality of teacher preparation in the State, both for traditional teacher preparation programs and for alternative routes to State certification or licensure programs, and to make this report available to the general public. In the cost estimates included in the December 3, 2014 NPRM, the Department assumed it would take the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Freely Associated States, which include the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau 235 hours each to report the required data under the SRC. We estimate that the 812 additional instances of reporting that States would be required to report on under these proposed regulations would result in an 8 hour increase in the time it would take to complete such reports at an annual cost of $12,170. This 8 hour estimate is based on an increase in the time to complete the SRC proportional to the increase in the number of programs on which States will be required to report.

    In the original NPRM, the Department also estimated costs associated with States' providing assurances whether each teacher preparation program in the State either: (a) Is accredited by a specialized accrediting agency recognized by the Secretary for accreditation of professional teacher education programs, or (b) provides teacher candidates with content and pedagogical knowledge and quality clinical preparation, and has rigorous teacher candidate entry and exit standards. See proposed § 612.5(a)(4)(i) and (ii), respectively. Using data from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the Department estimated that States would have to provide the assurances described in proposed § 612.5(a)(4)(ii) for 10,716 programs based at IHEs nationwide in addition to 2,688 programs not associated with IHEs. For purposes of determining the impact that the inclusion of distance education programs would have on this cost, we assume that distance education programs are just as likely as other IHE-based programs to be located at an IHE with specialized accreditation. As such, we estimate that States will have to provide these assurances on 390 of the 812 reporting instances for a total cost of $20,110 (2 hours per reporting instance for 390 reporting instances at $25.78 per hour). Further, we estimate that the annual reporting burden associated with this provision would cost approximately $2,510 (0.25 hours per reporting instance for 390 reporting instances at $25.78 per hour).

    States would also be required to annually report on their classification of teacher preparation programs. We estimate that the inclusion of distance education programs in such reporting would increase the cost to States of reporting the classification they had determined for each distance education program by $10,470 (0.5 hours per reporting instance for 812 reporting instances at $25.78 per hour). Additionally, in response to public comment, we have included an additional item of cost in its estimates of the burden associated with the SRCs under the proposed regulations. The Department's estimates now include one hour per program annually for teacher preparation programs to review and verify the data that States will use for accountability purposes. We estimate that this review and verification for distance education programs will increase costs by $20,930 (1 hour per reporting instance for 812 reporting instances at $25.78 per hour).

    The Department does not estimate any increase in costs (above those outlined in the December 2014 NPRM) associated with other elements of our initial estimates of the costs of the SRC related to the inclusion of distance education programs as all other estimated costs were flat costs associated with Statewide activities regardless of the number of programs being reported on.

    Reporting Student Learning Outcomes

    The Department's original estimates calculated the burden associated with reporting on student learning outcomes at the program level. We estimate that such reporting would take approximately 2.5 hours per program per State for a total additional annual cost of $52,330 to report on distance education programs.

    Reporting Employment Outcomes

    In the December 2014 NPRM, we also estimated costs associated with reporting employment outcomes at the program level. Assuming that such reporting would take 3.5 hours per program for 812 reporting instances, we estimate that such reporting would cost approximately $73,270.

    Reporting Survey Results

    Our December 2014 NPRM also proposed that States annually report on the results of teacher and employer surveys. At 1 hour per program, we estimate that such reporting on the 812 reporting instances would cost approximately $20,930 per year.

    Reporting on Other Indicators

    In the original NPRM, the Department did not account for costs associated with reporting on other indicators that the State may use to assess a program's performance beyond those that would be required by the proposed regulations. Our revised estimates include such costs. We now assume that such reporting will take, on average, 1 hour per program for an annual cost of approximately $20,930 for reporting on distance education programs.

    We do not estimate that any other elements of our initial cost estimates not outlined above will increase as a result of these supplemental proposed regulations.

    Accounting Statement

    In the following table, we have prepared an accounting statement showing the classification of the expenditures associated with the provisions of these proposed regulations. This table provides our best estimate of the changes in annual monetized costs, benefits, and transfers as a result of the proposed regulations.

    Table 2—Accounting Statement Category Benefits Better and more publicly available information on the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs Not Quantified Distribution of TEACH Grants to better performing programs Not Quantified Category Costs 7% 3% Institutional Report Card (set-up, annual reporting, posting on website) $0 $0 State Report Card (Statutory requirements: Annual reporting, posting on website; Regulatory requirements: Meaningful differentiation, consulting with stakeholders, aggregation of small programs, assurance of accreditation, other annual reporting costs) 66,190 66,190 Reporting Student Learning Outcomes (develop model to link aggregate data on student achievement to teacher preparation programs, modifications to student growth models for non-tested grades and subjects, and measuring student growth) 52,330 52,330 Reporting Employment Outcomes (placement and retention data collection directly from IHEs or LEAs) 73,270 73,270 Reporting Survey Results (developing survey instruments, annual administration, and response costs) 20,930 20,930 Reporting other indicators 20,930 20,930 Identifying TEACH Grant-eligible Institutions 0 0 Category Transfers Reduced costs to the Federal government from TEACH Grants to prospective students at teacher preparation programs found ineligible $0 $0 Paperwork Reduction Act of 1965

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, the Department provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This helps ensure that: the public understands the Department's collection instructions, respondents can provide the requested data in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the Department can properly assess the impact of collection requirements on respondents.

    Sections 612.3, 612.4, 612.5, 612.6, 612.7, 612.8, and 686.2 contain information collection requirements. Under the PRA, the Department has submitted a copy of these sections to OMB for its review. A Federal agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless OMB approves the collection under the PRA and the corresponding information collection instrument displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to comply with, or is subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information if the collection instrument does not display a currently valid OMB control number.

    In the final regulations, we will display the control numbers assigned by OMB to any information collection requirements proposed in this NPRM and adopted in the final regulations.

    Start-Up and Annual Reporting Burden

    These proposed regulations execute a statutory requirement that IHEs and States establish an information and accountability system through which IHEs and States report on the performance of their teacher preparation programs. Parts of the proposed regulations in the original NPRM would require IHEs and States to establish or scale up certain systems and processes in order to collect information necessary for annual reporting. As such, IHEs and States may incur one-time start-up costs for developing those systems and processes associated with those proposed regulations. However, nothing in the proposed regulations in this supplemental NPRM would institute any such new requirements beyond those already contemplated in the original NPRM. We therefore do not report any start-up burdens associate with these proposed regulations.

    Section 612.4—Reporting Requirements for the State Report Card

    As outlined in the “Discussion of Costs, Benefits, and Transfers” section of this supplemental NPRM, the Department estimates that the inclusion of reporting on distance education programs in SRCs under § 612.4(a) will increase the reporting burden on States by approximately 8 hours each, for a total burden increase of 472 hours.

    Under the proposed regulations, States would be required to classify teacher preparation programs each year. We estimate that such classification, using already-gathered indicator data and existing program classification methodologies would take approximately 0.5 hours per program. Applying such estimates to the 812 distance education programs, the total burden associated with classification of distance education programs would be 406 hours (812 programs multiplied by 0.5 hours per program). Aggregating the burdens calculated above, the Department estimates the total annual burden associated with these proposed rules under proposed § 612.4 to be 878 hours.

    Section 612.5—Indicators a State Must Use To Report on Teacher Preparation Program Performance

    The Department estimates that each State will require approximately 2.5 hours per program to gather and report data on student learning outcomes for distance education programs, for a total burden of 2,030 hours.

    The Department estimates that each State will require 3.5 hours to compile, calculate, and transmit data on the employment outcomes of recent graduates of distance education programs, for a burden of 2,842 hours.

    The Department estimates that each State will require 1 hour to report the results of their surveys of new teachers and their employers, for a total burden of 812 hours.

    States would also be required to report on whether programs that do not have specialized accreditation meet certain program characteristics. The Department believes that it will take approximately 2 hours per program for a State to make such determinations and an additional 0.25 hours to report on such findings. As discussed in this Supplemental NPRM, the Department estimates that States will only have to do such reviews for 390 distance education programs, for a total of 878 hours.

    The Department also estimates that each distance education program will require approximately 1 hour to review and verify State data regarding their program's performance, for a total of 812 hours.

    Aggregating the calculated burdens in this section, the Department estimates that these proposed regulations will increase the calculated reporting burden associated with § 612.5 by 7,374 hours.

    Total Reporting Burden Under Part 612

    Aggregating the total burdens calculated under the preceding sections of part 612 results in the following burdens: total burden incurred under § 612.4 is 878 hours and under § 612.5 is 7,374 hours. This totals 8,252 hours nationwide.

    We have prepared an Information Collection Request (ICR) for OMB collection 1840-0744. If you want to review and comment on the ICR [ICRs], please follow the instructions in the ADDRESSES section of this supplemental NPRM.

    Note:

    The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Department of Education review all comments posted at www.regulations.gov.

    In preparing your comments you may want to review the ICR, which is available at www.regulations.gov by using the Docket ID number specified in this supplemental NPRM and for which the comment period will run concurrently with the comment period of the NPRM.

    We consider your comments on these proposed collections of information in—

    • Deciding whether the proposed collections are necessary for the proper performance of our functions, including whether the information will have practical use;

    • Evaluating the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the proposed collections, including the validity of our methodology and assumptions;

    • Enhancing the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information we collect; and

    • Minimizing the burden on those who must respond.

    This includes exploring the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques.

    OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collections of information contained in these proposed regulations between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, to ensure that OMB gives your comments full consideration, it is important that OMB receives your comments by May 2, 2016. This does not affect the deadline for your comments to us on the proposed regulations.

    Intergovernmental Review

    These programs are subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal financial assistance.

    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and actions for these programs.

    Assessment of Educational Impact

    In accordance with section 411 of the General Education Provisions Act, 20 U.S.C. 1221e-4, the Secretary particularly requests comments on whether these proposed regulations would require transmission of information that any other agency or authority of the United States gathers or makes available.

    Federalism

    Executive Order 13132 requires us to ensure meaningful and timely input by State and local elected officials in the development of regulatory policies that have federalism implications. “Federalism implications” means substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. The proposed regulations in § 612.4 may have federalism implications, as defined in Executive Order 13132. We encourage State and local elected officials and others to review and provide comments on these proposed regulations.

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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

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

    (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number does not apply.) List of Subjects 34 CFR Part 612

    Administrative practice and procedure, Colleges and universities, Education, Elementary and secondary education, Grant programs—education, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Student aid.

    34 CFR Part 686

    Administrative practice and procedure, Colleges and universities, Education, Elementary and secondary education, Grant programs—education, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Student aid.

    Dated: March 28, 2016. John B. King, Jr., Secretary of Education.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Secretary proposes to amend 34 CFR part 612, as proposed to be added at 79 FR 71885, December 3, 2014, and part 686, as proposed to be amended at 79 FR 71889, December 3, 2014, as follows:

    PART 612—TITLE II REPORTING SYSTEM 1. The authority citation for part 612 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    20 U.S.C. 1022d, unless otherwise noted.

    2. Section 612.4 is amended by: A. In paragraph (a)(1)(i), removing the words “including distance education programs” that appear after the punctuation “,”; B. Redesignating paragraph (a)(1)(ii) as paragraph (a)(1)(iii); and C. Adding new paragraph (a)(1)(ii).

    The addition reads as follows:

    § 612.4 What are the regulatory reporting requirements for the State Report Card?

    (a) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (ii) The quality of all teacher preparation programs provided through distance education in the State, using procedures for reporting that are consistent with paragraph (b)(4) of this section, but based on whether the program produces at least 25 or fewer than 25 new teachers whom the State certified to teach in a given reporting year; and

    PART 686—TEACHER EDUCATION ASSISTANCE FOR COLLEGE AND HIGHER EDUCATION (TEACH) GRANT PROGRAM 3. The authority citation for part 686 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    20 U.S.C. 1070g, et seq., unless otherwise noted.

    4. Section 686.2 is amended by: A. Adding in alphabetical order a definition of “High-quality teacher preparation program provided through distance education” to paragraph (e); B. Revising the proposed definition of “TEACH Grant-eligible institution” in paragraph (e); and C. Revising the proposed definition of “TEACH Grant-eligible program” in paragraph (e).

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    § 686.2 Definitions.

    (e) * * *

    High-quality teacher preparation program provided through distance education: A teacher preparation program provided through distance education that—

    (i) For TEACH Grant program purposes in the 2021-2022 Title IV HEA award year, is not classified by any State as low-performing or at-risk of being low-performing under 34 CFR 612.4(b) in either or both the April 2020 and/or April 2021 State Report Cards, and for TEACH Grant program purposes in the 2022-2023 Title IV HEA award year and subsequent award years, is not classified by any State as low-performing or at-risk of being low-performing under 34 CFR 612.4(b), beginning with the April 2020 State Report Card, for two out of the previous three years; or

    (ii) Meets the exception from State reporting of teacher preparation program performance under 34 CFR 612.4(b)(4)(ii)(D) or (E).

    TEACH Grant-eligible institution: An eligible institution as defined in 34 CFR part 600 that meets financial responsibility standards established in 34 CFR part 668, subpart L, or that qualifies under an alternative standard in 34 CFR 668.175 and provides—

    (i) At least one high-quality teacher preparation program or high-quality teacher preparation program provided through distance education at the baccalaureate or master's degree level that also provides supervision and support services to teachers, or assists in the provision of services to teachers, such as—

    (A) Identifying and making available information on effective teaching skills or strategies;

    (B) Identifying and making available information on effective practices in the supervision and coaching of novice teachers; and

    (C) Mentoring focused on developing effective teaching skills and strategies;

    (ii) A two-year program that is acceptable for full credit in a TEACH Grant-eligible program or a TEACH Grant-eligible STEM program offered by an institution described in paragraph (i) of this definition or a TEACH Grant-eligible STEM program offered by an institution described in paragraph (iii) of this definition, as demonstrated by the institution that provides the two year program;

    (iii) A TEACH Grant-eligible STEM program and has entered into an agreement with an institution described in paragraph (i) or (iv) of this definition to provide courses necessary for its students to begin a career in teaching; or

    (iv) A high-quality teacher preparation program or high-quality teacher preparation program provided through distance education that is a post-baccalaureate program of study.

    TEACH Grant-eligible program: An eligible program, as defined in 34 CFR 668.8, that meets paragraph (i) of the definition of “high-quality teacher preparation program” or the definition of “high-quality teacher preparation program provided through distance education” and that is designed to prepare an individual to teach as a highly-qualified teacher in a high-need field and leads to a baccalaureate or master's degree, or is a post-baccalaureate program of study. A two-year program of study that is acceptable for full credit toward a baccalaureate degree in a high-quality teacher preparation program or a high-quality teacher preparation program provided through distance education is considered to be a program of study that leads to a baccalaureate degree.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07354 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Chapter II [Docket ID ED-2016-OESE-0015; CFDA Number: 84.004D.] Proposed Priority and Requirement—Equity Assistance Centers (Formerly Desegregation Assistance Centers (DAC)) AGENCY:

    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Proposed priority and requirement.

    SUMMARY:

    The Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education (Assistant Secretary) proposes a priority and a requirement under the Equity Assistance Centers (EAC) Program. The Assistant Secretary may use this priority and this requirement for competitions in fiscal year 2016 and later years. We take this action to encourage applicants with a track record of success or demonstrated expertise in socioeconomic integration strategies that are effective for addressing problems occasioned by the desegregation of schools based on race, national origin, sex, or religion. We intend for the priority and the requirement to help ensure that grant recipients have the capacity to increase socioeconomic diversity to create successful plans for desegregation and to address special educational problems occasioned by bringing together students from different social, economic, and racial backgrounds.

    DATES:

    We must receive your comments on or before May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

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

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

    Postal Mail, Commercial Delivery, or Hand Delivery: If you mail or deliver your comments about the proposed priority and requirement, address them to Britt Jung, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E206, Washington, DC 20202-6135. Telephone: (202) 205-4513.

    Privacy Note:

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Britt Jung, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3E206, Washington, DC 20202-6135. Telephone: (202) 205-4513 or by email: [email protected]

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding this notice. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in developing the notice of final priority and requirement, we urge you to identify clearly the specific issues that each comment addresses.

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

    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public comments about this notice by accessing Regulations.gov. You may also inspect the comments in person in Room 3E206, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays. Please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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

    Purpose of Program: This program awards grants through cooperative agreements to operate regional EACs that provide technical assistance (including training) at the request of school boards and other responsible governmental agencies in the preparation, adoption, and implementation of plans for the desegregation of public schools and in the development of effective methods of addressing special educational problems occasioned by desegregation.

    Program Authority:

    20 U.S.C. 1221e-3; 42 U.S.C. 2000c- 2000c-2 and 2000c-5.

    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 270 and 272.

    Note:

    We published a notice of proposed rulemaking elsewhere in the Federal Register on March 24, 2016 (81 FR 15665) for the EAC program regulations in 34 CFR parts 270 and 272, which proposes to condense the regulations in 34 CFR parts 270 and 272 into one part, located at part 270.

    Proposed Priority:

    This notice contains one proposed priority.

    A track record of success or demonstrated expertise in developing or providing technical assistance to increase socioeconomic diversity in schools or school districts as a means to further desegregation by race, sex, national origin, and religion.

    Background:

    Under section 403 of title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000c-2), the Secretary is authorized, upon request, to render technical assistance in the preparation, adoption, and implementation of plans for the desegregation of public schools. We propose to add a priority to further the work of the EACs in the desegregation of public schools and, specifically, to promote socioeconomic diversity.

    Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, data show that many schools and communities continue to suffer the effects of racial segregation, and that many of our Nation's largest school districts remain starkly segregated along racial and economic lines.1 The widening gap between rich and poor has further concentrated areas of poverty that are in many cases also segregated communities of color.

    1 See, e.g., National Center for Education Statistics. (2014). Digest of Education Statistics, Table 216.6. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d14/tables/dt14_216.60.asp.

    Children living in concentrated poverty face overwhelming barriers to learning, placing a burden on high-poverty schools and contributing to poor academic and life outcomes for students.2 In 2012, one-quarter of our Nation's students attended schools where more than 75 percent of the student body was eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch; in cities, almost half of all public school students attend high-poverty schools.3 Moreover, more than one third of all American Indian/Alaska Native students and nearly half of all African-American and Latino students attend these high-poverty schools, highlighting the often inextricable link between racially and socioeconomically isolated schools and communities.

    2 See, e.g., Coleman, James S., Earnest Q. Campbell, Carol J. Hobson, James McPartland, Alexander M. Mood, Frederic D. Weinfeld, and Robert L. York. (1966). “Equality of Educational Opportunity.” National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC. Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED012275.pdf.

    Rumberger, Russell W., and Gregory J. Palardy. (September 2005). “Does Segregation Still Matter? The Impact of Student Composition on Academic Achievement in High School.” Teachers College Record, Columbia University. Volume 107, Number 9, pp 1999-2045. Retrieved from: http://www.learningace.com/doc/2775808/4a5b8639fd56f24cb076d144853d6b5f/rumberger-palardy-does-segregation-still-matter-tcr-2005.

    Aud, S., W. Hussar, M. Planty, T. Snyder, K. Bianco, M. Fox, L. Frohlich, J. Kemp, and L. Drake. (2010). “The Condition of Education 2010” (NCES 2010-028). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved from: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2010/2010028.pdf.

    Mulligan, G.M., S. Hastedt, and J.C. McCarroll. (2012). “First-Time Kindergartners in 2010-11: First Findings From the Kindergarten Rounds of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11” (ECLS-K:2011) (NCES 2012-049). National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved from: https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012049.pdf.

    Ross, T., G. Kena, A. Rathbun, A. KewalRamani, J. Zhang, P. Kristapovich, and E. Manning. (2012). “Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study” (NCES 2012-046). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED534691.pdf.

    3 National Center for Education Statistics. (2014). Digest of Education Statistics, Table 216.6. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d14/tables/dt14_216.60.asp.

    Students attending high-poverty schools continue to have unequal access to—(1) advanced coursework; (2) the most effective teachers; and (3) necessary funding and supports.4

    4 See, e.g., National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). Digest of Education Statistics, Table 225.40. Retrieved from: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_225.40.asp.

    Max, Jeffrey and Steven Glazerman (2014). “Do Disadvantaged Students Get Less Effective Teaching? ” U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved from: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20144010/pdf/20144010.pdf.

    Gray, Lucinda, et al. Educational Technology in U.S. Public Schools: Fall 2008 (Apr. 2010) (NCES 2010-034). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, available at: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2010/2010034.pdf.

    Wells, John, and Laurie Lewis. Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2005 (November 2006). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, available at: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/2007020.pdf.

    Moreover, research shows that States with less socioeconomically diverse schools tend to have larger achievement gaps between low- and higher-income students.5

    5 Mantil, Ann, Anne G. Perkins, and Stephanie Aberger. (February 27, 2012). “The Challenge of High Poverty Schools: How Feasible Is Socioeconomic School Integration?” In “The Future of School Integration,” Kahlenberg, Richard D., ed. The Century Foundation. pp 155-222.

    The Department intends to continue our efforts to reduce racial isolation in public schools. However, given the growing body of research showing that socioeconomically diverse schools can lead to improved outcomes for disadvantaged students,6 the Department plans to focus on increasing socioeconomic diversity in our Nation's schools. In addition, we believe the successful implementation of strategies to attract middle- and high-income students into high-poverty schools will create greater incentives for States and districts to provide better resources, opportunities, and supports in those schools.

    6 Chetty, Raj, Nathaniel Hendren, and Lawrence F. Katz. (2015). The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment. No. w21156. National Bureau of Economic Research; and Schwartz, Heather. (2012). “Housing Policy is School Policy: Economically Integrative Housing Promotes Academic Success in Montgomery County, Maryland.” In The Future of School Integration: Socioeconomic Diversity as an Education Reform Strategy, edited by Richard D. Kahlenberg, 27-65. Century Foundation.

    Proposed Priority:

    Eligible applicants that have a track record of success or demonstrated expertise in both of the following:

    (a) Providing effective and comprehensive technical assistance on strategies or interventions supported by evidence and designed to increase socioeconomic diversity within or across schools, districts, or communities; and

    (b) Researching, evaluating, or developing strategies or interventions supported by evidence and designed to increase socioeconomic diversity within or across schools, districts, or communities.

    Types of Priorities:

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

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

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

    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

    Proposed Requirement:

    Background: To ensure the effective implementation of the proposed priority described in this notice, we propose to establish a program requirement to ensure that funded grantees conduct critical outreach with appropriate stakeholders.

    The Assistant Secretary proposes the following requirement for this program. We may apply this requirement in any year in which this program is in effect.

    Proposed Requirement:

    Conducting Outreach and Engagement: When providing technical assistance on socioeconomic diversity in response to requests from responsible governmental agencies as a means to further desegregation by race, sex, national origin, and religion, a grantee under this program must assist in conducting outreach and engagement on strategies or interventions designed to increase socioeconomic diversity with appropriate stakeholders, including community members, parents and teachers.

    Final Priority and Requirement: We will announce the final priority and requirement in a notice in the Federal Register. We will determine the final priority and requirement after considering responses to this notice and other information available to the Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note:

    This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use this priority or requirement, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether this proposed regulatory action is “significant” and, therefore, subject to the requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines a “significant regulatory action” as an action likely to result in a rule that may—

    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to as an “economically significant” rule);

    (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency;

    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or

    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles stated in the Executive order.

    This proposed regulatory action is not a significant regulatory action subject to review by OMB under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866.

    We have also reviewed this proposed regulatory action under Executive Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 13563 requires that an agency—

    (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits and costs are difficult to quantify);

    (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into account—among other things and to the extent practicable—the costs of cumulative regulations;

    (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity);

    (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must adopt; and

    (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct regulation, including economic incentives—such as user fees or marketable permits—to encourage the desired behavior, or provide information that enables the public to make choices.

    Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency “to use the best available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future benefits and costs as accurately as possible.” The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these techniques may include “identifying changing future compliance costs that might result from technological innovation or anticipated behavioral changes.”

    We are issuing this proposed priority and requirement only on a reasoned determination that its benefits would justify its costs. In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches that would maximize net benefits. Based on the analysis that follows, the Department believes that this regulatory action is consistent with the principles in Executive Order 13563.

    We also have determined that this regulatory action would not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of their governmental functions.

    In accordance with both Executive orders, the Department has assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and qualitative, of this regulatory action. The potential costs are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary for administering the Department's programs and activities.

    Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal financial assistance.

    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and actions for this program.

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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

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

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Ann Whalen, Senior Advisor to the Secretary Delegated the Duties of Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07459 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service 36 CFR Part 7 [NPS-GOGA-19691; PX.XGOGA1604.00.1] RIN 1024-AE16 Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park Service, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Dog Management—Extension of Public Comment Period and Corrections AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; extension of public comment period; corrections.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Park Service is extending the public comment period for the proposed rule to amend its special regulations for Golden Gate National Recreation Area regarding dog walking. Reopening the comment period for 30 days will allow more time for the public to review the proposal and submit comments. This document also corrects Table 4 to § 7.97 in the proposed rule by removing the designation of Ocean Beach as a Voice and Sight Control Area for walking four to six dogs that was included by an administrative error. The proposed rule also contained a typographical error in the email address for persons to contact the NPS for further information. The correct email address is [email protected]

    DATES:

    The comment period for the proposed rule that published on February 24, 2016 (81 FR 9139), is extended. Comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) 1024-AE16, by any of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments after searching for RIN 1024-AE16.

    Mail or hand deliver to: General Superintendent, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Attn: Dog Management Proposed Rule, Fort Mason, Building 201, San Francisco, CA 94123.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and (RIN) 1024-AE16 for this rulemaking. Comments received will be posted without change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. If you commented on the Draft Dog Management Plan/Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (draft Plan/SEIS), your comment has been considered in drafting the proposed rule. Comments submitted during this comment period should focus on this proposed rule, not the draft Plan/SEIS. For example, the National Park Service invites comments on the definitions contained in the proposed rule and the clarity of the descriptions of areas open to dog walking; the rules and restrictions that apply to dog walking and to Voice and Sight Control areas; the rules and restrictions that apply to the permitting program for walking four to six dogs; and whether commercial dog walking should be allowed under the proposed rule. Comments on the draft Plan/SEIS will be considered untimely because the comment period on the draft Plan/SEIS has closed. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any way other than those specified above, and bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be considered. Organizations should direct their members to submit comments individually using one of the methods described above.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Attn: Public Affairs Office (Alexandra Picavet), Fort Mason, Building 201, San Francisco, CA, 94123. Phone: (415) 561-4728. Email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Extension of Public Comment Period

    On February 24, 2014, the National Park Service (NPS) published in the Federal Register (81 FR 9139) a proposed rule to amend its special regulations for Golden Gate National Recreation Area regarding dog walking. The 60-day public comment period for this proposal would have closed on April 25, 2016. In order to give the public additional time to review and comment on the proposal, we are extending the public comment period through May 25, 2016. If you already commented on the proposed rule you do not have to resubmit your comments.

    To view comments received through the Federal eRulemaking portal, go to http://www.regulations.gov and enter 1024-AE16 in the search box. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Please note that submissions merely stating support for or opposition to the action under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in making a determination. Please make your comments as specific as possible and explain the basis for them.

    Correction to Table 4

    In the proposed rule on page 9150, make the following correction in Table 4 to § 7.97—Voice and Sight Control or On-Leash Dog Walking: Four to Six Dogs: Remove and reserve paragraph (E). This correction removes the designation of Ocean Beach as a Voice and Sight Control Area for walking four to six dogs, which was never intended to be designated this way and was included in Table 4 by an administrative error.

    Correction of Email Address

    In the proposed rule, on page 9140 in the first column, in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section, correct the email address for interested parties to contact the NPS from “[email protected]” to “[email protected]”.

    Dated: March 23, 2016. Michael Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07370 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-EJ-P
    81 63 Friday, April 1, 2016 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Bighorn Resource Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Bighorn Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Greybull, Wyoming. The committee is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (the Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with Title II of the Act. RAC information can be found online at http://bit.ly/1Lu2668.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held Thursday, May 12, 2016, at 3:00 p.m.

    All RAC meetings are subject to cancellation. For status of meeting prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at Medicine Wheel District Office, 95 Highway 16/20, Greybull, Wyoming.

    Written comments may be submitted as described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Comments may alse be sent via email to [email protected], with the words Bighorn RAC in the subject line. Facsimilies may be sent to 307-674-2668. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at Bighorn National Forest Supervisor's Office. Please call ahead to facilitate entry into the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher D. Jones, RAC Coordinator, by phone at 307-674-2627 or via email at [email protected]

    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of the meeting is to:

    1. Update the RAC on the status of existing Title II projects, and

    2. Consider project proposals for the current year.

    The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should request in writing by April 28, 2016, to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the committee may file written statements with the committee staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and requests for time for oral comments must be sent to Christopher D. Jones, RAC Coordinator, 2013 Eastside 2nd Street, Sheridan, Wyoming 82801; by email to [email protected]; or via facsimile to 307-674-2668.

    Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices, or other reasonable accommodation. For access to the facility or proceedings, please contact the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis.

    Dated: March 28, 2016. David Hogen, Designated Federal Official.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07421 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service White River National Forest; Pitkin County; Colorado; Snowmass Multi-Season Recreation Projects AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

    SUMMARY:

    Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) has submitted a proposal to the White River National Forest (WRNF) to pursue approval of select projects from the 2015 Snowmass Mountain Master Development Plan (SMMDP) at Snowmass Ski Area (Snowmass). The WRNF has accepted this proposal and is initiating the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze and disclose the potential environmental effects of implementing the projects. The Proposed Action includes: Mountain biking and hiking trails; a mountain coaster; a canopy tour and zip line; a challenge course; a climbing wall; and multi-purpose activity areas.

    DATES:

    Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received May 2, 2016. A public open house regarding this proposal will be held on April 7, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Treehouse Kids Adventure Center, Eagle Peak Room (120 Lower Carriage Way, Snowmass Village, CO 81615). The venue is on the west end of the Base Village Plaza, just downhill of the Village Express Chairlift. The draft environmental impact statement is expected to be available for public review in summer 2016, and the final environmental impact statement is expected winter 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send written comments to: Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor, c/o Roger Poirier, Project Leader, 900 Grand Avenue, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601, FAX: (970) 963-1012 (please include “Snowmass Multi-Season Recreation Projects” in the subject line).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Additional information related to the proposed project can be obtained from: Roger Poirier, Project Leader. Mr. Poirier can be reached by phone at (970) 945-3245 or by email at [email protected]

    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Purpose and Need for Action

    Interest in summer outdoor recreation at ski areas has grown nationwide in recent years, and is particularly visible in Colorado. Summer recreation activities have evolved to include a significant variety of opportunities and user experiences. Likewise, recreational use in the National Forests has evolved beyond the traditional activities and solitude-seeking experiences such as hunting, fishing, camping, or hiking.

    Snowmass has been offering summer recreation opportunities since the 1990s and has utilized the Elk Camp area as the designated hub for these activities since 2009. The various programs currently offered have proven to be popular and well-received by guests. These opportunities primarily include dispersed activities, specifically lift-served hiking and mountain biking via the Elk Camp Gondola and Chairlift, and dispersed activities on multiple-use trails on the western side of the mountain.

    The activities at Snowmass are fairly limited to a spectrum of visitors that have the physical ability and skillset to participate. There are few opportunities for developed recreation that enable guests without a particular level of skill or experience to engage in adventure or thrill-based experiences.

    There is a desire to offer a range of experiences to engage current Forest users as well as encourage new users to visit and experience National Forest System (NFS) lands. Currently at Snowmass there is a lack of recreational opportunities that provide:

    • Adventure or thrill-based experiences that require little specialized knowledge, skills, equipment or familiarity with the mountain environment—elements which can be a barrier for visitors (e.g., families, the elderly/aging, or those with disabilities) desiring to engage in outdoor activities;

    • Sufficient supply and variety of mountain biking trails serving a wide range of ability levels;

    • Settings for educational and interpretive programs and events; and

    • Activity-based interaction with a forested, mountain environment in a controlled setting, offering an opportunity for users to interact with and learn about nature.

    There is a need for a broad and diverse mix of multi-season recreational activities that collectively provide the public with a range of outdoor activities from passive to active, intimate to interactive, and serve a range of personal interests, skills and abilities among guests.

    Proposed Action

    The Proposed Action includes the construction of the following elements:

    • Approximately 16 miles of new mountain biking and hiking trails;

    • A mountain coaster in the Elk Camp vicinity;

    • A canopy tour near Elk Camp Meadows;

    • A zip line down to the Gondola Turn Station;

    • A challenge course in the Elk Camp Meadows area;

    • A permanent climbing wall within the former Café Suzanne restaurant site;

    • Multi-purpose activity areas.

    A full description of each element can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=49057.

    Responsible Official

    The Responsible Official is Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor for the WRNF.

    Nature of Decision To Be Made

    Based on the analysis that will be documented in the forthcoming EIS, the Responsible Official will decide whether or not to implement, in whole or in part, the Proposed Action or another alternative that may be developed by the Forest Service as a result of scoping.

    Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. The Forest Service is soliciting comments from Federal, State and local agencies and other individuals or organizations that may be interested in or affected by implementation of the proposed projects. A public open house regarding this proposal will be held on April 7, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Treehouse Kids Adventure Center, Eagle Peak Room (120 Lower Carriage Way, Snowmass Village, CO 81615). The venue is on the west end of the Base Village Plaza, just downhill of the Village Express Chairlift. Continuous bus service is available via RFTA or TOSV bus systems, and free parking is available in the Base Village Parking Garage after 5:00 p.m. Representatives from the WRNF and ASC will be present to answer questions and provide additional information on this project.

    To be most helpful, comments should be specific to the project area and should identify resources or effects that should be considered by the Forest Service. Submitting timely, specific written comments during this scoping period or any other official comment period establishes standing for filing objections under 36 CFR parts 218 A and B. Additional information and maps of this proposal can be found at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=49057.

    It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times and in such manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.

    Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered, however.

    Dated: March 25, 2016. Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07279 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-11-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Notice of Public Meeting of the Wisconsin Advisory Committee To Discuss Approval of a Project Proposal To Hear Updated Testimony on Hate Crimes in the State AGENCY:

    U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act that the Wisconsin Advisory Committee (Committee) will hold a meeting on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at 12:00 p.m. CDT for the purpose of discussing approval of a project proposal to hear current testimony on hate crime in the state.

    This meeting is open to the public through the following toll-free call-in number: 888-438-5525, conference ID: 2447433. Any interested member of the public may call this number and listen to the meeting. The conference call operator will ask callers to identify themselves, the organization they are affiliated with (if any), and an email address prior to placing callers into the conference room. Callers can expect to incur regular charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, according to their wireless plan. The Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over land-line connections to the toll-free telephone number. Persons with hearing impairments may also follow the proceedings by first calling the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-977-8339 and providing the Service with the conference call number and conference ID number.

    Member of the public are invited to make statements to the Committee during the scheduled open comment period. In addition, members of the public may submit written comments; the comments must be received in the regional office within 30 days following the meeting. Written comments may be mailed to the Regional Programs Unit, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 55 W. Monroe St., Suite 410, Chicago, IL 60615. They may also be faxed to the Commission at (312) 353-8324, or emailed to Carolyn Allen at [email protected] Persons who desire additional information may contact the Regional Programs Unit at (312) 353-8311.

    Records and documents discussed during the meeting will be available for public viewing prior to and after the meeting at https://database.faca.gov/committee/meetings.aspx?cid=282. Click on the “Meeting Details” and “Documents” links to download. Records generated from this meeting may also be inspected and reproduced at the Regional Programs Unit, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Persons interested in the work of this Committee are directed to the Commission's Web site, http://www.usccr.gov, or may contact the Regional Programs Unit at the above email or street address.

    Agenda
    I. Welcome and Introductions—Naheed Bleecker, Chair II. Hate Crimes and Civil Rights in Wisconsin—WI Advisory Committee • Discussion of proposal • Open Comment • Vote on approval of proposal III. Future Plans and Actions—WI Advisory Committee IV. Open Comment—Public Participation V. Adjournment DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at 12:00 p.m. CDT.

    Public Call Information: Dial: 888-438-5525; Conference ID: 2447433.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Melissa Wojnaroski, DFO, at 312-353-8311 or [email protected].

    Dated: March 28, 2016. David Mussatt, Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07329 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Advisory Committees Expiration; Correction AGENCY:

    United States Commission on Civil Rights.

    ACTION:

    Solicitation of applications; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights published a document in the Federal Register of March 9, 2016, concerning the solicitation of applications for membership on the Nebraska, Hawaii, and California Advisory Committees. The document contained incorrect dates.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David Mussatt, Chief, Regional Programs Unit, 55 W. Monroe St., Suite 410, Chicago, IL 60603, (312) 353-8311.

    Correction

    In the Federal Register of March 9, 2016, in FR Doc. 2016-05193, on pages 12458-12459, in the second column, correct the first sentence of the second paragraph of the “Summary” caption to read:

    Because the terms of the members of the Hawaii Advisory Committee are expiring on June 19, 2016, the United States Commission on Civil Rights hereby invites any individual who is eligible to be appointed to apply.

    In the Federal Register of March 9, 2016, in FR Doc. 2016-05193, on pages 12458-12459, in the second column, correct the first sentence of the third paragraph of the “Summary” caption to read:

    Because the terms of the members of the California Advisory Committee are expiring on June 19, 2016, the United States Commission on Civil Rights hereby invites any individual who is eligible to be appointed to apply.

    Dated March 28, 2016. David Mussatt, Chief, Regional Programs Unit.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07301 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 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 Telecommunications and Information Administration.

    Title: State and Local Implementation Grant Program Reporting Requirements.

    OMB Control Number: 0660-0038.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Request: Regular submission (extension of a currently approved information collection).

    Number of Respondents: 54.

    Average Hours per Response: Quarterly reports: 12.5 hours.

    Burden Hours: 2,700.

    Needs and Uses: The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act, Pub. L. 112-96, 126 Stat. 156 (2012)) was signed by the President on February 22, 2012. The Act meets a long-standing priority of the Administration, as well as a critical national infrastructure need, to create a single, interoperable, nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) that will, for the first time, allow police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical service professionals, and other public safety officials to effectively communicate with each other across agencies and jurisdictions. Public safety workers have long been hindered in their ability to respond in a crisis situation because of incompatible communications networks and often outdated communications equipment.

    The Act establishes the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent authority within NTIA and authorizes it to take all actions necessary to ensure the design, construction, and operation of the NPSBN, based on a single, national network architecture.

    The Act also charges NTIA with establishing a grant program, the State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP), to assist State, regional, tribal, and local jurisdictions with identifying, planning, and implementing the most efficient and effective means to use and integrate the infrastructure, equipment, and other architecture associated with the NPSBN to satisfy the wireless broadband and data services needs of their jurisdictions. The SLIGP program office awarded $116.5 million in grant funds to 54 active state and territorial recipients between July and September 2013. NTIA will use the collection of information to monitor and evaluate how SLIGP recipients are achieving the core purposes of the program established by the Act.

    The original approval of the performance progress report form was obtained on August 1, 2013, and the current form has an expiration date of August 31, 2016. The publication of this notice allows NTIA to begin the process to extend the approval for the standard three years, with a minor adjustment to the wording on the form to more clearly indicate how recipients are to report each measure.

    This request is for an extension (revision with change) of a current information collection.

    Affected Public: State, regional, local, and tribal government organizations.

    Frequency: Quarterly.

    Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

    NTIA published a Notice in the Federal Register on January 19, 2016, soliciting comments on this information collection, with a 60-day public comment period. NTIA did not receive any comments to this Notice.

    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 28, 2016. Glenna Mickelson, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07324 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-JE-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security 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: Bureau of Industry and Security.

    Title: Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Declaration and Report Handbook and Forms.

    Form Number(s): Form 1-1, Form 1-2, Form 1-2A, Form 1-2B, etc.

    OMB Control Number: 0694-0091.

    Type of Request: Regular.

    Burden Hours: 14,813 hours.

    Number of Respondents: 779 respondents.

    Average Hours per Response: 10 minutes to 577 hours per response.

    Needs and Uses: This information is required for the United States to comply with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), an international arms control treaty. The Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998 and Commerce Chemical Weapons Convention Regulations (CWCR) specify the rights, responsibilities and obligations for submission of declarations, reports and inspections.

    Affected Public: Businesses and other for-profit institutions.

    Frequency: 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 29, 2016. Glenna Mickelson, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07380 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity To Request Administrative Review AGENCY:

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Each year during the anniversary month of the publication of an antidumping or countervailing duty order, finding, or suspended investigation, an interested party, as defined in section 771(9) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”), may request, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.213, that the Department of Commerce (“the Department”) conduct an administrative review of that antidumping or countervailing duty order, finding, or suspended investigation.

    All deadlines for the submission of comments or actions by the Department discussed below refer to the number of calendar days from the applicable starting date.

    Respondent Selection

    In the event the Department limits the number of respondents for individual examination for administrative reviews initiated pursuant to requests made for the orders identified below, the Department intends to select respondents based on U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) data for U.S. imports during the period of review. We intend to release the CBP data under Administrative Protective Order (“APO”) to all parties having an APO within five days of publication of the initiation notice and to make our decision regarding respondent selection within 21 days of publication of the initiation Federal Register notice. Therefore, we encourage all parties interested in commenting on respondent selection to submit their APO applications on the date of publication of the initiation notice, or as soon thereafter as possible. The Department invites comments regarding the CBP data and respondent selection within five days of placement of the CBP data on the record of the review.

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

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

    Deadline for Withdrawal of Request for Administrative Review

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), a party that requests a review may withdraw that request within 90 days of the date of publication of the notice of initiation of the requested review. The regulation provides that the Department may extend this time if it is reasonable to do so. In order to provide parties additional certainty with respect to when the Department will exercise its discretion to extend this 90-day deadline, interested parties are advised that, with regard to reviews requested on the basis of anniversary months on or after April 2016, the Department does not intend to extend the 90-day deadline unless the requestor demonstrates that an extraordinary circumstance prevented it from submitting a timely withdrawal request. Determinations by the Department to extend the 90-day deadline will be made on a case-by-case basis.

    The Department is providing this notice on its Web site, as well as in its “Opportunity to Request Administrative Review” notices, so that interested parties will be aware of the manner in which the Department intends to exercise its discretion in the future.

    Opportunity To Request A Review: Not later than the last day of April 2016,1 interested parties may request administrative review of the following orders, findings, or suspended investigations, with anniversary dates in April for the following periods:

    1 Or the next business day, if the deadline falls on a weekend, federal holiday or any other day when the Department is closed.

    Period of Review Antidumping Duty Proceedings Russia: Solid Fertilizer-Grade Ammonium Nitrate, A-821-811 4/1/15-3/31/16 The People's Republic of China: Activated Carbon, A-570-904 4/1/15-3/31/16 Drawn Stainless Steel Sinks, A-570-983 4/1/15-3/31/16 Magnesium Metal, A-570-896 4/1/15-3/31/16 Non-Malleable Cast Iron Pipe Fittings, A-570-875 4/1/15-3/31/16 Steel Threaded Rod, A-570-932 4/1/15-3/31/16 Countervailing Duty Proceedings The People's Republic of China: Drawn Stainless Steel Sinks, C-570-984 1/1/15-12/31/15 Suspension Agreements None

    In accordance with 19 CFR 351.213(b), an interested party as defined by section 771(9) of the Act may request in writing that the Secretary conduct an administrative review. For both antidumping and countervailing duty reviews, the interested party must specify the individual producers or exporters covered by an antidumping finding or an antidumping or countervailing duty order or suspension agreement for which it is requesting a review. In addition, a domestic interested party or an interested party described in section 771(9)(B) of the Act must state why it desires the Secretary to review those particular producers or exporters. If the interested party intends for the Secretary to review sales of merchandise by an exporter (or a producer if that producer also exports merchandise from other suppliers) which was produced in more than one country of origin and each country of origin is subject to a separate order, then the interested party must state specifically, on an order-by-order basis, which exporter(s) the request is intended to cover.

    Note that, for any party the Department was unable to locate in prior segments, the Department will not accept a request for an administrative review of that party absent new information as to the party's location. Moreover, if the interested party who files a request for review is unable to locate the producer or exporter for which it requested the review, the interested party must provide an explanation of the attempts it made to locate the producer or exporter at the same time it files its request for review, in order for the Secretary to determine if the interested party's attempts were reasonable, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.303(f)(3)(ii).

    As explained in Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 68 FR 23954 (May 6, 2003), and Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694 (October 24, 2011) the Department clarified its practice with respect to the collection of final antidumping duties on imports of merchandise where intermediate firms are involved. The public should be aware of this clarification in determining whether to request an administrative review of merchandise subject to antidumping findings and orders.2

    2See also the Enforcement and Compliance Web site at http://trade.gov/enforcement/.

    Further, as explained in Antidumping Proceedings: Announcement of Change in Department Practice for Respondent Selection in Antidumping Duty Proceedings and Conditional Review of the Nonmarket Economy Entity in NME Antidumping Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 65963 (November 4, 2013), the Department clarified its practice with regard to the conditional review of the non-market economy (NME) entity in administrative reviews of antidumping duty orders. The Department will no longer consider the NME entity as an exporter conditionally subject to administrative reviews. Accordingly, the NME entity will not be under review unless the Department specifically receives a request for, or self-initiates, a review of the NME entity.3 In administrative reviews of antidumping duty orders on merchandise from NME countries where a review of the NME entity has not been initiated, but where an individual exporter for which a review was initiated does not qualify for a separate rate, the Department will issue a final decision indicating that the company in question is part of the NME entity. However, in that situation, because no review of the NME entity was conducted, the NME entity's entries were not subject to the review and the rate for the NME entity is not subject to change as a result of that review (although the rate for the individual exporter may change as a function of the finding that the exporter is part of the NME entity).

    3 In accordance with 19 CFR 351.213(b)(1), parties should specify that they are requesting a review of entries from exporters comprising the entity, and to the extent possible, include the names of such exporters in their request.

    Following initiation of an antidumping administrative review when there is no review requested of the NME entity, the Department will instruct CBP to liquidate entries for all exporters not named in the initiation notice, including those that were suspended at the NME entity rate.

    All requests must be filed electronically in Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (“ACCESS”) on Enforcement and Compliance's ACCESS Web site at http://access.trade.gov. 4 Further, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.303(f)(l)(i), a copy of each request must be served on the petitioner and each exporter or producer specified in the request.

    4See Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Electronic Filing Procedures; Administrative Protective Order Procedures, 76 FR 39263 (July 6, 2011).

    The Department will publish in the Federal Register a notice of “Initiation of Administrative Review of Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation” for requests received by the last day of April 2016. If the Department does not receive, by the last day of April 2016, a request for review of entries covered by an order, finding, or suspended investigation listed in this notice and for the period identified above, the Department will instruct CBP to assess antidumping or countervailing duties on those entries at a rate equal to the cash deposit of (or bond for) estimated antidumping or countervailing duties required on those entries at the time of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption and to continue to collect the cash deposit previously ordered.

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

    This notice is not required by statute but is published as a service to the international trading community.

    Dated: March 11, 2016. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07450 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Advance Notification of Sunset Reviews AGENCY:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Every five years, pursuant to section 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”), the Department of Commerce (“the Department”) and the International Trade Commission automatically initiate and conduct a review to determine whether revocation of a countervailing or antidumping duty order or termination of an investigation suspended under section 704 or 734 of the Act would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping or a countervailable subsidy (as the case may be) and of material injury.

    Upcoming Sunset Reviews for May 2016

    The following Sunset Reviews are scheduled for initiation in May 2016 and will appear in that month's Notice of Initiation of Five-Year Sunset Review (“Sunset Review”).

    Department contact Antidumping Duty Proceedings Certain Hot-Rolled Carbon Steel Flat Products from Russia (A-821-809) (3rd Review) Jacqueline Arrowsmith (202) 482-5255. Countervailing Duty Proceedings No Sunset Review of countervailing duty orders is scheduled for initiation in May 2016 Suspended Investigations No Sunset Review of suspended investigations is scheduled for initiation in May 2016

    The Department's procedures for the conduct of Sunset Reviews are set forth in 19 CFR 351.218. The Notice of Initiation of Five-Year (“Sunset”) Reviews provides further information regarding what is required of all parties to participate in Sunset Reviews.

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.103(c), the Department will maintain and make available a service list for these proceedings. To facilitate the timely preparation of the service list(s), it is requested that those seeking recognition as interested parties to a proceeding contact the Department in writing within 10 days of the publication of the Notice of Initiation.

    Please note that if the Department receives a Notice of Intent to Participate from a member of the domestic industry within 15 days of the date of initiation, the review will continue. Thereafter, any interested party wishing to participate in the Sunset Review must provide substantive comments in response to the notice of initiation no later than 30 days after the date of initiation.

    This notice is not required by statute but is published as a service to the international trading community.

    Dated: March 11, 2016. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07451 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Initiation of Five-Year (“Sunset”) Review AGENCY:

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

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with section 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”), the Department of Commerce (“the Department”) is automatically initiating the five-year review (“Sunset Review”) of the antidumping and countervailing duty (“AD/CVD”) orders listed below. The International Trade Commission (“the Commission”) is publishing concurrently with this notice its notice of Institution of Five-Year Review which covers the same orders.

    DATE:

    Effective Date: April 1, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    The Department official identified in the Initiation of Review section below at AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230. For information from the Commission contact Mary Messer, Office of Investigations, U.S. International Trade Commission at (202) 205-3193.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The Department's procedures for the conduct of Sunset Reviews are set forth in its Procedures for Conducting Five-Year (“Sunset”) Reviews of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders, 63 FR 13516 (March 20, 1998) and 70 FR 62061 (October 28, 2005). Guidance on methodological or analytical issues relevant to the Department's conduct of Sunset Reviews is set forth in Antidumping Proceedings: Calculation of the Weighted-Average Dumping Margin and Assessment Rate in Certain Antidumping Duty Proceedings; Final Modification, 77 FR 8101 (February 14, 2012).

    Initiation of Review

    In accordance with 19 CFR 351.218(c), we are initiating Sunset Reviews of the following antidumping and countervailing duty orders:

    DOC
  • case No.
  • ITC
  • case No.
  • Product Contact Department
  • contact
  • A-507-502 731-TA-287 Iran Certain in-Shell Raw Pistachios (2nd Review) Jacqueline Arrowsmith (202) 482-5255. A-570-967 731-TA-1177 PRC Aluminum Extrusions (1st Review) Jacqueline Arrowsmith (202) 482-5255. C-570-968 701-TA-475 PRC Aluminum Extrusions (1st Review) Jacqueline Arrowsmith (202) 482-5255.
    Filing Information

    As a courtesy, we are making information related to sunset proceedings, including copies of the pertinent statute and Department's regulations, the Department's schedule for Sunset Reviews, a listing of past revocations and continuations, and current service lists, available to the public on the Department's Web site at the following address: “http://enforcement.trade.gov/sunset/.” All submissions in these Sunset Reviews must be filed in accordance with the Department's regulations regarding format, translation, and service of documents. These rules, including electronic filing requirements via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (“ACCESS”), can be found at 19 CFR 351.303.1

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

    This notice serves as a reminder that any party submitting factual information in an AD/CVD proceeding must certify to the accuracy and completeness of that information.2 Parties are hereby reminded that revised certification requirements are in effect for company/government officials as well as their representatives in these segments.3 The formats for the revised certifications are provided at the end of the Final Rule. The Department intends to reject factual submissions if the submitting party does not comply with the revised certification requirements.

    2See section 782(b) of the Act.

    3See Certification of Factual Information To Import Administration During Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 42678 (July 17, 2013) (“Final Rule”) (amending 19 CFR 351.303(g)).

    On April 10, 2013, the Department modified two regulations related to AD/CVD proceedings: The definition of factual information (19 CFR 351.102(b)(21)), and the time limits for the submission of factual information (19 CFR 351.301).4 Parties are advised to review the final rule, available at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/2013/1304frn/2013-08227.txt, prior to submitting factual information in these segments. To the extent that other regulations govern the submission of factual information in a segment (such as 19 CFR 351.218), these time limits will continue to be applied. Parties are also advised to review the final rule concerning the extension of time limits for submissions in AD/CVD proceedings, available at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/2013/1309frn/2013-22853.txt, prior to submitting factual information in these segments.5

    4See Definition of Factual Information and Time Limits for Submission of Factual Information: Final Rule, 78 FR 21246 (April 10, 2013).

    5See Extension of Time Limits, 78 FR 57790 (September 20, 2013).

    Letters of Appearance and Administrative Protective Orders

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.103(d), the Department will maintain and make available a public service list for these proceedings. Parties wishing to participate in any of these five-year reviews must file letters of appearance as discussed at 19 CFR 351.103(d)). To facilitate the timely preparation of the public service list, it is requested that those seeking recognition as interested parties to a proceeding submit an entry of appearance within 10 days of the publication of the Notice of Initiation.

    Because deadlines in Sunset Reviews can be very short, we urge interested parties who want access to proprietary information under administrative protective order (“APO”) to file an APO application immediately following publication in the Federal Register of this notice of initiation. The Department's regulations on submission of proprietary information and eligibility to receive access to business proprietary information under APO can be found at 19 CFR 351.304-306.

    Information Required From Interested Parties

    Domestic interested parties, as defined in section 771(9)(C), (D), (E), (F), and (G) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.102(b), wishing to participate in a Sunset Review must respond not later than 15 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register of this notice of initiation by filing a notice of intent to participate. The required contents of the notice of intent to participate are set forth at 19 CFR 351.218(d)(1)(ii). In accordance with the Department's regulations, if we do not receive a notice of intent to participate from at least one domestic interested party by the 15-day deadline, the Department will automatically revoke the order without further review.6

    6See 19 CFR 351.218(d)(1)(iii).

    If we receive an order-specific notice of intent to participate from a domestic interested party, the Department's regulations provide that all parties wishing to participate in a Sunset Review must file complete substantive responses not later than 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register of this notice of initiation. The required contents of a substantive response, on an order-specific basis, are set forth at 19 CFR 351.218(d)(3). Note that certain information requirements differ for respondent and domestic parties. Also, note that the Department's information requirements are distinct from the Commission's information requirements. Consult the Department's regulations for information regarding the Department's conduct of Sunset Reviews. Consult the Department's regulations at 19 CFR part 351 for definitions of terms and for other general information concerning antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings at the Department.

    This notice of initiation is being published in accordance with section 751(c) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(c).

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Gary Taverman, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07452 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-044] 1, 1, 1, 2-Tetrafluoroethane From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Less Than Fair Value Investigation AGENCY:

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

    DATES:

    Effective Date: March 23, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Keith Haynes at (202) 482-5139, AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Petition

    On March 3, 2016, the Department of Commerce (“Department”) received an antidumping duty (“AD”) petition concerning imports of 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane (“R-134a”) from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”), filed in proper form on behalf of the American HFC Coalition and its individual members,1 as well as District Lodge 154 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (“IAMAW”) (collectively, “Petitioners”).2

    1 The individual members of the American HFC Coalition are: Amtrol Inc., Arkema Inc., The Chemours Company FC LLC, Honeywell International Inc., Hudson Technologies, Mexichem Fluor Inc., and Worthington Industries, Inc.

    2See Petition for the Imposition of Antidumping Duties on Imports of 1, 1, 1, 2-Tetrafluoroethane (R-134a) from the People's Republic of China, dated March 3, 2016 (“Petition”).

    On March 8, 2016, the Department requested additional information and clarification of certain areas of the Petition.3 Petitioners submitted the requested information and clarification to the Department on March 11, 2016.4

    3See the Department's letter to Petitioners, “Petition for the Imposition of Antidumping Duties on Imports of 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane (R-134a) from the People's Republic of China: Supplemental Questions,” dated March 8, 2016 (“Supplemental Questionnaire”).

    4See Petitioners' response, “Petitioners' Response to the Department's March 8, 2016 Supplemental Questionnaire,” dated March 11, 2016 (“Petition Supplement”).

    In accordance with section 732(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”), Petitioners alleged that imports of R-134a from the PRC are being, or are likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value within the meaning of section 731 of the Act, and that such imports are materially injuring, or threatening material injury to, an industry in the United States. Also, consistent with section 732(b)(1) of the Act, the Petition is accompanied by information reasonably available to Petitioners supporting their allegations.

    The Department finds that Petitioners filed the Petition on behalf of the domestic industry because Petitioners are interested parties as defined in sections 771(9)(C),(D), and (F) of the Act. The Department also finds that Petitioners demonstrated sufficient industry support with respect to the initiation of the AD investigation that Petitioners are requesting.5

    5See the “Determination of Industry Support for the Petition” section, below.

    Period of Investigation

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.204(b)(1), because the Petition was filed on March 3, 2016, the period of investigation (“POI”) is July 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The product covered by this investigation is R-134a from the PRC. For a full description of the scope of this investigation, see the “Scope of the Investigation” in Appendix I of this notice.

    Comments on Scope of the Investigation

    During our review of the Petition, the Department issued questions to, and received responses from, Petitioners pertaining to the proposed scope to ensure that the scope language in the Petition would be an accurate reflection of the products for which the domestic industry is seeking relief.6

    6See Supplemental Questionnaire and Petition Supplement.

    As discussed in the preamble to the Department's regulations,7 we are setting aside a period for interested parties to raise issues regarding product coverage (scope). The Department will consider all comments received from parties and, if necessary, will consult with parties prior to the issuance of the preliminary determination. If scope comments include factual information (see 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21)), all such factual information should be limited to public information. In order to facilitate preparation of its questionnaires, the Department requests all interested parties to submit such comments by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (“ET”) on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, which is 20 calendar days from the signature date of this notice. Any rebuttal comments, which may include factual information, must be filed by 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, April 22, 2016, which is 10 calendar days after the initial comments deadline.

    7See Antidumping Duties; Countervailing Duties, 62 FR 27296, 27323 (May 19, 1997).

    The Department requests that any factual information the parties consider relevant to the scope of the investigation be submitted during this time period. However, if a party subsequently finds that additional factual information pertaining to the scope of the investigation may be relevant, the party may contact the Department and request permission to submit the additional information.

    Filing Requirements

    All submissions to the Department must be filed electronically using Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (“ACCESS”).8 An electronically filed document must be received successfully in its entirety by the time and date when it is due. Documents excepted from the electronic submission requirements must be filed manually (i.e., in paper form) with Enforcement and Compliance's APO/Dockets Unit, Room 18022, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, and stamped with the date and time of receipt by the applicable deadlines.

    8See Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Electronic Filing Procedures; Administrative Protective Order Procedures, 76 FR 39263 (July 6, 2011); see also Enforcement and Compliance; Change of Electronic Filing System Name, 79 FR 69046 (November 20, 2014) for details of the Department's electronic filing requirements, which went into effect on August 5, 2011. Information on help using ACCESS can be found at https://access.trade.gov/help.aspx and a handbook can be found at https://access.trade.gov/help/Handbook%20on%20Electronic%20Filling%20Procedures.pdf.

    Comments on Product Characteristics for AD Questionnaires

    The Department requests comments from interested parties regarding the appropriate physical characteristics of R-134a to be reported in response to the Department's AD questionnaires. This information will be used to identify the key physical characteristics of the subject merchandise in order to report the relevant factors and costs of production accurately as well as to develop appropriate product-comparison criteria.

    Interested parties may provide any information or comments that they feel are relevant to the development of an accurate list of physical characteristics. Specifically, they may provide comments as to which characteristics are appropriate to use as: (1) General product characteristics and (2) product-comparison criteria. We note that it is not always appropriate to use all product characteristics as product-comparison criteria. We base product-comparison criteria on meaningful commercial differences among products. In other words, although there may be some physical product characteristics utilized by manufacturers to describe R-134a, it may be that only a select few product characteristics take into account commercially meaningful physical characteristics. In addition, interested parties may comment on the order in which the physical characteristics should be used in matching products. Generally, the Department attempts to list the most important physical characteristics first and the least important characteristics last.

    In order to consider the suggestions of interested parties in developing and issuing the AD questionnaires, all comments must be filed by 5:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, which is twenty calendar days from the signature date of this notice. Any rebuttal comments must be filed by 5:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, which is seven calendar days from the initial comments deadline. All comments and submissions to the Department must be filed electronically using ACCESS, as explained above, on the record of this investigation.

    Determination of Industry Support for the Petition

    Section 732(b)(1) of the Act requires that a petition be filed on behalf of the domestic industry. Section 732(c)(4)(A) of the Act provides that a petition meets this requirement if the domestic producers or workers who support the petition account for: (i) At least 25 percent of the total production of the domestic like product; and (ii) more than 50 percent of the production of the domestic like product produced by that portion of the industry expressing support for, or opposition to, the petition. Moreover, section 732(c)(4)(D) of the Act provides that, if the petition does not establish support of domestic producers or workers accounting for more than 50 percent of the total production of the domestic like product, the Department shall: (i) Poll the industry or rely on other information in order to determine if there is support for the petition, as required by subparagraph (A); or (ii) determine industry support using a statistically valid sampling method to poll the “industry.”

    Section 771(4)(A) of the Act defines the “industry” as the producers as a whole of a domestic like product. Thus, to determine whether a petition has the requisite industry support, the statute directs the Department to look to producers and workers who produce the domestic like product. The International Trade Commission (“ITC”), which is responsible for determining whether “the domestic industry” has been injured, must also determine what constitutes a domestic like product in order to define the industry. While both the Department and the ITC must apply the same statutory definition regarding the domestic like product,9 they do so for different purposes and pursuant to a separate and distinct authority. In addition, the Department's determination is subject to limitations of time and information. Although this may result in different definitions of the like product, such differences do not render the decision of either agency contrary to law.10

    9See section 771(10) of the Act.

    10See USEC, Inc. v. United States, 132 F. Supp. 2d 1, 8 (CIT 2001) (citing Algoma Steel Corp., Ltd. v. United States, 688 F. Supp. 639, 644 (CIT 1988), aff'd 865 F.2d 240 (Fed. Cir. 1989)).

    Section 771(10) of the Act defines the domestic like product as “a product which is like, or in the absence of like, most similar in characteristics and uses with, the article subject to an investigation under this title.” Thus, the reference point from which the domestic like product analysis begins is “the article subject to an investigation” (i.e., the class or kind of merchandise to be investigated, which normally will be the scope as defined in the Petition).

    With regard to the domestic like product, Petitioners do not offer a definition of the domestic like product distinct from the scope of the investigation. Based on our analysis of the information submitted on the record, we have determined that R-134a, as defined in the scope, constitutes a single domestic like product and we have analyzed industry support in terms of that domestic like product.11

    11 For a discussion of the domestic like product analysis in this case, see the Department's memorandum, “Antidumping Duty Investigation Initiation Checklist: 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane from the People's Republic of China,” (“Initiation Checklist”) at Attachment II, Analysis of Industry Support for the Antidumping Duty Petition Covering 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane from the People's Republic of China (“Attachment II”). This checklist is dated concurrently with this notice and on file electronically via ACCESS. Access to documents filed via ACCESS is also available in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building.

    In determining whether Petitioners have standing under section 732(c)(4)(A) of the Act, we considered the industry support data contained in the Petition with reference to the domestic like product as defined in the “Scope of the Investigation,” in Appendix I of this notice. To establish industry support, Petitioners provided the 2015 production of the domestic like product by the members of the American HFC Coalition that produce R-134a in the United States (Arkema Inc., The Chemours Company FC LLC, and Mexichem Fluor Inc.).12 Petitioners state that these three companies are the only known producers of R-134a in the United States; therefore, the Petition is supported by 100 percent of the U.S. industry.13

    12See Petition, at 7.

    13Id., at 7 and Exhibit I-1 (1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane from China, Inv. Nos. 701-TA-509 and 731-TA-1244 (Final), USITC Pub. 4503 (December 2014), at 3 and III-1 through III-2).

    Our review of the data provided in the Petition and other information readily available to the Department indicates that Petitioners have established industry support.14 First, the Petition established support from domestic producers (or workers) accounting for more than 50 percent of the total production of the domestic like product and, as such, the Department is not required to take further action in order to evaluate industry support (e.g., polling).15 Second, the domestic producers (or workers) have met the statutory criteria for industry support under section 732(c)(4)(A)(i) of the Act because the domestic producers (or workers) who support the Petition account for at least 25 percent of the total production of the domestic like product.16 Finally, the domestic producers (or workers) have met the statutory criteria for industry support under section 732(c)(4)(A)(ii) of the Act because the domestic producers (or workers) who support the Petition account for more than 50 percent of the production of the domestic like product produced by that portion of the industry expressing support for, or opposition to, the Petition.17 Accordingly, the Department determines that the Petition was filed on behalf of the domestic industry within the meaning of section 732(b)(1) of the Act.

    14See Initiation Checklist, at Attachment II.

    15See section 732(c)(4)(D) of the Act; see also Initiation Checklist, at Attachment II.

    16See Initiation Checklist, at Attachment II.

    17Id.

    The Department finds that Petitioners filed the Petition on behalf of the domestic industry because they are interested parties as defined in sections 771(9)(C), (D), and (F) of the Act and they have demonstrated sufficient industry support with respect to the AD investigation that they are requesting the Department initiate.18

    18Id.

    Allegations and Evidence of Material Injury and Causation

    Petitioners allege that the U.S. industry producing the domestic like product is being materially injured, or is threatened with material injury, by reason of the imports of the subject merchandise sold at less than normal value (“NV”). In addition, Petitioners allege that subject imports exceed the negligibility threshold provided for under section 771(24)(A) of the Act.19

    19See Petition, at 25 and Exhibit II-1A.

    Petitioners contend that the industry's injured condition is illustrated by reduced market share, underselling and price suppression or depression, adverse impact on capacity, capacity utilization, and employment, decline in shipments and output, negative impact on sales revenues and operating profits, and lost sales and revenues.20 We have assessed the allegations and supporting evidence regarding material injury, threat of material injury, and causation, and we have determined that these allegations are properly supported by adequate evidence and meet the statutory requirements for initiation.21

    20Id., at 2-5, 17-19, 25-45 and Exhibits II-1 and II-3 through II-13.

    21See Initiation Checklist, at Attachment III, “Analysis of Allegations and Evidence of Material Injury and Causation for the Antidumping Duty Petition Covering 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane (R-134a) from the People's Republic of China.”

    Allegations of Sales at Less Than Fair Value

    The following is a description of the allegations of sales at less-than-fair value upon which the Department based its decision to initiate an investigation of imports of R-134a from the PRC. The sources of data for the deductions and adjustments relating to U.S. price and NV are discussed in greater detail in the Initiation Checklist.

    Export Price

    Petitioners based export price (“EP”) on several sources in order to reflect the various packaging of R-134a.22 First, Petitioners used price lists distributed to the service and replacement market by suppliers of Chinese R-134a.23 Second, Petitioners relied on specific competitive quotes for sales in the U.S. market, by suppliers of the Chinese product that resulted in lost sales.24 Third, the Petitioners relied on average unit values of R-134a imports from the PRC for the POI, based on official U.S. import statistics obtained from the ITC's DataWeb for the relevant HTSUS subheading for R-134a (HTSUS 2903.39.2020).25 Fourth, Petitioners relied on internet price offers from suppliers in the PRC for the sale of merchandise to a U.S. customer during the period of investigation.26 Finally, Petitioners relied upon trade statistics obtained from a proprietary source.27 Where applicable, Petitioners made adjustments to the prices for cost, insurance, and freight charges and sales commissions/sales mark-ups.28

    22 For further discussion regarding the prices used as the basis for export price, see Initiation Checklist.

    23See Petition, at 54 and Exhibits II-6 and III-20; see also Petition Supplement, at 2-3 and Exhibit 2 and 7.

    24See Petition, at 54 and Exhibits II-10 and III-20; see also Petition Supplement, at 2 and Exhibits 1, 2, and 7.

    25See Petition, at 54-55 and Exhibit III-18 and III-20; see also Petition Supplement, at Exhibit 7.

    26See Petition, at 54-55 and Exhibits III-19 and III-20; see also Petition Supplement, at 3 and Exhibit 7.

    27See Petition Supplement, at Exhibit 2. Whereas Petitioners' initial margin calculations used the price average for only one month of this data, consistent with Department's past practice with respect to using average unit value data as the basis for U.S. price is to rely on data for the entire POI (or as many months of the POI as were available at the time the Petition was filed), we have recalculated Petitioners' submitted price using average unit values for the full POI. See Attachment V to the Initiation Checklist.

    28See Petition, at 55-56 and Exhibits III-6, III-18, and III-20; see also Petition Supplement, at Exhibit 7.

    Normal Value

    Petitioners note that, for purposes of the antidumping statute, the Department treats the PRC as a nonmarket economy (“NME”) country.29 In accordance with section 771(18)(C)(i) of the Act, the presumption of NME status remains in effect until revoked by the Department. The NME status for the PRC has not been revoked by the Department and, therefore, remains in effect for purposes of the initiation of this investigation. Accordingly, the NV of the product is appropriately based on factors of production (“FOPs”) valued in a surrogate market economy country, in accordance with section 773(c) of the Act. In the course of this investigation, all parties, and the public, will have the opportunity to provide relevant information related to the issues of the PRC's NME status and the granting of separate rates to individual exporters.

    29See Petition, at 46.

    Petitioners claim that Mexico is an appropriate surrogate country because it is a market economy that is at a level of economic development comparable to that of the PRC, it is a significant producer of comparable merchandise, and reliable surrogate factor data for Mexico are available.30

    30Id., at 47-49 and Exhibits III-1 through III-4.

    Based on the information provided by Petitioners, we consider it appropriate to use Mexico as the surrogate country for initiation purposes. Interested parties will have the opportunity to submit comments regarding surrogate country selection and, pursuant to 19 CFR 351.301(c)(3)(i), will be provided an opportunity to submit publicly available information to value FOPs within 30 days before the scheduled date of the preliminary determination.

    Factors of Production

    Petitioners based the FOPs for materials, labor, and energy on the production experience of a domestic producer of R-134a, as they did not have access to the consumption rates of PRC producers of R-134a.31 Petitioners state that the domestic producer's production process is the same as that of the Chinese producers.32 Petitioners estimated FOPs for the purposes of calculating NV using surrogate prices sourced from Mexican import data, as applied to the domestic producer's reported factor usage rates.33

    31Id., at 50 and Exhibit II-6; see also Petition Supplement, at 4-5 and Exhibit 3.

    32See Petition, at 50 and Exhibit II-12.

    33Id., at 50 and Exhibit III-7

    Valuation of Raw Materials

    For direct materials, Petitioners valued these inputs based on publicly available Mexican import data obtained from the Global Trade Atlas (“GTA”) for the period covering June 2015 through November 2015, the most recent POI-contemporaneous data available at the time the Petition was filed.34 Petitioners excluded all import data from countries previously determined by the Department to maintain broadly available, non-industry-specific export subsidies, as well as countries previously determined by the Department to be NME countries.35 In addition, in accordance with the Department's practice, Petitioners excluded imports that were labeled as originating from an unidentified country.36 To calculate a surrogate value for anhydrous hydrogen fluoride, Petitioners excluded July 2015 imports from Germany from the full dataset for Mexican imports under HTS 2911.11.01 (“hydrogen fluoride (hydrofluoric acid), technical grade”), which they contend to be aberrational.37 Petitioners converted the GTA import values from Mexican pesos to U.S. dollars using the POI-average exchange rate.38

    34Id., at 50-51 and Exhibit III-8.

    35Id., at 51.

    36Id., at Exhibit III-8.

    37Id., at 51-52 and Exhibits III-11 and III-12; see also Petition Supplement, at 5-6 and Exhibit 4 .

    38See Petition, at 51; see also Petition Supplement, at 6 and Exhibits 5 and 6.

    Valuation of Labor

    Petitioners valued labor using data specific to the “manufacture of other chemical products (ISIC-Rev.3)” in Mexico published by the International Labor Organization (“ILO”).39 Specifically, Petitioners based their calculations on 2008 Mexico ILO data for labor, which they inflated to be contemporaneous with the POI and converted from Mexican pesos to U.S. dollars using the POI exchange rate.40

    39See Petition, at 53 and Exhibit III-14.

    40Id., at Exhibit III-8; see also Petition Supplement, at Exhibit 6.

    Valuation of Packing Materials

    Petitioners valued packing inputs using Mexican GTA import data for the period covering June 2015 to November 2015.41

    41See Petition, at Exhibit III-14.

    Valuation of Energy

    Petitioners calculated consumption rates for electricity based on the production experience of a domestic producer.42 Petitioners valued electricity based on published data by the International Energy Agency (“IEA”) for the most recent period for which data are available, i.e., April 2015—September 2015.43 Petitioners converted the electricity rates from Mexican pesos per kilowatt hour into U.S. dollars per kilowatt hour.44 Additionally, Petitioners calculated consumption rates of natural gas based on the production experience of a domestic producer.45 Petitioners converted the natural gas consumption rate calculation from a million BTU to a kilogram basis and then converted the natural gas rates from Mexican pesos into U.S. dollars.46

    42Id., at 52 and Exhibit III-13.

    43Id.

    44Id., at 53; see also Petition Supplement, at Exhibit 6.

    45See Petition, at Exhibit III-5.

    46Id., at Exhibit III-6.

    Valuation of Factory Overhead, Selling, General and Administrative Expenses, and Profit

    Petitioners calculated surrogate financial ratios (i.e., manufacturing overhead, selling, general and administrative expenses, and profit) based on the 2014 financial statements of Mexichem S.A.B. de C.V., a producer of hydrogen fluoride (the major raw material used in R-134a production) in Mexico, and CYDSA, whose subsidiary company—Quimobasicos S.A. de C.V—produces comparable merchandise (R-22) in Mexico.47

    47Id., at 53-54 and Exhibits III-15 through III-17.

    Fair Value Comparisons

    Based on the data provided by Petitioners, there is reason to believe that imports of R-134a from the PRC are being, or are likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value. Based on comparisons of EP to NV, in accordance with section 773(c) of the Act, the estimated dumping margins for R-134a from the PRC range from 153.68 to 220.87 percent.48

    48See Petition Supplement, at 7 and Exhibit 7; see also Initiation Checklist, at Attachment V “Revised Margin Calculation”.

    Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation

    Based upon the examination of the AD Petition on R-134a from the PRC, we find that the Petition meets the requirements of section 732 of the Act. Therefore, we are initiating an AD investigation to determine whether imports of R-134a from the PRC are being, or are likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value. In accordance with section 733(b)(1)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(b)(1), unless postponed, we will make our preliminary determinations no later than 140 days after the date of this initiation.

    On June 29, 2015, the President of the United States signed into law the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, which made certain amendments to the AD and CVD law.49 The 2015 law does not specify dates of application for those amendments. On August 6, 2015, the Department published an interpretative rule, in which it announced the applicability dates for each amendment to the Act, except for amendments contained in section 771(7) of the Act, which relate to determinations of material injury by the ITC.50 The amendments to sections 771(15), 773, 776, and 782 of the Act are applicable to all determinations made on or after August 6, 2015, and, therefore, apply to this AD investigation.51

    49See Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, Pub. L. 114-27, 129 Stat. 362 (2015).

    50See Dates of Application of Amendments to the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Laws Made by the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, 80 FR 46793 (August 6, 2015).

    51Id., at 46794-95. The 2015 amendments may be found at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1295/text/pl.

    Respondent Selection

    Petitioners named thirty-three companies from the PRC as producers/exporters of R-134a.52 Consistentwith our practice for respondent selection in cases involving NME countries, we intend to issue quantity and value (“Q&V”) questionnaires to potential respondents and base respondent selection on the responses received. In addition, the Department will post the Q&V questionnaire along with filing instructions on the Enforcement and Compliance Web site at http://www.trade.gov/enforcement/news.asp.

    52See Petition, at 17 and Exhibit I-9.

    Exporters/producers of R-134a from the PRC that do not receive Q&V questionnaires by mail may still submit a response to the Q&V questionnaire and can obtain a copy from the Enforcement and Compliance Web site. The Q&V response must be submitted by the relevant PRC exporters/producers no later than April 6, 2016, which is two weeks from the signature date of this notice. All Q&V responses must be filed electronically via ACCESS.

    Separate Rates

    In order to obtain separate-rate status in an NME investigation, exporters and producers must submit a separate-rate application.53 The specific requirements for submitting a separate-rate application in the PRC investigation are outlined in detail in the application itself, which is available on the Department's Web site at http://enforcement.trade.gov/nme/nme-sep-rate.html. The separate-rate application will be due 30 days after publication of this initiation notice.54 Exporters and producers who submit a separate-rate application and have been selected as mandatory respondents will be eligible for consideration for separate-rate status only if they respond to all parts of the Department's AD questionnaire as mandatory respondents. The Department requires that respondents from the PRC submit a response to both the Q&V questionnaire and the separate-rate application by their respective deadlines in order to receive consideration for separate-rate status.

    53See Policy Bulletin 05.1: Separate-Rates Practice and Application of Combination Rates in Antidumping Investigation involving Non-Market Economy Countries (April 5, 2005), available at: http://enforcement.trade.gov/policy/bull05-1.pdf (“Policy Bulletin 05.1”).

    54 Although in past investigations this deadline was 60 days, consistent with 19 CFR 351.301(a), which states that “the Secretary may request any person to submit factual information at any time during a proceeding,” this deadline is now 30 days.

    Use of Combination Rates

    The Department will calculate combination rates for certain respondents that are eligible for a separate rate in an NME investigation. The Separate Rates and Combination Rates Bulletin states:

    {w}hile continuing the practice of assigning separate rates only to exporters, all separate rates that the Department will now assign in its NME Investigation will be specific to those producers that supplied the exporter during the period of investigation. Note, however, that one rate is calculated for the exporter and all of the producers which supplied subject merchandise to it during the period of investigation. This practice applies both to mandatory respondents receiving an individually calculated separate rate as well as the pool of non-investigated firms receiving the weighted-average of the individually calculated rates. This practice is referred to as the application of “combination rates” because such rates apply to specific combinations of exporters and one or more producers. The cash-deposit rate assigned to an exporter will apply only to merchandise both exported by the firm in question and produced by a firm that supplied the exporter during the period of investigation.55

    55See Policy Bulletin 05.1, at 6.

    Distribution of Copies of the Petition

    In accordance with section 732(b)(3)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.202(f), copies of the public version of the Petition have been provided to the government of the PRC via ACCESS. To the extent practicable, we will attempt to provide a copy of the public version of the Petition to each exporter named in the Petition, as provided under 19 CFR 351.203(c)(2).

    ITC Notification

    We will notify the ITC of our initiation, as required by section 732(d) of the Act.

    Preliminary Determination by the ITC

    The ITC will preliminarily determine, within 45 days after the date on which the Petition was filed, whether there is a reasonable indication that imports of R-134a from the PRC are materially injuring or threatening material injury to a U.S. industry.56 A negative ITC determination will result in this investigation being terminated; 57 otherwise, this investigation will proceed according to statutory and regulatory time limits.

    56See section 733(a) of the Act.

    57Id.

    Submission of Factual Information

    Factual information is defined in 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) as: (i) Evidence submitted in response to questionnaires; (ii) evidence submitted in support of allegations; (iii) publicly available information to value factors under 19 CFR 351.408(c) or to measure the adequacy of remuneration under 19 CFR 351.511(a)(2); (iv) evidence placed on the record by the Department; and (v) evidence other than factual information described in (i)-(iv). Any party, when submitting factual information, must specify under which subsection of 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21) the information is being submitted 58 and, if the information is submitted to rebut, clarify, or correct factual information already on the record, to provide an explanation identifying the information already on the record that the factual information seeks to rebut, clarify, or correct.59 Time limits for the submission of factual information are addressed in 19 CFR 351.301, which provides specific time limits based on the type of factual information being submitted. Please review the regulations prior to submitting factual information in these investigations.

    58See 19 CFR 351.301(b).

    59See 19 CFR 351.301(b)(2).

    Extensions of Time Limits

    Parties may request an extension of time limits before the expiration of a time limit established under 19 CFR 351, or as otherwise specified by the Secretary. In general, an extension request will be considered untimely if it is filed after the expiration of the time limit established under 19 CFR 351 expires. For submissions that are due from multiple parties simultaneously, an extension request will be considered untimely if it is filed after 10:00 a.m. ET on the due date. Under certain circumstances, we may elect to specify a different time limit by which extension requests will be considered untimely for submissions which are due from multiple parties simultaneously. In such a case, we will inform parties in the letter or memorandum setting forth the deadline (including a specified time) by which extension requests must be filed to be considered timely. An extension request must be made in a separate, stand-alone submission; under limited circumstances we will grant untimely-filed requests for the extension of time limits. Review Extension of Time Limits; Final Rule, 78 FR 57790 (September 20, 2013), available at http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-09-20/html/2013-22853.htm, prior to submitting factual information in this investigation.

    Certification Requirements

    Any party submitting factual information in an AD or CVD proceeding must certify to the accuracy and completeness of that information.60 Parties are hereby reminded that revised certification requirements are in effect for company/government officials, as well as their representatives. Investigations initiated on the basis of petitions filed on or after August 16, 2013, and other segments of any AD or CVD proceedings initiated on or after August 16, 2013, should use the formats for the revised certifications provided at the end of the Certification Final Rule.61 The Department intends to reject factual submissions if the submitting party does not comply with applicable revised certification requirements.

    60See section 782(b) of the Act.

    61See Certification of Factual Information to Import Administration during Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings, 78 FR 42678 (July 17, 2013) (“Certification Final Rule”); see also frequently asked questions regarding the Certification Final Rule, available at: http://enforcement.trade.gov/tlei/notices/factual_info_final_rule_FAQ_07172013.pdf.

    Notification to Interested Parties

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

    This notice is issued and published pursuant to section 777(i) of the Act.

    Dated: March 23, 2016. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I Scope of the Investigation

    The product subject to this investigation is 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane, R-134a, or its chemical equivalent, regardless of form, type, or purity level. The chemical formula for 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane is CF3-CH2F, and the Chemical Abstracts Service registry number is CAS 811-97-2.62

    62 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane is sold under a number of trade names including Klea 134a and Zephex 134a (Mexichem Fluor); Genetron 134a (Honeywell); FreonTM 134a, Suva 134a, Dymel 134a, and Dymel P134a (Chemours); Solkane 134a (Solvay); and Forane 134a (Arkema). Generically, 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane has been sold as Fluorocarbon 134a, R-134a, HFC-134a, HF A-134a, Refrigerant 134a, and UN3159.

    Merchandise covered by the scope of this investigation is currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”) at subheading 2903.39.2020. Although the HTSUS subheading and CAS registry number are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope is dispositive.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07316 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE524 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permit AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit application submitted by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration.

    Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on Exempted Fishing Permit applications.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before April 18, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit written comments by any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected] Include in the subject line “Comments on NEFSC Study Fleet EFP.”

    Mail: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope “Comments on NEFSC Study Fleet EFP.”

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Daniel Luers, Fishery Management Specialist, 978-282-8457, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) submitted a complete application for an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) on March 4, 2016, to enable data collection activities that the regulations on commercial fishing would otherwise restrict. The EFP would exempt 36 federally permitted commercial fishing vessels from the regulations detailed below while participating in the Study Fleet Program and operating under projects managed by the NEFSC. The EFP would exempt participating vessels from: Minimum fish size restrictions; fish possession limits for species not protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA); gear-specific fish possession restrictions for the purpose of at-sea sampling; and, in limited situations for research purposes only, retaining and landing prohibited fish species.

    The NEFSC Study Fleet Program was established in 2002 to more fully characterize commercial fishing operations and to leverage sampling opportunities to augment NMFS data collection programs. Participating vessels are contracted by NEFSC to collect tow-by-tow catch and environmental data, and to fulfill specific biological sampling needs identified by NEFSC. To collect these data, the NEFSC Study Fleet Program has obtained an EFP to secure the necessary waivers needed by the vessels to possess and land fish that would otherwise be prohibited by regulations.

    Fishing vessel crews trained by the NEFSC Study Fleet Program would sort, weigh, and measure fish that are to be discarded. In the course of sampling, some discarded species would be on deck slightly longer than under normal sorting procedures, which requires an exemption from the following restrictions: Minimum fish size; fish possession limits; prohibited fish species, not including species protected under the ESA; and gear-specific fish possession restrictions for at-sea sampling.

    Participating vessels would also be authorized to retain and land, in limited situations for research purposes only, fish species and/or sizes that are not in compliance with fishing regulations. The vessels would be authorized to retain specific amounts of particular species in whole or round weight condition, which would be delivered upon landing to Study Fleet Program technicians. To ensure that the collection needs of the Study Fleet Program are not exceeded, NEFSC would require participating vessels to obtain a formal Biological Sampling Request from the NEFSC Study Fleet Program prior to landing any sublegal fish. None of the landed biological samples from these trips would be sold for commercial use or utilized for any purpose other than scientific research.

    The table below details the regulations from which the participating vessels would be exempt when retaining and landing fish for research purposes. The participating vessels would be obligated to comply with all applicable requirements and restrictions specified at 50 CFR part 648, unless specifically exempted in this EFP. All catch would be attributed to the appropriate commercial fishing quota. For vessels on a groundfish sector trip, all catch of Northeast multispecies stocks allocated to sectors would be deducted from the Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE) for that sector. Once the ACE for a stock has been reached in a sector, vessels would no longer be allowed to fish in that stock area, unless they acquired additional ACE for the limiting stock. For common pool vessels, all catch of Northeast multispecies stocks would be counted toward the appropriate quotas. Common pool vessels would be subject to applicable trimester total allowable catch (TAC) accountability measures. When 90 percent of the trimester TAC for a stock is projected to be caught, the area where that stock is predominantly caught will be closed to common pool vessels fishing with gear capable of catching that stock for the rest of that trimester.

    NEFSC Study Fleet Program EFP No. of Vessels 37 Exempted regulations in 50 CFR part 648 Size limits
  • § 648.83 NE multispecies minimum sizes.
  • § 648.93 Monkfish minimum fish size.
  • § 648.147 Black sea bass minimum fish size.
  • Possession restrictions
  • § 648.86(a) Haddock.
  • § 648.86(b) Atlantic cod.
  • § 648.86(c) Atlantic halibut.
  • § 648.86(d) Small-mesh multispecies.
  • § 648.86(l) Zero retention of Atlantic wolffish and windowpane flounder.
  • § 648.86(o) Possession limits implemented by Regional Administrator.
  • § 648.94 Monkfish possession limit.
  • § 648.322 Skate possession and landing restrictions.
  • § 648.145 Black sea bass possession limits.
  • § 648.92(b)(2)(i) Prohibition from landing NE multispecies on monkfish-only day-at-sea.
  • NEFSC Study Fleet Program Biological Sampling Needs

    As described above, biological samples would only be landed and collected by the Study Fleet Program after a formal request has been issued in writing by the Study Fleet Program. The following are the Study Fleet Program's sampling needs.

    Windowpane flounder—whole fish would be retained for age and growth research. Otoliths and fish length would be collected to validate ages using marginal increment analysis. Windowpane flounder retained would not exceed 40 fish per month from all stock areas combined (Gulf of Maine (GOM) and Georges Bank (GB) stock) or 480 fish total for all trips. The maximum weight on any trip would not exceed 30 lb (13.6 kg), and total weight would not exceed 360 lb (163.3 kg) for all trips combined.

    Atlantic wolffish—whole fish would be retained for maturity, fecundity, and life history research. Atlantic wolffish retained would not exceed 40 fish per month or 480 fish total for all trips. The maximum weight on any trip would not exceed 160 lb (72.6 kg), and total weight would not exceed 3,500 lb (1,587.6 kg) for all trips combined.

    Cusk—whole fish would be retained or specimen sampled at sea by a Study Fleet scientist for maturity, fecundity, and life history research. Cusk retained would not exceed 40 fish per month or 480 fish total for all trips. The maximum weight on any trip would not exceed 100 lb (45.4 kg), and total weight would not exceed 1,440 lb (653.2kg) for all trips combined.

    Atlantic halibut—specimens would be sampled at sea by a Study Fleet scientist for age, growth, maturity, fecundity, and diet research. Atlantic halibut retained would not exceed 20 fish per month or 240 fish total for all trips. The maximum weight on any trip would not exceed 200 lb (90.7 kg), and total weight would not exceed 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) for all trips combined.

    Monkfish—whole fish would be retained for maturity and fecundity research. Monkfish retained would not exceed 10 fish per month or 120 fish total for all trips. The maximum weight on any trip would not exceed 100 lb (45.4 kg), and total weight would not exceed 1,200 lb (544.3 kg) for all trips combined.

    Haddock—whole fish would be retained for maturity and fecundity research. Haddock retained would not to exceed 40 fish per month or 360 fish total for all trips. The maximum weight on any trip would not exceed 180 pounds (81.6 kg), and total weight would not exceed 1,440 pounds (653.2 kg) for all trips combined.

    Atlantic cod—whole fish would be retained for potential maturity, fecundity, bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), food habits, and genetic research. Atlantic cod retained would not exceed 200 fish per month from each of the three stock areas (GOM, GB, Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic), or 1,200 fish total from each stock area for all trips. The maximum weight on any trip would not exceed 300 lb (136.1 kg), and total weight would not exceed 8,500 lb (3,855.5 kg) for all trips combined.

    Barndoor Skate—whole and, in some cases, live skates would be retained for age and growth research and species confirmation. Barndoor skates retained would not exceed 20 fish per 3-month period, or 80 skates total for all trips. The maximum weight on any trip would not exceed 75 lb (34 kg), and total weight would not exceed 300 lb (136.1 kg) for all trips combined.

    Thorny Skate—whole and, in some cases, live skates would be retained for age and growth research and species confirmation. Thorny skates retained would not exceed 20 fish per 3-month period, or 80 skates total for all trips. The maximum weight on any trip would not exceed 75 lb (34 kg) whole weight, and total weight would not exceed 300 lb (136.1 kg) for all trips combined.

    Black Sea Bass—whole fish would be retained in support of an ongoing study at NEFSC to evaluate BIA as a means to measure fish energy density and reproductive potential for stock assessment. Black sea bass retained would not exceed 75 fish per 3- month period, or 300 black sea bass total for all trips. The maximum weight on any trip would not exceed 250 lb (113.4 kg), and total weight would not exceed 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) for all trips combined.

    If approved, the applicant may request minor modifications and extensions to the EFP throughout the year. EFP modifications and extensions may be granted without further notice if they are deemed essential to facilitate completion of the proposed research and have minimal impact that does not change the scope of the initially approved EFP request. Any fishing activity conducted outside the scope of the exempted fishing activity would be prohibited.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07399 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Notice of Renewal of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing ACTION:

    Notice of renewal of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App 2, and the General Services Administration (GSA) rule on Federal Advisory Committee Management, 41 CFR part 101-6, and after consultation with GSA, the Secretary of Commerce has determined that the renewal of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES) is in the public interest in connection with the performance of duties imposed on the Department by law. ACCRES was renewed on March 9, 2016.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Committee was first established in May 2002, to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere on matters relating to the U.S. commercial remote-sensing industry and NOAA's activities to carry out the responsibilities of the Department of Commerce set forth in the National and Commercial Space Programs Act of 2010 (The Act) Title 51 U.S.C. 60101 et seq. (formerly the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 15 U.S.C. Secs. 5621-5625).

    ACCRES will have a fairly balanced membership consisting of approximately 9 to 20 members serving in a representative capacity. All members should have expertise in remote sensing, space commerce or a related field. Additionally, ACCRES may include members from government to assist in providing guidance on regulations and space policy. Each candidate member shall be recommended by the Assistant Administrator and shall be appointed by the Under Secretary for a term of two years at the discretion of the Under Secretary.

    The Committee will function solely as an advisory body, and in compliance with provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Copies of the Committee's revised Charter have been filed with the appropriate committees of the Congress and with the Library of Congress.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Samira Patel, Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs Office, NOAA Satellite and Information Services, 1335 East-West Highway, Room 8247, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910; telephone (301) 713-7077, email [email protected].

    Stephen M. Volz, Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07349 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-HR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE544 Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of a public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Caribbean Fishery Management Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) will hold a three-day meeting to discuss the items contained in the following agenda:

    DATES:

    The meetings will be held on April 19 through April 21, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meetings will be held at the Council' Office, 270 Muñoz Rivera Avenue, Suite 401, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Caribbean Fishery Management Council, 270 Muñoz Rivera Avenue, Suite 401, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00918-1903; telephone: (787) 766-5926.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Caribbean Fishery Management Council's SSC will hold a three-day meeting to discuss the items contained in the following agenda:

    April 19-21, 2016, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. —Call to Order —Adoption of Agenda —SEDAR 46 U.S. Caribbean Data Limited Species Review—SEFSC —Island Based Fishery Management —Review Goals and Objectives of the IBFMPs —Review Action 1: Species Selection —Action 2 —Review Consolidated list of stocks and stock complexes —Species Complexes—SERO Update —Recommendations to CFMC —Future Action 3: Reference Points —ABC Control Rule —5 year CFMC Research Plan —Finalize 5-year Research Plan —Other Business Special Accommodations

    This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. For more information or request for sign language interpretation and other auxiliary aids, please contact Mr. Miguel A. Rolón, Executive Director, Caribbean Fishery Management Council, 270 Muñoz Rivera Avenue, Suite 401, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00918-1903, telephone (787) 766-5926, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07408 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE545 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of a public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils will hold a Joint Spiny Lobster Advisory Panel (AP) meeting.

    DATES:

    The meeting will convene on Monday, April 25, 2016, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will take place at the Marriott Key Largo Bay hotel, 103800 Overseas Highway, Mile Marker 103.8, Key Largo, FL 33037; telephone: (305) 453-0000.

    Council address: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, Tampa, FL 33607; telephone: (813) 348-1630.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Morgan Kilgour, Fishery Biologist, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; [email protected], telephone: (813) 348-1630; and Kari Maclauchlin, Fishery Social Scientist; [email protected], telephone: (843) 571-4366.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Agenda

    The meeting will begin with election of a chair and vice chair for the Gulf advisory panel (AP); the South Atlantic AP will hold elections later in the meeting. The first item on the agenda is to review spiny lobster landings and the reports from the 2015 and the 2016 Review Panels. The APs will discuss annual catch target and annual catch limit overages and will be presented with an overview of different metrics that could be used to calculate new metrics. The APs will be presented with spiny lobster fishery issues. The APs will review and discuss the spiny lobster closed areas established in Amendment 11 and will review the proposed coral habitat areas of particular concern for the Gulf Council. The final agenda item is other business.

    —Meeting Adjourns—

    The Agenda is subject to change, and the latest version along with other meeting materials will be posted on the Council's file server. To access the file server, the URL is https://public.gulfcouncil.org:5001/webman/index.cgi, or go to the Council's Web site and click on the FTP link in the lower left of the Council Web site (http://www.gulfcouncil.org). The username and password are both “gulfguest”. Click on the “Library Folder”, then scroll down to “Joint Spiny Lobster AP meeting-2016-04”.

    The meeting will be webcast over the internet. A link to the webcast will be available on the Council's Web site, http://www.gulfcouncil.org.

    Although other non-emergency issues not on the agenda may come before the Advisory Panel for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Actions of the Advisory Panel will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in the agenda and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take action to address the emergency.

    Special Accommodations

    This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Kathy Pereira at the Gulf Council Office (see ADDRESSES), at least 5 working days prior to the meeting.

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07409 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Greater Atlantic Region Permit Family of Forms AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before May 31, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Elizabeth Scheimer, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Dr., Gloucester, MA 01930, (978) 281-9236, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    This request is for extension of a current information collection. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Secretary of Commerce has the responsibility for the conservation and management of marine fishery resources. Much of this responsibility has been delegated to NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Under this stewardship role, the Secretary was given certain regulatory authorities to ensure the most beneficial uses of these resources. One of the regulatory steps taken to carry out the conservation and management objectives is to collect information from users of the resources.

    The Secretary has enacted rules to issue permits to individuals and organizations participating in federally controlled fisheries. Permits are necessary to: (1) Register fishermen, fishing vessels, fish dealers and processors; (2) list the characteristics of fishing vessels and/or dealer/processor operations; (3) exercise influence over compliance (e.g., withhold issuance pending collection of unpaid penalties); (4) maintain contact lists for the dissemination of important information to the industry; (5) register participants to be considered for limited entry; and (6) provide a universe for data collection samples. Identification of fishery participants, their gear types, vessels, and expected activity levels is an effective and necessary tool in the enforcement of fishery regulations.

    This collection also includes the requirement for participants in certain fisheries to use onboard vessel monitoring systems (VMS) and to notify NMFS before fishing trips for the purpose of observer placement. Other permitting in this collection includes the written request to participate in any of the various exemption programs offered in the Greater Atlantic region. Exemption programs may allow a vessel to fish in an area that is limited to vessels of a particular size, using a certain gear type, or fishing for a particular species. This collection also contains paperwork required for vessel owners to request gillnet and lobster trap tags through the Greater Atlantic region permit office.

    Lastly, vessel owners that own multiple vessels, but would like to request communication from NMFS be consolidated into one mailing (and not separate mailings for each vessel), may request the single letter vessel owner option to improve efficiency of their business practice.

    II. Method of Collection Vessel Permits

    All vessel permit applications, including permit applications and renewals for vessels, dealers, and vessel operators, as well as gillnet and lobster trap tag purchase, are submitted by signed paper form sent in the mail.

    VMS Requirements

    Vessels with VMS requirements are required to declare their intent to fish (e.g., declare into the fishery) and submit daily catch reports using electronic VMS units on board the vessel. Other VMS actions may include trip start and end hails, pre-landing notifications, and days-at-sea (DAS) adjustments. VMS power down exemption requests are submitted by signed paper form.

    Observer Program Call-in Requirements

    Vessels issued certain permits such as Northeast multispecies, monkfish, scallop, and Atlantic herring permits are required to give advance notification to the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program (NEFOP) before the start of a trip in order to receive a fisheries observer or a waiver. Vessels use an online pre-trip notification system, email, toll-free call-in number, or a local phone number to comply with this requirement.

    Exempted Fisheries Programs

    Vessels that would like to request participation in one or more of the Greater Atlantic region fisheries exemption programs must either submit a request electronically using their VMS unit, by declaring into an exempted fishery prior to the start of a trip, or by mailing in a written request to participate in the program(s) of interest.

    Vessel Owner Single Letter Option

    Vessel owners that own multiple vessels, but would like to receive only a single Greater Atlantic Fisheries Bulletin or small entity compliance guide instead of one for each vessel permit, must submit a written request to NMFS to participate in this program.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0202.

    Form Number(s): None.

    Type of Review: Regular (extension of a current information collection).

    Affected Public: Businesses and other for-profit organizations are primarily affected. Individuals or households, state, local or tribal governments, and the Federal Government are also affected.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 62,295.

    Estimated Time per Response:

    Vessel Permits

    Vessel permit application: 45 minutes; vessel permit renewal forms: 30 minutes; initial dealer permit applications: 15 minutes; dealer permit renewal forms: 5 minutes; initial and renewal vessel operator permit applications: 1 hour; obtaining and submitting a dealer or vessel owner email address: 5 minutes; limited access vessel replacement applications: 1.5 hours; and applications for retention of limited access permit history: 1.5 hours.

    VMS Requirements

    Installing a VMS unit: 1 hour; confirming VMS connectivity: 5 minutes; VMS certification form: 5 minutes; VMS installation for Canadian herring transport vessels: 1 hour and 20 minutes; email to declare their entrance and departure from U.S. waters: 15 minutes; automatic polling of vessel position using the VMS unit: 0 minutes; area and DAS declarations: 5 minutes; declaration of days-out of the gillnet fishery for monkfish and NE multispecies vessels: 5 minutes; Good Samaritan DAS credit request: 30 minutes; entangled whale DAS credit request: 30 minutes; DAS credit for a canceled trip due to unforeseen circumstances, but have not yet begun fishing: 5 minutes to request via the VMS unit and 10 minutes to request via the paper form; VMS catch reports: 5 minutes; VMS power down exemption: 30 minutes.

    Observer Program Call-in Requirements

    Requests for observer coverage are estimated to require either 2 or 10 minutes per request, depending on the program for which observers are requested.

    Exempted Fisheries Programs

    Letter of Authorization (LOA) to participate in any of the exemption programs: 5 minutes; Charter/Party Exemption Certificate for GOM Closed Areas: 5 minutes; limited access sea scallop vessels state waters DAS exemption program or state waters gear exemption program: 2 minutes; withdraw from either state waters exemption program prior to the end of the 7-day designated exemption period requirement: 2 minutes; request for change in permit category designation: 5 minutes; request for transit to another port by a vessel required to remain within the GOM cod trip limit: 2 minutes; gillnet category designation, including initial requests for gillnet tags: 10 minutes; requests for additional tags: 2 minutes; notification of lost tags and requests for replacement tag numbers: 2 minutes; attachment of gillnet tags: 1 minute; initial lobster area designations: 5 minutes; requests for additional tags: 2 minutes; and notification of lost tags: 3 minutes; requests for state quota transfers in the bluefish, summer flounder and scup fisheries: 1 hour; GOM cod trip limit exemption: 5 minutes; vessel owner single letter option: 5 minutes.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 22,071.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $2,633,647 in recordkeeping/reporting costs.

    IV. Request for Comments

    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 (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (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 respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07367 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-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 services to the Procurement List that will be provided by nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities, and deletes services previously provided by such agencies.

    DATES:

    Comments Must Be Received on or Before: 5/1/2016.

    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 provide the services listed below from nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities.

    The following services are proposed for addition to the Procurement List for provision by the nonprofit agencies listed:

    Services: Service Type: Janitorial Service Service Mandatory for: Library of Congress, Fort Meade Collection Storage Modules, Fort Meade, MD Mandatory Source(s) of Supply: Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake, Inc., Baltimore, MD Contracting Activity: Library of Congress, Fedlink Contracts, Washington, DC Service Type: Custodial Service Service Mandatory for: National Park Service NE Region, Tri-Site Maintenance Facility, Olmsted, Kennedy & Longfellow/Washington National Historical Park, Boston, MA Mandatory Source(s) of Supply: Community Workshops, Inc., Boston, MA Contracting Activity: Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, NER NE MABO, Boston, MA Deletions

    The following services are proposed for deletion from the Procurement List:

    Services: Service Type(s): Recycling Service, Pest Control Service, Furnishings Management Service Service Mandatory for: Offutt Air Force Base, Offutt, NE Mandatory Source(s) of Supply: Goodwill Specialty Services, Inc., Omaha, NE Contracting Activity: Dept of the Air Force, FA7014 AFDW PK, Andrews AFB, MD Service Type: Janitorial/Custodial Service Service Mandatory for: Fairchild Air Force Base: Base and Survival School Buildings 2249C, 1224, 1302, 1306, 1336, 1344, 1348, 2248D, 2301, 2451A, 1212, 1228, 1324, 1334, 1342 and 1207 OSI Building 5025 and the Social Actions Building 3509, Fairchild AFB, WA Mandatory Source(s) of Supply: Skils'kin, Spokane, WA Contracting Activity: Dept. of the Air Force, FA7014 AFDW PK, Andrews AFB, MD
    Barry S. Lineback, Director, Business Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07429 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6353-01-P
    COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED Procurement List; Additions and Deletions AGENCY:

    Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled.

    ACTION:

    Additions to and Deletions from the Procurement List.

    SUMMARY:

    This action adds products and a service to the Procurement List that will be furnished by nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities, and deletes products from the Procurement List previously furnished by such agencies.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: 5/1/2016.

    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:

    Additions

    On 1/29/2016 (81 FR 5009) and 2/26/2016 (81 FR 9811-9812), the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled published notices of proposed additions to the Procurement List.

    After consideration of the material presented to it concerning capability of qualified nonprofit agencies to provide the products and service and impact of the additions on the current or most recent contractors, the Committee has determined that the products and service listed below are 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 any additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements for small entities other than the small organizations that will furnish the products and service to the Government.

    2. The action will result in authorizing small entities to furnish the products and service 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 and service proposed for addition to the Procurement List.

    End of Certification

    Accordingly, the following products and service are added to the Procurement List:

    Products: NSN(s)—Product Name(s): MR 1188—MR Towel Set, Christmas, Includes Shipper 11188 Mandatory Source of Supply: Alphapointe, Kansas City, MO NSN(s)—Product Name(s): MR 10659—Container Set, Soup and Salad, Includes Shipper 20659 Mandatory Source of Supply: Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind, Inc., Winston-Salem, NC NSN(s)—Product Name(s): MR 849—Whisk, Wire Looped Mandatory Source of Supply: Cincinnati Association for the Blind, Cincinnati, OH Mandatory Purchase For: Military commissaries and exchanges in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 51, 51-6.4. Contracting Activity: Defense Commissary Agency Distribution: C-List Service: Service Type: Administrative and Professional Support Service Service Mandatory For: Executive Office of the President, Washington, DC Mandatory Source of Supply: Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, Washington, DC Contracting Activity: Executive Office of the President, Office of Administration, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Procurement Division, Washington, DC Deletions

    On 2/26/2016 (81 FR 9811-9812), 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) MR 523—Candle, Air Freshening, Potpourri MR 524—Candle, Air Freshening, Dewdrop MR 525—Candle, Air Freshening, Rose MR 526—Candle, Air Freshening, Mulberry MR 528—Candle, Air Freshening, Wildflower MR 529—Candle with Glass Holder MR 531—Candle, Air Freshening, Peach Mandatory Source of Supply: South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind, Corpus Christi, TX MR 808—Spoon, Basting, SS Trim MR 811—Fork, Serving, SS Trim MR 824—Mandolin Slicer MR 987—Towel, Super Absorbent, Orange, 20″ x 23″, 3 Pack Mandatory Source of Supply: Industries for the Blind, Inc., West Allis, WI MR 1049—Mop, Microfiber, 16″ MR 1059—Refill, Mop, Microfiber, 16″ Mandatory Source of Supply: Alphapointe, Kansas City, MO MR 3209—Goody Hair Care Products—Ouchless Latex Elastic Mandatory Source of Supply: Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment, Inc., Binghamton, NY Contracting Activity: Defense Commissary Agency NSN(s)—Product Name(s) 6515-01-466-2710—Combat Arms Ear Plug, Dual Ended, Universal Size 6515-00-SAM-0016—Combat Arms Ear Plug, Dual Ended Mandatory Source of Supply: Access: Supports for Living Inc., Middletown, NY Contracting Activity: Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Barry S. Lineback, Director, Business Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07430 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6353-01-P
    COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meetings TIME AND DATE:

    10:00 a.m., Friday, April 8, 2016.

    PLACE:

    Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street NW., Washington, DC, 9th Floor Commission Conference Room.

    STATUS:

    Closed.

    MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED:

    Surveillance, enforcement, and examinations matters. In the event that the time, date, or location of this meeting changes, an announcement of the change, along with the new time, date, and/or place of the meeting will be posted on the Commission's Web site at http://www.cftc.gov.

    CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    Christopher Kirkpatrick, 202-418-5964.

    Natise Allen, Executive Assistant.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07649 Filed 3-30-16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 6351-01-P
    CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE Information Collection; Submission for OMB Review, Comment Request AGENCY:

    Corporation for National and Community Service.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has submitted a public information collection request (ICR) entitled AmeriCorps NCCC Project Sponsor Application for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). Copies of this ICR, with applicable supporting documentation, may be obtained by calling the Corporation for National and Community Service, Barbara Lane, at 202-606-6867 or email to [email protected] Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TTY-TDD) may call 1-800-833-3722 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    DATES:

    Comments may be submitted, identified by the title of the information collection activity, within May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be submitted, identified by the title of the information collection activity, to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: Ms. Sharon Mar, OMB Desk Officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service, by any of the following two methods within 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register:

    (1) By fax to: 202-395-6974, Attention: Ms. Sharon Mar, OMB Desk Officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service; or

    (2) By email to: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The OMB is particularly interested in comments which:

    • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of CNCS, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Propose ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Propose 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

    A 60-day Notice requesting public comment was published in the Federal Register on December 28, 2015 at Volume 80 FR 80755. This comment period ended February 26, 2016. No public comments were received from this Notice.

    Description: The AmeriCorps NCCC Project Sponsor Application is completed by organizations interested in sponsoring an AmeriCorps NCCC team. The NCCC is a full-time, residential, national service program whose mission is to strengthen communities and develop leaders through team-based national and community service. The AmeriCorps NCCC Project Sponsor Application is completed by organizations interested in sponsoring an AmeriCorps NCCC team. The application will be used in the same manner as the existing application. CNCS also seeks to continue using the current application until the revised application is approved by OMB. The current application is due to expire on March 31, 2016.

    Type of Review: Renewal.

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service.

    Title: AmeriCorps NCCC Project Sponsor Application.

    OMB Number: 3045-0010.

    Agency Number: None.

    Affected Public: Current/prospective AmeriCorps NCCC Project Sponsors.

    Total Respondents: 1,800 annually.

    Frequency: Rolling application process.

    Average Time per Response: Averages 9.5 hours.

    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 17,100 hours.

    Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): None.

    Total Burden Cost (operating/maintenance): None.

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Jacob Sgambati, NCCC Director of Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07442 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6050-28-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2014-HA-0004] Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense has submitted to OMB for clearance, the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by May 2, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Fred Licari, 571-372-0493.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title, Associated Form and OMB Number: Application for TRICARE-Provider Status: Corporate Services Provider; DD Form X644; OMB Control Number 0720-0020.

    Type of Request: Reinstatement, with change.

    Number of Respondents: 300.

    Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Annual Responses: 300.

    Average Burden per Response: 20 minutes.

    Annual Burden Hours: 100.

    Needs and Uses: The information collection requirement is necessary to allow eligible providers to apply for Corporate Services Provider status under the TRICARE program.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit; Not-for-profit institutions.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain benefits.

    OMB Desk Officer: Ms. Stephanie Tatham.

    Comments and recommendations on the proposed information collection should be emailed to Ms. Stephanie Tatham, DoD Desk Officer, at [email protected]. Please identify the proposed information collection by DoD Desk Officer and the Docket ID number and title of the information collection.

    You may also submit comments and recommendations, identified by Docket ID number and title, by the following method:

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

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name, Docket ID 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.

    DOD Clearance Officer: Mr. Frederick Licari.

    Written requests for copies of the information collection proposal should be sent to Mr. Licari at WHS/ESD Directives Division, 4800 Mark Center Drive, East Tower, Suite 02G09, Alexandria, VA 22350-3100.

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07410 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Charter Establishment of Department of Defense Federal Advisory Committees AGENCY:

    Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Establishment of Federal Advisory Committee.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense (DoD) is publishing this notice to announce that it is establishing the charter for the Defense Innovation Advisory Board (“the Board”).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jim Freeman, Advisory Committee Management Officer for the Department of Defense, 703-692-5952.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This committee's charter is being established in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972 (5 U.S.C., Appendix, as amended) and 41 CFR 102-3.50(d). The Board's charter and contact information for the Board's Designated Federal Officer (DFO) can be obtained at http://www.facadatabase.gov/. The Board provides the Secretary of Defense advice and recommendations on innovative means to address future challenges in terms of integrated change to organizational structure and process, business and functional concepts, and technology applications. The Board will be composed of no more than 15 members who possess some or all of the following: (a) A proven track record of sound judgment in leading or governing large, complex private sector corporations or organizations; (b) demonstrated performance in identifying and adopting new technology innovations into the operations of large organizations in either the public or private sector; and (c) demonstrated performance in developing new technology concepts. Members who are not full-time or permanent part-time Federal officers or employees will be appointed as experts or consultants pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 3109 to serve as special government employee members. Members who are full-time or permanent part-time Federal officers or employees will be appointed pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.130(a) to serve as regular government employee members. All members are appointed to provide advice on behalf of the Government on the basis of their best judgment without representing any particular point of view and in a manner that is free from conflict of interest. Except for reimbursement of official Board-related travel and per diem, members serve without compensation.

    The DoD, as necessary and consistent with the Board's mission and DoD policies and procedures, may establish subcommittees, task forces, or working groups to support the Board, and all subcommittees must operate under the provisions of FACA and the Government in the Sunshine Act. Subcommittees will not work independently of the Board and must report all their recommendations and advice solely to the Board for full deliberation and discussion. Subcommittees, task forces, or working groups have no authority to make decisions and recommendations, verbally or in writing, on behalf of the Board. No subcommittee or any of its members can update or report, verbally or in writing, directly to the DoD or any Federal officers or employees. The Board's DFO, pursuant to DoD policy, must be a full-time or permanent part-time DoD employee, and must be in attendance for the duration of each and every Board/subcommittee meeting. The public or interested organizations may submit written statements to the Board membership about the Board's mission and functions. Written statements may be submitted at any time or in response to the stated agenda of planned meeting of the Board. All written statements shall be submitted to the DFO for the Board, and this individual will ensure that the written statements are provided to the membership for their consideration.

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register, Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07384 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy Meeting of the Board of Advisors (BOA) to The President of the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Subcommittee AGENCY:

    Department of the Navy, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the provisions of The Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463, as amended), notice is hereby given that the following meeting of the Board of Advisors to the President of the Naval Postgraduate School will be held. This meeting will be open to the public.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Thursday, April 21, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time Zone.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Naval Postgraduate School, Executive Briefing Center, Herrmann Hall, 1 University Circle, Monterey, CA.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Jaye Panza, Designated Federal Official, 1 University Circle, Code 00H, Monterey, CA 93943-5001, telephone number 831-656-2514.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of the Board is to advise and assist the President, NPS, in educational and support areas, providing independent advice and recommendations on items such as, but not limited to, organizational management, curricula, methods of instruction, facilities, and other matters of interest. The agenda for the meeting will include the following:

    —Administrative Matters —Updates on end-strength issue —Recap and closing out 2012 IG report —Routine 2016 IG Visit Recap —Command climate survey results —Faculty morale and retention rates —Discussions with faculty members; faculty leaders; students —Update on Navy investments in the infrastructure (buildings, classrooms, labs, test equipment) —Campus tours

    Individuals without a DoD Government Common Access Card require an escort at the meeting location. For access, information, or to send written statements for consideration at the committee meeting contact Ms. Jaye Panza, Designated Federal Officer, Naval Postgraduate School, 1 University Circle, Monterey, CA 93943-5001 or by fax 831-656-2789 by March 31, 2016.

    Dated: March 28, 2016. C. Pan, Lieutenant, Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy, Alternate Federal Register Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07422 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810-FF-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy Notice of Availability of Government-Owned Inventions; Available for Licensing AGENCY:

    Department of the Navy, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The inventions listed below are assigned to the United States Government, as represented by the Secretary of the Navy and are available for domestic and foreign licensing by the Department of the Navy.

    The following patents are available for licensing: Patent No. 8,904,736: VEHICLE AND MAST MOUNTING ASSEMBLY//Patent No. 8,902,801: ARRAY SYSTEM FOR SEGMENTING SIGNALS AND GENERATING A COMPLEX WAVEFORM AT A FOCAL POINT USING RECOMBINATION OF SEGMENTED SIGNALS//Patent No. 9,001,864: USE OF WAVELET TRANSFORMS TO PRODUCE COMPLEX WAVEFORMS FROM A REDUCED NUMBER OF DISCRETE FREQUENCY TRANSMITTERS//Patent No. 9,083,418: VERSATILE ANTENNA RECEIVED SIGNAL STRENGHT MEASUREMENT SYSTEM NOT AFFECTING ANTENNA PATTERN AND RECEIVER PERFORMANCE//Patent No. 8,973, 502: SIMULTANEOUS NONELECTRIC PRIMING ASSEMBLY AND METHOD//Patent No. 8,907,225: STRUCTURES AND METHODS RELATED TO DETECTION, SENSING AND/OR MITIGATING UNDESIREABLE STRUCTURES OR INTRUSION EVENTS ON STRUCTURES//Patent No. 9,080,989 WHISKER MANUFACTURING, DETECTION, RESPONSE, AND COMPOUND MANUFACTURING APPARATUS AND METHOD//Patent No. 9,244,791 FUSION OF MULTIPLE MODALITIES FOR DETERMING A UNIQUE MICROELECTRONIC DEVICE SIGNATURE//Patent No. 9,079,211 INTERGRANULAR CORROSION AND INTERGRANULAR STRESS CORROSION CRACKING RESISTANCE IMPROVEMENT METHOD FOR METALLIC ALLOYS//Patent No. 9,263,139 METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR IMPROVING THE RADIATION TOLERANCE OF FLOATING GATE MEMORIES.

    ADDRESSES:

    Requests for copies of the patents cited should be directed to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Div, Code OOL, Bldg 2, 300 Highway 361, Crane, IN 47522-5001.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Christopher Monsey, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Div, Code OOL, Bldg 2, 300 Highway 361, Crane, IN 47522-5001, telephone 812-854-4100.

    Authority:

    35 U.S.C. 207, 37 CFR part 404.

    Dated: March 28, 2016. C. Pan, Lieutenant, Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy, Alternate Federal Register Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07431 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810-FF-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) Information To Be Verified for the 2017-2018 Award Year AGENCY:

    Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    [CFDA Numbers: 84.007, 84.033, 84.038, 84.063, and 84.268.] SUMMARY:

    For each award year, the Secretary publishes in the Federal Register a notice announcing the FAFSA information that an institution and an applicant may be required to verify, as well as the acceptable documentation for verifying FAFSA information. This is the notice for the 2017-2018 award year.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jacquelyn C. Butler, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 6W232, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (202) 453-6088.

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

    Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Secretary includes on the applicant's Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) flags that indicate (1) that the applicant has been selected by the Secretary for verification and (2) the Verification Tracking Group in which the applicant has been placed. This, in turn, indicates which FAFSA information needs to be verified for that applicant and, if appropriate, for the applicant's parent(s) or spouse. The Student Aid Report (SAR) provided to the applicant will indicate that the applicant's FAFSA information has been selected for verification and direct the applicant to contact the institution for further instructions for completing the verification process.

    The following chart lists, for the 2017-2018 award year, the FAFSA information that an institution and an applicant and, if appropriate, the applicant's parent(s) or spouse, may be required to verify under 34 CFR 668.56. The chart also lists the acceptable documentation that must, under § 668.57, be provided to an institution for that information to be verified.

    FAFSA Information Acceptable documentation Income information for tax filers:
  •  a. Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
  •  b. U.S. Income Tax Paid
  •  c. Untaxed Portions of IRA Distributions
  •  d. Untaxed Portions of Pensions
  •  e. IRA Deductions and Payments
  •  f. Tax Exempt Interest Income
  •  g. Education Credits
  • For income information listed under items a through g for tax filers—
  • (1) 2015 tax account information of the tax filer that the Secretary has identified as having been obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool 1 and that has not been changed after the information was obtained from the IRS;
  • (2) A transcript 1 obtained from the IRS that lists 2015 tax account information of the tax filer; or
  • (3) A transcript 1 that was obtained at no cost from the relevant taxing authority of a U.S. territory (Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands) or commonwealth (Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands), or a foreign central government that lists 2015 tax account information of the tax filer.
  • Income information for tax filers with special circumstances:
  •  a. Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
  •  b. U.S. Income Tax Paid
  •  c. Untaxed Portions of IRA Distributions
  •  d. Untaxed Portions of Pensions
  •  e. IRA Deductions and Payments
  •  f. Tax Exempt Interest Income
  •  g. Education Credits
  • (1) For a student or the parent(s) of a dependent student who filed a 2015 joint income tax return and whose income is used in the calculation of the applicant's expected family contribution and who at the time the FAFSA was completed was separated, divorced, widowed, or married to someone other than the individual included on the 2015 joint income tax return—
  • (a) A transcript 1 obtained from the IRS or other relevant taxing authority that lists 2015 tax account information of the tax filer(s); and
  • (b) A copy of IRS Form W-2 2 for each source of 2015 employment income received or an equivalent document.2
  • (2) For an individual who is required to file a 2015 IRS income tax return and has been granted a filing extension by the IRS—
  • (a) A copy of IRS Form 4868, “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,” that the individual filed with the IRS for tax year 2015;
  • (b) If applicable, a copy of the IRS's approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension if the individual requested an additional extension of the filing time for tax year 2015;
  • (c) Confirmation of non-filing from the IRS or other relevant taxing authority dated on or after October 1, 2016;
  • (d) A copy of IRS Form W-2 2 for each source of 2015 employment income received or an equivalent document;2 and
  • (e) If self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of AGI and U.S. income tax paid for tax year 2015.
  • Note: An institution may require that, after the income tax return is filed, an individual granted a filing extension submit tax information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool 1 or by obtaining a transcript 1 from the IRS that lists 2015 tax account information. When an institution receives such information, it must be used to reverify the FAFSA information included on the transcript .1
  • (3) For an individual who was the victim of IRS tax-related identity theft—
  • (a) A Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) transcript obtained from the IRS; and
  • (b) A statement signed and dated by the tax filer indicating that he or she was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware of the tax-related identity theft.
  • Note: Tax filers may inform the IRS of the tax-related identity theft and obtain a TRDBV transcript by calling the IRS's Identity Protection Specialized Unit (IPSU) at 1-800-908-4490. Tax filers who cannot obtain a TRDBV transcript may instead submit another official IRS transcript or equivalent document provided by the IRS if it includes all of the income and tax information required to be verified. Unless the institution has reason to suspect the authenticity of the TRDBV transcript or an equivalent document provided by the IRS, a signature or stamp or any other validation from the IRS is not needed.
  • (4) For an individual who filed an amended tax return with the IRS—
  • (a) A transcript obtained from the IRS that lists 2015 tax account information of the tax filer(s); and
  • (b) A signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X that was filed with the IRS.
  • Income information for nontax filers:
  •  a. Income earned from work
  • For an individual who has not filed and, under IRS or other relevant taxing authority rules (e.g., the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, a U.S. territory or commonwealth or a foreign central government), is not required to file a 2015 income tax return—
    (1) A signed statement certifying—
  • (a) That the individual has not filed and is not required to file a 2015 income tax return; and
  • (b) The sources of 2015 income earned from work and the amount of income from each source;
  • (2) A copy of IRS Form W-2 2 for each source of 2015 employment income received or an equivalent document;2 and (3) Confirmation of non-filing from the IRS or other relevant taxing authority dated on or after October 1, 2016. Number of Household Members A statement signed by the applicant and, if the applicant is a dependent student, by one of the applicant's parents that lists the name and age of each household member for the 2017-2018 award year and the relationship of that household member to the applicant. Note: Verification of number of household members is not required if— • For a dependent student, the household size indicated on the ISIR is two and the parent is single, separated, divorced, or widowed, or the household size indicated on the ISIR is three if the parents are married or unmarried and living together; or • For an independent student, the household size indicated on the ISIR is one and the applicant is single, separated, divorced, or widowed, or the household size indicated on the ISIR is two if the applicant is married. Number in College (1) A statement signed by the applicant and, if the applicant is a dependent student, by one of the applicant's parents listing the name and age of each household member who is or will be attending an eligible postsecondary educational institution as at least a half-time student in the 2017-2018 award year in a program that leads to a degree or certificate and the name of that educational institution. (2) If an institution has reason to believe that the signed statement provided by the applicant regarding the number of household members enrolled in eligible postsecondary institutions is inaccurate, the institution must obtain documentation from each institution named by the applicant that the household member in question is, or will be, attending on at least a half-time basis unless—
  • (a) The applicant's institution determines that such documentation is not available because the household member in question has not yet registered at the institution the household member plans to attend; or
  • (b) The institution has documentation indicating that the household member in question will be attending the same institution as the applicant.
  • Note: Verification of the number of household members in college is not required if the number in college indicated on the ISIR is “1.” High School Completion Status The applicant's high school completion status when the applicant attends the institution in 2017-2018.
  • (1) High School Diploma
  • (a) A copy of the applicant's high school diploma;
  • (b) A copy of the applicant's final official high school transcript that shows the date when the diploma was awarded; or
  • (c) A copy of the “secondary school leaving certificate” (or other similar document) for students who completed secondary education in a foreign country and are unable to obtain a copy of their high school diploma or transcript.
  • Note: Institutions that have the expertise may evaluate foreign secondary school credentials to determine their equivalence to U.S. high school diplomas. Institutions may also use a foreign diploma evaluation service for this purpose.
  • (2) Recognized Equivalent of a High School Diploma
  • (a) General Educational Development (GED) Certificate or GED transcript;
  • (b) A State certificate or transcript received by a student after the student has passed a State-authorized examination (HiSET, TASC, or other State-authorized examination) that the State recognizes as the equivalent of a high school diploma;
  • (c) An academic transcript that indicates the student successfully completed at least a two-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor's degree at any participating institution; or
  • (d) For a person who is seeking enrollment in an educational program that leads to at least an associate degree or its equivalent and who excelled academically in high school but did not finish, documentation from the high school that the student excelled academically and documentation from the postsecondary institution that the student has met its written policies for admitting such students.
  • (3) Homeschool
  • (a) If the State where the student was homeschooled requires by law that such students obtain a secondary school completion credential for homeschool (other than a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent), a copy of that credential; or
  • (b) If State law does not require the credential noted in 3a), a transcript or the equivalent signed by the student's parent or guardian that lists the secondary school courses the student completed and documents the successful completion of a secondary school education in a homeschool setting.
  • Note: In cases where documentation of an applicant's completion of a secondary school education is unavailable, e.g., the secondary school is closed and information is not available from another source, such as the local school district or a State Department of Education, or in the case of homeschooling, the parent(s)/guardian(s) who provided the homeschooling is deceased, an institution may accept alternative documentation to verify the applicant's high school completion status (e.g., DD Form 214 Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty that indicates the individual is a high school graduate or equivalent.
  • When documenting an applicant's high school completion status, an institution may rely on documentation it has already collected for purposes other than the Title IV verification requirements if the documentation meets the criteria outlined above (e.g., high school transcripts maintained in the admissions office). Verification of high school completion status is not required if the institution successfully verified and documented the applicant's high school completion status for a prior award year. Identity/Statement of Educational Purpose (1) An applicant must appear in person and present the following documentation to an institutionally authorized individual to verify the applicant's identity—
  • (a) An unexpired valid government-issued photo identification such as, but not limited to, a driver's license, non-driver's identification card, other State-issued identification, or passport. The institution must maintain an annotated copy of the unexpired valid government-issued photo identification that includes—
  • i. The date the identification was presented; and
  • ii. The name of the institutionally authorized individual who reviewed the identification; and
  • (b) A signed statement using the exact language as follows, except that the student's identification number is optional if collected elsewhere on the same page as the statement:
  • Statement of Educational Purpose
  • I certify that I ________ am
  • (Print Student's Name)
  • the individual signing this Statement of Educational Purpose and that the Federal student financial assistance I may receive will only be used for educational purposes and to pay the cost of attending ________ for 2017-2018.
  • (Name of Postsecondary Educational Institution)
  • __________ ______ (Student's Signature) (Date) __________ (Student's ID Number) (2) If an institution determines that an applicant is unable to appear in person to present an unexpired valid photo identification and execute the Statement of Educational Purpose, the applicant must provide the institution with—
  • (a) A copy of an unexpired valid government-issued photo identification such as, but not limited to, a driver's license, non-driver's identification card, other State-issued identification, or passport that is acknowledged in a notary statement or that is presented to a notary; and
  • (b) An original notarized statement signed by the applicant using the exact language as follows, except that the student's identification number is optional if collected elsewhere on the same page as the statement:
  • Statement of Educational Purpose I certify that I ________ am
  • (Print Student's Name)
  • the individual signing this Statement of Educational Purpose and that the Federal student financial assistance I may receive will only be used for educational purposes and to pay the cost of attending ________ for 2017-2018.
  • (Name of Postsecondary Educational Institution)
  • __________ ______
  • (Student's Signature) (Date)
  • __________
  • (Student's ID Number)
  • 1 An institution may accept a copy of the original 2015 income tax return for tax filers who are— (a) Consistent with guidance that the Secretary may provide following the period after the IRS processes 2015 income tax returns, unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or obtain a transcript from the IRS; (b) Unable to obtain a transcript at no cost from the taxing authority of a U.S. territory (Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands) or commonwealth (Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands), or a foreign central government that lists 2015 tax account information of the tax filer; The copy of the 2015 income tax return must include the signature of the tax filer or one of the filers of a joint income tax return or the signed, stamped, typed, or printed name and address of the preparer of the income tax return and the preparer's Social Security Number, Employer Identification Number, or Preparer Tax Identification Number. For a tax filer who filed an income tax return other than an IRS form, such as a foreign or Puerto Rican tax form, the institution must use the income information (converted to U.S. dollars) from the lines of that form that correspond most closely to the income information reported on a U.S. income tax return. An individual who did not retain a copy of his or her 2015 tax account information and that information cannot be located by the IRS or other relevant taxing authority, must submit to the institution— (a) Copies of all IRS Form W-2s or equivalent documents; (b) Documentation from the IRS or other relevant taxing authority that indicates the individual's 2015 tax account information cannot be located; and (c) A signed statement that indicates that the individual did not retain a copy of his or her 2015 tax account information. 2 An individual who is required to submit an IRS Form W-2 or an equivalent document but did not maintain his or her copy should request a duplicate from the employer who issued the original or from the government agency that issued the equivalent document. If the individual is unable to obtain a duplicate W-2 or an equivalent document in a timely manner, the institution may permit that individual to provide a signed statement, in accordance with 34 CFR 668.57(a)(6), that includes— (a) The amount of income earned from work; (b) The source of that income; and (c) The reason why the IRS Form W-2 or an equivalent document is not available in a timely manner.
    Other Sources for Detailed Information

    We provide a more detailed discussion on the verification process in the following resources:

    2017-2018 Application and Verification Guide.

    2017-2018 ISIR Guide.

    2017-2018 SAR Comment Codes and Text.

    2017-2018 COD Technical Reference.

    • Program Integrity Information—Questions and Answers on Verification at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2009/verification.html.

    These publications are on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals Web site at www.ifap.ed.gov. 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.

    Program Authority:

    20 U.S.C. 1070a, 1070a-1, 1070b-1070b-4, 1070c-1070c-4, 1070g, 1071-1087-2, 1087a-1087j, and 1087aa-1087ii; 42 U.S.C. 2751-2756b.

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Lynn B. Mahaffie, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning, and Innovation, Delegated the duties of the Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07411 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2016-ICCD-0038] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (DL) Regulations AGENCY:

    Federal Student Aid (FSA), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

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

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before May 31, 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-0038. 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 Beth Grebeldinger, 202-377-4018.

    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: William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (DL) Regulations

    OMB Control Number: 1845-0021

    Type of Review: A revision of an existing information collection

    Respondents/Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments; Individuals or Households; Private Sector

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 8,698,789

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 709,521

    Abstract: The William D. Ford Direct Loan Program regulations cover areas of program administration. These regulations are in place to minimize administrative burden for program participants, to determine eligibility for and provide program benefits to borrower, and to prevent fraud and abuse of program funds to protect the taxpayers' interests. This request is for a revision of the current OMB approval of reporting and record-keeping related to the administrative requirements of the Direct Loan program.

    Dated: March 28, 2016. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07326 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP16-742-000.

    Applicants: Iroquois Gas Transmission System, L.P.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: 03/24/16 Negotiated Rates—Cargill Incorporated (RTS) 3085-26 to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/24/16.

    Accession Number: 20160324-5068.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/5/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-743-000.

    Applicants: Iroquois Gas Transmission System, L.P.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: 03/24/16 Negotiated Rates—Cargill Incorporated (RTS) 3085-27 to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/24/16.

    Accession Number: 20160324-5070.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/5/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-744-000.

    Applicants: Chesapeake Energy Marketing, L.L.C., FourPoint Energy, LLC.

    Description: Joint Petition of Chesapeake Energy Marketing, L.L.C. and FourPoint Energy, LLC For Limited Waiver And Request For Expediated Action under RP16-744.

    Filed Date: 3/24/16.

    Accession Number: 20160324-5224.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/4/16.

    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: RP11-2107-001.

    Applicants: Colorado Interstate Gas Company, L.L.C.

    Description: Compliance filing Petition to Amend Docket No. RP11-2107 Stipulation and Agreement.

    Filed Date: 3/24/16.

    Accession Number: 20160324-5140.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/5/16.

    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 28, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07374 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. AC16-61-000] Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP.; Notice of Filing

    Take notice that on March 16, 2016, Dominion Cove Point LNG, L.P. (DCP) submitted a request proposing that DCP be granted a waiver of the requirements of Order No. 561 and 18 CFR part 201, specifically Gas Plant Instruction No. 3(17) in calculating Allowance for Funds Used During Construction (AFUDC) rate. Specifically, DCP proposes to utilize the capital structure of its ultimate parent, Dominion Resources, Inc. (DRI), DRI's actual cost of debt, and the imputed return on equity from DCP's rate settlement, in calculating the AFUDC rate.

    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. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. On or before the comment date, it is not necessary to serve motions to intervene or protests on persons other than the Applicant.

    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: April 18, 2016

    Dated: March 28, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07342 Filed 3-31-16; 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: ER13-1940-010.

    Applicants: Ohio Valley Electric Corporation.

    Description: Compliance filing: Compliance Filing for M-2 to be effective 1/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 3/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160328-5168.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER14-67-001.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: 1148R16 American Electric Power NITSA and NOAs to be effective 10/1/2013.

    Filed Date: 3/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160328-5165.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1276-000.

    Applicants: Florida Power & Light Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: FPL Revisions to LCEC Rate Schedule No. 317 to be effective 1/1/2013.

    Filed Date: 3/25/16.

    Accession Number: 20160325-5199.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/15/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1277-000.

    Applicants: White Pine Solar, LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: White Pine Solar, LLC Market-Based Rate Application to be effective 5/24/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160328-5000.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1278-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of Colorado.

    Description: Application of Public Service Company of Colorado for 2015 Production Formula Rate Charges and Transmission Formula Rate Charges for Post-Retirement Benefits Other than Pensions.

    Filed Date: 3/25/16.

    Accession Number: 20160325-5209.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/15/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1279-000.

    Applicants: Florida Power & Light Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: FPL Revisions to FKEC Rate Schedule No. 322 to be effective 1/1/2013.

    Filed Date: 3/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160328-5073.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1281-000.

    Applicants: PacifiCorp.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: BPA NITSAs ? SE Idaho Area & Idaho Falls Power to be effective 7/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 3/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160328-5132.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 4/18/16.

    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 28, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07343 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. AC16-57-000] Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC; Notice of Filing

    Take notice that on March 8, 2016, Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC (DCG) submitted a request that DCG be granted any waivers of the requirements of Order No. 561 and 18 CFR part 201, specifically Gas Plant Instruction No. 3(17) in calculating Allowance for Funds Used During Construction (AFUDC) rate deemed necessary to allow its proposed method of AFUDC. Specifically, DCG proposes to use a hypothetical capital structure of 50 percent debt and 50 percent equity, the rate of return on equity from the settlement of DCG's last rate case proceeding, and the actual cost of long-term debt of Dominion Midstream Partners, LP, when calculating AFUDC.

    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. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. On or before the comment date, it is not necessary to serve motions to intervene or protests on persons other than the Applicant.

    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: April 18, 2016.

    Dated: March 28, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07341 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 2503-154] Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC; Notice of Availability of Final Environmental Assessment

    In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) regulations, 18 CFR part 380 (Order No. 486, 52 FR 47897), the Office of Energy Projects has reviewed the application for a new license for the Keowee-Toxaway Hydroelectric Project, located on the Toxaway, Keowee, and Little Rivers in Oconee County and Pickens County, South Carolina and Transylvania County, North Carolina, and has prepared a final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project. The project does not occupy federal land.

    The final EA contains staff's analysis of the potential environmental impacts of the project and concludes that relicensing the project, with appropriate environmental measures, would not constitute a major federal action that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment.

    A copy of the final EA is on file with the Commission and is available for public inspection. The final EA may also be viewed on the Commission's Web site 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 Online Support at [email protected] or toll-free at 1-866-208-3676, or for TTY, (202) 502-8659. You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support.

    For further information, contact Rachel McNamara at (202) 502-8340 or [email protected]

    Dated: March 28, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07344 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 10504-001] Town of Cedaredge, Colorado; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Soliciting Comments, Motions to Intervene, and Protests

    Take notice that the following hydroelectric application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection:

    a. Type of Application: Surrender of Exemption.

    b. Project No.: 10504-001.

    c. Date Filed: July 2, 2013.

    d. Applicant: Town of Cedaredge, Colorado.

    e. Name of Project: Cedaredge Project.

    f. Location: On the Cedaredge Municipal Water System of the town of Cedaredge, in Delta County, Colorado.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 791a-825r.

    h. Applicant Contact: Ms. Kathleen Ann Sickles, Town Administrator, P.O. Box 398, Cedaredge, CO 81413, (970) 856-3123.

    i. FERC Contact: Mr. Henry Woo, (202) 502-8872, [email protected].

    j. Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, and protests, is 30 days from the issuance date of this notice by the Commission. All documents may be filed electronically via the Internet. See, 18 CFR 385.2001(a)(1)(iii) and the instructions on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. If unable to be filed electronically, documents may be paper-filed. To paper-file, an original and seven copies should be mailed to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments.

    Please include the project number (P-10504-001) on any comments, motions, or recommendations filed.

    k. Description of Request: The applicant proposes to surrender the exemption for the Cedaredge Project No. P-10504. The applicant states that the exemption is being surrendered because the project is no longer economically feasible.

    l. Locations of the Application: A copy of the application is available for inspection and reproduction at the Commission's Public Reference Room, located at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, or by calling (202) 502-8371. This filing may also be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, call 1-866-208-3676 or email [email protected], for TTY, call (202) 502-8659. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in item (h) above.

    m. Individuals desiring to be included on the Commission's mailing list should so indicate by writing to the Secretary of the Commission.

    n. Comments, Protests, or Motions to Intervene: Anyone may submit comments, a protest, or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210, .211, .214. In determining the appropriate action to take, the Commission will consider all protests or other comments filed, but only those who file a motion to intervene in accordance with the Commission's Rules may become a party to the proceeding. Any comments, protests, or motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified comment date for the particular application.

    o. Filing and Service of Responsive Documents: Any filing must (1) bear in all capital letters the title “COMMENTS”, “PROTEST”, or “MOTION TO INTERVENE” as applicable; (2) set forth in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) furnish the name, address, and telephone number of the person protesting or intervening; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 385.2001 through 385.2005. All comments, motions to intervene, or protests must set forth their evidentiary basis and otherwise comply with the requirements of 18 CFR 4.34(b). All comments, motions to intervene, or protests should relate to project works which are the subject of the exemption surrender. Agencies may obtain copies of the application directly from the applicant. A copy of any protest or motion to intervene must be served upon each representative of the applicant specified in the particular application. If an intervener files comments or documents with the Commission relating to the merits of an issue that may affect the responsibilities of a particular resource agency, they must also serve a copy of the document on that resource agency. A copy of all other filings in reference to this application must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010.

    Dated: March 28, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07340 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OECA-2012-0527; FRL-9944-13-OEI] Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NESHAP for Paints and Allied Products Manufacturing Area Source Category (Renewal) AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency has submitted an information collection request (ICR), “NESHAP for Paints and Allied Products Manufacturing Area Source Category (40 CFR part 63, subpart CCCCCCC) (Renewal)”, (EPA ICR No. 2348.04, OMB Control No. 2060-0633) 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.). This is a proposed extension of the ICR, which is currently approved through March 31, 2016. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register (80 FR 32116) on June 5, 2015 during a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for an additional 30 days for public comments. A fuller description of the ICR is given below, including its estimated burden and cost to the public. 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:

    Additional comments may be submitted on or before May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID Number EPA-HQ-OECA-2012-0527, to: (1) EPA online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method), or 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; and (2) OMB via email to [email protected] Address comments to OMB Desk Officer for EPA.

    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:

    Patrick Yellin, Monitoring, Assistance, and Media Programs Division, Office of Compliance, Mail Code 2227A, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-2970; fax number: (202) 564-0050; 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.

    Abstract: The affected entities are subject to the General Provisions of the NESHAP at 40 CFR part 63, subpart A, and any changes, or additions to the Provisions are specified at 40 CFR part 63, subpart CCCCCCC. Owners or operators of the affected facilities must submit a one-time-only report of any physical or operational changes, initial performance tests, and periodic reports and results. Owners or operators are also required to maintain records of the occurrence and duration of any startup, shutdown, or malfunction in the operation of an affected facility, or any period during which the monitoring system is inoperative. Reports are also required annually.

    Form Numbers: None.

    Respondents/Affected Entities: Paints and allied products manufacturing facilities.

    Respondent's Obligation to Respond: Mandatory (40 CFR part 63, subpart CCCCCCC).

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 2,190 (total).

    Frequency of Response: Initially, occasionally and annually.

    Total Estimated Burden: 5,040 hours (per year). Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.3(b).

    Total Estimated Cost: $1,240,000 (per year). There are no annualized capital/startup and/or operation & maintenance costs.

    Changes in the Estimates: There is a small adjustment increase in the estimated respondent labor hours in this ICR from the most recently-approved ICR. This is due to a change in our estimation assumption, and not associated with any program changes. In this ICR, we assume existing sources will have to re-familiarize themselves with the regulatory requirements each year, which results in an increase in burden.

    Courtney Kerwin, Acting Director, Collection Strategies Division.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07327 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA EPA-HQ-OECA-2012-0496; FRL-9944-29-OEI] Information Collection Request Submitted to OMB for Review and Approval; Comment Request; NESHAP for Area Sources: Asphalt Processing and Asphalt Roofing Manufacturing (Renewal) AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency has submitted an information collection request (ICR), “NESHAP for Area Sources: Asphalt Processing and Asphalt Roofing Manufacturing (40 CFR part 63, subpart AAAAAAA) (Renewal) (EPA ICR No. 2352.04, OMB Control No. 2060-0634), 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.). This is a proposed extension of the ICR, which is currently approved through March 31, 2016. Public comments were previously requested via the Federal Register (80 FR 32116) on June 5, 2015 during a 60-day comment period. This notice allows for an additional 30 days for public comments. A fuller description of the ICR is given below, including its estimated burden and cost to the public. 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:

    Additional comments may be submitted on or before May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID Number EPA EPA-HQ-OECA-2012-0496, to: (1) EPA online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method), or 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; and (2) OMB via email to [email protected] Address comments to OMB Desk Officer for EPA.

    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:

    Patrick Yellin, Monitoring, Assistance, and Media Programs Division, Office of Compliance, Mail Code 2227A, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-2970; fax number: (202) 564-0050; 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.

    Abstract: Owners and operators of affected facilities are required to comply with reporting and record keeping requirements for the general provisions of 40 CFR part 63, subpart A, as well as the specific requirements at 40 CFR part 63, subpart AAAAAAA. This includes submitting initial notification reports, performance tests and periodic reports and results, and maintaining records of the occurrence and duration of any startup, shutdown, or malfunction in the operation of an affected facility, or any period during which the monitoring system is inoperative. These reports are used by EPA to determine compliance with the standards.

    Form Numbers: None.

    Respondents/Affected Entities: Area source facilities that process asphalt or manufacture asphalt roofing products.

    Respondent's Obligation to Respond: Mandatory (40 CFR part 63, subpart AAAAAAA).

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 75 (total).

    Frequency of Response: Initially and semiannually.

    Total Estimated Burden: 3,020 hours (per year). Burden is defined at 5 CFR 1320.3(b).

    Total Estimated Cost: $305,000 (per year), which includes $1,130 in annualized capital/startup and/or operation & maintenance costs.

    Changes in the Estimates: There is a small adjustment increase in the respondent labor hours and the total O&M costs as currently identified in the OMB Inventory of Approved Burdens. The increase in labor hours is due to a change in assumption. In this ICR, we assume all existing sources will take some time each year to re-familiarize themselves with the regulatory requirements. The increase of five dollars in total O&M cost is due to rounding of all calculated values to three significant figures.

    Courtney Kerwin, Acting Director, Collection Strategies Division.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07328 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [ER-FRL-9026-3] 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 Filed 03/21/2016 Through 03/25/2016 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: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/nepa/eisdata.html.

    EIS No. 20160066, Final, BOP, KY, U.S. Penitentiary and Federal Prison Camp Letcher County, Review Period Ends: 05/02/2016, Contact: Issac Gaston 202-514-6470. EIS No. 20160067, Final, USACE, NGA, MO, Next NGA West Campus in the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area, Review Period Ends: 05/02/2016, Contact: David Berczek 314-676-1123. EIS No. 20160068, Final, USFS, ID, Becker Integrated Resource Project (Formerly the Becker Vegetation Management Project), Review Period Ends: 05/16/2016, Contact: Michael Feiger 208-392-6681. EIS No. 20160069, Draft, FERC, TX, Golden Pass LNG Export Project, Comment Period Ends: 05/16/2016, Contact: Eric Howard 202-502-6263. Amended Notices EIS No. 20160034, Second Draft Supplemental, USFS, MT, Rock Creek Mine Project, Comment Period Ends: 04/19/2016, Contact: Michael Huffine 406-293-6211, Revision to FR Notice published 02/19/2016; Extending Comment Period from 04/04/2016 to 04/19/2016. Dated: March 29, 2016. Dawn Roberts, Management Analyst, NEPA Compliance Division, Office of Federal Activities.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07417 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request (3064-0114) AGENCY:

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The FDIC, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the renewal of an existing information collection, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. On January 5, 2016, (81 FR 239), the FDIC requested comment for 60 days on a proposal to renew the information collections described below. No comments were received. The FDIC hereby gives notice of its plan to submit to OMB a request to approve the renewal of these collections, and again invites comment on this renewal.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before May 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties are invited to submit written comments to the FDIC by any of the following methods:

    http://www.FDIC.gov/regulations/laws/federal/notices.html.

    Email: [email protected]. Include the name of the collection in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: Gary A. Kuiper (202.898.3877), Counsel, Room MB-3016, or Manuel E. Cabeza, (202.898.3767), Counsel, Room MB-3105, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20429.

    Hand Delivery: Comments may be hand-delivered to the guard station at the rear of the 17th Street Building (located on F Street), on business days between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

    All comments should refer to the relevant OMB control number. A copy of the comments may also be submitted to the OMB desk officer for the FDIC: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gary A. Kuiper or Manuel E. Cabeza, at the FDIC address above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Proposal to renew the following currently-approved collections of information:

    1. Title: Foreign Banks.

    OMB Number: 3064-0114.

    Affected Public: Insured branches of foreign banks.

    Estimated Burden:

    Number of
  • respondents
  • Responses
  • per year
  • Hours per
  • response
  • Burden hours
    Reporting Burden Moving a Branch 1 1 8 8 Consent to Operate 1 1 8 8 Conduct Activities 1 1 8 8 Pledge of Assets Documents 10 4 .25 10 Reports 10 4 2 80 Recordkeeping Burden 10 1 120 1,200

    Estimated Total Annual Burden: 1,314 hours.

    General Description: The Foreign Banks information collection, 3064-0114, consist of: Applications to move an insured state-licensed branch of a foreign bank; applications to operate as such noninsured state-licensed branch of a foreign bank; applications from an insured state-licensed branch of a foreign bank to conduct activities that are not permissible for a federally-licensed branch; internal recordkeeping by such branches; and reporting and recordkeeping requirements relating to such a branch's pledge of assets to the FDIC.

    Request for Comment

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the FDIC's functions, including whether the information has practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the estimates of the burden of the information collection, 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 information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Dated at Washington, DC, this 29th day of March, 2016. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07403 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of 10447, the Farmers Bank of Lynchburg; Lynchburg, Tennessee

    NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) as Receiver for The Farmers Bank of Lynchburg, Lynchburg, Tennessee (“the Receiver”) intends to terminate its receivership for said institution. The FDIC was appointed receiver of The Farmers Bank of Lynchburg on June 15, 2012. The liquidation of the receivership assets has been completed. To the extent permitted by available funds and in accordance with law, the Receiver will be making a final dividend payment to proven creditors.

    Based upon the foregoing, the Receiver has determined that the continued existence of the receivership will serve no useful purpose. Consequently, notice is given that the receivership shall be terminated, to be effective no sooner than thirty days after the date of this Notice. If any person wishes to comment concerning the termination of the receivership, such comment must be made in writing and sent within thirty days of the date of this Notice to: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Division of Resolutions and Receiverships, Attention: Receivership Oversight Department 32.1, 1601 Bryan Street, Dallas, TX 75201.

    No comments concerning the termination of this receivership will be considered which are not sent within this time frame.

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07402 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [30Day-15-15BFV] Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act Review

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has submitted the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The notice for the proposed information collection is published to obtain comments from the public and affected agencies.

    Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies concerning the proposed collection of information are encouraged. Your comments should address any of the following: (a) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) Evaluate the accuracy of the agencies estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses; and (e) Assess information collection costs.

    To request additional information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the information collection plan and instruments, call (404) 639-7570 or send an email to [email protected]. Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the items contained in this notice should be directed to the Attention: CDC Desk Officer, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503 or by fax to (202) 395-5806. Written comments should be received within 30 days of this notice.

    Proposed Project

    A Study of Viral Persistence in Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Survivors—Existing Information Collection Without an OMB Control Number—National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Background and Brief Description

    Much progress has been made in the year since the CDC first responded to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, but the agency's efforts must continue until there are zero new cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD). As the CDC's 2014 Ebola virus response maintains the international goal of zero new EVD cases in 2015, the agency must intensify its efforts to identify and prevent every potential route of human disease transmission and to understand the most current community barriers to reaching that final goal.

    Persistence of Ebola Virus (EBOV) in Body Fluids of EVD Survivors in Sierra Leone is the first systematic examination of the post-recovery persistence of EBOV and the risks of transmission from a cohort of convalescent Ebola survivors during close or intimate contact. It is important to fully understand how long the virus stays active in body fluids other than blood in order to target and refine public health interventions to arrest the ongoing spread of disease.

    The research study is comprised of three modules based on the body fluids to be studied: A pilot module of adult males (semen) and two full modules: Module A of adult men and women repeating collections and questionnaires every two weeks (semen, vaginal secretions, and saliva, tears, sweat, urine, rectal swab), and Module B of lactating adult women repeating collections and questionnaires every three days (sweat and breast milk).

    Participants for each module will be recruited by trained study staff from Ebola treatment units (ETUs) and survivor registries. Participants will be followed up at study sites in government hospitals.

    Specimens will be tested for EBOV ribonucleic acid (RNA) by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR) in Sierra Leone at the CDC laboratory facility in Bo. All positive RT-PCR samples will be sent to CDC Atlanta for virus isolation. Each body fluid will be collected until two negative RT-PCR results are obtained. Participants will be followed until all their studied body fluids are negative. They will receive tokens of appreciation for their participation at the initial visit and again at every subsequent follow-up visit [e.g., 120,000 Leones (approximately $28 US dollars) and a supply of condoms]. For Module A, men and women will be recruited in equal numbers for this study until more information on gender effects of viral persistence is available. A trained study data manager will collect test results for all participants in a laboratory results form.

    Results and analyses are needed to update relevant counseling messages and recommendations from the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health, World Health Organization, and CDC. The study will provide the most current information that is critical to the development of public health measures, such as recommendations about sexual activity, breastfeeding, and other routine activities and approaches to evaluation of survivors to determine whether they can safely resume sexual activity. These approaches in turn are expected to reduce the risk of Ebola resurgence and mitigate stigma for thousands of survivors. The information is likewise critical to reducing the risk that Ebola would be introduced in a location that has not previously been affected.

    The total burden hours requested for the research study in Sierra Leone is 2,474 hours incurred by 530 participants. There are no costs to the respondents other than their time.

    Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Type of respondent Form name Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per respondent
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • (hours)
  • Data Manager Intake Form 1 550 20/60 Pilot participants Survivor Questionnaire 100 1 30/60 Pilot participants Survivor Follow-up Questionnaire 100 5 15/60 Pilot participants 3 & 6 Month Follow up Questionnaire 100 2 15/60 Main study male participants Survivor Questionnaire 120 1 30/60 Main study male participants Survivor Follow-up Questionnaire 120 12 15/60 Main study male participants 3 & 6 Month Follow up Questionnaire 120 2 15/60 Main study female participants Survivor Questionnaire 120 1 30/60 Main study female participants Survivor Follow-up Questionnaire 120 4 15/60 Main study female participants 3 & 6 Month Follow up Questionnaire 120 2 15/60 Data Manager Laboratory Results Form 1 4,250 10/60
    Leroy A. Richardson, Chief, Information Collection Review Office, Office of Scientific Integrity, Office of the Associate Director for Science, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07424 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Assessment (Final EA) and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for HHS/CDC Fort Collins Campus Proposed Improvements AGENCY:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    ACTION:

    Notice of Availability of Final Environmental Assessment and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for HHS/CDC Fort Collins Campus Proposed Improvements.

    SUMMARY:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is issuing this notice to advise the public that HHS/CDC has prepared and approved on March 22, 2016, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) based on the Final Environmental Assessment for proposed improvements on the HHS/CDC Fort Collins Campus. HHS/CDC prepared the Final EA in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508) and the HHS General Administration Manual (GAM) Part 30 Environmental Procedures, dated February 25, 2000. HHS/CDC has determined that the proposed action would not have a significant impact on the human or natural environment and therefore, the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement is not required.

    DATES:

    The FONSI and Final EA are available as of the publication date of this notice.

    ADDRESSES:

    Copies of the FONSI and Final EA are available at the following locations:

    • Old Town Library, 201 Peterson Street, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524.

    • Harmony Library, 4616 South Shields, Fort Collins, Colorado 80526.

    Copies of the FONSI and/or Final EA can also be requested from: Robert Lawson, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Asset Management Services Office, MS K80, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30329, 770-488-2447.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an Operating Division (OPDIV) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has prepared a Final EA to assess the potential impacts associated with the undertaking of proposed improvements on the HHS/CDC Fort Collins Campus (CDC Fort Collins Campus) located on the Colorado State University (CSU) Foothills Campus in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Final EA analyzed the effects of the Build Alternative (Proposed Action) and the No Build Alternative. The Build Alternative consists of improvements to the CDC Fort Collins Campus which entails the construction of a new approximately 5,600 gsf building which will house laboratory support freezer space and communal space, upgrades to existing parking areas and additional infrastructure improvements. The No Build Alternative represents the continued operation of the existing facilities at the CDC Fort Collins Campus without any new construction or infrastructure upgrades.

    The Final EA evaluated the potential impacts to socioeconomics and environmental justice, land use, zoning, public policy, community facilities and services, transportation, air quality, noise, cultural resources, urban design and visual resources, natural resources, utility service, hazardous materials, greenhouse gases and sustainability, and construction. HHS/CDC assessed the potential impacts of the Build Alternative in the Final EA and as a result issued a FONSI indicating that the proposed action will not have a significant impact on the environment.

    Dated: March 28, 2016. Sandra Cashman, Executive Secretary, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07368 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4163-18-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [Document Identifier: CMS-10545, CMS-10309, CMS-855(A, B, I) and CMS-10468] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HHS.

    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 31, 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-10545—Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) OASIS-C2/ICD-10 CMS-10309—Grandfathering Provisions of the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program CMS-855(A, B, I)—Medicare Enrollment Application CMS-10468—Essential Health Benefits in Alternative Benefit Plans, Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes, and Premiums and Cost Sharing; Exchanges: Eligibility and Enrollment

    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: Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) OASIS-C2/ICD-10; Use: Home health agencies (HHAs) are required to collect the outcome and assessment information data set (OASIS) to participate in the Medicare program. The OASIS item set has been revised and is now referred to as OASIS-C2. It is scheduled for implementation on January 1, 2017. The OASIS C2 is being modified to include changes pursuant to the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (the IMPACT Act), and formatting changes throughout the document. Form Number: CMS-10545 (OMB control number: 0938-1279); Frequency: Occasionally; Affected Public: Private Sector (Business or other for-profit and Not-for-profit institutions); Number of Respondents: 12,198; Total Annual Responses: 17,900,000; Total Annual Hours: 15,812,511. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Michelle Brazil at 410-786-1648).

    2. Type of Information Collection Request: Extension of a currently approved collection; Title of Information Collection: Grandfathering Provisions of the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program; Use: The grandfathering process was established in the April 10, 2007 final rule for competitive bidding for rented DME and oxygen and oxygen equipment included under the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program. This process only applies to suppliers that rented DME and oxygen and oxygen equipment to beneficiaries who maintain a permanent residence in a CBA before the implementation of the competitive bidding program. The competitive bidding program will require some beneficiaries to change their suppliers. In order to avoid a beneficiary being without medically necessary equipment we felt it necessary to establish this notification process. Form Number: CMS-10309 (OMB control number: 0938-1079); Frequency: Occasionally; Affected Public: Private Sector (Business or other for-profit and Not-for-profit institutions); Number of Respondents: 1,125; Total Annual Responses: 39,998; Total Annual Hours: 4,535. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Djanira Rivera at 410-786-8646).

    3. Type of Information Collection Request: Extension of a currently approved collection; Title of Information Collection: Medicare Enrollment Application; Use: The primary function of the CMS-855 Medicare enrollment application is to gather information from a provider or supplier that tells us who it is, whether it meets certain qualifications to be a health care provider or supplier, where it practices or renders its services, the identity of the owners of the enrolling entity, and other information necessary to establish correct claims payments. Form Number: CMS-855(A, B, I) (OMB control number: 0938-0685); Frequency: Annually; Affected Public: Private Sector (Business or other for-profit and Not-for-profit institutions); Number of Respondents: 1,735,800; Total Annual Responses: 86,480; Total Annual Hours: 290,193. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Kimberly McPhillips at 410-786-5374.)

    4. Type of Information Collection Request: Extension of a previously approved collection; Title of Information Collection: Essential Health Benefits in Alternative Benefit Plans, Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes, and Premiums and Cost Sharing; Exchanges: Eligibility and Enrollment; Use: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148, enacted on March 23, 2010, and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, Public Law 111-152, expands access to health insurance for individuals and employees of small businesses through the establishment of new Affordable Insurance Exchanges (Exchanges), including the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). The Exchanges, which became operational on January 1, 2014, enhanced competition in the health insurance market, expanded access to affordable health insurance for millions of Americans, and provided consumers with a place to easily compare and shop for health insurance coverage. The reporting requirements and data collection in Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Programs, and Exchanges: Essential Health Benefits in Alternative Benefit Plans, Eligibility Notices, Fair Hearing and Appeal Processes, and Premiums and Cost Sharing; Exchanges: Eligibility and Enrollment (CMS-2334-F) address: (1) Standards related to notices, (2) procedures for the verification of enrollment in an eligible employer-sponsored plan and eligibility for qualifying coverage in an eligible employer-sponsored plan; and (3) other eligibility and enrollment provisions to provide detail necessary for state implementation. Form Number: CMS-10468 (OMB control number: 0938-1207); Frequency: Annually; Affected Public: Individuals, Households and Private Sector; Number of Respondents: 13,200; Total Annual Responses: 13,200; Total Annual Hours: 8,899. (For policy questions regarding this collection contact Sarah Boehm at 301-492-4429.)

    Dated: March 29, 2016. William N. Parham, III, Director, Paperwork Reduction Staff, Office of Strategic Operations and Regulatory Affairs.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07423 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment Request Proposed Projects

    Title: ORR-3 Placement Report and ORR-4 Progress Report for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) Program.

    OMB No.: 0970-0034.

    Description: As required by section 412(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), is requesting the information from report Form ORR-3 and ORR-4 to administer the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) program. The ORR-3 (Placement Report) is submitted to ORR by the State agency at the minor's initial placement in the resettlement State within 30 days of the placement, and whenever there is a change in the minor's status, including termination from the program, within 60 days of the change or closure of the case. The ORR-4 (Progress Report) is submitted every 12 months beginning with 12 months from the date of the initial placement to record outcomes of the child's progress toward the goals listed in the child's case plan. ORR-4 is also submitted along with the initial ORR-3 report for 17 years old or above youth related to independent living and/or educational plans. The ORR regulations per 45 CFR 400.120 describe specific URM program reporting requirements.

    Respondents: State governments.

    Annual Burden Estimates Instrument Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of responses
  • per respondent
  • Average burden hours
  • per response
  • Total burden hours
    ORR-3 15 Estimated responses 178 0.25 (15 min) Estimated 667.5. ORR-4 15 Estimated responses 127 1.25 (1 hour and 15 min) Estimated 2,381.25.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 3,048.75.

    In compliance with the requirements of Section 506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Administration for Children and Families is soliciting public comment on the specific aspects of the information collection described above. Copies of the proposed collection of information can be obtained and comments may be forwarded by writing to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 330 C Street SW., Washington DC 20201. Attn: ACF Reports Clearance Officer. Email address: [email protected] All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection.

    The Department specifically requests comments on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Consideration will be given to comments and suggestions submitted within 60 days of this publication.

    Robert Sargis, Reports Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07361 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Proposed Information Collection Activity; Comment Request Proposed Projects

    Title: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Leveraging Report.

    OMB No.: 0970-0121.

    Description: The LIHEAP leveraging incentive program rewards LIHEAP grantees that have leveraged non-federal home energy resources for low-income households. The LIHEAP leveraging report is the application for leveraging incentive funds that the LIHEAP grantees submit to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for each fiscal year in which they leverage countable resources. Participation in the leveraging incentive program is voluntary and is described at 45 CFR 96.87. The LIHEAP leveraging report obtains information on the resources leveraged by LIHEAP grantees each federal fiscal year, e.g., as cash, discounts, waivers, and in-kind; the benefits provided to low-income households by these resources, for example, as fuel and payments for fuel, as home heating and cooling equipment, and as weatherization materials and installation; and the fair market value of these resources/benefits.

    HHS needs this information in order to carry out federal statutory requirements for administering the LIHEAP leveraging incentive program, to determine accountability and valuation of grantees' leveraged non-federal home energy resources, and to determine grantees' shares of leveraging incentive funds. HHS proposes to request a three-year clearance by OMB for the LIHEAP leveraging report information collection which has received OMB approval in the past. Respondents: State, Local or Tribal Governments.

    Annual Burden Estimates Instrument Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden hours
  • per response
  • Total burden hours
    LIHEAP Leveraging Report 70 1 38 2,660

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 2,660.

    In compliance with the requirements of Section 506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Administration for Children and Families is soliciting public comment on the specific aspects of the information collection described above. Copies of the proposed collection of information can be obtained and comments may be forwarded by writing to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, 330 C Street SW., Washington DC 20201. Attn: ACF Reports Clearance Officer. Email address: [email protected] All requests should be identified by the title of the information collection.

    The Department specifically requests comments on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Consideration will be given to comments and suggestions submitted within 60 days of this publication.

    Robert Sargis, Reports Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07359 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-2489] Receipt of Notice That a Patent Infringement Complaint Was Filed Against a Biosimilar Applicant AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is publishing notice that an applicant for a proposed biosimilar product notified FDA that a patent infringement action was filed in connection with the applicant's biologics license application (BLA). Under the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act), an applicant for a proposed biosimilar product or interchangeable product must notify FDA within 30 days after the applicant was served with a complaint in a patent infringement action described under the PHS Act. FDA is required to publish notice of the complaint in the Federal Register.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Daniel Orr, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 51, Rm. 6208, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 240-402-0979, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCI Act) was enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Pub. L. 111-148) on March 23, 2010. The BPCI Act amended the PHS Act and created an abbreviated licensure pathway for biological products shown to be biosimilar to, or interchangeable with, an FDA-licensed biological reference product. Section 351(k) of the PHS Act (42 U.S.C. 262(k)), added by the BPCI Act, describes the requirements for a BLA for a proposed biosimilar product or a proposed interchangeable product (351(k) BLA). Section 351(l) of the PHS Act, also added by the BPCI Act, describes certain procedures for exchanging patent information and resolving patent disputes between a 351(k) BLA applicant and the holder of the BLA reference product. If a 351(k) applicant is served with a complaint for a patent infringement described in section 351(l)(6) of the PHS Act, the applicant is required, under section 351(l)(6)(C) of the PHS Act, to provide the FDA with notice and a copy of the complaint within 30 days of service. FDA is required to publish notice of a complaint received under section 351(l)(6)(C) of the PHS Act in the Federal Register.

    FDA has received notice of the following complaint under section 351(l)(6)(C) of the PHS Act:

    Amgen, Inc., v. Apotex, Inc., 15-cv-61631 (consolidated with 15-cv-62081, S.D. Fla., filed October 2, 2015).

    FDA has only a ministerial role in publishing notice of a complaint received under section 351(l)(6)(C) of the PHS Act, and does not perform a substantive review of the complaint.

    Dated: March 25, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07364 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2008-D-0031] Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Act of 1988 Waiver Applications AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the Agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA), Federal Agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, and to allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on collections of information associated with Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) waiver applications.

    DATES:

    Submit either electronic or written comments on the collection of information by May 31, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments as follows:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to http://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Division of Dockets Management, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2008-D-0031 for “Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; CLIA Waiver Applications.” Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on http://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Division of Dockets Management. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/dockets/default.htm.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal Agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes Agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires Federal Agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, FDA is publishing notice of the proposed collection of information set forth in this document.

    With respect to the following collection of information, FDA invites comments on these topics: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FDA's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FDA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    CLIA Waiver Applications—OMB Control Number 0910-0598—Extension

    Congress passed the CLIA (Pub. L. 100-578) in 1988 to establish quality standards for all laboratory testing. The purpose was to ensure the accuracy, reliability, and timeliness of patient test results regardless of where the test took place. CLIA requires that clinical laboratories obtain a certificate from the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the Secretary), before accepting materials derived from the human body for laboratory tests (42 U.S.C. 263a(b)). Laboratories that perform only tests that are “simple” and that have an “insignificant risk of an erroneous result” may obtain a certificate of waiver (42 U.S.C. 263a(d)(2)). The Secretary has delegated to FDA the authority to determine whether particular tests (waived tests) are “simple” and have “an insignificant risk of an erroneous result” under CLIA (69 FR 22849, April 27, 2004).

    On January 30, 2008, FDA published a guidance document entitled “Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff: Recommendations for Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) Waiver Applications for Manufacturers of In Vitro Diagnostic Devices” (http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/GuidanceDocuments/ucm079632.htm). This guidance document describes recommendations for device manufacturers submitting to FDA an application for determination that a cleared or approved device meets this CLIA standard (CLIA waiver application). The guidance recommends that CLIA waiver applications include a description of the features of the device that make it “simple”; a report describing a hazard analysis that identifies potential sources of error, including a summary of the design and results of flex studies and conclusions drawn from the flex studies; a description of fail-safe and failure alert mechanisms and a description of the studies validating these mechanisms; a description of clinical tests that demonstrate the accuracy of the test in the hands of intended operators; and statistical analyses of clinical study results.

    FDA estimates the burden of this collection of information as follows:

    Table 1—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 1 Activity Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total
  • annual
  • responses
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • Total hours Total
  • operating and
  • maintenance costs
  • CLIA waiver application 40 1 40 1,200 48,000 $350,000 1 There are no capital costs associated with this collection of information.
    Table 2—Estimated Annual Recordkeeping Burden 1 Activity Number of
  • recordkeepers
  • Number of
  • records per
  • recordkeeper
  • Total annual records Average
  • burden per
  • recordkeeping
  • Total hours
    CLIA waiver records 40 1 40 2,800 112,000 1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.

    The total number of reporting and recordkeeping hours is 160,000 hours. FDA bases the burden on an Agency analysis of premarket submissions with clinical trials similar to the waived laboratory tests. Based on previous years' experience with CLIA waiver applications, FDA expects 40 manufacturers to submit one CLIA waiver application per year. The time required to prepare and submit a waiver application, including the time needed to assemble supporting data, averages 1,200 hours per waiver application for a total of 48,000 hours for reporting. Based on previous years' experience with CLIA waiver applications, FDA expects that each manufacturer will spend 2,800 hours creating and maintaining the record for a total of 112,000 hours.

    The total operating and maintenance cost associated with the waiver application is estimated at $350,000. This cost is largely attributed to clinical study costs incurred, which include site selection and qualification, protocol review, and study execution (initiation, monitoring, closeout, and clinical site/subject compensation—including specimen collection for study as well as shipping and supplies).

    Dated: March 25, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07365 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2016-N-0001] Advisory Committee; Arthritis Advisory Committee, Renewal AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice; renewal of advisory committee.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the renewal of the Arthritis Advisory Committee by the Commissioner of Food and Drugs (the Commissioner). The Commissioner has determined that it is in the public interest to renew the Arthritis Advisory Committee for an additional 2 years beyond the charter expiration date. The new charter will be in effect until April 5, 2018.

    DATES:

    Authority for the Arthritis Advisory Committee will expire on April 5, 2018, unless the Commissioner formally determines that renewal is in the public interest.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stephanie L. Begansky, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 31, Rm. 2417, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-9001, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.65 and approval by the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to 45 CFR part 11 and by the General Services Administration, FDA is announcing the renewal of the Arthritis Advisory Committee (the Committee). The Committee is a discretionary Federal advisory committee established to provide advice to the Commissioner. The Committee advises the Commissioner or designee in discharging responsibilities as they relate to helping to ensure safe and effective drugs for human use and, as required, any other product for which FDA has regulatory responsibility. The Committee reviews and evaluates data concerning the safety and effectiveness of marketed and investigational human drug products for use in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, and related diseases, and makes appropriate recommendations to the Commissioner.

    The Committee shall consist of a core of 11 voting members including the Chair. Members and the Chair are selected by the Commissioner or designee from among authorities knowledgeable in the fields of arthritis, rheumatology, orthopedics, epidemiology or statistics, analgesics, and related specialties. Members will be invited to serve for overlapping terms of up to 4 years. Almost all non-Federal members of this committee serve as Special Government Employees. The core of voting members may include one technically qualified member, selected by the Commissioner or designee, who is identified with consumer interests and is recommended by either a consortium of consumer-oriented organizations or other interested persons. In addition to the voting members, the Committee may include one non-voting member who is identified with industry interests.

    Further information regarding the most recent charter and other information can be found at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/Drugs/ArthritisAdvisoryCommittee/ucm094137.htm or by contacting the Designated Federal Officer (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). In light of the fact that no change has been made to the committee name or description of duties, no amendment will be made to 21 CFR 14.100.

    This document is issued under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app.). For general information related to FDA advisory committees, please visit us at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/default.htm.

    Dated: March 25, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07362 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2013-N-0823] Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Format and Content Requirements for Over-the-Counter Drug Product Labeling AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the Agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA), Federal Agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, and to allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on the standardized format and content requirements for the labeling of over-the-counter (OTC) drug products.

    DATES:

    Submit either electronic or written comments on the collection of information by May 31, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments as follows:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to http://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Division of Dockets Management, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2013-N-0823 for “Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Format and Content Requirements for Over-the-Counter Drug Product Labeling.” Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted on http://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Division of Dockets Management. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/dockets/default.htm.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal Agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes Agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires Federal Agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of an existing collection of information, before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, FDA is publishing notice of the proposed collection of information set forth in this document.

    With respect to the following collection of information, FDA invites comments on these topics: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FDA's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FDA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    Format and Content Requirements for OTC Drug Product Labeling—21 CFR Part 201 (OMB Control Number 0910-0340)—Extension

    In the Federal Register of March 17, 1999 (64 FR 13254) (the 1999 labeling final rule), we amended our regulations governing requirements for human drug products to establish standardized format and content requirements for the labeling of all marketed OTC drug products in part 201 (21 CFR part 201). The regulations in part 201 require OTC drug product labeling to include uniform headings and subheadings, presented in a standardized order, with minimum standards for type size and other graphical features. Specifically, the 1999 labeling final rule added new § 201.66 to part 201. Section 201.66 sets content and format requirements for the Drug Facts portion of labels on OTC drug products.

    On June 20, 2000 (65 FR 38191), we published a Federal Register final rule that required all OTC drug products marketed under the OTC monograph system to comply with the labeling requirements in § 201.66 by May 16, 2005, or sooner (65 FR 38191 at 38193). Currently marketed OTC drug products are already required to be in compliance with these labeling requirements, and thus will incur no further burden to comply with Drug Facts labeling requirements in § 201.66. Modifications of labeling already required to be in Drug Facts format are usual and customary as part of routine redesign practice, and thus do not create additional burden within the meaning of the PRA. Therefore, the burden to comply with the labeling requirements in § 201.66 is a one-time burden applicable only to new OTC drug products introduced to the marketplace under new drug applications (NDAs), abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs), or an OTC drug monograph, except for products in “convenience size” packages.1 New OTC drug products must comply with the labeling requirements in § 201.66 as they are introduced to the marketplace.

    1 In a final rule published in the Federal Register of April 5, 2002, the Agency delayed the compliance dates for the 1999 labeling final rule for all OTC drug products that: (1) Contain no more than two doses of an OTC drug; and (2) because of their limited available labeling space, would require more than 60 percent of the total surface area available to bear labeling to meet the requirements set forth in § 201.66(d)(1) and (9) and, therefore, qualify for the labeling modifications currently set forth in § 201.66(d)(10) (67 FR 16304 at 16306). The Agency issued this delay in order to develop additional rulemaking for these “convenience size” products (December 12, 2006; 71 FR 74474). These products are not currently subject to the requirements of § 201.66. PRA approval for any requirements to which they may be subject in the future will be handled in a separate rulemaking.

    Based on a March 1, 2010, estimate provided by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (75 FR 49495 at 49496, August 13, 2010), we estimated that approximately 900 new OTC drug product stock-keeping units (SKUs) are introduced to the marketplace each year. We estimated that these SKUs are marketed by 300 manufacturers. We estimated that the preparation of labeling for new OTC drug products would require 12 hours to prepare, complete, and review prior to submitting the new labeling to us. Based on this estimate, the annual reporting burden for this type of labeling is approximately 10,800 hours.

    All currently marketed sunscreen products are required to be in compliance with the Drug Facts labeling requirements in § 201.66, and thus will incur no further burden under the information collection provisions in the 1999 labeling final rule. However, a new OTC sunscreen drug product, like any new OTC drug product, will be subject to a one-time burden to comply with Drug Facts labeling requirements in § 201.66. We estimate that 60 new SKUs of OTC sunscreen drug products would be marketed each year (77 FR 27234). We estimate that these 60 SKUs would be marketed by 20 manufacturers. We estimate that approximately 12 hours would be spent on each label, based on the most recent estimate used for other OTC drug products to comply with the 1999 Drug Facts labeling final rule, including public comments received on this estimate in 2010 that addressed sunscreens.

    In determining the burden for § 201.66, it is also important to consider exemptions or deferrals of the regulation allowed products under § 201.66(e). Since publication of the 1999 labeling final rule, we have received only one request for exemption or deferral. One response over a 10-year period equates to an annual frequency of response equal to 0.1. In the 1999 labeling final rule, we estimated that a request for deferral or exemption would require 24 hours to complete (64 FR 13254 at 13276, March 17, 1999). We continue to estimate that this type of response will require approximately 24 hours. Multiplying the annual frequency of response (0.1) by the number of hour per response (24) gives a total response time for requesting exemption of deferral equal to 3 hours.

    FDA estimates the burden of this collection of information as follows:

    Table 1—Estimated Third-Party Disclosure Burden 1 21 CFR Section Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • disclosures per
  • respondent
  • Total annual disclosures Average
  • burden per
  • disclosure
  • Total hours
    201.66(c) and (d) for new OTC drug products 300 3 900 12 10,800 201.66(c) and (d) for new OTC sunscreen products 20 3 60 12 720 201.66(e) 1 0.125 0.125 24 3 Total 11,523 1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.
    Dated: March 29, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07369 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket Nos. FDA-2012-N-0471, FDA-2012-N-0294] Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approvals AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is publishing a list of information collections that have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The following is a list of FDA information collections recently approved by OMB under section 3507 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507). The OMB control number and expiration date of OMB approval for each information collection are shown in table 1. Copies of the supporting statements for the information collections are available on the Internet at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. 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.

    Table 1—List of Information Collections Approved by OMB Title of collection OMB Control number Date
  • approval
  • expires
  • Prescription Drug User Fee Cover Sheet; Form FDA 3397 0910-0297 3/31/2019 Food Additives; Food Contact Substances Notification System 0910-0495 3/31/2019
    Dated: March 28, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07363 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Health Resources and Services Administration Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection: Public Comment Request AGENCY:

    Health Resources and Services Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the requirement for opportunity for public comment on proposed data collection projects (Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announces plans to submit an Information Collection Request (ICR), described below, to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Prior to submitting the ICR to OMB, HRSA seeks comments from the public regarding the burden estimate, below, or any other aspect of the ICR.

    DATES:

    Comments on this ICR should be received no later than May 31, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments to [email protected] or mail the HRSA Information Collection Clearance Officer, Room 14N-39, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on the proposed project or to obtain a copy of the data collection plans and draft instruments, email [email protected] or call the HRSA Information Collection Clearance Officer at (301) 443-1984.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    When submitting comments or requesting information, please include the information request collection title for reference.

    Information Collection Request Title: Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program Funding Opportunity Announcement for Formula Grant Awards OMB No. 0906-xxxx—New.

    Abstract: The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (Federal Home Visiting) Program, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in close partnership with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), supports voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services during pregnancy and to parents with young children up to kindergarten entry. Formula grant awards support Federal Home Visiting Program grantees in meeting statutory and programmatic objectives for implementing high quality home visiting programs and coordinating with comprehensive statewide early childhood systems. All fifty states, the District of Columbia, five territories, and nonprofit organizations that would provide services in jurisdictions that have not directly applied for or been approved for a grant are eligible to receive formula grant awards. There are currently 56 entities with formula grant awards.

    Need and Proposed Use of the Information: This information collection is requested for eligible entities to submit applications in response to annual formula Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) beginning in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017.

    On March 23, 2010, the President signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 2951 of the ACA amended Title V of the Social Security Act by adding a new section, 511, which authorized the creation of the Federal Home Visiting Program. A portion of funding under this program is awarded to participating states and eligible jurisdictions using a funding formula. Formula funding is the main funding mechanism used by HRSA to provide support to eligible entities for the provision of voluntary high-quality home visiting services to families living in at-risk communities.

    The information collected will be used to provide guidance to eligible entities on how to prepare and submit applications in response to annual FOAs beginning in FY 2017. The application will provide project plans and budgets for upcoming years. This information will permit federal staff to assess whether the proposed activities align with statutory and programmatic requirements and objectives and will result in the implementation of a high-quality project. Applications in response to annual FOAs are submitted via Grants.gov.

    Failure to collect this information would result in the inability of HRSA to collect information necessary for the determination of the responsiveness and quality of applications and would subject the government to undue risk in awarding formula funds under the Federal Home Visiting Program. Applicants will be required to submit several types of information in addition to the SF-424 Forms which are included under a separate Information Collection Request. These types of information include: (1) Project Abstract, (2) Project Narrative, (3) Budget Justification, (4) Program-Specific Forms and Tables, and (5) Attachments.

    Likely Respondents: Eligible entities under the Social Security Act, Title V, Section 511(c) (42 U.S.C., Section 711(c)), as added by Section 2951 of the ACA (Pub. L. 111-148).

    Burden Statement: Burden in this context means the time expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose or provide the information requested. This includes the time needed to review instructions; to develop, acquire, install and utilize technology and systems for the purpose of collecting, validating and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; to train personnel and to be able to respond to a collection of information; to search data sources; to complete and review the collection of information; and to transmit or otherwise disclose the information. The total annual burden hours estimated for this Information Collection Request are summarized in the table below.

    Total Estimated Annualized burden hours:

    Form name Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per respondent
  • Total
  • responses
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • (in hours)
  • Total burden hours
    Federal Home Visiting Program Formula Funding Opportunity Announcement 56 1 56 80 4,480 Total 56 1 56 80 4,480

    HRSA specifically requests comments on (1) the necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency's functions, (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden, (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden.

    Jackie Painter, Director, Division of the Executive Secretariat.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07319 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4165-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Health Resources and Services Administration Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children; Notice of Meeting

    In accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463, codified at 5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting:

    Name: Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children.

    Dates and Times: May 9, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Meeting time is tentative.) May 10, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Meeting time is tentative.)

    Place: Webcast and In-Person, Fishers Lane Conference Center, Terrace Level, 5635 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852.

    Status: The meeting will be open to the public with attendance limited to space availability. Participants also have the option of viewing the meeting via webcast. Whether attending in-person or via webcast, all participants must register for the meeting. The registration link will be made available at http://www.hrsa.gov/advisorycommittees/mchbadvisory/heritabledisorders/. The registration deadline is Friday, April 29, 2016, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

    Purpose: The Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (Committee), as authorized by Public Health Service Act, title XI, section 1111 (42 U.S.C. 300b-10), as amended by the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-240), was established to advise the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services about the development of newborn screening activities, technologies, policies, guidelines, and programs for effectively reducing morbidity and mortality in newborns and children having, or at risk for, heritable disorders. In addition, the Committee's recommendations regarding additional conditions/heritable disorders for screening that have been adopted by the Secretary are included in the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP) and constitute part of the comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Pursuant to section 2713 of the Public Health Service Act, codified at 42 U.S.C. 300gg-13, non-grandfathered health plans and group and individual health insurance issuers are required to cover evidence-informed care and screenings included in the HRSA-supported comprehensive guidelines without charging a co-payment, co-insurance, or deductible for plan years (in the individual market, policy years) beginning on or after the date that is 1 year from the Secretary's adoption of the condition for screening.

    Agenda: The Committee will hear presentations and discussions on topics including newborn screening long-term follow-up, the Newborn Sequencing in Genomic Medicine and Public Health projects, screening for lysosomal storage disorders, and prenatal education regarding newborn screening bloodspots. The Committee will also review draft reports from the Pilot Study and Cost Analysis workgroups and hear updates from the Committee's subcommittees on Laboratory Standards and Procedures, Follow-up and Treatment, and Education and Training Tentatively, the Committee is expected to review and/or vote on whether or not the nominated condition Guanidinoacetate Methyltransferase Deficiency should be referred for a full evidence-based review. This vote does not involve a proposed addition of a condition to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel. The meeting agenda will be available two (2) days prior to the meeting on the Committee's Web site: http://www.hrsa.gov/advisorycommittees/mchbadvisory/heritabledisorders.

    Public Comments: Members of the public may present oral comments and/or submit written comments. Comments are part of the official Committee record. The public comment period is tentatively scheduled for both days of the meeting. Advance registration is required to present oral comments and/or submit written comments. Registration information will be on the Committee Web site at http://www.hrsa.gov/advisorycommittees/mchbadvisory/heritabledisorders. The registration deadline for public comments is of Friday April 29, 2016, 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time). Written comments must be received by the deadline of Friday April 29, 2016, 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time) in order to be included in the May meeting briefing book. Written comments should identify the individual's name, address, email, telephone number, professional or business affiliation, type of expertise (i.e., parent, researcher, clinician, public health, etc.), and the topic/subject matter of comments. To ensure that all individuals who have registered to make oral comments can be accommodated, the allocated time may be limited. Individuals who are associated with groups or have similar interests may be requested to combine their comments and present them through a single representative. No audiovisual presentations are permitted. Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should notify the contact person listed below at least 10 days prior to the meeting. For additional information or questions on public comments, please contact Alaina Harris, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration; phone: (301) 443-0721; or email: [email protected]

    Contact Person: Anyone interested in obtaining other relevant information should contact Alaina Harris, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, Room 18W66, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857; phone: (301) 443-0721; or email: [email protected]

    More information on the Advisory Committee is available at http://www.hrsa.gov/advisorycommittees/mchbadvisory/heritabledisorders.

    Jackie Painter, Director, Division of the Executive Secretariat.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07321 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4165-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Temporary Reassignment of State, Tribal, and Local Personnel During a Public Health Emergency AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Secretary is announcing the availability of a final guidance entitled “Guidance for Temporary Reassignment of State, Tribal, and Local Personnel during a Public Health Emergency.” Section 201 of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 (PAHPRA), Public Law 113-5, amends section 319 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act to allow the Secretary of HHS, when she declares a public health emergency under section 319 of the PHS Act, to authorize, upon request by a state or tribal organization or their designee, the temporary reassignment of state, tribal, and local personnel funded through programs authorized under the PHS Act to immediately address a public health emergency in the state or Indian tribe. This final guidance addresses that provision.

    ADDRESSES:

    Copy of the final guidance may be obtained at www.PHE.gov!femporacyReassignment.

    Additional Information: For additional information, please contact: Lisa Kaplowitz, MD, MSHA, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Policy and Planning, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, 200 Independence SW., Washington, DC 20004, telephone number (202) 205-2882.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Section 201 of PAHPRA, Public Law 113-5, amends section 319 of the PHS Act to allow the Secretary of HHS, when she declares a public health emergency under section 319 of the PHS Act, to authorize, upon request by a state or tribal organization or their designee, the temporary reassignment of state, tribal, and local personnel funded though programs authorized under the PHS Act to immediately address a public health emergency in the state or Indian tribe.

    The PHS Act requires that HHS issue proposed guidance on this provision, to be followed by a 60-day public comment period. Consistent with this requirement, a notice appeared in the Federal Register on October 1, 2013 (78 FR 60283) notifying the public that HHS was accepting comments on such proposed guidance. This 60-day public comment period concluded in December 2013. There were nine submissions received in the public comment period. Five of the submissions were local governments, one state government, and three associations. Revisions made based on feedback received included setting timelines for HHS to review; standardizing the request template for states and Indian tribes, expanding the post event reporting requirements from 90 to 120 days, and clarifications on which Public Health Service programs were potentially affected.

    The temporary reassignment provision is applicable to state, tribal, and local public health department or agency personnel whose positions are funded, in full or part, under PHS programs. This authority terminates on September 30, 2018.

    This new provision provides an important flexibility to state and local health departments and tribal organizations during an event requiring all the resources at their disposal. The temporary reassignment provision permits state, tribal, and local personnel to be voluntarily reassigned so they can immediately respond to the public health emergency in the affected jurisdiction.

    Dated: September 1, 2015. Sylvia Burwell, Secretary. Editorial Note:

    This document was received for publication by the Office of the Federal Register on March 29, 2016.

    [FR Doc. 2016-07404 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150-37-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection [Docket No. USCBP-2016-0016] Termination of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Establishment of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    Committee management; notice of termination of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and establishment of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces the termination of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the establishment of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee.

    Background: Section 9503(c) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, Pub.L. 100-203, Title IX, Subtitle F, § 9503(c), 101 Stat. 1330, 1330-381 (1987) (codified at 19 U.S.C. 2071 note), which established what is now the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, was repealed by section 109 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (Pub.L. 114-125). Accordingly, the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection is terminated. Section 109 also provides for the establishment of the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee.

    Establishment of a Commerical Customs Operations Advisory Committee: Section 109 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (the Act) states, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall jointly establish a Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC). The COAC shall be comprised of 20 members, the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy of the Department of the Treasury and the Commissioner, who shall jointly co-chair meetings of the COAC, and the Assistant Secretary for Policy of the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who shall serve as deputy co-chairs of meetings of the COAC.

    The COAC members shall be appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Homeland Security. The membership is representative of individuals and firms affected by the commercial operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and without regard to political affiliation. Each individual appointed to the COAC shall be appointed for a term of not more than 3 years, and may be reappointed to subsequent terms, but may not serve more than 2 terms sequentially. The Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Homeland Security may transfer members serving on what is now the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations, established under section 9503(c) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (19 U.S.C. 2071 note) on the day before the date of the enactment of the Act to the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee.

    The COAC shall advise the Secretaries of the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security on all matters involving the commercial operations of CBP, including advising with respect to significant changes that are proposed with respect to regulations, policies, or practices of CBP. The COAC will provide recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Homeland Security on improvements to the commercial operations of CBP.

    The COAC shall meet at the call of the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Homeland Security, or at the call of not less than 2/3 of the membership of the COAC. The COAC shall meet at least 4 times each calendar year.

    Not later than December 31, 2016, and annually thereafter, the COAC shall submit to the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives a report that describes the activities of the COAC during the preceding fiscal year, and sets forth any recommendations of the COAC regarding the commercial operations of CBP.

    Effective on the date on which the Advisory Committee is established, section 9503(c) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (19 U.S.C. 2071 note) is repealed. Any reference in law to the Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of the United States Customs Service established under section 9503(c) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (19 U.S.C. 2071 note) made on or after the date on which the Advisory Committee is established, shall be deemed a reference to the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Wanda Tate, Office of Trade Relations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Room 3.5A, Washington, DC 20229; telephone (202) 344-1661; facsimile (202) 325-4290.

    Dated: March 29, 2016. Maria Luisa Boyce, Senior Advisor for Private Sector Engagement, Office of Trade Relations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07388 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection [1651-0023] Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for Information AGENCY:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    60-Day Notice and request for comments; extension of an existing collection of information.

    SUMMARY:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the Department of Homeland Security will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act: Request for Information. CBP is proposing that this information collection be extended with no change to the burden hours or to the information collected. This document is published to obtain comments from the public and affected agencies.

    DATES:

    Written comments should be received on or before May 31, 2016 to be assured of consideration.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments may be mailed to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Attn: Tracey Denning, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, 90 K Street NE., 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20229-1177.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information should be directed to Tracey Denning, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, 90 K Street NE., 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20229-1177, at 202-325-0265.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    CBP invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13). The comments should address: (a) Whether the 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 estimates of the burden of the collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden including the use of automated collection techniques or the use of other forms of information technology; and (e) the annual cost burden to respondents or record keepers from the collection of information (total capital/startup costs and operations and maintenance costs). The comments that are submitted will be summarized and included in the CBP request for OMB approval. All comments will become a matter of public record. In this document, CBP is soliciting comments concerning the following information collection:

    Title: Request for Information.

    OMB Number: 1651-0023.

    Form Number: CBP Form 28.

    Abstract: Under 19 U.S.C. 1500 and 1401a, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for appraising imported merchandise by ascertaining its value; classifying the merchandise under the tariff schedule; and assessing a rate and amount of duty to be paid. On occasions when the invoice or other documentation does not provide sufficient information for appraisement or classification, CBP may request additional information through the use of CBP Form 28, Request for Information. This form is sent by CBP personnel to importers, or their agents, requesting additional information. CBP Form 28 is provided for by 19 CFR 151.11. A copy of this form and instructions are available at http://forms.cbp.gov/pdf/CBP_Form_28.pdf.

    Current Actions: This submission is being made to extend the expiration date with no change to the burden hours or to the information collected.

    Type of Review: Extension (without change).

    Affected Public: Businesses.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 60,000.

    Estimated Time per Respondent: 2 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 60,000.

    Dated: March 28, 2016. Tracey Denning, Agency Clearance Officer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07386 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4265-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2016-0001] Delaware; Major Disaster and Related Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This is a notice of the Presidential declaration of a major disaster for the State of Delaware (FEMA-4265-DR), dated March 16, 2016, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: March 16, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given that, in a letter dated March 16, 2016, the President issued a major disaster declaration under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. (the “Stafford Act”), as follows:

    I have determined that the damage in certain areas of the State of Delaware resulting from a severe winter storm and flooding during the period of January 22-23, 2016, is of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant a major disaster declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. (the “Stafford Act”). Therefore, I declare that such a major disaster exists in the State of Delaware.

    In order to provide Federal assistance, you are hereby authorized to allocate from funds available for these purposes such amounts as you find necessary for Federal disaster assistance and administrative expenses.

    You are authorized to provide Public Assistance in the designated areas and Hazard Mitigation throughout the State. Consistent with the requirement that Federal assistance be supplemental, any Federal funds provided under the Stafford Act for Hazard Mitigation will be limited to 75 percent of the total eligible costs. Federal funds provided under the Stafford Act for Public Assistance also will be limited to 75 percent of the total eligible costs, with the exception of projects that meet the eligibility criteria for a higher Federal cost-sharing percentage under the Public Assistance Alternative Procedures Pilot Program for Debris Removal implemented pursuant to section 428 of the Stafford Act.

    Further, you are authorized to make changes to this declaration for the approved assistance to the extent allowable under the Stafford Act.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hereby gives notice that pursuant to the authority vested in the Administrator, under Executive Order 12148, as amended, Donald L. Keldsen, of FEMA is appointed to act as the Federal Coordinating Officer for this major disaster.

    The following area of the State of Delaware has been designated as adversely affected by this major disaster:

    Sussex County for Public Assistance.

    All areas within the State of Delaware are eligible for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.

    W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07392 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4258-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2016-0001] Oregon; Amendment No. 1 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice amends the notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of Oregon (FEMA-4258-DR), dated February 17, 2016, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: March 16, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of Oregon is hereby amended to include the following area among those areas determined to have been adversely affected by the event declared a major disaster by the President in his declaration of February 17, 2016.

    Douglas County for Public Assistance.

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050 Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.

    W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2016-07396 Filed 3-31-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Docket ID FEMA-2016-0002] Changes in Flood Hazard Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Final notice.

    SUMMARY:

    New or modified Base(1-percent annual chance) Flood Elevations (BFEs), base flood depths, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundaries or zone designations, and/or regulatory floodways (hereinafter referred to as flood hazard determinations) as shown on the indicated Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) for each of the communities listed in the table below are finalized. Each LOMR revises the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), and in some cases the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, currently in effect for the listed communities. The flood hazard determinations modified by each LOMR will be used to calculate flood insurance premium rates for new buildings and their contents.

    DATES:

    The effective date for each LOMR is indicated in the table below.

    ADDRESSES:

    Each LOMR is available for inspection at both the respective Community Map Repository address listed in the table below and online through the FEMA Map Service Center at www.msc.fema.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Luis Rodriguez, Chief, Engineering Management Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-4064, or (email) [email protected]; or visit the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) online at www.floodmaps.fema.gov/fhm/fmx_main.html.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) makes the final flood hazard determinations as shown in the LOMRs for each community listed in the table below. Notice of these modified flood hazard determinations has been published in newspapers of local circulation and 90 days have elapsed since that publication. The Deputy Associate Administrator for Mitigation has resolved any appeals resulting from this notification.

    The modified flood hazard determinations are made pursuant to section 206 of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 42 U.S.C. 4105, and are in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq., and with 44 CFR part 65.

    For rating purposes, the currently effective communit